June 3, 2015

happy kid girl drawing with colourful pencilsSummertime Fun in a Box

As the school year comes to an end, more and more parents will begin hearing their children use phrases such as, “I’m bored” or “I don’t have anything to do.”

Though these statements may seem harmless, it’s important to know that boredom due to inactivity may result in the loss of critical skills needed to succeed during the upcoming school year.

How can you solve this problem and ensure that your child continues to learn skills throughout the summer? A fun box can help!

A fun box is an easy and inexpensive way to encourage your child to continue to strengthen the skills he or she learned during the previous school year.

Use these three simple steps to create your child’s very own fun box.

Find a box and decorate it.
Find an empty box in your home and encourage your child to decorate it with stickers, bright paper or pictures.

Fill the box with fun.
Make a trip to a dollar store and fill your fun box with items such as crayons, mazes, scissors, yarn, seek-a-word books, coloring books, color-by-number/letter/shape and dots-to-dots. Common household items such as buttons, clothes pins, butter tubs and old magazines can also be included in the box.

Have fun with activities!
Encourage your child to participate in simple activities using the contents of the fun box. Activities can help your child develop or strengthen in a variety of skill areas including strengthening hands and building coordination, identifying shapes and letters, and improving memory.

Examples of activities your child can perform include:

  • Cut a picture out of a cereal box, use a hole punch around the shape, and use yarn to lace the picture. Buttons and old spools of thread make lacing fun.
  • Cut magazine inserts or coupons which you can use during weekly grocery shopping.
  • Cut pretty pictures into shapes that can be reassembled into a simple puzzle.
  • Place wooden clothes pins around a butter tub to strengthen hands and build coordination.
  • Use a rolling pin to roll out Play-Doh. Use cookie cutters to cut out different shapes from the Play-Doh.
  • Use dots-to-dots, mazes and color-by-number books.

You can help your child have fun while learning by initiating the following activities:

  • Open a seek-a-word book and ask your child to find specific letters on the page. Once he or she has found the letter, ask your child to use a colored pencil or crayon to color the letter. Continue by selecting different letters for your child to find.
  • Place stickers under a set of milk jug lids. Turn the lids over and ask your child to try to make a match from the stickers. The child with the most matches wins the game.

These simple, low cost ideas will continue the learning process throughout the summer and reduce the loss of crucial skills that are necessary for your child to succeed in the upcoming school year. Have fun!

Janelle Hoffart, OTR
Occupational Therapy Supervisor
Katy, Texas