Pediatric Playgroups at TeamWork Rehab

By Kelsey Flack

TEAMWORK Rehab pediatric occupational therapy has partnered with the Hand in Hand Program through Nokomis School District and the First Steps program through Hillsboro School District to offer a mobile playgroup for children ages birth-3 years of age. The Nokomis playgroup is held at the First Baptist Church in Nokomis and the Hillsboro playgroup is held at Fusion Fitness and Aquatics gym. Children are accompanied by a caregiver to engage in play-based activities to promote development. 

A child’s main occupation is to play. It is one of the most important aspects of development. My overall goal for a playgroup is for the child and caregiver to have fun! These playgroups allow children to rotate from center to center as they please, rather than requiring children to stay at each station for a specific amount of time. Playgroups are child-led through provided activities. Each playgroup has activities ranging from gross, fine motor, and sensory activities which help lead to development. 

Playgroups allow children and caregivers to socialize with other children and adults to improve the wants and needs of the child. It supports learning simple signs such as “more, all done, and help me” to decrease frustration in children learning to communicate. We have a mat filled with infant gross motor, fine motor, and sensory toys to facilitate rolling, reaching, grasping, crawling, and tummy time. Gross motor activities help to improve balance and coordination as well as going up and down stairs, hopping, skipping and jumping. 

At our playgroups, we provide children with opportunities to crawl through tunnels, kick balls, play hopscotch, walk on a balance beam and climb up stairs and slide down a slide. We offer a variety of different sensory experiences including playdough, water beads, fake snow, rice, bubbles, etc. 

Sensory play stimulates a child’s 5 senses (touch, smell, taste, sight, and hearing) to allow a child to engage within their environment. Fine motor skills are required for handwriting, self-care skills including feeding, dressing, buttoning, and zipping. Simple fine motor activities include using tweezers to pick up various items, manipulating various toys including blocks and Legos, playdough, stickers, and stringing noodles onto string or a pipe cleaner.

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