Summer Sensory-Motor Play

By Maddie Mello, OTD, OTR/L

When working on motor skills it can be effective to include multi-sensory activities to keep children engaged which promotes carryover of the practiced skill. In the summer, water and ice are great mediums to use! Below we’ve outlined some activities that range from fine motor to gross motor tasks, all involving water or ice. We’ve also included some safety tips for playing in the heat. Have fun!

Summer Activities

Play with Ice

Turn ice into a toy! Mix paint and water in ice cube trays to make a fun new coloring tool, hide mini toys in a block and have the kids hunt for them, or learn shapes by freezing water into different shaped containers

Play with water

Find ways to incorporate water play into the day. Mix up some soapy water and have your child pretend to “wash” some play toys and dishes, practice your visual motor skills by simply painting with water on a driveway or around the pool, or develop those small hand muscles by using spray bottles to wash away chalk creations.

Family Fun

These are some fun ideas to get the whole family involved in outdoor play. Play volleyball with a water balloon, make these fun sponge bursts to play dodge ball or catch, or set up a target and have kids practice their throwing skills with a water balloon or sponge burst!

Heat Safety

Keep an eye out for these symptoms as they may be a sign of heat exhaustion:

Stay Hydrated

Remember to stay hydrated regularly. Water is best but you can consider other options such as low-sugar sport drinks or these healthy and hydrating popsicles

Dress to Protect

Consider clothing that will keep your kids cool and protected. Some guidelines are

  • Light colored
  • Tight woven/loose fitting clothing
  • Brimmed hat
  • Sunglasses
  • SPF