It’s child’s play! These words imply that something is fun, easy, creative, and motivating. As an occupational therapist these words have a different meaning.  A child’s play is opportunity. It’s opportunity for growth in fine motor skills, gross motor skills, problem solving skills, attention, social, and emotional skills.


Take this simple toy that this beautiful little girl is playing with (just for the record this was taken on Halloween night hence the princess look).  When you look at this activity of hitting the nails you can see that it requires eye-hand coordination.  The princess has to see what she wants to hit, try it, and then adjust her aim as needed.  This is great opportunity for her eyes and hands to work together. She has to judge distance and size to accurately adjust and correct her aim.


Our princess also has to have a firm grip on her tool. She is developing the muscles of her arm and hand as she holds and swings the hammer.


Not only does she have to use motor skills to hold onto the hammer, but she also has to reach across midline to hit the nails on the opposite side of the bench.  Because she has an established dominance she does not switch hands when moving from the right side of the bench to the left side of the bench, but uses one hand for both sides.


Princess Jazmine also engaged in problem solving. After watching a few times, she learned that when you finish with one side you can turn the toy over and repeat the activity on the other side.


One of the most fascinating things about watching this little princess learn to use a new toy was her determination and focus.  There was activity all around her, but she remained focused and motivated by this simple toy.  You could almost see the wheels turning as she hit the nails, then grasped the bench to turn it over.  She played with this toy repeatedly, mastering the ability to hit the nail on the head. Then, even after mastering the skill, she continued to get enjoyment from this game until it was time to share with her cousin. It’s child’s play!jazmines-daughter