With the school year coming to an end and summer break just beginning, it is time to start thinking about activities that will keep your child busy during the summer months while continuing to strengthen their fine motor skills. Activities such as writing and coloring, cutting with scissors, building with legos, and buttoning clothing require your child to have coordination and strength within the small muscles in their hands. Fine motor strength and skills are essential for a child’s development. Here are some fun summer-inspired activities that will keep your child busy during the summer months and strengthen their fine motor skills!
- Wheelbarrow Walk Races: Have your child place their hands and knees on the ground in a tabletop position. The parent or sibling will hold the child’s legs so that the child’s hands are pushed down on the floor. Your child can race friends or siblings but if it is just you and your child, then you can have them retrieve game pieces, puzzle pieces, or their favorite summer toy. Wheelbarrow walks are a great way to promote weight bearing which will increase upper extremity strength and core strength. This is also a great way to receive proprioceptive input.
- Sidewalk Chalk & Spray Bottle: Encourage your child to draw, write their name, or imitate designs with sidewalk chalk. Engaging with small pieces of sidewalk chalk will help build fine motor strength by learning how to manipulate a writing utensil, promote weight-bearing in the opposite hand, and if you encourage drawing with large movements it will increase upper extremity strength. After your child has finished their chalk masterpiece, an easy clean-up technique that will increase fine motor strength is to have them spray the chalk with water from a spray bottle to make it disappear.
- Outdoor Scavenger Hunt with Tongs: Make a list of small outdoor items you would find in your backyard (a green leaf, a flat rock, a stick, etc.). Have your child search for these items in your backyard and use kitchen tongs or tweezers to pick up these small items. Using tongs or tweezers will help increase their fine motor strength as well as promote pre-scissor skills. Looking for these items will also help build your child’s visual-motor skills by scanning their surroundings and looking high and low.
- Water Play with Sponges: Whether it’s in the pool, a water play table, or in the bath, squeezing sponges will help strengthen the fine motor muscles within your child’s hands. Fill up one bowl with water and have your child transfer the water to an empty bowl by squeezing or ringing a sponge.
Summer break is a great time to work on these fine motor strengthening activities in new and exciting ways. It is also a good way to give your child a break from video games and television. If you have any concerns regarding your child’s fine motor or self-care skills, please do not hesitate to reach out to T.E.A.M. 4 Kids for an evaluation with one of our amazing Occupational Therapists at any of our three locations!
Megan Lopez MSOT OT/L