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 Pillows
- Pretend to be frogs and jump lily pad to lily pad.
- Arrange the pillows as targets and toss crumpled up paper or balled up socks.
- Make a pillow path on the ground and walk on top of them, making sure you don’t fall off and step in the lava.
- Have a red light, green light pillow fight. Everyone has to stop when “red light” is called and swing the pillows in slow motion during a “yellow light”.
- Grab some couch cushions and build a pillow fort.
- Substitute pillows for chairs and play musical pillows.
- Make an obstacle course with pillows to jump over, skip around, roll across, etc.
- Use the pillow case for a potato sack race.
- Sing the “Wonder Ball” song and substitute a pillow.
- Have a snowball fight with crumpled newspaper. Defend yourself with a pillow shield.