Pediatric Occupational Therapy

What is the Importance of Play for Children in Occupational Therapy?

Therapist st clair shores

Play is an essential part of childhood development, and it is especially important for children who are receiving occupational therapy. Occupational therapy helps children with physical, mental, or emotional disabilities to develop the skills they need to participate in everyday activities. Through play, children can learn how to interact with their environment, develop problem-solving skills, and build self-esteem. In this blog post, we will discuss the importance of play in occupational therapy for children and how it can help them reach their goals.

The Role of Play in Occupational Therapy

Play is an important part of occupational therapy because it allows children to explore their environment and practice the skills they are learning. Through play activities such as drawing, building blocks, or playing with toys, children can practice fine motor skills like using scissors or writing with a pencil. They can also practice gross motor skills like running and jumping. Play also gives children the opportunity to express themselves creatively and build self-confidence. Play also helps children learn how to interact with others and develop social skills. Through cooperative play activities such as board games or sports, children can learn how to take turns and follow rules. They can also practice communication skills by talking about their feelings or ideas with other players.

Benefits of Play in Occupational Therapy

Play has many benefits for children who are receiving occupational therapy. It helps them develop physical strength and coordination through activities that involve movement such as running or throwing a ball. It also helps them build cognitive abilities such as problem-solving skills by playing games that require strategy or planning ahead. Additionally, play can help improve emotional wellbeing by providing a safe space for children to express themselves without fear of judgement or criticism from others. In addition to these benefits, play is a great way for therapists to assess a child’s progress in occupational therapy sessions. By observing how a child interacts with toys or other players during playtime, therapists can get an idea of what areas need more work and which areas are progressing well. This information can then be used to adjust treatment plans accordingly so that the child’s goals are met more efficiently.

Tips for Incorporating Play into Occupational Therapy Sessions

If you are an occupational therapist working with a child who needs extra support during playtime, there are some tips you can use to make sure your sessions are productive and enjoyable:

  • Make sure the activity is age-appropriate: Choose activities that match the child’s age level so they don’t become frustrated or overwhelmed during playtime.
  • Set clear expectations: Explain what you expect from the activity before starting so that the child knows what they should be doing during playtime.
  • Be flexible: Allow some flexibility during playtime so that the child has room to explore their own interests within the activity instead of feeling restricted by rules or expectations set by you as the therapist.
  • Encourage creativity: Encourage creative thinking during playtime so that the child feels comfortable expressing themselves without fear of judgement from others around them.
  • Celebrate successes: Celebrate successes throughout each session so that the child feels motivated and encouraged throughout their journey towards achieving their goals through occupational therapy sessions involving playtime activities!


In conclusion, it is clear that incorporating play into occupational therapy sessions for children has many benefits including helping them develop physical strength and coordination as well as cognitive abilities like problem-solving skills and emotional wellbeing through creative expression without fear of judgement from others around them! By following these tips outlined above when incorporating play into your sessions with young clients receiving occupational therapy services, you will be able to ensure your sessions are productive while still being enjoyable!

Pediatric Occupational Therapy
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