Many of the children we see at our clinics have difficulty with motor planning. Motor planning is a complex skill which allows a person to generate an idea for a motor action, efficiently time and sequence the movements necessary, grade the force required, and execute the action. Children who have a hard time with the ideation phase of motor planning may tend to play the same activities over and over or struggle to come up with multiple solutions to a problem. Open-ended free play is a great way to stretch this ability; however, a child who truly has a motor planning deficit will likely need some guidance and encouragement along the way. Here are some suggestions to help you look at novel ways to play with toys or items you may already have in your home. As you’re playing, ask your child questions like “What else could this be?” and praise their efforts to think outside the box.
10 Ways to Play with a Blanket
- Make a fort by draping the blanket over a group of chairs.
- Create a quiet reading tent by draping a large blanket over a table.
- Use it like a parachute. Place small stuffed animals in the middle and have each person hold a corner and bounce the animals around.
- Pretend to be the king or queen with a long royal robe.
- Pretend to be a super hero with a cape.
- Play a memory game. Spread 3-5 objects on the floor and see how many your child can remember when the blanket covers them up.
- Go on a magic carpet ride. What do you see as you fly along?
- Have a tug-of-war battle.
- Guess the mystery object. Have your child put his hand under the blanket and without him seeing the object, place something small in his hand and ask him to guess what it is. Cotton balls, coins, buttons, lego pieces, and paper clips are great for this activity.
- Go for a sled ride. Have your child sit on a blanket and gently drag him through the house.