What to Play with your Child

Remember that young children require lots of physical activity. They learn best through doing; allow them to physically explore and experiment.

    1. Hand clapping games – sing a song (any song with a steady beat) while alternating between clapping once and doing a “double high five” with your child.


    1. Put a ball on a small blanket held up by the participants – the goal is to bounce/roll the ball without letting it fall of the blanket.


    1. Playdough


    1. Hang a large piece of paper on the wall and work together to create a picture.


    1. Ball games – roll, kick, and throw.


    1. Bake or cook together


    1. Make an obstacle course and take turns doing it (crawl under a table, climb on the sofa, walk or crawl over pillows, squeeze between the sofa and the wall).


    1. Hop scotch (for younger children you only need 2 or 3 squares)


    1. Play “store” taking turns who is the shopper and who is the buyer


    1. Play “school” taking turns being a teacher and student


    1. Play “doctor” using real band aides, take turns being the doctor and the patient


    1. Dance together taking turns “leading” and the others have to imitate the leader’s movements.


    1. Follow the leader (using different hand movements, walking, crawling, jumping, walking along line, walking backwards, walking sideways). Take turns being “the leader”.


    1. Simon says


    1. Animal walks – pretend to be a cat, elephant, crab, duck, frog; modify the way you move to imitate that animal.


    1. Make a “band” with pots, wooden spoons, bottles with beans inside, elastic bands stretched over a box. Play and sing together. Get the child to imitate a simple rhythm.


    1. Hide and go seek – take turns hiding and the other has to find you


    1. Chase game (“I’m coming to catch you”)


    1. Tug-of-war – use a kitchen towel instead of rope


    1. “three little monkeys jumping on the bed”


  1. “horse” – child rides on dad or mom’s back (or in a laundry basket or a cart) and tells parent where to go

Compiled by Sara Torten MS, OTR/L