Our Akron occupational therapists are big fans of autumn here in Northeast Ohio – brightly-colored leaves, brisk air, bulbous pumpkins, and crisp apple cider. Plus, there are so many ways we can incorporate season-themed activities into our OT sessions: Crafts, games, and even food!
Here, we’ve rounded up a few of our favorite fall-themed favorites you can do at home with your child for some fun – and extra OT practice!
Construction Paper Trees
This is a craft that helps with a child’s fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, bilateral coordination skills and hand strengthening. You need some fall leaf colored construction paper (think brown, red, yellow, and orange) and maybe a larger poster board if you want to make your trees bigger.
Have your child gather up a few of their favorite fall leaves outside. Then have them trace the leaf on the construction paper before carefully cutting them out. Set them aside and create a trunk made of construction paper. Then glue the trees on top of the trunk and have them sign their name!
Our Akron occupational therapists love this activity because it can be adjusted based on your child’s skill level. They can cut out printed or pre-drawn leaves or just do free-form cutting. Depending on how into it you are, you can even make a giant tree for decoration on their bedroom door or wall. Smaller master pieces will find a great home on the fridge. When they’re finished, make sure to tell them how proud of them you are!
This one helps your child practice pre-writing lines and visual motor skills. Just grab a bunch of fall leaves (or acorns, seeds, and other small seasonal stuff). Have them draw one pre-writing line or shape on a piece of paper. Then have them trace that line with a glue stick and then tack on the tiny leaves, seeds, etc. This is great practice for hand-eye coordination too! Any leftover leaves, you can use for an autumn leaves crayon-rubbing craft.
This is a fun game that you and your child can do together, maybe with some fun, fall-themed music in the background. It helps with core strength, balance, and gross motor coordination. Just grab a couple bean bags, mini pumpkin, and a jump rope (or other long, thin string). Simply walking along the “balance beam” (rope) without stepping off can be good for posture and core strength. Add to the fun of it by putting on some fall-themed tunes. If they master that, have them do it carrying a small pumpkin If they pass that one, have them do it with a beanbag on their head. If they can do that too, have them try it while balancing the little pumpkin on their head!
Fall Sensory Bin Scavenger Hunt
Spend some time exploring in nature and make it fun with a scavenger hunt. There are tons of fall scavenger hunt printouts you can find online, but a few ideas of things to look for:
- Smooth, shiny leaves.
- Red leaves.
- Crunchy leaves.
- Smooth rocks.
- Jagged-edge rocks.
- Bumpy pinecones.
- Bendy twigs.
When you fill your bucket, have a seat and stop to feel all the textures. Draw or trace the objects or turn them into art on a piece of construction paper or cardboard.
Making Apple Sauce
This one is great for executive function, following directions, fine and gross motor skills, proprioceptive input, and upper body strength. Plus it’s just a lot of hands-on, memory-making fun!
If you can start, take your kids apple-picking! Then find your favorite easy apple sauce recipe, and have your kid help step-by-step. (Applesauce stays fresh in the fridge for a week or so and freezes really well too!) Make sure to talk your child through every step of the process, especially if they also struggle with speech-language delays or disorders.
If you’re looking for more ideas on fall-themed OT activities for kids, our Brecksville occupational therapists are happy to help!
Therapy & Wellness Connection – your connection to a life without limitations – is a pediatric therapy center providing occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy and ABA therapy to children with special needs in Northeast Ohio. We also offer summer camp, day programs, education services, vocational counseling and more. Call us at (330) 748-4807 or send us an email. Serving Brecksville, Akron, Cleveland and surrounding communities in Northeast Ohio.
More Blog Entries:
Does My Child Need Occupational Therapy? Sept. 15, 2021, Brecksville Occupational Therapy Blog
Summer vacation travel plans have no doubt been stifled by coronavirus concerns. For the first time in two decades, AAA didn’t issue a Memorial Day travel forecast. And while it’s expected a record low will be vacationing this summer than in years past, our occupational therapy team knows some families are still planning trips to get away, yet still incorporate social distancing.
Fewer flights are being booked as some families are opting instead to travel by car. Some excursions may include road trips to lake houses, beaches or mountain cabins, RV adventures and camping. For those with little ones, particularly those with special needs, it will be important to come prepared. (Of course, that’s true whether we’re in the midst of a pandemic or not.)
But our Cleveland occupational therapy team has some tips to help everyone keep their cool – and have a great time!
Children of all abilities all over the globe aren’t getting enough exercise. The problem is even greater for children with special needs, who by some research estimates get just 17 minutes of physical activity in school – a day. As Akron pediatric occupational therapy professionals, this is problematic not only from a position of physical health but also of cognitive development and academic success.
Brain Benefits of Physical Activity
It’s our goal during sessions to get kids moving as much as we can, but parents who want to see their children thrive cannot overlook this component. One study published in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sports & Exercise found that moderate-to-vigorous physical activity is directly associated with better reading fluency and arithmetic skills.
As reported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Physical activity can have an impact on cognitive skills and attitudes and academic behavior, all of which are important components of improved academic performance. These include enhanced concentration and attention as well as improved classroom behavior.”