Welcome to

the OT Toolbox

Hi, I'm Colleen!

Here, you will find resources, tools, ideas, and activities geared toward the healthy development of kids. Based on function and occupation-centered activities, the ideas shared on this site promote the underlying skills needed for action and performance in kids. As an occupational therapist with many years in the field, I am here to promote the healthy development of kids through play, movement in order to make a positive impact on kids today.

Our mission is to help you do that—to provide you with tools, inspiration, and the community you need to encourage the healthy development of kids.

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THE OT TOOLBOX IS A SITE FOR...

Toddler girl in child occupational therapy session doing sensory playful exercises with her therapist.

OCCUPATIONAL THERAPISTS

Are you an Occupational Therapist who is looking for creative treatment strategies for your clinic, school, or home therapy caseload?

Are you an OT who needs fresh ideas to work with children who experience sensory processing dysfunction, fine motor deficits, visual perceptual concerns, or executive functioning challenges?

Are you a therapist who struggles to find information to hand off to parents and teachers in easy-to-understand ways?

This site is for therapists.

Teachers

Are you a teacher who struggles to find meaningful and easy ways to sneak fine motor development activities into the classroom curriculum?

Do you have children with handwriting challenges and just don’t know how to help these kids develop the skills needed for legible written work?

Are you struggling with attention, organization, or other executive
functioning issues in the classroom?

The OT Toolbox is a site for Teachers.

Young beautiful teacher and toddlers playing with building blocks around lots of toys at kindergarten
Top view closeup of two kids fingerpainting on white paper, copy space

Parents

Are you a parent who is looking for creative ways to work on developmental skills? Do you have questions about things like when your child should write, color, get dressed on their own, or eat without spilling their soup?

Do you have concerns about sensory processing and are looking for ways to help your child grow and experience life without being on sensory overload or avoid certain textures?

Are you looking for information on fine motor skill development or have
concerns about the way your child holds his pencil, writes letters, or
wondering why they can’t button their coat yet?

This is a site for parents.

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DISCOVER OUR BELIEFS AND VALUES

The beliefs and values of The OT Toolbox are intertwined within each post, article, social media post, email, and message. You will always know what to expect from us. We are striving to promote the healthy development of kids.

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Inspire

We’re here to inspire you each and every day. Our intent is to empower you with resources and tools that promote the healthy development of kids through creative activities, sounded in experience and evidence that can be carried out with ease.

You are in the right place if you are looking to be inspired on play-based learning,                                                           and motivating, passion-led activities designed to build skills and help children achieve                                                   goals.

Development

Development occurs through play, movement, and exploration. These areas are intertwined in the child. The OT Toolbox is here to support and promote and active and healthy lifestyle through motivating and authentic experiences.

You are in the right place if you are seeking evidence-based strategies based on                                                               development and progression.

Encourage

Strong, healthy kids that live their life to their fullest through strengths, interests, creative interventions, accommodations, modifications, and all the other tools we therapists provide. This site is an encouragement that in the trenches of focusing on occupation, life comes in fun, easy, authentic, real, evidence-based, and creative ways.

                                           You are in the right place if you need to understand what is going on behind behaviors,                                                 emotions, function. 

Share

We’re here to share strategies, tips, tools. and ideas that fill up your “toolbox” with a set of necessary to meet the challenges that kids today experience everyday.

You are in the right place if you are looking for the right tools to share with your children, clients, families, parents…and anyone on your child’s team!

Grow

We’re here to grow as professionals, just like you! As an OT, we always have the ability to grow and develop as professionals. Learning happens throughout the lifespan as we all know and the OT can learn new tricks to meet the needs of clients and changing needs.

You are in the right place if you are looking for easy strategies and actionable tips that                                                    will help kids succeed.

Learn More

About Colleen

Colleen Beck, OTR/L has been an Occupational Therapist since 2000.

She created The OT Toolbox and is the author/creator of the website and its social media platforms. Colleen has authored The Sensory Lifestyle Handbook and co-authored The Handwriting Book, The Scissor Skills Book, and The Toilet Training Book.

  1. I have been an Occupational Therapist since 2000. I’ve worked in school-based, outpatient, early intervention, home care, long-term care, and hand therapy. This blog became the place for me to create and share resources for therapists, parents, and teachers. I love to pull my OT background into blog posts with developmental spins on crafts and activities…from the “why” behind making a specific craft or activity, to helping you think outside the (tool)box, I’m using my OT hat to look at the whole person, so you can help kids grow and develop specific skills.
  2. I have a passion for play! Play is the job of the child and each activity that you find on this site is rooted in playful activities that build skills. I love to include information on developmental milestone markers and allow play to build skills, in FUN ways. You’ll find thousands of blog posts, resources, and tools that foster fun, creative play…while helping kids develop and grow!
  3. I have run three marathons and lots of half marathons. Running is an occupation of mine that allows offers quiet, “me time”, heavy work sensory input, and time to think. Just like my leisure occupation of running, I love to offer kids resources to fuel their passions and occupations! 
  4. The OT Toolbox headquarters is located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. My husband and I have 4 growing kids that have days loaded with learning, sports, and friends. Right now we are doing the hybrid learning thing, and I’ve been pulling up old blog posts as inspiration for hands-on learning activities for my own kids.
  5. I began writing The OT Toolbox in 2011. Since then, the site has reached 10’s of millions of therapists, teachers, and parents all over the world. You’ll find tools for play, learning, and skill-building that allow kids to thrive, no matter what stage or developmental level they are at. 
  1. I LOVE helping kids thrive in their development of executive functioning skills. These set of cognitive skills is the command center and helps us do everything that we do, all day long. How incredible that a set of brain skills manage, foster, and drive our passions, talents, hobbies, work, and interests! Executive function is the force behind everything we do and say!
  2. Teaching kids handwriting is another passion of mine. I love to break down sloppy writing or an awkward pencil grasp into the fundamental building blocks and focus on those underlying skills. Whether it’s letter formation, writing on the lines, or holding the pencil. You’ll find the resources you need here to address pencil grasp in a playful and fun way, that makes kids WANT to write neater and legibly. Be sure to check out the Pencil Grasp Challenge here on the site, along with the hundreds of handwriting posts and tools.
  3. As an OT, I’ve helped thousands of families. I believe each child that receives therapy services is part of a team. Meeting the needs of that family is just part of the package deal! That’s why I strive to provide the tools you need to help with parenting, learning struggles. I always tell parents of my OT kiddos, “We are in this together!”
  4. While my cooking isn’t always “top chef” level, I believe that the kitchen is the hot spot for learning and development in any home. Think about all of the ways that kids can learn and grow motor skills in the kitchen…all while challenging each of the sensory systems! Even better, cooking allows kids opportunities for math, problem solving, executive functioning, emotional and behavioral regulation, and so much more. I love to have my kids cook with me, and one of my daughters shares this passion with me. You’ll find loads of kid-friendly recipes here on the website.
  5. My mission is to help you find the tools you need to help your kids, or therapy kiddos, or students…THRIVE! We can’t do it all, friends. We’re in this together. You’ve got this!

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