Powerful Action Rhymes and Nursery Rhymes with Actions

nursery rhymes with actions

Kids love finger plays and action rhymes.  You know the ones, right?  Here, we’re sharing nursery rhymes with actions that support development including gross motor coordination, bilateral coordination, and body awareness. These movement and rhyme phrases and songs that fill every childhood, preschool classroom, and library story time are a classic  part of childhood. 

Rhymes with action movements inspire rhythm and rhyming skills, but there is more than that: They are engaging, fun, and repetitive ways to work on motor development.

These nursery rhyme actions are great additions to nursery rhyme crafts!

nursery rhymes with actions

But, did you know that action rhymes help with childhood development? Childhood development and action rhymes go hand-in-hand so to speak.  Kids learn and grow by moving and repeating and then independently saying and singing rhymes that many kids could sing along to.  

What are some ways that childhood development and action rhymes help a child grow?

Action rhymes are a great way to address skills such as:

Use these creative and powerful nursery rhymes with actions to develop skills in OT sessions.

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Looking for brain break videos for the classroom or home? Here are the best brain break videos on YouTube.

What are action rhymes?

Action rhymes are movement songs or nursery rhymes with movement.  

They might be gross motor activities like “I’m a Little Teapot” or “Duck, Duck, Goose”. Or, they might be a fine motor activity like “Eensy Weensy Spider” or “Where is Thumbkin”.  

There are so many nursery rhymes with actions out there that preschool classrooms are using or even making up to suit their needs, but one thing is common with all action rhymes; They have sing-song phrases and involve movement.  

Fine Motor Action Rhymes:

  1. Where is Thumbkin?
  2. Creep Them, Creep Them
  3. Bringing Home a Baby Bumble Bee
  4. 5 in the Bed
  5. Eensy Weensy Spider

Gross Motor Action Rhymes:

  1. Wheels on the Bus
  2. I’m a Little Teapot
  3. Duck, Duck, Goose
  4. Farmer in the Dell
  5. If You’re Happy and You Know It
  6. Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes
  7. We’re Going on a Bear Hunt
  8. 5 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed
  9. Grand Old Duke of York

How to use nursery rhymes with actions to build childhood development?
Action rhymes and finger plays are perfect for the 18-24 month age range and the preschool years when so much development is occurring.  

Consider all the ways a toddler or preschooler are developing: fine and gross motor skills, language, cognitive, social-emotional…these years are full of natural progression with development going through the roof!

Childhood Development and Action Rhymes

There are so many ways that nursery rhymes with actions help to build childhood development in a healthy way:

  • Fine Motor Skills– Use the fingers and hands to build dexterity, eye-hand coordination, and finger isolation through movement. Encourage kids to follow along with the fine motor action rhymes listed above to improve dexterity and fine motor control.
  • Gross Motor Skills– Using the trunk, legs, and shoulders builds strength in the limbs and core muscle strength needed for attention and focus. Read more developing core strength through movement rhymes here.
  • Social/Emotional Development– Striving for independence, asserting ones independence, engaging with peers, and an emerging awareness of ones own body and a sense of awareness of others is developing and growing in the toddler and preschool years.  Action rhymes in a group setting promote all of these areas. Encourage kids to connect with other children and adults by pairing up kids to perform action rhymes in small groups of kids.
  • Speech and Language Development– The toddler and preschool age sets are flourishing in language skills.  There is a huge opportunity for developing and building skills through repetitive action rhymes.  Children can be encouraged to develop these skills when encouraged to participate in verbal exchanges.  Further promote communication skills by asking questions about the rhymes.
  • Spatial Concepts– Important for awareness of ones self and position in space, as well as in visual motor integration tasks like handwriting, action rhymes allow children to explore position in space through movement. Encourage development and understanding of front/back, over/under, top/bottom, etc. Try this action rhyme trick: when a spatial term is mentioned in an action rhyme, try pointing in the direction instead of saying the words or phrases.
  • Attention Span– Action rhymes allow kids to focus for a period of time on a teacher as well as peers individual and group action rhyme activities. Encourage longer attention by increasing time spent singing action rhymes. Lead into a group activity with action rhymes or use them as a tool to take a break during seated tasks or classroom activities that require focus and attention. 
  • Cognitive Development– Using action rhymes, children are introduced to concepts such as numbers, colors, shapes, sizes, names, letters, and more. Concrete concepts of the toddler and preschool years can be enhanced to more abstract ideas through cognitive development using sensori-motor components of action rhymes.  Movement and learning are very well connected and action rhymes add a sing-song rhyming component as well. Additionally, concepts such as patterning, sequencing, and cause-effect are addressed through action rhymes.
  • Self-Concept– Action rhymes provide an opportunity to learn about body parts. Encourage kids to learn about their body parts with action rhymes like, “If You’re Happy and You Know It”
  • Behavior Development– Action rhymes promote movement and an appropriate opportunity for students to get wiggles and fidgets out in a classroom setting.  Following the rhyme actions, kids can discover how they can move their body in purposeful ways.
Use these creative and powerful ideas to boost and build childhood development with action rhymes and finger plays with toddler and preschool kids in the classroom, home, or Occupational Therapy clinic.

  What are some favorite action rhymes in your classroom, home, or clinic?  

More movement and development ideas you will love: 

The Sensory Lifestyle Handbook walks you through sensory processing information, each step of creating a meaningful and motivating sensory diet, that is guided by the individual’s personal interests and preferences.

The Sensory Lifestyle Handbook is not just about creating a sensory diet to meet sensory processing needs. This handbook is your key to creating an active and thriving lifestyle based on a deep understanding of sensory processing.

Colleen Beck, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

Body Awareness Activities Using Proprioception

Body awareness activities

Let’s talk body awareness activities using proprioception, or heavy work to bring awareness to where the body is, how the body moves, and awareness of self. Proprioception is one of the senses that is involved with everything we do. This sensory system plays a major role in body awareness. Below you’ll find body awareness occupational therapy activities to support this motor concept.

Take a quick moment to stop and consider the position you are in right now.  Are you lounging back on a couch?  Sitting at a desk?  Bouncing on a city bus as you glance at your mobile device?  Are you perched in an office chair with your legs folded under you? Are you hanging out at the playground and glancing at your phone while your kids run in circles?

What is Body Awareness?

Body awareness refers to being aware of the body’s position in space at rest and during movement. This concept can be broken down into having an awareness of body parts by name, movement, discrimination of sides of the body, and movement throughout space.

Related, are the concepts of dominance and mixed dominance vs. ambidexterity.

How does body awareness work?

Let’s break it down:

Being aware of our body position is something that happens automatically and naturally.  That body awareness occurs naturally.  The proprioceptive sense allows us to position our bodies just so in order to enable our hands, eyes, ears, and other parts to perform actions or jobs at any given moment. Proprioception activities help with body awareness.

The proprioceptive sense sends information about our body’s position to the brain so that we inherently know that our foot is tapping the ground as we wait on the bus or that our leg is curled under the other on the couch even while we do other actions or tasks.

This awareness allows us to walk around objects in our path, to move a spoon to our mouth without looking at it, and to stand far enough away from others while waiting in a line at the grocery store.  It enables a student to write without pressing too hard or too lightly on their pencil when writing, and it helps us to brush our hair with just the right amount of pressure.

Proprioception is essential for everything we do!

Sometimes, the proprioceptive system does not do it’s job.

When the proprioceptive system isn’t functioning properly, body awareness and motor planning can be a problem.

Kids need heavy work and propriocpetion to help with body awareness needed for skills like standing in line, motor control, and spatial awareness in school and in the community.

When a child needs to pay attention to where their body is in space at all times, they can not attend to other important information like what is happening in their world around them.  He or she can not automatically adjust to environmental changes.  The child then needs to visually compensate in order to adjust his or her body.  This can result in a child being clumsy, fearful, are even scared in certain situations.

Examples of Body awareness

Below are two situations that describe a child with proprioception challenges.  In both, imagine a child who struggles to know where their body is in space.

Body awareness navigating bleachers- Imagine you are sitting on a set of bleachers in a crowd of wiggly, moving, and LOUD students.  There is a lot going on around you, whether you are at a sporting event or in a gymnasium.  

But, you also notice the bleachers don’t have a bottom to the steps; that is, you can see directly down to the ground below you.  Kids are standing up, sitting down, jumping, roughhousing, and you are SCARED.  

Your body doesn’t know how to position itself in a safe manner. You don’t know what action will come next and you don’t know where to look. You don’t know where your feet are or if your hands are supporting you.

Climbing up and down the bleachers is downright terrifying! For the child with proprioceptive struggles, just sitting on a set of bleachers can be challenging and overwhelming.

Body awareness sitting at a classroom desk- Now think about the child who is sitting at their desk and is required to write a journal entry.  For the child with proprioceptive challenges, this can be a task with many “self-checks”.

They need to look at their feet to make sure they are under their desk so they don’t get in trouble for almost tripping someone between the desk aisles.  They need to make sure they are sitting upright in their chair and that their back is touching the chair’s backrest.  

They need to hold the paper and the pencil like they were taught.  They need to align the paper and the words and then think about how hard to press on the paper, how to make the lines for individual letters, and how to string together letters to make words.  

What a workout it is just to get settled in and started on a writing task!  By now they might have lost several minutes of the writing time and they still don’t know what they are even writing about!

Both of these situations happen on an every day basis.  

For the child with proprioception difficulties, the ability to be aware of their body in space and plan out motor actions is very much a struggle.  These kids might appear fidgety, unsure, overwhelmed, clumsy, awkward, uncoordinated, or lazy.

Body awareness is related to visual spatial relations.

How to use proprioception activities to help with body awareness

Body Awareness Goals in Occupational Therapy

When children or adults struggle with awareness of body positioning or movement patterns during activities, functional tasks can be a struggle. Every day tasks are difficult or impaired.

Occupational therapists work with individuals of all ages on functional tasks that occur in all aspects of daily living. Movement is part of the daily task completion, so it is likely that if body awareness is an issue, there are functional impairments at play.

Occupational therapy professionals will focus body awareness goals on the functional task that is impaired.

OT goals for body awareness can be specifically focused on improving body awareness during those functional tasks. Activities that address those goals can include heavy work, attention to task, motor planning, fine or gross motor skills, sensory input in the way of organizing proprioceptive input or vestibular input, visual cues and prompts. There are many ways this skill area can be addressed and these goals will be individualized for the child or adult.

Additionally, OT goals for body awareness may focus on motor planning. Proprioception is very closely aligned with body awareness and motor planning.

Need more information on proprioception and the other sensory systems and how they impact independence? Grab this free sensory processing disorder information booklet and free email series on sensory processing. 

CLICK HERE to get the free sensory processing information booklet.

Body Awareness Activities

In this blog post, we are specifically discussing how to use proprioception activities to help with body awareness.

The proprioceptive system is alerted through heavy work activities that involve heavy pressure, firm sensations, large, forceful motor movements, and pushing or pulling activities. These actions can be calming and organizing.

Try these proprioception activities to help with body awareness at home, in the classroom, or in play.

Proprioception activities at home

  • Carry full laundry baskets to the laundry area
  • Empty wet clothes into the dryer
  • Change sheets
  • Pull weeds
  • Pull garbage cans to and from the curve
  • Carry in grocery bags
  • Carry donations to the car
  • Wash windows
  • Scrub carpets
  • Shovel snow
  • Rake leaves
  • Mop floors
  • Vacuum
  • Rearrange furniture

Proprioception activities in the classroom

  • Carry piles of books
  • Rearrange furniture
  • Help gym teacher move mats
  • Carry bin of lunchboxes to/from the lunch room
  • Wall push-ups
  • Chair push-ups
  • Clap erasers
  • Stack books in the library
  • Place chairs on desks at the end of the day, pull them down again in the morning

Proprioception games and actions

Looking for more ways to add proprioception activities into play and therapy? Try the ideas below. Just click on the images to read more. 

proprioception sensory dough marshmallow   Snowball Shot Put Sensory Play for Kids
DIY Ice Wobble Balance Disk for Proprioceptive and Vestibular Sensory Play  After school brain breaks and activities for kids 
Travel Sensory Diet Proprioception and Handwriting 
Fine Motor Proprioception Play Dough Rocks Frozen Play Dough

In the Sensory Lifestyle Handbook, we cover motor planning and body awareness concepts as they are deeply related to sensory processing. Much like the body awareness activities listed in this blog post, the book discusses how to integrate functional tasks within the day that offer organizing and regulating input through functional activities.

Not only are these activities regulation tools, they are also activities that support development of body position in space and awareness of the body’s movements.

Click here to get your copy of the Sensory Lifestyle Handbook.

The Sensory Lifestyle Handbook walks you through sensory processing information, each step of creating a meaningful and motivating sensory diet, that is guided by the individual’s personal interests and preferences.

The Sensory Lifestyle Handbook is not just about creating a sensory diet to meet sensory processing needs. This handbook is your key to creating an active and thriving lifestyle based on a deep understanding of sensory processing.

Colleen Beck, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

Cursive Writing Alphabet and Easy Order to Teach Cursive Letters

cursive letter order

Occupational therapy providers work with the occupation of handwriting and cursive letters are part of that process. Did you know there is a specific order to teach cursive letters to promote cursive writing legibility and carryover of cursive handwriting? In this post, you’ll learn about cursive writing order to teach letters of the alphabet, including the Handwriting Without Tears letter order for teaching cursive. The order that kids should learn the cursive alphabet, including print letter patterns that are directly transferable to cursive alphabet letters.

order to teach cursive letters

Learning to write the alphabet in cursive, writing one’s name in cursive, and writing words in cursive is something that many kids want to do around the second grade.

It’s around second grade, or 7-8 years of age that fine motor skills develop in such a way that pencil control and graded precision are developed to enable greater in-hand manipulation, and movement through the range of mobility in the thumb and intrinsic muscles within the hand.

This enables pencil movements to become more mobile and fluid, which are pre-requisites for cursive writing skills.

Prior to this skill achievement, handwriting is taught based on pencil strokes, including uppercase letters before lowercase letters because of the developmental aspect of learning letter formations.  

Cursive seems like a “grown up” style of communication that kids see adults or older students using and they try to make swoopy writing on their own.  

Some children can be very motivated to learn to write the alphabet in cursive and use it in their written work.

Cursive writing alphabet and how to teach kids cursive handwriting with correct cursive letter order.

However, one tip for teaching children to write in cursive is to go through the letters in an order that makes sense according to the pencil movements needed to create the letters.

Writing cursive letters in a group of similar pencil strokes is helpful for carryover of pencil control practice and letter formation. Here is more information on teaching groups of similar cursive letters together in a chunk, or cursive letter families.

Once kids have a start on cursive letter formation, they can practice in creative ways like on the window.

Other children who may not be exposed to cursive written work might have their first exposure to cursive in the classroom.  Still other students might be in a public or private classroom where cursive handwriting has been dropped from the curriculum.  These kids may need extra practice at home or might need to learn cursive handwriting from the very beginning.

But where to start when teaching kids (or adults!) the cursive writing alphabet and how to form words in cursive?  Read on for tips and strategies to get started on learning cursive letters.

Cursive Letters Order

We’ve touched on cursive handwriting in previous posts, include a small piece about starting to teach cursive letters.  This strategy will outline the alphabet and the letter order to make learning cursive more easy, based on learning letters in a developmental and progressive order.

RELATED READ: Practice letters in a Cursive Writing Journal.

There are print letter patterns that are directly transferable to cursive letters.

These are cursive letters that are formed similarly to their printed letter counterparts. The muscle movements of the hands that are used to form some printed letters are directly related to the same letters.  For this reason, it’s a good idea to start with these letters when learning the cursive writing alphabet.

The printed letter patterns that make up some letters will transfer directly to cursive, and when formed with a few subskills, cursive letter formation will easily follow (in most cases):

  • Left-to-right strokes
  • Good starting points
  • Direction of movement
  • Consistent stopping points
  • Control of downstrokes
  • Smooth rhythm

Given the subskills noted above, cursive letter formation will lend to more legible letter formation.  Often times, learning correct letter formation and motor practice will help with legibility and ease of cursive writing into a viable form of written communication.

When teaching the cursive alphabet, where to begin?

These letters have print patterns that are directly transferable to their cursive letters. This is related to the pencil strokes that are used to form the cursive letters. For this reason, there is a different order to teach cursive lowercase letters compared to their uppercase letter counterpart.

Lowercase Cursive Letters

The following letters transfer directly to their cursive letter forms: c, a, d, g, o, q, i, t, u, j, e, l, f, h, p, n, and m.

Knowing that there are letters that use similar motor plans as a starting point, it is recommended to follow an order when teaching lowercase cursive letters:

  • c, a, d, g, q
  • i, t, p, u, w, j
    e, l, f, h
  • k, r, s
  • b, o, v
  • m, n, y, x, z

Uppercase cursive letters

Upper case cursive letters should be presented in a specific order as well:

A, C, O, U, V, W, X, Y, Z, P, R, B, H, K, N, M, I, J, E, L, I, J, Q

This letter order uses a combination of research-based strategies and focuses on movement based patterns as well as common letter formations, i.e. the way the letters connect to form words.

This upper case cursive letter order (or cursive capital letters) order teaches upper case letters that are similar to lower case letters first.  Always teach lower case cursive letters before upper case letters.

Print out the Free printable version for the classroom or home.

Cursive writing alphabet and how to teach kids cursive handwriting with correct cursive letter order.

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WOrk on Cursive Letter Order with these Ideas:

Here, you’ll find More creative ways to work on learning cursive writing:

Cursive Writing Order

Looking for more information on how to teach cursive writing? You’ll love our 31 day series on How to Teach Cursive Writing.  

The Handwriting Book breaks down the functional skill of handwriting into developmental areas. These include developmental progression of pre-writing strokes, fine motor skills, gross motor development, sensory considerations, and visual perceptual skills. Each section includes strategies and tips to improve these underlying areas.

  • Strategies to address letter and number formation and reversals
  • Ideas for combining handwriting and play
  • Activities to practice handwriting skills at home
  • Tips and strategies for the reluctant writer
  • Tips to improve pencil grip
  • Tips for sizing, spacing, and alignment with overall improved legibility

A final note on teaching cursive letters

Sometimes, cursive letters are taught as a writing format for children that struggle with the motor plan to form and use legible printed handwriting. This might be the case for several reasons:

  • The motor plan to form printed letters is choppy and difficult to recall the different pencil strokes for each letter.
  • Cursive letters use a smoother flow to form letters. The continuous hand movements can be easier for some students because it involves fewer stops and starts compared to print writing.
  • The challenge of letter reversals and letter confusion that occurs with dysgraphia can mean that cursive writing may be easier to learn and use than printed handwriting. This is because cursive letters connect with continuous pencil strokes, leading to less letter reversals and other common writing errors associated with dysgraphia.

Just like printed handwriting, cursive letters are one form of written expression however, there are differences when it comes to legibility. Perfect formation and pencil strokes are not always necessary!

Colleen Beck, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

Star Wars Occupational Therapy Lightsaber

star wars occupational therapy

Today I have a fun Star Wars occupational therapy activity. This block light saber requires just one material, but you can use this Lightsaber for so many OT goals! We actually created this counting block light saber years ago (original blog post was written in 2015) for May 4th activities for occupational therapy. May the 4th be with you with this fine motor Star Wars activity!

Star Wars occupational therapy activities for kids

Star Wars occupational therapy

Pediatric occupational therapy professionals know the power of using themes in OT therapy sessions. When we come up with a theme for fine motor, gross motor, visual motor, and sensory motor tasks, we can cover a wide range of OT goals while meeting the client (patient, student, etc.) where they are with a focus on their interests.

Using interests in therapy fosters meaning and engagement.

That’s where this Star Wars occupational therapy theme comes into play.

How many children have you met that love all things Star Wars? When you bring up the topic of light sabers, Millennium Falcon, Chewbacca, and Luke, you may see a sparkle in the eyes of a child that could talk for hours on all things Star Wars. That’s when you know you have a great therapy theme on your hands.

Using that Star Wars theme in therapy allows kids to focus on the tasks at hand, try new activities, and put themselves out there to try activities that might be just a little difficult on the range of “just right” tasks. The point here is to meet those goals but when working on goals is difficult, it can be easy to quit or give up. However, if there is a topic of interest that really sparks a light of engagement, then you have a tool to support goal development.

This is when we see kids thrive!

Let’s go over a few Star Wars occupational therapy activities focusing on fine motor skills, visual motor skills, gross motor skills, handwriting, and sensory play.

Star Wars Fine Motor Activity- Build a Block Light Saber

If your sons (and daughters) are anything like mine they love to make lightsabers out of anything.  Ever since they were introduced to Star Wars, the lightsaber is definitely a favorite in our house.  We built these blocks Star Wars lightsabers using counting blocks and wanted to share.  Because it sure is fun!

The block light saber is a fine motor powerhouse. By snapping together the blocks, you’ll see:

All of these fine motor skills are essential to functional tasks. Using the Star Wars theme adds a “4th” theme (force) that can’t be beat!

Build a lightsaber using counting blocks or cubes for a Star Wars occupational therapy theme.

How to Make a Star Wars Lightsaber with Blocks

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To make build our lightsabers, we used one of our favorite toys; these snapping blocks are a toy that is used almost every day in our house.  From building robots to spaceships, and now lightsabers…we love these blocks.  They are great when used as a counting manipulative for preschoolers.  Other counting blocks could also be used.   

Use math blocks or counting snap blocks to make a light saber for May 4th activities or a Star Wars OT theme.

How to use this light saber in OT activities:

Visual Motor Skills- Create a block light saber model. Ask the child to copy the light saber using pattern blocks or snap blocks. They can copy the colors and spacing of the blocks to work on visual motor skills.

Other visual skills addressed with this activity include:

  • Visual scanning
  • Visual attention
  • Visual figure ground
  • Visual closure

Gross Motor Skills- Use the light saber to copy gross motor movements and motor planning patterns. The therapist can make movements with a block light saber and the client can copy them. Work on adding a sequence of movement patterns to work on sequencing, balance, motor planning, and recall. You can use the light saber like a movement stick like we did with this cursive writing warm-up activity.   

Other gross motor skills that are addressed with this Star Wars light saber therapy tool include:  

  • Crossing midline
  • Balance
  • sequencing
  • Motor planning
  • Visual tracking
  • Core strength and stability

Handwriting- This is one way to use the blocks light saber that I really love. Once the light saber has been built, use it as a spacing tool to space between words!

We’ve created a bunch of DIY spacing tools in the past: This light saber spacing tool joins the ranks of our popular space martian spacing tool, pipe cleaner spacing tool, craft stick and button spacing tool, and our craft stick (with a tracking dot) spacing tool.

To use the light saber as a spacing tool, the child can build their light saber using the snapping blocks. Then, ask them to write sentences on paper or a dry erase board, focusing on copying or writing words accurately on the lines. Show the child how to place the light saber blocks between each word as a visual cue and a tactile support to add space after the words. When they are completed with writing the sentence, they will have words that are accurately and consistently spaced out, making handwriting legibility a breeze.

Spatial awareness impacts handwriting legibility in big ways. The child can then recall using a light saber as their handwriting “force” each time they write, whether they have the actual light saber in hand or not. It’s a handwriting force that can’t be beat!

Sensory Activities- By adding sensory play into therapy sessions, children can address self-regulation needs, sensory challenges, and play-based learning. Scatter the blocks in a sensory bin with scoops, tongs, and cups. You’ll need a sensory bin base material as well. The sensory materials offer a way to explore textures and create in therapy sessions.

The student or child can find the needed items and then build their own light saber.

This sensory Star Wars idea addresses various skill areas:

  • Tactile exploration
  • Sensory motor skills
  • Visual processing
  • Proprioception

Build the lightsabers using a row of counting blocks.  Encourage your child to count out the blocks and match up the numbers when making a double lightsaber.  This is a fun way to encourage math through play and interests in Star Wars.  Have fun with your counting block lightsabers!  

Add this activity to these other Star Wars occupational therapy activities:

Star Wars Sensory Activities

  • Use Star Wars Moon Dough to encourage tactile hand sensory input, add heavy work through the hands with proprioceptive input.
  • Mix and make LEGO Star Wars Putty and develop tactile sensory challenges with bilateral coordination. Then address handwashing after playing.

Star Wars Fine Motor

  • Incorporate bilateral coordination, hand strength, coloring skills, and heavy work through the hands to make this Crayon Resist Death Star.
  • Work on scissor skills, bilateral coordination, precision, glue use, and handwriting to make this Star Wars R2-D2 Craft. 
  • Incorporate wrist extension, fine motor precision, hand strength, grasp development, tool use, and scissor skills and Make a Toilet Paper Roll Yoda.
  • Address tripod grasp, neat precision grasp, separation of the sides of the hand, open thumb web space, eye hand coordination, and visual motor skills with this Star Wars Day Perler Bead Pattern.

Star Wars Handwriting

Use the light saber spacing tool above with these Star Wars handwriting ideas in occupational therapy sessions:

  • Incorporate letter formation, copying skills, line use, spatial awareness, and handwriting legibility in a functional and meaningful Star Wars craft using this May the Fourth Be With You Card.
  • Use these Star Wars Children’s Books to work on handwriting skills by asking kids to copy sentences from the books or to find specific letters in the book and then work on letter formation. They can even use the pictures as inspiration for creative writing with a Star Wars theme.

Star Wars Executive Function Ideas

All of the crafts and activities above involve aspects of executive functioning skills. Making a play dough or slime recipe involves planning, prioritization, and other EF skill work. Try this activity with your star Wars theme to add more executive function work to your occupational therapy session:

  • Make stop action creations and work on planning, prioritization, impulse control, task completion and other executive functioning skills. You’ll find inspiration in this  Star Wars stop action activity.  

Colleen Beck, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.