Today’s Therapist Thursday comes from our friends at The Inspired Treehouse and is full of great ideas to prepare your children for school during the last few weeks of Summer!
Every year in our school based therapy practice, we create and send home summer programs for our students because we believe that practice makes perfect! Let’s be frank, no one wants to think about school over the summer. And when children have long breaks where they don’t have regular opportunities to practice the skills they need in school every day, they often need extra time to get back into the swing of things when they return to school in the fall. It may take weeks to get a child back to where they left off! Here at The Inspired Treehouse, we want kids to have what they need to start the school year confident and ready to learn. Here are 10 functional skills used every day in the school environment with some playful summer activities that will give the opportunity for practice and development of these skills. These summer activities for kids are so much fun, we promise your little ones won’t even realize that they’re actually doing homework! :)
1. STAIR CLIMBING: Most children have many opportunities to navigate steps in their school environment on a daily basis: to get to art or music, to play on playground equipment, and even to get on the bus. This may sound simple enough, they practice stairs everyday at home, right? BUT, have you ever thought that, at school, there may be 20 other kiddos trying to navigate those stairs at the SAME time?? This challenges balance, motor planning, strength, and body control. To make sure your child stays confident and comfortable on the stairs, work on stair climbing as often as possible and in as many ways as possible.
Try these activities to help develop your child’s confidence and ability on the stairs:
2. HANDWRITING AND COLORING: These skills are challenged every single day in the classroom. The expectations for handwriting grow more challenging as our children progress and as they transition to a new grade level. Learning to write requires continual development of fine motor and visual motor/perceptual skills. Our children need to be able to grasp a pencil or crayon efficiently, sustain pressure while writing/coloring, demonstrate enough strength to hold their writing utensil for a length of time, and motor plan to create writing and drawings. On top of that, they need to be able to visually attend to their paper!
Try these activities to practice handwriting and coloring skills:
3. TRANSITIONS IN HALLWAYS: Children need to be able to line up, walk forward in a line, maintain body awareness throughout crowded hallways and rooms, and get to and from spaces calmly and independently. This challenges motor planning, body awareness, and sensory processing skills.
Try these fun activities to practice these skills:
4. MAINTAIN UPRIGHT POSTURE IN A CHAIR: How many times have you been in a classroom, or in your kitchen at homework time, and noticed a child slouching in a chair with his bottom sliding toward the edge. Or maybe he’s completely bent over with his head resting in one hand or, better yet, his head down on the table. Is he tired? Maybe! But, it’s possible that this child just doesn’t have the core strength or postural stability to maintain an upright sitting position in a chair for periods of time. Or maybe he needs more propriceptive input to tell him what exactly his body is doing.
Help your child develop stability for good posture and give him proprioceptive input for better body awareness with activities like these:
5. PARTICIPATION IN GYM: Did you know that in the U.S., kids are observed and measured against all of the other kids in the nation in gym class? Are they performing gross motor skills to the level of their peers? Are they confident enough in their gross motor abilities to perform them in a group setting? Can they control their bodies to complete requested skills in their own space within a gym full of other children? Mastery of gross motor skills is dependent on age, but there are lots of fun activities that can help to develop some common developmental motor skills.
Try some of these activities to work on skills that might be required in physical education classes in the elementary years:
THERE’S MORE… For five more tips from The Inspired Treehouse, please visit the original post HERE!