The Wind is Howling and the Leaves are Blowing…
It’s time for fall! As the weather begins to get cooler it’s time to unpack those rakes and prepare for the arrival of the falling leaves. While many may dread the timely task of raking and piling leaves (only to have your sensory seeking child dive almost head first into the pile) this as a creative opportunity for some unrecognizable therapeutic activities for your child.
Raking leaves is a great way to build upper extremity and postural strength, as well as improving bilateral coordination and motor planning skills.
Labeling and/or identifying the colors of the leaves is a great way to incorporate expressive and receptive language into an exhausting activity. You can also work on cognitive skills by having your child categorize the leaves by size, color, and shape. This is also a great way to incorporate expressive/receptive languages skills.
You could even incorporate some gross motor skills by building up small piles and having your child practice jumping over or even onto the piles. Once the leaves are categorized into piles, have your child complete different movement tasks such as crab walk around, bear walk over, skip or gallop around the different piles of leaves.
If you prefer a more quiet activity, you could work on improving fine motor skills by stringing a few leaves together with yarn or string to make a festive holiday garland your child can hang up and show off to family and friends.
As the blustery fall season begins embrace the challenge of turning the dreaded task of raking leaves into your creative way of bringing therapy into your home!
Kristi Pilakowski, OTD, OTR/L