It’s officially the holiday season and thus begins the hunt for activities to keep our children engaged and learning while having fun during time away from their regular activities. While holiday breaks from school are a time for relaxing, it’s also a time for children to explore activities that they may not be exposed to in school as well as keep up some skills while on break (i.e. handwriting).
Ideas for fine motor activities:
1) Make macaroni beads: paint and string to make necklaces or garlands to decorate the patio
2) Make pasta art: use cooked or uncooked painted pasta to create fun scene and pictures
3) Make sensory pictures: use materials that you can find outside (i.e. flowers, leaves, grass, sand) to make pictures and stories
4) Write stories: find great story starters and ideas from Handwriting Without Tears ©
5) Outdoor drawing: use sidewalk chalk to make outlines of the children’s body, make colorful scenes or just practice shapes on the sidewalk
Ideas for gross motor activities:
1) Make forts: use pillows, blankets and furniture (inside or outside) to create hideaways and forts to kids to play in
2) Create obstacle courses: use rocks, furniture and toys to create outdoor obstacle courses that children can climb over, under, and through
3) Play outside! Remember all those games you played as a kid? Tag, Follow the leader, Simon Says are great games to play outdoors
4) Animal Races: crawl like a crab, waddle like a duck, jump like a frog, slither like a snake
Ideas for sensory activities:
1) Water sensory table: this is a great opportunity to play outside with a tub, bucket or pool of water. Splash, swim or watch animals dive.
2) Sensory cooking: have children help with making cookies and let them squish it through their fingers. Or make Jell-o and let them try out different textures.
3) Make bouncing bubbles and entertain children for hours
4) Make coffee can stilts: let children decorate as animal feet or with their favorite colors
5) Make elephant toothpaste
6) Make ice cream in a bag: work on strength, attention and have a great treat too!
Above all else, have fun! Children with sensory processing difficulties may be hesitant to try out activities at first, allow them time to explore and multiple opportunities to try!
-Larissa Ksar, MS, OTR/L