By Christine Law
Worldwide Speech is a teletherapy private practice that has provided speech therapy, occupational therapy, reading intervention, special education, and tutoring to families all across the globe for over a decade.
Summer is just around the corner, and although it’s a blissful time for the kids, it isn’t quite the same for everyone. Sure, vacations are fun. Family visits are great (depending on your in-laws, of course). But, most of us are trying to keep the kids entertained at home while the rest of us are working and/or working from home. When your kiddo needs extra help at school, it is easy to worry that those skills will regress over the summer. Whether it is handwriting, cutting, following directions, or being able to attend to a task, Occupational Therapy skills are vital to helping our kids succeed.
Luckily for you, we’ve thought of…
Five EASY and SIMPLE ways to keep up your kids’ OT skills over the summer!
Convince your child and your family to…
5. Be active and try some physical activities and clubs.
Whether it’s sports, playing outside, or walking the dog, all of these activities can help with your child’s gross motor (physical movement), hand-eye coordination, and sensory skills. For example, playing catch in the garden not only gets your child and yourself moving but also allows your child to practice catching and throwing. Hand-eye coordination is essential to writing and/or cutting because it helps your child coordinate his hand to manipulate his pencil or scissors. Besides the fact your child is getting lots of sensory input by watching the ball and feeling the ball when they catch it, you can add extra sensory opportunities! For example, you can have your child close their eyes a few seconds before throwing to focus on their breathing. Another idea is to have your child pick out a bit of grass or a flower every time they catch or throw a ball. Then, they have to count each blade of grass or flower to know the score.
4. Try some arts, crafts, music, and other tabletop activities
Although some of our kids may not like getting messy or using their fingers, it is a great way to work on fine motor, manipulation, and visual perceptual skills. Legos, for example, are a great way to exercise those finger muscles and focus on manipulating the blocks to make a design. More importantly, however, legos are great for kids to practice following a picture or manual to make a design. When your child is building a spaceship or robot, they are using their visual perceptual skills which help us to read, write, and follow visual directions. One fun idea is to play “Simon Says” with legos. How this works is simple: you can get some paper and draw out some legos in a tower, bridge, or design. Then, your child can try to match the legos to the design by themselves or compete with you or a sibling to see who can make it the fastest!
3. Do chores around the house
Chores around the house might not be the most exciting idea for the kids (even though parents would probably argue otherwise), but they not only work on gross and fine motor skills but also help our kids learn responsibility and organization. Doing the laundry is a great example of hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills from getting the laundry from the dryer and folding the clothes. Even more important, though, is that kids have to use their organizational skills to put away the clothes into drawers, closets, and cabinets. An idea to try if your kid’s dread for doing this particular chore is to make it a contest. For example, you can do a folding contest to see who can fold the shirts the fastest – and, hopefully, most accurately.
2. Try a summer camp or program
If you have access to a summer camp or affordable summer programs, definitely give it a try! This can be a great way to get kids involved in the community and make new friends! In addition, it can help with independence and social skills. Need help finding a summer program or camp? Check out our parent handout.
1. Try online OT
Lastly, if your child doesn’t already go to an Occupational Therapy Clinic, why not try online OT services instead? OT clinics are great for the summer, but they often have waiting lists and inflexible scheduling. Also, if you happen to live abroad or in a rural area, clinics can be difficult to access. At Worldwide Speech, we not only have availability for all clients around the world but we also can accommodate your schedule easily because our services can be provided at the home, the school, or even in the community! Worldwide Speech also provides online speech therapy, tutoring, reading intervention, and more! In fact, we will begin providing free online parent support groups and webinars accessible to all families starting in September 2022.
If you are interested in Online OT or our other services, schedule a free 20-minute consultation!
Want more ideas to incorporate OT into your summer schedule? Check out our free parent handout below!
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