All this spring time rain means there is plenty of mud. Throw some old clothes on your kiddo and yourself, and play in the mud! Not only is this a great sensory activity, but it can provide some great fine motor
opportunities as well. Provide your child with sticks, rocks, shovels, hand rakes, plastic bowls and anything else you can think of. I encourage you to say only “let’s play in the mud!” Avoid the urge to show your child things they can do with the mud. Allow them the freedom to create their own ideas. They may choose to scoop, stir with a stick, hide rocks, make you a mud pie or something we adults would never even think of. The thickness of mud will require your child to use many finger, hand and arm muscles, providing many opportunities to
strengthen their fine motor skills. If the idea of playing in the mud is hard for you, I challenge you to take a deep breath and remind yourself that it can all be washed away. You may surprise yourself. You may find the messier your or your child gets, the more fun you have.
~Sarah Eller, occupational therapist
To conclude our discussion on what to look for when searching for preschools, I would highly encourage looking for a preschool that encourages outdoor play. We often assume learning occurs inside the classroom, but it’s been my experience that so much learning occurs in the most natural environment – outside. By being outside playing, children can develop social skills, problem solving skills, and cooperative play. Look for structures outside that are appropriate for your child’s size (smaller steps, railings, ramps, etc.). Look for an open space so that children can move (run, play chase, dance, ride tricycles, push wagons), look for space for children to explore (dig, collect). For me, the outdoor space is just as important as the indoor space. This has been a great topic all initiated because of a parent question.
Keep those questions coming!
~Marena Mitchell, Speech-Language Pathologist
Daily tips, activities, and suggestions on how to naturally embed speech, language, play, fine motor, gross motor, and cognitive skills into your child's day, often using the materials already found in your home environment.
Marena Mitchell is a speech-language pathologist