The kids are getting out of school, the weather is getting VERY warm, and many families are looking for things to do! Many people are starting to think about backyard barbecues and other fun, family friendly activities as we picture our summers! Don’t forget to include some gross motor fun into your next backyard barbecue extravaganza. These activities below are sure to keep your kids moving and having a blast!

Sack Races

Sack races are so much fun and allow kids to jump, jump, jump to the finish line in a way that engages their competitive side and gets all of their energy going! Jumping with your legs together is a great way to work on coordination and strength while getting a little bit of that extra energy OUT! If you think this would be a fun idea, you can buy sacks for outdoor racing here:

Movement Circle

Have all the children stand in a big circle, where they can all see each other! In a movement circle you can play fun games like “Pass the move” where every child does one move and then everyone repeats the move. These moves can be linked together to form a whole mini dance to keep kids moving and grooving in a funky way! In the circle, they can also move along to kids music specifically created for movement, like “Simon Says”, “The Hokey Pokey”, and “Animal Action”. Look for children’s movement songs on YouTube, Spotify, or other music Apps. There is also a whole YouTube channel of children’s movement songs through GoNoodle too, if your child loves silly characters! Here are a few links to some fun ones: 

Simon Says

Hokey Pokey Freeze

Animal action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30ePPeUbwSs

The Floor Is Lava Dance

GoNoodle’s YouTube Channel

Building an Obstacle Course

For this one, have each child choose one item they want to put in their obstacle course (so that no one is touching the same items). Have them make up a specific rule for how to use their part of the obstacle course and have each child explain that rule to their friends. By the end of all the explanations and the building process, they will have created a full obstacle course as a team! This will help them use their creativity and collaboration skills before each of them jumps into action to move through their creation, helping them to work on strength and coordination too!

Hopscotch

This old classic is great for working on jumping and hopping, and makes kids switch feet on every step, so it is also great for coordination. It can be set up with simple sidewalk chalk on a driveway or blacktop at the park. Jumping between numbers can be made even more fun and tricky if you ask the children to skip certain numbers, say their top ten favorite animals with every jump, or come up with their own wacky pattern for jumping through the squares.

Have fun out there everybody, keep moving, and enjoy the start to your SUMMER! Let us know @Kidpt on Instagram and @KidPTNJ on facebook or by emailing us at info@kidpt.com to tell us how these outdoor games worked out and if you want more fun ideas for how to keep your kids moving this summer! 

Savvy parents know that every child has their own sensory preferences and things they avoid. Whether it is picky eating, not liking the seams in socks, or having a hard time sitting still because the child’s body has the wiggles, every child has their own sensory world. Every adult has their sensory preferences too, but we learn to manage our needs by taking walks when we need to wake up a bit, chewing gum to stay focussed, or shaking our foot while listening to a speech.

Every child will have their own personal sensory profile, but when is it time to get help. When sensory preferences are impacting daily life, that’s a good time to seek help from an occupational therapist or a physical therapist.

Below we’re going to introduce the difference sensory systems and give you some tips to start figuring out what sensory strategies will help your child.

Proprioceptive System

Kids who seek out rough play, jumping and/or crashing, or our kids who like to lie down on the ground a lot may need more input to this system.  It helps us to sense movement and organizes our bodies to help with coordination, body awareness and spatial awareness.

TRY activities that involve:

Vestibular System

Kids who appear to seek constant movement, are risk takers and like to be upside down may need more input to this system.  Some kids may look more sedentary or lethargic and may also need some vestibular activation! This is another movement sense, it is related to our head position in space, and gives our bodies information about balance and is closely related to our visual system. 

TRY activities that involve: 

Tactile Input

Kids who are constantly touching and fidgeting may need more input in this area.  Kids who are extra sensitive to seams or clothing, or avoid getting messy might be on the opposite side of  tactile processing.  It refers to our sense of touch, and can impact all areas of function from eating to walking to feeling the  nuances of toys and materials during self-care and play.

TRY activities that involve: 

Auditory Input

Kids who are constantly humming, yelling, and making other noises, they may need more auditory input than other children. Kids who zone out, seem to ignore you, or struggle to shift from one listening to another listening cue/instruction (or for example, respond to their name). 

TRY activities that involve: 

Visual Input

Kids who require more visual input may look closely at objects. They may seek out moving or spinning objects. They may have difficulty focusing on information presented visually.   On the other end, lights might be too bright or the child may struggle to adjust to lighting changes, or become overwhelmed incertain lighting, like fluorescents. 

TRY activities that involve: 

Olfactory and Oral Sensory Systems

Kids seeking out input to these systems may lick or smell objects like crayons or toys. Chewing also provides proprioceptive input, so kids may bite or chew on objects (think pencils or shirt collars).  May be averse to tastes or smell, picky eaters tend to be sensitive in this area. 

Links to some of our favorite sensory products:

Need some more help finding sensory savvy solutions for your child! Reach out to us at care@kidpt.com and schedule a FREE Discovery Visit with one of our therapists to learn more.