If you haven’t noticed the warmer weather, afternoon rain showers, and longing for snowballs and swimming pools…WAKE UP! Summer is here and there’s lots to do! At Emerge, we don’t stop during the summer, we play right through it. Summertime gives us many fun opportunities each year to create new ways of building therapy into our patients’ everyday lives, especially when it comes to Occupational Therapy. With the creativity from our OT team, you’ll see how the season’s sights and sounds can keep our friends learning and thriving all year round.
“Living Life to Its Fullest” is the motto of the American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc. The OTs at Emerge embrace this theme every day. They add fun and exploration to their therapeutic activities, and summertime offers even more opportunities to live to the fullest! For instance, a simple walk through a neighborhood can provide opportunities to pick fresh flowers. Picking the flowers promotes pincer grasps, a chance to smell the flowers, visual discrimination (choosing flowers over weeds), and sustained grasp to carry the flowers to their favorite person, thereby promoting socialization and relationship building.
Here are a few summertime opportunities for fun and development created by our OT staff that you can explore this year!
- WATERING FLOWERS – using spray bottles to “water” flowers promotes grasp strength, hand-eye coordination, balance reactions and sustained attention.
- BLOWING BUBBLES – promotes calming of whole self through breathing in and out, hand-eye coordination, bilateral task (holding the bottle in one hand and wand in the other), pincer grasp, and visual tracking to watch the bubble fly and pop.
- PLAYING WITH PINWHEELS – promotes calming of whole self through breathing in and out, hand-eye coordination, and sustained attention.
- USING SIDEWALK CHALK – provides pre-writing and writing opportunities, upper body strengthening, trunk strengthening, balance reactions and reflex integration if drawing while on all fours or lying on tummy.
- PICNIC ADVENTURES – perfect opportunity to present new or favorite foods in a different setting for picky eaters! Sitting on the ground provides the opportunities for developing trunk rotation, leg range of motion, preparation for floor time in school, exposure to new tactile sensations (grass on hand and legs, etc.)
- PLAYTIME AT THE PARK – introduce movement, core strengthening, fine motor development, and eye-hand coordination through use of slides, swings and climbing structures.
- ICE CUBE PAINTING – add paint to your ice cube tray and use the paint cubes on construction paper! Provides a unique grasp challenge for small hands while helping them adapt to the cold temperature.
- GARDENING – provide a new sensory experience and promotes grasp, forearm range of motion, and upper body strength to grasp shovels, scoop soil, and push seeds into dirt.
Above all else…safety and fun!