Summer is the perfect time for kids to work on improving their overall coordination, gross motor skills, and body awareness. So many of the things that children naturally do in summer are excellent “OT activities” to help a child challenge his body, increase his confidence, and have lots of fun. We don’t always think of the therapeutic benefit of the fun things we do in summer, but here is a list of some activities and their benefits so that parents can feel good about encouraging more summer fun!
Biking*: works on balance, coordination of the two-sides of the body (bilateral coordination), endurance, visual scanning of surroundings for safety awareness
Monkey bars: works on upper body strength and motor planning
Swimming: works on total body strengtening, endurance, and bilateral coordination; also provides tactile input to the body
Swings: works on core strength, sustained hand grasp, timing (when to pump); also provides strong input to the vestibular system
Climbing structures: works on upper body strength, motor planning, and bilateral coordination
Scooters*: works on balance, separation of sides of body (one leg stabilizes, one moves), timing, visual scanning of environment for safety
And on rainy days…Video games: (believe it or not) works on eye-hand coordination, manual dexterity, sustained visual attention; for some great core strengthening, have child play while “standing” on their knees or sitting upright on an exercise ball
*Always have children wear well-fitting helmet with chin strap secured. Head injury can occur with both biking and scooting!