My therapy bag is like a treasure chest for my kids at home. They are SO excited when they see it in the trunk of the car and they rip through it like it’s the best looking gift under the Christmas tree every time I bring it home from work. One of the staple toys in that bag is my set of Stepping Stones. This simple toy is perfect for tackling all kinds of developmental skills – teaching balance and coordination while providing sensory feedback in the form of proprioceptive and auditory stimulation (they are filled with air and make a great little gushing noise when you step on them). I thought this awesome toy fit right in with our Garden theme – what garden would be complete without a few stepping stones, right?
WHAT YOU NEED: Abilitations Numbered Stepping Stones Walk-On Domes, flowers/leaves/sticks/stones/beanbags (any objects you might find in a garden)
WHAT TO DO: The Stepping Stones come in a set of 6 — I use two sets together in therapy –and can be used in a million ways to create all kinds of great gross motor activities. For this one, space them out to create a path that your child can walk on through their very own “garden”. If your child is smaller, be sure to put them closer together to make it easier to get from stone to stone. Place your garden objects randomly on the ground along this path. As your child steps from one stone to another, ask her to pick you a bouquet of pretty garden flowers or a bunch of sticks to light a fire to cook some s’mores…whatever imaginative play you can come up with. The challenge for the child is to stay on those stepping stones as she walks and as squats down to pick up the objects.. When I do this in therapy sessions, I tell the kids to pretend that there is a river that they are trying to cross. If they fall off, their feet will get all wet! Every child LOVES this challenge!
HOW TO CHANGE IT UP:
-Walk without shoes to make this a bit easier — greater proprioceptive input! :)
-If walking across the path is too difficult for your child, have the child try standing on two stones — one foot on each. Just balancing here may be difficult enough to start! When that gets easier, try playing catch with him while he’s balancing on his two stones!
-Space the stones even farther apart for a greater challenge or put them in a curvy line instead of straight.
-Place objects between the stones that your child would have to step over before getting to the next stone for an added dose of motor planning, balance, and coordination practice.
-These stones are numbered so mix up the numbers and ask your child to hand you 5 flowers or 3 sticks…whatever corresponds to the numbered stone they are standing on.
-Need some friendly competition and have a few kiddos around? Have each child try to stand on one foot on a stone. Who can do this the longest without falling off?
SKILL AREAS ADDRESSED: Sensory integration, balance, coordination, proprioception, motor planning, gross motor skills, cognitive skills
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