By: Stephanie Conley PT, DPT and Maddie Keppel PT, DPT
Painters tape is an inexpensive way to provide guided play activities for your children inside or out! See our top ten ideas below!
1. Tic Tac Toe
Create a tic tac toe board with painters tape! You can use stuffed animals, colored cups, bean bags or silverware as game pieces. The game can be played while in a deep squat, in half kneel or tall kneel. It can also be played by separating the pieces and board. Have your child run, skip, hop, move like an animal to go and get the piece prior to each move.
2. Four Square
Four-square does not have to be just an outdoor recess game. Painters tape can outline a four-square court of any size inside and can be played with a soft or bouncy ball. If you only have two people to play with, try and move between the boxes as playing.
Use painters tape to create a maze on the wall or the ground and provide children with toy trains, cars or small craft balls to move throughout the maze and get to the end! Encourage children to play in a squat or tall kneel position while doing this to help strengthen their hip and leg muscles.
4. Target Toss
Can’t play Corn-hole outside? No problem! You can use painters tape to outline a target on the ground and children can see how many bean bags or stuffed animals they can toss into the target. If one target gets boring try targets at different distances. For older children give the targets a number value and create a game. Children can practice math by adding the point values and keeping their own score.
5. Tightrope Walks
Creating a “tightrope” with painters tape can be done with one long piece and the child can walk one foot in front of the other on it. A tightrope can also create a path around the kitchen or between rooms. Just make sure not to fall off!
6. Ball Targets
Targets are a great way to help work on ball skills both catching and throwing. Try a small soft ball on a wall target. A higher target for overhand throwing and a lower target for underhand. A shape on the ground can be used to bounce a ball in and catch. When a child is learning to catch, timing can often be challenging. When they are bouncing the ball, the timing is easier because they control when they drop and catch. You can also encourage a child to bounce the ball in the shape as many times as the shape's sides (i.e. triangle = 3x) or have them stand to the side and say "triangle" as they bounce it in the triangle or "square" and they bounce it in the square.
7. Spy Game
Imagine you and your child are spies and have to navigate a laser security system. Use the painters tape across the wall like hurdles for the obstacle course. As well at different angles from the wall to the floor and from wall to wall. By creating a web of painters tape the child will have to crawl, step and slide through without touching any of the tape and continue their spy mission.
Who said hopscotch has to be just a summer activity?! By using painters tape a hopscotch outline can be created inside. We recommend doing it down a hallway or in an open space to leave room for jumping. Hopscotch helps develop motor planning and coordination skills by completing jumping and hopping patterns.
9. Heavy Work Course
Use the painters tape to create a pattern along your wall. Then give your child a ball and ask them to trace the pattern with the ball. If you have a weighted ball (2-3 pounds) this activity will provide tactile stimulation as they move along the track. Either way the child is working to coordinate the ball and follow the pattern along the wall.
10. Obstacle Course
Taping painters tape between two walls make perfect hurdles to step and jump over. In the video you can see two examples of different heights. It can also be used to outline stepping stones or create balance beams for an easy indoor obstacle course. Obstacle courses help children develop safety awareness, depth perception and understanding of where their bodies are in space.