Summer Development Activities for Kids – Printable Included

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With many children home from school over the summer, I thought it would be a great idea to give you some summer developmental activity ideas that your kids will love to participate in.

All of the ideas are in the post below, but you can also download a free printable of all the activity suggestions in a printable format that you can share with parents or teachers or send home in summer packets.

Summer Developmental Activities for Kids, plus free printable.

Summer Developmental Activities for Kids

When I was working as an Occupational Therapy Assistant in the public school system, I put together summer home packets for each of my students over the summer. It gave parents ideas specific to their child's needs and goals, as well as just fun ideas to keep them occupied over the summer months.

If your child is seeing an Occupational Therapist or Physical Therapist, these activity ideas and suggestions are not to replace the one on one treatment they receive. Therapy inspired ideas for home are not therapy. However, ALL kids can benefit from these suggestions.

All of these activities are designed to be accompanied by an adult. Please do not leave your children alone in doing any of the activities below. I have not included age recommendations and some of the activity ideas include using small pieces. Do not use small pieces when working with children 3 years old and younger that could pose a choking hazard.

I have divided this list into different skills needed for school with suggestions underneath. At the end of the post, there is also a place that you can subscribe to the blog to download all the activities as a nice printable to have on hand.

Gross Motor Activities for Summer

These are just some suggestions, I'm sure you can think of more based on your child's likes and interests. These also double as excellent ideas to improve bilateral coordination skills.

– Wheelbarrow walking
– Crab Walking
– Bear Walking
– Push-ups
– Sit-ups
– Crunches
– Scooter board races
– Laying on their stomachs on the scooter board, therapy ball, or swing
– Shooting baskets
– Volleyball
– Swimming
– Playing with yo-yo's
– Jump Rope
– Riding a bike
– Jumping on a trampoline
– Swinging
– Horseback riding

Fine Motor Activities for Summer

Bilateral Coordination

– Roll dough with a rolling pin
– Hand clapping games
– Squeeze objects (i.e. glue) with both hands
– Use both arms to twirl streamers or scarves
– Build with building blocks
– Trace patterns on paper
– Draw a picture using stencils
– Tear lettuce into pieces to make a salad
– Spread icing on cookies, cakes, etc.

Finger Dexterity 

– Press cookie cutters into dough or putty
– Play with finger puppets
– Play pick-up sticks games
– Screw and unscrew small lids, nuts or bolts
– Fold paper (i.e. origami, airplanes etc)
– Hold a handful of marbles, transferring one at a time into a container
– Draw shapes and write words in a variety of mediums (shaving cream, sand, finger paint, hair gel etc).
– Draw designs on an Etch-A-Sketch board
– Play board games with small pieces to manipulate
– Use fingers to sprinkle toppings on food (sprinkles, shredded cheese).

Grip Strength 

– Squeeze putty, flour sifter, plastic squeeze bottles
– Squeeze juice from a lemon or orange
– Squeeze a spray bottle (water plants, clean windows)
– Stir batter in a bowl
– Staple papers together with a small stapler
– Use a hole punch to make dots or creative shapes

Pinch Strength

– Peel stickers off surfaces
– Peel fruit (lemons, oranges etc)
– Turn keys in a lock
– Deal cards
– Use tongs to pick up small objects
– Spin Tops
– Play with wind-up toys
– Tear paper for art projects
– Build with small blocks
– Pick up small objects with fingers and place into containers (beans, cereal, corn kernels)
– Place coins into a bank or small slit in a lid.
– Pop bubbles on bubble wrap
– Use small rubber stamps to create a picture
– String beads to make a necklace
– Pinch clothespins (laundry, games etc)

Visual Motor Activities for Summer

Visual Perception: 

– Copy patterns/pictures using shapes, pegs etc.
– Put together models
– Dot-to-dots
– Mazes
– Hidden picture searches
– Word searches
– Put puzzles together
– Use changeable markers to improve tracing skills

Scissor Skills

– Simulate cutting motions by transferring objects with bubble tongs
– Cut straws into small pieces and string to make a necklace
– Cut play dough/putty/clay
– Cut shapes out of foam
– Cut pictures from magazines or cereal boxes

Summer Development Activities Free Printable

Enter your email address below and click the green “Click Here” button. Head to your email inbox to confirm your subscription and download your free summer development activities download. You'll also get some email tips on child development over the next few days.

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Are you looking for more summer activity ideas? My Senses Summer Day Camp is the perfect solution for exploring all 8 sensory systems with your children. And right now it is 50% off! Click here to get your digital download copy today!

You can follow me on Pinterest where I share even more activity ideas and tips for child development.

Visit Heather G. | Growing Hands-On Kid's profile on Pinterest.
Fine Motor Skills Checklist for kids ages 0-6+ free download.

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Heather Greutman, COTA

Heather Greutman is a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant with experience in school-based OT services for preschool through high school. She uses her background to share child development tips, tools, and strategies for parents, educators, and therapists. She is the author of many ebooks including The Basics of Fine Motor Skills, and Basics of Pre-Writing Skills, and co-author of Sensory Processing Explained: A Handbook for Parents and Educators.

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  1. I just wanted to tell you that I purchased the Sensory Processing Explained Handbook and it is amazing, Thank you for your work in this project. I love it!

  2. Good list Heather! Now more than ever families need ideas to do with the kids that do not involve electronics!

CONTENT DISCLAIMER: Heather Greutman is a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant.
All information on the Website is for informational purposes only and is not a replacement for medical advice from a physician or your pediatrician. Please consult with a medical professional if you suspect any medical or developmental issues with your child. The information on the Websites does not replace the relationship between therapist and client in a one-on-one treatment session with an individualized treatment plan based on their professional evaluation. The information provided on the Website is provided “as is” without any representations or warranties, express or implied.

Do not rely on the information on the Website as an alternative to advice from your medical professional or healthcare provider. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment as a result of any information provided on the Website. All medical information on the Website is for informational purposes only.

All activities outlined on the Website are designed for completion with adult supervision. Please use your own judgment with your child and do not provide objects that could pose a choking hazard to young children. Never leave a child unattended during these activities. Please be aware of and follow all age recommendations on all products used in these activities. Growing Hands-On Kids is not liable for any injury when replicating any of the activities found on this blog.

YOUR RESPONSIBILITY The Website was developed strictly for informational purposes. You understand and agree that you are fully responsible for your use of the information provided on the Website. Growing Hands-On Kids makes no representations, warranties, or guarantees. You understand that results may vary from person to person. Growing Hands-On Kids assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions that may appear on the Website.