OT Activities at Home

Monday April 6, 2020 at 3:42 PM


OT Activities at Home

During this time of social distancing, it can be difficult to find ways to keep kids having fun while also helping them learn and develop new abilities. Luckily, there are plenty of activities that allow you to do both! Check out the list below, assembled by Gateway’s occupational therapist Andrew Beveridge, for some great suggestions. Each of these OT-based activities is not only designed to target important skills but can also be a great way for any parent to keep their kids engaged and have fun as a family.

TP Roll Snake

Target Skill(s): Bilateral Hand Use, Cutting, Fine Motor Control, Finger Strength, Grasp, Hand Dexterity, Motor Planning, Pincer Grasp, Tripod Grasp, Visual Motor Integration.

Required Materials: Buttons, Construction Paper, Crayons, Glue, Markers, Paint Brush, Q-Tips, Scissors, Paint, Tissue Paper, Toilet Paper Roll, Wiggle/Googly Eyes.

Pull open the TP roll all the way. Provide your child with paint and a brush and instruct them to paint it. You can also choose markers or crayons to color the snake. Once dry, you can have your child use Q-tips to paint the snake, or crumble little pieces of tissue paper, and/or use stickers. Depending on your child’s developmental skills, either cut a snake’s tongue out of red construction paper or have them cut it themselves. Finally, your child can glue the tongue and the wiggly eyes on one end of the TP roll. If you don’t have wiggly eyes in hand, you can use small buttons or simply draw them on.

Crab Walk Soccer

Target Skill(s): Balance, Motor Planning, Proprioception, Core Strengthening.
Required Materials: Ball, Boxes, Chalk, Masking Tape

Set up goals approximately ten feet apart using the boxes, the masking tape, or the chalk. Instruct your child to assume a crab-walk position. Assume a similar position. Each one of you needs to try to get the ball to the goal by bumping it with your body or kicking it with your foot. Hands may not be used!

Mirror Me

Target Skill(s): Balance, Body Awareness, Social Interaction
Required Materials: None!

This activity can be done in groups of 2 or more kids and adults. Decide who will be the leader of the group and position the kids so they are facing the leader while standing up. Instruct the leader to change their body position. For example: raise your hand, bend your knees, or turn your head to the right. The rest of the group should mirror what the leader is doing. The group leader should continue changing position while the rest of the group continues imitating every move.

To increase task complexity: The leader increases the speed while setting new body positions. If multiple people are playing, you can play an elimination-style game where the leader continues setting new positions for the participants until someone makes a mistake. The person(s) who did not correctly mirror the leader’s movement is now eliminated.

Animal Yoga

Target Skill(s): Balance, Motor Planning, Communication, Proprioception, Emotional/Behavioral Self-Regulation, Core Strengthening.
Required Materials: None!

Animal yoga is a great activity to help your kiddos develop a stronger connection with themselves and the world around them as well as stimulating their senses to produce a calming response. Animal yoga also helps develop an awareness of breathing and can promote a stronger mind-body connection with your child! If possible and weather permitting, take your child outside and stand face-to-face or in a small circle if you have a larger group. Everyone selects an animal that they feel close to or can strongly relate to. Have your child make a pose that they believe closely resembles their selected animal and have your child slowly close their eyes for at least 10 seconds (or longer if possible). Now you can take turns replicating each other’s poses! Remember to talk slowly and quietly whenever possible to ensure the environment is sensory friendly.

Once your child has mastered these steps, you can slowly start to educate them on a basic deep breathing exercise (breathe in for four seconds-breathe out for four seconds) to maximize emotional/behavioral self-regulation!

We hope that you find these activities fun and rewarding. Follow our blog and social media posts for more suggestions of family-friendly activities, as well as a variety of other topics. Stay well!

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