The OT Toolbox

Ambidexterity or Mixed Dominance

Wondering about a child who uses both hands to write or perform tasks? Maybe you know a child who uses both hands equally and with equal skill. Perhaps your child uses one hand for specific tasks and their other hand for other tasks. How do you know if your child is ambidextrous or if they are showing signs of mixed dominance? This post will explain a little more about ambidexterity as well as mixed dominance and what it means in motor skills.




What is Ambidexterity? Just yesterday on The OT Too…


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THE SENSORY LIFESTYLE HANDBOOK
Have you ever wondered is my child a lefty or a righty? Or been asked if they are a lefty or righty and unable to answer? Have you noticed that your child seems to use both hands equally when writing? If so, your child may be experiencing mixed hand dominance patterns or cross-dominance, and this is why you are not sure if they are a lefty or a righty. Writing with both hands can have implications that affect handwriting. Read on for information on using both hands to write writing and what you need to know about mixed-handedness.

Writing with both hands, wondering what this means for kids in learning and writing? This has great information on mixed dominance and laterality in kids.


My Child Uses Both Hands to Write—Now What?


First, it's important to understand what is happening when a student uses both hands to write. Let's discuss mixed dominance to begin. Here is more information about hand dominance and activities to promote laterality.

What is mixed dominance and what does this mean in child development? Read more about hand dominance and writing with both hands.

What is Mixed Dominance? 

Mixed dominance refers to when a child does not demonstrate a strong preference for either the left side or the right side of the body for completion of activities, or clearly utilizes both hands for specific sets of activities. For example, a kiddo might throw with his left hand, but write with his right hand.

It should also be noted that children with mixed dominance often utilize both sides of the body equally, but poorly. When they fatigue, this leads to confusion with if they are left-side dominant or right-side dominant.

When Does Dominance Develop?

Dominance of one side of the body or the other is not expected until 5 years of age. Before the age of 5 years old, use of both hands is expected to a moderate degree. However, most children are showing a strong preference for one hand or the other by 3.5-4 years of age.

Determining Mixed Dominance 

Dominance is typically determined through observation of the eyes, hands and feet and which one the child uses for task completion. For example, a child who is demonstrating mixed dominance may be right eye dominant, and left hand/foot dominant or left eye dominant, right hand dominant and left foot dominant, or any combination of these characteristics.

Therapists may utilize the Jordan Left/Right Reversal Questionnaire or clinical observations to help them determine mixed dominance. In a vision screen, the therapist can have the child pretend to be a pirate, and see what eye they close when looking through a tube/rolled paper. The eye that the child closes is the non-dominant or “weak” eye and the dominant or “strong” eye is the open one. If the “strong” eye does not match the hand preference the child has been showing, this is mixed dominance in action.

Be sure to watch this space, because tomorrow we'll cover more about writing with both hands, ambidexterity, and mixed dominance.

For more information on visual screening, check out our vision screening packet:

Occupational Therapy Vision Screening Tool

Occupational Therapists screen for visual problems in order to determine how they may impact functional tasks. Visual screening can occur in the classroom setting, in inpatient settings, in outpatient therapy, and in early intervention or home care. 

This visual screening tool was created by an occupational therapist and provides information on visual terms, frequently asked questions regarding visual problems, a variety of visual screening techniques, and other tools that therapists will find valuable in visual screenings.


This is a digital file. Upon purchase, you will be able to download the 10 page file and print off to use over and over again in vision screenings and in educating therapists, teachers, parents, and other child advocates or caregivers.


Mixed Dominance - Impact on Writing and Reading

Children who experience mixed dominance patterns are often delayed in reading and writing skills, along with poor left/right awareness. 

Poor left/right awareness can affect their ability to accurately form letters and result in ‘dyslexia’ looking reversal patterns. The reversal patterns in letter formation and recognition may also lead to poor phonemic awareness, and later poor spelling, further delaying their reading and writing skills. 

Reading left to right may also be a significant challenge as a result of poor eye teaming, as both sides of the brain are attempting to ‘dominate’ the skill. This struggle between the two sides of the brain results in poor organization of the information and retrieval of phonemic rules. Here is more information about visual processing and the skills that impact reading and learning.

Difficulties in these areas can be red flags of mixed dominance patterns that need to be addressed.

Final Notes on Mixed Dominance 

Mixed dominance does not always seem like a big deal, but when left unaddressed your child may be left frustrated with their struggles in gross motor play, reading and writing.  Struggles in these areas significantly impact a child’s self-esteem and desire to participate in age appropriate activities. Fortunately, mixed dominance can be easily addressed through therapy.

Try this pouring and scooping activity to refine hand dominance in functional tasks.

What is mixed dominance and what does this mean for kids?
So often, we see kiddos who struggle with sensory modulation, core strength and core stability, body awareness, endurance, sensory processing needs. Prone extension activities can help strengthen and address other areas like those mentioned, and more. Below, you'll find various prone extension activities that can be incorporated into occupational therapy treatment sessions and included in home programs.



Prone extension activities are great for adding vestibular input and proprioceptive sensory input through heavy work. There are so many other benefits of activities using prone extension in occupational therapy and in promoting development in kids!


Prone Extension Activities for Kids

Use the following prone extension activity ideas in games, play, and activities to improve skills like body awareness while providing proprioceptive and vestibular input. Many times, prone extension activities can be incorporated into learning activities too, or used to compliment other therapy goals such as visual memory or other visual perceptual needs.

What is prone extension?

Prone extension is that position you probably know as "superman pose". When a child lies on their stomach and raises their arms and legs off the floor, they are assuming supine flexion. This positioning is an anti-gravity movement that promotes and requires an both sensory systems and motor skills to work in an integrated manner. A prone extension position can occur in other locations beyond the floor. A therapy ball, mat, swing, etc. can all be valuable tools in promoting and eliciting this movement pattern.

When assuming a sustained prone extension position position, there is a fluent and effective use of both the inner AND outer core musculature.

Observation of this position as well as other motor patterns are typically observed during an occupational therapy evaluation in order to assess strength, sensory and motor systems, body awareness, motor planning, bilateral coordination, as well as other areas.

Prone extension activities are a great way to encourage vestibular input as well as other areas mentioned above. Additionally, a prone extension activity can be an easy way to add proprioceptive input to a child seeking heavy pressure. To encourage longer prone extension positioning, try adding additional activities such as games, puzzles, or reaching activities while in the prone position to encourage the hands and arms to reach forward for longer periods of time.

Examples of Prone Extension Activities

Amazon affiliate links are included below.

Adding prone positioning into play can be easy. Try some of the ideas listed below:

1. Use a scooter board. Ask the child to hold onto a rope with strong arms as they are pulled down a hallway. To further this activity, ask the child to pull themselves along a length of space while lying in prone on the scooter board. Add additional resistance by using the scooter board on a carpeted surface.

2. While lying on a therapy ball or bolster, as the child to place bean bags or other objects into a bucket that is placed on a raised surface such as a scooter board. Move the scooter and bucket to various positions to encourage additional reach and extension. Once a bean bag makes it into a bucket, go in for a high five! What an encouraging way to promote that prone extension!

3. While lying on a mat or other surface, ask the child to toss rings onto a target area.

4. Using a chair or ottoman (couch cushions on the floor work well, too), show the chid how to lay on their belly. Some children will want to keep their toes on the floor to steady themselves. Others may want to lift their legs and feet for additional vestibular input. Ask the child to reach out and pop bubbles.

5. For the child that appreciates vestibular input, ask them to lay their belly on an office chair. Using their hands, they can push away from a wall to make the chair move backwards. Other children may like this activity on a scooter board.

6. Ask kids to lie on their stomachs as they use straws to blow cotton balls or craft pom poms into a target. What an exercise in oral motor skills and breathing, too. Deep breaths in can promote the stability needed to sustain a prone extended position. However, breathing out in a lengthy, slow breath to move those cotton balls provides a chance to really engage those inner and outer core muscles.

7. Kids can hit targets (both high and low) using a pool noodle while in a prone position. Reaching forward with those hands to hit targeted areas promotes eye-hand coordination too while really engaging that core!

8. Add a home program with fun exercises that promote posturing, movement challenges, and activities. Use the strategies and tips in The Core Strengthening Handbook is a resource for fun and creative core strengthening activities for kids with awesome exercises, games, and activities designed to give kids the strong core foundation they need to improve handwriting.

The Core Strengthening Exercise Program to help make core strengthening fun and entertaining for kids while promoting carryover in the classroom and when writing.

 The Core Strengthening Handbook has everything you need to know outlined into informative strategies and tips that work to meet the needs of kids of all kinds! 


 Core Strengthening Handbook
The options are endless when it comes to adding vestibular and proprioceptive input through prone extension positioning and activities. Think out of the box to come up with fun and unique ideas that provide heavy work input while addressing all of the other areas kids so often need!


What are your favorite prone extension activities for kids?

Try these prone extension activities to help kids develop bilateral coordination, strength, motor planning, and other skills while getting sensory input in the form of vestibular and proprioception.

This has been a fun week on The OT Toolbox! We've been celebrating all things Spring with activities geared toward developing various underlying skills that kids need. Today we're covering Spring Handwriting Activities and ways to promote legible handwriting with a spring theme. These are handwriting activities that you can use to work on letter formation, spacing between letters and words, size awareness, and line use. All of this reflects back on handwriting legibility! And, when it comes to working on handwriting, we're striving to make practice fun and NOT boring! Read on for some Spring handwriting ideas the kids will love!

First, if you missed the other topics we've covered this week on The OT Toolbox, you'll want to check out our Spring Occupational Therapy Activities page. You'll find Spring fine motor activities, gross motor activities, sensory activities, and visual perceptual activities. All of the ideas are Spring-themed and will keep the kids occupied and working on various skills all Spring long.

And, if you are interested in really addressing the underlying skills that play into development and functional skills, be sure to grab the Spring Occupational Therapy Activities Packet for tons of ideas that cover a variety of areas, and are graded to address other areas or other levels.

Get the Spring Occupational Therapy packet HERE.

Now, onto the handwriting ideas!

These spring handwriting activities are great for helping kids learn letter formation, sizing in letters, spacing in words, and legibility in handwriting.

Spring Handwriting Activities


When it comes to handwriting, sometimes you just have to make it fun. Practicing letter formation or copying skills can be downright boring. For the child that struggles with these skills, self-confidence can really play into practice. When a child knows they struggle with certain aspects of written work such as letter formation or reversals, it can be hard to get them to want to practice, making home programs or any written work a real struggle.

That's why I wanted to pull together some extra-creative and fun ways to practice written work.

Kids will like this pre-writing lines activity that doubles as a way to work on letter formation and spatial awareness. We created eggs with wikki stix, but you can definitely modify this activity to a slower theme for those working in schools who can't cover anything egg or Easter.

Do you have any Spring cookie cutters? If not, you can usually find them in dollar stores this time of year. Use butterfly and flower cookie cutters to work on handwriting skills like spatial awareness and line awareness needed for legible written work. This is a great writing warm-up activity this time of year.

This time of year is all about growth, seeds, and new development. Pull together a spring theme with seeds and work on pincer grasp, in-hand manipulation, separation of the sides of the hand with letter formation! Kids can manipulate small seeds like grass seed to form letters or work on the letters of their name like we did in this Grass Seed Handwriting Activity. Then, lay the paper on newspaper, sprinkle dirt on top and see if it grows name-shaped grass in a week or so!

Celebrate spring with rainbows! Pull out the colored chalk to work on letter formation with rainbow writing. On a warmer Spring day, go on out to a sidewalk, driveway, or blacktop surface to gain the resistive input of drawing with chalk on the ground. It's a great way to really incorporate the motor planning needed for letter formation!

Finally, a great way to work on handwriting is with lists. With a list of writing practice, kids who struggle with written work tend to not feel so overwhelmed. Writing out a list of words to practice aspects such as letter formation. line use, spacing, and letter size can be more beneficial than copying a few sentences. Granted, there is a time and place for copy work, too. It's an exercise in visual motor skills, visual tracking, visual memory, and so many other skills.

But, when a child needs to write a paragraph AND come up with sentence structure, grammer, capitalization and punctuation, content flow, and comprehension, legible handwriting can be the first to go! We've all seen the child that can write the whole alphabet with complete accuracy, but then writes a journal prompt with letters all over the place!

That's why I put together the list of list writing prompts in the Spring Occupational Therapy Activity Packet. There are two full pages of prompts in card format, so you can cut out the cards and use them over and over again with the whole therapy caseload.

Best yet is that these list prompts encourage motivational writing in that they have many "favorites" or "Best things about..." included. Many kids love to tell others about their favorite things. They can write them out in a list form, AND work on the handwriting skills they need!

When you grab the Spring Occupational Therapy Activities Packet, you'll get these handwriting list prompt sheets AND 24 other pages of spring themed activities including:
  • Spring Proprioceptive Activities
  • Spring Vestibular Activities
  • Spring Visual Processing Activities
  • Spring Tactile Processing Activities
  • Spring Olfactory Activities
  • Spring Auditory Processing Activities
  • Spring Oral Motor Activities
  • Spring Fine Motor Activities
  • Spring Gross Motor Activities
  • Spring Handwriting Practice Prompts
  • Spring Themed Brain Breaks
  • Occupational Therapy Homework Page
  • Client-Centered Worksheet
  • 5 pages of Visual Perceptual Skill Activities
All of the Spring activities include ideas to promote the various areas of sensory processing with a Spring-theme. There are ways to upgrade and downgrade the activities and each activities includes strategies to incorporate eye-hand coordination, bilateral coordination, body scheme, oculomotor control, visual perception, fine and gross motor skills, and more.


It's a really popular product on the site this time of year. I've doubled the size of this packet and added:

Spring Visual Perception Worksheets- Print these off and slide them into a page protector. Use them to work on visual perceptual skills like form discrimination, visual closure, figure ground, and visual processing skills like tracking, scanning, etc. Use manipulative items to work on fine motor skills with these worksheets such as play dough, slime, Wikki Stix, yarn, craft pom poms, or other items.

Spring Fine Motor and Gross Motor Activities- Add these ideas to therapy home programs to work on pencil grasp or core strength. Use these ideas in therapy warm-ups, or to add movement to a child's day.

Spring Themed Brain Breaks- Cut up these cards and use them to add movement and motor skills into the classroom or home. It's a great way to re-charge!

Spring Themed Handwriting Practice Prompts- There are two pages of writing prompts that are ONLY in list form. That means kids don't need to write out sentences while working on letter formation, spacing and size. They can work on all of the handwriting skills they need in a short list that is interest-based, making it motivational for them. And, the list format is a quick way to sneak in handwriting practice!

OT Homework Sheet- Sometimes, it takes extra practice to make skills "stick". When parents help in practicing therapy activities, it can make a difference in carryover. You'll find a done-for-you OT homework sheet to use in weekly homework activities OR for use as a home exercise program!

Client-Centered Worksheet- When our kiddos have a voice in their therapy, carryover and goals can be more meaningful to them. Use this worksheet to come up with Spring activities that meet the needs of a child, while taking into considerations that child's interests and strengths to make activities meaningful.

Sensory Activities and More- All of these extras were added to the already well-rounded Spring packet that includes activities designed around each of the sensory systems. You'll find 13 pages of proprioception activities, vestibular activities, tactile activities, oral motor activities, etc. And, they include ideas to extend the activity to include eye-hand coordination, body scheme, oculomotor control, visual perception, coordination, and motor planning.

This Spring Packet has everything you need for the next three months!


You'll also find several sheets listing tons of Spring activities designed to promote specific areas:
  • Spring Fine Motor Activities
  • Spring Gross Motor Activities
  • Spring Handwriting Practice Prompts
  • Spring Themed Brain Breaks
Use these activities as warm-ups to your therapy sessions, or add them to the homework page below to create a home program. 

Use this Spring Occupational Therapy Activities packet to come up with fresh activity ideas to promote fine motor skills, gross motor skills, balance, coordination, visual motor skills, sensory processing, and more.



These spring handwriting activities are great for helping kids learn letter formation, sizing in letters, spacing in words, and legibility in handwriting.
Have you been following along with the Spring Week activities this week? All week long we're covering various aspects of development and function with fun and creative spring-themed ideas. Today you'll find Spring Visual Perception Activities. These are ways to promote visual perceptual skill development and the visual components that are needed for skills like reading, writing, and functional tasks.



Working on visual perceptual skills in kids to help with handwriting, reading, or other skills? These spring themed visual perception activities will help.

If you missed the other posts this week, you can check them out here: We covered Spring Fine Motor Activities, Spring Gross Motor Activities, and Spring Sensory Activities already. To see all of the posts from this week (and to see what we're coving tomorrow), head over to our Spring Occupational Therapy Activities page.

For more creative strategies and ideas to use in therapy this time of year, you will want to grab our Spring Occupational Therapy Activities Packet. This is a 26 page packet that's on sale for $7.99 this week. It's loaded with tools and ideas to put into place in therapy sessions starting today. Use the ideas in fine motor or gross motor warm-ups, or add them to a home program. You'll find more visual perceptual activities and worksheets that can be used over and over again. You'll also find handwriting prompts in list form so you can really focus on things like letter formation, spacing, and line use in short writing tasks. You'll love the Spring themed brain break cards that can be used in the classroom or at home.

Grab the Spring Occupational Therapy Activities Packet here.

Spring Visual Perception Activities

When we breakdown the term "visual perception", you will see that there are many sub-areas that are needed for functional skills like reading, handwriting, spelling, coordination, and many functional tasks. Below, you'll find an explanation of visual perceptual skills that impact function, as well as Spring-themed activities to help improve these areas. 

Read more about how visual perception impacts handwriting here. 

Visual Perceptual Skills

Visual Memory- This visual perceptual skill allows us to store information that we see and use that information for future use. In order to recall visual information, we need visual attention. The selection and perception of visual input requires that information is perceived via the eye's visual fields, and in coordination with oculomotor control, is processed through the visual cortex in the brain. This is how visual processing happens. Visual memory allows for discrimination of details of such things as letter discrimination, sight word identification, etc. 

Spring Visual Memory Activities-

  • Use different colored plastic eggs or other items such as mini erasers. Put them in a series of three and show the student. You can then cover up the objects and then ask the student to replicate that series. 
  • Create a Spring Memory game. Use pictures or stickers of flowers, chicks, bunnies, caterpillars, butterflies, etc. to create a DIY Memory game. 
  • What's Missing Game- Use those mini erasers from a dollar store to create a What's Missing Game. Place a handful of erasers on a tray. Allow the child to memorize the items. Then cover them and remove one or more. The child needs to recall and identify the missing items.

Visual Discrimination- This visual perceptual skill allows us to identify the features of a form/object/letter/number so we can tell the difference between objects. Using visual discrimination, we can identify similarities and differences related to the objects and use that information in conjunction with visual memory. 

Spring Visual Discrimination Activities- 

  • Cut a spring picture or card into pieces. Kids can position the pieces to recreate the whole picture. Make this activity easier or more difficult as needed by the child.
  • Use a packet of spring stickers. Many times there are several sheets that contain the same stickers. Use them to make small cards. Mix up all of the cards and ask the child to find the matches.


Form Constancy- This visual perceptual skill allows for recognition of objects in various environments or with attention to details and orientation. This allows us to recognize letters or numbers no matter their font or size. 

Spring Form Constancy Activities-
  • Write lists of spring words on index cards in different sizes or fonts, or upper case/lower case letters. Hide the cards around the room. The child can look at one card and go off to find the matching font and word. 
  • Using plastic eggs, draw shapes that are similar in form, but are different sizes on each half of the egg. Then, mix up the eggs and as the child to find matches and put them together. 


Visual Closure- This visual perceptual skill enables the identification of objects or forms and allows us to identify an object by viewing just a portion and using mental skills to complete the object's form in our mind. Visual closure is a skill necessary for reading and recognizing words by viewing just the beginning letters. Visual closure is related to and requires visual memory and visual attention.

Spring Visual Closure Activities- 

  • Gather several Spring-themed items such as small animal figures, flowers, cookie cutters, plastic eggs, etc. Place them on a tray and cover half of the items. Ask the child to name each item without seeing the whole object. 
  • Make an "I Spy" Frame- Cut a hole or rectangle in an index card. Place it over a spring picture or item. Ask the child to name the object or item by seeing only a portion. 

Visual Figure Ground- This skill enables us to locate items in a busy background.  Finding hidden items in a hidden pictures puzzle works on this skill by visually scanning and identifying items within a busy scene.  In handwriting, visual figure ground is necessary for copying written work from a model and locating the place left off when shifting vision.

Spring Visual-Figure Ground Activities-

  • Use small items such as mini-erasers of various shapes like bunnies, carrots, and flowers. Spread them out on a table in a pile. Ask the student to sort the like shapes into piles.
  • Go on an "I Spy" nature walk and look for signs of Spring.
  • Flip through a catalogue or grocery flier to find specific items on a list. These can be items needed for a Spring event like Mother's Day or Easter, or items needed for a recipe. 


Visual Sequential Memory- This visual perceptual skill is the ability to visually take in and then later recall the sequence or order of items in the correct order. This skill is important in reading and writing. Visual sequential memory is important in spelling words correctly and recognizing that words are not spelled correctly.

Spring Visual Sequential Memory Activities- 


  • Make an order of three or more items like three flowers. Ask the student to memorize the order and then to replicate it.
  • Talk about the steps to complete a task such as planting a flower seed. Write out or draw the steps. Cut the paper so the steps are separated. Mix up the order by spreading the various steps on a table surface. Ask the student to place them back into order. 

Looking for more ways to work on visual perceptual skills? In the Spring Occupational Therapy Activities Packet, you'll find visual perceptual skills worksheets that can be printed off and used over and over again. Even better, you can combine fine motor skills by using manipulative items like play dough, string, pipe cleaners, or items like craft pom poms to mark and match items on these sheets. Read more about the Spring Occupational Therapy Activities Packet here

Spring Visual Perception Worksheets- Print these off and slide them into a page protector. Use them to work on visual perceptual skills like form discrimination, visual closure, figure ground, and visual processing skills like tracking, scanning, etc. Use manipulative items to work on fine motor skills with these worksheets such as play dough, slime, Wikki Stix, yarn, craft pom poms, or other items.

Spring Fine Motor and Gross Motor Activities- Add these ideas to therapy home programs to work on pencil grasp or core strength. Use these ideas in therapy warm-ups, or to add movement to a child's day.

Spring Themed Brain Breaks- Cut up these cards and use them to add movement and motor skills into the classroom or home. It's a great way to re-charge!

Spring Themed Handwriting Practice Prompts- There are two pages of writing prompts that are ONLY in list form. That means kids don't need to write out sentences while working on letter formation, spacing and size. They can work on all of the handwriting skills they need in a short list that is interest-based, making it motivational for them. And, the list format is a quick way to sneak in handwriting practice!

OT Homework Sheet- Sometimes, it takes extra practice to make skills "stick". When parents help in practicing therapy activities, it can make a difference in carryover. You'll find a done-for-you OT homework sheet to use in weekly homework activities OR for use as a home exercise program!

Client-Centered Worksheet- When our kiddos have a voice in their therapy, carryover and goals can be more meaningful to them. Use this worksheet to come up with Spring activities that meet the needs of a child, while taking into considerations that child's interests and strengths to make activities meaningful.

Sensory Activities and More- All of these extras were added to the already well-rounded Spring packet that includes activities designed around each of the sensory systems. You'll find 13 pages of proprioception activities, vestibular activities, tactile activities, oral motor activities, etc. And, they include ideas to extend the activity to include eye-hand coordination, body scheme, oculomotor control, visual perception, coordination, and motor planning.

This Spring Packet has everything you need for the next three months!


  • Spring Fine Motor Activities
  • Spring Gross Motor Activities
  • Spring Handwriting Practice Prompts
  • Spring Themed Brain Breaks
Use these activities as warm-ups to your therapy sessions, or add them to the homework page below to create a home program. 

Use this Spring Occupational Therapy Activities packet to come up with fresh activity ideas to promote fine motor skills, gross motor skills, balance, coordination, visual motor skills, sensory processing, and more.
The Best thing about the Spring Activity Packet:
One of my favorite parts of the Spring Occupational Therapy Packet is the therapist tool section:
  • Occupational Therapy Homework Page
  • Client-Centered Worksheet
These two sheets are perfect for the therapist looking to incorporate carryover of skills. Use the homework page to provide specific OT recommended activities to be completed at home. This is great for those sills that parents strive to see success in but need more practice time for achieving certain skill levels.
  • 5 pages of Visual Perceptual Skill Activities

I'm so excited to get this updated packet out to you. If you're looking for ways to make therapy planning easy for the next few months, grab your copy here. 

This activity packet is 26 pages long and has everything you need to work on the skills kids are struggling with...with a Spring theme!

Here's the link again to grab that packet.


Use this Spring Occupational Therapy Activities Packet to work on occupational therapy goals and functional skills with a spring theme.


Working on visual perceptual skills in kids to help with handwriting, reading, or other skills? These spring themed visual perception activities will help.



Welcome to day 3 of Spring Week here on The OT Toolbox. Today, we're talking about all things sensory. When it comes to spring and the change in the weather (hopefully), a few sensory-themed activities can be a tool for working on a variety of skill areas, all through play and sensory exploration.

Today, we're going to discuss using sensory activities to address corresponding needs. Because when it comes to sensory processing, there can be related areas that are impacted as a result of sensory information being poorly processed and resulting in functional skills and development being impacted.

Use these spring sensory activities to help kids with sensory processing needs to address areas of concern like bilateral coordination, gravitational insecurity, tactile defensiveness, tactile discrimination and other sensory needs.


For the child with identified sensory processing difficulties, an effective treatment plan needs to be established, so that the individual can more effectively participate in functional activities. In today's blog post, you'll find some activities and modifications that can be used in the home, classroom, or therapy clinic. These are Spring sensory activities to add to a therapy plan this time of year. Add them to some of the other ideas being shared this week on our website and in our newsletter to create a themed set of interventions that meet the needs of a full caseload!

If you missed the Spring Fine Motor Activities or Spring Gross Motor Activities shared earlier this week, you can catch up on our main Spring Occupational Therapy Activities page.

For a more exhaustive set of strategies, activities, and ideas, be sure to grab the Spring Occupational Therapy Activities Packet that is on sale now for just $7.99. You'll be loaded up on all kinds of tools that will last all season long.

Spring Sensory Activities


Spring Sensory Activities to Improve Discrimination of Vestibular and Proprioceptive Information:

Some kids with poor discrimination of sensory input, especially vestibular and proprioceptive input, may present with poor coordination, posture, balance, attention, and clumsiness, and/or constant fidgeting. These kiddos may benefit from some resistive work activities. Try some of these Spring themed ideas to work on these areas:

Bunny Wall Push-ups- Cut out a pair of bunny paw prints and tape them to the wall. This is a place to hop over to and then perform wall push-ups.

Egg Rubber Bands- Provide heavy work to the hands by wrapping rubber bands around plastic easter eggs. Kids can try to unwrap the rubber bands and then re-wrap the eggs. Use the bands as a hand exercise for the fingers in extension and in finger flexion.

Tug-of-War- Use a rope or sturdy jump rope to pull heavy items from one location to another. Some ideas include a basket or bin full of books or weights. Transport a stuffed animal or plastic Easter eggs in the basket or bin. Sit or lay on a therapy ball to pull the objects out of the bin. Kids can lay in supine on the therapy ball while pulling the rope, too.

Make a Spring Trail Mix- Add in crunchy and chewy items such as dry cranberries, small, chopped carrots, fruit leather, small pretzel pieces, bunny crackers or bunny pretzels.

Make a Spring Crash Zone- Use heavy blankets, couch cushions, and pillows to create a crash pad area. Hide fake flower tops (remove the stems) in the pillows and blankets. Kids can jump and find various flowers. Give them a specific number or specific color to locate in the jumping area.

Leap Frog- Remember the classic leap frog game? It's a great Spring sensory activity! Kids can jump over small items or paper lily pads. In a pinch for time? Just use paper plates for your lily pads.

Spring Sensory Activities to Improve Decreased Discrimination of Tactile Input:

A poor body scheme is common in kids with sensory processing needs.  As a result, praxis and fine motor skills can be difficult. Kids may seek out additional input through their hands by touching everything they see. Other kids can't discriminate between light and heavy tactile input. Here are some spring-themed sensory activities to encourage tactile discrimination:

Use craft sheets and draw flowers or "grass" lines with a ballpoint pen. Then, the child can use a felt tip marker to trace the lines in the craft sheet. Allow them to trace with the ball point pen, too. Using the different writing tools provides various feedback in the resistive surface of the craft sheet. This is a great pre-writing lines activity for younger kids. You can see how we used craft sheets to work on pencil control using this sensory technique in a previous activity post.

Use a vibrating pen- Create a flower shape or egg shape with Wikki Stix. Then, use the vibrating pen to draw lines or color in the parts of the flower/egg. Use cookie cutters to encourage bilateral coordination of an assisting hand and the dominant hand. Vibrating pens provide great sensory feedback to the hands.

Use hot glue or regular school glue to create tracing forms. Write spring words like "sun", "bee", "flowers", "grass", etc. or trace Spring coloring pages with the glue. Allow the glue to dry and then place another sheet over the hardened glue. Use crayons to shade over the raised lines. Here is an example of how we used glue to practice sight words with DIY crayon rubbings with an emphasis on tactile sensory input.

Spring Sensory Activities to Address Somatodyspraxia

Somatodyspraxia is a common occurrence in those with sensory processing challenges. Somatodyspraxia is seen via frequent falling, poor posture, balance, tripping, running into or bumping into others or objects, trouble managing small items or manipulating objects as a result of poor fine motor skills, along with poor body scheme and organization. Kids who struggle to process tactile input and vestibular information can be challenged with praxis concerns. Here are some Spring Sensory Activities designed to address somatodyspraxia:

Spring obstacle course- Make an obstacle course that requires various motor movements, motor planning, changes in body position, and organization of body actions. This can easily be accomplished with pillows, couch cushions, chairs, laundry baskets or buckets, and everyday items. Use colored Easter eggs or fake flowers to carry through the obstacle course while challenging praxis.

Bean Bag Toss- Use several small baskets or buckets to work on motor planning with bean bags. Use visual and verbal instructions to place or toss the bean bags into the targets with either one hand or the other (or a foot by placing the bean bag on the toes!). Use simplified instructions to follow instructions. Downgrade the activity by having the child repeat instructions and steps of the direction.

For more assistance with somatodyspraxia, add more cues, simplified instructions, visual cues, and single-step motor tasks.

Spring Sensory Activities to Address Impaired Bilateral Coordination

Bilateral coordination difficulties are common for the child with sensory processing challenges. This looks like uncoordinated movements in hopping, jumping, jumping jacks, kicking a ball, catching a ball, running, climbing, etc. This might carryover to fearfulness when challenged to complete these tasks. You may also see trouble with hand dominance or left/right discrimination. Here are some Spring Sensory Activities that can help:

Play Simon Says with a Spring Theme- Encourage bilateral coordination movements and alternating motions to follow directions. Use a Spring theme by saying "hop like a frog", "crawl like a caterpillar", etc. Use stickers or a stamp to identify the left or right hand and foot for these actions.

Play Hopscotch- Draw a hopscotch board and draw lily pads or spring flowers on the board. Kids can hop onto the squares. Also try jumping with one or both feet onto the target square.

Spring sensory Activities to Address Tactile Defensiveness

Tactile defensiveness can present in many ways, including a refusal to touch certain materials, resistiveness to certain clothing fabrics, food preferences, or avoidance of certain materials or activities. Adding heavy input or slow, calming vestibular input can be helpful in some individuals. Try some of these Spring themed sensory activities:

Deep Pressure- Add weights to the wrists or a weighted lap pad along with heavy work to the hands. Try using a large eraser to erase flowers drawn on construction paper. Ask the child to erase the flower completely. Try using lighter pencil strokes and reducing the amount of erasing needed. This is one way to work on pencil pressure, too.

Flower-Push- Add proprioceptive input to a gross motor activity that provides heavy work through the whole body. Draw a flower or sun on two paper plates. Place them on the floor and ask the child to place their hands on the flower picture while they get into a push-up position. The child can push the flowers across the floor.

Caterpillar Roll- Use a blanket to roll the child up in a log position. The child is now a caterpillar! Add slow and heavy input through up and down the length of the child, using whole hands and slow movements.

Spring Sensory Activities to Address Gravitational Insecurity

Sensory challenges sometimes present with gravitational insecurity. This might look like the child that has trouble being positioned off the ground, such as on a raised surface like a swing, bleachers, on an elevator, or escalator, etc. Calming proprioceptive input can be helpful. Here are some Spring Sensory Activities that can help:

Add Spring stickers to a weighted lap pad or wrist/ankle weights. Make it fun!

Flower Breaths-Try deep breathing activities such as imagining blowing a dandelion fluff across a field. Use deep and slow breaths to imagine moving those flower fluffs away. This can be helpful before participating in an activity that requires motion that can be a challenge for the child, such as when riding in a car.

More Spring Sensory Activities

Looking for more ways to promote sensory activities through movement and play? The Spring Occupational Therapy Activities Packet has activities for each sensory system and challenges areas like bilateral coordination, oculomotor skills, eye-hand coordination, fine and gross motor skills, and more. You'll also find Spring-themed brain breaks that can be used to add proprioceptive and vestibular activity into daily tasks. The Spring packet has everything you need for activities this season!

It's a 26 packet of activities with strategies to grade up or grade down the ideas to meet the various needs of a variety of kiddos. You'll find ideas to work on visual perceptual skills, sensory processing, handwriting, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, bilateral coordination, motor planning, and so much more! The packet is only $7.99 and can be used over and over again for every student/client!

Grab the Spring Occupational Therapy Activities Packet HERE.



In the Spring OT packet, you'll find:
  • Spring Proprioceptive Activities
  • Spring Vestibular Activities
  • Spring Visual Processing Activities
  • Spring Tactile Processing Activities
  • Spring Olfactory Activities
  • Spring Auditory Processing Activities
  • Spring Oral Motor Activities
  • Spring Fine Motor Activities
  • Spring Gross Motor Activities
  • Spring Handwriting Practice Prompts
  • Spring Themed Brain Breaks
  • Occupational Therapy Homework Page
  • Client-Centered Worksheet
  • 5 pages of Visual Perceptual Skill Activities
All of the Spring activities include ideas to promote the various areas of sensory processing with a Spring-theme. There are ways to upgrade and downgrade the activities and each activities includes strategies to incorporate eye-hand coordination, bilateral coordination, body scheme, oculomotor control, visual perception, fine and gross motor skills, and more.

It's a really popular product on the site this time of year. I've doubled the size of this packet and added:

Spring Visual Perception Worksheets- Print these off and slide them into a page protector. Use them to work on visual perceptual skills like form discrimination, visual closure, figure ground, and visual processing skills like tracking, scanning, etc. Use manipulative items to work on fine motor skills with these worksheets such as play dough, slime, Wikki Stix, yarn, craft pom poms, or other items.

Spring Fine Motor and Gross Motor Activities- Add these ideas to therapy home programs to work on pencil grasp or core strength. Use these ideas in therapy warm-ups, or to add movement to a child's day.

Spring Themed Brain Breaks- Cut up these cards and use them to add movement and motor skills into the classroom or home. It's a great way to re-charge!

Spring Themed Handwriting Practice Prompts- There are two pages of writing prompts that are ONLY in list form. That means kids don't need to write out sentences while working on letter formation, spacing and size. They can work on all of the handwriting skills they need in a short list that is interest-based, making it motivational for them. And, the list format is a quick way to sneak in handwriting practice!

OT Homework Sheet- Sometimes, it takes extra practice to make skills "stick". When parents help in practicing therapy activities, it can make a difference in carryover. You'll find a done-for-you OT homework sheet to use in weekly homework activities OR for use as a home exercise program!

Client-Centered Worksheet- When our kiddos have a voice in their therapy, carryover and goals can be more meaningful to them. Use this worksheet to come up with Spring activities that meet the needs of a child, while taking into considerations that child's interests and strengths to make activities meaningful.

Sensory Activities and More- All of these extras were added to the already well-rounded Spring packet that includes activities designed around each of the sensory systems. You'll find 13 pages of proprioception activities, vestibular activities, tactile activities, oral motor activities, etc. And, they include ideas to extend the activity to include eye-hand coordination, body scheme, oculomotor control, visual perception, coordination, and motor planning.

This Spring Packet has everything you need for the next three months!

Use these activities as warm-ups to your therapy sessions, or add them to the homework page below to create a home program. 

Click here to grab your copy of the Spring Occupational Therapy Activities Packet for only $7.99.




Use these spring themed activities to develop and address areas that are difficult for the child with sensory processing needs, including tactile discrimination, tactile defensiveness, bilateral coordination, gravitational insecurity, and other areas.



Did you see yesterday's collection of spring fine motor activities? Today we're back in our Spring Week series to bring you 5 full days of Spring Occupational Therapy Activities. Today, we've got gross motor ideas that have a Spring-theme. You'll find throwing activities, ways to work on the eye-hand coordination needed for catching a ball, bilateral coordination ideas, core strengthening activities, and more. These are the gross motor skill ideas that you can use in so many ways to address the skills kids need to succeed at home, at school, and in the community! Get the ideas below!

These spring gross motor activities are great ways to build strength in kids, including posture, stability, core strength, shoulder stability, and coordination, balance, and posture.


First, just in case you missed our Spring Fine Motor Activities collection, you can check them out here. Be sure to stop back all week, because we're loading you up on different ways to address developmental skill areas with a Spring-theme. Here is the main page of Spring Occupational Therapy Activities so you can find all the goodies this week. You'll want to bookmark or pin that page so you can refer back to it all season long! 

Remember, if you are looking for fun ideas to incorporate into therapy sessions, at home, or in the classroom, our Spring Occupational Therapy Activities Packet is on sale right now. It's 26 pages of spring ideas for addressing sensory processing, gross and fine motor skills, visual motor skills, visual perceptual skills, handwriting, and more. The packet will last you all season long and can be used over and over again. 

Grab the Spring Activities Packet here.


Spring Gross Motor Activities


Spring week continues on The OT Toolbox and today is all about those Gross Motor Skills. Shoulder and wrist stability are such a necessary part of fine motor control and precision. You've probably seen it before; a kiddo that writes or colors with their arm "floating" up off the table surface. You probably know a child that writes with their whole arm as opposed to moving those fingers. You might recall a child manipulating small items like beads with their elbows smashed into their sides in order for them to have support and control...It's all shoulder stability that is lacking!

We're also talking about core stability, postural control, and balance. You might know a student that slouches at their desk. What suffers? Handwriting legibility, reading comprehension, and the ability to copy materials without missing items. 

You may have seen a kiddo that is fearful on uneven surfaces like when maneuvering on bleachers, or struggles with active games in gym class. What may be the culprit to these coordination skills? It just might be postural control, core strength, and stability.

The gross motor activities below provide opportunities to improve bilateral coordination, core strength as part of improving  postural stability, balance, coordination, shoulder stability, and shoulder girdle strengthening. The activities follow a Spring-theme to use this time of year. 

These general activities combine movement combinations and motor planning that can be used as a fun brain break in the classroom, or a party game idea:

Create a Bunny Hop Gross Motor Game much like our Dinosaur Gross Motor Game! Just make the activities actions like Hop like a bunny, jump like a bunny, stomp your bunny feet, etc. You can add other spring animals too, like a lamb, baby chicks, or robins.

Make a DIY Dance Stick using ribbons, crepe paper, and string. Then, practice forming letters or writing spelling words with the dance stick. It can be decorated like a May Pole, too. Incorporate bilateral coordination and eye-hand coordination to wrap the stick with ribbon all the way up and around a dowel rod. 

Bean Bag Activity- We made ice cream cones, but carrots would be super easy, too...or just pretend the bean bags are carrots :)  Here are some bean bag games to use when working on midline crossing, core strength, motor planning, and other gross motor areas.


Build shoulder and wrist stability 

Shoulder stability is an area that so many kids can struggle with! Writing with their arm "floating" up off the table surface, using the whole arm to manipulate and move a pencil, and other small motor actions. Sometimes, kids that do activities and tasks quickly are compensating for weakness in the shoulder girdle. 

Use Wikki Stix to build Easter Eggs by sticking them to a wall. Position the child at a seated position facing the wall so shoulder flexion occurs at eye height. This is a great way to work on shoulder and wrist stability and mobility. 

Use Spring cookie cutters and small pieces of chalk on a chalkboard or easel. This activity is great for drawing and writing at shoulder height and uses both hands at midline. Working at the vertical surface promote core strength as well as shoulder stability and wrist extension. Bunnies, Easter eggs. hearts, and colorful circles or rainbows are fun this time of year.

Try Spring Yoga- There are some Yoga positions with a Spring theme described and listed in the Spring Occupational Therapy Activities Packet. Add fun animal names and positions to basic yoga positions.

Use a scooter board in prone. Push and pull the scooter board across the floor to transport Spring items into a basket. The dollar store is a good place to find small items. Better yet, use bunny tongs or other tools to transport the items.

Roll a small ball or a therapy ball up and down a wall. Use painters tape to make a ball maze or a strait line like the stem of a Spring flower. "Walk" the ball up the wall to shoulder height and then back down again. Get the ball to the top of the step to create the flower!

Spring Animal Walks- Do the bunny hop, frog jump, and lamb crawl from one side of the room to the other. Think: wheelbarrow walks, crab walks, donkey kicks, and bear walks with a Spring theme!

Color or play on the ground- Use Easter grass to create a sensory space on the floor. Use a large, low tray such as a jelly roll pan to create a sensory bin. Kids can use tongs to find hidden items such as mini-erasers.


Spring Posture and Balance Activities

Posture and trunk stability is essential for positioning in the classroom and in functional tasks in general. Postural control is needed to enable the student to sit upright at their desk, allowing for better handwriting, reading, and copying skills. Kids who struggle with postural control and balance will be uncoordinated in fine motor tasks, activities requiring sustained positioning, have trouble with motor planning, and may be fearful of tasks that require mobility or uneven positioning such as manueving on bleachers or during active play.

Try some of the Spring themed gross motor activities below to improve postural control and balance:

Spring Caterpillar Pose- Assume the "superman pose" on the floor, but call it a caterpillar pose! You can be a caterpillar in the SPringtime, gaining strength to start crawling and munching on leaves. Relax rest but then return to the extended arms, legs, and head positioning as you wake up again! 

Balloon Pass- Lie on your back and pull the hips and knees into flexion, toward the belly. Try to hold a ball or balloon between your feet. Then, pass the ball to a friend lying opposite on the floor. Pass the ball into a hoop or large basket. 

Egg Pass- Sit on a partially inflated beach ball and try to balance a plastic egg on a spoon. Try to pass the egg to a friend and then drop it into a basket. 

You'll also be interested in our newly updated Spring Occupational Therapy Activities Packet. It's a 26 packet of activities with strategies to grade up or grade down the ideas to meet the various needs of a variety of kiddos. You'll find ideas to work on visual perceptual skills, sensory processing, handwriting, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, bilateral coordination, motor planning, and so much more! The packet is only $7.99 and can be used over and over again for every student/client!

Grab the Spring Occupational Therapy Activities Packet HERE.



In the Spring OT packet, you'll find:
  • Spring Proprioceptive Activities
  • Spring Vestibular Activities
  • Spring Visual Processing Activities
  • Spring Tactile Processing Activities
  • Spring Olfactory Activities
  • Spring Auditory Processing Activities
  • Spring Oral Motor Activities
  • Spring Fine Motor Activities
  • Spring Gross Motor Activities
  • Spring Handwriting Practice Prompts
  • Spring Themed Brain Breaks
  • Occupational Therapy Homework Page
  • Client-Centered Worksheet
  • 5 pages of Visual Perceptual Skill Activities
All of the Spring activities include ideas to promote the various areas of sensory processing with a Spring-theme. There are ways to upgrade and downgrade the activities and each activities includes strategies to incorporate eye-hand coordination, bilateral coordination, body scheme, oculomotor control, visual perception, fine and gross motor skills, and more.

It's a really popular product on the site this time of year. I've doubled the size of this packet and added:

Spring Visual Perception Worksheets- Print these off and slide them into a page protector. Use them to work on visual perceptual skills like form discrimination, visual closure, figure ground, and visual processing skills like tracking, scanning, etc. Use manipulative items to work on fine motor skills with these worksheets such as play dough, slime, Wikki Stix, yarn, craft pom poms, or other items.

Spring Fine Motor and Gross Motor Activities- Add these ideas to therapy home programs to work on pencil grasp or core strength. Use these ideas in therapy warm-ups, or to add movement to a child's day.

Spring Themed Brain Breaks- Cut up these cards and use them to add movement and motor skills into the classroom or home. It's a great way to re-charge!

Spring Themed Handwriting Practice Prompts- There are two pages of writing prompts that are ONLY in list form. That means kids don't need to write out sentences while working on letter formation, spacing and size. They can work on all of the handwriting skills they need in a short list that is interest-based, making it motivational for them. And, the list format is a quick way to sneak in handwriting practice!

OT Homework Sheet- Sometimes, it takes extra practice to make skills "stick". When parents help in practicing therapy activities, it can make a difference in carryover. You'll find a done-for-you OT homework sheet to use in weekly homework activities OR for use as a home exercise program!

Client-Centered Worksheet- When our kiddos have a voice in their therapy, carryover and goals can be more meaningful to them. Use this worksheet to come up with Spring activities that meet the needs of a child, while taking into considerations that child's interests and strengths to make activities meaningful.

Sensory Activities and More- All of these extras were added to the already well-rounded Spring packet that includes activities designed around each of the sensory systems. You'll find 13 pages of proprioception activities, vestibular activities, tactile activities, oral motor activities, etc. And, they include ideas to extend the activity to include eye-hand coordination, body scheme, oculomotor control, visual perception, coordination, and motor planning.

This Spring Packet has everything you need for the next three months!

Use these activities as warm-ups to your therapy sessions, or add them to the homework page below to create a home program.

Click here to grab your copy of the Spring Occupational Therapy Activities Packet for only $7.99.


Spring occupational therapy activities for kids to help with development of skills like gross motor skills, fine motor skills, visual motor skills, and more.



Note: These activities and suggestions are provided in an educational manner. Completion or participation in the activities listed here do not indicate therapy intervention nor should be used in place of therapy. Always consult an evaluating occupational therapist or physician regarding exercise and activity programs. In the case of physical delays or diagnoses, always consult a medical professional before participating in activities or exercises.

These spring gross motor activities are great ways to build strength in kids, including posture, stability, core strength, shoulder stability, and coordination, balance, and posture.









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