Did you know that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that children and adolescents get a minimum of 60 minutes of physical activity per day?
Of course, you already know the best way to get children active. We’re not talking about letting them eat a plateful of Christmas cookies. The best way to get kids moving is by giving them things to play with! Play is a natural way to exercise, and your occupational therapist often uses play as a motivating way to get kids moving. Of course, every child is different and has individual needs. Here are a few holiday gift ideas from Connections Therapy; be sure to talk to your occupational therapist about which toys will suit your child best!
There are two main types of toys that can help improve a child’s movement: proprioceptive toys and vestibular toys. Toys that help with proprioception will encourage children to be more aware of their own bodies and promote better coordination. Be sure to get a prescription for any of these toys from your child’s occupational therapist, especially if your child has diagnosed sensory concerns. Therapy toys, while useful, will all impact children in different ways. Since your child’s occupational therapist knows your child’s needs and has worked with your child, they can help you to find holiday gifts that work best towards helping your child reach their therapy goals! Here are a few toys to discuss with your occupational therapist:
- Velcro glove and ball set: Does your child become frustrated when playing catch? A velcro glove and ball set makes catching the ball easier, so your child can focus on the movement of catching rather than repeatedly having to pick up a dropped ball.
- Monster Clompers: This fun toy consists of foam pads shaped like dinosaur feet with ropes attached for children to hold. Kids can make dinosaur footprints in the sand or dirt while also improving their coordination and balance.
- Stomp Rocket: The Stomp Rocket is simple: you stomp on a pad to send a rocket flying into the air! This fun toy helps kids to coordinate their weight for a forceful stomp.
Vestibular toys are toys that help to promote a better balance and sense of gravity. Here are a few fun vestibular toys to talk to your occupational therapist about:
- Balance board: The great thing about a balance board is that it’s not only a wonderful toy for helping your children improve their balancing skills, but you can also make one yourself! Check out this blog post for some easy instructions for a DIY balance board.
- Sit n Spin: A Sit n Spin is a classic toy that’s great for helping children to become more familiar with their center of gravity.
- Twister: This game is fun for the whole family! Not only will kids get to practice their balance with difficult poses, but they’ll get to challenge other family members as well.
The Connections Therapy Center
The Connections Therapy Center serves families of children and adolescents with disabilities and special needs. We are a team of experts in the fields of pediatric speech, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, and behavioral sciences. As a team, we offer intensive hands-on therapy for children and adolescents, as well as informative and useful resources for families. If you are interested in learning more about what we can do to help your family, visit us online or give us a call at (202) 561-1110 (Washington, D.C. office) or (301) 577-4333 (Lanham office). Want to get more information on how to help your child thrive? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest.