Have Fun with Spring-themed Activities While Promoting Therapy Goals

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See how occupational therapy and physiotherapy assistant students adapt and modify things around the house to create crafts, make a sensory garden and get moving this spring!

As we look forward to warmer temperatures, we continue to look for fun and creative ways to keep families active, engaged and entertained. Children’s Treatment Network is pleased to partner with Georgian College’s Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy Assistant Program to share a series of videos that include spring activities for toddlers, kids and youth of all abilities. Students were asked to highlight hand skills (fine motor) and sensory skill development, and to consider how each activity can connect to the F-Words for Child Development: function, fitness, friends, fun, family and future.

Check out the videos below that include craft activities to build fine motor skills, including grasping skills and hand strength. These activities also include a sensory component so children can explore using their senses, particularly the sense of touch.

How to Make Tie Dye Eggs

How to Make a Stress Ball

How to Make a Sensory Garden

Want to learn more about skills development?

What are fine motor skills?
Fine motor skills refer to the precise movements of our arms, hands and fingers. To build our fine motor skills, we use activities that involve using our hands or tools to pick up, manipulate, move or transfer small objects. For example, in these craft activities, children are encouraged to use tools such as a sand scoop, a turkey baster (to pick up and transfer flour) and an eye dropper (for food colouring). Larger tools that require less precise movements such as a sand scoop or shovel are great for younger children or those who have limited use of their hands, while smaller, more precise tools such as an eye dropper, are fun for older children. Activities can also be modified for kids of all abilities by using adapted tools or with the help of an adult. Fine motor skill development can be fun but can help develop life skills such as holding a pencil to write, keyboarding, tying shoelaces and eating independently.

What are sensory skills?
We take in so much information from the world around us using our senses. Children are often more engaged in activities that include a multi-sensory component. Instead of just looking or listening during an activity, they like being hands on, touching and feeling the activity. For example, in some of in these videos, children are encouraged to touch, see and smell shaving cream, sand and flour while they complete the activity. Give your child extra time during each craft to explore the different textures. Encourage them to see, touch and smell (and taste if edible). Children with limited use of their hands may enjoy having flour or sand gently sprinkled into their palms or shaving cream gently massaged through their fingers during these activities. Keep in mind that some children may be averse to these sensations and you may need to work up to it by starting with looking, smelling, then touching with one finger, then two, then the hands. Sensory play can be so much fun!

Special thanks to the Georgian College students for their help in the creation of these videos.