While we encourage at-home play therapy all year long, engaging your children in creative therapies during the holidays can be particularly fun and festive. Of course, we realize that the holidays come with their own sets of stressors and time constraints, so here are a few simple ideas to let you enjoy playful physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy with your little ones this holiday season without adding any more items to your shopping list.
- Singing holiday songs.
Christmas carols and holiday tunes are pretty much everywhere this month. Take the opportunity to mix up the usual songs that you sing with your child by adding in a few simple holiday favorites. Singing is great for building confidence and practicing better speech.
If your child prefers to stick to year-round classics like “The Wheels on the Bus,” try to add in some holiday fun by singing about the Santa on the bus or the menorah on the bus. Have fun thinking of different holiday objects that you can create verses about. This is a great way to practice critical thinking and creative decision making with your child.
- Play in the snow.
If you happen to live somewhere chilly, take the opportunity to enjoy fresh snowfalls with your little one. You can practice gross motor skills by packing snowballs and throwing them at (non-human) targets or by building a snowman. In warmer climates, you can jump in puddles after winter rainstorms.
Just remember to be cognizant of the needs and comfort of your child. Bundle them up in waterproof, comfortable clothes and don’t try to force them to engage in activities that “other kids” like. You’ll both have a much better time if you embrace the experience without expectations or a preset agenda.
- Make a holiday sensory bin.
Many unique textures are much more readily available during the holiday season for creating new sensory experiences. Search your box of decorations for materials like soft tinsel, curling ribbon, and wooly pretend snow.
- Decorate a gingerbread house.
This is a great way to practice fine motor skills and direction following. Depending upon the age of your child, you may want to build the actual house in advance to avoid frustration or waiting. Once the house is ready, your child can help you spread frosting, choose which candies to place where, and practice counting the candy already on the house.
As always, with each of these activities, the key is to have fun while working on important developmental skills. We hope you enjoyed this little list of activities and, if you’re still looking for gift ideas, be sure to follow us on Facebook for our 2018 Toy Takeover.