Visual Schedules

Visual schedules for kids

Visual schedules are a tool that help kids in so many ways. As an adult I am constantly writing notes on post it’s to remind me to do things. It helps to be organized. When a child is learning to sequence, they may forget steps. A visual schedule is a great way to increase a child’s independence with toileting, that way they don’t have to rely so much on you for every step. visual schedule is used to help guide them in learning the sequence of steps.

Visual schedules for kids

What is a visual schedule?

A visual schedule is just what it sounds like, a schedule or sequence, that uses pictures. Now the pictures used can by real photos, often I will take pictures with my phone an then print those out to use them. Or you can use clip art. A visual schedule is a way to show a child the beginning of a task and the end of the task. Visual cues that show a specic task can be beneficial for many children, of all ages, abiliies, and cognitive levels.

Visual prompts are helpful in teaching the steps of toothbrushing.

Visual schedules can help with toilet training.

Schedules can get kids organized an on time for morning routines.

Or, visual schedules can be used to plan and schedule sensory diet activities.

Visual checklists can be used for classwork, assignments, or chores.


You can use a visual schedule with any multistep functional task or during a series of tasks. Visual schedules are helpful in the classroom, home, in the community, or during therapy sessions. Other tasks such as homework assignments, projects, recipes, or multistep activities can work well with visual prompts.

What is a visual schedule

Reasons to use visual schedules

There are many reasons to use a visual schedule

  1. Visual schedules can be used with all levels and abilities.
  2. Visuals are consistent.
  3. Visual schedules can reduce worries and anxiety by offering a constant direction.
  4. Visuals allow time for language processing.
  5. Visual prompts can offer a visual image and written word to meet the needs of a variety of student’s abilities.
  6. Visual schedules can promote self-confidence after success
  7. Visuals can help your child with transitions and know “what’s next”.
  8. Visuals help your child see what you mean.
  9. Visual prompts offer a chance to order tasks to take away impulse control.
  10. Visual cues offer strategies to impact planning, prioritization, working memory, organization, attention, and other executive functioning skills.
  11. Visuals help to build independence.
  12. Visual prompts can be flexible.
  13. Visuals are transferable between different places.
  14. Visuals have no tone.

How to use a visual schedule

Other students benefit from a checklist of sorts. This can occur with a visual description of the activity or task or simply a list of actions that are to be completed. An example would be toileting. You can start with 2 visuals and work up to as many visuals as needed.

Pictures can be made into a visual schedule. You can cut the pictures out and then glue them to a piece of paper and have it in the bathroom, showing your child the exact sequence of steps.

Remember lots of praise and encouragement with visual schedules, especially when setting up a plan.


For functional tasks like shoe tying, getting dressed, or toilet training, you can have the child pull off the picture each time they complete a task and put it in the “all done” envelope or you can just point to the steps as they do them.


If you want to be more specific and break down a task even more you just add more pictures for the steps. Here is an example of a handwashing visual schedule, which is great for children who often forget all the steps to handwashing.


Another way to get a child to participate in toileting is to use a first then schedule. You put what the task is you want them to do, and the “then” would be the reward. For example, I would say, “First you go to the bathroom, then you get to play ball”.

If you have tried a visual schedule and your child is having some behaviors I would suggest reading this article Attention and Behavior considerations in Toileting and Potty Training the Child. Sometimes there many be other factors that contribute to difficulty with step-by-step tasks such as toilet training.

Visual Cards

If adding sensory processing activities to a sensory diet or just to incorporate calming and regulating sensory input into daily activities is necessary, try adding these visual schedule cards into the day-to-day.

Sensory Diet Cards - The OT Toolbox

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

Flower Snacks

flower snacks

These flower snacks are fun and super easy to create with kids and build fine motor skills in the kitchen. If you are looking for creating ways to add healthy snacks into a child’s diet, these flower themed snacks are just that. Whether kids help in the kitchen for fun or for the benefits of building executive functioning skills or fine motor development, there are many reasons to make these flower healthy treats! Add these cooking with kids activities to your Spring occupational therapy toolbox.

Flower snacks that are healthy snacks for kids

Flower Snacks

The flower snacks you see below are creative ways to add fun healthy foods for kids. But, even better, kids can help to make these treats. When kids make these snacks, they are building many skills.

Getting kids involved in the kitchen helps to develop fine motor skills like eye-hand coordination, dexterity, and motor planning. All of these skills are refined through dicing, chopping, scooping, and pouring.

Cooking with kids also is a powerhouse task for developing executive functioning skills. Following recipes, direction following, impulse control, planning, prioritization, and working memory are all skills that are developed through meal preparation and recipe following.

Here are more cooking with kids recipes to get kids active in the kitchen to develop skills.

 
 
 
Flower snacks for cute healthy foods for kids
 

 

Let’s get started with those flower snacks…
 

6 healthy flower snacks:

Beet slices flower snack– Use a flower shaped cookie cutter to cut beet slices (or other soft fruit/veggies: pineapple, apples, thin potatoes…
 
Mandarin orange flower– Peel an orange and open one end.  Add celery for a stem.
 
Orange with flair–  Add a grape tomato to the center of your orange to add a little color.  Other fruits could also be arranged into a flower shape: apple, pear, and banana slices would work.
 
Dried cranberry mini flowers– Arrange cranberries (or raisins) into petal shapes.  Add chickpeas for a center to each flower.
 
Tulip cucumbers– Cut a jagged line into cucumber slices.  Add a piece of the peel for stems for each flower.
 
Flower art–  Get the kids involved in this one!  Provide carrots, broccoli, red peppers, grape tomatoes and create a flower design as a family.  Enjoy!

 

Cute flower snack ideas for kids!  Kids can help make these flower themed healthy treats.

Make today special with a little bit of healthy flower fun!  While you’re at it, make a few flower crafts: 

 

Spring Fine Motor Kit

Score Fine Motor Tools and resources and help kids build the skills they need to thrive!

Developing hand strength, dexterity, dexterity, precision skills, and eye-hand coordination skills that kids need for holding and writing with a pencil, coloring, and manipulating small objects in every day task doesn’t need to be difficult. The Spring Fine Motor Kit includes 100 pages of fine motor activities, worksheets, crafts, and more:

Spring fine motor kit set of printable fine motor skills worksheets for kids.
  • Lacing cards
  • Sensory bin cards
  • Hole punch activities
  • Pencil control worksheets
  • Play dough mats
  • Write the Room cards
  • Modified paper
  • Sticker activities
  • MUCH MORE

Click here to add this resource set to your therapy toolbox.

Spring Fine Motor Kit
Spring Fine Motor Kit: TONS of resources and tools to build stronger hands.

Grab your copy of the Spring Fine Motor Kit and build coordination, strength, and endurance in fun and creative activities. Click here to add this resource set to your therapy toolbox.

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.

Eye-Hand Coordination Activity

Eye hand coordination activity

This eye hand coordination activity is an easy one to set up and can use the materials you have in your home. We used a flower ice cube tray and some craft materials, as well as a recycled scoop to work on eye-hand coordination skills, but the motor activity is very open ended. Let’s discuss hand eye coordination and a few ways to work on this skill area.

Development of hand-eye coordination is an important place to begin.

Our movements are guided by vision.  In order for our brains to coordinate a motor plan for a particular task, we need visual input for accuracy.  

Eye hand coordination activity to help kids with refined motor coordination skills.

Eye Hand Coordination Activity 

Visual motor skills or eye-hand coordination impacts our dexterity and motor movements for so many tasks:  handwriting, scissor use, threading beads, reading a paragraph, throwing a ball, placing a cup on a shelf, coloring in lines, and pouring milk into a bowl are just a few skills that require coordination of the vision and hands.    

If eye hand coordination skills are lacking, then these areas of function will be difficult to do with ease.  Learning, social interactions, and independence in tasks can be limited as a result.  That’s a pretty clear a reason to look at eye-hand coordination when there seem to be “bigger picture” problems. 

 

What is eye-hand coordination and how does this skill impact "big picture" tasks like reading, writing, fine motor skills, and gross motor skills?  This easy, low-prep eye hand coordination activity can help.
 

Scooping and Pouring and eye hand coordination

This scooping activity is a simple way to work on the eye-hand coordination needed for coordinated movements of the hands in relation to visual input.  An activity as simple as scooping beads can help children (and adults addressing physical disabilities!) to improve their visual motor integration.  

This post contains affiliate links.   We used  a HUGE bin of seed beads and a flower ice cube tray. This is a similar tray. It was a tray of 10 flowers, making it perfect for counting to ten with my toddler and preschooler and working on ten frame math facts with my kindergartner.    

What is eye-hand coordination and how does this skill impact "big picture" tasks like reading, writing, fine motor skills, and gross motor skills?  This easy, low-prep eye hand coordination activity can help.

I added a couple of small scoops to our beads.  These scoops came from dry laundry detergent and were the perfect size for scooping the beads into each flower.  

Scooping and pouring the beads into each flower, one at a time works on eye hand coordination to make sure the beads fall into the flowers and not over the edge of the ice cube tray.  

What is eye-hand coordination and how does this skill impact "big picture" tasks like reading, writing, fine motor skills, and gross motor skills?  This easy, low-prep eye hand coordination activity can help.

How to improve eye hand coordination

Scooping and pouring a material that “pours” is an eye hand coordination activity that helps to refine fine motor skills and motor planning. For children, setting up a scooping activity like the one described here can be graded to make the task more difficult, or easier. Different grades of scooping activities can be more difficult because there is less weight (pouring flour compared to sand) or more mobility ( scooping and pouring liquid compared higher viscosity of the materials.)

In our scooping and pouring eye hand coordination activity, the beads are smaller and rounder, adding more of a challenge in coordinating the scoop and accuracy of pouring. To further grade this activity, different sizes of scoops can be used, and different sizes of containers to pour the material into.

Make sure your child is scooping beads into one section of the ice tray at a time.  They need to intentionally fill one section while trying to keep the beads in that section.  If the beads are falling over the edge of the ice cube tray and into other sections, it’s not working on eye-hand coordination.   

More eye hand coordination activities

Looking for more creative ways to build eye hand coordination?

Want more flower activities? Try these: Parts of a Flower Free Resources from Something 2 Offer Fun Garden Center Scavenger Hunt for Kids {Free Printable} from Crafty Mama in ME Flower Dissection from Schooling a Monkey Gross Motor Flower Number Line Adventures of Adam How to Plant Flowers with Your Kids from Living Life and Learning Flower Art for Kindergarten from Kidz Activities Flower Addition Clip Cards from Simple Fun for Kids

Spring Fine Motor Kit

Score Fine Motor Tools and resources and help kids build the skills they need to thrive!

Developing hand strength, dexterity, dexterity, precision skills, and eye-hand coordination skills that kids need for holding and writing with a pencil, coloring, and manipulating small objects in every day task doesn’t need to be difficult. The Spring Fine Motor Kit includes 100 pages of fine motor activities, worksheets, crafts, and more:

Spring fine motor kit set of printable fine motor skills worksheets for kids.
  • Lacing cards
  • Sensory bin cards
  • Hole punch activities
  • Pencil control worksheets
  • Play dough mats
  • Write the Room cards
  • Modified paper
  • Sticker activities
  • MUCH MORE

Click here to add this resource set to your therapy toolbox.

Spring Fine Motor Kit
Spring Fine Motor Kit: TONS of resources and tools to build stronger hands.

Grab your copy of the Spring Fine Motor Kit and build coordination, strength, and endurance in fun and creative activities. Click here to add this resource set to your therapy toolbox.

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.