• Coastal Therapy

Summer FUN ideas by OT's (Part 1: Outside Play)

Summertime is all about having fun! A couple of Coastal Therapy's own OT's, who happen to be experts in all things therapy and fun, want to share a few therapeutic activities that you and your children can do together during the summer months. These will help your child maintain progress over the summer holiday! It is so important that children are playing and having fun while working on tasks that might be a bit challenging for them. Most games and everyday activities can be turned into a "therapy activity" for your child. They can always be modified if they seem too difficult. Our next post will be all about indoor summer activities -- so stay tuned. We hope you and your children have a fun summer while maintaining progress!

Outside Therapy Play Activities

1. Ice Cube Painting:

Melty and Messy and so much fun!

This is such a fun activity for children to participate in and they don't even realize that they are working on their fine motor and visual motor skills. To make ice paints, fill an ice cube tray with water and drop your choice of food coloring in. Place a craft stick into each cube, then place into the freezer, until frozen. Your child can have endless entertainment painting with ice cubes!

2. Bike Wash/Car Wash:

Have your child use large sponges to clean their bike and squeeze the water hose to rinse it. During this activity, your child is participating in tactile exploration with the water and soap, upper extremity/core strengthening to squeeze out the sponges, bend and reach the "high spots", and while squeezing the hose nozzle, as well as crossing mid-line while scrubbing.

3. Play Hopscotch:

You can also toss bean bags into each square and see who can get the most points.

Your child can use side walk chalk to draw the "hopscotch" pattern and number each square, then practice jumping through it. This activity can help improve fine motor and grasping skills while using chalk, visual motor skills to draw the hopscotch board and numbers, coordination for jumping through the path, and eye-hand coordination if tossing bean bags.

4. Explore at the Beach:

Challenge your child to use his or her visual skills to search for sea shells of different sizes, shapes and colors.

The beach provides endless opportunities for OT related activities! Your child can dig in the sand, use shovels to scoop sand into a bucket, build drip sandcastles, search for treasures, draw in the sand... the list could go on and on! While at the beach, your child is exploring with their senses, especially the tactile system! Walking through sand is more challenging than walking on a hard, typical surface so that requires more effort. Building sand castles can improve upper extremity strength. Improve pre-writing skills by drawing shapes or letters in the sand with their finger or a stick.

5. Go to the Playground:

Sunshine Park in Jacksonville Beach

At the playground, your child can swing, climb, slide, and be creative, sparking his or her imagination. Swinging provides vestibular input that can be organizing for some children. Climbing on playground equipment requires planning and executing skills, also known as Motor Planning. Children can hang from monkey bars to improve their upper extremity and core strength.


Coastal Connection blog post contributor, MOT, OTR/L

Kellie is the director of Occupational and Physical Therapy and has been with Coastal Pediatric Therapy Center since 2009! Kellie graduated with a Masters of Occupational Therapy from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. She has evaluated and treated children with a variety of diagnoses including Autism Spectrum Disorder, brain injuries, Cerebral Palsy, stroke, fine motor delays and feeding difficulties. She is trained in Beckman Oral Motor and Sensory Integration. Her professional education includes courses such as Picky Eaters vs. Problem Feeders, Sensory Integration and Self-Regulation in the Infant and Young Child, Autism and the Military Child, along with many others.

Kellie strives to provide a fun learning environment, where children can happily engage in challenging activities to increase their confidence in their abilities. She helps children with a variety of fine motor, visual motor, sensory processing, feeding, and motor coordination needs in order for them to achieve success and independence across all environments. Kellie enjoys beach life with her husband, young daughter, and dog Duke. She likes coffee, jogging to the beach, and spending as much time as possible by the pool.

Coastal Connection blog post contributor, Jenna Mareth MOT, OTR/L

Jenna joined the Coastal team in 2016 after moving to Jacksonville. She attended the University of Georgia where she earned her undergraduate degree in Exercise and Sports Science. She then went on to obtain her Masters degree in Occupational Therapy from Brenau University in Gainesville, GA. Jenna then moved to Texas to complete her fieldwork experiences. She continued to gain experience while working at a nursing and rehab center as well as a pediatric outpatient clinic. Once moving to Jacksonville, Jenna knew her heart was truly in pediatrics and decided to pursue this dream full time.

Jenna has experience with a variety of diagnoses including: global developmental delays, Down’s Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, sensory processing, Autistic Spectrum Disorders and failure to thrive. She has clinical experience with the Astronaut program, Therapeutic Listening, sensory integration and self regulation, as well as the Alert Program and she particularly enjoys fine motor development. Jenna also has professional training with Handwriting without Tears Pre-k Readiness and Writing as well as K-5th Handwriting, and Brainworks Approach to Effective Sensory Diets.

Jenna has had a passion for pediatric therapy for most of her life and dreamed about becoming an OT from a young age. She enjoys being able to have the chance to impact a child’s life at such an important time in their development and help them reach their goals. Personally, Jenna enjoys spending time with her husband and two dogs as well as exploring new places around Jacksonville.