The Beach Bum’s Guide to Therapy

by Julie on May 31, 2011

I love Central Florida.  I love the people, the palm trees and the heat.  But I have to admit, when the summer truly cranks up and the sidewalks sizzle, I must escape to the beach.  Personally, I am a huge fan of the beach chair, umbrella and good book (read nap) approach to beach going.  Someday, when my children are old enough to be sufficiently humiliated, I will don a gaudy beach hat and wildly colorful caftan and siesta at will.  Unfortunately, much to my chagrin, after a long year of school, after-school activities, and homework, my children are not interested in napping at the beach!!  Are your littles ready to party seaside, too?

Whether you are planning on traveling or staycationing this year, chances are your kiddos will miss a therapy session or two.  The beauty of being a “beach bum” is that you can minimize the effect of missing those sessions by maximizing the fun.  Here are some beach activities that can double as therapy boosters!

Getting Ready for Beach Fun:  Discuss what will happen at the beach and pack the gear together (SLP).  Let the kids prepare a snack by spreading the peanut butter, washing and plucking the grapes off the stem and pouring the goldfish into beach friendly containers (OT).  Have your kiddos help set up (PT) the “beach play area.”  Use positional words like beside, under, and over (SLP) to describe where objects should go.  Apply sunscreen by drawing pictures on family members and rub it in by “erasing” their art (OT).

Wave Games:  Jump over the waves as they roll into shore (PT) and keep count (SLP) of how many you clear.  Let the waves “chase” you into shore or chase the birds along the surf (PT).  Walk in knee-high water (PT).  Make up stories about the animals or imaginary treasure you find as you walk (SLP).  Dig fingers and toes into the sand along the surf and watch what happens as the waves wash over (OT).

Sand Construction:  Build a sand castle as a family (OT, PT).  Dig a moat around the castle and carry water up from the beach to fill it up (PT).  Pick shells out of a sand filled bucket to decorate your sandcastle (OT).   Describe the shape, color and size of the shells and decide where they will go on the castle (SLP).  Place them one by one on the agreed upon location (OT). Talk about the people who live in your castle (SLP).  What do they look like?  What games do they like to play?

Under the Umbrella:  Take a rest in the shade from the blazing sun and play a guessing game using your senses (I Spy, I Feel, I Hear, I Smell).  Make the game more verbally intensive by giving a clue after each incorrect guess (SLP).  Draw silly pictures or write messages to each other in the sand (OT, SLP).   As you finish up your day, have the kids rinse off the beach toys in a bucket full of water (OT).

Give us a call to schedule your summer sessions and we will see you in therapy when you are beached out.  In the meantime, wishing you safe travels, beautiful weather and oodles of family fun.

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