How to make therapy fun!

by Louise O'Reilly

 Top 5 tips

Physiotherapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, play therapy…. There are so many types of therapy to support your child’s development.

However, all these exercises to help our children achieve their potential can be endless. We want to do the best for them and follow the advice, but it can get too much, and feel like a daily battle! If this rings true speak to your therapists to look at reducing or combining exercise programs to make it achievable, or look at these top tips to get some magic back!! 

1.Provide variety

Doing the same exercises day in and day out can be boring!!! Children are designed to learn through play, and therapy is no different. Complete the exercises alongside fun and different games, they are more likely to want to keep going to see what the next game will be. Use shop bought toys, homemade toys, or if your imagination will allow you, tell a story through your exercises and go on some adventures!

2.Introduce choice

If you were given no choice over what you do and when, we can start to get a little resistant to the process. Add choice into their exercise program and watch their commitment increase!

It could be as simple as a visual time table of the exercises, and the child chooses what order they are completed.  One young lady I work with always chooses her hardest exercise first and says ‘lets get this done’, I love her determination! Or out of a set of 10 exercises ask them to choose 5. 

3. Have fun

Make the sessions fun! Lay the exercises out in a bingo inspired game … when a line is completed they win! You can ensure some must have exercises are in certain lines to achieve a rounded workout. 

Here is a link for this idea courtesy of the inspired treehouse for a gross motor bingo, but you can adapt this idea for speech and occupational therapy exercises too….

4. Reward hard work

For older children a reward can be a positive motivator! My favourite is buying a complete sticker collection, and separating the stickers into 5 per session. As the sticker book fills up, as a result of their exercise completion, they mean even ask to do more therapy to get more stickers!!! One of my young guys is a Star Wars mega fan, so he is working towards the complete Rogue one sticker collection.

Check out these websites for sticker packs -

5.Don’t call it therapy!

Certain words command a certain response… and certainly the word physio or exercise does this in my experience. I hear ‘it’s time for your therapy’ and I see faces drop and hackles rise!!

I go to a house to of course complete a therapy programme, however I do not emphasise this with the child. I focus on play, having fun, laughing, and engaging with my delightful young clients. Their eyes light up when they see my toy bag and sometimes cry when I leave! I used to be late for my next visits, as how could you not refuse the hopeful question of  ‘just one more game?’, now I just factor in more time! 

So please don’t make therapy a chore, it is necessary, and for a lot of children needed throughout their lives to keep them functioning at their potential……. So dedicate some 1:1 therapy time….. think about what you call it..….don’t attach a negative feeling …… invite them to play….. and most importantly have FUN! 


If you require more support, specialist therapist input, a second opinion or just a chat, please contact us at Tots2Teens Therapy. Our admin team will take your details and a therapist will contact you the next day.

Louise O’Reilly

Independent Physiotherapist Tots2Teens Therapy