Clothes Pin Pinch Grasp Exercises

Use clothes pins in a pinch strength exercise to improve lateral pinch prehension, and other grasp patterns.

Wondering about lateral pinch strength? Hoping to help kids build tip to tip strength? Trying to build pinch strength in general? Here, I am sharing pinch exercises to strengthen pinch strength so that tasks that require strong hands (like coloring without fatigue, or holding the pencil and writing with endurance) can maneuver and manipulate objects. Check out the pinch strength exercises listed here and add these to your hand strengthening activities toolbox. All you need are clothes pins to build muscle strength and pinch patterns in occupational therapy sessions.

Related, here are more fine motor activities using clothes pins, to use these in your therapy planning, too.

Before we get into the pinch exercises below, be sure to bookmark the popular series about Occupational Therapy activities that can be done using free or almost free materials. This post is included in that series, and you will find other activities designed to build skills using everyday materials.  

(Affiliate links are included in this post.)

Pinch Exercises for Kids

Today, I’m going back to the early days of my OT career and sharing fun ways to work on a few different hand pinch grasps.  For this fine motor activity, we’re using wooden clothes pins…something you probably have in your house or could get for a dollar at the dollar store.  There are many pinch grasp tools on the market designed to build pinch strength, but having an easily accessible (and inexpensive) option is key to carryover, use, and feasibility in building strength.

Types of Pinch Grips

Ok, the basics:  When you use your hand to do …anything… you’ll use one or more of the different types of pinch grips. These pinch patterns are developed through use. Les cover the types of pinch grips, as well as some common terms when we talk about pinch.

Lateral Pinch Grip (aka Key Pinch Grip)- The thumb opposes the lateral side of the pointer finger.  This grasp is used when holding and using a key.

Lateral Prehension Grip– A sub group of the lateral grip type of pinch is the Lateral Prehension Grip. In the lateral prehension grip, the thumb is flexed (bent) and it’s pad opposes the lateral side of the tip of the pointer finger. This grip is used to hold an index card or paper, sometimes.

Three jaw Chuck Pinch Grip– The thumb is flexed (bent) and opposes the pads of the pointer finger and middle finger. Holding a small cap like a toothpaste lid uses this grip. This is the grip used in holding a pencil.

Tip to Tip Grip– The tip of the thumb touches the tip of the pointer finger.  The thumb and pointer finger form an circle (or open thumb web space). This grasp is also called a pincer grasp.  It is used to pick up small items like cereal or beads.  If very small items are picked up (like a needle), a Neat Pincer Grasp is being used.

Lateral Grip– Pinching an item between the pointer and middle fingers use this grip.  You would use this grip in holding a cigarette.  While this is not a functional grasp for kids (obviously), you might see kiddos fiddle with a pencil by holding it between two fingers.

Prehension

Prehension is another common term that you may have heard mentioned. But what is prehension?

The definition of prehension is the act of holding or grasping. The ability to hold and grasp an object in the hand requires prehension of the fingers. Prehension can also refer to the ability to hold a concept or idea in the brain to allow for understanding. Here, we are talking about prehension skills that allow us to manipulate items or objects. We are covering prehension patterns in the way of pinch grips.

To break this down further, prehension can be identified in the different types of pinch grips.

Tip prehension refers to the ability of the tip of the thumb, or the last joint of the thumb (known as the IP joint) to bend in isolation so that the rest of the thumb is stabile while just the last joint bends, or flexes. This tip prehension works in combination with opposition of the thumb as it rotates at the base, in order to oppose the tip of the index finger. Prehension can refer to the precision of grasp in the index finger as it bends at the PIP joint (proximal interphalangeal joint, or the middle joint of the finger), and the DIP joint (distal interphalangeal joint, or the end joint of the finger). This tip prehension is needed for small motor movements such as picking up a button or coin, threading a needle, etc.

There are other types of prehension, like palmer prehension. This dexterity refers to in-hand manipulation, which we cover in other places on this website.

Still other types of prehension are included in each of the pinch grasp patterns described above. Specific motions of the joints related to each pattern, and stability offered by related joints such as the wrist or metacarpophalangeal joints, and the arches of the hand allow for dexterity and precision of grasp…or prehension!

Fine motor pinch grips and exercises to work on them using clothes pins, from an Occupational Therapist.

Pinch Grip Exercises

So, how can you work on these grips in a fun way?  Try using something you probably have in your home: Wooden clothes pins.  These are a therapy treatment bag staple.  You can work on each of the pinch grasps above to improve strength, arch development, open web space, and dexterity using clothes pins.   

Lateral Pinch Exercises

  1. Hold the clothes pins between the thumb and the side of the pointer finger, like holding a key. Clip the clothes pins onto an index card.
  2. Hold the clothes pin between the thumb and the side of the pointer finger, like holding a key. Use the clothes pin to pick up an object like a craft pom pom to drop it into a color-coded bowl, cupcake liner, or onto a marked circle on a piece of paper.

Tip to tip Grasp Exercises

  1. Hold the clothes pin between the thumb and the pointer finger. Be sure the tip of the thumb is doing the work. The IP joint of the thumb should be bent. Do several repetitions of this exercise to open and close the clothes pin.
  2. Holding the clothes pin between the tip of the thumb and the tip of the pointer finger, try to clip the clothes pin onto the single page of a book. Then, try to clip the clothes pin onto 10-20 pages of a book. Try to increase the increments and number of pages that are clipped between the clothes pin.

3 Jaw Chuck Pinch Exercises

  1. Hold the clothes pin between the thumb and the pointer finger and middle finger. Clip the clothes pins onto a shirt or edge of clothing. Using both the index finger and the middle finger allows for more strength through the 3 jaw chuck grip pattern, so try clipping items of clothing together, like pairs of socks or two shirts. Clip several clothes pins around the edge of the clothing.
  2. Hold the clothespin between the thumb and the pointer finger/middle finger. Try to clip clothing to a string or clothes line.

Prehension Exercises

All of these exercises listed above can be completed in increasing repetitions. You might notice that the exercises listed include a functional component, like hanging clothes, or play. This is part of what makes occupational therapy, well, occupational! Try to include an aspect of function or daily tasks like painting, moving and manipulating objects with sorting for a learning aspect, or other aspect of independence.

Fine motor pinch grips and exercises to work on them using clothes pins, from an Occupational Therapist.

Here are more pinch activities clothes pins:

Use the grips described above in the play and art activities below.  Try using different grips while completing the tasks, to work on the grips or skill areas appropriate for your child. Start with these fine motor activities using clothes pins.

Like this activity?  Try some of these activities: 

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.


Hand Strengthening Activity with Blocks and Rubber Bands (So Easy!)

This hand strengthening activity for kids builds grip strength, finger strength, and only needs blocks and rubber bands.

Kids and occupational therapists alike will love this hand strengthening activity for kids. It’s a powerful way to build finger strength and increase grip strength using everyday materials. This fine motor activity is an old one…it’s one that we came up with years ago here on the website. It’s fun to look back at this super easy rubber band activity because the hand strengthening activity is not just fun, but it’s a great therapy tool, too.

This is a no-prep activity that you can pull out on a rainy day, while waiting at a restaurant, or when the kids are itching for something different to do.  This building activity is a fun STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math) activity that can be modified to meet the needs and interests of your kiddo.  I pulled this one out one day when a little nephew was over, and he loved building with something that was a little different than typical building blocks.  

This is a great activity for Occupational Therapists use in their treatment, because we’re working on so many skills here:  strengthening, bilateral hand coordination, motor planning, and eye-hand coordination.

This finger strength activity is part of our 31 Days of Occupational Therapy series, designed to help kids build skills through everyday items.

These hand strengthening activities use just rubber bands and blocks. Also included are hand strengthening activities with many materials.

  I’m including affiliate links in this post.


Hand Strengthening Activities for Kids

You’ll need just two materials for this activity:  

Jenga pieces and a handful of rubber bands in different sizes. And that’s it!

Hand strengthening activity for kids to play and create buildings with a asimple, no-prep activity. This is perfect for a busy bag activity for kids to do while waiting at restaurants or other places.  Also tips and ideas to work on intrinsic hand strengthening in kids, from an Occupational Therapist.

  Show your kids how to wrap the rubber bands around the wooden blocks in different ways.  Let them get creative with building and creating.  

Hand strengthening activity for kids to play and create buildings with a asimple, no-prep activity. This is perfect for a busy bag activity for kids to do while waiting at restaurants or other places.  Also tips and ideas to work on intrinsic hand strengthening in kids, from an Occupational Therapist.

Finger Strength

My little nephew was so excited when I showed him this.  Cool Aunt status!  He sat and built creations for a long time.  And watching those little hands building and working was fun for me!  Manipulating the rubber bands is such a fine motor workout for kids.  Intrinsic hand muscles are needed for so many functional tasks.  

Hand strengthening activity for kids to play and create buildings with a a simple, no-prep activity. This is perfect for a busy bag activity for kids to do while waiting at restaurants or other places.  Also tips and ideas to work on intrinsic hand strengthening in kids, from an Occupational Therapist.
Finger strength activities and finger strength exercises using everyday toys and tools, perfect for kids.


Hand and Grip Strength

When kids have a functional finger strength levels, they are able to write and color with endurance. They are able to manipulate small items. Finger strength looks like the ability to open and close plastic baggies and other meal containers at lunch time in the school lunch room. It looks like the ability to manipulate clothing fasteners like buttons, snaps, and even the buckle on a car seat. Finger strength can be tested to see if grip and pinch strength are at typical levels for the child’s age, but if you are noticing that activities the child should be accomplishing like managing items is hard, you can look into hand strengthening and grip strength exercises in more depth.

More signs of hand weakness include:

  • Kids with weakness in their hands may have difficulty with coloring and complain that it hurts to color large areas.  
  • You might see them color or write using their whole arm instead of just their wrist and fingers.
  • Hand weakness may be indicated by difficulty cutting a smooth line with scissors.  Rather, you’ll see jagged snips.  
  • Kids with hand weakness might have trouble managing a zipper or pushing a button through a button hole.
  • Weakness of the hand is indicated by a poor pencil grasp.  Kids with intrinsic muscle weakness will write with a closed thumb web space and will use their thumb to stabilize the pencil.
  • And then, you’ll see poor hand writing.
  • Hand weakness is indicated by light pencil pressure that is almost illegible, or very light coloring.
  • Difficulty with manipulating small items and using in-hand manipulation in managing small parts.
  • Trouble with grasping tools like utensils. scissors, scoops, tweezers, and eye droppers.
  • Difficulty manipulating and grasping small toys.
Hand strengthening activity for kids to play and create buildings with a asimple, no-prep activity. This is perfect for a busy bag activity for kids to do while waiting at restaurants or other places.  Also tips and ideas to work on intrinsic hand strengthening in kids, from an Occupational Therapist.

Grip exercises for kIds

We know that kids primary occupation is play, right? Kids learn and develop skills through play! So when it comes to strengthening hands, improving grip strength, forearm strength, and pinch strength, the key is to use games and play!

Some other ways that are perfect for hand strengthening are toys and games that are typically recommended by Occupational Therapists.  These are some of my favorites:

Hand strengthening activity for kids to play and create buildings with a asimple, no-prep activity. This is perfect for a busy bag activity for kids to do while waiting at restaurants or other places. Also tips and ideas to work on intrinsic hand strengthening in kids, from an Occupational Therapist.

Toys and Ideas for Working on Hand Strengthening for Kids

  • Squeezing water bottles to water plants.
  • Therapy Putty
    or play dough. Roll the dough into small balls.
  • Tear paper.
  • Crumble small squares of tissue paper.
  • Cut cardstock.
  • clothes pins
    to match colors in games and learning activities 
  • Building toys like this Building Blocks Disks or a favorite in our house, ZOOB Building Set
  • Squirt toys like these Munchkin Five Sea Squirts
    to aim at targets in the bathtub, sink, or plastic bins.
  • Small blocks such as LEGOs
    are perfect for strengthening the intrinsic muscles, with their resistance needed to push them together and pull them apart.  The position hands need to be in to work LEGOS is perfect for strengthening the muscles in the hand.
  • Squeeze a hole punch to create lines of holes along an edge of paper.
  • Eye Droppers and Tweezers are a fun way to explore sensory play while working on fine motor skills.
  • A squeeze toy like this Squishy Mesh Ball  is great for hand strengthening and a fun fidget too.

  More grip strength activities that you will enjoy:

 

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.

Fall Fine Motor Activities

Fall fine motor activities for kids to develop fine motor skills.

As the leaves begin to change colors and fall, and the pumpkin spice everything is in the air, it’s a great time of year to add some fall fine motor activities to your therapy toolbox or even just add to play! Try a few of these fall fine motor activities to encourage and strengthen fine motor skills, a tripod grasp, fall activities for preschoolers, fall ideas for toddlers, or fall occupational therapy activities!

Be sure to check out our Fall worksheets designed to build fine motor skills, our Fall leaves slide deck, and our free Fall Sensory Activities booklet, all at the bottom of this post. These autumn worksheets and info packets are activities designed to build skills and celebrate the season through sensory experiences. The activities in this free booklet are a fun way to encourage fine motor and gross motor movement and development through fall activities. Scroll to the bottom of this blog post to grab your copy!

 
Use these fall fine motor activities to help kids to improve fine motor skills like tripod grasp, bilateral coordination, in-hand manipulation, separation of the sides of the hands, dexterity and other fine motor skills kids need.

 

Fall Fine Motor Activities

These fall fine motor activities are ones that boost the skills kids need for tasks like pencil grasp, managing clothing buttons and other fasteners, manipulating small items, opening containers and so many other fine motor tasks! Enjoy the season of Fall with a fine motor twist!

 

1. Crunch leaves– This is a seriously satisfying activity, according to my kids! Read more about using the season’s finest splendor in a Fall Leaves occupational therapy activity that can be used to work on auditory processing, sensory play, bilateral coordination, crossing mid-line, and fine motor skills like arch development, grasp strength, separation of the sides of the hand, and more. 
 
2. Fall leaf play dough- Add fall fun to play dough with this Fall Fine Motor with Play Dough. It’s an easy way to encourage small hands to develop the strength needed in the intrinsic muscles of the hands as they manipulate play dough with a few extras from the season. Use a fall scented play dough to add to the activity.
 
3. Scissor work- Cut Leaves with Scissors. If you live in an area with colorful fall foliage, use those leaves to work on scissor skills! Kids will love to cut leaves into small pieces or snip shapes from leaves. Make art with the leaves by gluing them onto paper or just snip and cut! We worked on line awareness by adding lines to our leaves, but you could just work on snipping leaves in half or cutting around the edges. If you are in an area without colorful leaves that fall this time of year, just use paper leaves or whatever you’ve got in your area.
 
4. Visual motor skills- Use Fall Leaves to work on Pre-Writing Lines and Visual Motor Skills. This is a fun way to work on visual motor skills needed for pre-writing tasks like forming and copying shapes and letters. Kids can work on crossing mid-line and the eye-hand coordination needed for writing, all using colorful fall leaves. This activity would work with acorns, seeds, or other small seasonal items too.
 
5. Fine motor leaf craft- This Fall Leaves Craft uses leaf shapes to work on bilateral coordination, tripod grasp, eye-hand coordination, and more as kids create a seasonal fall craft. This fall craft may be better for older kids, but it’s a great introduction to sewing too.
 
6. Hand strength with leaves- There is just something about punching holes in leaves! Really boost that hand strength by Punching Holes in Leaves with a Hole Puncher. This activity uses fall leaves to strengthen the gross grasp of the hand while creating leaf confetti. Kids can pick up and manipulate the leaf holes to really work that pincer grasp. Glue the small circles onto a paper to along a line to promote more eye-hand coordination and fine motor skills.
 
7. Stamp art- This Pumpkin Stamp Art is an old craft our our website that really boosts fine motor skills with a fall pumpkin theme! Kids can create stamp art with a paper towel tube or toilet paper tube while working on skills like grasp and precision of grasp, crossing mid-line, and arch development. This is a great craft for a small group or for a therapy caseload to complete with various graded components based on individual needs.
 
8. Fine Motor Apple Tree- This Fall Fine Motor Apple Tree Activity is another fall fine motor activity that uses a hole puncher to really boost hand strength and gross grasp. Punching holes with a hole puncher allows kids to strengthen their hand strength while encouraging skills like bilateral coordination and eye-hand coordination. 
 
9. Fine Motor Apple Seeds- A Fall Fine Motor Apple Seed Activity can be just the thing for toddlers to practice eye-hand coordination needed to scoop and pour objects. This activity encourages pincer grasp, in-hand manipulation, separation of the sides of the hand and other fine motor skills like precision of grasp. What fun!

 

Kids will love these fine motor activities with a fall theme that help kids with the fine motor skills they need for so many tasks like pencil grasp, handwriting and other fine motor skills, all with fall fine motor activities that are fun and fabulous!

 

MORE Fall Fine Motor Activities Kids will LOVE…

 
Fine Motor Pumpkin Craft- A fall fine motor craft like this Thumbprint Pumpkin Craft can be a powerful tool to promote separation of the sides of the hand, finger isolation, as well as strength and dexterity of the radial or precision side of the hand. This precision of the thumb that occurs in thumbprint fine motor crafts is especially important as distal thumb flexion can be helpful in dexterity in a tripod grasp when holding a pencil. 
 
Precision Grasp with Sunflower Seeds– Ahhh, sunflower seeds are a tool that can be used in so many fall fine motor activities for kids! From the pincer grasp needed to hold them to the in-hand manipulation necessary to manipulate them within the palm, sunflower seeds are a creative and fall festive way to encourage fine motor strengthening and development this season! Kids can make this Fall fine motor Sunflower Craft and really boost those fine motor skills with a fall craft that will look great hanging on the wall!
 
Dexterity with Pumpkin Seeds- There’s another seed this season that plays a big part in the development and strengthening of fine motor skills! Pumpkin Seeds! Pumpkin seeds can be used to improve dexterity, grasp precision, in-hand manipulation, arch development, grasp strength, and so many other areas. Use food coloring or liquid watercolors to dye pumpkin seeds after they’ve been scooped out of a pumpkin. (Get the kids in on that fine motor task, too!)  The, use those colored pumpkin seeds to scoop, sort, drop, pinch, and play while building fine motor skills. You can find the directions to color pumpkin seeds and read all about why and how this activity helps kids build fine motor skills in our Fall Fine Motor Activity with Colorful Pumpkin Seeds activity.
 
THEN, use those colored pumpkin seeds to extend the fine motor fun even more by creating a Fine motor Fall Suncatcher that kids can make and hang on a window. Let the kiddos get in on hanging the suncatchers because working on a vertical plane is an awesome way to strengthen the core and proximal shoulder/shoulder girdle which is oh, so important for fine motor tasks!
 
In-hand manipulation and coordination fun- One more way to address fine motor needs this fall is to save up those bread ties. The plastic bread ties that you find on loaves of bread or items like bagels are great for manipulating and strengthening fine motor skills. Kids will love this Bread Tie Ghosts Fall Fine Motor Activity where kids can manipulate and manage bread ties while strengthening fine motor skills this fall!

 

What are your favorite fall fine motor activities for kids?

Get the kids building fine motor skills with these fall fine motor activities like fall leaves, fall crafts and other fall fine motor ideas!

Fall Worksheet

Fall worksheets including printable fall sheets for scissor skills and visual motor skills.

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Free slide deck with a Fall leaves theme!

Want this free slide deck with a fall leaves theme? Work on visual perceptual skills and handwriting. Get it here:

Get a free “I Spy” and Write FALL LEAVES Slide Deck

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    Fall Activities Booklet

    Work on fine motor skills this Fall AND address sensory needs while experiencing all that the Fall season has to offer! Grab your free copy of the Fall Sensory Experiences Booklet to create sensory diet activities that meet the needs of individuals in a Fall-themed way! Enter your email address below and you will find the Fall Sensory Experiences Booklet delivered right to your inbox. Enjoy!

    Get our Fall Sensory Activities Guide

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      Farm Activities

      Farm activities for occupational therapy activities with kids

      Well, our themed activities are going really well and seem to be really well received so far. Coming up with themes for occupational therapy sessions is key in organization and strategizing OT activities for every child on your caseload. So far, I’ve shared OT themes for apple activities and back-to-school activities. My hope is that these farm activities keep you on track for a successful school year. So when it comes to farm activities, you are going to love these farm animal ideas, farm gross motor activities, farm crafts, and other farm theme ideas!

      Farm activities for occupational therapy activities, including farm crafts, farm fine motor activities, farm brain breaks, farm books, and more.

      Farm Activities

      These can be farm animal activities for preschoolers, or on up through the grade schools. I’ve tried to create a list of themed activities that cover various skills areas.

      Farm Crafts

      Barn craft for a farm theme

      This barn craft is fun because kids can make a barn using craft sticks but also farm animal puppets. They can work on cutting, pasting, and following directions to make these farm crafts, but that’s not all. Then, use the farm animal puppets and the barn craft in an imagination play activity with this little farm puppet show! You can also use the farm animal craft sticks as a spacing tool in handwriting or a visual processing activity for working on convergence, tracking, and more. This craft comes with a free printable page that kids can color, too. Hello, small motor dexterity for pencil control!

      farm theme craft

      Hang onto that barn craft, because you can use it again and again for other farm activities. This Farm Fingerprint art activity uses the barn craft for counting, adding, and subtracting, but it’s a fantastic visual closure, visual tracking, and visual scanning activity, too. And, when you make fingerprint art, those fine motor skills are at work, too. Fingerprint art builds finger isolation, separation of the sides of the hand, and precision. Then, take it a step further and add details to the fingerprints, making it a pencil control and dexterity activity with cute results!

      scarecrow craft for a farm activities theme

      Every farm has a scarecrow, right? Use this scarecrow craft to work on scissor skills, direction following, problem solving, and even fine motor strength (a crumbled paper hat makes the scarecrow look very authentic!) We used this scarecrow for math facts and pre-algebraic equations, but you could add any learning or writing concepts to this smarty pants scarecrow craft!

      Sheep craft– great for tactile sensory experience and fine motor work.

      Farm Sensory Activities

      duck sensory play idea for a farm activity theme in OT

      This duckling sensory activity is a fun way to explore the senses with a popular and classic children’s book.

      This farm sensory activity used what we had on hand: shredded paper! It was a snowy farm theme, so playing in that textured bin was a fun tactile challenge, but it was also an exercise in visual discrimination, visual closure, and other visual processing skills. We used sight words and found them in the snowy farm yard as the farm animals hid and played. Extend this activity to write out the words after they are found. This farm yard activity would work for letter identification and letter discrimination as well as words or numbers. So many fun ways to play at the farm!

      Farm Fine Motor Activities

      This Farm Play Dough Sensory Bin is very simple to set up. All you’ll need is play dough and a small tray, or even a plate. Kids can work on those fine motor skills and hand strength to spread the play dough out on a tray. Spreading out the dough on a plate or other surface strengthens the hands but offers manipulation opportunities for finger isolation, which is needed for pencil grasp and endurance in writing. Add some farm animal figures for pretend play. Pressing the animal feet into the play dough is an opportunity to build intrinsic hand strength in the arches of the hands. Here are more hand strengthening activities that you may also enjoy.

      Farm Gross Motor Activities

      Farm brain breaks

      These Farm Brain Breaks can add movement and gross motor input to a child’s day and fit in great with a farm animal theme. Print off the cards and use them in the classroom or home.

      These heavy work cards includes a set of 8 farm themed heavy work activities that can be used as a brain break or added proprioceptive input.

      Farm Books for Kids

      Some of the farm books that we have used in the past inspired activities listed above. These include our Little Blue Truck brain breaks activity and the Big Red Barn craft that we shared above. Additional farm books for kids that can inspire movement, crafts, and sensory play include:

      Amazon affiliate links are included below:

      Pete the Cat Old McDonald had a Farm– Use the animals in the book to work on fine motor and scissor skills by cutting shapes and turning them into farm animals.

      Cows Can Moo, Can You?– This Dr. Seuss Book is a fun way to work on auditory processing and quiet/loud sounds with kids.

      Goodnight Tractor– Part of the “goodnight” series, this is a great calm-down book to work on self-regulation with calming strategies.

      The Farm Book– Therapists love this book for eliciting communication by language, vocabulary opportunities, and practicing sounds. Use the book for copying, teamwork, and problem solving.

      Sheep in a Jeep– This is such a fun book! Pair the book with this sheep craft for fine motor work and sensory play.

      Farm Theme Scissor Skills

      Get these free farm theme scissor skills cutting strips and cutting shapes. Print off these cutting worksheets and use them to work on scissor skills, accuracy, precision, and bilateral coordination as they cut varying degrees of line thicknesses and simple geometric shapes.

      These animal farm worksheets are great for building scissor skills in young kids to work on cutting on lines.

      Get a FREE set of Farm Animal theme scissor skills worksheets

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        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.

        Weekly Themes for Occupational Therapy

        Weekly theme activities for occupational therapy with kids.

        Looking for activity themes to make your OT planning easier? These weekly lesson plans are great for occupational therapy activities because they are open-ended and can be used as a planning theme while meeting the needs of a whole caseload of students or OT clients. While curriculum planning in occupational therapy isn’t typically a “thing”, coming up with creative activities certainly is! My hope is to provide weekly themes for creating a set of activities that you can adjust to meet your needs, in the classroom, clinic, or home.

        Weekly themes for planning occupational therapy activities with kids.

        Weekly Themes

        Even if you aren’t seeking out specifically occupational therapy activities, these fun themes for children serve to offer strategies to build fine motor skills, gross motor skills, sensory challenges, brain breaks, interactive and hands-on learning activities, and so much more. Some of these themes have slide decks for distance learning/virtual therapy sessions. Others have book lists and activities related to the books. Still others have crafts and fun ways to build various skills all focused on one weekly theme.

        So, be sure to save this page…Pin it to Pinterest…email a link to yourself. This weekly theme page will be updated weekly as we go through this school year with A thematic curriculum that integrates basic skill development areas addressed in occupational therapy and the classroom or home through the exploration of a broad subject or topic, such as apples, community helpers, transportation, rain forests, STEM, etc.

        Thematic Instruction in OT

        Thematic instruction can be a powerful tool that is meaningful, motivating, and FUN for kids. Plus, while it can require a little prep on the side of the occupational therapist, parent, or teacher, it sort of flows throughout the week. Students can come back to activities that they enjoyed while working on specific or related skills. But, for the therapist working with a large caseload, thematic instruction can be much easier to plan and adapt to meet each client or student’s levels and goals. My mission is to make this planning simple for you and get you all of the ideas into one place, including materials you will need!

        Weekly Themes for Therapy

        Here it is! Let’s get those weekly themes into your hands:

        September Themes

        Use these apple activities for an apple weekly theme in therapy or learning.

        Apple Theme- Use apple theme activities with fine motor, gross motor activities, apple brain breaks, and more.

        These back to school activities can be used in weekly theme planning for occupational therapy activities.

        Back-to-School Theme- These back-to-school activities include crafts, writing activities, fine motor fun, gross motor activities, and back-to-school slide decks.

        Stay tuned for more themed activities coming each week!

        Be sure to check out these skill-based activities:

        Teletherapy Activities

        Books in OT Activities

        Fine Motor Activities

        Executive Function Activities

        Sensory Activities

        Motor Skills Activities