July 29, 2015

Child Therapy Chicago: Outdoor Activities

In our last post, we listed some great indoor activities for children, but as the weather turns from rainy to sunny, everyone is itching to play outside! Outdoor play is a great opportunity to practice gross motor skills. Here is a list of exercises that follow occupational therapy goals. This list offers Child Therapy Chicago outdoor activities to enhance gross and fine motor skills.
Home Activities:
Hula-hoops are a versatile toy that can be used to practice a variety of skills. Line up 3-4 hula hoops in a row. Hop from hula-hoop to hula-hoop with two feet together or use one foot for more of a challenge. Other great activities involve walking through or around the hula-hoop. For a bigger challenge, throw the hula-hoop vertically in the air and catch it on its way down.

Another outdoor activity you can incorporate into your outdoor playtime is the use of sidewalk chalk. Writing with sidewalk chalk practices the fine motor skills of handwriting, but using a big piece of chalk can help a child who has difficulty with a smaller writing utensil. For more of a challenge, use small chalk. Instead of waiting for rain to wash away the chalk, use a spray bottle of water to wash it away. Squeezing the spray bottle is a great hand exercise. Of course, making a hopscotch board with chalk incorporates both gross motor skills and fine motor skills.
Chicago Parks:
Parks are a great place for children to develop their gross motor skills. Climbing up the ladder to the slide is a great way to practice balancing on one foot. Tubes are excellent for using both the hands and feet simultaneously. Swings encourage motor coordination by pumping your legs. Lastly, monkey bars are an excellent way to strengthen the upper body. Advance from hanging on the bars to being able to move from bar to bar.
Sand and water are natural tools many therapist use for sessions. Luckily, sand and water are conveniently located at the beach! Spending the day at the beach can increase gross motor skills by shoveling the sand, walking on the sand, and walking in the water.They can build sand castles to enhance fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and sensory skills. Playing or swimming in the water can increase gross motor skills through balance, hand-eye coordination, and body strength.
  • Soak up the sun at these beaches in Chicago:
  • Oakwood Beach: 4100 S. Lake Shore Drive
  • OakStreet Beach: 1001 N. Lake Shore Drive
  • MontroseAvenue Beach: 4400 North Lake Shore Drive
  • NorthAvenue Beach: 1600 N. Lake Shore Drive

    Do you have any fun games for at home, the park, or the beach to add to our list? If it is a rainy day, check out our list of indoor activities instead! 

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