Occupational Therapy Summer Activities
IN MY HOUSE
1. Indoor Jumps / Hopscotch
Bring the playground indoors and create your own jumping / Hopscotch game. Use chalk if you have a hard floor, masking tape on a carpet, or sheets of paper placed on the floor with the numbers drawn on them, or simply use spots. Practice jumping feet together every day - you can make it a path from their bedroom to the bathroom so they have a little practice daily.
Good for – co-ordination, taking turns, numeracy, motor planning, bilateral integration (using the two sides of the body together)
2. Hide and Seek
Such a basic one, but all children love this game, even the older ones, who can play in the dark for a bit of extra excitement as long as there aren’t any obstacles lying around on the floor. Little ones can stay surprisingly still and quiet if it means getting one up on the bigger ones, and they can fit into smaller spaces. Tip if you’re joining in - long curtains make a great hiding place.
Good for – independent thinking, patience
3. Treasure Hunt
Give them pictures of items to find around the house. Older children can be given clues written or verbal. Praise all efforts to join in! For some great clue ideas visit
Good for - problem solving, teamwork, engaging with siblings
4. Board games / Fine Motor Games
Play with counters, roll dice, use tongs to promote fine motor skills and cognitive thinking. Older kids can get creative with drawing alternative Ludo boards, or be really creative and make up their own game with instructions and playing pieces.
Good for – creativity, fine motor skills
5. Pretend Play with cardboard boxes
This is one of the simplest ways to keep young children occupied and entertained. Give them a big cardboard box or two and it’s guaranteed to fire up their imagination. The possibilities for pretend play are endless – a house, space ship, boat, tunnel, cave. You can take it a step further and decorate the box, adding on cardboard tube chimneys or exhaust pipe.
Good for – imaginative play, creativity
6. Freeze dance
When they really need to let off steam, put on some good dancing music and encourage them to dance their hearts out. You can also introduce aerobic exercises such as star jumps, and little ones especially love it when you shout ‘freeze!’ and they have to keep stock still until the music starts again.
Good for – physical exercise, self-expression, strengthening (holding a still positions can be challenging!)
Buy or make some playdough and get busy at the table; this form of tactile play it can be squashed, squeezed, rolled, flattened, chopped, cut, scored, raked, punctured, poked and shredded! Each one of these different actions aids fine motor development in a different way. Add extras into the playdough to encourage creative thinking – turn a blob into a monster with some googly eyes!
Good for – sensory integration, fine motor skills, strong hands, creativity, imagination
Baking, or preparing a simple meal, is a great way to keep children busy and develop an important skill. You can look up recipes suitable for children online if you need inspiration, but chocolate chip cookies and cupcakes always go down well, and are fun to decorate afterwards. Little ones can help you prepare the teatime meal, weighing and counting ingredients, stirring, laying the table etc.
Good for – following instructions, creativity, fine motor coordination and strength
Hula-hoops are inexpensive and a great way to exercise indoors but you will need a bit more room. Time children to see how long they can keep going. Energetic music will encourage them to put more effort in and go faster. They can also use the hula-hoop as a target on the floor for throwing a soft ball into to score points, gradually moving it further away.
Good for – physical exercise, gross motor skills, motor planning, ball skills in general
10. Keepy Uppy with a twist
This is a great activity for little ones to play on their own, or with you. Use a balloon instead of a ball and either take turns to bat the balloon before it touches the ground, or make it more challenging by introducing different moves that have to be completed before the balloon comes back down, eg touch your toes, then touch your toes and turn around once, adding an extra move each time.
Good for - co-ordination, following instructions, motor planning, upper limb strengthening.