Fun ways of working towards your child’s goals on a budget
Working on your child’s goals at home doesn’t need to cost a lot of money or feel like another thing you have to do.
As a mum to three children born within three years of each other, I have found what has worked best for us is taking a whole-family approach when it comes to all things, including therapy.
We were fortunate that when my son was young, we saw an excellent Occupational Therapist that came to our home to work on developing his fine motor skills. She didn’t come with expensive fine motor activities that we could use in the session but didn’t have access to once she left. Instead, we used what we had in our home.
As an enthusiast of Pinterest and dollar stores, I created a box of resources full of things like pipe cleaners, beads, plastic tongs, marbles, tennis balls, ice cube trays, pegs, play-doh. It was our treasure box of fun and contained everything we needed to work on developing my son’s fine motor skills. And best of all, it cost less than $50 and meant there were lots of different activities the kids could play, so they didn’t get bored.
We applied this approach to other goal areas. To work on gross motor skills and coordination, we would create obstacle courses out of whatever we could find around the house (parcel boxes were a favourite!), drew hopscotch with chalk and made tracks out of masking tape to practice coordination, line walking and hopping. We had poster paper on our walls to practice crossing the midline and handwriting. We made sensory buckets full of sand, rice, feathers and slime and a crash mat made from a doona cover and foam cut offs for his sensory diet. We created fun letter recognition activities using post-it notes and letters drawn onto paper cups.
If you type ‘letter recognition activities preschool’ or ‘fine motor activities’ into Pinterest or Google Search, you will be amazed by how many fun ideas appear that are very easy to create at home.
For our family, working on therapy goals through play and using inexpensive resources, meant that all of my children could be involved. Siblings can be great role models and coaches. And I didn’t need to find a separate time to work with my son on his goals. The activities were embedded in our everyday lives, which meant we were more likely to follow through because it didn’t feel like “homework” that we had to make time for.
By Stacey Touma.
Stacey is mum to 3 children. Her middle child has Williams Syndrome. She couldn’t believe when she googled the definition of Williams Syndrome and saw that parents referred to it as ‘cocktail party syndrome’ – which couldn’t be more accurate – her son loves to laugh and is the life of the party! She is passionate about making sure her son is included and lives his best life in the community with the same opportunities as his peers.
Stacey is Executive Officer of Reframing Disability. She draws upon her lived experience and knowledge of evidence-based strategies to support and empower other families with the skills and resources to help their child and family.