The OT Toolbox

Development of Bilateral Coordination for Feeding Skills

Below, you will find information on development of bilateral coordination needed for feeding skills in kids who are challenged with using both hands together in a coordinated manner. Development of bilateral coordination skills is necessary for improved self-feeding in toddlers and improves through the childhood years.

When children learn to feed themselves and become more independent with self-feeding tool use with finger foods, utensils, or cups, development of bilateral coordination is one a…


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THE SENSORY LIFESTYLE HANDBOOK
This blog post by contributor author Regina Parsons-Allen describes occupational therapy activity kits that can be used to address a variety of occupational therapy goals using themed OT kits, saving time and planning for therapy. 

Pediatric and school-based occupational therapy practitioners are busy people. Often times, they see many children and can work with preschoolers to young adults in a single day. They are challenged with keeping children actively participating in therapy while building skills to achieve their OT goals. Pediatric and school-based OTP’s must analyze, plan, prepare, implement, modify, adapt, grade, problem-solve, reflect, research, document, collaborate and consult for each child they serve. To say the least, they are busy, busy, busy and the “OT” never turns off!

Having a pre-planned set of occupational therapy activities in mind can be a huge help when it comes to addressing fine motor skills, visual motor skills, sensory processing needs, or other underlying areas interfering with function in the school, home, or community.

These occupational therapy activity kits are perfect for incorporating into a bin rotation system, much like these fine motor bins.

Make these grab and go occupational therapy toolkits to use in school based OT services or by mobile therapists working on fine motor skills or occupational therapy activities with kids.

Themed Occupational Therapy Activity Tool Kits


What is a themed occupational therapy therapy activity tool kit and how do I make one? 

Themed occupational therapy tool kits are a great way to invest some time now, but save a ton of time later. They help make a therapist’s job easier when planning, preparing and documenting. 

Tool kits are a great way for therapists to have what they need in an organized kit and ready to use with many kids at any given time. They are portable, all inclusive, and separated by a theme. Grab and go kits are the goal!

Holiday or seasonal themed tool kits contain activities that allow for “celebration” of holidays or events while heaping fun and play into a single session. Let’s face it, children love the holidays and these themed tool kits keep kiddos engaged and help them build skills for development and success. Kiddos love to see one coming their way! They know fun and surprise are inside while therapists know kiddos will be motivated to “work” on their therapy goals.

Tools of the trade kits may contain the staples for pediatric or school-based OT practice. More specifically, tools that are used during most OT sessions to include scissors, pencils, grips, paper, etc. 

The kits have specific tools that are essential for intervention, assessment, progress review, or trial. These grab and go kits always contain a variety of tools, graded in nature, standard or adaptive, which are utilized by a wide range of kiddos with various levels of skill.

Other tools of the trade kits may contain therapy tools or materials that develop a targeted skill area such as fine motor, gross motor, strengthening, sensory processing, self-regulation, etc. The kits contain specific tools or materials that are needed mostly for specific intervention programming.

Types of Occupational Therapy Activity Kits

Let’s talk types of tool kits. There are many kinds of possible therapy tool kits that can be created for pediatric and school-based OT. Generally, they are separated into certain types while some may even be combined to meet the needs of the child and/or the therapist. Examples include:

Types of OT Activity Kits

Seasonal – spring, summer, fall, or winter

Holidays – Easter, Christmas, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Halloween, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, etc.

School Celebrated Times – Back to School, Dr. Seuss Day, Fire Safety, etc.

Skills – fine motor, gross motor, sensory, visual motor/visual perception, strengthening, prewriting, handwriting, dressing, oral motor, self-care, reading, etc.

Tools – scissors, writing/coloring implements, grips, tongs, feeding tools, fidgets, etc.

Size – small, medium, large or combination

Purpose – therapy session, screening, assessment, classroom inclusion, trial, therapy homework, etc.

Design – material, sectioned or non-sectioned, handled or non-handled, portable or non-portable, lid or no lid, stackable and/or slidable, etc.

How to Make an Occupational Therapy Activity Kit

Here are some size and design examples of types of tool kits and possible storage containers for inside:
Create an occupational therapy toolkit using a variety of containers to address underlying skills like fine motor skills, visual motor skills, or other OT goals.

Let’s talk tips on how to make one. Building tool kits for therapy can be done over time or immediately depending on the purpose, availability of items or materials, and funds for purchasing. 

Below are some helpful tips for building your own tool kits for therapy:

Gather all tools, materials or items you already have and simply start developing your tool kits based on what you already have. 

Then make a list of tools, materials or items you would like to add. Start small so that it doesn’t get overwhelming.

Know that your kits may, and probably will, start small and change over time. This is okay and sometimes better when you are first starting out in the field of OT.

Don’t be afraid to ask colleagues if they have some extra tools or items they would be willing to part with to help you stock your tool kit. OTP’s are generous people and willing to offer help. Just ask!

Look for items at the big retail chains such as Wal-Mart and Target. Look in the clearance, dollar, and seasonal sections. Check out weekly sales. Shop for items after the season or holiday is over to prep for the next year. You can get awesome deals such as 50-80% off of the regular price. Even check the craft sections for deals!

Search dollar stores for fun activities or ideas. Think outside of the box with items!! 

 Hint: try to pick items that have versatility so that you can reach a larger age range or items that can be combined to address a variety of needs.

Go to thrift stores and take a peek, you can find some great one-of-a-kind or classic items that will work great in a tool kit. 

Shop garage or yard sales and go to the toy sections or even those miscellaneous trinket boxes and look, look, look.

Get on email lists for some of the therapy companies that sell products so you can keep “in-the-know” when products go on sale or when new products are available.

Pick a kit container that best fits the objects you have, the design you like, the clients on your caseload (clear containers peak the most interest) and the portability and durability that you need. 

Buying stackable containers keeps the storage, organization, and the ‘grab and go’ approach easier. Also, consider if you like handles for single hand carry or if handles are not necessary.

Shop a variety of stores to find the type of containers you want or need. Check office, craft, and storage departments in bargain stores, big chain stores, dollar stores, online stores, and craft stores. Sometimes craft stores have great containers with many organizational possibilities.

Store items in your kit using various containers, especially if you have a large drop-in container vs. a sectioned container. 

 Consider using zipper baggies, twist top or flip top containers, button or snap containers, zipper pencil bags, squeeze containers, and other recyclable containers, etc. Build fine motor skills with the containers inside!

Consider keeping a few staples in each container such as writing or coloring tools, scissors, glue and paper. Or maybe you want to have those in a separate tool kit to ‘grab and go’ with your other kits. It’s your personal preference with this one!

Types of Themed Occupational Therapy Tool Kits

Below are examples for a few types of themed tool kits:

Seasonal and holiday kits are fun activities contained in one kit which can reach a huge range of kiddos with many types of needs. OTP’s can splash the activities with a little creativity and modification to hit it out of the park during therapy sessions.

Below is an example of an Easter holiday themed tool kit and its contents. I lovingly refer to this kit as a “dump and run” kit because I can dump in the contents and run from session to session or site to site with little organization other than the use of some baggies.

Create a holiday themed Occupational Therapy Tool Kit

Create an Easter themed occupational therapy activity kit with a holiday theme to address underlying skill areas like strength, fine motor skills, visual motor skills, and other OT goals.

Create an Easter themed occupational therapy activity kit with a holiday theme to address underlying skill areas like strength, fine motor skills, visual motor skills, and other OT goals.



Easter Holiday Occupational Therapy Tool Activity Kit:


Tools of the trade kits contain specific tools, devices, or materials which are all inclusive from standard to adaptive and may either contain purchased or DIY contents. OTP’s need these essential tools for treatment, trial, loan, or assessment to determine level of performance, therapy plans, and interventions.

Make these grab and go occupational therapy toolkits to use in school based OT services or by mobile therapists working on fine motor skills or occupational therapy activities with kids.

Grab and Go Occupational Therapy Tool Kit to address a variety of needs

Below is one example of a small, tiered container with a combination of regularly used OT tools for use during treatment sessions. It is a simple tools kit that stays organized so I can grab it and go from similar sessions with all of my therapy staples in one kit.

OT Tools Tool Kit:

A grab and go occupational therapy toolkit helps the school based OT with organization while meeting a variety of OT goals to address therapy goal areas.A grab and go occupational therapy toolkit helps the school based OT with organization while meeting a variety of OT goals to address therapy goal areas.

 

Create an Occupational Therapy Activity Kit to address targeted skill areas

Below is an example of a targeted skill area kit which contains therapy tools and other materials that develop the targeted skill of strengthening. It contains specific tools of the trade and other miscellaneous materials.

Occupational therapists will love these occupational therapy activity toolkits for addressing skills like strengthening.

Strengthening Skills Kit: 
Create an occupational therapy activity toolkit designed to address hand strengthening and strengthening goals for students or clients in pediatric occupational therapy.


Create an occupational therapy activity toolkit designed to address hand strengthening and strengthening goals for students or clients in pediatric occupational therapy.

Create an Occupational Therapy Tool Kit to address areas like handwriting or scissor skills.

Make an occupational therapy activity toolkit to address skills like handwriting or scissor skills, perfect for the school based OT.

Make an occupational therapy activity toolkit to address skills like handwriting or scissor skills, perfect for the school based OT.

Themed therapy kits will make your life as a pediatric or school-based therapist easier and more enjoyable allowing you to focus on the intervention with the child!

Create occupational therapy activity kits to address a variety of occupational therapy goal areas.



Regina Parsons-Allen is a school-based certified occupational therapy assistant. She has a pediatrics practice area of emphasis from the NBCOT. She graduated from the OTA program at Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute in Hudson, North Carolina with an A.A.S degree in occupational therapy assistant. She has been practicing occupational therapy in the same school district for 20 years. She loves her children, husband, OT, working with children and teaching Sunday school. She is passionate about engaging, empowering, and enabling children to reach their maximum potential in ALL of their occupations as well assuring them that God loves them!

Below, you'll find a selection of sensory diet strategies to use when presenting sensory diet activities. Read on to find various ways to present sensory diet tasks for use within a child's day. 

Sensory diet activities that are appropriate for an individual child should be presented after analyzing and identifying the child's specific needs. Just as a sensory diet uses specific sensory activities based on the child's needs, the WAY a sensory diet is presented needs to be used according to the child's strengths,  abilities, and needs. Presenting a sensory diet activity in a way that the child understands is very important for carryover. 

Understanding exactly what is a sensory diet is a good starting point for addressing sensory needs. 

Try these strategies to present sensory diet activities to kids with sensory needs. They are quite effective strategies when getting started with setting up a sensory diet. If you are wondering where to start with addressing sensory processing needs in kids or wondering HOW to set up a sensory diet, start with the links below.

If you are just getting started with setting up a sensory diet, start with How to Create a Sensory Diet

For understanding why a sensory diet is important, you'll want to read more about the goals of a sensory diet.
If you have been following along here on The OT Toolbox recently, then you may have seen some of our recent sensory diet resources. We've shared a lot of information about creating a sensory diet. There is a valid reason. Besides the growing need for sensory support for kids with sensory processing disorder or sensory challenges, there is a real need for parents and teachers to understand exactly what a sensory diet is and how it can help address sensory needs.  


The tips below are strategies for creating a sensory diet that can be effective and helpful in enabling a successful sensory lifestyle. Understanding how does a sensory diet help is many times, the first step in addressing sensory related needs!


Whether you are wondering exactly what a sensory diet entails or why a sensory diet can be effective in addressing underlying sensory needs, knowing how to create a sensory diet using the tools a child needs is essential. 


Recently here on The OT Toolbox, we’ve talked a lot about sensory processing needs and how strategies can be incorporated into the child’s environment. These tactics provide an authentic and meaningful sensory strategy for incorporating much-needed sensory input right into a child’s environment. It’s all part of creating a sensory lifestyle for a child!


When it comes to boosting attention in kids, there is a lot going on. Attention is aligned with executive functioning, sensory processing, self-reflection, and so much more! Below, we are chatting about a few attention activities for kids. These are the ones that develop attention through games, activities, and fun. Being that a child's primary occupation is play, why not develop the skills they need (like attention!) through active participation in an interest-based activity?

Here on The OT Toolbox, we've shared a lot of information about addressing sensory processing needs in the classroom environment. We've shared sensory strategies for the school-based OT. We've talked about sensory diets in the classroom. So often, kids with sensory processing challenges struggle in the school environment. And, we've talked about calm-down strategies that can be used in the classroom.

Today, we've got a big resource for anyone who lives with, loves, or works with a child with sensory processing needs. These sensory strategies can be used in schools by occupational therapists, teachers, parents, administrators, or anyone who advocates for a child with sensory needs.
The fidget tools listed below are those that are quiet in nature. You've probably spun a fidget spinner or two in your days (the last year or so that fidget spinners where a "thing", anyway). They make a noise, right? Those fidget clicker boxes? They make a noise too. For the classroom environment where a click or a spin can be distracting to others, quiet fidget tools are a must. 

Scroll on to find out more about quiet DIY fidget tools for school that can be a valuable tool for kids with attention challenges, regulation needs, sensory processing issues, or other needs that require a fidget tool for concentration and inclusion in the classroom setting. 


You may have seen a lot of outdoor play posts here on The OT Toolbox recently. There's a reason why! We've been gearing up for the release of The Sensory Lifestyle Handbook which will be released on April 10th.  As a way to celebrate, we're sharing three HUGE free resources related to sensory needs. 

Up first is a printable packet all about taking sensory diet activities into the outdoors. Outdoor sensory diets are the perfect way to add sensory input that kids need!

Kids are spending less time playing outdoors. From after-school schedules to two working parents, to unsafe conditions, to increased digital screen time, to less outdoor recess time...there is just less time for kids to get outside and PLAY! 

When it comes to sensory play, using the outdoors in meeting sensory needs and through sensory challenges is perfect for those looking for easy and fun ways to meet sensory needs in kids!

The outdoors is a goldmine for play! Kids can be creative, build healthy bodies, and develop the skills that they NEED through playing outdoors. For the child who requires a sensory diet, the outdoors is a goldmine for acquiring the right kind of sensory input. The activities below are those sensory diet activities that can be accomplished through play at the playground. 

Occupational Therapy Activity Kits
Occupational Therapy Activity Kits

This blog post by contributor author Regina Parsons-Allen describes occupational therapy activity kits that can be used to address a variety of occupational therapy goals using themed OT kits, saving time and planning for therapy. 
Pediatric and school-based occupational therapy practitioners are b…
How to Schedule Sensory Diet Activities
How to Schedule Sensory Diet Activities

Below, you'll find a selection of sensory diet strategies to use when presenting sensory diet activities. Read on to find various ways to present sensory diet tasks for use within a child's day. 
Sensory diet activities that are appropriate for an individual child should be presented after a…
How to Create a Sensory Diet
How to Create a Sensory Diet

If you have been following along here on The OT Toolbox recently, then you may have seen some of our recent sensory diet resources. We've shared a lot of information about creating a sensory diet. There is a valid reason. Besides the growing need for sensory support for kids with sensory proces…
Attention and Sensory Needs are Connected
Attention and Sensory Needs are Connected

Recently here on The OT Toolbox, we’ve talked a lot about sensory processing needs and how strategies can be incorporated into the child’s environment. These tactics provide an authentic and meaningful sensory strategy for incorporating much-needed sensory input right into a child’s environment. It…
Attention Activities for Kids
Attention Activities for Kids

When it comes to boosting attention in kids, there is a lot going on. Attention is aligned with executive functioning, sensory processing, self-reflection, and so much more! Below, we are chatting about a few attention activities for kids. These are the ones that develop attention through games, ac…
Sensory Strategies in Schools
Sensory Strategies in Schools

Here on The OT Toolbox, we've shared a lot of information about addressing sensory processing needs in the classroom environment. We've shared sensory strategies for the school-based OT. We've talked about sensory diets in the classroom. So often, kids with sensory processing challenge…
Quiet Fidget Toys for School
Quiet Fidget Toys for School

The fidget tools listed below are those that are quiet in nature. You've probably spun a fidget spinner or two in your days (the last year or so that fidget spinners where a "thing", anyway). They make a noise, right? Those fidget clicker boxes? They make a noise too. For the classroo…
Outdoor Sensory Diet Activity Cards
Outdoor Sensory Diet Activity Cards

You may have seen a lot of outdoor play posts here on The OT Toolbox recently. There's a reason why! We've been gearing up for the release of The Sensory Lifestyle Handbook which will be released on April 10th.  As a way to celebrate, we're sharing three HUGE free resources related to s…
Outdoor Recess Sensory Diet Activities
Outdoor Recess Sensory Diet Activities

Kids are spending less time playing outdoors. From after-school schedules to two working parents, to unsafe conditions, to increased digital screen time, to less outdoor recess time...there is just less time for kids to get outside and PLAY! 

When it comes to sensory play, using the outdoors in meet…
Sensory Diet Activities at the Playground
Sensory Diet Activities at the Playground

The outdoors is a goldmine for play! Kids can be creative, build healthy bodies, and develop the skills that they NEED through playing outdoors. For the child who requires a sensory diet, the outdoors is a goldmine for acquiring the right kind of sensory input. The activities below are those sensor…