Cleaning/laundry/organizing: Cleaning and organizing tasks are awesome ways to challenge our kids’ executive functioning skills. Sorting laundry, organizing toys by category, and making the bed are all tasks that work on visual-perceptual skills, problem-solving, organization, and sequencing skills. To add in some emphasis on motor skills, try tasks such as vacuuming and wiping surfaces with a damp cloth. These tasks involve manipulating cleaning tools while also maintaining awareness of one’s body positioning in order to effectively clean up a mess!
Making lists: We all make lists to remember what we need at the store, our daily tasks, or what we are going to pack in our suitcases. Get your kiddo involved in both brainstorming the list and writing it down. Making lists helps our kids with their ideation skills, ability to categorize and organize, and of course, is great handwriting practice. Once the list is made, have your kiddo use it with you at the grocery store for an extra challenge!
Chair yoga/stretches: No need to get out a yoga mat or move furniture around! Practice incorporating simple stretching or yoga moves into your kiddo’s daily routine when they are sitting at the table to eat, sitting on the couch, or lying in bed. Grown-ups – this is also great for long days sitting at a desk! Here are a few ideas to get those wiggles out:
- Body twist side to side
- Arms up, lean side to side
- Flex and point toes
- Arm circles
- Touching your toes
- Pushing down onto table or chair
- Bicycle kicks
Cooking/making snacks: We all have to eat! Having our kids get involved in any part of the cooking or snack-making process is a great way to practice a ton of skills!
- Fine motor: stirring, tearing greens for a salad, taking snacks out of a container and putting them on a plate, holding and using any utensils, pouring
- Executive functioning: planning a meal, sequencing a recipe, assembling a snack or meal such as a sandwich or pizza, setting a table
- Food and feeding skills: smelling food, touching food, tasting food – generally making food more interesting and exciting!
Putting on and taking off winter clothes: Once we get nearer to the chillier seasons, try having your kiddos help out with putting on all their winter gear! Coats, boots, mittens, scarves, hats – there are so many options! Try not to overwhelm your child with everything at once. Giving them an opportunity to work toward independence with one or a couple components of winter gear is a great way to practice fine motor and sequencing skills.
PLAY PLAY PLAY: Let’s not forget that play is one of the most important things that our kiddos do on a daily basis! The simple act of play gives our kids an opportunity to practice social skills, fine and gross motor skills, problem-solving, sequencing, visual-motor skills, and so much more!
Enjoy your holidays! And remember – OT is everywhere, every day!