Spring Fine Motor Activities

Spring fine motor activities

Looking for Spring Fine Motor Activities to do with the kids this time of year? This is the space to find creative activities and ideas to promote fine motor skills like hand strength, dexterity, open thumb web space, arch development, and the precision grasp needed for functional tasks like pencil grasp, endurance in handwriting, scissor use, clothing fastener use, the ability to open containers, type with finger isolation, and every other fine motor task you can imagine!

For more ideas, grab our free April occupational therapy calendar to get your ideas started with therapy planning and building those motor skills!

The best thing about the Spring activities listed here are the use of everyday items, making therapy planning a breeze. Use some of these ideas in your Spring occupational therapy plans in the clinic or when coming up with a home program for your pediatric clients. It’s also a great way to sneak in fine motor work this time of year in a fun way!

 
These Spring fine motor activities are great to help kids develop hand strength, pencil grasp, grasp, and precision with bunny activities, flower activities, and other Spring theme ideas for kids.

Spring Fine Motor Activities

Other seasonal occupational therapy activities can be integrated with these sensory ideas. Include aspects of these Spring OT ideas to create a well-rounded lesson plan this time of year:

For a more exhaustive set of strategies, activities, and ideas, be sure to grab the Spring Fine Motor Kit (PLUS bonus kit which covers everything you need for Spring Break) that is on sale now for just $10. You’ll be loaded up on all kinds of tools that will last all season long.

 

Fine motor skills can be address through seasonal, Spring activities. Skills such as

One thing that makes a big difference in fine motor dexterity is addressing separation of the sides of the hand. This post explains more about motoric separation of the hand and here is another fun activity that really strengthens those muscles.

Quick Powerful Strategies to Build Fine Motor Skills 

Use a cootie catcher– When kids use a cootie catcher, they work on so many fine motor skills: scissor skills to cut the paper, finger isolation, hand strength, and bilateral coordination to fold the cootie catcher, eye-hand coordination, bilateral coordination, and separation of the sides of the hands, and arch development to use and manipulate the cootie catcher. This is a powerful fine motor tool! You can print off our Spring cootie catcher here (free download).
 
Sort and manipulate small objects- Holding a small item like crumbled paper, a bead, or mini-eraser helps refine motoric separation of the sides of the hand. Motoric Separation of the Two Sides of the Hand refers to using a precision side of the hand and a stabilizing side of the hand. This ability is needed for pencil grasp, managing buttons, shoe tying, threading a needle, buttoning, and so much more. 
 
Separation of the two sides of  two sides of the hand is important for tasks like holding a pencil while stabilizing the hand along the table, cutting with scissors, and managing coins, among other activities. 
 
Refinement of fine motor skills in the hand (the radial side) happens when the power half (the ulnar side) is stabilized.  A functional fine motor grasp and manipulation of objects is more accurate when the ring and pinky fingers are flexed (bent) into the palm. 
 
This positioning stabilizes the MCP arch and allows for control of the pointer and middle fingers. Separation of the two sides of the hand allow for more precise use of the thumb. Hand separation starts when a baby bears weight through their arm and ulnar side of the hand while carrying a toy in the radial side.  
 
This simple activity developmentally lengthens the muscles of the ulnar side. 
 

Try these quick Spring ideas to work fine motor skills:

  • Pick petals from leaves
  • Sort Spring mini-erasers into egg cartons
  • Crumble tissue paper to make tissue paper art
  • Tear small strips of paper and glue them to paper to build letters, spelling “SPRING”
Hand Dominance- Hand dominance in children is important for refining the skills needed to perform functional tasks.  While Toddlers begin to show a hand preference, a true hand dominance doesn’t typically develop until 2 to 3 1/2 years.  A toddler can show a hand preference, however hand usage is many times, experimented with during different activities throughout the Toddler and Preschool years.  There is typically variability in hand preference as toddlers and young preschoolers poke, pick up, throw, color, and play. 
 

These OT activities using tongs are great for developing and strengthening the arches of the hands for improved intrinsic strength.

In fact, the intrinsic muscles are the muscles in the hand that define the arches of the hands, bend the knuckles, and oppose with the thumbs. Activities like this intrinsic muscle strengthening activity can easily be replicated at home or in the therapy room.

Among these muscles are a group called the lumbricals. The lumbrical muscles have a job to bend (flex) the MCP joints and extend (straighten) the PIP and DIP joints. When the lumbricals are in action, the hand might look like it is holding a plate with the big knuckles bent and the fingers extended. Read more about strengthening the intrinsics here.

These are just a few examples of fine motor skills that are essential for functional development and effective manipulation of tools.  

Use tongs to help build fine motor skills with these Spring ideas:

  • Use tongs to color sort objects into baskets or bins
  • Use tweezers in a Spring sensory bin
  • Pick up items in a Spring obstacle course
  • Place colorful craft pom poms along a fine motor path on paper

These ideas are part of our Spring Week here on The OT Toolbox. Be sure to stop back each day this week to find more Spring occupational therapy activities and ideas to use all season long

Today is all about Spring Fine Motor Activities. Check the out below!

Spring Occupational Therapy Activities

Try some of these ideas to promote fine motor skills this Spring:

   This Easter activity for kids doubles as a scissor skills activity to build precision and accuracy with cutting with scissors.

 

For Spring crafts, start here with these cherry blossom crafts.

Use this cherry blossom activity to promote hand strength, precision, opening of the thumb web space, thumb stability, arch development and intrinsic muscle strength. Kids can make the cherry blossom activity, but also work on visual motor skills and patterns. Read more about this spring activity and how it promotes hand strength in so many ways.

Love cherry blossoms and want to go with a cherry blossom theme while boosting those fine motor skills? Try this Cherry Blossom Tree Craft and strengthen pinch, grip, arch development, separation of the sides of the hand, thumb stability, bilateral coordination, and other skills.

Perfect for the Spring season, this Easter activity builds the underlying skills needed for accuracy and precision with scissor skills.

 

Work on pincer grasp, hand strength, dexterity, and mobility with this robin craft. Kids will love feeding worms to the robins that they make from egg cartons. Best of all, it uses recycled materials and can be used over and over again!

Looking for tons of Spring craft ideas to last the whole season long? You’ll find loads of ideas from around the web!

 

Make flowers and use them to boost fine motor skills too with this fine motor flower craft!

This cupcake liner flower craft is a great (easy) craft idea to promote scissor skills. I love that it helps kids to work on precision when cutting with scissors and graded snips to stop at a specific point when cutting. This is a hard skill to master! Kids will love to see the flowers they create when cutting up to a point and then stopping the scissors to create the flower!

 

Another Spring fine motor activity that promotes scissor use is this butterfly craft. Kids can learn to cut curved lines and improve precision by cutting with a thinner material using cupcake liners to help with precision and accuracy. What a fun spring craft for kids!

Take a different spin on Spring activities and celebrate Earth Day by making crafts and activities using recycled materials. There’s something for everyone here…all while promoting fine motor skills!

Spring fine motor play dough activity

One easy way to work on hand strength is to create a Spring Play Dough Press Activity. Simply pull out the play dough and some Spring items like cookie cutters, flowers, feathers, small animal toys, and other Spring-themed items. Create a sensory table experience and press those items right into the play dough. Kids can hide items and find them again or match up the impressions to the toys. It’s a great way to strengthen the intrinsic muscles, promote endurance in the hands, and to do it with a Spring theme!

Spring sensory fine motor activity

This Spring Sensory Seek and Find Activity is an old one on the website, but it’s still a great way to promote fine motor skills like separation of the sides of the hand and finger isolation! It’s a good way to work on finger isolation and separation of the sides of the hand. Not to mention, moving the materials in the sensory bag around promotes hand strength, along with visual motor skills and visual perception. All you need is a plastic bag, clear hair gel, some food coloring, and Spring stickers!

Need some quick ideas to celebrate Easter? These bunny activities should spark some ideas!

Bunny tongs activity for fine motor skills

One of our favorite ways to work on fine motor skills this time of year is with our good, old bunny tongs. This Spring fine motor activity promotes the skills needed for scissor use, as well as hand strength, eye-hand coordination, and more. You should be able to find the bunny tongs at the dollar store this time of year!

Recycled art flower craft

Work on scissor skills with this Recycled Artwork Spring Flower craft. It’s a great way to use up that artwork that you don’t know what to do with, too!

 
These Spring fine motor activities are great to help kids develop hand strength, pencil grasp, grasp, and precision with bunny activities, flower activities, and other Spring theme ideas 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.

Spring Sensory Activities

Spring sensory activities

Today, we’re talking about all things Spring sensory activities. When it comes to spring and the change in the weather (hopefully), a few sensory-themed activities can be a tool for working on a variety of skill areas, all through play and sensory exploration. These ideas are just one aspect of Spring OT activities that develop skills through play.

Today, we’re going to discuss using sensory activities to address corresponding needs. Because when it comes to sensory processing, there can be related areas that are impacted as a result of sensory information being poorly processed and resulting in functional skills and development being impacted.

Use these spring sensory activities to help kids with sensory processing needs to address areas of concern like bilateral coordination, gravitational insecurity, tactile defensiveness, tactile discrimination and other sensory needs.
 
 

Spring Sensory Activities

 

For the child with identified sensory processing difficulties, an effective treatment plan needs to be established, so that the individual can more effectively participate in functional activities.

In today’s blog post, you’ll find some activities and modifications that can be used in the home, classroom, or therapy clinic. These are Spring sensory activities to add to a therapy plan this time of year. Add them to some of the other ideas being shared this week on our website and in our newsletter to create a themed set of interventions that meet the needs of a full caseload!

Other seasonal occupational therapy activities can be integrated with these sensory ideas. Include aspects of these Spring OT ideas to create a well-rounded lesson plan this time of year:

For a more exhaustive set of strategies, activities, and ideas, be sure to grab the Spring Fine Motor Kit (PLUS bonus kit which covers everything you need for Spring Break) that is on sale now for just $10. You’ll be loaded up on all kinds of tools that will last all season long.

Spring Sensory Activities

Let’s go over aspects of play for this time of year that incorporate much-needed sensory input for various areas. We’ll break down the activity ideas by sensory system to get you started.

Spring Proprioceptive and Vestibular Activities

These Spring Sensory Activities are designed to improve discrimination of Vestibular and Proprioceptive Information:

Some kids with poor discrimination of sensory input, especially vestibular and proprioceptive input, may present with poor coordination, posture, balance, attention, and clumsiness, and/or constant fidgeting.

These kiddos may benefit from some resistive work activities.

Try some of these Spring themed ideas to work on these areas:

Spring Heavy Work- Heavy work can be calming as a self-regulation tool. Use these free Spring themed heavy work cards to add activity ideas. They are great for brain breaks and to use in obstacle courses or a transition activity in a visual schedule.

Spring Sensory Stations- Our popular sensory stations printables are great to add movement, heavy work, deep breathing, and mindfulness to the classroom, school hallway, clinic, or home. Print them off, slip them into a page protector, or laminate them, and hang them in a highly trafficked area in the school or classroom. Or, use them in a quiet calm-down corner. These sensory stations offer a chance for self-regulation and sensory input for brain breaks and calming input when kids need them.

Bunny Wall Push-ups- Cut out a pair of bunny paw prints and tape them to the wall. This is a place to hop over to and then perform wall push-ups.

Egg Rubber Bands- Provide heavy work to the hands by wrapping rubber bands around plastic Easter eggs. Kids can try to unwrap the rubber bands and then re-wrap the eggs. Use the bands as a hand exercise for the fingers in extension and in finger flexion.

Tug-of-War- Use a rope or sturdy jump rope to pull heavy items from one location to another. Some ideas include a basket or bin full of books or weights. Transport a stuffed animal or plastic Easter eggs in the basket or bin. Sit or lay on a therapy ball to pull the objects out of the bin. Kids can lay in supine on the therapy ball while pulling the rope, too.

Make a Spring Trail Mix- Add in crunchy and chewy items such as dry cranberries, small, chopped carrots, fruit leather, small pretzel pieces, bunny crackers or bunny pretzels.

Make a Spring Crash Zone- Use heavy blankets, couch cushions, and pillows to create a crash pad area. Hide fake flower tops (remove the stems) in the pillows and blankets. Kids can jump and find various flowers. Give them a specific number or specific color to locate in the jumping area.

Leap Frog- Remember the classic leap frog game? It’s a great Spring sensory activity! Kids can jump over small items or paper lily pads. In a pinch for time? Just use paper plates for your lily pads.

Spring Sensory Ideas for Discrimination of Tactile System

These Spring sensory activities are designed to bring awareness to and to improve a decreased or impaired discrimination of tactile sensory input:

A poor body scheme is common in kids with sensory processing needs.  As a result, praxis and fine motor skills can be difficult.

Kids may seek out additional input through their hands by touching everything they see.

Other kids can’t discriminate between light and heavy tactile input.

Here are some spring-themed sensory activities to encourage tactile discrimination:

Use craft sheets and draw flowers or “grass” lines with a ballpoint pen. Then, the child can use a felt tip marker to trace the lines in the craft sheet. Allow them to trace with the ball point pen, too. Using the different writing tools provides various feedback in the resistive surface of the craft sheet. This is a great pre-writing lines activity for younger kids. You can see how we used craft sheets to work on pencil control using this sensory technique in a previous activity post.

Use a vibrating pen- Create a flower shape or egg shape with Wikki Stix. Then, use the vibrating pen to draw lines or color in the parts of the flower/egg. Use cookie cutters to encourage bilateral coordination of an assisting hand and the dominant hand. Vibrating pens provide great sensory feedback to the hands.

Use hot glue or regular school glue to create tracing forms. Write spring words like “sun”, “bee”, “flowers”, “grass”, etc. or trace Spring coloring pages with the glue. Allow the glue to dry and then place another sheet over the hardened glue. Use crayons to shade over the raised lines. Here is an example of how we used glue to practice sight words with DIY crayon rubbings with an emphasis on tactile sensory input.

Spring Sensory Ideas for Somatodyspraxia

Somatodyspraxia is a common occurrence in those with sensory processing challenges.

Somatodyspraxia is seen via frequent falling, poor posture, balance, tripping, running into or bumping into others or objects, trouble managing small items or manipulating objects as a result of poor fine motor skills, along with poor body scheme and organization.

Kids who struggle to process tactile input and vestibular information can be challenged with praxis concerns.

Here are some Spring Sensory Activities designed to address somatodyspraxia:

Spring obstacle course- Make an obstacle course that requires various motor movements, motor planning, changes in body position, and organization of body actions. This can easily be accomplished with pillows, couch cushions, chairs, laundry baskets or buckets, and everyday items. Use colored Easter eggs or fake flowers to carry through the obstacle course while challenging praxis.

Bean Bag Toss- Use several small baskets or buckets to work on motor planning with bean bags. Use visual and verbal instructions to place or toss the bean bags into the targets with either one hand or the other (or a foot by placing the bean bag on the toes!). Use simplified instructions to follow instructions. Downgrade the activity by having the child repeat instructions and steps of the direction.

For more assistance with somatodyspraxia, add more cues, simplified instructions, visual cues, and single-step motor tasks.

Spring Sensory Activities for Bilateral Coordination

Bilateral coordination difficulties are common for the child with sensory processing challenges.

This looks like uncoordinated movements in hopping, jumping, jumping jacks, kicking a ball, catching a ball, running, climbing, etc.

This might carryover to fearfulness when challenged to complete these tasks. You may also see trouble with hand dominance or left/right discrimination.

Here are some Spring Sensory Activities that can help:

Play Simon Says with a Spring Theme- Encourage bilateral coordination movements and alternating motions to follow directions. Use a Spring theme by saying “hop like a frog”, “crawl like a caterpillar”, etc. Use stickers or a stamp to identify the left or right hand and foot for these actions. Use our free Spring Heavy Work cards in a Simon Says activity this time of year.

Play Hopscotch- Draw a hopscotch board and draw lily pads or spring flowers on the board. Kids can hop onto the squares. Also try jumping with one or both feet onto the target square.

Spring sensory Activities to Address Tactile Defensiveness

Tactile defensiveness can present in many ways, including a refusal to touch certain materials, resistiveness to certain clothing fabrics, food preferences, or avoidance of certain materials or activities.

Adding heavy input or slow, calming vestibular input can be helpful in some individuals.

Try some of these Spring themed sensory activities:

Deep Pressure- Add weights to the wrists or a weighted lap pad along with heavy work to the hands. Try using a large eraser to erase flowers drawn on construction paper. Ask the child to erase the flower completely. Try using lighter pencil strokes and reducing the amount of erasing needed. This is one way to work on pencil pressure, too.

Flower-Push- Add proprioceptive input to a gross motor activity that provides heavy work through the whole body. Draw a flower or sun on two paper plates. Place them on the floor and ask the child to place their hands on the flower picture while they get into a push-up position. The child can push the flowers across the floor.

Caterpillar Roll- Use a blanket to roll the child up in a log position. The child is now a caterpillar! Add slow and heavy input through up and down the length of the child, using whole hands and slow movements.

Spring Sensory Activities to Address Gravitational Insecurity

Sensory challenges sometimes present with gravitational insecurity. This might look like the child that has trouble being positioned off the ground, such as on a raised surface like a swing, bleachers, on an elevator, or escalator, etc. Calming proprioceptive input can be helpful.

Here are some Spring Sensory Activities that can help:

Add Spring stickers to a weighted lap pad or wrist/ankle weights. Make it fun!

Flower Breaths-Try deep breathing activities such as imagining blowing a dandelion fluff across a field. Use deep and slow breaths to imagine moving those flower fluffs away. This can be helpful before participating in an activity that requires motion that can be a challenge for the child, such as when riding in a car.

 
Use these spring themed activities to develop and address areas that are difficult for the child with sensory processing needs, including tactile discrimination, tactile defensiveness, bilateral coordination, gravitational insecurity, and other areas.

More Spring Sensory Activities

Looking for more ways to promote sensory activities through movement and play? The Spring Fine Motor Kit gets kids moving in just the right ways to build strong and efficient hands. When you grab the kit now through the 22nd, you’ll also get a BONUS resources full of sensory strategies to meet all sensory processing needs.

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.

In this BONUS set, you’ll find: Spring Visual Perception Worksheets- Print these off and slide them into a page protector. Use them to work on visual perceptual skills like form discrimination, visual closure, figure ground, and visual processing skills like tracking, scanning, etc. Use manipulative items to work on fine motor skills with these worksheets such as play dough, slime, Wikki Stix, yarn, craft pom poms, or other items.

Spring Fine Motor and Gross Motor Activities- Add these ideas to therapy home programs to work on pencil grasp or core strength. Use these ideas in therapy warm-ups, or to add movement to a child’s day.

Spring Themed Brain Breaks- Cut up these cards and use them to add movement and motor skills into the classroom or home. It’s a great way to re-charge!

Spring Themed Handwriting Practice Prompts- There are two pages of writing prompts that are ONLY in list form. That means kids don’t need to write out sentences while working on letter formation, spacing and size. They can work on all of the handwriting skills they need in a short list that is interest-based, making it motivational for them. And, the list format is a quick way to sneak in handwriting practice!

OT Homework Sheet- Sometimes, it takes extra practice to make skills “stick”. When parents help in practicing therapy activities, it can make a difference in carryover. You’ll find a done-for-you OT homework sheet to use in weekly homework activities OR for use as a home exercise program!

Client-Centered Worksheet- When our kiddos have a voice in their therapy, carryover and goals can be more meaningful to them. Use this worksheet to come up with Spring activities that meet the needs of a child, while taking into considerations that child’s interests and strengths to make activities meaningful.

Sensory Activities and More- All of these extras were added to the already well-rounded Spring packet that includes activities designed around each of the sensory systems. You’ll find 13 pages of proprioception activities, vestibular activities, tactile activities, oral motor activities, etc. And, they include ideas to extend the activity to include eye-hand coordination, body scheme, oculomotor control, visual perception, coordination, and motor planning.

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.

Spring Handwriting Activities

Spring handwriting activities

In this blog post, you’ll find Spring handwriting activities that kids can use to work on letter formation, copying skills, line use, spacing, and overall legibility of written work with a fun Spring theme! This is a great set of handwriting activities that are part of our Spring Occupational therapy activities.

Spring Handwriting Activities

These are handwriting activities that you can use to work on letter formation, spacing between letters and words, size awareness, and line use. All of this reflects back on handwriting legibility! And, when it comes to working on handwriting, we’re striving to make practice fun and NOT boring! Read on for some Spring handwriting ideas the kids will love!

First, if you missed the other topics we’ve covered this week on The OT Toolbox, you’ll want to check out our Spring Occupational Therapy Activities page.

Other seasonal occupational therapy activities can be integrated with these sensory ideas. Include aspects of these Spring OT ideas to create a well-rounded lesson plan this time of year:

For a more exhaustive set of strategies, activities, and ideas, be sure to grab the Spring Fine Motor Kit (PLUS bonus kit which covers everything you need for Spring Break) that is on sale now for just $10. You’ll be loaded up on all kinds of tools that will last all season long.



Now, onto the handwriting ideas!

These spring handwriting activities are great for helping kids learn letter formation, sizing in letters, spacing in words, and legibility in handwriting.

 

Spring Handwriting Activities

When it comes to handwriting, sometimes you just have to make it fun. Practicing letter formation or copying skills can be downright boring.

For the child that struggles with these skills, self-confidence can really play into practice. When a child knows they struggle with certain aspects of written work such as letter formation or reversals, it can be hard to get them to want to practice, making home programs or any written work a real struggle.

Spring Handwriting Ideas

That’s why I wanted to pull together some extra-creative and fun ways to practice written work.

  1. Spring Pre-Writing Lines- Kids will like this pre-writing lines activity that doubles as a way to work on letter formation and spatial awareness. We created eggs with wikki stix, but you can definitely modify this activity to a slower theme for those working in schools who can’t cover anything egg or Easter.

2. Spring Cookie Cutters- Do you have any Spring cookie cutters? If not, you can usually find them in dollar stores this time of year. Use butterfly and flower cookie cutters to work on handwriting skills like spatial awareness and line awareness needed for legible written work. This is a great writing warm-up activity this time of year.

3. Use grass seeds or other seeds- This time of year is all about growth, seeds, and new development. Pull together a spring theme with seeds and work on pincer grasp, in-hand manipulation, separation of the sides of the hand with letter formation! Kids can manipulate small seeds like grass seed to form letters or work on the letters of their name like we did in this Grass Seed Handwriting Activity. Then, lay the paper on newspaper, sprinkle dirt on top and see if it grows name-shaped grass in a week or so!

4. Celebrate Spring with rainbows! Pull out the colored chalk to work on letter formation with rainbow writing. On a warmer Spring day, go on out to a sidewalk, driveway, or blacktop surface to gain the resistive input of drawing with chalk on the ground. It’s a great way to really incorporate the motor planning needed for letter formation!

5. Write Spring Lists- A great way to work on handwriting is with lists. With a list of writing practice, kids who struggle with written work tend to not feel so overwhelmed. Writing out a list of words to practice aspects such as letter formation. line use, spacing, and letter size can be more beneficial than copying a few sentences. Granted, there is a time and place for copy work, too. It’s an exercise in visual motor skills, visual tracking, visual memory, and so many other skills. Print off these free Spring List Writing Prompts and start there.

6. Use a Spring writing tray! Writing trays are a fun way to incorporate the senses into letter formation and copying skills. Here are writing tray ideas to spark your imagination. What can you add to give sensory writing an extra Spring-y touch? Maybe write with a fake flower stem, or scatter petals in the sensory tray. In the Spring Fine Motor Kit, you’ll find lots of sensory bin materials to work with. The options are limitless.

7. Write in shaving cream for a multisensory experience with practicing letters. Use the write the room cards in the Spring Fine Motor Kit for words and letters to copy.

8. Use Spring stickers in handwriting. Do you have flower stickers, rainbows, or Easter stickers? Use them as writing prompts. There are so many benefits to using stickers in occupational therapy interventions. So, place them on a page and start writing while focusing on letter formation. Or, use them in a sensory writing bag like we did here. Kids can find the sticker and then write the name out on paper.

9. Spring Write the Room Activity-  Use this Spring Write the Room slide deck to work on handwriting skills over the computer. Kids can write the words on paper or on the screen using an app like Jamboard.

10. Use a cootie catcher- We shared this free cootie catcher to develop fine motor skills, but there are handwriting benefits, too. Kids can write in words, phrases, and sentences while working on spatial awareness and handwriting in a given space. Print off the free template and go! There are several versions included: ones with writing prompts and some with pictures to work on pencil control skills as well.

 
 
These spring handwriting activities are great for helping kids learn letter formation, sizing in letters, spacing in words, and legibility in handwriting.

More Spring Handwriting Activities

In the Spring Fine Motor Kit, you’ll find Write the Room and handwriting tasks designed to help kids with handwriting legibility, letter formation, size awareness, number formation, and so much more.

In just this portion of the kit, you’ll find: 3 pages of handwriting paper in modified lined paper, 8 lowercase copy cards, 8 uppercase copy cards, 8 lowercase tracing cards, 8 uppercase copy cards, 8 cursive writing copy cards. 

Extend the activity: Use to copy words from near and far point copying skills. Use the words in creating sentences, writing lists, or as writing prompts. Incorporate words into scavenger hunt, and obstacle course activities.  

TARGET SKILLS: Letter formation, pencil control, visual motor skills, visual attention, visual memory, line placement, functional handwriting at all levels and stages.

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.

Spring Visual Perception Activities

Spring themed visual perception activities for kids

Have you been following along with the Spring Occupational Therapy activities this week? All week long we’re covering various aspects of development and function with fun and creative spring-themed ideas. Today you’ll find Spring Visual Perception Activities. These are ways to promote visual perceptual skill development and the visual components that are needed for skills like reading, writing, and functional tasks.

Spring Visual Perception Activities

 
Working on visual perceptual skills in kids to help with handwriting, reading, or other skills? These spring themed visual perception activities will help.

If you missed the other posts this week, you can check them out here:

For a more exhaustive set of strategies, activities, and ideas, be sure to grab the Spring Fine Motor Kit (PLUS bonus kit which covers everything you need for Spring Break) that is on sale now for just $10. You’ll be loaded up on all kinds of tools that will last all season long.

Each Spring theme includes activity ideas. To see all of the posts from this week (and to see what we’re coving tomorrow), head over to our Spring Occupational Therapy Activities page.

For more creative strategies and ideas to use in therapy this time of year, you will want to grab the Spring Fine Motor Kit that includes our Spring Occupational Therapy Activities Packet. It’s loaded with tools and ideas to put into place in therapy sessions starting today. 

For OT Toolbox readers and newsletter subscribers, you can access both of these materials in our Spring Fine Motor Kit DEAL which includes the bonus materials at the time of your purchase.

Use the ideas in fine motor or gross motor warm-ups, or add them to a home program. You’ll find more visual perceptual activities and worksheets that can be used over and over again. You’ll also find handwriting prompts in list form so you can really focus on things like letter formation, spacing, and line use in short writing tasks. You’ll love the Spring themed brain break cards that can be used in the classroom or at home.

Grab the Spring Occupational Therapy Activities Packet and bonus Spring Break Kit here.

Working on visual perceptual skills in kids to help with handwriting, reading, or other skills? These spring themed visual perception activities will help.

 

Spring Visual Perception Activities

When we breakdown the term “visual perception”, you will see that there are many sub-areas that are needed for functional skills like reading, handwriting, spelling, coordination, and many functional tasks.

Below, you’ll find an explanation of visual perceptual skills that impact function, as well as Spring-themed activities to help improve these areas.  

Read more about how visual perception impacts handwriting here.  

Visual Perceptual Skills

Visual Memory- This visual perceptual skill allows us to store information that we see and use that information for future use. In order to recall visual information, we need visual attention.

The selection and perception of visual input requires that information is perceived via the eye’s visual fields, and in coordination with oculomotor control, is processed through the visual cortex in the brain. This is how visual processing happens.

Visual memory allows for discrimination of details of such things as letter discrimination, sight word identification, etc.  

Spring Visual Memory Activities-

  • Use different colored plastic eggs or other items such as mini erasers. Put them in a series of three and show the student. You can then cover up the objects and then ask the student to replicate that series.
  • Create a Spring Memory game. Use pictures or stickers of flowers, chicks, bunnies, caterpillars, butterflies, etc. to create a DIY Memory game.
  • What’s Missing Game- Use those mini erasers from a dollar store to create a What’s Missing Game. Place a handful of erasers on a tray. Allow the child to memorize the items. Then cover them and remove one or more. The child needs to recall and identify the missing items.
  • Spring Memory Game (Free download)– print off this free printable and play memory games with a Spring theme.

Visual Discrimination- This visual perceptual skill allows us to identify the features of a form/object/letter/number so we can tell the difference between objects.

Using visual discrimination, we can identify similarities and differences related to the objects and use that information in conjunction with visual memory.  

Spring Visual Discrimination Activities- 

  • Cut a spring picture or card into pieces. Kids can position the pieces to recreate the whole picture. Make this activity easier or more difficult as needed by the child.
  • Use a packet of spring stickers. Many times there are several sheets that contain the same stickers. Use them to make small cards. Mix up all of the cards and ask the child to find the matches.

Form Constancy- This visual perceptual skill allows for recognition of objects in various environments or with attention to details and orientation.

This allows us to recognize letters or numbers no matter their font or size.  

Spring Form Constancy Activities-

  • Write lists of spring words on index cards in different sizes or fonts, or upper case/lower case letters. Hide the cards around the room. The child can look at one card and go off to find the matching font and word.
  • Using plastic eggs, draw shapes that are similar in form, but are different sizes on each half of the egg. Then, mix up the eggs and as the child to find matches and put them together.

Visual Closure- This visual perceptual skill enables the identification of objects or forms and allows us to identify an object by viewing just a portion and using mental skills to complete the object’s form in our mind.

Visual closure is a skill necessary for reading and recognizing words by viewing just the beginning letters. Visual closure is related to and requires visual memory and visual attention.

Spring Visual Closure Activities- 

  • Gather several Spring-themed items such as small animal figures, flowers, cookie cutters, plastic eggs, etc. Place them on a tray and cover half of the items. Ask the child to name each item without seeing the whole object.
  • Make an “I Spy” Frame- Cut a hole or rectangle in an index card. Place it over a spring picture or item. Ask the child to name the object or item by seeing only a portion.

Visual Figure Ground- This skill enables us to locate items in a busy background.  Finding hidden items in a hidden pictures puzzle works on this skill by visually scanning and identifying items within a busy scene.  

In handwriting, visual figure ground is necessary for copying written work from a model and locating the place left off when shifting vision.

Spring Visual-Figure Ground Activities-

  • Use small items such as mini-erasers of various shapes like bunnies, carrots, and flowers. Spread them out on a table in a pile. Ask the student to sort the like shapes into piles.
  • Go on an “I Spy” nature walk and look for signs of Spring.
  • Flip through a catalogue or grocery flier to find specific items on a list. These can be items needed for a Spring event like Mother’s Day or Easter, or items needed for a recipe. 

Visual Sequential Memory- This visual perceptual skill is the ability to visually take in and then later recall the sequence or order of items in the correct order. This skill is important in reading and writing.

Visual sequential memory is important in spelling words correctly and recognizing that words are not spelled correctly.

Spring Visual Sequential Memory Activities- 

  • Make an order of three or more items like three flowers. Ask the student to memorize the order and then to replicate it.
  • Talk about the steps to complete a task such as planting a flower seed. Write out or draw the steps. Cut the paper so the steps are separated. Mix up the order by spreading the various steps on a table surface. Ask the student to place them back into order. 

More Spring Visual Perception Activities

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.

Spring Gross Motor Activities

Spring gross motor activities

This blog post on Spring gross motor activities is part of our collection of Spring activities for occupational therapy. Here, we’ve got gross motor ideas that have a Spring-theme, including balance, coordination, stability, and gross motor coordination tasks like skipping, hopping, jumping, and throwing. You’ll find throwing activities, ways to work on the eye-hand coordination needed for catching a ball, bilateral coordination ideas, core strengthening activities, and more.

These are the gross motor skill ideas that you can use in so many ways to address the skills kids need to succeed at home, at school, and in the community! Get the ideas below!

These spring gross motor activities are great ways to build strength in kids, including posture, stability, core strength, shoulder stability, and coordination, balance, and posture.


Spring Gross Motor Activities

 

Before we cover the gross motor ideas for Spring, be sure to check out  our Spring Fine Motor Activities collection. You can add ideas from each of our Spring Occupational Therapy Activities… because we’re loading you up on different ways to address developmental skill areas with a Spring-theme!

Remember, if you are looking for fun ideas to incorporate into therapy sessions, at home, or in the classroom, our Spring Fine Motor Kit is on sale right now. It’s 100 pages of spring ideas for addressing sensory processing, gross and fine motor skills, visual motor skills, visual perceptual skills, handwriting, and more. The packet will last you all season long and can be used over and over again. 


Grab the Spring Fine Motor Kit here. AND get the bonus Spring Break Kit, filled with handouts for Spring break activities, handwriting prompts, brain breaks, and a Spring homework sheet.

Spring Gross Motor Activities


Let’s get right to those Spring-themed Gross Motor Skills.

Shoulder and wrist stability are such a necessary part of fine motor control and precision. You’ve probably seen it before; a kiddo that writes or colors with their arm “floating” up off the table surface.

You probably know a child that writes with their whole arm as opposed to moving those fingers. You might recall a child manipulating small items like beads with their elbows smashed into their sides in order for them to have support and control…It’s all shoulder stability that is lacking!

We’re also talking about core stability, postural control, and balance. You might know a student that slouches at their desk.

What suffers? Handwriting legibility, reading comprehension, and the ability to copy materials without missing items.

 You may have seen a kiddo that is fearful on uneven surfaces like when maneuvering on bleachers, or struggles with active games in gym class. What may be the culprit to these coordination skills?
It just might be postural control, core strength, and stability.

The gross motor activities below provide opportunities to improve bilateral coordination, core strength as part of improving  postural stability, balance, coordination, shoulder stability, and shoulder girdle strengthening.
The activities follow a Spring-theme to use this time of year. 


These general activities combine movement combinations and motor planning that can be used as a fun brain break in the classroom, or a party game idea:


Create a Bunny Hop Gross Motor Game much like our Dinosaur Gross Motor Game! Just make the activities actions like Hop like a bunny, jump like a bunny, stomp your bunny feet, etc. You can add other spring animals too, like a lamb, baby chicks, or robins.


Make a DIY Dance Stick using ribbons, crepe paper, and string. Then, practice forming letters or writing spelling words with the dance stick. It can be decorated like a May Pole, too. Incorporate bilateral coordination and eye-hand coordination to wrap the stick with ribbon all the way up and around a dowel rod. 


Bean Bag Activity- We made ice cream cones, but carrots would be super easy, too…or just pretend the bean bags are carrots 🙂  Here are some bean bag games to use when working on midline crossing, core strength, motor planning, and other gross motor areas.

 

Build shoulder and wrist stability 

Shoulder stability is an area that so many kids can struggle with! Writing with their arm “floating” up off the table surface, using the whole arm to manipulate and move a pencil, and other small motor actions. Sometimes, kids that do activities and tasks quickly are compensating for weakness in the shoulder girdle. 


Use Wikki Stix to build Easter Eggs by sticking them to a wall. Position the child at a seated position facing the wall so shoulder flexion occurs at eye height. This is a great way to work on shoulder and wrist stability and mobility. 


Use Spring cookie cutters and small pieces of chalk on a chalkboard or easel. This activity is great for drawing and writing at shoulder height and uses both hands at midline. Working at the vertical surface promote core strength as well as shoulder stability and wrist extension. Bunnies, Easter eggs. hearts, and colorful circles or rainbows are fun this time of year.


Try Spring Yoga- There are some Yoga positions with a Spring theme described and listed in the Spring Occupational Therapy Activities Packet. Add fun animal names and positions to basic yoga positions.


Use a scooter board in prone. Push and pull the scooter board across the floor to transport Spring items into a basket. The dollar store is a good place to find small items. Better yet, use bunny tongs or other tools to transport the items.


Roll a small ball or a therapy ball up and down a wall. Use painters tape to make a ball maze or a strait line like the stem of a Spring flower. “Walk” the ball up the wall to shoulder height and then back down again. Get the ball to the top of the step to create the flower!


Spring Animal Walks- Do the bunny hop, frog jump, and lamb crawl from one side of the room to the other. Think: wheelbarrow walks, crab walks, donkey kicks, and bear walks with a Spring theme!


Color or play on the ground- Use Easter grass to create a sensory space on the floor. Use a large, low tray such as a jelly roll pan to create a sensory bin. Kids can use tongs to find hidden items such as mini-erasers.

Spring Posture and Balance Activities

Posture and trunk stability is essential for positioning in the classroom and in functional tasks in general. Postural control is needed to enable the student to sit upright at their desk, allowing for better handwriting, reading, and copying skills.

Kids who struggle with postural control and balance will be uncoordinated in fine motor tasks, activities requiring sustained positioning, have trouble with motor planning, and may be fearful of tasks that require mobility or uneven positioning such as maneuvering on bleachers or during active play.


Try some of the Spring themed gross motor activities below to improve postural control and balance:

Spring Obstacle Course- Use the printables in our Spring Sensory Stations (free download) to create motor planning tasks that build balance and coordination. Add in jump ropes to hop over, sand buckets to navigate around, and brain breaks (from our Spring Break Kit bonus) to make gross motor planning tasks.

Spring Heavy Work Activities- Add heavy work that challenges motor planning, balance, endurance, positioning changes, and motor skills. These can be used in Simon Says games, obstacle courses, and gross motor play. Print off a copy of these free Spring heavy work cards and get started.

Spring Caterpillar Pose- Assume the “superman pose” on the floor, but call it a caterpillar pose! You can be a caterpillar in the Springtime, gaining strength to start crawling and munching on leaves. Relax rest but then return to the extended arms, legs, and head positioning as you wake up again! 


Balloon Pass- Lie on your back and pull the hips and knees into flexion, toward the belly. Try to hold a ball or balloon between your feet. Then, pass the ball to a friend lying opposite on the floor. Pass the ball into a hoop or large basket. 


Egg Pass- Sit on a partially inflated beach ball and try to balance a plastic egg on a spoon. Try to pass the egg to a friend and then drop it into a basket. 

These spring gross motor activities are great ways to build strength in kids, including posture, stability, core strength, shoulder stability, and coordination, balance, and posture.

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.

Spring Activities for Executive Functioning

Spring activities for executive functioning

Here, we’re covering spring activities for executive functioning skills. Executive functioning has recently become a bit of a buzzword. There’s good reason: parents, teachers, and therapists are more aware of the developmental processes that impacts learning, social emotional skills, functional tasks, safety, and even handwriting. Buzz like a bee, spring into executive functioning, and learn more about this concept and how you can integrate it into your Spring occupational therapy activities!

spring executive function activities

Spring activities for Executive Functioning

Other seasonal occupational therapy activities can be integrated with these sensory ideas. Include aspects of these Spring OT ideas to create a well-rounded lesson plan this time of year:

For a more exhaustive set of strategies, activities, and ideas, be sure to grab the Spring Fine Motor Kit (PLUS bonus kit which covers everything you need for Spring Break) that is on sale now for just $10. You’ll be loaded up on all kinds of tools that will last all season long.

Spring is such a great time of the year. Flowers blooming, the smell of freshly fallen rain, and increasingly temperate weather for those of us who live in snowy winter areas! This is an opportunity to enjoy some more play outdoors. The start of Spring also can mean a time to develop new goals in the way of executive functioning.

Play is incredibly important for development, especially in the area of executive functioning. Take the opportunity to encourage more complex play in your dialogue with a child. This article discusses the value of open-ended play for executive functioning development.

Interested in learning more about executive functioning? Check out this list of books about executive function.

For a fun way to get kids involved in creating goals and targeting specific executive functions, grab the Impulse Control Journal, a printable pages to document working memory, prioritization, planning, and other executive functioning skills.

Outdoor Spring Activities for Executive Functioning

Going into the outdoors is an amazing spring-time opportunity for executive functioning growth. Simple games like hide and seek encourage children to utilize working memory (remembering where they already looked when in the role of seeker), prediction (where a challenging hiding spot might be), and self-monitoring and impulse control (not giving away hiding spots).

Spring Nature Walk- A sensory nature walk for the family incorporates all aspects of sensory processing but also offers opportunities for building executive functioning experiences in the ways of attention, focus, impulse control, working memory, planning, prioritization. All of these skills can be addressed through conversation, hands-on play, movement, and experiencing the outdoors.

Outdoor Springtime Play- Other activities like hopscotch also present an opportunity to utilize working memory (try increasing the challenge by requiring that they only jump on the odds!) initiation.

Encourage opportunities for open-ended play, such as pretend play using items found during a scavenger hunt. Speaking of, scavenger hunts are a great way to encourage the use of executive functioning skills outdoors! Working memory, planning and organizing, impulse control, initiation, self and task-monitoring, and so on.

Outdoor play is always encouraged, but it gets a lot easier in spring without the need to bundle up in cold climates! There are so many ways to work on executive functioning skills outdoors, so get outside and play!

Spring Indoor Activities for Executive Functioning

Weather sometimes becomes an obstacle to playing outdoors in spring. However, there are many ways to integrate executive functioning into indoor play on rainy days.

Play Memory– This free Spring memory game is a great way to work on executive functioning skills- task completion, planning, working memory, attention, organization, and more. Just print off the free memory game and go!

Scavenger Hunts- Sure, scavenger hunts can be more challenging outdoors, but try making one indoors! You could even require that all of the items start with a certain letter of the alphabet or be a certain color to make it more difficult!

Board games- Board games are another great way to work on executive functioning skills. Some favorites include Outfoxed, cribbage, Ticket to Ride, and Magic Labyrinth.

Cook Spring recipes- Cooking can be another fun activity for executive functioning skills when stuck indoors! Find a recipe that the whole family can make. Split up the components into age-appropriate “jobs” for everyone.

If cooking sparks the interest of a child or teen, try these Spring flower themed recipes and snacks. You can incorporate the benefits of healthy heating with executive functioning skills in the kitchen.

Spring Cleaning- Spring cleaning, anyone? While kids may not love cleaning, it can certainly be helpful for families and a good life skill to learn! Something like cleaning a bedroom is a great age-appropriate task for many kids: taking the items off of the floor and putting them in their respective locations, staying on task, and deciding what “clean” looks like and when to be done!

Spring Chores- Incorporating chores into the daily to-do list might require a chore list or a screen-time list with required tasks before fun activities are done. Try this free screen-time list to monitory chores as part of daily activities.

Whether outdoors or indoors, spring into executive functioning!

Engaging Ways to Improve Executive Functioning Skills

In a previous post , we talked about the use of strategy games as a method to improve executive functioning (EF) skills. While this is a great tool that children and teens can participate in both in and out of the clinic, there are many other everyday activities to promote EF skill development! Here are some more engaging ways to improve executive functioning skills.

Executive functioning skills are an important client factor contributing to successful participation in daily occupations. EF is currently a buzzword, but it isn’t a new idea. Check out a few ways that you can help children and teens develop their EF skills!

Cooking for Executive Functioning Skill Development

Cooking is a great way to work on executive functioning with a treat at the end! Cooking requires many executive functioning skills. Kids need to use impulse control to complete one step at a time and pace themselves, avoid ingesting raw ingredients or eating all of their hard work, as well as prevent injury with sharp or hot tools. They also need to use working memory to recall what ingredients they need after looking at a recipe, as well as recalling the quantity of that ingredient.

Crafts and Projects for Executive Functioning Skill Development

Crafts and projects are another great way to work on executive functioning skills. Does your client have a special interest in the U.S. Presidents? Have them create a board game related to this interest! They will need to keep track of their materials, manage their time appropriately, and consider the perspectives of others who might play their game!

Executive Functioning and Gross Motor Activities

Gross motor and executive functioning activities can go hand in hand. Almost any activity can be adapted to integrate gross motor play! In a large room, a child could look at a list of items, then race to the other side of the room on their scooter to find an object, just like “I Spy” books and games!

Many kids love to make obstacle courses, allowing for the development of initiation (getting started on building, instead of making grand plans and running out of time to make the course), impulse control (try changing the rules on them halfway through! “No touching red pieces!”), and metacognition (have them evaluate what went well, what did not go as well, and what they would change).

Executive Functioning and Daily Routines

Daily routines are a natural opportunity for the development of executive functioning skills. However, this also goes the other direction, because executive functioning is critical for independence in daily routines. Have clients create visuals to support their attention and sequencing of multiple step routines. If a child takes a significant amount of time to complete their routine, have a race to see who can get ready the fastest!

Try a few of these activity ideas to integrate executive functioning skill development in an enjoyable, approachable way! Most of all, have fun!

More Spring Resources for therapy

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.

ADHD Tools for Parents of Children with Attention Difficulties

ADHD tools

Here you will find a number of ADHD tools and supports for individuals with ADHD, including ADHD resources for parents. The statistics of the number of people with Attention Deficit Disorders (ADD) is staggering.  These numbers are compounded by the fact that attention deficit is difficult to diagnose.  The market is flooded with ADHD resources, and strategies to support attention needs, but what are the right ones? Doctors and other professionals could be over or under diagnosing due to this difficulty in gathering accurate data.

ADHD tools for kids and parents of children with ADHD

Yes there are ADHD checklists, surveys, and questionnaires, but they are not scientific or 100% accurate.  They are often based on opinion and observation versus data.  This is a stark contrast to diagnosing down syndrome or hearing loss, that is tracked by concrete data or genetic testing. 

ADHD TOOLS

When it comes to specifically ADHD tools, my advice is to take these diagnoses with a grain of salt.  Look more for symptoms, behaviors, skills, and difficulties rather than relying on a label.  It does not matter as much that this is called ADD, ADHD, or ABCD, but what are the struggles the learner is having? 

To best support any diagnosis (attention diagnoses being one), focus on the struggles, creating measurable and relevant goals, instead of focusing on the label.

To best support a child with attention challenges, find ADHD resources you can trust to provide useful information and strategies.

Having any label, diagnosis, or list of symptoms can feel overwhelming. The number of attention related resources available on the internet are astounding.  But which are accurate?  Who can you believe?  There are no easy answers unfortunately.  

Which way to turn for ADHD TOOLS?

When there is an overwhelming amount of data presented at one time, the best jumping off point is to rely on the feedback of others.  Sometimes it is a trusted doctor or friend, but more often than not, it can be a large crowd of strangers. 

When looking for the perfect resource to share with parents, I usually turn to Amazon and start reading the reviews.  I read a ton of reviews before making my selections.  This is time consuming, however I do not have time to read something that is not a good resource, has incorrect information, or written in a terrible format.

Attention Resources from Amazon

There are some solid attention resources from Amazon available, including ADHD audiobooks, and other formats that have good reviews. I have not personally read them, but have taken the time to research them and read the long reviews.

Amazon affiliate links are included below.

Amazon has some great ADHD audiobook resources for parents and professionals available on Audible and other formats. Audiobooks are a great alternative to paper books, as they can be listened to almost anywhere.

There are tons of resources on attention and ADHD in audiobooks. I tried to find ones that had good reviews, were accurate and easy to read/listen to, and provided useful strategies.

If you are an Amazon Prime member, You’re eligible to claim 2 free titles from our entire selection (one title per month thereafter) with a free Audible 30 day trial. A standard trial includes 1 credit for an audiobook download. After the Audible trial period, all members receive 1 credit per month.

Click here start your free Audible Trial Period.

Delivered From Distraction: Getting the most of out Life with Attention Deficit Disorder.  This book is written for teens or adults with ADD.  This may be helpful for parents as well, as attention deficits tend to run in families.  It can be read cover to cover or in sections.  The author says, feel free to skip around.

You Mean I’m Not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy?: A Self-help Audio Program for Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder  As with most books I have found, there are going to be people who do not like the book.  This is to be expected.  However, more people say they liked it than the few who did not. I like that this is available in audio, as some people are more auditory learners than visual. Finding an hour in the car to listen seems much easier than trying to carve out that same hour reading on the couch.

Taking Charge of ADHD, Third Edition: The Complete, Authoritative Guide for Parents This book is available in several formats. Audible is one that may be easier for parents to listen to, as their couch time is limited. This book takes a real look at ADHD.  Most people found this book helpful. The few that did not, found this book too straight forward or maybe “depressing.”

The ADHD Advantage: What You Thought Was a Diagnosis May Be Your Greatest Strength. This book came as a recommendation from a reviewer who needed a positive spin on ADHD after reading all of the devastating facts and figures about ADHD. 

Organizing Solutions for People with ADHD, 2nd Edition – Revised and Updated: Tips and Tools to Help You Take Charge of Your Life and Get Organized  This book points people in the direction of real life solutions. It is fine to spend time researching the “what” and “why” of a diagnosis, but without real solutions, the research just leaves people frustrated. It can be used for adults and adapted for children. 

The OT Toolbox has a great post on Organization and Attention Challenges.

Smart but Scattered Teens: The “Executive Skills” Program for Helping Teens Reach Their Potential Positive reviews praise this book for its information about working with teens with attention issues or decreased executive function.  It gives doable strategies that work for teens.  The strategies are motivating for modern teens. Critical reviews cite that this book is more about the “what and why” rather than the “what to do about it” side of this diagnosis. Much of the advice centers around driving, and using technology to help teens.  On a positive note, this is what motivates teens to perform.  On the flip side, not everyone has a driving teen or wants to encourage use of electronics.

Books for younger learners:

Marvin’s Monster Diary: ADHD Attacks! (And I Rock, Big Time): St4 Mindfulness Book for Kids Written in the Wimpy Kid book series, this is a cute motivating book series for children who struggle with attention issues to relate to.  It is available in several formats including Audible.  This might be a good book to buy in print and listen to Audible at the same time.

Marvin’s Monster Diary 2 + Lyssa!: ADHD Emotion Explosion (But I Triumph, Big Time!)  This second book in the Monster Diary series proves to be a winner as well.  It has several positive reviews about it’s entertainment value, readability, and writing style. Again because it is a graphic novel type of read, it would be excellent paired with the written version as well as Audible.

A Dragon With ADHD: A Children’s Story About ADHD. A Cute Book to Help Kids Get Organized, Focus, and Succeed. (My Dragon Books 41) This is another great series to keep children interested while learning about ADHD.  This series covers a multitude of topics.  The nice thing about series is if you buy into one, it sets the reader on a whole journey of discovery. This is written for children, however reviewers say that adults, therapists, and parents will enjoy this book as well.

Focused Ninja: A Children’s Book About Increasing Focus and Concentration at Home and School (Ninja Life Hacks)   This book is part of a Ninja series teaching children valuable lessons in an entertaining method. If you were a fan of the Mr. Men book series, you will like this one.  Each ninja is named after the skill he lacks or is trying to gain.

The OT Toolbox ADHD and attention resources

The OT Toolbox has become a trusted resource for many of you reading these posts and subscribing to the website. The OT Toolbox does not disappoint and has wonderful articles, activities, and resources to fill your “toolbox”, not only on topics such as ADHD and attention, but fine motor, sensory, gross motor, executive function and so much more.

Type ADD, Attention resources for parents, or ADHD activities into the search bar for a great list of archived posts. Just when you are overwhelmed with information and resources, try wrapping your head around the sensory connection between attention and organization challenges.

It is no wonder there is such misdiagnosis, confusion, and misinformation out there. Autism, ADD, ADHD, Sensory Processing Disorder, Anxiety, and about a dozen other diagnoses have overlapping and similar symptoms. Keep your focus on how to help and move forward rather than where did this come from, or what is this called?

Happy reading, take a deep breath, one moment at a time!

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.