School Age – Hints & Tips

Your child’s school may have sent homework to continue while the schools are closed at this time, your SLT may have provided ideas and activities to work on. You may be continuing with the See and Learn Programme. It is good to continue with this work if you have it, but if you do not have work from your child’s school or therapist, remember that most everyday activities are educational,  not all learning comes from books – Talking, listening, singing, dancing are all great things to do, with many positive effects.

It is also important for your child to continue developing attention and concentration skills. While at school, children need to be able to sit and work on an activity for a period of time. This should be continued at home so that the child can continue to develop their ability to concentrate. The activity does not have to be academic, but one that requires the child’s attention and participation. Ensure that ‘turn-taking’ is practiced at home as this would be a very important part of school life and needs to be continued while the child is out of school.

Similarly, continue to work on developing your child’s independence. Working on areas such as putting on their own coat, hanging up their coat, putting on their shoes will be very helpful. Other ideas include encouraging your child to help around the house- setting the table, clearing the table, tidying away their books, toys, games, etc.


Useful Activities



Read to your child, read with your child and encourage them to read themselves. Try to use a wide range of books with both words and short sentences, not just picture books. Talk to your child about what they have read – discuss any pictures and talk about who was in the story? where did it take place? what was the main event? what happened in the end? and what did the child think about the story?

This would also be an ideal opportunity to make personal books with your child about their life and interests. This activity, in addition to developing reading skills, will help to build your child’s understanding. Use photos or images and write/type sentences based on the child’s reading ability. Individual sheets can be printed and made into a book, which you can return to for reading practice over the next number of weeks.

There are a number of excellent activities for the development of literacy skills in our Useful Links and Apps section.



Continue writing practice at the level the child is at in school. Practice letter formation and, depending on the child’s stage, encourage them to write words or sentences along with pictures. This activity could be linked with making personal books for reading – See reading section. Drawing, colouring and other fine motor activities are also important for the development of writing skills. Children could also start (or continue) to learn to touch type. A very good programme is ‘Dancemat’ which can be accessed as a free download from

There are a number of excellent activities for the development of literacy skills in our Useful Links and Apps section.



Practical maths using things like cooking, laying the table, counting things, pairing socks, are very valuable. Other aspects of maths and numeracy to concentrate on include talking about shape & colour words; size words; and order words. Play matching & sorting games and counting games.

Board games are an excellent ‘fun’ way of developing counting skills for children of all ages

Other practical activities to develop numeracy skills include

  • Sorting and matching objects by colour, size and shape
  • Match numbers 1-5 with the written words, spoken words and appropriate amounts
  • Selecting up to 5 objects from a group of objects
  • Matching, selecting, and sequencing numbers 1-5
  • Working with the Story of 1, 2,3,4,5, using concrete materials and visual supports

eg: story of 3: 3+0=3; 0+3=3; 1+2=3; 2+1=3;

NB: The child should be able to complete all of these activities with numbers 1-5, before we progress with numbers 6-10.

There are a number of excellent activities for the development of literacy skills in our Useful Links and Apps section.


Motor Skills


Gross-Motor Activities

Gross-motor activities involve the ability to move various parts of the body. The purpose of these activities is to develop smoother, more effective body movements and to increase the child’s sense of spatial orientation and body consciousness.

Gross-motor activities are grouped as:

  • walking activities
  • throwing and catching activities
  • other gross-motor activities


Walking Activities

  1. Forward, backward, and sideways walk. Children walk to a target on a straight or curved path marked on the floor. Children walk with arms in different positions, carrying objects, dropping objects such as balls into containers along the way, or focus eyes on various parts of the room.
  2. Steppingstones. Put objects on the floor for steppingstones. The child is to follow the course by placing the correct foot on the steppingstone.


Throwing and Catching Activities

  1. Throwing. Balloons, wet sponges, beanbags, yarn balls, and rubber balls of various sizes can be used to throw objects at targets, to another person.
  2. Catching. Catching is a more difficult skill than throwing. Child can practice catching the previously-mentioned objects thrown by another person.
  3. Ball games. Various types of ball games help develop motor coordination. Examples include rolling-ball games, bouncing balls on the ground, and throwing balls against the wall.


Other Gross-Motor Activities

  1. Jumping Jacks. Children jump, putting feet wide apart, while clapping the hands above the head. To vary this activity, the children can make quarter turns, half turns, and full turns, or jump to the left, right, north, or south.
  2. Hopping. Children hop on one foot at a time and alternate feet while hopping. Use rhythmical patterns: left, left, right, right; or left, left, right; or right, right, left.
  3. Bouncing. Children bounce on a trampoline if available
  4. Skipping. A difficult activity for children with poor motor coordination, skipping combines rhythm, balance, body movement, and coordination. Many children need help to learn to skip.


Fine-Motor Activities

The following activities give young children experiences with fine-motor activities:

  1. Tracing. Students trace lines, pictures, designs, letters, or numbers or: tracing paper, plastic, or stencils. Use directional arrows, colour cues, and numbers to help children trace the figures.
  2. Water Control. Children carry and pour water into measured buckets from jugs .cups, mugs to specified levels. Smaller amounts and finer measurements make the task more difficult. Colouring the water makes the activity more interesting.
  3. Cutting with Scissors. Choose cutting activities that are appropriate for the child’s development level. The easiest activity is cutting straight lines marked near the edge of the paper. A more difficult activity is cutting a straight line across the centre of the paper. A piece of cardboard attached to the paper helps guide the scissors. Children can cut out marked geometric shapes, such as squares, rectangles, and triangles. Children can cut out curving lines and circles, then pictures, and finally patterns made with dots and faint lines.
  4. Stencils or Templates. Children draw outlines of geometric shapes Templates can be made from cardboard, wood or plastic. Two styles of templates are (1) a solid shape and (2) frames with the shape cut out.
  5. Lacing. A piece of cardboard punched with holes or a pegboard is used for this activity. A design or picture is made on the board, and the student follows the pattern by weaving or sewing through the holes with a heavy shoelace, yarn, or cord.
  6. Paper-and-Pencil Activities. Colouring books, readiness books, dot- to – dot books, and kindergarten books frequently provide good paper-and pencil activities to practice fine-motor and eye-hand development.
  7. Clipping Clothes Pegs. Clothes pegs can be clipped to a line or to a box. The child can be timed in this activity by counting the number of clothespins clipped in a specified time.
  8. Copying Designs. The child looks at a geometric design and copies it on paper.


Body Awareness Activities

The purpose of these activities is to help children develop accurate images of the location and function of the parts of the body:

  1. Pointing to Body Parts. Children point to the various parts of the body: nose, right elbow, left ankle, and so forth. This activity is more difficult with the eyes closed. The child can also lie on the floor and be asked to touch various parts of the body.
  2. “Simon Says.” This game can be played with the eyes open or closed.
  3. Puzzles. Puzzles of people, animals, objects, and so forth can be cut to show functional portions of the body.
  4. What is missing? Use pictures with missing body parts. Children either tell or draw what is missing.
  5. Life-Size Drawing. Children lie on a large sheet of paper and trace an outline around them. Next, the child fills in and colours the clothes and the details of the face and body.
  6. Awareness of the Body Parts through Touch. Touch various parts of the student’s body while the eyes are closed and ask which part was touched.
  7. Games: Games such as “Hokey-Pokey” help develop concepts of left, right, and body image.
  8. Pantomime. Students pantomime actions that are characteristic of a particular occupation, such as those of a bus driver driving a bus, a garda directing traffic, a postman delivering a letter, or a chef cooking.
  9. Following Instructions. Instruct the child to put the left hand on the right ear and the right hand on the left shoulder. Other instructions might be to put the right hand in front of the left hand or to turn right, walk two steps, and turn left.


There are a number of excellent activities for the development of literacy skills in our Useful Links and Apps section.