The Occupational Therapy team has some fun ideas to incorporate some activities for your child with household furniture and items!
OT Equipment Already in the Home!!
Occupational therapy is full of fun equipment, exciting toys, motivating craft projects, and opportunities to explore our sensory world! The good news is that you do not have to live in a clinic or spend a lot of money to bring some of these same experiences into your home. Your home naturally provides so many opportunities for creativity and exploration. Setting up these opportunities allows your child the chance to generalize some of the skills that we are already working on in OT. It also helps them to see how everyday objects can be used in a different way and will naturally help them to begin creative problem solving themselves. Encourage collaboration to produce new ideas of what can be done with ordinary objects!
Here are a few ideas to get you started!
Floor Obstacle Course
OH NO!! THE FLOOR IS LAVA!! Gather items from around your home to create a path to get from point A to point B. You may want to use pillows from the couch or bed, pot holders to jump across, books propped up to step over, place 2 brooms side by side to walk between, painter’s tape to create a hopscotch pattern, or even securing string across two objects so they can climb under or over it!
You can also pair any puzzles or games that you have in the house with the obstacle course to keep your child engaged and to help them also see a natural end to the activity. This will help them to go through your course multiple times so that they are getting many opportunities to practice these skills. You can set up puzzle pieces at the beginning and have them carry pieces through to complete the puzzle at the end. You can have a game spinner or dice at the start and have a game board at the other end so that they can move their piece once they travel through the path! You can have them rescue stuffed animals from the start and bring them through the course to safety at the end of the course. The opportunities are endless!!!
Catching and Throwing Practice
HE SHOOTS…..HE SCORES!!!!! A wonderful way to work on coordination is through ball skills. However, you may not want a variety of hard and large sports balls flying through your living room. A great alternative is playing balloon toss, small pillow toss, or stuffed animal toss! A fun way to work on throwing at a target is gathering up a basket of rolled socks that can be used to throw to different targets in the room! You can use buckets, laundry baskets, large bowls, pieces of furniture, or empty boxes. Assign the different targets various “point values” so that your child can choose which ones to throw towards and they may be more motivated to try to hit targets that are a little more difficult.
Handwriting Practice and Teaching Letter Formation
LET’S MAKE IT FUN! Typically handwriting is not the most thrilling activity in the world……but it can be! If you are working on introducing letters to your child, try it in a multi-sensory way using items that you may already have. You can practice letters in shaving cream or paint! Another fun tactile way to practice letters is to put rice or flour into a baking sheet and form the different letters using your finger! You can form letters out of play-doh, modeling clay, pasta, toy cars, or really any small toy! Another fun way to work on letters, shapes, and coloring is to use bath paints on the tiles of your bathtub!
Visual Perceptual Skills
I SPY SOMETHING……FUN! A great way to work on visual scanning skills and other visual perceptual skills is to play games like I Spy or to complete scavenger hunts within the home. You could also use this to target colors, quantities, functions of various objects, and spatial concepts (ex: high/low). It is also fun to write up a list of items and have a scavenger hunt or a treasure hunt to locate items within the house. Each item can get you one step closer to finding the treasure at the end of the list! Use everyday game boards and ask questions about them. For example, you can ask your child to find three purple items on the Candyland game board before taking their turn.