Starfish Therapies

May 31, 2010

Let’s Play

Here is the latest installment of exercises/games from the Let’s Play class we have been running.

Simon Says

What you need: Imagination

What you do: You can play this with one child or several children.  Depending on their age will depend on the complexity.  This is a great way to encourage imagination and creativity as well as work on coordination and motor skills.  You can start out by leading and say ‘Simon Says’ (jump up and down, turn in circles, stand on one foot, do jumping jacks, jump in a circle, jump like a frog, hop on one foot, stand on your tip toes, walk on your toes, etc).  For little kids I just do Simon Says for everything because I am trying to get them to do/try the skills.  For older kids you can switch it up and not say Simon Says for some of them so they have to work on deciphering and remembering directions.  You can take turns being Simon or you can go back and forth.  Its great for the child to have to come up with something.  Initially they may start with just repeating whatever you said but they may start coming up with some really fun skills/ideas.  In addition it works on following directions with audio and visual cues.

Animal Parade

What you need: Imagination or pictures of animals

What you do: If you are going to use pictures or replicas of animals you want to have your child close their eyes and pick an animal.  Then you try to figure out how that animal would get across the room.  For example, if it’s a dog, you would crawls across the room and you can make noises like a dog.  If it’s a frog you can hop and ribbit across the room.  Or you can take turns picking an animal to be.  This encourages gross motor skills and creativity.

Lily Pad Walk

What you need: Step stools or objects that can be stood on

What you do: Set the step stools up in a path and have your child walk on them.  You can use toys that they have to get from one side to the other to encourage repetition.  This works on balance, and hand-foot coordination.

Newspaper Shoot-out

What you need: Newspaper and bucket

What you do: Have your child tear a newspaper into strips and then crumple up into balls. Then they can throw the balls into the bucket like they’re playing basketball. Tearing the pieces of newspaper works on bilateral use of their hands. They can practice pulling their hands in opposite directions in order to be successful with making strips. Crumbling the newspaper works on bringing their hands to midline and bilateral use of hands once again. This is also assisting in fine motor strength to crumple the paper.

Stacking Blocks

What you need: Stacking blocks and possibly a toy car or person

What you do: Your child can stack the blocks into a tower as high as they can and then knock it down. They can also try and make bridges, houses or whatever their imagination leads them to make.  Sometimes adding a toy car or person can help with the imaginative part so that they have something to go under the bridge or walk up the stairs they just made. Building with blocks works on eye-hand coordination and incorporates grasping with their fingers in order to be more successful. Some kids will still grasp with their palm and they may still be able to build like this, but can sometimes use too much force and have less control when attempting to build this way. Blocks can also work on motor planning and imaginative play. If your child is just stacking and knocking down, assist them in building a bridge or house and then incorporating pretend play.

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