therapy activities

Our Favorite At-Home Therapy Activities to Celebrate Our Tenth Anniversary!
Our Favorite At-Home Therapy Activities to Celebrate Our Tenth Anniversary! 1080 1080 PTN Chicago

June 22nd is a big day for PTN; it marks our tenth anniversary!  We don’t want to wait for a second longer to celebrate, especially with our team, children, and families who mean the world to us.  We are so grateful for all of the amazing families that we’ve had the honor to meet and work with over the course of these past ten years.  We’re also very thankful to have such an amazing team of therapists.

To kick off our anniversary month, we wanted to go ahead and share some of our favorite at-home activities with you. Whether your child is working on their gross motor, fine motor, sensory, or speech development – we’ve found fun ideas that your kids will love.

So, what are we waiting for? Let’s get this anniversary celebration started! 

At-Home Activities For Gross Motor Skills…

Indoor Dance Party
Dancing is a wonderful way to get out some energy while also getting to work on your child’s gross motor skills. Dancing works on coordination, balance, motor sequencing skills, and can help your child start to understand rhythm. An excellent way to get started is to come up with a short routine that your child can follow along to. Put together two or three simple moves that work on gross motor coordination such as raising and lowering their arms or rocking from side to side. Then, begin your indoor dance party!

Indoor Balance Beam
This is an activity that is really easy to set up, and will provide hours of entertainment for your kiddos! Start by making an indoor balance beam for your child using painter’s tape. You can make various balance beams such as a zigzagged balance beam, a straight line balance beam, etc. Once it’s all set up, challenge your child to try and walk on each beam from start to finish.

At-Home Activities For Fine Motor Skills…

Make a Pasta Necklace
Making a pasta necklace will work on your child’s fine motor skills while allowing them to express their creativity. All you’ll need for this activity is a box of penne pasta noodles and some string. Your child will work on their fine motor skills by having to grip the noodles to put them onto the string and will strengthen their hand muscles from threading and pulling. The best part of this activity? When they’re done, your child will have a cute necklace they can wear and be proud of!

Shaving Cream Hand Writing
For kiddos that are starting to learn their letters, shaving cream is a simple household item that will let your child practice writing out letters and words. To begin, write out some letters or words onto index cards, and place them next to a tray that is covered in shaving cream. To do this activity, have your child write out each letter/word from the index cards into the shaving cream one at a time using their finger. After each letter/word they write, show your child how to spread the shaving cream all over the tray, and have them move on to writing the next letter/word.

At-Home Activities For Speech Therapy…

Guess What I’m Drawing (Using Chalk)
Fortunately, this speech therapy activity can be done outside with only a couple of pieces of chalk. Sit outside with your child and switch off drawing an object with chalk. When your child is guessing what you’re drawing, have them ask you questions about the object such as, “is it an animal?” or “is it food?”. When it comes time for your child to draw an object, you’ll be able to ask them questions about what they’re drawing.

I Spy
The classic game, I Spy, is actually a fantastic way to work on your child’s speech therapy development. If you need a little brushing up on how to play (or haven’t heard of I Spy before), all you have to do to start is walk around your house or go walk outside with your child. Take turns picking out items around you, and give the other person a clue as to what you’re looking at.

For example, your child may be looking at a tree and could say, “I Spy something tall.” You’d then guess what they’re looking at, and finally, they’ll confirm if the item you guessed was indeed what they were looking at, or if they were looking at a different object than what you guessed. 

At-Home Activities For Sensory Development…

Bucket Full of Textures
For this sensory development activity, you’ll need to gather up small random objects around your house that are made up of varying colors and textures. For example, you could use an orange, a tv remote, a piece of fabric, etc. Take these items and place them inside of the bucket. One by one, have your child pull an object out of the bin and have them run their fingers over the texture of the object in order to get the sense of what it feels like. Then, you should ask them questions about each object, like, “is the object soft or hard?”. Repeat with each object until your bucket is empty!

DIY Sensory Bottle
Sensory bottles can help with your child’s sensory development and are very easy to make. To create your own sensory bottles at home, you’ll need three empty plastic bottles, rice, stones, beans, and tape. Fill each plastic bottle with a different material and tape the cap tightly onto the bottle. Allow your child to grab and play with each bottle one at a time. This way, they can experience the unique sounds and feeling that each bottle provides.

We hope that you found these activities to not only be useful, but easy to do with your little one.  Remember, you’re always at home with PTN!

Happy Anniversary PTN
6 Favorite Fun Therapy Ideas to Ring in Our Anniversary!
6 Favorite Fun Therapy Ideas to Ring in Our Anniversary! 1000 1000 PTN Chicago

This month we are absolutely thrilled to be celebrating our ninth anniversary. The actual anniversary is June 22, and we can’t believe how fast the time has gone. It has been an absolute pleasure working with such wonderful and diverse children and their fantastic families, and we can’t wait to keep it up for another nine years – and well beyond!

To celebrate our anniversary, we wanted to share some of our favorite occupational, speech, and physical therapy activities that parents and children can enjoy together at home. These play therapies are simple and don’t require a trip to the store, but they can offer hours of entertainment while also helping your child develop skills that will last a lifetime.

For sensory development…

Nothing beats a good old-fashioned sensory bin. The great thing about sensory bins is that they can be regularly updated and adjusted with new objects that your child likes. To make your own sensory bin, first you’ll need a plastic storage tub with a lid. You probably have one under your bed or hidden away in your kitchen or closet right now. Next, fill the bin about half way with a base material that your child can safely sift through. That material might be popcorn kernels, packing peanuts, or dry rice. The final step is hiding fun sensory objects in the bin for your child to discover and enjoy. Try to find things that will engage a variety of senses. For example, puffy poms are great to touch, tea bags are fun to smell, and oversize beads are beautiful to look at!

For gross motor skills…

One of our favorite activities that helps develop gross motor skills is playing pretend! This activity is wonderful, because it can be whatever you want, and it lets both you and your child stretch your imaginations. Maybe you can take turns pretending to be different animals. Or you can pretend that the floor is lava and jump between cushions and pillows laid out on the floor. You can stomp around like dinosaurs, or practice climbing (with supervision!) like monkeys.

For fine motor skills…

A great game for developing fine motor skills and getting some occupational therapy in at the same time is Restaurant! Play this make-believe game in your kitchen with actual pots, pans, and safe utensils like spatulas. You can even break out some real food like dry pasta or those baby carrots you’ve been trying to get your child to eat to make the game even more fun. Moving the game into the kitchen helps your child gain comfort in a different environment while practicing skills like stirring, scooping, and following directions, all while being creative.

For a DIY toy…

The simplest of simple do-it-yourself toys is the cardboard roll at the center of your paper towels. When you finish a roll, hand the cardboard over to your little one and tell her that it’s a telescope, or maybe a magic wand, or tape two together and make binoculars. A cardboard roll can become a log for dolls to sit on or a tunnel for small cars or Legos to slide through.

For speech therapy…

Try playing “I Spy” around your house – or anywhere, for that matter! But home is a great place to start with this game, as your child will be able to name more of the things in their environment. This game helps with building vocabulary, especially adjectives and nouns, and also builds critical thinking skills.

For balance…

Make a gym in your living room – or any room that has soft carpet – by grabbing a stack of your child’s books and lining them up on the ground to make a balance beam. Your child will have fun standing on their books and practicing walking across them without falling off. (And if you’re worried about books being mistreated, don’t be! The more that books feel like toys and rewards, the more your child will want to look inside.)

We hope you enjoy all of these play activities this summer. Give us a call anytime for more recommendations tailored to your child!

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