Valentines Day Archives | Play It Forward Therapy
Friendship Party

Friendship Party

Valentines Day is a sweet reminder to celebrate love and friendship!  The kids at the clinic love these friendship themed activities that can be practiced all year round. My kids and I host an annual Friendship Party to get to know classmates better or to reunite with friends they haven’t seen for a while.

These Friendship Party ideas are a throwback to the classic party games I remember as a kid (e.g. Pin the Tail On The Donkey, BINGO, Twister).  I’ve added my own “OT spin” on these classic games and carefully chosen activities that will incorporate sensory-motor and/or social skills practice.

Developing Sensory Motor Skills

The activities you’ll see in the video are perfect practice for a wide range of developmental skills. The highlighted activities address key areas of development such as:

  • Social skills, waiting, taking turns
  • Sustained attention & following directions
  • Body awareness and personal space
  • Reading or listening to a book about making & keeping friends

Social Skills

When it comes to social skills, it’s super important to teach kids how to make friends, how to be a good friend and how to keep friends.

Having kind and trusted friendships is essential to feeling connected and content in life… which is true for kids and grownups alike.

Playing these games is a fun way to practice listening, waiting, taking turns and following the group plan.

 

Party Activities

This collection includes our most beloved occupational therapy ideas that can be used for your next party or social skills group!.  

 

 

Kiss The Frog

Enjoy this updated Valentine Version party game inspired by the classic game of  “Pin The Tail on the Donkey”.  

Supplies:  White and green poster board, black pen, red, pink and yellow paper,  scissors, glue stick, double sided tape, sleep mask or scarf for the blindfold. 

Draw a frog on green poster board, cut out and glue onto the white poster board.  Cut out lots of lips and stick double sided tape onto one side.  

Each player is blindfolded and spun in a circle. The number of spins matches how old you are.  Then ready, aim, kiss! 

Using your sense of touch and body position, where will your kiss land?

 

BINGO

Look and listen carefully..  Can you find a match on your board? Whoever gets 5 in a row is the winner!  Will it be you?

Supplies:  Bingo boards and markers

Bingo is a fun way to work on sustained attention, listening and visual perceptual skills to match the game piece with your board.

Picking up the game pieces to mark your spot refines a “pincer grasp” (index finger and thumb).

Play to win: Pencils, stickers or chewing gum make great OT approved prizes!

Here’s of my favorite books about kindness.  It teaches kids how everyone has an invisible bucket full of thoughts and feelings. 

We can fill other people’s buckets with good thoughts and feelings… Or sometimes we may dip from another person’s bucket.

It all depends on the choices we make and what we say or do. 

It gives kids another way to think about their actions and how they impact how others feel and how they feel about themselves.

A good question to ask your child, “Do you think that _____ was a bucket filler or a bucket dipper? 

How do you think that made ______ feel?”

Bucket Filling Craft

This cute and colorful craft is a sweet reminder of how kindness builds friendships and helps us get along with others. 

Plus, it’s excellent practice for fine motor skills too.

Supplies:  Clear plastic cups, fuzzy wire or ribbon, tape, markers, confetti, sequins, small plastic hearts or erasers.

Check out the video for how to make this Bucket Filling Craft to remind kids how to be “Bucket Fillers”.

 

 

 

If you’re looking for more party activities or treatment ideas check out the Activities category on our blog.

You may also like “Back to School Party” for ideas and activities to welcome the new school year.

Valentine Scooter Board Obstacle Course

Valentine Scooter Board Obstacle Course

Kids will absolutely LOVE this scooter board obstacle course aka “The Valentine Car Wash”.

Lie down on your tummy and propel yourself forward through the tunnel.  As you come across the Valentine, pick it up, then push up your arms to place the Valentine under your chest.  This requires upper body and arm strength as well as weight shifting from one arm to the next, strengthening the shoulder girdle and core.  It also challenges motor planning because your child must figure out how to move forward using their arms as well as sequencing multiple steps to collect the items as they propel through the tunnels.

Click here for basic DIY Scooter Board Obstacle Course.

To increase the challenge:

  • Use the arms only to self-propel.
  • Lengthen or shorten the distance from start to finish.
  • Add 10+ objects to pick up (10 repetitions)

To modify or make it easier:

  • Shorten the distance.
  • Have fewer objects to pick up.
  • Allow the child to push with both hands and feet while lying on their tummy.  Or self-propel with hands while sitting in a kneeling/quadraped position.
  • Allow the child to crawl through the tunnels, notice if they are crawling using reciprocal movements.  Are they using reciprocal movements by alternating opposite arm and leg (this is what we want)?  Or are they crawling with the same side (right arm and right leg) at the same side to propel forward?
  • Consider the scooter board surface.  Hard flooring makes it easier for the scooter to propel, but less comfortable for the child crawling on hands and knees.  Carpet will increase the resistance.
  • Wear long sleeves.  For kids with tactile sensitivity to light touch, the sensation of the streamers brushing the top of the back and head may be bothersome for the highly sensitive child.

You can celebrate friendship all year round!  Check out these other ideas:

After delivering the mail, head on over to the kitchen to make a heart themed, edible Tic Tac Toe board

For more obstacle course ideas, check out this Laser Maze.

Tic Tac Toe Cookie

Tic Tac Toe Cookie

The taste of sweet success doesn’t get any better after winning a game of Valentine Cookie Tic Tac Toe.  In fact, win or lose, nothing beats a board game that you can eat!

Kids will love playing tic tac toe while improving their fine motor coordination, direction following and kitchen skills.  Decorate and make these with a friend to encourage social skills, sharing and turn taking.

1. Here’s what you’ll need

  • 1 Square graham cracker
  • 4 Pretzel sticks
  • White Frosting
  • Candy hearts.  Chose 2 different colors.  You will need  3-5 of each color.
  • Tools:  Dull knife or spreader (great for little hands)
  1. Spread the frosting on top of the graham cracker.
2.  Place two pretzel sticks vertically, leaving enough space for your candy game pieces to fit in between.
3.  Spread a small amount of frosting on the length of the pretzel stick.
4.  Lay across and repeat with the second pretzel stick.

Skills Addressed

  • Fine motor: Use your “Pincher Fingers”. Encourage your child to pick up the candy heart pieces by isolating the thumb and index finger, while keeping the other fingers curled in against the palm of their hand.  This promotes development of the arches of the hand and precision grasp.
  • Utensil use:  Spreading the frosting is great practice and will come in handy when it’s time to pack sandwiches for lunch!

To increase the challenge…

  • Use small tongs or kid chopsticks to place the game pieces on instead of your fingers
  • Lie down on your tummy and support yourself on your elbows while playing on the floor.  Don’t forge to put our game on a plate!

Try your luck by playing around with other types of snack foods and textures. 

  • Cut the crusts off a piece of bread. Set aside.
  • For the game pieces, use small pieces of fruit such as sliced bananas, blue berries, halved grapes or cereal.
  • Replace the frosting with cream cheese, peanut butter or any other type of sandwich spread.

Remember, it’s OK to play with your food!

As a matter of fact, one aspect of sensory-based feeding therapy includes the opportunity for children to play with their food.  The primary goal of this type of therapy approach is to expose the child to various types of food textures, tastes and smells as a preliminary step to increasing their food repertoire without the pressure of eating.

When a child is playing, creating or engrossed in a game, this positive experience provides him or her with the opportunity to interact with foods they otherwise may not tolerate.

Consider offering different “game piece” options using a combination of preferred and non preferred snack foods as an alternative way to introduce different tastes, colors, shapes and textures. 

Have fun with your food!

For more fun ideas, take a ride through the Valentine Car Wash or Laser Maze Obstacle Course.

Pin It on Pinterest