Summertime Family Fun
Summertime Family Fun
We have all heard the saying, “a family that plays together, stays together” and there is no better time than now to promote family “togetherness”. There is no doubt that children need structure and routine, but we might forget that they also need time to play and to let their spirits soar! With spring in full swing, and summer just around the corner, getting your child outside and active is an excellent way to create new and exciting opportunities for family fun. Playing together form s lasting memories for children, encourages communication within the family, provides a sense of togetherness and is a key factor in promoting a healthy self-image and increased self-esteem. Yet, families may struggle to find time to play together and members can be easily distracted by technology, stress from work, and daily chores, that they forget that summer begs us to enjoy her lazy hazy days – together! This summer, turn off the TV, put your phone away, and get outside to play! Here are a few ideas for a summertime of family fun:
Water has the unique ability to make anyone feel silly. Its inviting temperature cools our bodies and water play sparks our imaginations. Whether we run through a sprinkler, have a water balloon toss, or set pirate ships afloat, water invokes the sounds of laughter and there is no better time than a warm summer afternoon, to enjoy its special qualities:
All types of water play are great sensory experiences for children of all abilities. If you do not have access to a pool or lake, families can fill any large container with water to use for cool-down games. One of our favorite games to play in the summer is called “splish-splish-SPLASH”. This game is played with the same rules as “duck-duck-goose”, but instead of saying “goose” to choose the next person, you dump a small cup of water on their head!
Swimming has always been a memorable activity for children and can be especially therapeutic for children with physical disabilities. In water, children develop muscle strength, physical endurance, increased flexibility and self-control and for a child with a physical disability, water may be the only place where he/she can feel confident and purposeful with his/her movements. Bring water balls, floats and other water toys to enjoy swimming together and promote a sense of togetherness. Encouraging your child to swim is a great way to express praise for his/her great achievements and can lead to an afternoon of laughter and fun.
Playing with Orbeez water beads can also be a great way for your family to cool down this summer. Simply fill a small pool or large bin with these slippery beads and enjoy a sensory experience!
Camping outdoors provides ample opportunities for family fun. We get to experience nature together, go hiking, tell ghost stories and roast marshmallows by the fire. The processes involved in setting up camp, making a fire or cooking food all involve executive functioning, cooperation and communication. What a great way for your family to work as a team! Camping gives your whole family the chance to experience all the sounds, sights, smells and texture of the great outdoors. Don’t have access to a campground? Create your own! Whether in your living room, on your deck, or in your own backyard, families can experience the joys of camping with a few blankets, flashlights and great imaginations. Sing campfire songs or create your own campfire stories with each family member adding a consecutive sentence or two, to create your family’s own version of campfire memories.
(Continued on page 2)