SUMMER IS HERE!! Now what to do? This is a question pondered by every parent, grandparent, and babysitter who hears those dreaded words, “I’m bored!” Summer is a great time to build social, cognitive, and physical skills without your kids even knowing it. Here are some activities that work on the skills we address in Occupational Therapy that should help pass the time in fun ways!
- How about some creative art projects? Take big pieces of paper outside on the grass and paint with squirt guns filled with washable paint. Draw with sidewalk chalk and squirt with water to mix the colors. Paint with items other than paintbrushes you can find outside like pinecones and flower heads, letting children experiment with various textures and shapes.
- Go outside and just play.
- How about a sports camp? Camps are run by area colleges, the school districts and recreation departments. Sports build physical skills and cognitive skills, and social skills.
- Read a book together. Have an older child? Read the same book as your child. Talk about what they did and did not like about the book. Have you and your child write a short story in the same style as the book and then review and edit each other’s work. Make sure you have some, “mistakes”, to be edited. Talk about how you each think the characters felt in different situations in the book.
- Buy a bunch of pool noodles. Cut them up and fill a kiddy-pool with them for a neat sensory experience. Duct-tape them into circles to use as Frisbees, targets for throwing balls into, as bases for tag, as the “chairs” in a giant running version of musical chairs. Use them as the X and O for giant tic-tac-toe and to practice forming letters on a very big scale.
- Go outside. Have a sensory scavenger hunt for things you could find outside for example; find something rough, find something fuzzy, find something that smells sweet- a great gross motor, fine motor, visual perceptual and sensory activity. Take turns with children planning items for the adults to find and adults planning for the children.
- Make homemade cards for home-bound members of your church, residents of nursing homes, service men and women in VA hospitals. Allow your kids to be creative with how they make the cards and explain how happy they will be making someone who may not get much mail. Helping others is a great self-esteem booster.
- Go outside and just play.
- Attend a concert. Many communities offer a free summer concert series. Check out the Chambersburg Recreation Department web site for the concert series held at the Memorial Park Band Shell. Have your child research which concerts they would like to see and plan your outing.
- It is OK to be bored. Most kids learn best through experiential play and trial and error. Encourage your child to spend some time learning how to entertain themselves.
- Make a chore list. Completion of chores builds self-esteem, self-confidence, planning and organizational skills, gross and fine motor skills and is typically a sensory rich experience.
- And of course- go outside and just play.
If you are in need of more assistance in addressing your child’s unique needs over the summer just give Physical Therapy etc., a call at 263-5147. Our experienced Physical, Occupational, and Speech Therapists love helping children enjoy life to the fullest!
Angela B. Miller, OTR/L