If you’re a parent in Melbourne, lockdown can be a daily battle of trying to keep the kids entertained while curbing screen time and ensuring that they’re learning and developing critical skills. Suddenly you’re expected to be a teacher, a social companion and playmate, a source of mental stimulation AND a parent?!
The good news is, there are many fun, play-based activities that promote learning and communication skills (hello, multi-tasking). Our children’s occupational therapists are experts in using play to facilitate development and learning. They’ve put together these 5 tips for parents and carers.
1. Play with puzzles
Jigsaws and other puzzle-based games harness and promote skills including strategic thinking, planning and problem-solving and cooperation and turn-taking.
2. Play a game that requires participants to move
(like in this video) which can promote factors such as motor skills, coordination and spatial awareness.
3. Colour in a picture using small crayons
This encourages focus, care and precision to stay inside the lines.
4. Have children practise tying their shoes
This may be a standalone activity (consider some fun, coloured or glitter shoe laces to make it fun) or you may turn this into a game, such as incorporating it into an obstacle or adventure activity with a shoe-tying component. If so, make sure that children aren’t running or walking with untied shoes!
5. Play with finger puppets
This can be especially useful for promoting communication skills and encouraging creativity. Encourage children to carry out a dialogue and/or narrative with more than one puppet, either on their own (e.g. one on each hand) or by engaging with another person’s puppets.
If you need more ideas or aren’t sure which activities are helpful or appropriate for children at certain stages, our occupational therapists are happy to share what they know. Ask us in comments! 😊#keepsoaring