A trip to the beach or your local pool can be a great way to relax and cool off during summer, and it can also be a fun way for families to support their kids with their therapy.
Many of our Novita kids and families have therapy goals that need daily work to be achieved, and there is a range of safe and fun beach and pool activities that can help.
The Novita team has some great suggestions for activities that support balance and leg, arm and core strength when your family has a day at the beach or the local pool.
Kids need to be able to dress, play games with friends, and manage different surfaces without falling. Some simple and fun activities at the beach or pool can be beneficial for balance as the buoyancy of the water allows kids to practice safely. Activities can include:
- standing on one leg in the water and counting how long they can hold that position
- kicking while standing in the water
- lifting rings off the bottom of the pool
- standing with feet together – the movement of the waves at the beach, or moving the water around in a pool, will make this activity harder
- standing in a heel-to-toe stance
- lifting sand with the toes to place in a bucket to build a sand castle
- drawing letters and shapes in the sand with a foot, which means they’ll be standing on one leg while they’re drawing.
Leg strength is important so kids can stand, walk, run, jump, hop, and climb – which all build confidence. Activities at the beach or pool for leg strength include:
- jumping over waves
- squatting to play with sand or water while their feet are flat on the ground
- kicking in the water
- running on the sand – the softer the sand, the harder the activity
- walking fast through the water – the resistance of the water against their legs makes this activity harder than walking slowly.
Arm strength is important for many reasons including writing and drawing without getting tired, playing ball sports, and other movements and activities that need strength through the arms. Some fun things you can do at the beach or the pool to develop arm strength include:
- splashing the water in different directions
- grasping handfuls of sand, turning the hands up and opening them to release the sand
- dig sand pits with the hands
- make balls out of wet sand
- clap hands underwater.
Core strength allows kids to maintain good posture, as well as standing and sitting up tall without getting tired, and it can also support the management of back pain.
Core strength activities at the beach and the pool include:
- kneeling in the water, with the waves making this harder
- half-kneeling in the water – with one leg bent up
- floating on the back, then bringing the legs down to float on the tummy
- holding your child around their waist and tilt them from side to side and forward to back while they try to stay up straight.
Other fun beach and pool activities that can support therapy goals include
- a scavenger hunt – collecting various beach or poolside items – supports memory, language and vocabulary skills
- animal walks – pretending to be dogs, lions, lizards, dinosaurs, etc – supports balance, core strength, motor skills, and memory skills
- building sand castles – collect sand and patting it down – supports 2-hand motor skills, balance, and coordination
- water play – use floaties and other inflatable devices to balance and float in the water – supports balance, coordination, muscle strength, and following concepts and directions.
Always supervise your kids’ play at the beach or pool, especially near or in the water. And don’t forget to slip, slop and slap!