By Nicole Tutaj, MA, OTR/L
With summer approaching and kids spending more time at home, it is the perfect opportunity to engage in numerous bonding activities while also helping your child boost their development! Simple every day activities offer some of the best opportunities to help them grow and learn new skills.
1) Give them special tasks to do around the house
Kid’s love to observe the adults in their life and imitate what they are doing. Giving them a task can help them develop their communication and motor skills while also boosting their confidence and independence as they learn to problem solve and accomplish something new. For toddlers, this can be helping put away toys, wiping up spills, or putting clothes in the hamper. For older kids, they can help clear the table, put away utensils, or water flowers. If you’re in the kitchen, you can also invite your child to help you cook by mixing or adding ingredients to a dish.
2) Read to them every day
Reading is very important and helps children develop language, cognitive, and emotional skills, while enhancing the parent-child bond as you spend quality-time reading to them. You can get cozy on the couch, in bed, or even outside while reading developmentally appropriate books. For older kids, you can make this more interactive by asking them to describe what they see in the pictures or what happened in the beginning, middle, or end of the story.
3) Arts, crafts, and sensory activities
Drawing, painting, and assembling crafts help boost fine motor skills, hand eye coordination, cognition, language, and creativity. Oftentimes, children use drawing to express themselves and their emotions as they may not have the words to describe their feelings yet. It’s important to give them the space and materials to engage in these tasks and encourage drawing from a young age. You can take it outside and draw with chalk, finger paint, or even engage in various sensory activities. While the weather is warm, water play, and messy sensory bins are fun to do outside. And kids can stay busy with these for hours!
4) Get outside
Movement and play help children get their energy out, feel more regulated throughout the day, and build gross motor skills. Whether they are playing alone, with their parents, or with other kids, these experiences encourage social skills, imagination, and help them grow as critical thinkers who need to problem solve. You can make an obstacle course, create a scavenger hunt, or take them to the park to play around other kids.