Olympics Activities for therapy

Olympics activities for therapy

Ready to get your little athletes moving in therapy with some Olympics activities for therapy goals? Here, you’ll find fun Olympic crafts, games, and ideas to support development through play. Start my making an  Olympic Rings craft to develop fine motor skills, and then move onto gross motor ideas, medal activities, and more!

Fun Olympics activities for occupational therapy sessions.

Olympic Activities for Therapy

 I’ve tried to sort the Olympics activities below into skill area, so if you are looking for ideas to promote fine motor skills, check out the craft ideas. If you need gross motor activities, check out the Olympic games ideas. All of these ideas can be great for ceremony in your own therapy clinic! These are great to add to lesson plans this time of year.

Olympic activities for therapy to develop skills.


Fine Motor Olympic Crafts for Kids

Are you looking for a few fun ideas for the kids to celebrate the Olympic Games?

  • Try making gold, silver, and bronze play dough with crayons for a bold color and smooth, glittery texture to the metallic play dough that will last for the length of the Olympic games.  Be sure to store the play dough in a plastic bag and you will be able to create play dough medals for weeks.
  • You could make an Olympic torch, olive leaf crown, and read a few Olympic books like Teach Beside Me did: Greek Olympics Lesson.  
  •  Cut foil to make medals. Use a craft stick to write names or numbers right onto the foil to work on pencil pressure.
  • Use foil to wrap around a plastic lid or cardboard circle.
  • Draw a soccer field on a large piece of paper. Use clothes pins to move a cotton ball or craft pom pom to different points on the field. Or, use a straw to blow the craft pom pom across the field to work on oral motor skills.
  • Or, you could make an Olympic Flag Craft using construction paper and a paper tube.

Olympic Art for Kids

If Olympic Art is more your style, use paints, stamps, or craft materials to make rings. 

  • Use a tissue box to make ice skates.
  • Use a toilet paper tube or paper towel tube to make an Olympic torch (just add tissue paper for the flame). This is a great tool to use in an obstacle course too!
  • Make a discus using a paper plate. Staple two plates together around the edges.
  • Create Olympic rings by tracing a cup, cookie cutter, paper bowl and creating the rings.
  • Stamp rings using a paper towel tube. 

We love this Olympic Rings Art. made from a re-purposed canvas from Happy Hooligans.   


Gross Motor Olympic Games for therapy

The Olympics are a great theme to use in therapy sessions. Try these movement activities for gross motor skills, coordination, balance, endurance, and sensory input:

  • Crawling along an obstacle course
  • Balance beam activities
  • Indoor ice skating
  • Animal walks
  • Relay races
  • Create a paper plate discus and throw it at a target (a hula hoop works well)
  • Wheelbarrow walks
  • Throw a pool noodle like a javelin throw
  • Use balls or bean bags in a shot put activity
  • Use a scooter board and pretend it’s a bobsled or skies
  • Bounce a ball around a cone
  • Sled or ski down a therapy wedge
  • Use buckets or cones to create relay races
  • Create hurdles using pool noodles for jumping over and crawling under

If getting active is on your agenda, KCEdventures shows us how to plan your own Olympic celebration for kids.

Olympic Handwriting Activity

Ask your therapy attendees to write a list of Olympic sports. Work on handwriting skills such as letter formation, margin use, line awareness, and legibility.

  • You can also follow the highlights reel online and keep track of the number of medals accumulated by each country, or write down the top countries according to medal count.
  • To work on number formation, use graph paper as a medal tracker. This is a motivating activity for learners!
  • Another fun therapy activity to use during the Olympics is to create a large venn diagram on paper, a wall chalkboard, or dry erase board. The learners can write out the similarities and differences between the Winter Games and the Summer Games. This handwriting task focuses on organizational skills, spatial awareness, and margin use.

Write a list of winter sports being played during the Winter Olympic Games:

  • Bobsled
  • Skiing
  • Figure skating
  • Speed skating
  • Snowboarding
  • Ice hockey
  • Curling
  • Luge
  • Skeleton

Olympic Visual Motor Activities

Support visual motor skills by asking kids to copy the Olympic rings. Include colors to engage visual perceptual skills. 


Olympic Food for Kids

Getting the kids involved in a cooking activity is a great executive functioning activity. Try these Olympic themed foods:
Make these rainbow snacks using colors of the Olympic rings.
These Olympic foods for Kids has some great ideas.

 
 
 
 
Olympic activities for kids including Olympic themed snacks, crafts, activities, and learning. This is great for summer or winter Olympics.

 

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.

Valentines Cursive Alphabet Uppercase and Lowercase Activity

Valentine uppercase and lowercase cursive activity

This post includes a FREE download of the Valentine Cursive Alphabet Uppercase and Lowercase printable. Start here with understanding how to teach cursive…then check out this post on which cursive letters to teach first. Then use the free cursive letters printable at the bottom of this page to work on cursive letter writing with a Valentine’s Day theme! This is a great activity to incorporate into your Valentines Day occupational therapy activities.

This cursive alphabet uppercase and lowercase activity has a Valentine's Day theme, but the cursive letter cards can be used any time to year to work on cursive handwriting.

Cursive Alphabet Upper Case and Lower Case Activity

Because of the importance of cursive writing, the OT Toolbox has included cursive alphabet worksheets in it’s “Toolbox”.  This uppercase and lowercase Valentines printable alphabet PDF is a great learning tool for beginning to recognize the letters.

In recent years there has been a lot of back and forth opinions about the validity and necessity of writing cursive.  Some of the people creating school curricula feel this is an old language since it is not used in books any more, and most written expression is done on keyboards.  While there is the argument that people only need cursive for signing their signature, and it should be abolished, cursive is so much more important than just a signature on a page. This article from the New York Times debates reasons to reinstate cursive writing in schools:

Students with learning differences such as dyslexia greatly benefit from learning cursive. Cursive letters such as “b and d” are different from manuscript, therefore easier to decipher. 

Flowing letters connected together in cursive are often easier for young learners to write. There are fewer diagonals, a definite direction of the letters eliminating bottom to top formation, and not having to keep stopping and starting can be a very efficient form of written expression. This post on cursive letter families is helpful in breaking down letters into formation patterns.

The first stage to learning something new is being able to identify before being able to reproduce it. These upper and lowercase cursive alphabet worksheets for kids or other learners, are a great addition to your cursive curriculum. The OT Toolbox archives has an informative post on teaching cursive writing.

What better way to teach a new skill than to tie it to an adorable Valentine theme? Learners are more compliant when there is a motivating fun theme. While these uppercase and lowercase alphabet worksheets can be introduced around Valentine’s day, they are versatile enough to be used year round. YouTube has a great video highlighting the History (and importance) of Cursive Writing

How can I use these cursive alphabet upper and lowercase letter printable cards?

Incorporate this cursive letters printable into occupational therapy sessions to work on individualized goals no matter what level or skills the learner is working to address:

  • Ask learners to write the letters as they match them
  • Higher level learners can write down, or describe the directions to the game
  • Print these on colored paper for more visual appeal or contrast, color the pictures, or laminate the pages to make these more sturdy and reusable
  • Learners can explore other games they could make using these Valentine match cards (perhaps hiding the letters around the room and having learners run around collecting them, or creating a “memory” game out of these upper and lowercase writing cards)
  • Practice scissor skills by cutting these cards apart
  • Change the weight of the paper – heavier paper is easier to handle
  • Make these into tracing cards with or without laminating them.
  • Research and talk about the importance of cursive writing, and have a debate
  • Project onto a smartboard for a group task using a pointer to push the pieces together
  • Enlarge or shrink this task to change the degree of difficulty
  • Turn it into a gross motor task, sensory activity, following directions game, or combination of all of these
  • Use this task durng more than one session by adding cursive practice, letter recognition, copying from a model, or putting letters together to make words.

Skilled OT Observations with this Cursive Activity

When working on this Valentine upper and lowercase cursive matching activity, there are several observations that can be  made: 

  • Can your learner scan the pages to identify the correct letters?  Are they recognizing what they are matching or merely matching shapes? Can they match items that are related but not the same (form constancy)?
  • How many items can your learner correctly match?
  • Can your learner correctly hold and manipulate the scissors? How much assistance do they need to grip the scissors and cut on the lines?
  • Can your student continue to hold the scissors while trying to manipulate the paper?
  • How many times do you need to repeat the directions so your learner can follow them?
  • How many reminders does your learner need while doing this activity?
  • Can they stay on task during this upper and lowercase cursive matching task?

As with this Cursive Alphabet Uppercase Lowercase Valentine Worksheet, or any of the worksheets and activities on the OT Toolbox, you can teach one or ten different skills while teaching them. Working on letter recognition? Skip the cutting and coloring section.  Focusing on visual perception? Don’t have students write the letters after matching the cards. Beginning cursive learners? Have a letter page example with all of the letters as a reference. 

You may decide you are focusing your treatment on task completion or compliance with a non preferred task. Therefore your observations would lean more toward behaviors and reactions, than written expression.

Make several observations while your learners are working on these cursive letter matching pages.  See how you might need to grade or modify the task for your next group of learners.  Decide what works, and what does not work using this set of cards. 

Use the other Valentine’s printables available on the OT Toolbox to create an impressive lesson plan.  Here is an entire Valentine Fine Motor Kit! 

Whether you are searching for Valentines Slide Decks, posts highlighting Valentines Day ideas, or anything you want to build into your lesson plan, type your ideas into the search bar and tons of activities, posts, free printables, and kits will be available to you. 

Whenever you get the urge to jump on the bandwagon to eliminate cursive, just take a look at the handwritten notes from your grandmother, or other elderly people.  It is simply beautiful penmanship and should not be lost in favor of typing.

Cursive – it’s more than just a signature!

Free Upper Case and Lowercase Cursive Letters Printable

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FREE Valentine’s Day Cursive Letters Printable

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    Victoria Wood, OTR/L

    Victoria Wood

    Victoria Wood, OTR/L has been providing Occupational Therapy treatment in pediatrics for more than 25 years. She has practiced in hospital settings (inpatient, outpatient, NICU, PICU), school systems, and outpatient clinics in several states. She has treated hundreds of children with various sensory processing dysfunction in the areas of behavior, gross/fine motor skills, social skills and self-care. Ms. Wood has also been a featured speaker at seminars, webinars, and school staff development training. She is the author of Seeing your Home and Community with Sensory Eyes.