While the cold, rainy days make you think you should check your calendar for when Halloween is coming, spring is really here. Soon a beautiful Michigan summer will follow. What a great opportunity to get outside and help your kids develop their motor skills under the guise of play. While kids all love their electronics, you’d be surprised how happy they are to go outside and play even the simplest of games.
Get out and play
- Don’t sell short the importance of playing games like catch or kicking a ball; it helps build upper and lower body strength, eye-hand coordination and balance. You can mix it up too: Change the size of the ball you throw, or balance on one leg and see how long you can each stand before kicking the ball back.
- Bubbles are great for kids and even school-age kids like them. Blowing bubbles builds oral motor and fine motor skills. The larger bubble wands are great fun for promoting running as you make bigger and bigger bubbles.
- Kite flying is also wonderful for coordination and special time together.
- Some more active ideas include roller skating and bike riding. Both activities are a fantastic chance to build strength, coordination, endurance and many happy memories. But don’t forget your protective gear — especially a helmet — for both you and your child.
- If your child needs to work on more academic tasks, get out the sidewalk chalk to practice letters and math. Early learners respond well to large motor activities like drawing letters on the driveway as a way to learn letter formation.
- Math facts can be called back and forth as you throw or kick a ball. When children have these types of sensory experiences combined with academics, they tend to have great recall and learning.
- Speaking of sensory play, take advantage of the outdoors and enjoy messy play. Activities with shaving cream or Play-Doh (a carpet nightmare that looks so much better on your lawn) can build sensory and fine motor skills.
- Fill a large storage tub with water and practice measuring and pouring to build coordination and math skills.
As summer approaches here are some opportunities for children of varying abilities.
- If your child struggles with handwriting skills, consider Beaumont’s eight-week summer handwriting program (for pre-writing, print or cursive). The program expands to 10 weeks during the rest of the year.
- Have a picky eater? Try the Munchers and Crunchers group.
- We also offer therapeutic swim programs, adapted martial arts, adapted dance, adapted yoga, and several sensory groups for children on the autistic spectrum.
Beaumont is proud to offer services in Macomb now, as well as our West Bloomfield, Royal Oak and Grosse Pointe clinics. Check out our website.
– Debbie Adsit, OTRL, is the Supervisor, Pediatric Rehabilitation at the Beaumont Center for Children’s Rehabilitation. She can be reached at (248) 655-5687.