OT on the Road
Now that summer is here, it’s time to get excited for road trips and family vacations! Many hours in the car are the perfect opportunity for family bonding as well as a chance to play games or activities that are fun as well as beneficial to their growth and development. Here are some of my favorites:
I Spy or Road Trip Bingo
A simple game of I Spy encourages the development of visual tracking and scanning skills that are essential for reading and writing.
Hand and Finger Games
Games such as patty cake, Miss Mary Mack, or the Itsy Bitsy Spider encourage crossing midline, coordination, and timing that are essential skills for the development of fine motor and bilateral coordination skills.
I recently looked back through my stash of childhood games and was excited to discover this old favorite of mine. I introduced it into my therapy sessions and it has been a hit ever since! String games such as this encourage the development of dexterity and coordination and require very little materials.
Take turns with siblings or parents and trace a letter or number on the seat in front or in partner’s hand. This activity works on letter formation and visual memory of letters that is critical for handwriting.
License Plate Hunt
Prompt your child to find letters of the alphabet in license plates or signs in alphabetic order. This activity encourages tracking as well as visual sequential memory. Challenge them to remember which letter they are looking for next!
Fine Motor Busy Bags
Keep those fingers moving and work on fine motor skills on the go! Find an empty zip pencil pouch and gather supplies such as lacing cards, clothespin games, Legos, stress balls, or a button snake.
Make the Most of your rest stop… the OT way!
Sitting and riding in the car for long hours can be challenging for both kids and adults alike. It can be tough on the body remaining in a seated position for long periods of time and result in achy muscles. For children with and without disabilities, maintaining a quiet body, staying buckled in, and not being able to expend energy can be nearly impossible at times during car rides. Here are activities to get their bodies moving.
Come up with a list of things for your children to hunt for. They could include items such as a flower, something you could jump over, something fuzzy, etc.
Work on bilateral coordination and visual motor skills with a simple game of catch. Also, a great way to get up and moving!
Make your own obstacle course
Be creative and think outside of the box when designing your own obstacles. Some examples could include walk along the curb, jump in sidewalk squares, jumping jack station, and sprints.
A simple activity such as this can keep your kiddos entertained and moving. Encourage them to pop bubbles with both hands as this works on bilateral coordination, motor planning, and tracking.
Can you crawl like a bear? Walk like a crab? Hop like a bunny? These focus on weight-bearing, strengthening upper body, and coordination.
Plan ahead and locate rest stops that have playgrounds. Playgrounds are a great way to work on strengthening and provide sensory input.