10 Great Summertime Activities for Motor Skills

Occupational Therapist
August 18, 2021

Summertime is a great time to play and explore outdoors.  Many fun summertime activities are also great for facilitating gross motor development and fine motor development.

Here are our 10 favorite summer fun activities to stimulate motor skills:

1. Create your own sandbox. Set out a plastic swimming pool in the backyard and fill it with sand and some sand toys.  You can hide the toys in the sand and have a treasure hunt, add some water and make sandcastles, or use sticks to write in the sand. Don’t forget to keep the sand clean by covering it with a tarp when the kids are all finished playing.

2. Draw with chalk, paint with water. Bring out the sidewalk chalk and spray bottles full of water, or a bucket of water with paintbrushes, to the backyard or on the driveway. Have fun drawing and painting with water and chalk on the cement, a wooden fence, or other surfaces.

3. Turn ice into toys. Fill plastic bowls with water, add in a few plastic toys, and freeze in the freezer. Unmold your ice creations in a long plastic bin or aluminum BBQ pan to be set indoors or outdoors on a table. Using watercolor paint and brushes, “decorate” the ice. Shake salt on the ice and watch what happens.

4. Play with a beach ball. Bring an inflatable beach ball to the park or your back lawn. It’s great for kicking, catching, and throwing.  Bonus points for putting the inflatable ball in an inflatable pool filled with water.  The possibilities are endless!

5. Go on a scavenger hunt.  Hide small objects and look for them as you walk around at home or in your neighborhood.  If having picture icons of the items you are looking for is helpful for your child, print out a scavenger hunt sheet before you head off. 

6. Camp in your backyard. Gather a portable tent, picnic blankets, cushions, snacks, toys, music, and books and set up in the backyard for an afternoon of fun.

7. Make rock sculptures. First, hunt for rocks of all sizes and shapes, making sure they aren’t too big or heavy. Then, using paints, glue, and glitter, help your child create colorful rock formations.  Once dry, you can find places to put them in the garden or give them away to friends or family members.

8. Play simple backyard games.  Here are a few ideas to get you started:  

Run/Stop: When you say “run” everyone runs until you say “stop.”

Jump/Stomp: Roll playdough into small balls.  Then roll the balls into the yard.  Have your child hop over to the ball and stomp on it.

Bowling: Set up a bowling game using plastic containers and a ball.  Containers can be stacked or grouped.

9. Walk the line. Using sidewalk chalk for outside play or blue painter’s tape for inside play, create a curved or straight line on the ground.  Have your child try to walk on the line.  Can she go forward? Backward?  Sidestep? This activity can be combined with a simple obstacle course. 

10. Host a backyard car wash. Set up a big tub, some dish soap, and plenty of sponges. Your child can wash his toy cars and trucks, tricycles, bikes, or other larger vehicles. Maybe you can even get your child to wash your car!

Are you concerned about your child’s motor skill development? Contact us for more information about how we can support you and your child.

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