Occupational therapy is a profession that helps people of all ages with a wide variety of skills.
While an adult’s occupation may be “accountant” or “machinist”, a child’s primary occupations are to play and learn.
Play includes gross motor skills, like skipping and riding a bike, and fine motor skills like drawing and playing with small objects like beads and blocks.
Play also includes skills that allow kids to play with other kids – things like knowing how to join in a game by following rules and taking turns, or how to have a successful conversation by saying the right kinds of things at the right times.
Playing and learning are intertwined – children learn through play and as they get older, the challenge becomes to teach them to love learning more complex skills like they love playing.
Our team of occupational therapists have a wide range of skills and strategies to help children of all ages and abilities succeed with their occupations of playing and learning.
One of the games we love playing with kids from preschool age to teenagers is “Angry Birds”. In this game, we have scooter boards with special sling shots attached. We use sponge tennis balls as “bullets” and we use our big strong arms to glide our “boats” down the “rivers” (hallways) before we set up opposite each other to fire our shots! We start with 4 bullets each and we quickly learn that we need to co-operate and take turns so that we each have enough bullets to keep shooting. Our boats only have 4 bullet holders, so having 8 bullets at our end of the hallway doesn’t help us. It’s much better to send 4 bullets down to our friend, so they can load up their bullet holders, too and our game can continue!
We hope you can tell that we’re killing many birds with one stone when we play the Angry Birds game (see what we did there – LOL!) We’re working on arm strength, gross motor and fine motor skills, conversation skills, turn taking, and spatial planning, all while having fun!