Using Your Backyard Wall to Improve Your Child’s Motor Coordination
By: Kristen Henderson, M.S., OTR/L
Kids Place West Pediatric Occupational Therapist
At Kids Place, we are always looking for new activities to keep our patients moving and learning at home. The following activities will help to work on eye teaming, bilateral coordination, problem solving, frustration tolerance, and force grading. If you have a backyard with a brick wall you can try these activities at home. All you will need is the wall, a piece of chalk, and a six-inch ball. Make the activities more challenging by using a smaller ball.
Figure 8 Activities
Draw a large horizontal figure 8 on the wall. Have your child lightly press the ball between the wall and their open hands, standing about an arm’s length away from the wall. Instruct your child to slowly roll the ball along the figure 8 path. Be sure that your child is using both hands, and follows the path across the center.
Draw a large horizontal figure 8 on the wall. Have your child bounce and catch the ball, moving slowly along the figure 8 path. This is also a great way to work on frustration tolerance and force grading
Write all the letters of the alphabet on the wall. You can write them in a straight line to make the activity easier, or write the letters scattered to make the activity harder. Have the child follow directions to bounce and catch the ball on the appropriate letters. For example, the child can spell their name, spell sight words or spelling words, or sequence throughout the alphabet.
You can change up this activity by writing numbers or drawing shapes instead of letters.
For the next activity all you need is chalk and some painter’s tape. Use the tape to make a large square on the wall. Then divide into various smaller sections. Now your child can color in each section prior to peeling off the tape. This activity will work on fine motor coordination, shoulder stability, and strengthening. It even provides tactile sensory input through peeling off the sticky tape. This activity can also be done on the driveway or sidewalk.