Working on Fine Motor Skills in Teletherapy

these fine motor activities for teletherapy require items already in the home

Working on fine motor skills in teletherapy services can be a strange thing to consider if you re used to face to face occupational therapy intervention. Helping a child to engage in fine motor activities in a virtual setting may seem downright strange. How to do you help kids work on areas like hand strength, dexterity, or other fine motor skill needs? The use of teletherapy fine motor activities, also known as manipulatives, may at first overwhelm therapists who do not understand how this would work virtually.

these fine motor activities for teletherapy require items already in the home

However, there are a range of ways to incorporate fine motor activities into teletherapy occupational therapy treatment sessions. Therapists can use extra creativity to develop fine motor activities for teletherapy sessions, but they can also use some of the same activities they would use in-person (with a bit of preparation and/or assistance from an “e-helper”).

A recent post here on The OT Toolbox explains the basics of understanding teletherapy and what this looks like. You’ll also want to check out this piece on occupational therapy activities in teletherapy for easy-to-implement ideas for children of all ages. What about the child who needs to work on fine motor skills?

Today, we’re discussing some popular, but effective fine motor activities for teletherapists.

Use these fine motor activities to help students improve fine motor skills during teletherapy services.

How to work on Fine Motor skills in teletherapy

Using a teletherapy platform to provide therapy services doesn’t mean children can’t work on essential skill areas. Here are some ideas to get your creative brain started.

Theraband Activities in telehealth

As you may already know, theraband or resistive bands are a trusty therapy tool that can be used by therapists to treat a variety of populations in a range of settings. Teletherapists can use theraband to strengthen a child’s fine motor skills in preparation for tasks such as handwriting, dressing, eating, play, and other self-care tasks. What’s more is that resistive band exercises can be included in a sensory diet that helps children to regulate themselves so they are able to participate in fine motor activities.

Some of the following theraband activities can assist with fine motor strength and coordination in children:

  • Grab each end of the theraband, make a fist, and pull the band apart at the same time (this works on general digit and wrist strength)
  • With smaller theraband elastics, place the band around the tips of all of your fingers, then spread all your fingers apart, and repeat (this works on digit abduction and adduction)
  • Rest your hand flat on the table, wrap a theraband elastic around one finger at a time while using your other hand to pull on the opposite end of the band; resist the pressure of the band by trying to move each finger to its resting state, which is flat on the table (this works on digit isolation and coordination)

Therapists can find more detailed videos that guide children through these exercises, or they can demonstrate for them during sessions. This often works best when children have “e-helpers” to assist in getting theraband and possibly helping children learn to use it during the first several times or as part of their home programs.

Here is a resistive band home program for kids that lends itself well to telerehab.

Use noodles and string or pipe cleaners to work on fine motor skills in teletherapy occupational therapy sessions

Use Pipe Cleaners in Fine Motor Activities during teletherapy sessions

Children can use pipe cleaners to work on fine motor strengthening during a variety of tasks during teletherapy sessions. Pipe cleaners may most easily be utilized during treatment sessions to string beads or other small objects on them. This helps children develop fine motor precision, coordination, strength, digit isolation, and more.

Children can also use scissors to cut pipe cleaners into smaller pieces and make into certain objects, fill in pictures to add color, and more.

Another good way to use pipe cleaners in teletherapy sessions is to ask children to be creative and bend them into certain shapes, objects, or letters.

This is another example of materials that parents, guardians, and other loved ones can obtain and provide for their children to use during therapy sessions.

Use simple and everyday items to work on fine motor skills during occupational therapy teletherapy sessions

Use Tweezers during fine motor activities in teletherapy sessions

Therapists can have children use tweezers to improve their grasp pattern, fine motor coordination, and fine motor strength. This will help children form an improved grasp pattern and overall greater range of motion in the hand as preparation for handwriting tasks. Therapists can utilize tweezers along with small objects in a variety of ways:

  • Have children pick up beads or cotton balls with tweezers
  • Ask children to use tweezers to place small perler beads on glue or within a picture to add color or texture
  • Use tweezers to move small objects around on a table, but not pick them up

Therapists who use their creativity can easily incorporate manipulatives into teletherapy treatment. Again, the intermittent assistance of e-helpers can really improve a child’s performance and engagement in the teletherapy treatment process.

Here are additional ways to work on fine motor skills during teletherapy using items that are commonly found in the home:

Fine Motor Activities using clothespins

FIne Motor Activities with Play Dough

Fine Motor Activities with Paper Clips

Fine Motor Activities with Craft Pom Poms or Cotton Balls

Fine Motor Activities with Playing Cards

Fine Motor Activities with Beads

Fine Motor Activities with Chalk

Crafts for Kids to work on various fine motor areas.

Helping kids understand teletherapy

Children who have previously received occupational therapy services in a face-to-face setting may feel a little confused or out of sorts when they now need to complete fine motor tasks at home (and with items that are way less fun than what they are used to their OT playing with alongside them. Here is a fun book to help explain why they are now working on hard things like fine motor skills with their therapist through a computer screen.

Affiliate links are included below.

Why is there a person in my computer? is a child’s guide to understanding what teletherapy is and how it can help with a variety of medical concerns. This story follows Andrew, a child with visual deficits who is having difficulty playing hockey, performing well in school, and working on his art. He meets a therapist named Brittany who guides him through his first teletherapy session, and he loves it! This picture book helps children understand what teletherapy is, what makes it different from other therapies, and how it can help them live better lives. Children may also enjoy the supplemental activity guide complete with coloring pages, fact sheets, and more!

This blog post was written by Brittany Ferri. Brittany is an occupational therapist, author, and teletherapy professional. She is passionate about education, health promotion, and disease prevention for all. Brittany currently practices in community-based teletherapy for two platforms, one that serves pediatrics (geared toward mental health diagnoses and developmental delays) and one that serves adults. For more information, visit her company’s website at www.simplicityofhealth.com

Teletherapy Platforms for Occupational Therapy

Which telehealth platform is the best for occupational therapy telemedicine delivery?

Many therapists are becoming more interested in telemedicine, given the current circumstances of our healthcare system. How do you know where to begin when researching teletherapy platforms? Today, we’re discussing various telehealth options for occupational therapy.

To get you started with actual activities that you can apply to virtual OT sessions, here are teletherapy activities to help you get started with virtual occupational therapy services.

Which telehealth platform is the best for occupational therapy telemedicine delivery?

Some existing companies are looking to incorporate the use of telemedicine into their business by converting current clients to teletherapy services. On the other hand, there are teletherapy platforms that provide solely virtual care to their patients.

While other healthcare disciplines, such as nursing and medicine, are more widespread in the telehealth realm, occupational therapists are a growing presence in this up-and-coming practice area.

how to chose a telehealth platform for occupational therapy.

TELETHERAPY Platforms

Speech therapists were perhaps some of the first therapists to enter the world of pediatric teletherapy, perhaps due to the nature of much of their treatment. Unsurprisingly, many of the teletherapy roles for occupational therapists are within school-based therapy settings for similar reasons. These platforms can easily address fine motor skills, developmental milestones, emotion management, behavior modification, executive functioning, sensory regulation strategies, and more.

For those therapists who are interested in providing occupational therapy for a teletherapy platform, there are a variety of platforms available. The following companies offer technology to serve virtual medicine:

Global Teletherapy– As a school-based teletherapy platform that provides care from disciplines such as OT, SLP, LPC, LMHC, and SW, Global Teletherapy is a prominent provider in the telemedicine realm. As an established platform, Global Teletherapy helps therapists gain clinical experience in this arena while providing resources to parents of children who receive teletherapy.

Presence Learning– Presence Learning provides speech-language pathology, occupational therapy, early childhood services, special education, and psychoeducational assessments to children within the school system. This platform provides individualized consultations with schools to determine their suitability for teletherapy services. Many therapists may be familiar with the idea of needs assessments, which Presence Learning completes to ensure best fit for all of the children they serve.

eLuma– This company provides online speech-language pathology, occupational therapy, physical therapy, special education, and mental health counseling from licensed therapists and counselors. Not only has this company been providing therapy services to schools who are in need of online therapy and mental health services, but eLuma also provides ample resources to therapists transitioning into teletherapy. Through blogs, webinars, and online publications, therapists and other professionals can learn more about how to provide effective teletherapy services while facilitating progress in the children they treat. 

TinyEYE– TinyEYE has been providing school- and home-based teletherapy services for children since 2005. Not only is this teletherapy platform consistently growing, but they are committed to providing focused care by providing occupational therapy and speech therapy services to the clients they serve. TinyEYE also provides therapists with treatment ideas, free activities, a wide range of technology-based exercises to use with children to address various concerns during any treatment.

DotCom Therapy– DotCom Therapy employs a diverse range of school-based professionals, including audiologists, mental health counselors, occupational therapists, and speech-language pathologists. With a comprehensive range of services, DotCom Therapy is able to provide extensive IEPs with continual reviews, personalized needs assessments, staff training for school professionals, and ongoing team meetings and parent conferences.

Other Telehealth Platforms

Zoom for Healthcare– In the recent changes to public health and therapeutic service delivery, finding a quick and compliant means of connecting with clients is needed. Zoom for Healthcare is one such platform ahta is easy to set up and get moving with. The video conferencing platform is HIPPA compliant and offers resources to help with setting up virtual communications.

Google Classrooms– With this online classroom platform, therapists are able to connect with and engage with students in a virtual setting. A group classroom setting may not be appropriate for confidentiality reasons, as classmates and parents can view others in a group video setting or in the comments section. However, therapists may choose to use the technology to set up individual classrooms for each student they serve as a way to deliver documents, files, and recommended home programs.

Teletherapy platforms for occupational therapy delivery of virtual therapy services.

Teletherapy Staffing Companies

Some therapists may be familiar with staffing agencies, which are poised to connect therapists of many disciplines with therapy positions. Sunbelt Staffing and ProCare Therapy are unique in that they recruit therapists for contracted (short-term) or permanent (long-term) teletherapy roles within school systems across the country. Some of these roles are part-time and some are full-time, but each position allows physical therapists, physical therapy assistants, occupational therapists, occupational therapy assistants, and speech-language pathologists the opportunity to build connections in valuable technology-based roles in a range of locations.

Occupational therapy and teletherapy

Amazon affiliate links are included below.

For occupational therapists who are interested in making a difference in the world of teletherapy, there are many options for them to consider. For the time being, occupational therapy is still a relatively new discipline within this type of platform, but that can easily change as more parents, families, schools, and communities see the benefit of online occupational therapy services.

This service initially developed to provide essential care for individuals who are in rural areas and cannot access standard, in-person treatment. However, virtual occupational therapy can increase the skills, quality of life, and occupational performance of children in areas with a shortage of therapists, time constraints, or concerns related to recent public health issues.

With the rise of telemedicine, the concept of teletherapy may be difficult for some children to grasp, especially those living with disabilities and those who are accustomed to traditional school-based therapy or outpatient rehab. Thankfully, there are resources available to guide children through this process and learn skills that make them stronger and more confident.

Why is there a person in my computer? is a child’s guide to understanding what teletherapy is and how it can help with a variety of medical concerns. This story follows Andrew, a child with visual deficits who is having difficulty playing hockey, performing well in school, and working on his art. He meets a therapist named Brittany who guides him through his first teletherapy session, and he loves it! This picture book helps children understand what teletherapy is, what makes it different from other therapies, and how it can help them live better lives. Children may also enjoy the supplemental activity guide complete with coloring pages, fact sheets, and more!

This blog post was written by Brittany Ferri. Brittany is an occupational therapist, author, and teletherapy professional. She is passionate about education, health promotion, and disease prevention for all. Brittany currently practices in community-based teletherapy for two platforms, one that serves pediatrics (geared toward mental health diagnoses and developmental delays) and one that serves adults. For more information, visit her company’s website at www.simplicityofhealth.com

Teletherapy Activities for Occupational Therapy

Use these occupational therapy teletherapy activities for planning OT online sessions and home programs

In this article on teletherapy activity ideas for kids, you will learn how to enhance a variety of skills through basic, fun activities. OT is online more than ever in recent days and therapy services may be scrambling to identify occupational therapy activities that can serve children and families in the OT telehealth format. Children and therapists may both be familiar with some of these teletherapy activities, whereas others may be learning experiences for the entire family unit.

We will provide some teletherapy activities broken down by age range so that therapists can best enable functional performance and occupational engagement in the children they serve. To better understand teletherapy start with out recent post that explains the online therapy service.

Use these occupational therapy teletherapy activities for planning OT online sessions and home programs

Teletherapy Activities for Early Intervention

Let’s start with teletherapy for birth to three. Many therapists may struggle with understanding how early intervention services (also known as EI, or “birth to three”) can be provided virtually. The truth is, there is not much difference between teletherapy EI and standard EI programming, since both services are provided within the home and each place a heavy focus on family education.

telehealth activities and ideas for early intervention from birth through age 3

Early intervention therapists can provide training, health information, and in-home strategies to assist with the care of children who demonstrate developmental delays, medical, concerns, or behavioral issues.

Therapists should ideally provide education that is unique to the child (and their family unit) covering topics such as positioning (for sleep, car seats, and play time), ways to enhance fine motor development and gross motor development, facilitating participation in self-care tasks, productive play, and more. Here are ways to work on fine motor skills in teletherapy.

In this way, the majority of the content that therapists provide families with will mimic traditional home training or home exercise programs (HEPs) that are provided as part of EI treatment.

Therapists in this setting can also provide children with exercises in some of the following areas, depending on their specific concern(s): 

  • Shape and object identification games
  • Letter and number tracing
  • Counting, sorting, and early comparing activities with animals, superheros, cartoons, shapes, etc.
  • Pattern recognition activities
  • Simple digital jigsaw puzzles
  • Online games and apps
  • Bingo activities with numbers, letters, and shapes
  • Holiday-themed activities involving drawing shapes and forming them into objects
  • Counting coins, playing shopping/store-related games
  • Target games involving planning/aiming, throwing, and picking up
  • Gross motor obstacle courses or chalk sensory walks

Here are some quick activity ideas that lend themselves nicely to teletherapy in early intervention:

Backhoe Shapes Craft

Easy Shapes Salt Truck Craft

Preschool Activities

Teach Nose Blowing

Pre-Writing Lines Activities

Teletherapy Activities for Kindergarten-3rd Grade

Next, let’s talk teletherapy activities for Kindergarten through third grade. Children between the ages of 5 and 9 can also benefit from teletherapy activities to build and strengthen skills related to sensory regulation, behavior management, handwriting, self-care, and effective communication.

telehealth activities for occupational therapy for children kindergarten through grade 3

Teletherapy activities for kindergarten through 3rd grade can focus on addressing these concerns may include some of the following:

  • Digital coloring pages
  • “Find the differences” exercise involving comparisons between two similar images
  • Object matching games
  • Handwriting exercises
  • Interactive versions of basic games such as Connect Four, tic-tac-toe, 
  • Cause-and-effect games to encourage early understanding of problem solving and right vs. wrong
  • Worksheets prompting sequencing for basic activities (going to the movies, eating dinner, etc.)
  • Basic human body educational activities (coloring pages, identification charts, and functional purpose)
  • Education on “How does your engine run?” levels to assist in regulating emotions
  • Traditional draw and cut activities
  • Theraband and theragrip for basic strengthening
  • Gross motor obstacle courses or sensory walks

Here are more quick OT telehealth ideas for primary grades:

Therapy Band Exercise Program

Zones of Regulation Activities

Kids Crafts for Occupational Therapy

Motivating Handwriting Activities

Indoor Balance Beams

TELeTherapy Activities for Grades 4-8

Occupational therapy telehealth for older grades can expand into further topics. While many of the K-3 activities can be modified for some older children, there are multiple teletherapy activities that can be used for children in this age range.  Teletherapy activities for these children may focus on topics such as communication, behavior management, relationships, rule-following, self-care skills, and more.

Occupational therapy telehealth activities for 4th-8th grade

Try some of these ideas in planning online therapy services for grades 4th through 8th grade:

  • Word searches, jumbles, or crosswords
  • Mazes
  • More complex jigsaw puzzles and strategy-based games
  • Story-based cause-and-effect activities
  • Creative writing prompts to explore emotions
  • Role identification
  • Sports-based games and exploration of hobbies

Here are a few quick activity ideas for teletherapy in the older grades:

Games to Work on Executive Functioning Skills

Organization Activities and Strategies

Cursive Activities

Use these occupational therapy telehealth activities for addressing OT at home or online therapy programming

Areas That Therapists May Struggle to Address

There are certain areas that teletherapists may struggle to incorporate into teletherapy activities. The good news is, with a little creativity, therapists can ensure that the children they treat are receiving the well-rounded treatment they need to advance their skills in a range of areas.

Force modulation: Some games require the use of a tablet and stylus, which allows children to practice force modulation that cannot be addressed by typical point-and-click activities. Therapists can also encourage the use of alternative activities covering force modulation, such as clapping or hi-fives (if another person is present in the room). Therapists might provide prompts such as, “If it’s loud enough for me to hear – you are doing okay! If it makes your hand turn red and hurt – you are hitting too hard! If the two hands are barely touching – you aren’t hitting hard enough!”

Sensory regulation: This is best addressed when you have an e-helper present to aid during the session. However, with some simple planning ahead from a parent or teacher’s assistant, therapists can make sure their kiddo has the materials needed to work on this skill during the session. These e-helpers can provide children with a variety of sensory input (per therapist recommendation and supervision) including soothing music or nature sounds, various textured fabrics, weighted blankets, essential oils, brushing protocols, visually soothing colors, and much more.

Other strategies, such as brushing protocols, can even be trialed or implemented with children per therapist demonstration and instruction. All of this is, of course, best supplemented by educating parents, teachers, and other loved ones on the use of a sensory diet to maximize a child’s tolerance and regulation of sensory input.

If you are searching for additional resources to serve as inspiration or reference for teletherapy activities, check out some of the following websites:

OT Teletherapy ACTIVITIES by area

Pair popular children's books with hands on activities to help kids build skills, perfect addition to occupational therapy sessions.

Children’s books activities


Need an idea to keep the kiddos busy AND building skills like fine motor work or executive functioning? Need an activity for teletherapy sessions that cover a variety of areas like scissor skills, bilateral coordination, eye-hand coordination, and more?

Grab one of these popular children’s books and activities (OR find a reading of them online) and then make the craft or activity outlined on The OT Toolbox

Have fun exploring books through play!

Handwriting ideas for telehealth that can be used in OT virtual sessions.

Handwriting activities for teletherapy

Ohhh, it’s tricky to get the kids to do the hard things in the place they feel safe and loved. Handwriting work they may have had in the classrooms might be a foot stomping “NO!” In the dining room classroom! Here are ways to make handwriting fun:

Easy handwriting activities can be sent as home programs or used in virtual OT sessions via a screen.

These irresistible handwriting activities can work for kids who hate to write.

Natural writing experiences (it’s not about the writing…or is it??? ??) can make handwriting practice at home fu,.

Use these handwriting tips & tricks in fun ways as part of home programs.

Teletherapy resources for occupational therapists and other telemedicine practice.

Many therapists and medical providers have moved to virtual telehealth services recently. Many more will transition to this type of service delivery next week. Here are teletherapy resources to better help understand and deliver virtual therapy:

Understanding teletherapy to get a better vision of what teletherapy actually looks like in action.

Additionally, diving into various Occupational therapy teletherapy platforms can be helpful to know where to begin.

sensory diet activities for home to use in OT teletherapy sessions

Sensory Diet activities for home programs

“A sensory diet is a group of activities that are specifically scheduled into a child’s day to assist with attention, arousal and adaptive responses. The activities are chosen for that child’s needs based on sensory integration theory. … These activities are designed to produce a positive effect on a child.” Here are sensory diet tools I’ve got on the website. Use them in parent education and conferencing or as recommended reading.

Outdoor Sensory diet activities: https://www.theottoolbox.com/outdoor-sensory-diet-activities/

Sensory diet activities for the backyard: https://www.theottoolbox.com/outdoor-sensory-diet-activities-for-backyard/

Sensory diet activities for a hike or playing in the woods: https://www.theottoolbox.com/outdoor-sensory-diet-activities-for-playing-in-the-woods/

What is a sensory diet? https://www.theottoolbox.com/what-is-sensory-diet/

Part of virtual teletherapy sessions can involve parent education and explaining the specific Goals of a sensory diet.

These backyard slide and swing activities can be done at home using Sensory diet activities in backyard playground equipment.

These fine motor activities for telehealth and be used in OT sessions with kids.

Fine Motor Activities in telehealth

I’ve had a few requests for this fine Motor Activities using items commonly found in the home.

These fine motor activities and exercises with parents needing tools to build strength and dexterity. Or, use these ideas in teletherapy services:

Playing cards

Craft Pom poms/cotton balls

Paper clips

Play dough

More regular home item activity lists coming. These are completed but on the backlog in getting them up on the site.

Cooking with kids is a great way to build skills and help kids learn, add these ideas to teletherapy sessions.

Cooking Activities for virtual therapy

Need some ways to build skills, inspire learning, connect with the kiddos, AND take a minute to reflect on everything? Use that kitchen! Cooking with kids is a great way to build many sill areas.

Cooking is such a great way to build motor skills, sensory experiences, build self-confidence, open up opportunities for conversation, work on math concepts, executive functioning…there are so many areas of learning and growth in cooking tasks.

Here are some resources on kid-friendly recipes that can be graded to make them easier or more difficult for younger/older kids:

These kid-friendly recipes build skills. Send them as home programs or make them along with the child and an E-helper.

You can teach direction-following with cooking with these recipes.

Cooking builds motor skills. Use these recipes and simulated cooking activities (GREAT for virtual therapy sessions!) while building motor skills.

Add brain breaks to occupational therapy telehealth with kids.

Brain breaks in OT teletherapy

? Brain Breaks! ?
These themed activities are quick wins, and (many times) the re-set button that we can all use at one time or another. Brain breaks can be movement-based actions, whole-body breathing strategies, or just a mental reprise. These are perfect ?? for an afternoon re-set or during schooling at home activities.

Themes and brain break activities galore can be found here.

OTs can use crafts to build skills in helping kids develop motor skills.

Use crafts in OT teletherapy

Crafts that build skills
Need a craft or two that doubles as a tool to build fine motor skills, eye-hand coordination, scissor skills, bilateral coordination, midline crossing, hand strength, tactile exploration, and more?

Here are TONS of kids craft ideas to get you started (therapist-approved!)

These executive functioning activities are great for OT teletherapy.

Executive Function activities in teletherapy

Ok…with schooling at home, managing the laundry pile, working with kids playing under the table, trying to get them to read a real, live book…are you running into trouble with prioritization, planning, impulse control, working memory, organization? ? All of these skills are executive functioning! Impulse control, prioritization, planning, working memory…executive functioning skills can be worked on at home. Here are activities, along with information on how and why these areas impact functioning.

What are EF skills

Attention

Games to improve EF

Working memory

motor skills activities occupational therapy teletherapy activities

Ok…the kids are on screens A TON now, right? Here are creative ways to build motor skills, motor planning, and coordination using everyday, household items that you probably have in the home right now. Add these to your teletherapy line-up for hands-on activities that don’t involve apps, videos, or computer slides:

Pencil control exercises with paper and pencil– Use just a pencil and paper to work on pencil control, hand strength, and visual motor skills. We used colored pencils, but this activities works with a regular pencil, too. Practice shading in the circles with more or less pencil pressure to work on proprioception.

Grasp development and in-hand manipulation with recycled containers– Use recycled water bottles, plastic containers with lids, and other upcycled items to work on grasp strength, and translation to remove caps and lids. Washing out the containers is a GREAT functional task, too. Then, kids can throw the recycled containers right into the recycle bin when they are finished with this activity.

DIY tongs with craft sticks/pencils– One of our oldest posts here on the website, you can use craft sticks and craft pom poms OR, if those items are available in the home, no problem. Substitute them for a pair of pencils and rolled up pieces of paper to make DIY tongs.

Balance beam ideas using household items– Kids can work on coordination, motor planning, balance, and core strength in the home using regular, household items in DIY indoor balance beams.

Intrinsic hand strength/motor planning, coordination with an egg carton & straw– Use what you’ve got! An empty egg carton, and pieces of straws, (or any other small item) can be a powerful way to work on hand stregth and intrinsic strength needed for pencil grasp and fine motor dexterity.

Fine motor with playing cards– Playing with items found in the home can build big skills in a low-tech manner. Playing cards can be used to build visual motor skills, visual perception, fine, motor and more.

Extended wrist/fine motor/eye-hand coordination with a
Colander & toothpick
s- Head to the kitchen for this fine motor activity that builds big motor skills and coordination.

HELP KIDS UNDERSTAND TELETHERAPY

Amazon affiliate links are included below.

With the rise of telemedicine, the concept of teletherapy may be difficult for some children to grasp, especially those living with disabilities and those who are accustomed to traditional school-based therapy or outpatient rehab. Thankfully, there are resources available to guide children through this process and learn skills that make them stronger and more confident.

Why is there a person in my computer? is a child’s guide to understanding what teletherapy is and how it can help with a variety of medical concerns. This story follows Andrew, a child with visual deficits who is having difficulty playing hockey, performing well in school, and working on his art. He meets a therapist named Brittany who guides him through his first teletherapy session, and he loves it! This picture book helps children understand what teletherapy is, what makes it different from other therapies, and how it can help them live better lives. Children may also enjoy the supplemental activity guide complete with coloring pages, fact sheets, and more!

Portions of this blog post was written by Brittany Ferri. Brittany is an occupational therapist, author, and teletherapy professional. She is passionate about education, health promotion, and disease prevention for all. Brittany currently practices in community-based teletherapy for two platforms, one that serves pediatrics (geared toward mental health diagnoses and developmental delays) and one that serves adults. For more information, visit her company’s website at www.simplicityofhealth.com

Fine Motor Activities with Clothespins

These fine motor activities can be added to occupational therapy teletherapy activities to work on precision and dexterity in kids, all using items found in the home, like clothespins.

Looking for fine motor activities you can do with kids at home and using items you already have in the house? Today, I’ve got fine motor activities using clothespins. These are activities that can be shared with families so they can work on skills at home or as part of an occupational therapy home program. These activities ideas need just clothespins, so it’s a great way to work on fine motor skills as part of teletherapy or virtual occupational therapy services. For more activities you can easily set up at home, check out some of the posts listed below. In all of them, we are talking about fine motor activities using items you already have in the home.

FIne Motor Activities Using Items You Have at Home

FIne Motor Activities with Play Dough

Fine Motor Activities with Paper Clips

Fine Motor Activities with Craft Pom Poms or Cotton Balls

Fine Motor Activities with Playing Cards

Fine Motor Activities with Beads

Fine Motor Activities with Chalk

fine motor activities using everyday household items, like cloths pins to work on fine motor skills in kids.

Fine motor skills Activities using clothes pins

When using clothespins to work on fine motor skills, kids can address so many underlying skill areas. Fine motor skills like bilateral coordination, hand strength, arch strength, intrinsic hand strength, eye-hand coordination, motor planning, proprioceptive sensory input, and so many other areas. All of these components of fine motor skills are covered here on The OT Toolbox. Check out the menu drop down bar above for activities geared toward each of these specific skills.

  • Drop into large container
  • Make into animal craft 
  • Use as legs for animal puppets
  • Squeeze onto number cards
  • Use clothespins to work on pinch strength
  • Hang from string overhead
  • Use to hang a pendant banner
  • Clip onto leaves on a tree
  • Play outdoor scavenger hunt game
  • Use a clothespin to work on pencil grasp
  • Label with letters and place in alphabetical order
  • Press onto pipe cleaners 
  • Make a tree with string and pipe cleaners
  • Use clothespins to work on spacing between words
  • Squeeze onto clothes for labeling body parts or clothing items for functional task
  • Use in ordering activities for a sensory diet or activity list
  • Chore clips for home or classroom chores
  • Squeeze ball of play dough color code or number coded 
  • Use clothespins in fine motor busy bags
  • Squeeze small ball of paper
  • Squeeze craft Pom Pom and paint dots 
  • Pick up and transfer mini erasers
  • Pinch onto the edge of a table when laying underneath for overhead reach. Hang up paper
  • Make a sheet fort 
  • Squeeze onto craft wire to make a sculpture
  • Use to count in math centers
  • Pinch into clothing (sleeve) for a kindness count
These fine motor activities can be added to occupational therapy teletherapy activities to work on precision and dexterity in kids, all using items found in the home, like clothespins.

MORE FINE MOTOR ACTIVITIES:

Create Your Own Race Track


Spring Sensory Seek and Find


Sensory Soup with Fine Motor Sorting


Fine Motor Strengthening with Color Match


Cereal Box Fine Motor Coordination Activity


DIY Lacing Cards


Manipulating Coins Fine Motor Skills


Best Fine Motor Play Ideas for Kids


Tripod Grasp with Pipe Cleaners


Textured Shaving Cream Play Finger Isolation

Sight Word Scooping

Golf Tee Hammering

Fine Motor Activities with Beads

fine motor activities using beads

A while back, I started putting together lists of activities that require just one supply. These are items that you probably already have in the home. I wanted to put these activity lists together to help kids work on fine motor skills with little to no supplies. Some of the activity lists that we have so far include fine motor activities using paper clips, activities using just craft pom poms or cotton balls, and activities to improve fine motor skills with just playing cards. I have a lot more activity lists to come. These will all use just one item, and the fine motor ideas are great for building skills with limited supplies. Send a copy of these links to any friends or families looking for activities for kids to do at home to work on fine motor skills. They are also great for adding to teletherapy services and working on skills with kids as the families probably have these simple items in their home.

fine motor activities using beads

For now, let’s talk about fine motor activities that can be done using just beads! HERE are all of our fine motor activities in one place.

FINE MOTOR ACTIVITIES KIDS NEED

Kids need fine motor skills for school and play. The problem is when we see functional concerns that limit independence. We might see kids who really struggle with hand strength, dexterity, joint mobility, or precision. We may notice these issues in how a student grasps their pencil. We may see kids having trouble with buttons, zippers, or snaps because of the fine motor skills they really need to develop. Simple fine motor activities can make a real impact in working on these fine motor skill areas.

Activities using what you have in the Home

Here are some of the other OT activity ideas that I’ve created so far in this series:

Activities using just a deck of playing cards

Activities using just craft pom poms or cotton balls

Activities using just paper clips

Fine Motor Activities using Beads

Now onto the fine motor activities that require just beads! Let’s talk about the WHY behind using beads as a fine motor tool in occupational therapy activities. There are several fine motor sill components that can be strengthened with beads.

Separation of the sides of the hand– Paperclips are the perfect small item to hold in the palm of the hand, engaging the ulnar side of the hand, while encouraging movement and precision with the pointer finger, middle finger, and thumb. This skill is so important for fine motor precision in tasks like pencil grasp and managing clothing fasteners or tying shoe laces.

Pincer grasp– Paper clips are a powerful means of promoting the precision grasp between the thumb and pointer finger. This motor skill is essential for tasks that require strength and dexterity to manage small items like coins or turning pages in isolation.

In-hand manipulation– Paperclips can be used as a manipulative item for transfering from the palm to the fingertips or vice versa. This is an essential skill needed in pencil grasp and other functional tasks.

Finger isolation– Paperclips can be used in various ways to promote finger isolation needed for fine motor dexterity and functional tasks.

Eye-hand coordination– This skills is an essential fine motor precision skill needed for so many functional tasks. Craft pom poms can be a powerful way to work on this skill area.

Visual Motor Skills- Coordinating visual information with motor movements of the hands is essential for handwriting, cutting with scissors, and many other tasks.  Manipulating lacing cards is an excellent way to address these needs. 

Read more about visual motor skills.

Motor Planning- A motor plan is functional execution of a task which is viewed with the eyes and carried out with the hands in order to complete tasks, such as mazes, walking around obstacles, cutting along a line, and writing within a space on a form.  Visual motor skills can be difficult for children with visual processing difficulties.  Identifying and organizing information is in a motor plan works on problem solving skills.  

Read more about motor planning activities for kids.

What kind of beads help with fine motor skills?

This is pretty open-ended! Use what you’ve got on hand to really home in on the skills listed above. Some beads that would work include: pony beads, perler beads, pop beads, jewelry making beads, or even beads from an old necklace would work. The point is that you need small manipulatives that can fit into the palm of the hand and really challenge those fine motor skills.

fine motor activities using beads and activities in the home

Use beads to work on fine motor skills in the following ways:

  • Press beads into play dough
  • Stick toothpicks into foam. Place beads onto toothpicks.
  • Sort onto pipe cleaners by color
  • Thread onto string
  • Tape ribbons to an easel or wall. Slide beads up the ribbons from the bottom
  • Place beads and hair gel in a gallon size bag. Tape the top. Move beads with fingertips.
  • Drop beads into spice containers
  • Drop beads into recycled water bottle
  • Draw a large letter on paper and fill the lines with beads to form the letters. Use bubble writing to fill the space inside or place the beads right on the lines of the letter.
  • Add beads to a marble maze
  • Sort beads by color
  • Copy patterns on play dough
  • Place beads on shapes and lines
  • Press beads into slime for a fine motor workout.
  • Use beads as counters
  • Create arrays with beads on cardstock
  • Use letter beads to place on letters of spelling words
  • Write letters on the sides of some beads like wooden ones that we used in this fine motor activity.
  • Roll dice. Count out same number of beads
  • Use other items to create beads like this foam curlers activity.
  • Scoop and count beads into groups of ten
  • Use tweezers to pick up beads
  • Slide beads onto feathers
  • Line up beads on a craft stick placed on a table surface
  • Perler beads can be melted to create a pegboard like we did in a previous post.

More fine motor activities

Benefits of Stickers in Occupational Therapy

Neat Pincer Grasp Fine Motor Activity

Buttoning Tips and Tricks

Travel Sensory Diet Bag

Hand Dominance and Fine Motor with Scooping and Pouring

The Benefits of Coloring

Clothes Pin Exercises and Pinch Grasp Types

Homemade Pegboard Activities

What is Finger Isolation?

finger isolation

You may have heard of finger isolation as a component of fine motor skills that kids need for dexterity and precision. Today, we’re discussing this important motor skill, how finger isolation impacts function, and activities to build finger dexterity. So, what is finger isolation? Let’s discuss!

Finger isolation is a fine motor skill kids need for dexterity and precision. Here are ccupational therpay activities to work on fine motor skills.

You’ll also find more finger isolation activities along with a craft that can help kids become more aware of this fine motor skill. Ready to build fine motor skills?  Below are small motor tools to help with development. Add these finger strengthening exercises to your therapy plans or home programs..

If there is ever an easy craft that you and the kids make, this is it.  These button rings are as cute as they are effective in developing the skills needed for tasks like maintaining a pencil grasp, shoe tying, and managing clothing fasteners.

This post contains affiliate links.

What is finger isolation? Use these button rings to work on using fingers one at a time in fine motor activities with kids!

What is finger isolation? 


Finger isolation is the ability to isolate and use the fingers one at a time in functional tasks. Counting one finger at a time, finger games like “Where is Thumbkin?”, and typing on a keyboard require finger isolation.  


Many small children are efficient at using tablets and phone apps with finger isolation.  When kids are scrolling the screen, they are using finger isolation.  However, when a child uses their finger in isolation on a tablet, they typically use only one finger (the index finger) and do not exert strength on the screen.  


Finger isolation typically develops in the baby at around 6 months of age as they begin to pick up small pieces of cereal. It progresses to pointing, and then separation of the two sides of the hand with in-hand manipulation. Finger isolation is so important in fine motor dexterity in every task that the hands perform. 

Development of fine motor skills includes finger isolation. Here is more information on finger isolation for dexterity and motor control.

Activities to Build finger Isolation

So, how can you build and develop finger isolation?  There are many ways to build finger isolation skills. Get a ton of ways to develop finger isolation skills and other fine motor skills.

Other finger isolation ideas here on The OT Toolbox:

Finger Isolation Game with Bubble Wrap

Fingerprint Art Finger Isolation Activity

Sensory Seek and Find

Fine Motor Alphabet Finger Isolation Activity

Finger Aerobics

Easy Clover Fingerprint Art

Distal Finger Control Exercises

Slime Pencil Grasp Activity


These super cute button rings are a craft that my kids loved making.  They wore these rings every day for a while there. (This mom did, too!)


You’ll need just a few items for this craft:
Pipe cleaners
Buttons (We had a bunch in our sewing supplies, but used buttons we received from www.craftprojectideas.com, too).

What is finger isolation? Use these button rings to work on using fingers one at a time in fine motor activities with kids!

To make the rings, cut the pipe cleaners into small pieces.  You’ll want them small enough to fit little fingers, but a little longer in order to add the buttons.  Thread the buttons onto one end of the pipe cleaner.  Twist the two ends together and tuck the end of the pipe cleaner on the outside of the ring (so it won’t rub up against the skin).


You can add extra buttons and layer different colored buttons for fun rings. 


When wearing the rings, incorporate finger isolation by placing rings on different fingers.  Ask your child to hold up the finger with a specific colored button or pipe cleaner.  Try tapping fingers with the rings one at a time by calling out a colored ring and asking your child to play a “SIMON” type of memory game.  

Activities for Fine Motor Skills

What is finger isolation? Use these button rings to work on using fingers one at a time in fine motor activities with kids!

  You’ll love these fine motor activities, too: