Sometimes the same old Valentine’s Day activities that seem boring to you in your therapy practice just need a little jazzing up to make them new and exciting for the kids you treat (or your own children at home!).
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So, I have a hidden talent. Give me a holiday (or any reason for celebration) and I can create a super simple activity from super simple materials that will magically target several skills at one time. As a pediatric physical therapist, it’s a great talent to have! :)
Today, I present you with Hearts and Arrows. An inexpensive, very crafty and super sparkly idea to add to your Valentine’s Day activities for fine motor skill development – it can also be a great motivational tool for building gross motor skills.
What You’ll Need:
–Cardstock or cardboard to cut triangles for arrow heads
–Crepe paper, yarn, or any other fun embellishments you have on hand
-Hearts! Cut them from construction paper or, go the easy route like I did and buy foam cutouts.
What to do:
I think this activity is best with a little “free play creativity”! Set up your workspace with everything the kids will need to make and decorate beautiful arrows, using the clothespins as the base.
See what they can come up with! When they finish, let the glue dry and then…get ready to move! You may want to practice pinching those clothespin arrows open and closed a few times so their little super fingers get the hang of how it works.
Here are some Valentine’s Day activities to try with your hearts and arrows:
1 || Place hearts around the room, high and low. Have the children find them and clip one arrow on each one! Increase lower body strengthening by requiring a little climbing or squatting to get to them.
2 || Grab those super fun scooters and make it a relay race! Give each child an even number of arrows and see who can place them, one by one, on their heart at the other end of the room first!
3 || Place hearts at the top of the stairs and arrows at the bottom. Here are some tips for teaching stair climbing.
4 || Use an obstacle course and encourage kids to climb over and under, jump forward, walk across a balance beam, and more to deliver an arrow to a heart!
Speaking of balance beam, get that arrow to a heart without falling off. If you step off, you lose your arrow and have to start again!
5 || Use the arrows as a reward! Complete 10 seconds of single leg stance and earn an arrow to clip to a heart.
6 || Play our Jumping Hearts Game to move each arrow to its heart.
7 || Do you work with a child who has difficulty transitioning to and from therapy or between activities? Have an arrow for each activity that needs to be completed in a session. As an activity is completed, an arrow can be clipped to a heart. When all arrows are gone, session is over! Back to class you go!
I hope this has inspired you to inject some Valentine fun into your therapy sessions this month. If you come up with a different way to play, please share it with us in the comments below!