10 Fun Summer Activities to Promote Child Development
by Marisa Fiorentino, OTR/L
Kids Place North Pediatric Occupational Therapist
As summer rolls around, finding activities to keep your kids busy and entertained seems daunting. Luckily, there are hundreds of activities for your home that are both fun and help with various developmentally appropriate skills and occupations. Check out below to learn more about some kid approved summer activities!
Sensory Activities for Summer
The world is your oyster with this one! You can create sensory bins filled with all kinds of tactile input to help with sensory processing, seek and find skills, fine motor skills, and more! Some of my favorite sensory bin fillings include uncooked beans, rice, and uncooked macaroni noodles. The possibilities are endless! Try hiding small beads or fun toys in the bins. Keep in mind, these bins tend to get messy, so playing outside is typically the best option.
Check out this link for more sensory bin fillers:
Water tables provide a fun way to explore sensory input while also cooling off! Place cars, animals, or small dolls inside and have your child pretend to wash them with soap and a toothbrush to help with life skills. If you do not have access to a water table, fill a small bin with water and let your kids explore.
Outdoor Obstacle Course
Obstacle courses are great for so many reasons. To name a few, they can help with improved body awareness, coordination, and impulse control. You can use objects around the house including pool noodles, hula hoops, and sidewalk chalk. Be creative! Better yet, let your kids be creative!
Nature Scavenger Hunt
Nature hunts can be a great way for children to get their bodies moving while also exploring various types of sensory input. Have them look for specific items or have them find each color of the rainbow.
Gross Motor Activities for Summer
Water Balloon Toss
Filling small water balloons and playing a game of toss and catch is a great way to cool off and work on hand eye coordination skills. You can also set up targets using items like chalk or garbage cans for your child to throw at for some added fun.
Swimming is a natural and fun way to work on strengthening and coordination skills. It also is great heavy work to help kids feel regulated, calm, and tired! Please make sure you are remembering water safety!
Go to the Park
Climbing up ladders, swinging along monkey bars, and other equipment at the park helps develop appropriate strength and coordination skills while also providing proprioceptive input for improved body awareness and regulation.
Fine Motor Activities for Summer
Writing and coloring with sidewalk chalk is an easy way to work on handwriting and other visual motor skills. Have your kids copy sentences, write stories, or color.
Squirt Bottle Fun
Filling squirt bottles with colored water to squirt at paper or a canvas is a fun way to promote creativity and hand strength. Squeezing the squirt bottle repetitively can help to strengthen all of the little intrinsic hand muscles needed for writing and success in other fine motor activities.
For younger kids, blowing bubbles and popping them with one finger promotes finger isolation, visual tracking, and sensory processing of tactile input. Challenge your kids by having them smash a bubble between two hands, or between their thumb and index finger for additional coordination and fine motor skills.
These are just a few of the fun activities that you can try with your kids during the hot summer months to keep them happy, entertained, and provide them with opportunities to develop important skills for their futures! If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s development, please reach out to us here at Kids Place Pediatric Therapy.