An OT Minute- Fun Activities with Household Items to Support Your Child's Development
My name is Emily and I’m an occupational therapist with Growing Healthy Children. I am excited to share with you some ideas on how you and your child can play with simple items around the house to support foundation skills of development. With these easy games, you will be addressing many areas that will help your child in their daily lives and in school- all while having fun!
First up is the straw and Cotton ball
What can you do with it?
Use the straw to blow the cotton ball across the floor in a “race” against a partner
Provide Prop input
Calming prop input from pressure of body on the floor
grounding effect on the body
helps us to feel regulated in our bodies.
“body awareness” to be efficient and smooth in our body movements
Suck the cotton ball with the straw and put in a target, like a cup with matching colors
What does it work on? Oral stimulation and visual motor skills. Sucking strengthens convergence (the eyes coming together), and blowing strengthens divergence. Often, children seek oral input as a means to calm and regulate themselves. Playing games that provide oral input are a “socially acceptable” way to get the input they need.
Make a target on the floor with tape, aim to blow the cotton ball into the target
What does it work on? While aiming for a target or following the path, your child will have to adjust the amount of air they blow through the straw, gauging whether they need the cotton ball to go a short distance or far. Bringing awareness to force and speed of movement encourages your child to be more aware of their body and their actions.
Make a track on the floor with tape and blow the cotton ball along the track
What does it work on? Ocular motor coordination: By having to focus your eyes on an object that is that close to your nose, the eyes have to work hard to focus on the cotton ball. They then have to adjust to look further away as the cotton ball moves away from your face. Ocular motor coordination is the same skill we need to be able to focus our eyes during reading and writing in the classroom. Often, we have to adjust our eyes to look at the page/book in front of us and then up to the front of the classroom and back down to the page/book.
I hope you find these ideas easy to implement with your child. Be sure to have fun, see what other ideas you or your child can think of- there are no wrong answers. If you’re having fun with your child, then you’re doing it right!
Be sure to check out the video that accompanies this blog on our YouTube Channel! In the meantime, I’ll keep adding ideas and videos, so feel free to let me know what you’d like to know how to play with! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPQEhBU7i9c&t=10s