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Back-to-School Activities for Physical Therapists

September 7, 2023

Back-to-School Activities for Physical Therapists

The back-to-school season is always exciting for students as they reunite with their friends, meet new teachers, and settle into their daily routines. However, it can also be overwhelming for some children, particularly those with physical challenges. Physical Therapists (PTs) play a crucial role in helping these children transition back to school and achieve their functional goals. Here are some back-to-school activities for PTs that can help ease this transition:

1. Gross Motor Obstacle Course:

Create an obstacle course using cones, hula hoops, and other gym equipment. This activity will be fun and engaging for the kids and help improve their gross motor skills, balance, and coordination.

2. Stretching Routine:

Teach the students a series of stretches they can do at the start of each day. This will help improve their flexibility and range of motion and prepare their bodies for the day ahead.

3. Ball Games:

Ball games like catch, kickball, or even a simple game of rolling a ball back and forth can be a great way to work on hand-eye coordination, strength, and motor planning.

4. Movement Breaks:

Implement regular movement breaks throughout the day. This could be as simple as standing up, jumping jacks, or doing a quick lap around the playground. Frequent activity breaks improve attention, reduce muscle stiffness, and provide an outlet for excess energy.

5. Walking Club:

Start a walking club where students can go for a short walk during their lunch break or recess. This will not only provide them with some much-needed physical activity but will also allow them to socialize with their peers.

6. Balance Exercises:

Incorporate balance exercises into the daily routine. This could involve standing on one leg, using a balance board, or even doing yoga poses. Improving balance is essential for overall motor development and function.

7. Relay Races:

Organize relay races involving locomotor skills such as running, hopping, or skipping. This will help to improve their speed, agility, and coordination.

8. Playground Activities:

Encourage the students to use the playground equipment during their recess. Climbing, swinging, and sliding all help to develop strength, coordination, and motor planning.

9. Functional Activities:

Incorporate functional activities into the therapy sessions. For example, have the students practice opening their lockers, carrying backpacks, or climbing the stairs. This will help them to develop the skills necessary for their daily school routine.

10. Group Activities:

Organize group activities that encourage teamwork and cooperation. This could involve a game of tag, a tug-of-war, or a team-building exercise. Group activities not only help to develop physical skills but also social skills.


11. Motor Skills Challenge:

Create a motor skills challenge involving a series of tasks the students must complete. For example, they might have to hop on one foot, throw a ball, and crawl under a table. This can be a fun way to assess their motor skills and track their progress.


12. Dance Party:

Organize a dance party where the students can move freely and express themselves through dance. Dancing is a great way to improve coordination, rhythm, and body awareness.


13. Resistance Band Exercises:

Use resistance bands to work on strengthening exercises. Resistance bands are versatile and can be used to target various muscle groups.


14. Bicycle Riding:

For older children, bike riding can significantly improve leg strength, coordination, and endurance. Make sure to choose a safe area and provide proper supervision.


15. Jump Rope:

Jumping rope is a classic activity that can help to improve cardiovascular fitness, coordination, and timing.


Returning to school can be challenging for many children, especially those with physical limitations. As a Physical Therapist, you can help ease this transition by implementing various activities that target different areas of development. These activities will not only help the students to improve their physical skills but will also boost their confidence and help them to feel more comfortable in their school environment. Ultimately, the goal is to help the students to achieve their functional goals and have a successful and enjoyable school year.

Therapeutic Resources always has cutting-edge positions that will let you contribute and enhance your skill set. To explore our innumerable part-time, full time and per diem pediatric and adult-based positions, Therapeutic Resources would love to speak with you! Send us your information here, and a placement manager will be in touch within 24 hours.  Talk to you soon!


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