Back to School Activities

back to school activities

This year, back to school looks a little different than ever before. I’ve been busy behind the scenes here at The OT Toolbox building tools that you can use during the first weeks of school that will make your life easier. Here, you will find first day of school activities, first day of school printables, and back to school baseline screening activities, back to school crafts, and ideas to use in therapy or the classroom this week (and coming weeks).

Back to school activities for kids of all ages, including first day of school activities, first day of school printables, back to school crafts, icebreaker activities, and more.

Back to School Activities

These activities should keep your students (virtual or in-person) busy the first few weeks of school. Some of these activities are great for online icebreaker activities and others are wonderful ways to build rapport while assessing baseline status in areas like pencil grasp, handwriting, math, scissor skills, or other learning/school tasks.

Back to School Slide Deck- This interactive back to school slide deck works with Google slides. Enter your email address and log into your Google account. You will receive an email with a prompt to download a file for your personal use. Click the button on that pdf and the interactive slide can be copied right into your Google drive. Then, make a copy for each student and they can work through the slides in edit mode. These slides are designed to address visual perceptual skills. Kids will enjoy the back to school supply activities and won’t even know they are building skills that will help them thrive in learning.

Back to school activities for kindergarten- (and first grade, second grade, etc.) These back to school fine motor activities are fun ways to quickly screen for fine motor skills needed at school while building rapport with the students. First day of school activities for kindergarten can involved fine motor activities that are fun and get children excited about their time in therapy sessions.

Visual Schedules- There is something about having a visual schedule that makes things easier when it comes to transitions. We made these back to school story stones a while back and used them to adjust to the new routine that back to school time brings. Visual schedules can be effective in virtual sessions or hybrid learning. Why not use a visual schedule as a tool to move students between group online activities?

Online Icebreaker Activity

Back to School Writing and I Spy Slide Deck- Another interactive slide deck for back to school writing, this slide deck covers a variety of areas. Use the school supplies I Spy slide as a fun activity to get started with the school year. The icebreaker slide can be used to get to know students as they fill out an All About Me activity. The slides include handwriting tasks so students can write words and sentences while teachers or therapists assess baseline levels for each student.

Separation Anxiety Activity- After being out of the classroom for a much longer period of time this year, kids might have some worries or separation anxiety that leaves them anxious. Try this separation anxiety activity that uses a popular children’s book. Reading a book and doing a book-related activity a great icebreaker activity for kids.

Icebreaker Questions- Go through some icebreaker questions for kids. This is fun in person or in virtual settings. Use these questions as a writing prompt to work on handwriting, too.

Icebreaker questions for kids for the first day of school or therapy.

Effective online learning

Heading back to the classroom means switching gears back to online learning. Having a productive and effective online learning experience can be hard for some kids, and the same is true for virual therapy sessions. Here are tips for parents to make the most of teletherapy and online learning sessions.

Having a toolbox of coping strategies for kids can make a big difference, too. Be sure to offer brain breaks, movement activities, and have a set of rules in place to make the most of online learning and virtual therapy sessions.

These back to school sensory activities can be effective movement strategies for kids to stay alert to online learning and pay attention during virtual classroom sessions.

Staying organized- Using organization strategies is more important than ever this school year. Here are organization strategies for the school-based OT, and here are organization strategies for students.

This free editable therapy planner will keep you organized with themes and planning activities this school year.

This therapy planning interactive bulletin board might be just the thing you need to prepare virtual therapy sessions, home programs, and keeping track of therapy plans.

Back to School Crafts

School Bus Craft- This school bus craft is a simple one to set up and can be done as a group online activity or in person. Record the activity for a recorded session, too. With the simple shapes, the bus craft is great for working on scissor skills, visual motor skills, eye-hand coordination, and problem solving.

The Kissing Hand Craft- You’ve read the book The Kissing Hand, right? The book is a helpful tool to help kids with the transition to school. We made a The Kissing Hand craft that involved salt dough key chains (fine motor fun!) and be sure to check out the four other Kissing Hand crafts in the blog post, too.

Pencil Fidget Tool Craft- This pencil topper fidget is a fun craft for kids but it can double as a fidget tool, too. Making this DIY fidget tool builds fine motor skills with sensory-related benefits.

Handwriting Spacing Tools Craft- These spacing tools can be a fun way to get kids invested in spacing between letters and words. Make this spacing tool craft that kids can add to their pencil box and pull out for handwriting tasks. The best news is that making the craft builds fine motor skills too! Try this button spacing tool, this easy craft stick spacing tool, this pipe cleaner spacing tool, this clothes pin spacing tool, and this space martian spacing tool craft.

First Day of School Printables

The first day of school is exciting! Having a set of printables ready for kids of different ages makes the teacher or therapist feel a little more organized and ready for back-to-school, too. Try these first day of school printables:

Back to school printable toolkit- This set of back to school printable activities is fun for the first day of school or the first weeks of school! There are book themed hole punch cards, school supplies I Spy printable page, school materials handwriting paper, an exclusive school supplies “spot it” matching game, and a printable PDF version of the school materials match-up game. Grab the toolkit here OR, get the free back to school writing slide deck listed for a special discount price 🙂

Emotions and Feelings Printable- Talking about feelings on the first day of school (or first weeks of school) is important, especially this year. Grab this social emotional learning worksheet to cover facial expressions and emotions with kids.

More first day of school activities

What are your favorite ways to get kids excited about the first weeks of school or therapy?

Add this set of back to school activities to your therapy or classroom toolkit…on sale now!

Back to school toolkit– school materials and activities for kids.

Back to school activities for occupational therapy or the classroom

Back to School Activity-Writing Slide Deck

back to school activity slide deck

Heading back to school? The return of school looks a lot different this year than any other. That’s why I wanted to create this Back to School activity to use in virtual therapy or teletherapy services, or distance learning. In most cases, kids haven’t been writing with a paper and pencil since around March. This back-to-school activity provides a means to get those pencils moving and little hands writing again! Use this free therapy slide deck to get a baseline of where kids are in regards to writing a short list of words, and sentences. The bonus is that this back to school idea has a school I Spy activity, too that boosts visual perceptual skills. Read on to grab this freebie! And, don’t forget to grab this other back to school slide deck to work on more visual perceptual skills.

Back to School Activity

This interactive activity is great for getting to know students during the firsts week of school. It’s a fun icebreaker activity for students to do with teachers or therapists.

Students can complete these slide deck activities as part of distance learning, virtual days on hybrid learning options, and in teletherapy sessions.

back to school activity slide deck

When heading back into the school year, it’s a great idea to get a baseline snapshot of where a child is at with handwriting, especially after such a long break from school. In many cases, students have not been writing or putting pencil to paper during the last months.

With this back to school activity, kids can write a short list of words on paper, as well as use the interactive technology portion of the slides.

Back to school activity that is a great icebreaker for students returning to the classroom or online learning.

Here are some of the slides you will find in this icebreaker activity for returning to school:

Start with an interactive slide deck I Spy game. Kids can search for school items and then type the number of items that they found into the boxes right on the slide.

Back to school I Spy game to use in an icebreaker activity for students.

Back to school handwriting baseline

Use the handwriting slides to get a baseline snapshot of handwriting. Kids can type the words into the spaces on the slides. Then in the next slide, they can check their answers and use the written words to copy a short list of school related terms.

Use this list writing activity to check skills such as letter formation, letter size, line use, margins, accuracy, efficiency, and functional writing levels.

Back to school writing activity for students

The same words can be used for sentence writing. Fill in the space showing the number of sentences the student should write. Using this writing task, check the handwriting baseline for word and letter spacing, margin use, and legibility.

Use this back to school activity to get a baseline snaphot of handwriting skills level in students returning to the classroom.

All about Me Activity

Use the next slide as an icebreaker activity. Students can fill in the spaces on the slide and type in their responses.

All about me back to school activity

Continue on with the all about me activity and ask students to write on paper, more about themselves. Use these responses as a quick screening for handwriting and writing abilities.

Handwriting baseline screening for students returning to the classroom

There you have it! Want to grab this free slide deck?

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    Therapy Planning Bulletin Board Slide Deck

    Therapy planning slide deck for OT teletherapy

    Back to school looks a lot different this year, than any other year that you or I may have experienced. If there is one thing for certain it’s that occupational therapy professionals are experts at resilience and problem solving. That’s why I wanted to offer a few tools to make your pivot to hybrid schooling or distance interventions easy. Coming up with practical OT teletherapy activities may be new to you, but therapy planning is not. Today, I’ve got an interactive slide deck for you to make therapy planning easy, using an interactive bulletin board slide deck.

    Therapy planning for teletherapy with an interactive slide deck and therapy bulletin board.

    Therapy Planning Bulletin Board

    Ok…you might have seen some of my other interactive slide decks. But this one is pretty cool in it’s interactive features, and a little different than the others here on the site. Teletherapy resources include slide decks that offer kids a chance to move pieces, follow directions, and participate in virtual therapy.

    Here are some of those interactive slide decks that I’ve already shared with you:

    Back-to-School Activity Slide Deck (visual perceptual skills)

    Teach Letters Alphabet Move and Write Slide Deck

    Space Theme Slide Deck

    Movement Activities Monster Theme Slide Deck

    Letter Formation Slide Deck of Teletherapy

    Animal Theme Visual Perception Slide Deck

    Strait Line Letters Teletherapy Slide Deck

    Self-Awareness Activities Slide Deck

    Therapy Planning Slide Deck

    Today’s free slide deck is a little different, because it can be used by the treating occupational therapy practitioner to plan out a therapy session or to lead a session. Therapy professionals can create a slide deck for each client and share that single link that leads them through teletherapy sessions.

    This slide deck uses creative commons fonts and images and can be shared and modified. The deck has been modified from SlidesPPT to meet the needs of occupational therapists.

    Use the slide deck to explain activities, by adding step by step images or a video.

    Use the slide deck for writing prompts and self-check handwriting rule lists. The slide deck can be edited for different students to meet their needs.

    Include step by step images for activities for better understanding and participation in teletherapy sessions.

    I’ve tried to include various options in the slide deck to use in different scenarios:

    Therapy activity lists

    Writing prompts

    Visual schedule

    Step-by-step activity plan

    Activity lists

    Announcement slides

    Written instruction slides

    Visual instruction slides

    More!

    The bulletin board slide deck is great because the slides can be edited by the practitioner based on their needs for that week or for each child. Slides can be deleted or duplicated.

    How to use this slide deck:

    You can use this interactive slide deck in Google classroom or on your Google Slides account. To use the slide deck, you will need to first open the slide using one of the following methods:

    • Click on the Gear Icon in the Google Slides Viewer, and select “Open in Editor”.
    • Click on the link below the Google Slides Presentation Viewer -> “Open slide”.

    Do not “request access” to use these slides. Instead, be sure you are logged into your Google account and then click on the link to “make a copy”.

    1) How to edit the slide deck in Google Slides

    Go to the File menu in your Google Slides interface and select “Make a copy”. You have to be logged into your Google Account.

    You will get a fresh copy of the presentation on your Google Drive and then you will be able to edit, add or delete slides.

    2) Edit the presentation in Microsoft PowerPoint®, OSX Keynote or other software

    Go to the File menu in the Google Slides user interface and select “Download as Microsoft PowerPoint”.

    Digital Therapy BULLETIN Board

    Enter your email address in the form below. Check your email and click on the button to grab your download. Save that download so you can access these slide decks again.

    Sign into your Google account. Click on the big button in that PDF that you just downloaded. It will prompt you to make a copy of the slide deck. That will be your master copy of this slide deck.

    Now the slide deck is on your Google account.

    Get a free OT Bulletin Board Planner Slide Deck

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      Grab these other interactive slide decks:

      Self-Awareness Activities Slide Deck

      Movement Activities Monster Theme Slide Deck

      Movement Activities Monster Theme Slide Deck

      Letter Formation Slide Deck of Teletherapy

      Animal Theme Visual Perception Slide Deck

      Colleen Beck, OTR/L is an occupational therapist with 20 years experience, graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. As the creator, author, and owner of the website and its social media channels, Colleen strives to empower those serving kids of all levels and needs. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.