5 “OT Approved” Summer Activities for Kids

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5 “OT Approved” Summer Activities for Kids

June 30, 2021
posted by Amirra Condelee


It’s officially that time - sunny days, blue skies, trips to the beach, and family cookouts. That’s right, it’s summertime! Although many kiddos have been home all year, they’re likely on summer break which means you’re probably looking for ways to keep your little one(s) entertained this summer. Whether you’re looking for something to do indoors or outdoors, with one or many, this list of OT approved Summer Activities is sure to bring fun for the whole family!


1. The Car Wash Station

Do you remember being enchanted by the car wash as a child? I surely do. This activity allows your child to create their own car wash fun! You’ll need the following items: two large bowls, water, soap, food coloring, dish towels, sponges, and toy cars that can get wet.

First, have your little one take their toy cars outside and make them all “dirty”. Next, set up your car wash station with one bowl of plain water and another bowl with food coloring and soap to create a bubble mixture. Have the kiddo go through each step to scrub, rinse, and dry their cars. This activity works on sequencing, cognition and play skills, communication and language development, and even incorporates some tactile input.


2. Colorful Cubes

This one is perfect for playing outside on those warmer days. You’ll need the following items: ice cube tray, water, food coloring, small cups, and a small medicine dropper (optional).

First, you’ll need to freeze some ice cubes overnight; nothing too complicated here except you’re going to add some food coloring to make the ice colorful. Once the colorful cubes are ready, it’s time for the fun part! Have the kiddo(s) race to melt the ice cubes by pouring warm water from a cup or using the medicine dropper to drop warm water on the cubes. For even more fun, freeze the ice cubes and add small toys to be “discovered” as the ice melts away. This activity works on cognition and play skills, communication and language development, hand strength, hand eye coordination, and incorporates tactile input.


3. Squeeze 'N Squirt

This is another one perfect for playing outside on hot summer days. You’ll need the following items: a squirt bottle and water, that’s it!

First, let your child help you fill up the squirt bottle. Then, simply go outside and have a blast. Kids can squirt various items outside (tree, flowers, wheels of car, windows, etc). This is a fantastic way to work on language skills. You can talk about the items your little one is squirting or work on following simple directions like “can you squirt the tree?” This activity works on communication and language development, hand strength, and hand eye coordination.


4. Bean Bag Toss

There’s nothing like a classic game of bean bag toss - but the real fun here is you’ll be making your own bean bags! You’ll need the following items: Ziploc bags, socks, filling such as dried rice or beans, and tape.

First, have little ones help you fill small Ziploc bags with a filling of your choice using either their hands or a spoon/scooper. Next, seal the bags tightly, wrap the bag into a ball, and secure with tape. Then, put the sealed bag into the sock and tie the end of it so the Ziploc bag does not fall out. Now you have your bean bags! Set up a toss using anything you have as a goal (large bowl, hula hoop ring, tupperware container, or of course, the Radio Flyer little red wagon!). This activity works on hand strength, hand eye coordination, upper body strength, and balance.


5. Summer Themed Obstacle Course

Of course, the list wouldn’t be complete without the never-ending fun of an obstacle course - but we’re making it summer themed! You’ll need the following items: couch cushions or pillows, large ball, toilet paper or towel rolls, gallon water jugs or two-liter jugs, laundry basket, diaper box.


This activity is open-ended in that you can set it up anyway you’d like. You can crawl, jump, or hop over couch cushions or pillows, push a heavy diaper box or laundry basket, stack toilet paper or paper towel rolls into a tower, and carry water jugs. Incorporate summer themed elements like pretending to build sandcastles or play in the ocean. This activity works on motor planning, upper and lower body strength, and balance.

These OT approved activities only require everyday household materials . That’s the beauty of occupational therapy – we’re able to take a basic item and turn it into a fun activity that works on developmental skills like fine and gross motor development, cognition, play skills, communication and language, and much more. These skills are all needed for your child to successfully participate in daily routines and activities as they grow, expand their play skills, and learn more about the world around them. Happy summer, and happy playing!