Developing Play Skills in the Early Years

Those early years are such special ones where our children learn by exploring their environment through play. They develop so fast and the difference can be seen from month to month. This is such an important period in their lives to address any developmental difficulties, as it is the time where therapy intervention can be the most effective to reduce the developmental delay.

Early developmental skills include some of the following:

  • Developing functional grasp: The young child’s fine motor skills will become more refined as it develops. This will help them hold their toys or a spoon better, release objects intentionally and more accurately or picking up small objects. They will learn to use both hands together in a coordinated way, which is an important skill needed in many of our daily activities, for instance holding a paper with the one hand while the other is used to make scribbles.
  • Developing pre-writing skills: Young children will first start to make marks on a paper, progress to scribbling and finally copying simple shapes, for instance a line or a circle. These steps all form part in the development of the child’s pre-writing skills, which needs to be established before they can learn to form letters and numbers. The way that a crayon or pencil are held will become more functional as their fine motor skills develop. The use of a multi-sensory approach helps to develop the pre-writing skills in a fun, playful way. We might use finger painting, drawing in sand or shaving foam and other mediums while singing a song to help the child engage in the activity. They love it!
  • Ball skills: Learning to release a ball, rolling, throwing and kicking it will develop as the child’s gross motor skills develop. They will learn to do this in a more coordinated way and be more accurate in their aim.
  • Self-care skills: Self-feeding skills will develop as the child learns to control the spoon, scoop the food and bring it to their mouth. They will learn to hold a cup and drink from it. Dressing skills develop as they start pulling their socks and shoes off by themselves and progress to being able to dress and undress themselves fully and doing basic fasteners.

I’m able to provide support to help your child develop these basic skills and lay a good foundation for the development of those higher functioning skills that are needed when they’re starting school. It’s the building blocks for successful participation in the future.