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The definition of apraxia is difficulty getting your body to do what it needs to do in order to complete a task.  A term also used is motor planning.

button pizza

Praxis is when you think, I want to put my pants on, then your brain tells your muscles what steps they need to take in order to accomplish this task.

When you have apraxia, you have trouble figuring out what you need your muscles to do in order to accomplish the task.

The term can be used related to tasks, so you may hear someone talk about types of apraxia, such as speech apraxia, dressing apraxia, oral apraxia.

Some activities that work on motor planning:

10 activities to do on a scooter board

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Using a scooter board is great for strengthening both the arms and the trunk / core.  Sometimes just being on the scooter board is fun all by itself, but other times you need to provide kids with a purpose and motivation to move the scooter board from one place to another. Here is a short…

A Bunch of Bee Themed Activities

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To work on pencil control, it really is great to do activities where you are having to control your pencil.  For this I use pencil paths, pencil adventures, circles, and coloring. I really enjoyed using the flower honeycomb activity that I made for doing circles, and I wanted to have some more activities that would…

A Fun Summer Buttoning Ice Cream Cone

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I have been working on a bunch of different buttoning activities and thought I would share the ones that I made this week. I made some bananas that you can unbutton from the bunch, an ice cream cone to button the scoops on, some pancakes with syrup and butter, and some eggs that you button…

A smaller munchy ball pet

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For some little hands, the Munchy Ball is a little too big, and a bit hard to squeeze but it works on so many great skills.  I have searched for smaller balls to use, but have not had any success in finding ones that would work. When working with one of my students, I really…

A Tree Made From A Pool Noodle and Pipe Cleaners

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This was kind of a spontaneous activity. I had pool noodles, and I had pipe cleaners that I was planning to use to thread the letter beads onto, so I stuck the pipe cleaners into the pool noodles to make a tree. The tree worked beautifully to thread the beads onto, and the pipe cleaners…

Angry Birds Toss Game

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Throwing bean bags into a container is great for visual motor control, and even better when you have to aim at a specific target, such as toss across or similar game. I ran across these angry birds dog toys at walmart, and they are the perfect size for throwing at a target. I made a…

Balancing Balls on Golf Tees

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I have a new activity for my bouncy balls to participate in. I stuck five golf tees into a piece of rigid Styrofoam, and then had kids balance the bouncy balls onto the tees. You can increase the challenge by holding multiple balls in one hand, and putting the balls on the tee at the…

Balloon Volleyball

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Balloon Volleyball is such a simple game to play that is fun for young and old. It can be played standing up or sitting down, although when sitting down, someone will need to retrieve the balloon when it is out reach. I don’t think I need to say this, but will, just in case. The…

Big mouth creature for feeding pom poms to

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You can put manipulatives into any container, but when you make the container into a creature that is hungry, it makes it so much more fun to do the work. I saw this cute little creature on Pinterest, but it originally came from a blog called The Preschool Experiment.  He was so easy to make,…

Big Mouth Creature with clothespin to open the mouth

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I saw these Big Mouth Critters on a blog called Whimsical Publishing, and thought that they were so cute, and that it would be a great activity for some of my students to do. Some kids need the challenge of following the folding directions and trying to make the creature themselves, but others have trouble…

Bimanual Task Stencil Tracing on a Board

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Getting both hands to work together can be fun, and if you add a vertical surface, then you are able to really get some good bimanual practice. A great way to work both hands is to trace around a stencil on a vertical chalk board or white board. You have to hold the stencil/picture up…

Bouncy Balls and Cups

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This can be a wild bouncy ball activity. Be prepared to chase balls everywhere. You stand at one end of a table with the client at the other end. You then roll Bouncy Balls one at a time across the table, and the client has to catch them in a cup as they roll off…

Bug Splat Race Clothespin Games

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I was searching for small rolling toys to use in a game and I came across these Cars Micro Drifters. They didn’t work for the game I was looking to use them for, but they were the perfect size and have a roller ball under them, so they move exactly the way I wanted them…

Bugs In a Jar Craft

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I started this craft thinking it would be so cute to cut out bugs and glue them onto a bug box like you caught the bugs.  This morphed into a jar, because a jar is see through, and a bug box is not.  It then morphed into a full game with clothespins and everything, but…

Build a Catapult

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We did a craft this week that was a build your own catapult.  We made it from a catapult kit, and it involved placing pegs in holes and putting the pieces together.  It would be a great activity for older kids to follow directions and work on putting together an activity.  Once it is done,…

Building Animal Faces With Shapes

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I have been working with several kids who have visual perceptual problems, and they have a hard time with some of the simple tasks. I am working on getting back to basics with them so that we can build on it. I wanted to have them put together shapes to make objects, and I made…

Button Push Ins

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When working on buttoning skills, there is a progression of skill mastery. Pushing buttons or coins into a container is the first step. Putting coins into a piggy bank slot is the easiest, and then pushing buttons or coins into a recycled butter tub is the next. One reason using the butter container is good…

Button Snake

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When learning to button, it is easier to button large buttons on fabric that you are holding rather than fabric that is on your body. In order to practice this skill, I made a “button snake”. It is a very simple activity of squares of fabric with button holes in the center. I then stitched…

Cake Pops, a cooking activity with sensory and fine motor

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I have seen these cake pops around the internet, and they look so cute.  I thought that it would be fun to have a holiday party and decorate cake pops.  Instead of a cookie party, we would do cake pops.  As I was making them, I was thinking about the therapy involved.  You could only…

Car Mat for Pre-Writing

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Young pre-school kids love playing with cars, and they are developing a whole slew of skills while they are playing. It is the perfect activity that is simple, can be self-directed or adult influenced, and every part of the activity works on a skill that is needed in life. When you play on a car…

Car Wash

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When the weather is warm, it is always fun to play in the water. Here is a fun activity that has water play, with some self-care skills and fine motor skills all mixed into one activity. When washing your hands, you use visual perception and motor planning to see and physically scrub the dirt off…

Cardboard Bricks

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These cardboard bricks are a large motor building toy that creates fun during other activities by incorporating the building and knocking down element. The best part about these bricks is that they are so much fun to knock down. When building with these bricks, a young child has to use both hands because the bricks…

Cardboard Marble Maze

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Here is a low tech visual perceptual marble maze made out of a cardboard box and some straws. This one is fairly simple, but it can be useful for those who have trouble with motor coordination as well as visual perception. I used a cardboard box and some large “Smoothie Straws”. I glued the straws…

Catapult Birds

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Last week we made catapults out of clothespins, so this week we used those catapults to play a game and work on writing. I made a target to shoot pom poms at, and use the pom poms as birds that we shoot with the catapult (kind of like angry birds). Inside the target, there are…

Caterpillar

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Here is a post submitted by a reader: This is a good activity for drawing circles, handwriting, and cutting, as well as pattern recognition.  I created a “caterpillar head” print out and have the kids each color and cut out the head. Then, they choose three colors of construction paper to use to make the…

Chopsticks

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Mature and refined grasp patterns, as well as in hand manipulation, require use of the small finger muscles, and they use the two sides of the hands separately. It can be challenging learning how to coordinate the pinky finger side of the hand separately from the index finger side of the hand.  Similar movements are…

Clay Writing Board

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Have you ever wanted to add resistance for strengthening the writing muscles of the hands? Writing in clay is a perfect way to do this. This week we made letters out of clay/playdoh, and had the kids write letters on a clay tracing board. I used a little chalkboard that I got from oriental trading…

Clothespin Flower Game

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It is time for spring and flowers, so how about a new clothespin game where you have to build the flower petal by petal and use the clothespin to hold the petals onto the flower. There are several different ways to play the game.  The most simple way is to shoot the flat marble down…

Clothespin UNO

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  The ultimate Occupational Therapist stand-by, pinching clothespins. Man can that be boring. How about playing a card game along with pinching?   The clothespins hold the cards, so you have to pinch high, pinch low, pinch left, pinch right. Don’t have too much fun playing the game that you forget to make them use…

Color matching velcro block fine motor toy

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I love all of the recycling activities that the Recycling OT does, but I am not as good at saving items to recycle.  I used an empty tennis ball can, and put colored duct tape stripes on it in the colors of the items that I wanted to attach to it. I then put velcro…

Coloring and Cutting Heart Bugs and Caterpillars

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Last year I made some really cute heart butterflies, and wanted to increase it by having other bugs to make too.  They make cute little valentine love bugs. The bugs are very similar to the heart butterflies with the same template shapes, but changed in order to look more like ladybug type of bugs.  You…

Coloring and Cutting Shapes for a Picture

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For this activity, we are incorporating very simple coloring and cutting of easy shapes. Then you can put those shapes together to make a pretty picture to take home. Two simple designs to choose from are a flower or a butterfly. With the flower, you have a circle for the center and ovals for the…

Confetti Eggs

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Confetti eggs are one of the most fun and best selling games at the fall festival at my kids’ school. The confetti eggs are regular raw eggs that are emptied, filled with confetti, and the hole is covered with tissue, and then painted. The kids buy the eggs and then break them over each others’…

Connecta Straws for Fine Motor and Visual Perception

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I had heard years ago about using straws and connectors, and I think that someone had mentioned using regular straws and the connectors for drip tubing from home depot. Well I tried the drip tubing connectors, and they don’t work with regular straws. They are too small for regular straws, and they are very hard…

Cootie Catcher (Fortune Teller)

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Any square piece of paper can be made into a Cootie Catcher. Fold two corners together and crease firmly. unfold.  Then fold the other two corners together and crease again. Fold each corner point into the center. flip it over and fold all four of these corners into the center. Under the inside flaps, you…

Cute felt piggy bank with button slot and zipper

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In my constant quest to find new and fun ways to work on fine motor skills, I made an adorable little piggy bank out of felt. He has a little slot to put money or buttons into with a zipper in the back to take the money out. The kids enjoy putting money into the…

DC Comics Games

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I was invited to join the DC Comics Fan Families for an event that they were holding this summer during the San Diego Comic Con.  I only participate in events if they can relate to therapy in some way, and I found several items at the DC Comics event that I could share.  The DC…

Developing Visual Skills and the Playground

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Annie, don’t slide down the slide head first! I could hear a mother yell to her child as the little girl went down the slide on her back head first. I told the mom that it was actually good to slide down this way as it gives her body a new experience and sensation and…

Different sets of Munchy Balls

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I posted a few weeks ago about the games that I have made to play with Munchy Balls (tennis ball heads).  Most people make their own balls, but many people would rather have them ready to go, so I have included some different packs of Munchy Balls in the shop alongside the digital download of…

Dominos

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When playing dominos in therapy, we don’t usually play the game of dominos . Instead we line them up to knock them over. Lining the dominos up on end requires fine motor precision in getting them to stay in place. It also takes eye hand coordination and visual perceptual skills to get the dominos lined…

Dreidel Games

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The blog at Pediastaff was looking for some therapy games that have a connection to Hanukkah, and I have been making a bunch of games lately. My son was thrilled to help me create a board game using a dreidel to determine the spaces you move. I made a game board that would fit with…

Easy Clothespin Board made with Hot glue and sheet protector

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This week as I was driving to work, I came up with a way to make the clothespin frame for the games using much more accessible supplies. I had thought of this one before, but thought that it might not work, and might be too difficult, but I was wrong. It works well, and it…

Feature Friday: Puzzle Board

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I really love the activities that they come up with at the adaptions 4 kidz blog.  Here is another one.  It is for a vertical puzzle board.  Basically, you put flannel over a piece of foam core, and small pieces of velcro on the back of puzzle pieces.  That way you can put the puzzle…

Feed the Mouth Ball

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I have seen this activity in several places, and decided to try it. It is a tennis ball with a mouth cut into it. You squeeze the ball to open the mouth, and feed objects into the mouth. First, you take a new, clean tennis ball and make a slit in it using an exacto…

Felt Christmas Tree

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Here is a fun little Christmas activity of decorating a Christmas tree with felt ornaments. I got a styrofoam cone from the craft store and wrapped green felt around it. I then cut out some ornament shapes from different colored felt. You could glue the green felt onto the cone, but it actually stays well…

Felt Pizza to Work on Button Skills

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I have a client that needs to work on buttoning skills, and I found that I do not have many buttoning activities that are appropriate and fun for older kids. When I heard another therapist mention that the pepperoni pizza buttoning activity is her favorite, I searched the internet and came up blank. I therefore…

Fine Motor Coordination Speed

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We talk a lot about doing fine motor activities and there are a lot of them available. Another aspect of motor ability though is the speed of the motor response. I can see a student’s motor response speed when we play the game with the balls and cup. I roll small bouncy balls across a…

Fine Motor Skills With Torn Paper Pumpkins

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Here is a great activity that is worth doing every year. I love having kids tear paper because it really makes them work hard with their fingers and work on those fine motor skills. I have had kids cut out pumpkins and create a jack-o-lantern face on them. Today we are going to tear colored…

Fine Motor Wiffle Ball Creatures

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This is a fairly open ended activity that works on fine motor skills, motor planning, visual perception, and planning in general as you try to make creatures and structures that will stand up. I used practice golf balls that have the holes in them and some pipe cleaners. I wish that I had brought some…

Fishing for letters

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To work on a combination of skills, I made some fish with letters on them, added some pipe cleaner to make it metallic, and made some fishing poles out of pipe cleaner and magnets.  Fishing is a great way to work on bimanual hand skills, fine motor skills, visual perceptual, and motor planning.  I used…

Flower Bouquet

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Here is an activity to make a paper flower bouquet. I created some flower templates, but my daughter said that they were too hard, so I simplified them, and these ones are much easier. You could print the template one time onto card stock and then have the student trace it onto colored paper and…

Flower Garden Fine Motor and Visual Motor Challenge

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I was looking for an activity that would give a good challenge to the visual motor system as well as challenge fine motor control. I wanted quite a bit of visual motor reaching and grasping while in prone. In one school that I work in, I have access to suspended equipment, which is rare, so…

Foam and duct tape pencil case

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This craft is to make a pencil case out of a sheet of craft foam and duct tape. It is very quick and easy to do, and it is not messy. It does take some skill to put the duct tape in the right places. We used colored duct tape from Michael’s to make it…

Free Standing Wall Marble Maze

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I love marble runsfor a variety of reasons, and have posted about many different kinds. There are the plastic free standing ones that you put together, there is the fabric marble maze, and there was a wall mounted marble run, and the cardboard marble maze. Needless to say, when I saw this marble run that…

Fruit Munching Fine Motor Activies

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The kids have been having fun feeding Munchy Ball mini fruit, and I have come up with several games for the kids to play in order to work on specific skills. I had made dice that have one of the fruit types on each side of the die so that we can roll and choose…

Fun Fine Motor Spider Webs

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I love the look of spider webs, and they are such a beautiful work of art. Here are some spider webs made out of pipe cleaner and popsicle sticks. You place the popsicle sticks (or other pipe cleaners) in cross patterns and duct tape them together. Then you wind the pipe cleaner around in a…

Fun foam on the Mirror

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One of my absolute favorite activities with young kids is playing with fun foam shapes on a mirror. It works well in the bathtub, shower, or on a glass door too. You spay the glass surface with water (great squeezing activity) and then the foam shapes will stick to the glass. I will often have…

Fun this week with tennis ball mouths

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Just a glimpse of the fun had this week with tennis ball heads. I have another post about the tennis ball heads that turn into vampires.

Game Made With Golf Tees and Marbles

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This summer, we spent some time on Hawai’i, the big island. We had a wonderful trip, and while there we were introduced to the game Konane. It is a game that is usually carved into lava rock or wood, and the game pieces are black and white shells or stones. I reproduced the game by…

Garden Bugs Fine Motor Game

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I started working on a craft for cutting out bugs, and it morphed into a complete game that includes catching bugs and using clothespins to hold the bugs in the bug jar. I am thrilled with the little bug jar, and they can stand upright using a stand made out of popsicle sticks ( Wood…

Graham Cracker Gingerbread Houses

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When I used to work in an outpatient clinic environment, I used to have the kids make these gingerbread type of houses out of graham crackers.  It was a fun, christmasy activity that was good therapy at the same time.  It was also out of the ordinary, and the kids loved it. You use graham…

Guest Post: Conversation Heart Bingo

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Here is an easy bingo game for some Valentine’s Day fine motor fun.  This activity was submitted by Barbara Bailey.  Make the dice by fastening corresponding colors to a wooden or foam cube. To play the game, pour candy hearts into a paper plate.   Each player roles the dice and uses either a pickle picker,…

Hammock swing for strengthening

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A hammock swing is wonderful for strengthening in many different ways.  My favorite position in a hammock swing is prone with just the head and arms sticking out.  This position forces weight bearing on the arms, and works on full upper body strengthening as well as core strengthening. I usually place things around under the…

Home Made Infinity Loop Toy

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An Infinity Loop is a ball run that goes around and around, and you have to keep moving it to keep the ball on the run. Its beginning is its end and it just keeps going. I have quickly and easily made an infinity loop toy out of two sturdy paper plates and some duct…

Home Made Table Ice Hockey Game

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This game takes a bit of time to put together, but it isn’t hard, and the materials are quite cheap.  I made the game originally to play in the pool, but I think that it actually works better played on a table, and I think that it would be fun to play it out in…

I Love Using Color Pop

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I love using the color pop game in therapy. Ever since I created it, it has become my go to for many therapy sessions because it is so basic, and can be so easily modified to work on so many different areas that I want to address.  Since I use it so much, I have…

I Spy Bags

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I spy bags are fabric bags with a vinyl see-through window in them. They are then filled with a filler such as plastic pellets, and small objects are placed inside and sealed up. A child then has to move around the inside pieces to find see all of the objects inside through the little window….

Ice Cream Cone Christmas Trees

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One of the Kindergarten classes that I visited today was making Christmas Trees out of ice cream cones. First you get a sugar cone, the kind with the pointy tip. Then you spread green frosting all over the cone. You can use red licorice strings as garland, and sprinkle it with colored sugar sprinkles. This…

iPad Chopsticks

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It is no secret that I have an affinity for using chopsticks to work on developing high level fine motor control, and I figured out a way to use them with the iPad. I was playing a game on the iPad that requires pinching your fingers together, and my finger nails were too long, so…

Jelly Fishing With Two Butterfly Nets

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This activity evolved from another activity, and the child who was doing it thought it was so much fun. We had been playing with plastic bugs, so I got out the butterfly nets, but it was too hard to catch the bugs or the balls in the nets when they were thrown, so we had…

Jenga Blocks Writing Game

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At Christmas, I got my kids a generic Jenga game for really cheap, and I got myself an extra one because I knew that I would want to make a therapy game out of it. I didn’t give it much thought until I was brainstorming new game ideas and using dominos as part of a…

Kbeu Mom and baby for fine motor skills

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I was sent this K-BEU Mom Pillow and baby to try out and see how it works for the clients that I see.  I have the Kbeu dad available here, and use it for some higher level kids that need a challenge.  I also got a baby when I got the Kbeu dad, and the…

Keeping Active in the Summer: Tennis

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It is Summer and the kids are out of school.  During school, the kids have recess and P.E. most days so they stay relatively active and work on many skills during school.  In the Summer, if left to their own devices, many kids will choose to watch TV or play video and computer games a…

Kid-O-Bilibo

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The Kid-O Bilibo is a toy that is the shape of a turtle shell. It reminds me of one of the large pieces of equipment that I use in therapy to balance on, but on a much smaller scale. It couldn’t be used exactly the same, but it has its own uses, and imagination can…

Lego Game, Ramses Pyramid

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My son just bought the Lego Game Ramses Pyramid game with his birthday money and we played it for the first time. You have to build the pyramid, which is the game board, before you can play the game. It is a very typical Lego building project during this part of the process. It requires following the…

Make a fine motor balance tree

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It is great to work on fine motor control away from the body, as that gives more of a challenge to the muscle control. You have to have control and coordination to balance and stack small objects onto a surface. i have the game scatterpillar scramble, and wanted to make a similar motor activity that…

Make Button Flowers

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Flowers make a great spring time activity, and there are so many ways to incorporate flowers into therapy to work on fine motor, visual motor, and coordination. I have many flower activities, such as ones that use clothes pins, but today we are using buttons in our flower activity. It is so simple to make…

Make Your Own Squishy Ball

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Have you made your own squishy stress ball?  You use a balloon (actually several) and fill them with different materials to squish and squeeze.  You can fill them with flour, play dough, beans, beads, rice, and many other materials.  They are great to use as fidgets, stress balls, or play a guessing game to figure…

Make Your Own Zoom-Ball

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Every clinic needs to have a Zoom Ball since it is so great for working on so many skills. You hold the handles and pull them out wide so that the zoom-ball moves along the two strings to the person holding the other handles. In order to make your own zoom ball, you just need…

Making a Crash Pad

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A crash pad is a big foam filled squishy mat that you can fall onto and you land on the squishy foam. Crash pads are great fun for kids who like a lot of movement and body input since they can roll around in the big foam nest. Kids need to always be supervised when…

Making button letters and names

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I love working on skills while working on skills, so using letters and buttons together is a perfect combination. We can work on fine motor and motor planning skills while talking about letters and the letters of the child’s name. First you make a strip with buttons about 1 1/2 to 2 inches apart. The…

Making Christmas Trees with torn paper

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I did this activity on Monday.  I used the christmas tree cutting template that I made.  We cut out the shapes and glued them in place on one side of a piece of paper.  On the other side of the paper, I made lines to write on. This is the base paper that I like…

Making heart butterflies

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For a fun craft this year, I had the kids color hearts, cut them out, and make butterflies out of them.  I think that they made adorable little love bugs.  Maybe next I will create different bugs to be cut out, but for now it is butterflies. I had the kids glue their butterflies onto…

Many Uses of the Matrix Ball

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I found a new ball that I love in many different ways.  I love it because I can use it form many different things.  My new favorite ball is called the Matrix Ball, and it is made by Tangle Creations.  The ball is a great texture and has open holes in it, but it still…

Marble Maze

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Keep in mind that marbles are a choking hazard so you have to watch little ones around them. That said, little ones love watching the marbles go down the ramp. There are some ramps with larger balls that are safe for the younger set. There are multiple levels of therapeutic value with a Marble Maze. Starting…

Marshmallow Men

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We made some men out of marshmallows and toothpicks, and they were delicious.  We used multiple sizes of marshmallows for the different parts, and connected the parts with toothpicks. Some of these men were looking very funny, but they all tasted good in the end.  This is a fun food play activity to combine food…

Monster Bowling

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I saw these little Monster Marbles at Walmart, and had to know what they were. They are little monster characters with a marble on the bottom so that the figures roll across the table. They just come with the little monsters only, and I decided they were perfect to use in a game, so I…

More Kinetic Sand Fun

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I posted about Kinetic Sand last year after I saw it at the AOTA conference and fell in love with how fun it was (you can read that post here).  I did not have any of my own at that time, and it was not available in many stores yet.  Since then, I now have…

Motor Control With Magnet Paths

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A fun activity that we did at a Zaner Bloser workshop that I went to while at the OTAC spring fling, were these pages with paths on them. You place a metal piece on the path (I used a metal nut) with a magnet underneath. Then you move the magnet to make your piece follow…

Motor Planning Made Easy

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Take a moment to play along with me.  Think about your daily routine – at home or at work.  Walk yourself through a typical day starting from the moment after you are dressed and ready to go.  Let’s say you are leaving for work.  You know the route, how long it will take, where you’ll…

Movement and Learning Go Together

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Movement is the basis of learning from the time we are born. A baby has an internal drive to work against gravity to get their body up and moving, and in doing the physical movement work, the baby is learning about the environment, how things feel, how far to reach to touch a toy, how…

Mr. Potato Head

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I’m a married spud, I’m a married spud. Sorry, quote from Toy Story. Mr. Potato Head has many levels of therapy. It helps a child learn body parts. Visual Perception and motor control are worked on when trying to get the pieces into the holes. Strength in hands and arms are worked on when pulling his…

Munchy Ball Motor Game

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I have officially named my tennis ball head Munchy Ball, and I guess he is like a frog because he likes to eat little bugs. I made a little game to incorporate visual motor skills, motor planning, fine motor strength, and writing. I duct taped four little plastic tubs together and put a number in…

New Awesome Clothespin Tower Games

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When I am looking at the basic clothespin game that has been used through the ages, most of them are simple matching games on the side of a can. I wanted to take the concept of my flat clothespin games, and merge it with the concept of the can type of clothespin game, and the…

New Button Pizzas and Patterns to Make Your Own

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The button pizza, sandwich and oreo are so great for working on fine motor and motor planning skills in a fun way.  I ran out of the button food available in the shop quite a while ago, and have found it difficult to find a sewing manufacturer that is affordable.  So I have been developing…

Ocean Animal Clothespin Game

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I have been working on a fairly complex (for me to create) clothespin game, and am getting burned out on it, so I took a (long) break from working on it and made a quicker and easier clothespin game. This one consists of game boards similar to the Monster Bowling boards, and Ocean animals that…

Ogo Sport

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I saw the Ogo Sport Disc during some random internet shopping, and they looked like they would be fun to play with. I did not realize how fun they would be though until my son started playing with them. They are round discs that have a springy fabric center. You use a koosh type ball…

OT Flower Coloring Page

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It is always a good time to show your love of Occupational Therapy. I created a lovely flower around the shape of OT. You can print out the flower and color it yourself or have your patients color it. Coloring works on many skills such as fine motor, and visual motor. If you put the…

Painting With Tiny Sponges

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In my quest to paint with tiny objects, I had some kids paint with tiny cut up sponges. I cut the sponges into tiny pieces so that the kids would have to use a fine precise grasp. It worked well, but I used regular kitchen sponges, which squished down too easily between the fingers when…

Paper folded flowers

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I like to work on many skills within the same activity, and these folded flowers definitely do that.  I discovered these via pinterest, and they are originally on Whimsical World of Laura Bird. I often have kids that need to work on writing small enough to fit into a specified space, such as writing answers…

Paper Helicopter

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It is always fun for kids to be able to take home a fun item that they created, and the paper helicopters are a nice finished project. They are pretty quick to make, but you can have the kids do more things to them before they are finished. I am going to have my students…

Paper Rainbow Mosaic

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A simple activity that I did a few weeks ago is making a paper rainbow mosaic. I drew the rainbow template and cut it out. I then had my student trace around the curved rainbow lines and cut them out of colored construction paper. We then glued the rainbow onto a sheet of white paper,…

Paper Towel Roll Marble Run

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I ran across a blog that posts projects that they have done using only recycled toilet paper and paper towel rolls.  It is called TPcraft.com.  They have a post where they made a magnetic marble run using paper towel rolls.  It looks really cool.  Here is a picture of their finished product.  Go check it…

Paper Toys Website

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With higher level kids, I look for activities that will challenge them mentally as well as physically.  Paper folding can be challenging visual-perceptually as well as the difficulty with fine motor and manipulating the paper in the right way.  A cute website that has different toy patterns to print, cut, and fold out of paper…

Perler Beads

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Perler beads are tiny plastic beads that you place on little spikes on a board in order to make a design. They are quite small, so they require precision and care to get them placed on the design board. Once the design is finished, you then put parchment baking paper over the design and iron…

Perplexus

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I had heard good things about the Perplexus maze game, so I got one to use for therapy. If you haven’t seen one before, it is a large clear ball that has a three dimensional platform maze inside of it, and you have to rotate the large ball to move a small steel ball through…

Pine Cone Bird Feeder and Spreading with a Knife

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Spreading can be a challenge for many kids, so here is a fun activity that helps practice. You use a pine cone and attach a wire or string to the top of it so that you can hang it once it is finished. You then spread peanut butter all over the pine cone. It can…

Pizza Delivery Game For Following Directions

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I wanted to do some direction following and learning right and left, as well as memory, so I created a pizza delivery game. This game uses a floor road map that I made, and writing out and following the directions to get to different houses on the map. I made this huge road map on…

Play Doh Cake With Candles for Fine Motor

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Of course, playdoh is a great toy for strengthening, but if you add candles, it can be good for in hand manipulation too. Make a cake out of playdoh, model magic, or any clay of your choice. Put some candles in the cake. They can be real or fake. Toothpicks would work in place of…

Play Doh Connect Four

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Play Doh Connect Four is a fun activity that was created by Marie Logan, an Occupational Therapist with UAB Pediatric Neuromotor Clinic.  This activity is a great way to combine the benefits of using play doh, and the fun of playing connect four while working on hand, wrist, and forearm skills.  In order to play you…

Pom Pom Animals

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When I was a kid, I spent hours making these felt and pom pom animals. I have had the pom poms in a box all these years, but could only find a couple of the hand made patterns that I used back then, so I made some new patterns. You print out the patterns on…

Pool Noodle Ball Run

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I saw these pool noodles at the grocery store, and they had extra large holes in the middle. I just knew that they would work for an activity. I made a frame out of four pvc pipes, using duct tape to hold them together at the top. I then attached regular pool noodles to the…

Pool Noodle Javelin Throw

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When working on visual motor skills, you can work on building accuracy with being able to hit a target. I used a pool noodle that I duct taped together into a circle. Then I hung it from a command hook over an archway. We then used a pool noodle cut in half as a javelin….

Pool Noodle Visual Motor Ring

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I had a lot of pool noodles lying around, so I made a visual tracking ring to use with a marble. To make the ring, I bent a regular pool noodle into a circle and duct taped the ends together. Then I took scissors (but an x-acto knife would work better) and I sliced out…

Practice Buttoning with Felt Oreo Cookies

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I was inspired by making the buttoning pizza to make more food that requires buttoning. I see a whole line of fun button food in my future. Here is an oreo cookie that I made. It is very similar to the button snake, but looks like an oreo. One difference from the button snake is…

Practice Buttoning with Felt Sandwich

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I was inspired by making the buttoning pizza to make more food that requires buttoning. I see a whole line of fun button food in my future. Here is a sandwich that I made. It is very similar to the button snake and button oreo that I made, but it has more layers like a…

Practicing Letters and Finger Strengthening

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Resistance keeps your muscles strong, and the little muscles in the fingers need to work and get strong along with the rest of the muscles of your body. I love having kids get letters randomly in order to practice writing the letters and words, since the randomness is somehow more fun than me giving them…

Practicing Tying Shoes with Loopers Laces

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Occupational Therapists create stuff. It’s what we do. I am thrilled to share products that have been conceived and created by other OTs. Today’s product is Loopers Laces, which was created specifically to help with working on learning to tie shoes. The Loopers Shoelace tying system comes with 2 little mini practice shes that are…

Prone on Therapy Ball

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The therapy ball is great for therapy. Don’t you love the obvious. You can turn work on the therapy ball into fun play. Have the client lay on his stomach and you stand by their feet. You roll the ball forward until their hands touch the floor. Keep rolling forward and have them walk their hands…

Putting out the chalk fire

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Squeezing sponges is a great activity for hand strengthening, so I came up with a game to play that incorporates the squeezing of the sponges. This game will need to be played outside because it can get very wet. I wanted the kids to be able to squeeze the sponges on something that was upright,…

Q-tip painting with templates

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I have posted about Q-tip painting before, but another therapist has a different twist on it.  She has made some templates to do the q-tip painting, which requires more precision in the painting. This is a guest post by a therapist,  Tova Stulberger, who made some templates to use when Q-tip painting. Instructions: Kids dip…

Quick Tip; necklaces to simulate dressing

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Use Necklaces to simulate getting a shirt over your head, and bracelets to simulate getting a sock on toes.

Quick Tip; Stickers

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Put stickers on the client’s forearms to encourage supination when finding the stickers to take them off.

Recycled Egg Carton Garden Games

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Pinching small objects is great for working on fine motor skills, so when I saw this cute carrot harvest idea on Powerful Mothering. I immediately thought it would be perfect for some of the kids that I work with. I wanted to give it more of a purpose for the different aged kids that I…

Ribbon Christmas Tree

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This ribbon Christmas tree activity is the most awesome therapy activity ever. It incorporates practicing tying into a nice craft that looks beautiful when it is done. The kids all loved it, and they were all very proud of what they had accomplished. Most of the kids started the activity by saying that they didn’t…

Rush Hour Junior

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I know that many therapists love and use the game Rush Hour to work on some skills.  I have a tendency to dislike playing these types of games myself as I don’t really like the challenge, but this Rush Hour Jr Game edition is easier to play, and if you get stuck, there are cheater…

Salt Painting

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Salt painting gives an interesting twist to regular painting, and it makes good use of a glue bottle for hand strengthening. Before you get to the painting part, you squeeze glue onto the paper in the pattern that you want the paint to be in. You can either put the glue on free hand, or…

Save the Dinosaurs fine motor game

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When I see kids for therapy, I like to make it a fun and motivating time to work on underlying skills and practice class skills (such as writing) in an interesting way. If we make it fun and interesting, then the kids are more likely to participate to the best of their abilities. Many therapists…

Scissor cutting designs — car

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I have created more scissor cutting designs.  Have the client color it in, cut out the shapes and glue it all together.  Here is a car design. Here is the link to the PDF finished sample. here is the PDF for the cut out template.

Scissor Cutting Shapes: Pizza

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When working on cutting skills, it is fun to create something out of what you cut. This week I had some of my students make some pizza. I made a template for the shapes needed to make the pizza, and they traced the shapes, cut them out and glued them on to their paper. I…

Scissor Cutting Turkey Template

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Making Turkeys for Thanksgiving is a great time to incorporate a lot of skills into your therapy session. I love that the feathers are perfect for writing on and being able to create a thankful craft. Cutting with scissors is a skill that works on bimanual skills, motor planning, fine motor, etc. I have created…

Scissor Cutting: Christmas Tree

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Here is a Christmas tree template for coloring, cutting and putting together.  First the finished product. Next, the template.  I have the template both plain white, and in colors. Here are the pdfs. Save Save

scissor cutting: gingerbread man

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I have been working on some new printables to cut out with scissors and paste together.  It is time to get into the winter and holiday spirit, so here is my gingerbread man.  First is the finished product. Here is the template to color and cut. Here is the PDF file to print out.

Scissor Cutting: Snow Man Template

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Here is a snow man template to color and cut.  The client has to draw the face and add any extra accessories. Here is a picture of the template. Here is a PDF file for the snow man template.

Scooter Board Fishing

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When Scooter board fishing, your hands are the paddles and you have to move your boat around the ocean to catch all of the fish. The fish can be anything that you can put on the floor for the fisherman to collect. I used paper fish that I laminated with a paper clip as the…

Scooter Board Rope Pull

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Wheeee!! Scooterboards can be such fun, but they are a lot of work. There is some serious upper extremity strengthening going on. Using the rope is good for kids who can’t quite propel themselves on the scooterboard yet. Knots tied in the rope make it easier for the kids to hold on. The easiest is…

Screwball Scramble Game

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Screwball scramble is a game where you have to get a ball through an obstacle course.  To play it, you push buttons, turn dials, and slide levers in order to get the ball to move through the course. I have used this game in therapy with kids of all abilities.  It is difficult to get…

Sentence Memory With Chopsticks

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I have been doing this sentence memory activity periodically with a small group of kids. I decided to do it again and add the challenge of chopsticks along with the sentences. To summarize, I have the sentences typed on a piece of paper, and the words on pieces of foam with magnets on the back….

Shoelaces to help with learning to tie shoes

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I love sharing products that were created by therapists.  Last year I did a post about some little practice shoes called Loopers Laces.  The practice shoes were not meant to be worn, but just meant to be practiced with and help with the process of learning to tie shoes.  Now there are new shoelaces made…

Shopping Cart

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A toy shopping cart is a very necessary piece of equipment when working with pediatrics. It can be used for many things during imaginative play, and makes the child forget that they are working. When you go shopping, you can work on walking with the cart assisting. You will have to squat to pick up…

Simple matching with clothespins

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This is a very simple activity that is easily used with a scooterboard or other motor activity.  You start with clothespins at one end of the room with numbers written on them.  The child attaches the clothespins to the bottom of their shirt.  You could have a ribbon for them to attach them to if…

skateboard

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I have talked about using a scooterboard for activities, and often suggest just using a skateboard if you can’t get a scooterboard.  Here is a family that has done that. Check out the full post about using a skateboard.

Slowing Down With Scissor Cutting

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I recently was doing an evaluation, and the student was just snipping at the paper as fast and furiously as she could.  When I tried to help her position the paper or the scissors better, she just pushed me away and kept snipping.  She gave no attempt to follow the lines that she was supposed…

Snow Man Dressing

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I saw a cute little snow man mentioned on a teacher’s site, and I thought it would be perfect to use in therapy.  The original source of the picture was from here, but I have made my own to cut out, color, and dress your snowman. There is a plain white picture to color and…

Snowflake Cutting

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Cutting out snowflakes is a winter tradition. Some clients will be able to cut them out with just a demonstration of how to fold and cut the shapes, but for younger clients, you can draw the shapes onto the paper and have them cut out the shapes. These work best when the paper is folded…

Spatula Flip for hand strength and range of motion

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Another activity that I had my son do while working on strengthening his hand and forearm after his broken arm, is flipping bean bags with a spatula. I did not have any bean bags, so I put some beans in a baggie and taped it closed. To make the game interesting, I taped some pictures…

Spider Craft for Cutting, Folding, gluing, and Writing

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Halloween is coming up soon, so I am having the kids make spiders this week.  The spider bodies require cutting out circles, and the legs require cutting rectangles.  You also have to fold the legs on the marked lines, which is a great activity for visual perception and motor planning. I put a light web…

Squishy Marble Maze

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I have seen this Marble Maze where you have to manipulate the marble through a path, and I made my own. I used duct tap, a zip-lock bag, some dish soap, and a marble. First I folded a strip of duct tape on itself, topsides together, so that I had a strip of sticky on both…

Sticker Squash Game

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This is a game that was submitted by a therapist, Marie Logan, OTR/L. It is a simple game that is played on paper, and it is similar to the game Battleship.  During the game, you work on eye hand coordination and hand positioning, challenge diffierent grasp, and work on visual motor skills. Set Up: •…

Stringing cheerios onto pipe cleaners

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I work with a child that needs to improve her fine motor skills, but she puts everything in her mouth. She enjoys the marble run, but I am nervous about using it with her. I decided to try stringing cheerios as a good edible fine motor activity. My client is not ready to string the…

Sugar Bugs Clothespin Game

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I have been meaning to make a clothespin game with bugs and their legs (the clothespins) for a while, and have just finished it. It combines two of the kids’ favorite things, sugar and bugs. This game is great for any time of the year since there is no time of the year that sugar…

Summer fun with water and chalk for fine motor

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I have been seeing kids this summer for an early intervention program, and have been playing with sidewalk chalk and water.  Some younger kids will have trouble with squirt guns, so we are going to try a regular spray bottle. I broke all of the brand spankin’ new sidewalk chalk into smaller pieces.  There was…

Superman catch

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Scooterboards are great strengthening tools, as are doing supermans. Supermans are an exercise position where you lay on your stomach, put your arms out in front of you and then lift your legs straight up off of the mat, and lift your arms and upper chest off of the mat. This works your core muscles…

Swimming for Letters

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I played with foam letters with the kids in school where we rolled the dice and then fed the letters to the Munchy Ball, and now that it is summer, we took the game to the pool so that we could swim for the letters. The fun foam letters float, so it makes it easy…

Tea Party

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A tea party is fun for both young and old.  It is even more fun when you use a nice china tea set and fancy linens.  It can be really fun and motivating when real food and real drink is used.  Preparation and clean-up is of course a big part of the activity, and can really target…

Ten Games to Play With Wheelbarrow Walking

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Wheelbarrow walking is a great upper body and trunk strengthening tool, and it is easy to incorporate it into a game. When wheelbarrow walking, you are strengthening your arms and your trunk since you have to activate a co-contraction through your whole body to maintain the wheelbarrow position. It is a great heavy work activity,…

The Visual Motor Aspect of Buttons and Zippers

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Buttoning Progression When you are good at fastening buttons, you can do it with your eyes close, and probably don’t look at all when fastening your pants. It takes some time and practice to get to the point of being able to button completely by touch, and a lot of vision is used when young…

Tinkertoys

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Tinkertoys are a construction toy that uses sticks and wheels. The wheels have holes in them for the sticks to go into. There are multiple holes for multiple sticks and positions. It is almost like doing pegs with a purpose, except that with tinkertoys you use both hands to put the pieces together rather than…

Tips on Shaving for Teenagers who have Hemiparesis

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This is a guest post by Marie Logan, OTR/L about teenagers and shaving when they have hemiparesis.  As children mature into teenagers there are undoubtedly times of transition that can be a bit awkward for them as well as their parents. As they grow older we expect our teenagers to begin to take care of…

Toss Across

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Toss Across is a tic tac toe game that is played by throwing bean bags at the squares which turns them over to reveal X’s and O’s. You throw the bean bags, and if they hit the square on one side an X would be turned over, but if you hit it on the other side,…

Turkey cutting time of year

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It is the time of year to cut out and make turkeys.  I did a few turkeys last week, and will be doing more this week. Check out last year’s post on these Turkeys to get the templates. Save Save

Twister with a Twist

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Twister is a good game to work on motor planning and gross motor skills. My nephew is autistic and he is very motivated by words and writing so we incorporated words into a game of twister to work on his motor planning skills. Put a strip of packing tape on each color on the twister…

Using a ball ramp to work on fine motor and visual perception

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I have a little girl that I work with who needs to work on her fine motor precision and visual perception.  The perfect toy for her to play with and work on these is a marble ramp, but she puts things in her mouth, and I am afraid that one time I might not be…

Using a Water Gun to Propel a Ball

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Water guns are a great finger strengthening tool, and when it gets hot, water is a welcome part of therapy. I had used water guns to fill up a cup with water and make a ping pong ball rise. I was trying to think of other activities that use water guns because they can really…

Using Gel Clings in Therapy

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We have a guest post written by Kristi Rapp, COTA. When it comes to finding items to work with that are therapeutic, budget friendly, and versatile it can sometimes be a challenge to find just the right item to use.  I have found a hidden gem with Gel Clings.  Yes, I said gel clings.  Those…

Using Motor Skills While Making Ice Cream

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We have a challenge this summer to make things and experiment with making different stuff.  We decided to start off our challenge with making ice cream, and the first type of ice cream that we made only needs 3 ingredients, some ziplock baggies, ice, salt, and physical activity. Ingredients: 1/2 cup of heavy cream 1…

Using Sidewalk Chalk and Squirt Guns for Fine Motor

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Playing with sidewalk chalk can work on and use a lot of different skills during therapy, and is a good activity. Using short pieces of chalk forces the fingers to use a tripod grasp, by using the index, second finger, and thumb. Writing on the sidewalk is also good for range of motion because the…

Using Stickers in Therapy

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When pulling up pants or getting your shirt aligned, or trying to get your socks on, sometimes it is just hard to reach some spots. I am not sure why, but stickers are a big motivator for kids. Some children with tactile hypersensitivity do not like having stickers put on their skin, which of course…

Visual Motor Skills and Cutting With Scissors

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Being able to cut with scissors requires many skills, starting with the physical motor ability to sit at a table, the fine motor ability to hold the scissors, and the strength to open and close the scissors. In order to follow lines and shapes and to cut them out with scissors, you need to have…

Wall Marble Maze

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I happened across this wall marble maze in my internet surfing, and had to get it. I have seen many home made wall marble mazes in the world of the internet, but if I made one, it wouldn’t be reusable, and it would get crushed in my bag of toys as I was traveling from…

Weavable Toys by The Recycling OT

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I am sure that you have heard of The Recycling OT (and if not, then you need to come play on the internet more).  Barbara’s (the recycling OT) claim to fame, and what she does best is cut up plastic detergent bottles to make toys and activities.  She has a whole book about making recycled…

Wheelbarrow walk

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The wheelbarrow walk is a great upper extremity strengthening activity. You can make it easier or harder depending on where you put your hands that are holding their legs. Holding at the hips is the easiest position for the client, and at the ankles is the hardest. You can then hold anywhere in between to…

Wikki Stix for fine motor and writing

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Wikki Stix, in case you haven’t heard of them, are string that are covered in colored wax. They are bendable, sticky, but easily pulled apart, and can bring hours of entertainment. In fact, I am not sure what category they fit in because they are a handwriting activity, but they are also a craft, and…

Writing Charms

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Many of the kids that I see for therapy have trouble with handwriting. Handwriting trouble stems from other problems such as fine motor problems, hand weakness, visual motor/visual perceptual problems, in-hand manipulation, and motor planning problems. One small thing that can help with handwriting is to get the hand in the right position to write…

Yo Yo Ball Painting

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This is a cool blog by a family with special needs kids, and this painting activity that they did looks really fun.  Go check it out. Here they painted with a squishy yo yo ball, and it looks like a lot of fun.  I will be going back to that site frequently.