Children learn best through play, and if it’s outdoor play, even better! I recommend going to your nearest playground at least once a week. With Covid-19, things are a little different now, but it’s still doable with some adjustments. Maybe go to the playground during times when you know it’s a little more empty than usual and pack some wipes and hand sanitizer!
Benefits to outdoor play include but are not limited to:
- Increases in your child’s socialization and play skills
- Builds relationships
- Promotes gross motor coordination
- Increases turn taking skills and sharing
- Releases any anxiety or stress
- Lowers body mass index
- Improves muscle strength and balance
- Stimulates their senses
- Promotes safety awareness
- Promotes communication skills
- And much, much more!
Ways to promote interactions:
- Strike up a conversation between other kids
Promote interaction between your child with their sibling OR other children by guiding them near each other by the hand and striking up a conversation. Little by little you’ll see small efforts of interaction.
- Start a game between you (the parent/caregiver) and your child
Start a game of tag or an obstacle course game with set rules. This is perfect for practicing turn taking.
- Gather in a circle and begin with an ice-breaker.
Gather in a circle and start with an introduction. Name something you like to do for fun and go around the circle one by one, having other people or kids do the same.
- Give positive reinforcement whenever someone follows the rules.
Positive reinforcement is SO important when interacting with children and groups. “Good job!”, “Way to go!” are just some examples you can use throughout the activity.
- Exchange contact information between parents/caregivers for future play dates.
Most importantly, HAVE FUN while playing safely! Always be cautious of your surroundings and any potential dangers while playing outdoors.
At Always Keep progressing, we love to incorporate gross motor activities and socialization between children as much as possible. We feel that children are most motivated when using their gross motor skills and interacting with other children around the same age groups, so we design small social skills groups and circle time throughout the day at our clinic. Our fully equipped sensory gym is great for practicing different types of skills and improving various areas of difficulty with our occupational therapists, speech therapists, and music therapists.