This pediatric occupational therapy activity box is a fun way to store and sort occupational therapy supplies for kids in schools, in home occupational therapy services, or for the school-based OT who travels from building to building. Pediatric occupational therapy activities and tools can be be used as an occupational therapy activity tool too! Read how to turn a dollar store pencil box into an occupational therapy tool for kids.
How to turn a $1 pencil box into a therapy tool!
A pencil box is a simple school supply. It serves the purpose of storing a child’s pencils, pens, crayons, erasers, scissors, pencil sharpener, and more. Therapists use a pencil box in occupational therapy to store similar materials with the addition of some OT gadgets such as adaptive scissors and pencils, fidget tools, pencil grips and more.
Pencil boxes come in a variety of styles, colors, sizes, and designs and kids love going to the store right before school begins and picking out just the right one. But have you ever tried using one AS a therapy tool?
Although storage is their purpose, you can turn a simple pencil box into a occupational therapy activity toolkit to address a variety of fine motor skills. It just takes a little imagination.
Below are 6 ways you can turn this Sterilite pencil box into many fun and unique occupational therapy activities to address fine motor hand skills. This pencil box was purchased at Target for a $1.
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1. Prior to giving the pencil box to the child, wrap the box with multiple rubber bands to work on hand strength, bilateral coordination, and upper extremity control. Have the child use two hands to remove the rubber bands in order to open the box. When all activities are completed, have the child replace the rubber bands around the box. The rubber bands will also ensure the lid doesn’t accidently pop open during transport spilling all of your therapy fun.
2. You can use the squares on the lid to work on pinch and precision skills with the use of pony beads. Have the child pinch specific colored pony beads and directly place them into the indented squares on the pencil box with up to four pony beads each square.
3. You can use the squares on the lid to work on tool grasp, distal control, prewriting and writing skills with the use of a dry erase tool. Have the child trace inside of the squares to draw a square or have the child color inside of the squares to work on coloring skills. Letter writing is another option and it is a unique approach to practice! Erase with a pom-pom to address pinch pattern and strength.
4. You can use the edge of the pencil box to work on pinch, finger strength, bilateral coordination, and visual motor skills. Have child squeeze open binder clips and place them around the edges of the box either at random or in a color pattern.
5. After binder clips are assembled onto the edge of the box, push one side of the clips down and have child work on threading a lacing cord through the loops of the clips using a weaving or looping pattern.
6. With the pencil box filled with an assortment of beads, write letters on the inside of the lid with a dry erase tool and then have child locate those targeted beads to string on a pipe cleaner. Take turns and have the child write letters for you to find and string onto a pipe cleaner.
Although some of the occupational therapy activities are designed specifically for this type of pencil box, I hope you can now look at pencil boxes differently and begin thinking “out of the box” for activities you can do with kiddos during your therapy sessions.