School-Based Physical Therapy Activities

School-based physical therapists work on a variety of skills and goals with their students. PT goals in a school setting often include navigating playground equipment or activities related to physical education classes. Therapy may also focus on helping students move from class to class or maintain balance while sitting at a desk.

Although the goals you work towards help students function better at school, which is beneficial both socially and academically, not all kids are excited to participate in therapy. If you’re working as a school-based physical therapist, you know how important it is to keep your students engaged in therapy.

Therapeutic exercises and hands-on activities are often a part of physical therapy. Using standard PT tools, such as a therapy ball, incline ramp, and foam roller have their place. But incorporating varied activities is also critical.

Recreational activities and games are an essential part of school-based physical therapy to help kids stay engaged. Games and recreational activities make therapy fun, which may encourage students to give a hundred percent. Consider some of following suggestions for physical therapy activities:

Movement-based video games

When it comes to PT, video games might not seem like the best choice. But they can be a great way to get students moving while having fun at the same time. There are video games specifically designed for physical therapy. But commercial games may also work. Video games, such as baseball, boxing, and golf allow kids to perform a variety of activities while also having a little friendly competition. Depending on the game you select, you can work on skills, such as balance, flexibility, and strength. This can also help students improve eye-hand coordination and agility.

Old-fashioned games

Old fashioned games, such as Simon Says, may also be something to consider. Simon says will feel more like a game than a therapy session, but it still allows you to work on various skills. “Follow the leader” is also an easy game that might work well if you’re working with a few students at one time.

Obstacle course

Depending on the space you have; an obstacle course may be a fun choice. An obstacle course allows you to have students work on several skills at the same time, such as balance and agility. Build a course using stepping stones, a balance beam kit, and a bucket bridge. You can also have kids hop and step over things, walk on uneven surfaces and even incorporate riding toys into the course.


Incorporating yoga into therapy can be a fun way to provide a good gross motor workout. Through yoga, you can work on flexibility, strength, and balance. Yoga can also improve body awareness and coordination. It also has a calming effect on some children. Pediatric PT yoga kits can be a very helpful tool. Kits often include felt hand and footprints and dozens of cards showing different poses. Therapists can give parents and caregivers the cards or suggested for them to purchase to use at home to reinforce the skills practiced in therapy.

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