This indoor ice skating activity is an older blog post on The OT Toolbox, but the gross motor benefits are perfect for today! Did you know you can use an indoor balance and coordination activity like paper plate ice skating (and the inside skating task below) to challenge and integrate proprioceptive input, vestibular sensory input, and work on various gross motor skills.
Indoor Ice Skating Activity
Sometimes, you come across a play activity that provides many skill areas and is just plain old fun. These indoor ice skates proprioception and vestibular activity is one of those.
A few years ago, we shared a bunch of winter sensory integration activities. This is on of those movement sensory ideas (that we’re just getting around to sharing this year!)
With this indoor ice skating activity, you can play indoors AND incorporate proprioceptive input, vestibular input, crossing midline, visual scanning, motor planning, among other therapy areas…all with play.
Add these resources to the ones you can find here under sensory diet vestibular activities to meet the sensory needs of all kids.
This is a great indoor therapy activity for challenging balance and endurance.
- Ask kids to follow a specific path to work on memory, sequencing, and motor planning.
- Ask the child to move the indoor skates along a straight line and then bend and stoop to retrieve objects.
- Incorporate the indoor skating activity into an Olympics therapy theme.
- Use the indoor skates to move in circles, curved lines, and move as a real ice skater.
- Ask the skater to carry objects from one point to another.
In this skating activity, kids are really challenging strength and balance. The carpeted surface is a slick and slippery surface when sliding with a non-resistant surface when sliding on a paper plate, wax paper, or cardboard. TO slide, you need to move the legs along without lifting along the carpet, using core strength to maintain balance.
To move the feet, kids need to engage muscles of the core help maintain balance without falling or sliding.
Tissue Box Ice Skates
This is an activity that I remember doing as a kid. When the weather is too cold or icy to get outdoors, adding any vestibular or proprioception input can be just what the child with sensory needs craves.
To make your own indoor ice skating activity, all you need is a couple of cardboard tissue boxes and a carpeted floor.
If you don’t have tissue boxes, you can use other materials to make indoor ice skates. Or, try some of these ideas. The options are limitless:
- Tissue boxes
- Cereal box cut in half
- Paper plates
- Styrofoam plates
- Two pieces of wax paper
- Pieces of cardboard delivery box
- 2 plastic frisbees
- Padded delivery envelopes (think Amazon delivery pouches)
- Any cardboard box!
Depending on the material and the user’s motor skills, you may need to strap the cardboard pieces onto shoes with pieces of tape. Other users can slide their feet to move the materials along carpeted surface by sliding their feet.
There are many skills that are developed with this indoor ice skating activity. Let’s cover those therapy skill areas:
Indoor Ice Skating and proprioception
Use empty tissue boxes to create ice skate “boots”. Moving the feet along the carpet requires heavy work, coordination, balance, and awareness of position in space.
Incorporate proprioceptive input by using a blanket and pull your child around a carpeted area. Ask them to squat down to a skater’s ready position as you pull them, too.
Try skating with the tissue boxes as an adult pulls the child along with a blanket or towel. Play tug of war with the blanket, too.
Read more about proprioception activities and how they impact functional skills.
Indoor Ice skating and Vestibular Sensory
A child can work on vestibular input by skating fast from one target to another. Encourage them to position themselves in different ways as they skate around a carpeted room.
This activity works on crossing midline as the child “skis”. Sometimes you might see children with vestibular difficulties who have difficulty determining proper motor planning in activities. They might have trouble crossing midline in functional tasks as well as difficulties with reading and writing.
A movement activity that challenges the body’s position in space like this one can help with these problem areas.
Read more about vestibular sensory activities and how these therapy tasks impact functional skills.
More Winter activities to use in occupational therapy
Add this indoor ice skating activity to these other winter ideas for occupational therapy sessions or home programming:
- Winter crafts to work on scissor skills, tool use, and fine motor skills.
- Use the some of these snow and ice occupational therapy activities to incorporate into a therapy session or home therapy planning.
- Winter Fine Motor Activities– work on hand strength, endurance, and motor planning with winter themed fine motor tasks.
- Winter Bilateral Coordination Activities– Integrate both sides of the body with these winter activities.
- Incorporate the ice and snow activities in our Penguin Therapy Kit to work on fine motor skills, handwriting, gross motor skills, self-regulation, sensory input, pencil control, and much more.
- Use our FREE icicle templates to work on scissor skills.
- Winter Sensory Stations (FREE)- Add today’s indoor ice skating activity to these winter sensory stations for a fun themed obstacle course.
- Things to Do in the Snow (FREE)- Work on handwriting skills with a snow and ice theme.
- Use the ice and snow themes in our Snowman Therapy Kit with gross motor, fine motor, self-regulation tasks, sensory diet activities, crafts, and much more.
This print-and-go snowman-themed therapy kit includes no-prep fine motor, gross motor, sensory, visual processing, handwriting, self-regulation, and scissor skill activities to help kids develop essential skills. Includes everything you need for therapy tasks, home therapy sessions, and movement-based learning.
Colleen Beck, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to email@example.com.