In this post I will share with you a super fine motor tool kit that will reach a variety of kiddos and probably contains many items that you already have on hand.
It’s back to school time and all of us are beginning to think about how we want to approach the new school year. We feel re-energized and rejuvenated and are looking for some new therapy tools to start off the year. If you are like me, you want an easy and fun start to the school year for all!
The beginning of the year is a busy time for the occupational therapist, determining caseloads, organizing forms, reviewing goals, scheduling kids, and collaboration with the staff and your team.
After all of this OR during all of this, you start seeing kiddos for services and you want something that is easy, something that addresses OT goals, and something that is fun for the kids while helping build a rapport. Why not a fine motor fun kit? It is low key and helps transition into the new school year without a lot of stress.
As an added bonus, you can scroll to the bottom of this post to get a free back-to-school bonus for planning therapy themes this school year.
Back-to-School Fine Motor Toolkit
Below is a sweet craft organizer I purchased at a local Dollar General for $2 this summer! Craft organizers are great for storing therapy materials. I am using it as my new fine motor tool kit this school year to toss in my therapy bag and use with most any child I see for service. I can use at least one, if not many, of the activities to address hand skill goals or provide a fun warm-up to handwriting or other OT tasks.
It is just the right size to toss in a therapy bag or therapy cart and is packed full of fun fine motor activities. I think I’ll call it my “toss n’ go” kit. The organizer has optional features with which you can choose to store your fine motor goodies. It displays 15 small sections, but can easily convert to create larger sections in the middle while keeping a total of 10 smaller sections on the top and bottom. This great design will keep my goodies organized and ready for use while providing space for some of my larger items too.
Fine Motor Toolkit Activities and Therapy Items
Amazon Affiliate links are included in this post. You can find these items in your local dollar stores and at various sales throughout the year. Amazon links are included for convenience.
Let’s get started by taking a look at the fun items that I have included in my fine motor tool kit this year and discuss the ways I plan to use them.
Paperclips – these are great for creating paper clip chains and creating fun hair on paper towel tube faces. Using the paper clips this way addresses fine motor manipulation and coordination, bilateral coordination, eye-hand coordination and finger strength.
Use paper clips and small paper tubes to make fun people and creatures!
Beads – these are great for stringing on a chenille stem or string. Using beads addresses fine motor manipulation and coordination, precision, bilateral coordination, eye-hand coordination, and pincer grasp.
Spin Tops or Spinning Egg Bottoms– these are great for duration races. Using spin tops addresses pincer grasp and finger rotation. Using egg bottom makes spinning a little easier for some children who need this activity downgraded to be successful.
Pool Noodle Poppers – these are great to pop for fun or for distance races. Using the pool noodle segments in this way addresses finger strength, pincer grasp patterns, and fine motor coordination.
Also included in the box are solid foam poppers that I found at Christmas at a local dollar store. I use these for pop distance races and wrapping loom bands.
Bathtub Soapdish Grippers – these are great for pony bead or marble placement and loom band wrapping. Using the bathtub soap dish grippers in this way addresses grasp patterns, eye-hand coordination, fine motor control, and bilateral coordination.
Mini or Small Clothespins – these are great for clipping onto chenille stems or for creating hair on paper towel tube faces. Using the clothespins in this way addresses eye-hand coordination, pincer grasp, bilateral coordination, and fine motor control.
Wind-up Toys – these are great for duration races and are simply fun to watch. Using wind-up toys addresses pincer grasp, finger rotation, and bilateral coordination.
Mini Playing Cards – these are great for counting and placing loom bands or paper clips to correspond to the number on the playing card. Using the cards in this way addresses fine motor manipulation and coordination, bilateral coordination, and pincer grasp.
Loom Bands – these are great for wrapping on playing cards, around suction cups on bathtub soapdish grippers, and around the solid poppers. Using the loom bands works on fine motor coordination and manipulation, pincer grasp, bilateral coordination and eye-hand coordination.
Spools – these are great for wrapping lacing string. Spool wrapping addresses bilateral coordination, fine motor coordination and manipulation, motor planning, and eye-hand coordination.
Squeeze Ball – these are great for exercise repetition. Using the squeeze ball in this way addresses hand and finger strength and can help with stress or anxiety reduction.
Mini Driving Cars – these are great for a number of activities. You could use them to practice shape and letter formation by driving the cars to form or create a road for the cars to drive on with mini playing cards. They address grasp patterns, eye-hand coordination and motor planning.
Hopper Animals – these are great for aiming at targets or simply just for fun. Using them addresses finger isolation, force/pressure regulation, and eye-hand coordination.
Small Lego – these are great for constructing small objects. Using Lego addresses finger strength, bilateral hand skills, problem solving and creativity.
Small Tongs – these are great for picking up and placing items onto or into a target. Using them addresses tripod grasp, hand and finger strength, open web space, and eye-hand coordination.
Although I have many great ideas for using the fun tools in my toss n’ go kit, I know there will be many other ways to use them which will blossom over the next school year. New ideas will emerge out of necessity, but also out of child creativity. That’s what I love about OT, you teach a child new skills and they teach you to see the world (and activities) differently!
Therapy Planning Calendar
For the new school year, I have included a fun bonus to this post that you will find below. It is an editable Theme Therapy Calendar for the 2018-2019 school year. Sometimes weekly themes can help you stay motivated AND make your life easier as a therapist while helping to keep children engaged in therapy activities from week to week.
Enter your email address below to get the free printable therapy planning calendar. Use it as a guide to schedule and plan themed occupational therapy activities throughout the school year. You’ll also get a blank therapy planning calendar so you can fill in special themes that may go along with your school’s calendar or planned activities.