Parents as first teachers…..Part 1

Parents are the first teachers of their children and play a key role in their child’s development.  Providing opportunity to participate in a range of activities, games and experiences can facilitate childrens’ development.  Here are some activity ideas…..

Gross Motor Activities

Rolling, crawling, walking, running, jumping and landing, hopping, skipping, galloping, leaping, dodging, bending stretching, pushing, pulling, twisting, turning.skipping

Including ‘lateralisation’ activities which challenge using the two sides of the body together or separately.

  • Bilateral movements (using 2 sides of the body together)
  • Unilateral movements (using one side of the body)
  • Cross lateral movements (simultaneous movement of different limbs on opposite sides of the body e.g. crawling)

Also, activities for joint pressure/stability. eg. hanging, push ups, ‘wheelbarrow’ walking, ‘crab’ walking, other animal walking, tug of war.

Lastly, incorporate directional/position in space activities and language. eg. obstacle courses incorporating over, under, up, down, right, left, behind, in front, through.

Vestibular Activities

Rolling (over Swiss balls), rolling (forward, backward, log), spinning, balancing (walk on line, rope or beam), scooter boards, skipping (with and without ropes), jumping, swinging, rocking, see saws, trampolines/trampettes (jumping, bouncing, running of the spot), ‘Row Your Boat’ game rocking back and forth and side to side.

Visual-motor Activities

t ballEye-hand co-ordination (hitting, batting, throwing bean bags at target, T-ball, hitting balloon on string), eye-foot co-ordination (kicking, dribbling), and ball activities (throwing, catching, bowling).

Basic shape copy, join the dots, tracing letters, letter outlines – see also handwriting below.

Auditory Motor Activities

Singing/action activities (eg. ‘Wheels on the Bus’), action rhymes (eg. Open Shut Them), action chants, clapping patterns, drums, responding to auditory commands an cues (Simon Says, ‘What’s the Time Mr Wolf?’, ‘Statues’), watch programs such as Play School and The Wiggles and join in.

Tactile Activities

Rolling, sand play, massage, walking/crawling on textured surfaces and through indoor tunnels and lay houses, dress ups, feely box (hide objects in a bag or box or in sand for child to feel and find), water play, water slide, collage, finger paint, face paint, shaving cream play, play dough, hide small objects in dough/sand/rice for child to find.

Fine Motor Activities

Threading, using pegs, finger puppets, painting, snap beads, construction toys (eg. Leggo), sewing cards, spinning tops, using tongs, tearing paper, folding paper, using eye droppers, water pistols, spray bottle, cards (shuffling, dealing, manipulating), sticker books, scissor cutting (paper, card, pictures, straws, play dough), gluing, sewing.

Pre-writing and early writing Activities

Use crayons, chunky pencils, chalk.

Use large sheets of paper on table top and vertical surfaces.  Use a black board. Encourage left to right and top to bottom direction when drawing lines as well as crossing the paper on the diagonal. ie. from one left corner to the diagonally opposite)

Also, tummy lie to colour and do activities.

Lots of colouring-in.

Copy lines (straight and curved) and basic shapes (cross, circle, square, triangle).  Draw pictures.

Rainbow letters – draw inside letter outlines with different colours.

Use multisensory approach – draw letters in sand, in salt on a tray, in finger paint, in shaving cream; paint with water on concrete; cut out letters from sand paper; make letters from play dough and pipe cleaners; use magnetic letters; draw on a Magna Doodle.

Visual Perceptual Activities

wallyInset puzzles, interlocking jigsaw puzzles, Spot the Difference, join the dots, ‘Where’s Wally’ books, crosswords, Word Search, memory trays, memory cards, origami (paper folding), box construction.

Occulo-motor Activities

Maze books, ‘Where’s Wally’ books, following torch light games, games with moving target, Word Search.

These are just ideas!

There are hundreds of books and internet resources available to give information and suggestions regarding developmentally appropriate games and activities for kids!

 Pam McDonald – Occupational Therapist– Let’s Talk Outreach Service

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