Building Better Depth Perception & Motor Skills Through Play

Planning play-based therapy is a true joy because it allows us to have fun and be experimental in how we come up with ways to strengthen multiple skills, from the physical to the mental to the emotional. A simple game can quickly turn into an opportunity to hone gross motor skills, strengthen the upper body, encourage social cooperation, and improve ocular motor input. Best of all, everyone’s having fun at the same time!

 

One of our particular favorite games is a relay race that involves pushing a therapy ball under a rope with our noses while crawling. It’s incredibly fun and a great opportunity to get lots of giggles out, but more than that, it’s excellent for improving a wide range of skills. The campers think it’s all just a game, but in reality, they’re learning to motor plan using proprioception and vestibular input, which means it’s helping them recognize the orientation of their body and how it moves. This is especially beneficial to children with sensory processing disorders who may have difficulty effectively moving through their environment. Improving this skill helps support a long list of other skills, including balance, spatial awareness, auditory-language perception, and feelings of security.

 

Ocular motor input, or the ability to effectively track objects with the eyes and focus, also sees a nice big boost with this activity. By tracking and judging the distance of the ball during the race, participants can strengthen their ability to do so in other areas of life. Crawling on hands and knees to push the ball allows children to learn how to bear their weight on their hands and shoulders, which builds upper body extremity strength and further improves coordination.

 

This is an activity we like to do to help with gross motor skills before we move into a fine motor skill activity like writing. Every activity we plan is designed for both maximum fun and maximum benefit, whether those benefits are social or physical. We take all of our campers’ needs into account when planning our activities and work hard to create a safe, fulfilling space that encourages therapeutic play. We work with children of varying ages, children with disabilities, and children who could otherwise benefit from sensory, balance, auditory, or visual therapy.

 

Please reach out to us anytime to learn more about our programs and activities, as well as what we recommend for your child. Each client is unique, and we assess everyone on an individual basis to come up with an effective program that enriches their time here.

Vanessa Van Cleave