What a snow storm we had this week! Many of us had our first snow day and I hope you and your child made the best of it. With winter here, I wanted to provide everyone with a few ideas and activities to promote your child’s fine motor skills, visual motor skills, coordination and upper body strength. These activities are meant to be multi-sensory, fun and completed through play. This is how your child will learn best!
Activity 1: Playing in the snow
Playing in the snow is a phenomenal activity. You can bring out a whole bunch of tools in the yard or just use your body. Using tools, such as shovels, ladles, and buckets in the snow, will encourage bilateral coordination, motor planning and muscle strength as your child moves the heavy snow around the yard. If you don’t have tools, no problem! When your child walks through the deep snow, they will have to lift their leg up over the snow before stepping. This will activate their muscles and also range of motion when walking and running around the yard. Another fun activity would be making an igloo, snowball, snowman or a simple snow angel.
Activity #2: Pom-poms and whisks
Pick up a bag of holiday pom-poms (or cotton balls) at a craft store or dollar store. Place them one-by-one in a whisk. Have your preschooler practice their pinching skills by pulling the craft pom-poms out and then put them back in. If you have your child hold the whisk, off the table with one hand, this will challenge their bilateral coordination skills.
Activity #3: Baking cookies
Since you already have your whisk out, you might as well put it to work! Baking cookies is a great sensory activity. The activity also works on sequencing skills since you have to follow a recipe. Fine motor skills, bilateral coordination and hand strengthening will also be challenged as your child mixes, kneads, rolls, and cuts out the dough. Baking cookies may also help to build your child’s self-esteem because they worked so hard on a project and in the end; everyone will enjoy the cookies!
Activity 4: Decorating the house
This time of year everyone is decorating for the holidays. If you celebrate Christmas or another, have your child hang ornaments on a tree. Hanging ornaments will work on visual motor skills, pinch patterns and bilateral coordination skills as they try to find the perfect place for their treasured ornament. Some families make their own decorations, such as garland with popcorn and cranberries. Your child can join in by stringing beads or making their own ornament to place on the tree (or around the house). This activity will work on hand-eye coordination and bilateral coordination skills, all while bringing holiday cheer into the home!
Take the time this holiday season to develop your child’s fine motor skills, visual motor skills, coordination and strength, in a fun and memorable way! Everyone at LLA wishes you a safe and happy holiday season!
By: Brittany Stout, OTR/L