Parents have been asking me the same question over the past 2 weeks…Where do I sign up my child for the summer? What is the best camp or activity to involve them in? So I figured I would post my favorite Summer activities for children along with benefits of these activities to help you pick the best activity for your child.
You may want to sign up your children in a camp specializing in these activities or find classes in your community where children can try more than one of the following. I also recommend these throughout the year. I like when children can be involved in activities as part of their natural routine (when possible) rather than through conventional therapy.
My Top 5 Activities for Children:
I love recommending swimming for all its benefits. The water is a calming to the body. It is great for children that need to work on core strength and bilateral coordination. Furthermore, the buoyancy of the water and its resistance provides a non- weight bearing medium to strengthen without hurting joints.
Living in Miami, many of my families have a pool. I recommend it as part of a weekly routine especially for children that need calming! (make sure you give them an activity to do not just splash around)
There are swim camps in our area. You can choose between formal swimming lessons to work on core and coordination or recreational swimming so kids can have fun in the water (my favorite 😉
This is one activity that I highly recommend for children that require more body awareness, coordination, strength, flexibility and balance. I find that boys and girls really enjoy gymnastics. I believe the teacher is key. I like working with a local gymnastics teacher that works with children with special needs at a regular studio. The combination of one-on-one classes and group class is best!
3. Team Sports:
My favorite thing about team sports is the social interaction and camaraderie that children get to experience. Many times I have to work on specific skills with children in my OT sessions so that they can then get involved in a specific team sport. (Talk to your OT about the sport you would like for your child so that you can build skills for improved participation). I like team sports for the obvious gross motor skills that children will work on. But as part of a team, I also like that children have to pay attention to other kids’ body language and that they build s sense of teamwork.
4. Arts & Crafts:
This is a great way to work on fine motor skills as well as express creativity with no right or wrong! This is wonderful for self-esteem (: Through crafts children strengthen little muscles of the hand that help improve dexterity and fine motor skills.
5. Martial Arts:
I like to recommend martial arts for children that need to improve attention, body awareness, balance, coordination and graded motor control. This activity works on gross motor skills but in a more disciplined/organized way. This requires children to pay attention and pay attention to their body movements and positions. This is great for children that do things too fast, need to slow down their motor output or need to learn to pay attention.