How to Teach Spacing Between Words with a Clothespin

When it comes to legibility in handwriting, spacing between words makes all the! Addressing spatial awareness in handwriting can make a big difference in legibility fairly quickly given intervention, practice, awareness, and the tools to address spacing in written work. We’ve shared several handwriting spacing tools here on The OT Toolbox, like a cute DIY space martian spacing tool and this pipe cleaner spacing tool
Sometimes a simple visual cue like this craft stick spacing tool and pointer stick can make a big difference in handwriting spatial awareness and handwriting legibility.
Read on for another quick craft that kids can make and use to teach spacing between words…using a clothes pin for better spatial awareness in written work. 
This spacing tool is one that can be attached to a notebook or folder and used again and again…because any school-based OT knows that those spacing tools can get lost very easily!

Use a clothespin craft to teach spacing between words using a clip clothespin for better legibility and spatial awareness in handwriting.

Handwriting Spacing Between Words Tool 

The best part of this handwriting spacing tool is that kids can make their own, while creating a unique tool that fits their personality! 
First, read more about how spacing tools work.

Teach spacing between words with a clothespin for better legibility and spatial awareness in handwriting.
Next, get all of your materials ready, because this handwriting spacing tool is a fun activity! In fact, school-based therapists can create a group activity in a classroom with random items found in a craft bin…while boosting those fine motor skills!

To make a DIY spacing tool, you’ll need a clothes pin. The wooden type is perfect for painting and decorating, making a fine motor craft based on the child’s interests, favorite color, etc. When the child makes their own spacing tool, they are more likely to use it again and again.

Using the clothes pin clip allows the spacing tool to be saved. (Better yet, the clip prevents another lost therapy item later found at the bottom of a backpack or in the midst of desk chaos!)

To make the Clothes Pin Spacing Tool

You’ll need some basic craft items (affiliate links are included below):
We received the paints and gems from www.craftprojectideas.com.
Kids can make this clothespin craft in therapy or school to teach spacing between words for better handwriting.

Next, get the kids started on painting. Ask the child or group of kids to paint all sides of the clothes pins.

Make a clothespin craft to work on spacing between words when writing.

On the wet paint, glitter and sparkling gems can be added. Let the paint dry and embellish with additional items including gems, stickers, puffy paint, or other items.

Kids can make these clothespin spacing tools to learn spacing between words in handwriting for better legibility and neat written work, just clip to a notebook or folder!

How to teach spacing between words with a clothespin:

The clothes pin clip is perfect for attaching to notebooks, folders, or a pencil box on a desk. Students will always know where their spacing tool is…but how do they use it?

Use a clothespin to teach spacing between words the same way you would use other spacing tools.

Show students how to place the clothespin on the paper after the last letter of a word. They can keep the clothespin in place as they write the next word in a sentence. They physical and visual cue of moving and seeing the clothespin can make a lasting impact on spacing between words.

Think about it this way: the messiest written work is easier to read when it has space between words. As readers, we tend to fill in missing blanks using our predictive reading skills. When words are spaced out, students will be better able to read back over notes, homework assignments, and other written work.

Spacing is often times, the easiest way to make a big impact on handwriting legibility!

For younger students, using the clip portion of the clothespin spacing tool can be achieved using strips of paper to practice handwriting. Simply cut regular double ruled paper into strips and clip the clothespin between each word as the child writes.

Those strips can even be laminated and handwriting practiced with a dry erase marker.

Using the clothespin spacing tool can make a big impact on written legibility!

Teach legible handwriting to kids using a spacing tool for a visual and physical reminder to space out words when writing.

Looking for more ways to teach spacing between words? Try these ideas:  

 Use a clothespin craft to teach spacing between words for better legibility in handwriting.

Looking for more ways to address spatial awareness? Grab our free handwriting printable packet and you will also receive a short email series that addresses areas like spatial awareness, letter size, letter formation, and more. This is perfect for the OT looking for handwriting handouts, or anyone who works with kids on handwriting. 

DIY Whisper Phone

One of our more popular posts here on The OT Toolbox is our post on classroom sensory strategies. For kids who struggle with attention challenges, general sensory processing needs, auditory processing, self-regulation, or other needs, a whisper phone can be a power tool when it comes to reading or processing auditory information. Below, you’ll find information on how to make a DIY whisper phone for only $3 and how a whisper phone helps kids of all ages! Plus, we’re sharing where we got this awesome idea to make a whisper phone that kids will love! For more sensory play ideas, stick around!!
Affiliate links are included in this post. 
Make a DIY whisper phone to address reading comprehension, letter sounds, and sensory processing needs.

DIY Whisper Phone

When it comes to therapy tools and equipment, finding the best deals is ideal. But even better is when you can make your own therapy tools at a fraction of the cost and still benefit from the therapeutic benefits. This DIY whisper phone is just the example. In fact, a whisper phone on Amazon costs more than $6 so when you are shopping to fill the needs of a classroom or caseload, the DIY version can be a fun alternative. 
Auditory processing activities may include whisper and volume of voice, including using a whisper phone in therapy.

What is a Whisper Phone

First, you may be wondering “What is a whisper phone“…read on to find out what exactly a whisper phone is and how they can be so beneficial to so many kids. 
Typically, a whisper phone is a tube shaped like a phone that can be held at the child’s ear and mouth. They can whisper sounds and words and clearly hear individual sounds without background noise. 
They are a great tool for kids with auditory needs AND kids without auditory processing issues. Whisper phones can be so helpful in teaching any child to recognize sounds of letters! Kids can use a whisper phone to hear themselves read, which helps them with comprehension and fluency through auditory feedback.
A whisper phone is a tool that can be so helpful for kids with auditory processing needs or other concerns that interfere with a child’s ability to focus on auditory input. These kids sometimes struggle with pulling out important information from auditory input. 
Other times, a whisper phone is used in reading to help kids recognize sounds in words, including pronunciation, fluency, and reading comprehension. This can be helpful for kids without auditory processing needs too! 
Make a DIY whisper phone to address reading comprehension, letter sounds, and sensory processing needs.

How to use a Whisper Phone to help with Auditory Processing

Auditory processing challenges can look like a variety of things: poor listening skills, difficulty with language comprehension, auditory sensory sensitivities, or other listening concerns.

Using a whisper phone can help with skills like:
  • Auditory discrimination
  • Auditory sequencing
  • Auditory memory
  • Auditory figure-ground discrimination
Here are more auditory processing activities that can help.
Make a DIY whisper phone to address reading comprehension, letter sounds, and sensory processing needs.
A whisper phone can be used in many ways:
Sound out letters to help kids recognize the sounds associated with each letter. This is SO important in kids whom we later see in therapy who can not associate letter formation and struggle with handwriting and formation!
Sound out words to identify parts of words.
Auditory feedback when reading.
Provide a calming sensory diet activity.
Improve self-confidence with reading skills.
Discriminate between sounds and background noise.
Identify tone and volume of speech.
So much more!
Make a DIY whisper phone to address reading comprehension, letter sounds, and sensory processing needs.

How to make a DIY Whisper Phone

We were inspired to make a DIY whisper phone when we saw a fun activity in the new STEAM Learn and Play Book. This whisper phone is not the traditional hand-held style, but more like the traditional can phones from the therapist’s childhood! 
We made a whisper phone that can be used with two children and is a fun way to address the needs described above. 
To make a DIY whisper phone, you’ll need just three items. We gathered these items at our Dollar store, making the DIY whisper phone a great deal! 
  • Two small funnels
  • One tube
To make the DIY whisper phone, just connect the funnels to a tube. The bendy tube that we used was long enough to reach between two friends. 
If the tube doesn’t fit exactly, use a bit of tape to hold the tube in place. 
Then, play and learn! 
Make a DIY whisper phone to address reading comprehension, letter sounds, and sensory processing needs.
This whisper phone is so easy to make that kids can make it themselves. In fact, it would be a great group activity for a small group in a camp setting. 

STEAM Play & Learn Book

We got the idea to make a whisper phone from the new STEAM Play & Learn book written by Ana at Babble Dabble Do. What a fun book this is for hands-on activities that kids will WANT to do while learning and playing. 
Each page is full of colorful activities that teach.

There are so many fun ways to explore science, technology, engineering, art, and math with this book. For parents or teachers looking for a complement to a specific curriculum, this book is it. Kid can explore so many areas while learning through hands-on play.
The OT in my LOVES the tactile experiences shared in this book! Check out some of the ideas below:

Looking for more ways to address sensory needs? 

You will love our Printable Sensory Diet Cards that cover so many areas! There are activities and ideas to address auditory processing needs, plus every other sensory system. Grab our Sensory Diet Cards for a complete packet of sensory activities. You’ll find 24 pages of 345 sensory diet activities including:

  • Calming and alerting movement activities
  • Heavy work fine motor activities for pre-writing needs or fidgeting needs
  • Sensory activities
  • Sensory support cards
These sensory diet cards can be used in the home, classroom, or clinic. They are available now for $9.99 on The OT Toolbox shop
Use printable sensory diet cards to encouraging sensory input through play

 Read more about the challenges of auditory processing disorders.


Fall Leaf themed auditory processing activities for sensory needs in kids.Auditory processing dominoes made with bells are perfect for a color matching activity, and can be graded to meet the auditory needs of all ages.Auditory processing sensory ideas for backyard summer sensory play, perfect for sensory diet ideas for kids.Baby Sensory bottles using recycled spice jars

 Fall Leaf Auditory Processing Activity




Bilateral Coordination Activity Using Pop Toobs

Below, you will find a blog post on a bilateral coordination activity using Pop Toobs. This fine motor bilateral coordination activity can address a variety of fine motor skills in kids including those bilateral coordination skills needed for tasks like handwriting, scissor use, shoe tying, and much more. This article was written by The OT Toolbox contributor author, Christina Komaniecki, OTR.

Work on bilateral coordination activity using pop toob toys to improve fine motor skills.

Bilateral Coordination Activity

This post contains affiliate links.

Sometimes when I am working with the students at school I have limited resources and have to be creative with what I have (as most OT’s are really good at). One really fun simple activity that I have used with students of all ages includes using tongs, a pop toob and small objects (pom poms, little erasers, tiny plastic animals etc.). Since using tongs can get boring for children fast, there is always ways to make it more enjoyable. Check out these other fun Occupational Therapy Activities Using Tongs.

Being able to perform bilateral coordination tasks is important in everything we do! Think about a child writing, cutting with scissors, completing fasteners, washing their hair, even making cookies requires bilateral coordination.

Components of Bilateral Coordination

There are three components to bilateral coordination which include reciprocal movements, symmetrical movements and using a dominant hand and a helper/supporting hand to complete tasks.

Bilateral Coordination Activity Using Pop Toobs

Working in the school lots of children I work with have a difficult time using their helper/supporting hand to stabilize paper when handwriting. Or when using scissors to cut with they won’t bring their other hand to hold the paper. This is why this activity is great to work on
to target a variety of skills, eye hand coordination, bilateral coordination and fine motor skills.

This activity works on using a helper/supporting hand to hold the pop toob while the other hand holds the tongs. This is great for children who have a hard time with stabilizing paper when cutting or handwriting, because it has them use both hands for the activity and it cannot be done with just one.

Materials needed for bilateral coordination activity with Pop Toobs

  • Pop toob
  • Containers, ice tray, bucket
  • Tongs-varying sizes depending on the size the child’s hand and size of object being picked up
  • Here are some tongs that vary in size:
  • Wooden tongs- works on finger position and grasp
  • Jumbo tweezers-facilitate an open web space and proper grasp
  • Mini alligator tongs and Teeny weenie tongs-perfect for little hands, to help build intrinsic muscles and proper grasp.
  • Small objects
  • Tiny plastic animals
  • Pom poms
  • Coins
  • Beans
  • Small erasers
  • Noodles

Work on bilateral coordination using pop toobs toy.

Directions for Bilateral Coordination Activity

Start by having the child hold the pop toob in one hand. Then using tongs, they will pick up an item with the other hand and have to place it over the top on the tube, open the tong and let the item travel down the tube. This activity is great to also work on the fine motor development of the hand.

More bilateral coordination activities using a Pop Toob

  • An ice tray- use pom poms and have the child move the tube so that the pomp om can fall into a designated space.
  • A bucket of water- use small erasers or small plastic toys and let them travel down the tube into the water and make a splash!
  • A container of beans- a fun way to have noodles travel down the tube fall into the beans and then shake up the container and let the child find the items in the hidden noodles.

How to grade this bilateral coordination activity:

To make this activity more difficult use a smaller tube, smaller tongs and smaller objects.

To decrease the activity, use a bigger tube, large tongs and bigger objects.

You can also have the child sit or stand when participating in this activity. From what I have seen children really like to stand when doing this.

About Christina:

Christina Komaniecki is a school based Occupational
Therapist. I graduated from Governors State University with a master’s in
occupational therapy.   I have been
working in the pediatric setting for almost 6 years and have worked in early
intervention, outpatient pediatrics, inpatient pediatrics, day rehab, private
clinic and schools. My passion is working with children and I love to see them
learn new things and grow. I love my two little girls, family, yoga and going
on long walks.  

Love this activity? Here are more bilateral coordination activities that you will enjoy:

 Scooping and pouring fine motor and hand dominance with beads 


  



Outdoor Sensory Swing

Taking sensory diet activities and other sensory play activities into the outdoors is as easy as walking outside! There are so many opportunities for outdoor sensory experiences using the world around us. Add a few key components like water, chalk, playground equipment, toys, and tools and you’ve got a sensory gym right in your backyard. While we’ve shared a lot of outdoor sensory diet activities here on The OT Toolbox, there are so many sensory experiences that are just plain fun right outside. Today, we’re talking about taking the sensory processing experiences up a notch using an outdoor sensory swing!F
We were lucky to try out the Harkla Sensory Pod Swing, and it has been a huge hit with my own children. The Occupational Therapist in me can’t help but see how awesome this sensory swing is for addressing sensory needs right in the home…and in the backyard!
Use an outdoor sensory swing for the ultimate sensory experience for kids with sensory processing needs, self-regulation challenges, attention, and more.

Add an Outdoor Sensory Swing to your Child’s Sensory Diet

Sensory diets play a huge part in the lives of so many children. Kids with sensory processing needs, attention issues, self-regulation challenges, and other areas. Read more about the goals of a sensory diet looks like in kids and how a tool like a sensory swing can play a part in addressing sensory needs.
In fact, there is much research on outdoor sensory play. The fact is, research shows us that some of the developmental and primary tasks that children must achieve can be effectively improved through outdoor play. These include: exploring, risk-taking, fine and gross motor development, absorption of basic knowledge, social skills, self-confidence, attention, language skills, among others. 

So knowing the benefits of being outdoors when it comes to addressing sensory needs, taking the sensory tools used in a sensory diet outdoors can be the obvious next step. 

Use an outdoor sensory swing like the Harkla pod swing for calming sensory input when outside.

Why take a sensory swing outdoors? 

The outdoors offers so much to our senses naturally. Sights, sounds, tactile experiences, and even air pressure can have a bountiful sensory impact! 

A bright day can be alerting to the child who struggles with alertness. A warm and sunny day can have a calming effect.

A slight breeze can offer a brush with the nerve endings on the skin, alerting the child. It can be a calming change from indoor air.

The feel of grass on a child’s toes can bring awareness and body perception. 

Background noises can be an opportunity to develop auditory processing skills. In fact, there are many ways to address auditory processing needs through backyard auditory processing activities

Ambulating to a sensory swing area is an opportunity to address balance and stability in a natural and functional environment. 

Swinging provides an opportunity for improved body awareness as a child learns how their body moves and responds to movement. Taking an indoor sensory swing into the outdoors provides a change in routine that can “wake up” the child’s awareness about certain movements. 

The outdoors offers a vast tactile playbox! From the feel of a tree’s bark to pebbles and stones, playing outside combined with needed sensory input a sensory swing offers can promote skills like fine motor strength, precision and graded grasp, separation of the sides of the hand, bilateral coordination, crossing midline, balance, endurance, core stability and strength, and so many other skill areas! 

Use this outdoor sensory swing for outdoor calming sensory input in kids with sensory processing needs.

Outdoor Sensory Swing 

When we received our Harkla pod sensory swing, the kids were eager to put it up in our home. After some time waiting for this to actually happen, because as we adults know, making changes to the home can sometimes take longer than expected, we finally decided to try it out in the outdoors. 

We took the sensory pod swing and the attachment components to a large tree in our backyard. After a quick installment, it was clear that the outdoor sensory swing was a success. 

Use a sensory swing outside as part of a sensory diet for calming sensory input.

What a calming experience this was! 

For the mom of four kids, it can be overwhelming during summer days when the kids are free from routine. All four of the kids swung in the Harkla sensory pod swing and were noticeably more calm and relaxed. 

The enclosed pod provides a calming nook where kids can relax or calm down. 

For the child with sensory needs who thrives after use of a sensory swing in therapy, taking the sensory swing outdoors can be a beneficial and therapeutic experience. 

I love that the swing can be used indoors or outdoors. Simple attachment mechanisms make this swing easy to install. The adjustable strap allow the swing to be attached at a preferred height for safety. 

Use a sensory swing to help kids calm down and organize sensory input for improved self-regulation with an outdoor sensory swing.

Since using the pod swing outdoors, we’ve used the swing several times outside on our big, shady tree. My older kids use the pod swing as a cozy reading nook. What a way to work on that summer reading list!

I did bring the swing in after we used it, just so it wouldn’t get soaked in the next summer rainstorm. Putting it back up was easy, using the installment belt and clip. 

For those without a tree branch that would hold kids, a regular swing set can be an optimal placement for the sensory swing. Simply pull the regular swings to the side or remove the chains and attach the sensory pod using the belt and clip.
If you are interested in purchasing a harkla Sensory Pod Swing, check out the Harkla website. The price on the sensory pod swing is great for those looking for a sensory swing that can fit within a budget. 

As a therapist whose seen many therapy equiptment catalogues, this is a great price! There is a coupon on the website for saving 10% on your first purchase, along with free shipping in the US.

We will be using this outdoor sensory pod swing all summer and installing the swing indoors, too. When the swing is not in use, just unclip the belt!



Harkla sensory pod swing is great for calming sensory input at home.

Disclaimer: The information presented here is for educational purposes only. It is not meant to diagnose or treat children with sensory needs, or other areas. Using a sensory swing can have a wide variety of responses on children. Also, recognize that every outdoor experience is different for each child as the environment is different in each experience. Consult your child’s occupational therapist for individualized recommendations. The OT Toolbox provides educational information only and is not responsible for any issues. Reading information found on this website acknowledges your consent to this disclaimer.

This post contains affiliate links.

Disclosure: We received a Harkla pod swing but all opinions are our own.

Outer Space Printable Thank You

Thank you for downloading the Outer Space Play Dough Mat! You should have an email in your inbox right now with a link to download the file. 

Did you find this page accidentally and want to know what the fuss is about? Go to our outer space play dough mat page to get your free outer space play dough mat!


The email also includes some instructions and the “why” behind play dough mats like this one. There is a lot of development going on when a little one uses a play dough mat like the one you just accessed! Scroll below to to find some additional usage instructions.




Outer space play dough mat for fine motor strengthening




How to use your Outer Space Play Dough Mat and other Housekeeping Information:



If you do not see the email right away, check back within 30 minutes. Be sure to check your SPAM folder.  Other subscribers using an email hosted on a school system’s email provider may have security restrictions in place that block the email. If you still don’t see the email, shoot me a message at contact@www.theottoolbox.com and I will send the file to you directly.

If you arrived here by accident and would like to receive a free outer space themed play dough mat to improve hand strength, check out this post that shares information on the Outer Space Play Dough Mat.

How to use Improve Intrinsic Hand Strength with a Play Dough Mat

You are going to build so many small muscles of the hand with this activity!

1. To use this play dough mat, you will first want to cover it with a plastic surface so you can use it over and over again. Some ideas to do this include (Amazon affiliate links are included below):


  • Cover it with clear contact paper. Click the link to purchase a large roll of clear contact paper.
  • Slide the play dough mat into a clear plastic page protector sleeve. Add it to a folder workbook or binder booklet of play dough mats for quiet time or a busy bag-type of activity.
  • Use a laminator to cover the play dough mat with a laminated surface that can be used over and over again. This is a great price on a quick laminator and laminating pouches.
  • Use pocket sleeves to create a quiet time or fine motor center activity.



2. Once the play dough mat is covered, provide the child with play dough, clay, foam dough, or other moldable material.



3. Ask the child to roll small balls of play dough using just the fingers and thumb of one hand. They should use their dominant hand to roll small balls of play dough with the tips of the fingers and thumb. This is an AWESOME hand strengthening exercise for kids. 

4. Ask the child or children to roll various sizes of play dough so the balls of dough fit into the various circle sizes on the play dough mat. 


Rolling play dough within one hand promotes development of a variety of areas: 

  • Strengthens the arches of the hands, helps awareness and coordination in separation of the two sides of the hand.
  • Promotes finger isolation for improved control and dexterity
  • Encourages dexterity and coordination of the thumb and index finger which are important in pencil grasp
  • Strengthens the intrinsic muscles for improved endurance in fine motor tasks such as maintaining hold on a pencil, manipulating clothing fasteners, managing and using scissors, coloring, and many other tasks.



Be sure to check out some of these fun play dough activities for more fine motor strengthening:


Play Dough Farm Activity | Play Dough Activity Color Match  | Play Dough Cupcakes

Pediatric Feeding: Is it Sensory, Oral Motor or Both?

Below, you will find a blog post on pediatric feeding therapy and answers to initial questions about feeding therapy such as “Are pediatric feeding issues related to sensory needs, oral motor problems or both?” and thoughts about where to begin with pediatric feeding therapy techniques.

Occupational therapists and parents often wonder if feeding problems are related to sensory issues or oral motor skills. This article on pediatric therapy addresses that question.

Pediatric Feeding: Is it Sensory, Oral Motor or Both?

When I was in grad school, we had one, three hour lab on feeding, and were told, Speech would handle feeding, so don’t worry.  Little did I know that what I thought was going to happen, was very far from reality.

Feeding Therapy Evaluation

When a child enters a therapy clinic for an OT feeding evaluation, we are prepared for sensory deficits to be present. What we are not prepared for in school, is the potential, and probable oral motor component. This is a skill that most of us learn on the job, in trial by fire, with limited guidance. Or, so was my experience.

Due to the high level of overlap between Speech and OT when it comes to feeding, this often is a problem that OT’s face. Depending on the setting, and even the facility you are in, can determine whose job it is to handle feeding clients.

A majority of professionals maintain that if it appears sensory based and the child has a limited diet, eats only certain textures or colors, it is for OT. If it appears oral motor in nature and the child cannot chew or manage a bolus well, it is for Speech to handle.

Herein lies the problem and common misconception about problematic feeders. Feeding challenges are more than just sensory, or just oral motor.

It is both sensory and oral motor based. This can lead to a very challenging, and complex situation for an OT who is new to feeding.

Oral Motor Skills and Sensory Challenges in Feeding Therapy

When a child limits the textures and variety of foods they eat, they limit the growth and development of their oral motor skills.

Let’s take a child who eats only pureed foods, and refuses solids of any kind for an example.

Oral motor skills needed to eat a thin puree off a spoon and to eat a carrot stick are vastly different.

Puréed foods require minimal bolus management of a thin food that quickly runs down the esophagus with minimal effort. The puree is also smooth, eliminating any scary “texture” for the child to manage.

The carrot stick, on the other hand requires the child to have awareness of his mouth, tongue, and bite pressure before even creating a bolus with the bite of carrot. The child also has to manage the bolus and break down of carrot efficiently while chewing and then swallowing.

Add in the sensory component of crunchy, wet and constantly changing size of the pieces of the carrot, and the child can become easily overwhelmed.

And so, the vicious cycle of a limited diet begins. Lack of confidence with oral motor skills and sensory deficits can lead to problematic feeders.

Feeding Therapy Goals

The above example is a frequent experience that many OT’s have faced when completing a therapy feeding session. With lack of exposure and continued refusal to attempt new foods, the child’s oral motor skills are never able to develop to support the trial of new foods continuing the cycle.

As occupational therapists, it is our job to help these children become functional eaters through the use of sensory desensitization and remediation of delayed oral motor skills.

Oral Motor Development in Feeding Therapy

As oral motor development is a lengthy topic, the next post will address oral motor development and food pairings to determine gaps in skills and provide effective remediation of delayed skills.

Check out the handout below to show parents and help explain the overlap of sensory processing and oral motor skills in problematic feeders.

Would you like to print this visual guide? Click here to access the printable pdf in our free resources library. You will also receive weekly newsletters full of therapy resources, tips, strategies, and information. The OT Toolbox newsletter is perfect for therapists and those working with occupational therapists.

Disclaimer: Feeding difficulties stem from a variety of difficulties including medical, structural, sensory deficits and skill deficits. The main discussion of this post is to examine the crossover of sensory and oral motor skills. Medical and structural concerns will be addressed in future posts.

A little about Kaylee: 
Hi Everyone! I am originally from Upstate N.Y., but now live in
Texas, and am the Lead OTR in a pediatric clinic. I have a bachelors in Health Science from Syracuse University at
Utica College, and a Masters in Occupational Therapy from Utica College. I have been working with children with special needs for 8 years,
and practicing occupational therapy for 4 years. I practice primarily in a
private clinic, but have experience with Medicaid and home health settings
also. Feeding is a skill that I learned by default in my current
position and have come to love and be knowledgeable in. Visual development and
motor integration is another area of practice that I frequently address and see
with my current population. Looking forward to sharing my knowledge with you all! ~Kaylee Goodrich, OTR

Click on the images below to check out these related articles: 

Jaw instability is an oral motor problem that results in impaired eating and drinking skills.  Exaggerated jaw movements are an oral motor problem that interfere with feeding including eating and drinking. Here are reasons why this oral motor issue happen and how it relates to feeding in kids. Jaw clenching is an oral motor problem that interferes with feeding and eating. Help to understand jaw clenching and reasons it might occur. Jaw thrust is a common oral motor problem that interferes with feeding. Here are the underlying causes and how jaw thrust impacts feeding in kids.

Therapy Band Exercise Program for Kids

So often, we see kids with weakness. They struggle with climbing monkey bars, maintaining grasp on a pencil, coloring with endurance, maintaining posture with a strong core, manipulating snaps and buttons, and so much more. A consistent home strengthening program can help with these skills. 
A therapy band is such a power tool in providing needed and calming proprioceptive sensory input, too. Many times, therapists will add therapy band exercises to a sensory diet. There’s a reason why! Slowly pulling and maintaining a position on an expanded therapy band creates resistance, providing proprioceptive input that kids need.
Use these tips for creating a therapy band exercise program that kids want to do!

Why use a Therapy Band Exercise Programs with Kids?

There are several motivating reasons to incorporate a therapy band exercise program into home programs and therapy regimens: 
  • Use as a movement break for alerting input or calming input
  • Exercise for increased attention
  • A tool for coordination and strength
  • On-the-go therapy tool that can go anywhere a school-based OT or home therapist goes
  • Easily incorporated into home programs
  • Can be easily modified for use by a large caseload
  • Can be used with individuals or in a group setting

THerapy band exercise program for kids to boost strength, core strength, and sensory needs.

Therapy Band Exercise Program for Kids

There are a few things that a great therapy band exercise program has when it comes to strengthening programs or exercises for kids. 
Here are a few MUST-Haves when it comes to a motivating therapy band exercise program for kids:
FUN- A therapy exercise program for kids must be more than a simple handout copy of exercises. That exercise sheet is sure to land on the top of your therapy clients refrigerator. A therapy program that has bright colors, fun characters, games, and interactive components is a win!
Creative- A therapy exercise program that uses animals, monsters, creatures, and fun characters is one way to get kids moving and coming back to try out those exercises again and again.
Easy- A home program that kids can (and want) to do themselves is one way to ensure carryover. 
Engaging- A bright and colorful exercise program with fun fonts, hands-on flip cards, and creative characters who get in on the exercise action are all part of a exercise plan geared to create healthy habits.
Motivating- Checklists that kids can mark, erase, and rewrite, fun stickers, and a game make therapy band exercise programs fun and not boring…a plan that kids want to do!
The Handee Band therapy band exercise program is perfect for adding fun fitness for kids.

Handee Band Therapy Band Exercise Program

Affiliate links are included below. 
When Francesca Avelli, MS, OTR/L approached me about a therapy exercise program that she created, I was excited learn more. Handee Band is a therapist-created collection of fitness exercises for boosting core strength and upper body strength…and it meets all of the requirements listed above! 
We tried out the Handee Band Exercise Kit and the Handee Band Exercise Cards, and had an absolute BLAST. All while exercising! 
Make exercise a game for better carryover and excitement in kids when they use this therapy band exercise program, Handee Band.
This exercise kit is definitely a product created by an occupational therapist. As my daughter was trying out the spinner board game and looking through the flip book for matching characters, that thought was on my mind. 
Make exercise a game for better carryover and excitement in kids when they use this therapy band exercise program, Handee Band.
All of the underlying skill areas that go into using this kit and playing the game are such a boost for kids. 
Wen playing the game, kids spin a spinner board and need to match up characters to the exercise kit or flip cards. The visual scanning, form constancy, visual tracking, visual discrimination, visual memory, and visual closure was really being used for this game. 
Make exercise a game for better carryover and excitement in kids when they use this therapy band exercise program, Handee Band.
Then, my four year old flipped through the cards, strengthening her finger isolation and other fine motor skills until she found the matching character. Once she did the exercise, she used more fine motor skills to peel off a sticker…but it had to be the matching sticker, resulting in more visual perceptual skills! 
Make exercise a game for better carryover and excitement in kids when they use this therapy band exercise program, Handee Band.
THEN, I asked my daughter to mark off the exercise on our checklist, using more fine motor work while boosting pencil control skills and pre-writing strokes as she formed a vertical line in the given box, but not over the lines! 
What a workout! 
But, all of this doesn’t even tough on the real strengthening we did with the Handee Band. 
Make exercise a game for better carryover and excitement in kids when they use this therapy band exercise program, Handee Band.
There are so many exercises in the Handee Band kit and exercise cards. There are 15 to be exact, and they each have a corresponding character showing how to do the therapy band exercise. These handheld cards are perfect for the therapist that needs to tote supplies from building to building!
We left the Handee Band kit cards and band out on a table for a few days and there were countless times I saw my kids stopping over to do an exercise or two. The Handee Band program is just too irresistible! 
Make exercise a game for better carryover and excitement in kids when they use this therapy band exercise program, Handee Band.
If you are a therapist in a clinic looking for a therapy band exercise program that kids WANT to do, then the Handee Band is for you. 
If you are a school-based therapist looking for strengthening exercises or proprioceptive input that calms, alerts, and adds to a sensory diet, then the Handee Band is for you. 
If you are a home therapists, working with kids (or adults!) in the home and need exercises that can tuck into a tote bag, then the Handee Band is for you.
If you are a parent looking for creative and motivating ways to get the kids moving and focused on fitness, then the Handee Band is for you. 

Check out the Handee Band website for more information.

Disclosure: We received a Handee Band exercise kit and exercise cards, but all opinions are our own.