LEARNING THROUGH PLAY
THE ACT OF PLAYINGis an important tool that infuence’s a child’s lie. The primary goals o childhood are to grow,learn, and play. It is oten through play that children learn to make sense o the world around them. It is a child’s “job” or“occupation” to play to develop physical coordination, emotional maturity, social skills to interact with other children,and sel-condence to try new experiences and explore new environments.Occupational therapy practitioners have expertise in evaluating children’s neurological, muscular, and emotional devel-opment; and determining the eects o inant and childhood illness on growth and development.
What CanParents and Families Do?
Help adapt toys or modiy the environment to provideoptimal sensory input without overwhelming the child.
What Can anOccupational Therapy Practitioner Do?
play by using balls, sand and water toys, slides, swings, fnger paints, and magnets. During sensoryplay, children use their senses to incorporate smell, touch, sound,vision, and movement.
For Living LifeTo Its Fullest
Recommend toys and play activities that provide the“just right” challenge or the child, so he or she learns whilehaving un. The occupational therapy practitioner can alsorecommend ways to build on the child’s strengthsand abilities.Encourage
such as using play dough,LEGOs, and board games. Toys such as puzzles, pegboards,beads, and lacing cards help improve the child’s eye–handcoordination and dexterity.
toys that are appropriate to the child’s age and/or maturity level. They do not have to be expensive or complicatedto be benefcial. Common objects, such as pots and pans, emptyboxes, spools o thread, shoelaces, and wooden spoons arereadily accessible and encourage children to usetheir imagination.
when choosing a toy to consider whether a childmust be supervised while playing with it. Toys should not havesmall parts that break easily or can be swallowed.Promote
with things like dollsand stued animals, toy urniture, puppets, and telephones.Pretend play encourages creativity and role playing and providesan opportunity to rehearse social skills.Oer play opportunities that encourage turn taking andproblem solving. Consider amily routines and prioritieswhen recommending play strategies. Observe, identiy, anddevelop play strategies that promote a healthy liestyle andrelationships.Suggest toys that will help the child develop particular skills,while having un. Recommend ways or amily members tobe more involved in the child’s play. Suggest toys and playactivities or children o all abilities and ages. Collaboratewith educators and caregivers to enhance playtime at home,during recess at school, and during community outings.Help determine what toys will be sae, developmentallyappropriate, and un or a particular child, based on anevaluation and in consideration o the child’s and amily’sneeds and goals.