Ultimate List of Free Adapted Paper

Children who struggle with handwriting often times benefit from adapted paper.  These free printable sheets are perfect for kids with handwriting challenges that need bold baselines, colored spaces, or increased space on a page.  Children with visual perceptual deficits or visual motor impairments can benefit from these adapted paper ideas.  The best news is that this is your one stop spot for everything free printable paper!



Your child who struggles with letter formation, letter size, line use, spatial awareness, or margin use will benefit from these printable pages.


Looking for more ways to address handwriting problems like these?  Read on!

free adapted paper printable sheets for all handwriting struggles

 

 
 
free adapted paper printable sheets for all handwriting struggles
 
 
 

Types of Adapted paper

First, let’s go over the various types of adapted paper:

  • Bold lined paper
  • Raised line paper
  • Grid paper, or graph paper
  • Highlighted baseline lined paper
  • Highlighted lower space paper
  • Red/Green lined paper
  • Sky/dirt paper
  • Box letter paper
  • Box and dot paper
  • Wide rule paper
  • Narrow rule paper
  • Double rule paper
  • Single rule paper
  • Margin line paper
  • Kindergarten lined paper
  • Primary lined paper

In addition to these various types of adaptive paper lines, there are paper styles associated with handwriting curriculum:

  • Handwriting Without Tears paper/Learning Without Tears paper
  • Fundations lined paper
  • Other handwriting curriculum

Free Adapted Paper

 

These are free adapted paper that is available as printables.  

I’ll add to this list as I find them.  

There are many ways to use graph paper in addressing therapy goals, so be sure to grab some of the free graph paper options.  

  • This paper printable pack from 1+1+1=1 includes a variety of lined paper styles, both with and without letter strips right on the paper.  
  • This kindergarten paper that has a shaded bottom space or highlighted area for small letters is perfect for kids who need help with letter size, line awareness, and spacing.  
  • This handwriting pack from 123 Homeschool 4 Me includes three types of lined paper for each style to accommodate Preschool-1st grade, 1st-3rd grade, and 4th-6th grade.  
  • Handwriting Net has printable pages that can be easily individualized in several styles of handwriting, including print and cursive.   
  • These themed printable pages from What the Teacher Wants are writing prompts with a bold baseline and an are for picture drawing.  
  • This sky/dirt paper on Teachers Pay Teachers is perfect for teaching kids about line use and letter size.   

ooking for more ways to support handwriting needs?  

Addressing spatial awareness in handwriting is often a key component related to legibility.    

Other important handwriting components include line awareness and size awareness.  

In The OT Toolbox Member’s Club, you’ll find many forms of adapted paper including grid paper, lined paper, and more.

The Handwriting Book is a comprehensive resource created by experienced pediatric OTs and PTs.

The Handwriting Book covers everything you need to know about handwriting, guided by development and focused on function. This digital resource is is the ultimate resource for tips, strategies, suggestions, and information to support handwriting development in kids.

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

Click here to grab your copy of The Handwriting Book today.

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.

DIY Fidget Toys

Diy fidget toys

These DIY fidget toys are homemade fidgets that kids can make. Use these fidget items to help kids pay attention and focus in the classroom or home.

Kids can use these DIY fidget toys to help with attention and sensory needs in the classroom or at home.

DIY Fidget Toys

Fidget toys are in the hands of many school-aged kids.  Students without sensory or attention needs are playing with fidget toys on the playground, on the school bus, and in the classroom.  You can find spinner fidgets, and so many other fidget toys in many stores and online, but what about the DIY version?

The thing about some store-bought fidget tools is that they are noisy and call attention to the user. Fidget toys have become more popular in recent years, allowing those that truly need them for meeting sensory and motor needs to be more mainstream.

However, that can be another issue when a student has a fidget tool in the classroom. It can draw attention to the student because other students see the itm as a toy rather than a tool to support learning.

Coming up with quiet fidget toys that help the child meet their sensory and movement needs without creating more noise or attention in the classroom can be tricky. Here are more ideas for quiet fidget toys for the classroom.

So what is the obsession with these fidget toys?  

The fidgets are intended to provide kids with a means to occupy their hands so that they can focus during tasks that require attention.  There are many children who need fidget tools in order to complete work.  Most of us know the feeling: the urge to doodle when talking on the phone or the tendency to tap a foot during a lengthy work meeting.  

Fidgeting is a tool that helps us to actually pay attention and focus on the task at hand in many situations. Fidgeting during homework or in the classroom is a common behavior. 

Diy fidget toy for kids to use when learning
Make a DIY fidget toy using beads and a craft stick.

DIY Fidget Toys

Affiliate links are included here.


You have probably seen kids (and maybe your own kids) spinning these spinner fidget toys.  

The fidgets that are in every school and classroom these days are beneficial to some students.  For others, they are a cool new toy.  For those that require a fidget tool to focus or attend, or have sensory needs requiring the hands and fingers to move, other fidget toys may work just as well. 

keychain fidget toys
Keychain fidget toys can be a great way to add movement inexpensively.


Fidgeting during work stimulates the brain, allowing a child to complete school work or homework.

Fidgeting is mindless play or touching fingers, pencils, hands…anything that allows a person to focus on the task at hand. Kids that are fidgeting are seeking calm, and focus so that their brain can complete a task.

The problem is when the brain’s urge to fidget distracts a child from school tasks. They might be so wiggly and moving that they just can not sit still and focus in a functional manner. Fidgeting can be managed with less distracting techniques which can allow the child to accomplish the homework, and move on to other things.

Calming weighted fidget toys for kids
Use a glove to make a weighted fidget tool for kids. Here are the instructions for this DIY fidget tool.

Homemade Fidget Toys for Kids

Here are a variety of DIY fidgets that can work for kids in the classroom or at home:

How to Make Fidget Toys

Getting kids involved with making homemade fidget toys is part of the fun. There are fine motor benfits involved in this process, too.

  1. First, select the type of DIY fidget you would like to use to meet specific needs.
  2. Next, select materials. You may need pipe cleaners, beads, balloons, or nuts and bots.
  3. Prepare a work space. Set out the materails on a table or desk.
  4. Students can select the materials they would like to use.
  5. Create a fidget tool using the materials.

The nice thing about fidgets is that with the growth of YouTube as a resource, there are many videos on how to make fidget toys out there. Use one of those available videos as your inspiration, or use the materials you have on hand.

If one thing is for certain, it is possible to make a DIY fidget toy using anything!

homework fidget toys
Try these suggestions for homework and classroom fidget tools.

What are your favorite DIY fidget toys?  Do you have any favorite tools that work for your child, student, or client?

fidget tool or a fidget toy? 

Here is your disclaimer on the wording of this blog post…

The term fidget toy is very well known these days, with the popularity of spinner fidgets.  However, there is a distinction between a fidget toy and a fidget tool.  When there is a therapeutic need for a product, it is a tool.  A therapy tool is one that helps meet goals, results in independence through intervention.  Something that looks like a toy can be a tool for the child with sensory needs, fine motor challenges, attention difficulties, or any other problem areas.  

Fidget tools are those that help kids cope, meet sensory needs, and get the input they need so they can focus, pay attention, and move. In this blog post, I am using these terms interchangeably, for best search results. In other words, people complete a Google search for fidget toy, not a fidget tool, and I want this information to be found on Google so that the kids who need a fidget tool are well-served!

These DIY fidget toys are a perfect addition to the classroom to address sensory and attention needs in kids.

Need to add DIY fidget toys to a sensory diet? Wondering how to integrate a sensory diet into everyday tasks? A sensory lifestyle may be more of what you are looking for! DIY fidget toys fit right into a sensory lifestyle with ease and flexibility.

Read all about how to create a sensory lifestyle here:

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 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.

Upper Case Cursive Letter Formation

Teach kids how to write upper case cursive letters.

Teaching kids to write uppercase cursive can be quite tricky. Upper case cursive letters are part of handwriting and everyday written expression, but when it comes to uppercase letters in cursive letters can create another motor plan that needs to be established for accuracy. Below you’ll find tricks for teaching uppercase cursive letters and uppercase cursive letter formation.

Upper Case Cursive

In this blog post, we refer to the terms “upper case cursive letters” and “uppercase cursive”. The semantics of describing capital letters in cursive is simply for understanding the material, and meeting the needs of all individuals seeking resources on teaching upper case letters in cursive formation.

Let’s get started with the uppercase cursive writing resources and tips.

Some uppercase cursive letters are not used as often as their lowercase counterpart.

When kids learn to write their name in cursive and become proficient at their cursive signature the uppercase letter is just part of the motor plan becomes natural and a personal part of a personal style.

There are many uppercase cursive letters that can easily be forgotten simply because they are not used very often!

Here are the verbal prompts needed to teach uppercase cursive letter formation.



This post is part of our 31 day series on teaching cursive. You’ll want to check out the How to Teach Cursive Writing page where you can find all of the posts in this series. 

For more ways to address the underlying skills needed for handwriting, check out the handwriting drop-down tab at the top of this site.

Uppercase Cursive LetterS

Some students develop a natural speed and personal writing style and will prefer to write in cursive. Other students will write only their signature in cursive. Still other students develop a natural speed and personal style and may mix upper and lower case cursive letters. 

If you look at the average adult handwriting you may notice that there is a mixture of printed and cursive letters. The goal being functional written work, this is fine for adults and individuals who are writing for speed such as high school students.

However, consistent and accurate formation is needed for formal written work in cursive.

Like the cursive letter families for lowercase, the uppercase letters are divided up into groups of families based on pencil strokes.

Teaching kids to write cursive upper case letters is broken down by formation and pencil strokes. We’ve listed the letters out in groups below to support letter formation and motor planning skills.

Read this resource on motor planning and handwriting to better understand this concept.

The descriptions are designed to promote the easiest formation style of cursive letters, eliminating extra lines such as the beginning loop of uppercase cursive letter C. The letters that are exact replicas of their printed counterparts are designed to ease transition for letters that are not commonly used in written work. This is a tactic of the Handwriting Without Tears format. 

Uppercase Cursive D, F, T

Cursive D, F, and T are Uppercase Cursive letters with a downward start.

These letters include D, F, and T. These letters all start with a downward stroke of the pencil. Let’s break these letters down by formation and pencil strokes.

Uppercase cursive D begins down followed by a loop to the left upwards with a curved back to the baseline and a big round curve to finish off the top.

Uppercase cursive F starts in the middle of the letter with a downward stroke followed by a curve to the left and a crossline. Then on top is a crossline topper.

Uppercase cursive T starts with a middle down work stroke in the middle of the letter followed by a curve to the left and no crossline. Then on top is a crossline topper.

Uppercase Cursive A, C, E, O, and Q

Upper case cursive A, C, E, O, and Q are considered “Right curve start uppercase letters” because the pencil stroke starts in the right upper corner. This group includes uppercase letters that start on the right side and curve left. Consider the formation of these letters much like the formation of a printed c.

Uppercase cursive A starts at the right top line and curves to the left with a big C motion to the baseline. The pencil then curves up to close a letter causes at the top line. Retrace back down in loops a way to connect.

Uppercase cursive C starts with a right curve start at the top uppercase C

Uppercase cursive E starts with a right curve start at the top line. It includes two small curves pausing at the middle line before curbing again to the left to the baseline.

Uppercase cursive O is a right curve start beginning at the top line and curving in a big city motion to the baseline. It continues around to close the lot start has a small loop at the top.

Uppercase cursive Q is a right curve start letter beginning at the top line and curving in a big motion to the baseline. Q continues around to close the top of the letter and has a small loop at the end. It then has a kickstand line to complete the letter.

Uppercase Cursive B, P, R, L

These letters are considered “Rocker start uppercase letters“. Uppercase B, P, R, and L begin with a small curving motion to begin the letter at the top line.

Uppercase cursive B starts with a rocker start followed by a straight line down to the baseline. It retraces up to the top line and curve around right to the middle line. Pause and curve around right to the baseline.

Upper case cursive P is a rocker start cursive letter. The letter starts with a rocker line to the top. Straight  line down to the baseline. Retrace up to the top line. Curve around with a small curve to the middle line.

Upper case cursive R is a rocker start cursive letter. The letter starts with a rocker line to the top. Straight line down to the baseline. Retrace up to the top line. Curve around with a small curve to the middle line. Kick out to the baseline with a slant.

Upper case cursive L is a rocker start letter that continues with a small loop down to the baseline. The line continues with a small group and diagonal line to connect as it swings away to the baseline. 

Upper Case Cursive I and J

Next up in teaching cursive capital letters are the “Left curve start letters“. These letters switch pencil stroke directions and have a starting point on the opposite side of the other letters previously covered. There are just two letters start with a left. These include uppercase letter I and J. Both letters start with the pencil moving in a left line direction.

Uppercase letter I is a left curve start letter. The letter starts at the baseline and swings in a loop to the left and turns at the top line. It continues the tall loop back to the baseline, but continues the motion until reaching the middle line. The pencil pauses and pulls in toward the loop at the midline.

Uppercase letter J is a left curve start letter. The letter starts at the baseline and curves left and then up to the top line. It swings straight back down to the baseline and pass the baseline with a table. The line then swings left and then curves up and away to connect.

Upper Case Cursive H, K, M, N, X, W

Next up are the “Top loop start letters“. Several letter start with a top-starting loop that continues down. These letters include capital H, K, M, N, X, and W.

Uppercase cursive H begins with a top loop that continues down to the baseline. The pencil picks up and starts again at the top line. The pencil stroke goes straight down to the baseline and then swings away to touch the initial pencil line. It swings in a loop and then connects over to the second line. 

Upper case cursive H is one of a few letters with two pencil strokes where the pencil picks up to continue a letter. Most cursive letters and all other cursive letters use only a single pencil stroke.

Uppercase cursive K is a loop start letter. It begins at the top with a link to the right on the lease straight line down to the baseline. This is much like the uppercase letter H. However with the K, the second line starts at the top line and continues in to cross the first line with a small loop and then continues out again to the baseline.

Upper case cursive M is a loop start letter that begins at the top line with a loop. The line continue straight down to the baseline and stops. It retraces up over the climb to the top with a bump and continues down to the baseline again. The pencil strip retraces back up that one to the top line and bumps over to the baseline

Upper case cursive N is a loop start letter that begins at the top line with a loop. The line continue straight down to the baseline and pauses. It re-traces back up and curbs away with a bump at the top line. The line continue straight down to the baseline and stops.

Uppercase cursive X is a loop start letter that begins with the loop at the top line followed by a diagonal line down to the baseline. The pencil is picked up and continued at the top line and has a diagonal in the opposite direction to cross at the middle of the X.

Upper case cursive W is a loop start letter that begins at the top line with a loop. The line continues down with a bottom bump inverted bump at the baseline that continues up to the middle line and beyond to the top line. The line is retraced back down with an inverted pump at the baseline. The line continues back up to the top line.

Upper case cursive U, V, W, Y, Z

The last remaining uppercase cursive letters are ones that are very similar information to their lowercase counterparts. They are quite similar in most cases to their printed letter.

These letters include U, V, W, Y, Z

Uppercase cursive U is an exact replica of its printed counterpart.

Uppercase cursive letter V is an exact count a part of its printed counterpart.

Uppercase cursive W is an exact replica of its printed counterpart.

Uppercase cursive Y is an exact replica of it’s lowercase cursive counterpart.

Uppercase cursive Z is an exact replica of the lowercase Z form.

Uppercase Cursive letter practice

Now that you have the specific letter formation directions down and the order to teach uppercase cursive letters, the next step is practice!

Creating a motor plan for automatically creating letters supports handwriting speed, autonomy, and legibility. Practice makes perfect, after all!

But how do you help kids (or adults) create that motor plan for uppercase letters?

Adding sensory motor handwriting strategies! Use the ideas below as a practice component for practicing uppercase cursive writing.

Use bold lines to help kids write with better legibility
Use transfer paper to work on letter formation, size awareness, line awareness, and pencil pressure in handwriting with this easy writing trick that will help kids write with neater and legible handwriting.

Bold Lines Handwriting Trick– Work on forming uppercase cursive letters on the lines using this bold lines trick.

Teach Handwriting with Transfer Paper– Work on that motor plan for uppercase cursive by using transfer paper.

DIY Desk Letter Strip– Make an uppercase cursive letter strip to using forming letters correctly and grouping uppercase cursive letters into families based on the way the pencil strokes go.

Work on Visual Perception with Markers– Use this marker trick to work on forming uppercase cursive.

Sky-Ground Paper and Size Awareness– Help writers learn where the pencil starts with making uppercase cursive letters.

Box and Dot Size Awareness Handwriting– The box dot handwriting trick supports uppercase cursive too.

Need more uppercase cursive tips? Try the Handwriting Book:

The Handwriting Book is a comprehensive resource created by experienced pediatric OTs and PTs.

The Handwriting Book covers everything you need to know about handwriting, guided by development and focused on function. This digital resource is is the ultimate resource for tips, strategies, suggestions, and information to support handwriting development in kids.

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

Click here to grab your copy of The Handwriting Book today.

Here are the verbal prompts needed to teach uppercase cursive letter formation.

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.

Sensory Summer Camp at Home

sensory camp for summer

Summer camp is an exciting experience for most kids, but what if you could create a custom sensory summer camp that supports sensory processing for all needs?  Summer is a time of learning, fun, and new adventures over the lazy days of summer.  Summer camp in the traditional sense is a time of themed activities that build character for a child.  

However, it’s not always possible to sign up for a week of summer camp. Summer camp is expensive.  Parents work or have busy schedules that make a week-long summer camp just not feasible.  A backyard DIY summer camp experience is a way to save money while creating a summer learning experiences right in the backyard. 

Be sure to check out this resource on how to run a therapy camp for tips and strategies with sensory summer camp planning.

Sensory Summer Camp

One great addition to a sensory summer camp is our free summer sensory path! It’s a free sensory printable you can hang on a wall to add sensory motor, mindfulness, and sensory coping tools with a summer theme. 

I’m joining several other bloggers who write about sensory processing in a Sensory Summer Camp at Home backyard summer camp experience.  


Scroll through the links below to find enough sensory summer camp themes and ideas to last all summer long.  You’ll find themed activities touching on all of the sensory systems to create an environment of learning through the senses.

Looking for a sensory camp that supports specific needs? No worries! You can find so many summer sensory activities here on the website to address various sensory motor considerations.

Specifically, these summer occupational therapy activities support development of skills across the board while focusing on the primary job of kids: play!


These sensory summer camp experiences are perfect for the child who craves or resists sensory input and can be modified to meet the needs of every child with sensory processing disorder.  While these sensory summer camp ideas are perfect for kids with sensory processing disorder, they can easily be used in traditional summer camps.  So, take a look at each of the camp themes below and get ready for a summer of sensory fun and memories!

Looking for activities and ideas to use in summer programming? You’ll love our new Summer Occupational Therapy Activities Packet. It’s a collection of 14 items that guide summer programming at home, at school, and in therapy sessions. The summer activities bundle covers handwriting, visual perceptual skills and visual motor skills, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, regulation, and more.

You’ll find ideas to use in virtual therapy sessions and to send home as home activities that build skills and power development with a fun, summer theme. Kids will love the Summer Spot It! game, the puzzles, handouts, and movement activities. Therapists will love the teletherapy slide deck and the easy, ready-to-go activities to slot into OT sessions. The packet is only $10.00 and can be used over and over again for every student/client!

Grab the Spring Occupational Therapy Activities Packet HERE.

summer occupational therapy activities for kids

n the Summer OT packet, you’ll find:

  • Beach Fun Google Slide Deck/PDF set
  • Summer Spot It! Printable Game
  • Hole Punch Cards for matching upper case and lower case letters
  • 7 Roll and Write Play Dough Sheets – Apples, Bees, Bugs, Buttons, Donuts, Play Dough, and Unicorn themes
  • Summer Fun Pencil Control Strips
  • Summer Lists Writing Prompts
  • Summer Number Practice
  • Summer Visual Perception Pages

All of the Summer OT activities include ideas to promote various developmental areas with a Summer-theme. Activities guide and challenge development of handwriting, eye-hand coordination, bilateral coordination, body scheme, oculomotor control, visual perception, fine motor skills, self-regulation, gross motor skills, and more.

Use these activities as warm-ups to your therapy sessions, or add them to the homework page below to create a home program.

 
Sensory Summer camp at home ideas for kids with sensory processing needs
 

 

Occupational Therapy Summer Camp

I love the play-based sensory and motor activities in the summer camp ideas listed below. Each would be a great summer camp theme for using in an occupational therapy summer camp.

OT professionals know the power of play. But occupational therapy supports development, and while a traditional occupational therapy summer camp may not be an individualized process, there is still skill development happening even in a group setting. 

An occupational therapy summer camp can focus on an area of function: sensory play experiences, handwriting, shoe tying, typing, or social emotional skills. The sky is the limit this summer when it comes to OT camps as a tool and resource for kids and parents. 

However, because an OT camp might not be focused on individual needs and goals of the camp participant, a summer occupational therapy camp can integrate play, sensory experiences, and any summer theme you can imagine. 

These summer sensory camp ideas below can get you started with brainstorming:


Outer Space Summer Camp at Home Ideas


Circus Summer Camp At Home Ideas

Sensory Handwriting Camp

Address handwriting skills during a summer camp with sensory input, tactile play, and sensory motor experiences!

Sensory Space Camp | My Mundane and Miraculous Life


Sensory Olympic Games Camp | Growing Hands on Kids


Sensory Nature Camp | Putting Socks on Chickens

Sensory Summer camp at home ideas for kids with sensory processing needs

 

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 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.

Summer Sensory Stations

Summer sensory activities

Today’s sensory resource is a self-regulation tool that is very popular among therapy professionals and educators: an all-new Summer Sensory Stations set! This set of printable sensory path activities are nice because they can be printed off, laminated (or placed in a page protector sleeve), and hung in a hallway. We’ve received so much great feedback about out other seasonal sensory stations that this summer version was a must! Add this resource to your Summer occupational therapy activities.

You’ll want to check out the other sensory station printables at the bottom of this post.

Free summer sensory stations for a DIY sensory path or self-regulation tool with a summer theme.

Summer Sensory Stations

A DIY sensory path can include a few quick stops to add deep breathing, mindfulness, proprioception, vestibular input, eye-hand coordination, crossing midline, and whole-body movement.

And that’s just what this set of summer themed sensory stations includes!

The movement-based stops offer users to take a break at various stations and integrate movement, coordination, and visual input with deep breathing, and heavy work.

What a great way to add a quick brain break between activities or to get ready for a therapy session!

In this summer themed set of activities, you’ll find a printable page for each “station” or stop along the sensory path:

Bee path infinity loop-

The first page in the summer sensory path kit is a bee infinity loop, which is great for mindfulness, deep breathing, crossing midline, eye-hand coordination.

Tracing the infinity loop offers an opportunity for mindfulness through the summer bees’ paths as they move along the loop. This creative way to foster visual attention, self-regulation, self-awareness, coping skills, and concentration is fun for summer! By tracing the loop, hand-eye coordination and mindfulness allow the user to be more present in the moment, and more aware of themselves.

Some users may stand on an uneven surface while doing this activity to challenge balance and visual skills. Think about adding a gymnastics mat, slant board, balance pod, or other uneven standing surface.

Others may want to kneel or do a lunge while completing this activity to further challenge balance and coordination skills. The nice thing about the printable sensory station is that it can be raised or lowered on the wall easily.

Leap like a dolphin-

The next page in the sensory paths for summer is a “leap like a dolphin” activity. It’s a powerful activity for vestibular input, motor planning, and proprioceptive heavy work

Proprioception offers a way to “wake up” the joints and muscles in the body. This leaping activity can be done from a standing, kneeling, or from the floor. Proprioceptive input from the muscles and joints provides information about body position, weight, pressure, stretch, movement and changes in position in space, so this leaping activity adds a summer theme!

Beach ball wall push-up-

Next in the Summer Sensory Stations kit is a beach ball wall push up page. Add whole body proprioceptive input through the upper extremity: shoulder girdle, elbows, wrists, and arches of the hands. Plus wall push ups are a great strength and stability exercise for the core.

You can modify this activity to place it lower on the wall for a lunge position, or even can do the wall push-ups from a seated position to challenge seated balance. This is a great motor and sensory opportunity for wheelchair users.

Seashell trace and breathe printable-

Users love our spiral path deep breathing exercises. There is so much heavy work benefit to filling and emptying the lungs as a self-regulation strategy.

Follow the circular path from the crab to the seashell while breathing in. Then follow the path again to breathe out. This visual offers a deep breathing exercise for filling and emptying the entire lungs, which is a great interoception and proprioception exercise for mindfulness and self-regulation.

Summer Sand Squats-

Finally, the last page in the Summer Sensory Stations printable is a summer-themed squat exercise.

Users can do a certain number of repetition of squats along with the visual for a balance activity and coordination exercise. This visual is left open-ended but you could challenge users to pick up an object from the floor for more balance opportunities, or you could ask them to move their hands or keep their vision on an object for visual attention, etc.

How to Use these Summer Sensory Stations

Using these Summer sensory path stations is simple:

  • Print off the pages.
  • Laminate them or slide them into a page protector sleeve. This way the sheets can easily be cleaned with a spritz of cleanser or disinfectant spray.
  • Hang the pages in a hallway to create a DIY sensory path. Or, hang them in a corner of a room to make a sensory calm down corner.

You can use these stations as a brain break, a scheduled sensory diet activity, a calm-down activity, or a transition activity for routine sensory input. The stations are great because they can be used with all individuals, making them perfect for a groups of children at a sensory summer camp (or any type of summer camp!) or meeting individual needs during therapy sessions.

Want these Printable sensory Stations?

Enter your email address into the form below. You’ll receive an email containing the PDF file. This resource is also available in our Member’s Club, where members can head to the dashboard and click a download button to immediately access the printable along with hundreds of other resources…no need to enter your email address!

Want to add this resource to your therapy toolbox so you can help kids thrive? Enter your email into the form below to access this printable tool.

This resource is just one of the many tools available in The OT Toolbox Member’s Club. Each month, members get instant access to downloadable activities, handouts, worksheets, and printable tools to support development. Members can log into their dashboard and access all of our free downloads in one place. Plus, you’ll find exclusive materials and premium level materials.

Level 1 members gain instant access to all of the downloads available on the site, without enter your email each time PLUS exclusive new resources each month.

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Join the Member’s Club today!

Free Summer Sensory Stations

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    Looking for more Sensory Stations?

    Check out these other themed sensory station printables:

    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.

    The Incredible Power of Play

    child development through play

    Did you ever stop and think about the power of play? There are so many ways child development progresses through every day play. We know as occupational therapists that play is the primary work of the child, but it is also through play that essential skills are developed and refined.

    Play Development

    We’ve covered the development of play in various places across this website, breaking areas down by age:

    As well as play activities by skill area:

    The Power of Play

    Play is the essence of childhood and it’s the means for children to develop and grow! The incredible power of play is a tool and a means to children development.

    It’s through play that kids learn. Kids delight in games, toys, and creative play while developing skills like fine and gross motor development. They learn to self-regulate. They learn to communicate, manage their emotions, and gain valuable sensory input. Play is powerful for kids!

    Let’s go over the importance of children’s play

    Here are 5 ways play builds child development in gross motor skills, fine motor skills, executive functioning, self-confidence, and sensory processing.

    The Power of Play

    Not long ago, I was asked by Radio Flyer to represent occupational therapy as an Expert Play Panelist. Such fun! As occupational therapists, we KNOW the power of play. We KNOW that kids need to move, climb, run, and experience all of their senses in order to grow and develop. Play is the means. Play is very simply, what kids do. It’s their job to play, and play is the way they develop skills they need throughout their life.

    Play is powerful!

    You can read the blog post over at Radio Flyer that describes the impact that play has on child development.

    In that blog post, I discussed the power of play on fine motor skills, gross motor skills, self-confidence, sensory processing, and executive functioning skills. All of these areas (and more!) areas by play.

    This play meme is perfect for sharing the immense power of play through getting dirty, playing inthe mud, jumping in puddles, and outdoor sensory play.

    Play is a learning tool. Play-based learning is one way that children can learn valuable lessons through play, however it’s more than that. It’s through play that children learn about the world around them.

    Kids learn how things work, move, and interact through play. Movement-based learning offers kids an opportunity to learn through gross and fine motor activities, but while they are moving, they are learning how their body works, too. They develop motor skills at the same time.

    Play Development

    Here’s the thing. Children develop play skills as they grow. But play also develops skills! It’s a win-win situation.

    Play Develops Gross Motor Skills

    Gross motor skills occur during play as kids innately practice moving in a variety of positions. Gross motor coordination, balance development, endurance, motor planning, proximal stability, and visual motor skills are all developed through play.

    Whole body movements begin to develop from birth, through tummy time and play supports that. But as a baby begins to explore the world around them, they crawl, stand, and walk and all of this is rooted in play. These early gross motor milestones support development of later skills, too.

    Play Develops Fine Motor Skills

    Play develops fine motor skills through tool use, manipulating toys and pretend materials, and engaging in play activities. Take a look at this fine motor milestones list and see how many of the developmental milestones are rooted in play and exploration of the world using the hands and fingers.

    Children can gain strength and precision in their hands through play so that coordinated and efficient use of a pencil or scissors becomes fluid and natural.

    Play develops core strength and stability, refined precision, and endurance in the hands for managing clothing fasteners and other everyday items.

    Play Develops Executive Functioning

    By playing with new activities, games, or acting out pretend play situations, children can try new things, practice tasks they’ve observed grownups doing, and explore, gaining self-confidence and resilience.

    Play offers experiences for developing executive functioning skills such as:

    • impulse control
    • coping skills
    • organization
    • problem solving
    • attention
    • planning and prioritization
    • task completion
    • working memory

    Play is a way to practice jobs, too. Think about the child that plays house, construction worker, race car driver, or shopping. All of these occupations require executive functioning skills to plan the activity, carry out tasks, and complete the play sequence. This pretend play is a huge role in development of skills.

    Play Develops Sensory Processing

    Through play, children understand how their body works as they learn and integrate sensory information.

    Dr. A. Jean Ayres, an occupational therapist, psychologist, and neuroscientist, developed her Ayres sensory integration theory and practice in the mid 1970s. She recognized that a child’s sensory system can greatly impact how they perceive and interact with the world around them, through play.

    Play allows kids to become aware of their body awareness and body movement as they jump, roll, spin, and tumble upside down.

    Play that offers a variety of movements and heavy work opportunities offer proprioceptive and vestibular input that impacts self-regulation. These sensory systems, through play are related to interoception, or internal awareness of the body’s functions.

    Play also develops the visual motor system as children move through space and coordinate hand and eye information.

    Play Develops Self-Confidence

    By playing with new activities, games, or acting out pretend play situations, children can try new things, practice tasks they’ve observed grownups doing, and explore, gaining self-confidence and resilience.

    Self-confidence allows us to try new things.

    And trying new things (and trying the hard things!) is important for kids.

    Self-confidence is an aspect of emotional intelligence. It’s part of social emotional skills that allow us to participate in tasks, interact with others, understand and recognize emotions, and essentially function!

    All of these areas: motor skills, cognitive skills, social emotional skills, sensory processing skills…they are all founded in childhood, established at a young age through the very fun occupation of PLAY! What’s cool is we are lead as humans to do meaningful and motivating tasks, and play is just that! It makes us WANT to participate so we can learn and develop!

    Play meme: Play has an extremely powerful role in child development.

    The Role of Play in Child Development

    Ok, you might be thinking, “Right. Kids play. That’s nothing new.”

    And you’re right. Play is so natural. Some of your earliest and best memories may be of play situations in your own childhood. Play happens instinctively. But the thing is that play is suffering in kids. If you’re in an educational setting or an occupational therapist, you might be nodding your head right now. Kids are different than they were in the past. And play is at the root, once again.

    Play's powerful role in child development.

    But Play has Changed.

    Times change. We know this. Technology advances, knowledge progresses, and the world transforms. However, play being the root of child development, learning, and pediatric skill acquisition doesn’t change.

    Here are a few ways that play has changed and how that may look in kids today:

    Almost all creativity involves purposeful play. Quote by Abraham Maslow on the power of play.

    Play gives children a chance to practice what they are learning. A great play quote by Mr. Rogers.

    Less Time for Kids in Nature

    Kids spend less time outdoors- Do you remember playing outdoors for the entire day and coming home when the streetlights came on? Kids are spending more time indoors. After school hours aren’t spent outdoors or in free-play. They are spent indoors, at child care centers, or after-school programs. Sometimes, it’s the fact that kids need to complete their homework so they can dart off to sports practices or appointments. Other times, it’s not safe for children to play outside in the yard on their own. Kids miss out on the free running space, climbing, running, rolling, and motor development.

    Kids are spending more time in the car, running back and forth to organized activities- There are wonderful benefits to spending time on a team or learning an instrument.

    However, for children now, they are a member of several sports teams, participating in various activities, clubs, and other organized activities. Sports teams sometimes have more than one practice or game per week. Kids are being run to and from sports practices, instrument lessons, clubs, appointments, and more. All of that time spent in the car limits free and creative play.

    This isn’t’ to say that sports and clubs aren’t good for kids! It’s just a point of awareness that time spent in these organized tasks limits free play, outdoor experiences, and growth in learning through the senses and motor experiences.

    There are so many benefits to nature play!

    Less recess time- Are you seeing this too? Kids in my district are limited in outdoor recess time by the weather. So, when it’s cold or raining, they don’t get to go outdoors to play. And that lack of monkey bar time at recess can be an issue with the afternoon learning. Students in the older grades don’t even get recess in our district.

    From grades 4-6, there is a limited time for recess. In fact, recess and lunch time is shared. So if children need extra time to eat, they miss out on recess. Not cool for our kids that are “big kids”!

    Kids need that outdoor play.

    Are you seeing less recess time at your schools?

    Play sparks learning, communication, discovery, motor development, insight, and jowy. And that's just the beginning.

    Kids are spending more time on technology- The screens are taking over! So often, a child has a phone or tablet screen in front of them rather than spending time playing games, playing with friends, they are playing digital games or watching videos. They are limiting themselves in motor and sensory experiences. Movement and creative play are impacted.

    Don’t take this the wrong way: Technology is awesome! It’s a way of life. We are lucky to be alive during this time of knowledge and awareness granted by technological advancements. Kids can learn from devices…some of them know more about technology than their adults. The point is that being aware of time spent in a head-down position holding that phone limits interaction with the world around them. Awareness of this time is key.

    There are more changes that we’ve been seeing in kids today. This is just a short list but one to be aware of as practitioners, parents, and teachers. As the adults in the room, we need to make the change that kids need.

    We need to be vigilant in making play available to kids…the power of play is essential to child development!

    We need to guide children to play.

    Because, the organized sports and scheduled activities are fun. It’s fun to play on a team with friends. It’s easy to fall into the day-to-day-life that daily schedules require. It’s fun and exciting to watch YouTube videos and play games with friends online.

    It’s our job as parents, teachers, therapists…adults to see the impact these life changes are having on our kids.

    Our kids deserve it!

    Learning Through Play Quotes

    In this blog post, we covered more than just the power of play. You’ll also fine learning through play quotes and memes about play. These quotes about play are just one way to advocate on the power of play.

    I’m sharing great social media graphics about play that you can share online. These are importance of sensory play quotes, quotes about play, and play development memes. (Just link to this page as your source!) I’m also talking about the incredible benefits of play in kids.

    There's no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes. Outdoor play is so essential for child development!
    “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes.”
    A fresh mindset about kids and how play impacts their development.
    “A fresh start is not a place, it’s a mindset.”

    We can take a fresh start on offering play opportunities for our kids. Let’s expose them to the power of play!

    Kids are growing up in a world where play is restricted or limited. We can change that!
    “I wouldn’t change you for the world. But I would change the world for you.”

    We as parents, educators, and therapy professionals have the opportunity to take a stand on making the power of play more powerful! Let’s change current practices of limited recess time, lack of outside play opportunities, and busyness! Let’s change the world and its expectations and perspectives so we can promote the power of play as a means for supporting child development.

    In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. Quote by Mary Poppins
    “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun.”

    This quote from the Mary Poppins book and movies equates with the through of play being the work of the child, but it’s through play that development happens and is practiced. Not only can we play to support development, we can make the process therapeutic and fun! It’s all connected!

    Play and therapy looks like just playing, but it's so much more! Play is learning, growint, building skills, gaining confidence, obtaining strategies.
    “Yes, we play in therapy. No, we are not just playing. We are becoming independent, growing stronger, building skills, learning, gaining confidence, obtaining coping strategies, transforming lives…”

    This play quote by Colleen Beck, OTR/L at The OT Toolbox shares why play is so powerful and benefits development in children. Play offers tools that a child will use throughout their lives.

    Almost all creativity involves purposeful play. quote about kids.
    “Almost all creativity involves purposeful play.”

    Creativity is play and play is creativity. Both are interconnected but also a way to support play development.

    Childhood is a journey, not a race.
    “Childhood is a journey. Not a race.”

    That childhood journey involves much development; cognitively, physically, emotionally…This is a process and it’s through play that the child has the opportunity to learn and practice essential skills.

    Occupational therapy uses play in practice to build essential skills.
    “I play with shaving cream, toys, and a ball pit at work. I am an occupational therapist.”

    Play is the work of the child, and for the pediatric occupational therapist, play is a tool to support development.

    It seems that play is one of the most valuable tools for learning.
    “It seems that play is one of the MOST valuable tools for learning.”

    This is one of my favorites of the learning through play quotes. Learning happens through all aspects of play.

    Play builds skills that kids need to build skills.
    “Children have a superpower. It’s this morphing ability to take on amazing powers. If we tell them they are capable, they become capable. If we tell them they are kind, they become kind. Let’s power our kids with the tools they need!”

    This play based learning quote is so powerful. We can support the development of kids through play and we can guide them to develop the skills they need!

    child development through play

    Free Handout on The Power of Play

    Being that we as therapy professionals, teachers, or parents have this knowledge on play and child development, we can be advocates for our kids. Not only that, but by promoting play as a tool for child development, we serve other children as well. It’s an enormous ripple effect that has the power to impact a generation and generations following.

    That’s why I wanted to put the information in this blog post into handout form.

    Let’s share what we know about the power of play to teach others how play supports essential child development skills.

    Print off this handout in either black and white, printer-friendly version or the color copy. They can be used as educational handouts to teach others on the power play has on child development skills.

    To get your copy, just enter your email into the form below.

    This handout set is also available in our OT Toolbox Member’s Club. Current Membership Club members can log into your account and head to the dashboard toolbox labeled “Educational Handouts“. Print off the handouts without the need to enter an email address.

    Want to add this resource to your therapy toolbox so you can help kids thrive? Enter your email into the form below to access this printable tool.

    This resource is just one of the many tools available in The OT Toolbox Member’s Club. Each month, members get instant access to downloadable activities, handouts, worksheets, and printable tools to support development. Members can log into their dashboard and access all of our free downloads in one place. Plus, you’ll find exclusive materials and premium level materials.

    Level 1 members gain instant access to all of the downloads available on the site, without enter your email each time PLUS exclusive new resources each month.

    Level 2 members get access to all of our downloads, exclusive new resources each month, PLUS additional, premium content each month: therapy kits, screening tools, games, therapy packets, and much more. AND, level 2 members get ad-free content across the entire OT Toolbox website.

    Join the Member’s Club today!

    FREE Handout: The Power of Play on Child Development

      We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at anytime.

      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.

      Connecting Cursive Lines

      Connecting cursive lines between letters

      When kids are learning to write cursive letters, they need to connect cursive lines together appropriately right from the start. Teaching correct connectors between letters is essential for cursive accuracy and legibility.     

      Connecting Cursive Lines

      Connecting cursive lines letters is especially important with some of the letters that have a tow rope connector between the letters. Cursive b is one of these letters.

      Cursive v and cursive o are other tow rope letters, meaning that the connecting lines between these letters and the letter next to them is at the middle line and changes the motor plan to the letter following the tow rope letter.   

      This resource on teaching cursive b has more information on this difference in motor planning in the letter formation.   

      If cursive letters don’t connect properly, one letter can look like different letter. Connecting the letters together requires practice and instruction. The more a child succeeds in proper cursive connectors, the more legible handwriting will be.

      If the letters don’t connect correctly and it can be hard to read handwriting. This is especially true as we get older and practice the incorrect forms. Your hand will become accustomed to producing the incorrect forms.

       

       

       

      Try these tricks and strategies to help kids conquer the cursive letter connectors between individual letters of a cursive word as they learn to write in cursive handwriting. Teachers and therapists will love these handwriting ideas for teaching cursive handwriting.


      Cursive Lines


      When forming specific letters, it can be easy to merge letters or for a cursive writer to form commonly connected letters in an alternative manner. You may find this is true when you write a letter e and e connected together. One cursive writer may make this letter combination completely different than another person who connects letters in a different way. 



      The motor plan that you have in your mind for forming two letters together may remain the same with practice. Letter speed and rhythm has a lot to do with unique formations and connections of cursive letters.



      Cursive letter formation and connectors can have a lot to do with the angle of handwriting. Paper slanted and positioned to the left will affect the way cursive g connects to the letter next to it. 



      More practice of letter connectors will help with speed and rhythm in cursive writing. The connections between letters will come naturally according to the individual’s personal writing style.



      Timed writing samples show that cursive writing is more efficient and quicker than the fastest printed writing. Joining letters with connectors is what makes in writing happen more quickly and efficiently.



      Connecting cursive lines in handwriting should occur fluidly and with a gliding motion of the pencil on the paper. If this doesn’t occur, or the writing looks choppy or jumpy with letters being jumbled as a result of connection issues, it can be helpful to take breaks in between writing strokes. 


      Think about an adult hand writing or your own handwriting. The cursive letters are probably fluid and not exact as you might have learned in a cursive handwriting guide book or in second grade cursive writing instruction. This is because you have develop your own style of cursive. This has happened over time and with practice.
       
      The motor plan is established. Kids can create their own cursive style  too. When that happens, handwriting will be legible and comfortable. For kids that are learning cursive letter connections, or kids that don’t have the fluid motions quite yet, flow exercises can be a big help.


      Cursive Line COnnecting Exercises


      Cursive lines can be practiced with specific activities to support the development of this skill. 

      Flow exercises are very important and useful in helping kids to develop fluid fluid motions and establishing a comfortable style of handwriting. Exercises designed to improve cursive letter connectors are made up of simple bends and arches,  joined together from the base. 



      Cursive letter connector exercises connect common letters together and start at the base. This might be a series of “cursive i“s connected with ease.  Another connector exercise might be a string of cursive letter “l”s connected. You can also mix other letters such as cursive u and cursive n, working on the flow between two different letters. 


       

      Tips for Fluid Cursive Lines between letters



      Try to incorporate different letter directions and sizes of joining strokes when working on the flow of connections.



      Flow exercise typically occur with 2 to 3 letters in groups. This helps to form a motor plan for letter formation.



      Another important point about connecting letters is formation. It’s important to start certain letters at a specific point such as cursive o. It always needs to start at the top and curve around in a counterclockwise motion. In this way the letter can connect easily two other letters.

       

      Backward Chaining in Teaching Cursive Letter Connectors

      Backward chain letter formation- Backward chaining is a common strategy for tasks such as teaching kids to tie their own shoes or to fasten zippers. It can be used for learning cursive handwriting connectors, too! 


      With backward chaining in cursive writing, it’s important that this strategy is only used with letters that are very well established. Try this tool only when a child is very fluent with cursive letter b, for example. Then: students can start out with a bold-typed cursive b.

      They can write in a black magic marker or trace over a worksheet. Students can use a highlighter marker to trace over just the connector of the b. They can do this several times across a sheet of paper, tracing over only the connector line of the b as it travels to the next letter. Students can even trace that connector over to connect to other letters such as cursive e, cursive a, cursive i, etc. 


      Then, ask students to complete the whole letter b, connecting it to the same letters that were practiced above. 



      Practice backward chaining with cursive letters by forming big motions of the cursive letters. For example, don’t as students to start at mid loop of the b.



      Direction change in cursive letter connections



      Joining two letters that change directions can be confusing for kids who are just learning to write in cursive and connect letters correctly. Some letters require a change pencil direction when connecting. 

      When two letters connect that require the pencil to go in one direction, and then stop and reverse to go in the opposite direction to connect the letter, it can be quite difficult for a child who is just learning to write in the continual pencil motions that cursive writing requires. 


      These letters require precision and pencil control for legibility. Cursive writers need to have a relaxed style otherwise the retrace required in these letters can make the retrace wide. 



      Look at your own cursive handwriting. You may notice that some letters are not formed or connect exactly as you were taught in grade school. Adaptations to cursive result in personal cursive writing styles and can be completely legible. 



      It’s important for kids to learn to correctly re-trace and connect letters when they are just learning. As they grow and develop their own personal writing style lifting the pencil for these letters is fine.



      Connections between letters can vary from person to person as an individual ages and develops. As long as legibility and functional speed are appropriate, this is fine!


      Looking for more ways to work on cursive letter connectors? Try any of these creative cursive writing strategies or these handwriting activities.


       

      Try these tricks and strategies to help kids conquer the cursive letter connectors between individual letters of a cursive word as they learn to write in cursive handwriting. Teachers and therapists will love these handwriting ideas for teaching cursive handwriting.



      Some top handwriting programs for addressing skills like letter formation and cursive connectors: 

      Need help with the underlying skills needed for handwriting? Start here on our Handwriting resources page.
       
       
       
      The Handwriting Book  is a huge resource when it comes to addressing handwriting concerns. It’s a book written by 10 occupational therapists and physical therapists and refers to every underlying skill related to written work. This is a tool for therapists, teachers, and parents.

       

      The Handwriting Book is a comprehensive resource created by experienced pediatric OTs and PTs.

      The Handwriting Book covers everything you need to know about handwriting, guided by development and focused on function. This digital resource is is the ultimate resource for tips, strategies, suggestions, and information to support handwriting development in kids.

      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

      Click here to grab your copy of The Handwriting Book today.

      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.

      Cursive Handwriting Loop Letters

      teach cursive loop letters

      Here we are covering how to teach cursive b, cursive e, cursive f, cursive h, cursive k, and cursive l. These loop letters are all connected because of their similar pencil movements that make the letter. You can add these tips and strategies to teach cursive letter writing. Today, you’ll find creative activities and tips for teaching formation of cursive loop letters. Cursive loop letters are those ones that start with a loop line up. Lowercase cursive letters b, e, f, h, k, and l are loop letters. 

      Writing cursive letters in order with a specific strategy is very helpful in teaching proper letter formation in a way that is logical.


      What are loop letters?

      Loop letters are a set of cursive letters that all have a loop in the initial formation of the letter. These loop letters include:

      • cursive b
      • cursive e
      • cursive f
      • cursive h
      • cursive k

      After the initial loop, or upswing of the pencil, the pencil moves back down toward the baseline and moves into another pattern to form the rest of the letter.

      This cursive letter family is a group of cursive letters that are formed with similar pencil strokes.

      Breaking letters down into cursive families can help students learn cursive letter formation. Below, you will find information on how to teach cursive letter formation of “tree letters”.

      Use these tips and strategies to help kids learn to write in cursive and learn the cursive loop letters (Cursive b, e, f, h, k

      This post is part of our 31 day series on teaching cursive. You’ll want to check out the How to Teach Cursive Writing page where you can find all of the posts in this series. 

      For more ways to address the underlying skills needed for handwriting, check out the handwriting drop-down tab at the top of this site.

      Motor Plan for Formation of “Loop” Letters

      When instructing students in forming these loopy cursive letters, start by outlining a cursive letter lesson plan of activities. You can read more about cursive letter lesson plans here. Students can start out with learning the cursive letters that make up the Loop Family. 

      Start by practicing a series of upward curves across a line of paper. This can look like a string of cursive letter loopy l‘s joined together. When practicing the curve of the cursive letter l motions in a strand across a page, set the child’s awareness on height and the start/stop point of each curve.  

      Most important is the width of the loop. Instruct students to draw the lines with proper width of the loop. A wide loop will make the letter inefficient and difficult to connect to other letters.   

      When beginning with cursive instruction, students should concentrate on an upward curve from the base line to the middle line or top line of the paper.

      This loop occurs in the Loop Family letters: b, e, f, h, k, and l.   

      Fine Motor Activity for Practicing Cursive Loop Letters 

        Try this activity to practice the loops of the loopy letters.   Use washable markers to draw loops on a paper towel. (Adding pencil lines for writing spaces before starting can be a big help for addressing loop and letter size!)  

      To the loops, add drops of water and watch the colors expand. 


      Be sure to talk to the child about loop height and width as these aspects to cursive writing will carry the most weight when it comes to legibility.


      For a colorful work of art, trace over the marker loops with additional colored markers.
      Read more about this cursive handwriting activity and others here on The OT Toolbox. 

      Activities for Teaching Cursive Loop Letters

        Use short phrases to instruct cursive formation. Phrases like “Loop up to the top line” or “Loop up to the middle line” can help.   


      Try these sensory activities to teach cursive handwriting loop letters: Affiliate links are included below.

      Write with glitter or colored glue on lined paper. Allow the glue to dry. Students can feel the raised lines of the loops.

      Draw with wet chalk on a chalkboard or sidewalk. Be sure to add guide lines first to address loop height.

      Create different sized loops using wikki stix. These are a great tool for getting the hands in on the fine motor action with a tactile experience that promotes motor planning and kinesthetic learning. 

      How to Teach Cursive b

      Use the following verbal prompts to teach lowercase cursive letter b:  

      1. Start at the baseline.
      2. Loop up to the top line and back to the baseline.
      3. Swing up to the middle line.
      4. Tow rope away to connect.

      Lowercase cursive letter b is a tow rope letter. These are letters that connect at the middle line. They change the beginning of the letter they connect to.

      It can be helpful to practice letters that are commonly connected to letter b such as ba, be, bi, bl, bo, br, bu, and by.  

      How to Teach Cursive e

      Use the following verbal prompts to teach lowercase cursive e:

      1. Start at the baseline.
      2. Loop up to the middle line and back to the baseline.
      3. Loop away to connect.
      4. Instruct students to stop at the middle line.  

      How to Teach Cursive f

      Use the following verbal prompts to teach lowercase cursive letter f:

      1. Start at the baseline.
      2. Loop up to the top line and back to the baseline.
      3. Continue straight down past the baseline.
      4. Curve right and up to the baseline, connecting at the strait part of the tail.
      5. Swing away to connect. 


      Note about cursive letter f– This letter requires the pencil lines to close the tail into a “bunny ear” type of loop. Think about drawing a tall bunny ear. The lines create a long, loop type of shape that does not cross like a the loop on the top part of the f.

      Rather, the curved motion has a potential for an opening. It’s important for students to close the tail of the f. Likewise, it’s important to keep the closure point at the baseline. If the closure point creeps up above the baseline or has an opening, the letter can potentially look like a cursive b.

      Work on loop formation and motor control for closure points in multi-sensory activities such as with sandpaper or in writing trays.    b, e, f, h, k, and l. 

      How to Teach Cursive h      

      Use the following verbal prompts to teach lowercase cursive letter h:  

      1. Start at the baseline.
      2. Loop up to the top line and back to the baseline. 
      3. Pause.
      4. Re-trace back up to bump to the middle line.
      5. Continue over the bump to the baseline.
      6. Swing away to connect.    

      How to Teach Lowercase Cursive k

      Use the following verbal prompts to teach lowercase cursive letter k:  

      1. Start at the baseline.
      2. Loop up to the top line and back to the baseline. 
      3. Pause.
      4. Re-trace back up to bump to the middle line.
      5. Continue over the bump and pull back into the loop.
      6. Add a kickstand to the baseline.
      7. Swing away to connect.

      Use these sensory activities to practice cursive letter k:

      Note about cursive letter k– This letter requires the pencil lines to close the bump at the loop. It’s important for students to pull the pencil lines in and to close the bump. 

      If the closure point doesn’t close at the loop, the letter can potentially look like a cursive h.

      Work on loop formation and motor control for closure points in multi-sensory activities such as with sandpaper or in writing trays. 

      How to Teach Cursive l

      Use the following verbal prompts to teach lowercase cursive letter l:    

      1. Start at the baseline.
      2. Loop up to the top line and back to the baseline.
      3. Loop away to connect.  


      A few tips for teaching cursive loop letters

          It would be very difficult to teach cursive handwriting only by verbal instruction. Carryover and accuracy would suffer!

      A visual component and slow teaching strategies are very important. Try these tips to help with learning cursive loop letters.    

      • Use large motor movements when starting out with cursive instruction. 
      • Teach each letter individually and for short periods of time each day.
      • Practice cursive letters in multiple sensory experiences, including shaving cream on desks, writing trays, in goop, with play dough or slime, etc.
      • Practice near copy work using a visual cue like these free cursive letter flashcards.
      • Practice each letter in a group focusing on one letter at a time. When a new letter is introduced, continue with previously learned letters. 

       

      Want to teach other cursive letter families? 
      Here is information on how to teach wave letters (c, a, d, g, q).
      Try these ideas to teach bump letters (m, n, v, x, y, z).
      Try these ideas to teach tree letters (i, j, p, t, u, and w).

      Use these tips and strategies to help kids learn to write in cursive and learn the cursive loop letters (Cursive b, d, f, h, k, l)

      More Cursive Handwriting Tools and Resources:

      Affiliate links are included.

      Try these cursive writing tools to help with forming letters: Affiliate links are included. 

      Cursive Writing Wizard is a free app on Amazon that allows students to trace letters and words. The app has stickers and animations as well as games that promote learning of cursive letters and connecting lines.   

      Cursive Handwriting Workbook is a workbook for kids in elementary grades and focuses on  formation of cursive letters (upper and lower case) as well as words.   

        Teachers can use a laser pointer in the classroom to help students see parts of cursive letters as they instruct each part of the formation. This is helpful when teaching letters in cursive letter families.        

      The Handwriting Book is a comprehensive resource created by experienced pediatric OTs and PTs.

      The Handwriting Book covers everything you need to know about handwriting, guided by development and focused on function. This digital resource is is the ultimate resource for tips, strategies, suggestions, and information to support handwriting development in kids.

      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

      Click here to grab your copy of The Handwriting Book today.

      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.