Want your children to have fun this summer and work on their fine-motor skills, while they’re at it? Sure you do! These five ideas I’ve shared before on the blog, courtesy of Southern California OT Abby Brayton-Chung, are so enjoyable kids will have no clue they’re therapeutic, too.  

Paint with ice cubes. Mix watercolor paint with water, fill an ice-cube tray, freeze overnight, and voila, ice-cube paints—great for grasping and sensory exploration. Run them over paper or fabric.



Play with wet sponges. Set out a bucket of water and some oversize sponges. Done! Kids can squeeze water out, throw them at a target, or walk barefoot on a bunch you’ve laid out in a path (a good way to work on balance, too).  
Toss around pool toys. Water makes it so much easier for children to move their arms and legs. Big pool, kiddie pool, doesn’t matter! Hold a pool noodle or ball away from your child and encourage them to reach out and grab it. Play catch. Encourage them to dunk the object underwater, then let it pop up.  
Build a sandcastle. The classic! Bring along plastic measuring cups with big handles and spoons so it’ll be easy for children to scoop up sand. Search for seashells and rocks they can pick up to decorate their design. If you’re not in a beach area, any container that holds sand can be used to build castles right in your backyard.
Squeeze it. Condiment containers from the dollar store are excellent for squeezing and spraying word. It helps with hand strength and coordination, as well as visual motor skills if you aim for a target (or a person)! Try using them for creating sandcastles too.

Images: Flickr/hartwhereluv2photo20, tomo_moko, mayorgreg



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