School takes up quite a big portion of the day and plays such a big part in the lives of children and their families. Sometimes, it can be difficult to fit in other activities and to encourage interaction with our surroundings outside of technology before and after school, however, engaging with our environment and taking time out to engage kids in different activities can assist with a child’s regulation, not to mention it can also further develop a wide range of gross and fine motor skills, sensory interaction and behavioural skills. Some tools and strategies can also be utilised to help assist with organizational skills and transition to and from school.
Listed below are some creative and simple ideas for activities and strategies for before and after school to assist with regulation, development of skills and organization:
- This can assist with routine and make transitions between tasks and steps easier
- Schedules can be written, visual, or a mixture of both
- It might include steps required for dressing sequence, packing our bag, morning routine, etc.
- Timetables outlining what is happening during the day or week can also assist those little ones who like knowing what is happening and what to expect after school or the following day!
Jumping and Crashing
- Jumping outside on a trampoline can be super regulating for little ones and allow them to get out wriggles – this could be useful for both before and after school
- Little trampolines in the house are also a fun way to get out wriggles and energy without needing to go outside – accompanied with a crash mat or large cushion/bean bag to jump on to is even more fun and can provide pressure input!
- Riding a bike is a really good way to work on gross motor skills and to interact with nature – it is a fun activity to do as a family as well!
- Even just sparing 10 or 15 minutes to go outside and ride around the street after school is a fun way to end the day
- If you are close to school you could even ride the bike home or to school in the mornings!
- Try getting to school 10 or 15 minutes early so your child can run around and play on the play equipment to get out energy before going into class for a morning of learning
- This may help them to concentrate and regulate more readily once inside and can also help with the transition into school without rushing around beforehand!
- The many activities and games possible on a playground can provide vestibular and proprioceptive input which some movement-seeking kids can really crave
- Try colouring dried rice and pasta and placing in a tub with items hidden within for your child to explore and locate
- Use kinetic sand, play dough, paint to work with a variety of different textures – this is a fun way to play in the morning in the lead up to school and also to wind down in the afternoon
Drawing and Colouring
- Drawing is so beneficial for a wide variety of skills and is an activity that does not require many resources!
- Sit down with your child and have a go at drawing different shapes and objects to work on pre-writing skills or to further develop fine motor, visual motor and creative skills!
- Having some time out to focus on what is happening in the given moment can be so calming and therapeutic
- Try doing this after an energy-packed day or as a way to prepare for the day ahead
- Playing “dead fish” can be a fun and motivating way to keep the body still whilst encouraging thinking about the “here and now”
- This can also be through meditation, colouring, yoga poses and activities and so much more – even sitting with your child and listening to breathing, music or guided meditation can be really beneficial and assist with calming the mind and body
For more information around these activities and for even more ideas to cater for your child’s specific needs, contact Building Blocks Therapy to schedule in an appointment!