Show Love Using Therapy Skills
This year we may be celebrating Valentine’s Day differently. There will not be class parties or seeing loved ones, but we can still show others love! Check out a few ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day while incorporating therapy activities. Your kids will have a blast and not realize that they are practicing their skills.
Mail homemade cards
- Target skills: Cutting, writing, gluing, fine motor skills, direction following.
- Following directions: Give verbal instructions (i.e. first get the scissors and cut out a heart, then glue the heart on the paper, etc.) and encourage accurate direction following.
- Let your child be creative with making their cards.
- Cutting: Have them cut out hearts or other shapes.
- Gluing: Have them use glue to put the shapes on the card.
- Drawing: Have them draw hearts or other shapes. If your child needs help, they can trace a heart that you make. They can also try to copy shapes that you draw.
- Writing: Have them practice their handwriting skills by writing a message. You can draw lines on the paper to help them keep a straight line. Depending on their level, they can trace letters that you make or they can copy a message that you write on another piece of paper.
- Stickers: Adding stickers to the card also challenges a child’s ability to use their fingers to remove the sticker and then place it on the card.
- Tactile input: Try using different items to provide tactile sensory input, such as puffy paint, glitter, pom poms or cotton balls, pipe cleaners, etc.
Take your child on a date
- Target skills: Gross motor skills, endurance, balance, strength, spatial awareness, speech and language skills.
- Go for a hike or a walk: Play I-Spy while walking. This encourages children to be aware of their surroundings. This also encourages children to practice speech sounds and conversation skills.
- Go to their favorite playground.
- Date at home:
- Cook a special meal or bake cookies. Your child can practice following directions and learn about measurements. They can also practice stirring and mixing to increase their strength.
- Describe some of the ingredients for the recipe. Have your child use words to describe the ingredients by color, texture, size, and taste. Talk about some of these concepts (i.e. talk about other things that feel soft or squishy, that taste sweet or bitter, or other things that are red, for example.)
- Go on a scavenger hunt. Hide valentines around the house for your children to find. You can also make a small obstacle course with jumping between wash cloths, doing animal walks, and walking or crawling across pillows to make it more fun and challenging.
Play with their candy
- Target skills: Fine motor, pattern recognition, spatial awareness, speech and language skills
- Make patterns: You can make a pattern and your child can copy the pattern with their candy.
- Describe the candy: Talk about what it looks like, how it smells, and how it tastes.
- Matching: Have your child pair up the same candy or categorize the candy based on color, size, or other characteristics.
- Verbal requesting: Encourage the child to use words, signs, or activate buttons on their AAC device to request a preferred piece of candy.