Dinosaur Game Kids Love

dinosaur game spinner and toy dinosaurs on white background with text that says "dinosaur gross motor game"

If you have kids, you probably have heard of the dinosaur game on Google where a click of a button sends a T-Rex running across the screen. However, we have a dinosaur game that challenged active movement, balance, and gross motor skills. This dinosaur game is a huge hit among kids. It’s a movement-based dinosaur activity that kids of all ages love. If you are looking for creative dinosaur games to use in therapy, at home, or in the classroom, then be sure to add this dinosaur game for kids to your list!

dinosaur game spinner and toy dinosaurs on white background with text that says "dinosaur gross motor game"

Use the dinosaur game below along with these dinosaur exercises and other dinosaur themed activities in therapy sessions. You can even incorporate handwriting and visual motor skills into dinosaur games with this printable dinosaur visual perception worksheet.

toy dinosaurs beside game spinner. Text reads "dinosaur game"

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Dinosaur Game

The dinosaur game described below is an older blog post here on the website, but it’s a gross motor activity that is well-loved for many reasons.

There is just something about the stomping and roaring of a dinosaur game that takes me back to my own kids at their preschool ages! This is an older post here on The OT Toolbox, but one that is one of my absolute favorites.

Plastic toy dinosaurs laying on white table with game spinner. Text reads "dinosaur movement game"

We read the dinosaur book, Dinosaurumpus by Tony Mitton…and created a fun dino game that the kids loved! Our dinosaur movement game inspired tons of giggles and wiggles as we moved our way through this book with a gross motor activity!  

The gross motor coordination tasks and motor planning skills make this dinosaur game the perfect addition to dinosaur physical therapy and dinosaur occupational therapy themes.

When kids play this dinosaur movement game, they build skills in areas such as:

The specific activities in the game allow kids to develop skills such as hopping, jumping, twisting, stomping, and other gross motor tasks.

How to Play the Dinosaur Game:

We’ve included Amazon affiliate links in this post for the book and items you’ll need to create the DIY Dinosaur game.    

Have you read the book, Dinosaurumpus!?  (affiliate link) This is a book that is sure to get the kids moving with it’s loud and active rhymes as the dinosaurs dance an irresistible romp. 

Using this book and the game you’ll find here together is a great dinosaur game for toddlers and preschoolers to address listening skills, comprehension, and regulation through movement and play.

My kids couldn’t help but move and groove as I read them the story.  We had to make a movement gross motor game to go along with the book!  

We talked about the fact that dinosaurs have big feet and big bodies that sometimes move too fast in the space around them.

This is a great lesson on body awareness that kids can relate to while developing balance and motor planning skills!


Dinosaur movement game for kids. This gross motor game is based on Dinosaurumpus the book and is a great activity for auditory and visual recall in kids.

 How to make the Dinosaur Game

You’ll need just a few items to prepare the dino game for use in therapy or at home:

  • Dinosaur printable below
  • Cardstock or cardboard
  • Brad to attach the spinner
  • Mini dinosaur figures

To make the spinner for the dinosaur game:

  1. Make this game easily using our free printable for the game board. We listed out the dinosaurs in the book and the actions they did.    
  2. These went onto a game spinner that I made on  card stock. (affiliate link)
  3. We used dinosaur figures for part of our movement game.  These ones (affiliate link) are a great deal!  
Free dinosaur game printable

Dinosaur Game Printable

To play the dinosaur movement game:

This is a dinosaur movement activity for preschool and older aged kids. Use in in the classroom or home as part of a story and reading activity, or use it as a dinosaur brain break in the classroom. 

First print out the free printable.  You’ll also want the game rules for easy play and the spinner piece.  

  1. Print your printable on card stock (affiliate link) OR you can use regular printer paper for the game board, but the arrow won’t spin as well. You may want to print the game spinner on paper and then glue to cardboard for more sturdiness during (active) play. Make your game board and ensure the arrow spins using a brass fastener (affiliate link).
  2. One player hides the dinosaur figures (affiliate link) around the room or outdoor play area.  
  3. The first player spins the arrow and reads the action.  He or she then races off to find one of the hidden dinosaurs.  
  4. When she finds a dinosaur, she races back and performs the action.  

Hide dinosaur figurines and use them in the dinosaur game for preschoolers and toddlers to develop motor skills.

There will be shakes, stomps, jumps, and TONS of giggles with this gross motor activity!   

We loved this game activity for it’s gross motor action.  It would be a great activity for rainy day fun or indoor play when the kids need to get the wiggles out.  Racing off and remembering the action they must perform requires a child to recall auditory and visual information necessary for so many functional skills.  

Dinosaur game rules for kids
Child's hand spinning a game spinner  for a dinosaur game with words for gross motor skills: stomp, shake, run, dance.

  We hid the dinosaurs in all sorts of fun spaces in the house.  

Child spinning a game spinner with words like dive, jump, twist, spin, shake, stomp like dinosaurs.
Spin the wheel on the dinosaur game to support fine motor skill development, too.

The dinosaurs in the book, Dinosaurumpus! (affiliate link) move a lot!  Get ready for stomping, shaking, diving, dancing, running, jumping, twisting, and spinning!  

Child jumping in a living room

My kids love any kind of scavenger hunt game and this one, with its movement portion, was a HUGE hit!

Three plastic dinosaur toys beside dinosaur game spinner

 Gross motor skills are important to develop through play.  It’s essential for attention and focus to build core body strength.    

More Gross Motor Games

Looking for more ways to work on gross motor skills like core strength and proximal stability for improved attention and distal mobility?

Some more of our favorite gross motor activities that you will love:  


If you are looking for more dinosaur activities for kids, be sure to check out our Dinosaur Jacks activity to promote more motor skills, and our Dinosaur visual perception worksheet to work on visual perceptual skills.

Dinosaur game for kids that is a great preschool dinosaur activity for gross motor skills.

dinosaur gross motor activities

Want to use our dinosaur games in your therapy sessions with a dinosaur theme? We’ve pulled together a few dinosaur gross motor activities that you can use to target gross motor skills and development of skills.

Here are some dinosaur-themed gross motor activities that kids will love…In The Member’s Club, you’ll find a dinosaur therapy theme, with printable handouts, worksheets, crafts, and writing pages. Use them along with these ideas!

  1. Dinosaur Stomp: Have children pretend to be dinosaurs and stomp around like mighty T-rexes or long-necked sauropods. They can make dinosaur noises and use their arms and legs to imitate the movements of different types of dinosaurs.
  2. Dino Obstacle Course: Set up an obstacle course with dinosaur-themed challenges. Children can crawl under “dinosaur caves” (tables or chairs), jump over “lava pits” (hula hoops or cushions), and navigate through “swamps” (pools of pillows or cushions).
  3. Fossil Hunt: Hide dinosaur-themed toys or fossil replicas around a designated area. Children can search for the fossils, using their gross motor skills to move around, crawl, and reach for hidden treasures.
  4. Dino Dance Party: Play lively dinosaur-themed music and encourage children to dance and move their bodies like dinosaurs. They can stomp, sway, and wiggle to the rhythm, pretending to be different types of dinosaurs.
  5. Dino Relay Race: Divide children into teams and set up a relay race. Each team member can carry a toy dinosaur or a picture of a dinosaur as they run or hop from one point to another, passing the dinosaur to the next teammate.
  6. Dinosaur Yoga: Incorporate dinosaur-themed yoga poses into a session. Children can try poses like “T-rex stretch” (standing with arms extended out like T-rex arms), “Dino Egg” (curling up into a ball on the floor), or “Stegosaurus Balance” (standing on one foot with arms extended out for balance).
  7. Dino Limbo: Set up a limbo stick or a dinosaur-themed rope and have children take turns bending backward to go under it, pretending to be dinosaurs crouching or ducking under obstacles.
  8. Dino Footprints: Place large cutouts or drawings of dinosaur footprints on the floor. Children can follow the footprints, jumping from one to another, and imitating the movements of different types of dinosaurs.
  9. Dino Toss: Set up targets with dinosaur pictures or cutouts and have children throw soft dinosaur toys or bean bags at the targets, aiming for accuracy and coordination.
  10. Dino Parade: Lead a dinosaur parade where children can march or walk around, following a designated path, while carrying or wearing dinosaur-themed props or costumes.

We wanted to touch on the skills that you can develop by playing a version of this dinosaur game, depending on the individual needs of the child you are working with in therapy sessions, or at home.

Dinosaurs have captivated the imagination of children and adults alike for generations…and many kids are fascinated by dinos of all types! That’s what makes this dinosaur therapy game a hit. You can develop specific skills with a fun dinosaur activity.

Let’s take a look at how you can target enhancement of gross motor skills, balance, visual scanning, endurance, and coordination.

Our featured dinosaur game provides an immersive experience that not only thrills young players but also becomes a valuable tool in the hands of therapists. Let’s delve into the therapeutic benefits it brings to the table.

Dinosarur game Gross Motor Skills

In the world of dinosaurs, movement is key. Players are prompted to engage in activities that encourage reaching, stretching, and crawling, promoting the development of essential gross motor skills.

These movements are fundamental for a child’s overall physical development, making the game a dynamic tool for therapists targeting this aspect.

Mastering Balance

Surviving in the dinosaur era requires a keen sense of balance, right? Kids can play this dinosaur game and challenge skills like balancing on one foot, staying in one position, freeze dancing, and balancing on their tip toes.

The game incorporates elements that challenge players to maintain equilibrium, fostering the improvement of balance skills.

Therapists can leverage these challenges to enhance a child’s ability to control their body’s position, a skill crucial for everyday activities.

Work on grading skills and challenging balance development by targeting more difficult tasks like:

  1. Single Leg Stance:
    • Description: Standing on one foot.
    • Purpose: Enhances static balance and weight-bearing control.
  2. Tree Pose:
    • Description: A yoga pose involving standing on one leg with the other foot resting on the inner thigh of the supporting leg.
    • Purpose: Challenges static balance and encourages weight shifting and offers proprioceptive input.
  3. Tip-Toe Standing:
    • Description: Rising onto the balls of the feet.
    • Purpose: Strengthens the muscles in the lower extremities and promotes ankle stability during daily activities.
  4. Half Kneel Position:
    • Description: Kneeling on one knee while keeping the other foot flat on the ground.
    • Purpose: Improves dynamic stability and challenges core strength during functional tasks.
  5. Squats:
    • Description: Bending the knees and lowering the body as if sitting back into a chair.
    • Purpose: Targets lower body strength and stability to build base of support and stability during functional mobility.

These activities are tailored to address different aspects of balance and can be adapted based on individual needs and progress. When implementing these exercises, it’s crucial to consider the client’s abilities and gradually progress the difficulty of the activities as their balance improves.

Enhance Visual Scanning

Dinosaurs are not always easy to spot when it comes to pre-historic land! But dinos aren’t the only ones that need to scan their environment.

Visual scanning skills impact learning, reading, social and emotional skills, and practically everything we do throughout our day.

This dinosaur activity supports the development of visual scanning skills as players to search for items, dinosaurs, or clues.

This element contributes significantly to the development of visual attention and scanning skills, addressing therapeutic goals for children with specific needs in this area.

Endurance Skills with Dinosaur theme

Roaming the prehistoric landscape demands stamina just like a T-Rex or Brontosaurus. Certain activities within the game encourage continuous physical activity, contributing to the development of endurance.

This aspect is particularly beneficial for children undergoing endurance training, aligning the game with therapeutic goals for enhanced stamina and managing deferent surfaces.

Try adding an unstable surface during the dinosaur game tasks:

Here are other balance beam ideas to incorporate.

Dinosaur Coordination Skills

Navigating the dinosaur world requires precision. The game’s mechanics challenge players with obstacles and control requirements, promoting precise movements and coordination.

Therapists can use these aspects to target coordination skills, crucial for a child’s ability to execute controlled and purposeful movements.

In conclusion, our dinosaur game transcends the realms of entertainment to become a valuable therapeutic tool. By incorporating elements that support the development of gross motor skills, balance, visual scanning, endurance, and coordination, therapists can harness the excitement of dinosaurs to achieve therapeutic goals.

Free Dinosaur Game Printable

Want to play this dino game with kids you work with in therapy or in the classroom? Print off the game pieces using the free printable. Simply enter your email address into the form below to access.

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 Dinosaur Game

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

    Stellaluna Activities

    Bats cut from construction paper with sight words written in chalk. Text reads "stellaluna activities"

    Today we have several Stellaluna activities that we created many years ago. This Halloween fine motor task doubles down on the skill-building. With one bat craft based on the children’s book, Stellaluna, we’re covering skills like handwriting, scissor skills, math, reading, bilateral coordination, visual scanning, and much more!

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    Stellaluna activities

    Stellaluna Activities

    If you haven’t read the children’s book, Stellaluna, then you are in for a treat. The Stellaluna activity and bat games we have to share today are fun ways to read the book and play with a bat theme, and the bat activities would work for a Halloween party with kids, too!

    Scroll on for Stellaluna games that teach and are fun!

    Stellaluna by Janell Cannon is a sweet story of a bat who is adopted by a bird family after he is knocked from his mother’s grasp during a flight.  We see how different and same the bat and the birds are and also notice the differences.  We were able to talk about how we as family members are all the same, yet different, and how other people we meet or know might be different and do things differently, but inside we are all the same.

    Going on the theme of differences and similarities among the bat and his new bird family, we decided to examine sight words, Upper case letters, and numbers with bats! For more fun, make a bat craft to go along with your Stellaluna game, too!

    While this is a great preschool book extension activity, the best thing about our Stellaluna game is that we modified it to fit the needs of my three older kids.  

    We practiced upper case letter identification with the 3 year old preschooler, sight word identification with the Kindergartner, and math facts with the Second grader. The 16 month old toddler just liked grabbing the bats from the wall.  

    Very fun and age appropriate, but we’ll share more about what the older kids did today ūüėČ

    Stellaluna Bat Activity

    This post contains affiliate links.
    If you haven’t read the book Stellaluna (affiliate link), grab it up at your library! ¬†This was a new book to us, and one that I’m so glad we read.¬†

    For this Stellaluna craft, you’ll need just a few materials:

    • Black construction paper
    • Bat template
    • White crayon

    Then, if you want to work on visual processing skills needed for reading and writing such as the skills:

    1. visual scanning– Needed to scan on the page or overhead on the board to copy words and sentences. When the eyes shift back to the page and then back to the copying source, sometimes the eyes shift and get lost. This is how we have omissions in handwriting tasks.
    2. visual tracking– This visual skill is essential for following along a line of words in a reading task.
    3. visual attention– When the eyes shift on the pages without sustained attention, we see missing words or lines of text.
    4. visual memory– This skill is difficult for many children, and it’s how we recall what we’ve seen to work on memorizing, reading, and writing skills.

    then you’ll also need:

    • Flashlight(s)
    • Tape
    • A yardstick or ruler (for visual tracking skills)
    Bat template for a Stellaluna activity

    Let’s start with using the bat template to make the bat craft.

    1. First, print off this free printable bat stencil.  Cut out the bat and trace it onto black cardstock (affiliate link) paper.  
    2. We cut out about 15 bats, but you can cut out as many bats as you need.  If you’ll be practicing letters, you may want one for each letter of the alphabet.
    3. Write on the bats with a white crayon.  We practiced sight words first and wrote out the words my Kindergartener has been working on. 
    4. Tape the bats to the wall and get ready to play!  
    Stellaluna book bat games including sight word games, math facts game, letter identification game.  This is a fun twist on learning facts and words for preschoolers, kindergarten, and second grade, with a bat theme!  I love the flashlight game!

    StellaLuna Activity for Sight Words

    First, we played a flashlight sight word activity as a warm-up.  I read through a few pages of the book and when we got to a sight word, my son used the flashlight to find the matching sight word on the wall.  He really got into this activity.  

    Note that this activity was done many years ago (2015) and we were focusing a lot on sight words in reading.

    Now, this might not be the optimal way to target reading skills. Using vocabulary words from Stellaluna may be more ideal for working on reading skills. Feel free to use this activity with the reading curriculum or standards that work for your classroom or school.

    Stellaluna Game

    Next, to make this Stellaluna activity into more of a game, we created a flashlight race using the same bat cut outs.

    We pulled out a second flashlight and when we reached a sight word in the book, the two older kids raced to flash their light on the sight word.  

    The first to light it up was the winner.  

    Using the flashlights in a dark-ish room reminded us of Stellaluna (affiliate link) flying at night and how the birds would need a flashlight to see.

    Again, feel free to use the words from the book on the bats. Just turn down the lights in the classroom and pull the shades to darken the room. Then, use the flashlights to “race” to find the word that you call out.

    StellaLuna Math Activity

    We also used these same bat cut outs to work on math skills.

    1. To play the math facts game with my second grader, I wrote out numbers 10-20 on the bats.  (Just flip the bats over and use the other side if you are playing more than one game!  No need to cut out more bats, unless you need them.)  

    2. Tape the numbered bats to the wall in a random arrangement.  This game was fun for her to practice her math facts up to 20.  

    3. I called out a number and then had her roll a die.  

    4. She then had to add the number to the number that I called out and run over to the wall and hit the right number.  

    We also did a round of subtraction.  You can make this more of a game by adding a second player. Then, extend the math activity by using a couple of flashlights to make this a fun racing game in a dark room.

    Here are more Halloween math activities that you can also try.

    Bat Letter Identification Activity

    Finally, we used the same bat shapes to work on letter identification skills.

    For my preschooler, we wrote upper case letters on the bats and taped them to the wall.  

    She played a version of the flashlight game as we scanned through the book.  I pointed to a lower case letter and named it and she had to flash the light on the letter on the wall.  

    We also practiced letter sounds by saying the sound the letter makes and she had to find the letter on the wall.

    Scanning for the correct bat on the wall was a great way to incorporate visual scanning and visual perceptual skills into this learning game activity.  

    Stellaluna book bat games including sight word games, math facts game, letter identification game.  This is a fun twist on learning facts and words for preschoolers, kindergarten, and second grade, with a bat theme!  I love the flashlight game!



    Stellaluna book bat games including sight word games, math facts game, letter identification game.  This is a fun twist on learning facts and words for preschoolers, kindergarten, and second grade, with a bat theme!  I love the flashlight game!

    More Stellaluna Activities

    Looking for more Stellaluna (affiliate link) activities?  Here are some fun bat activities that pair well with the book:

    Free Stellaluna Bat Template

    Print off the template and trace it onto construction paper. Enter your email address into the form below to access this resource. You’ll also find this item inside our Membership club, along with many other bat themed activities and resources.

    Free Bat Stencil

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

      Separation Anxiety Activities and Tips

      kindergarten separation anxiety

      Today, we have a couple of separation anxiety activities that can support kids who struggle with school drop off. Many times, kindergarten or preschool drop off is full of tears, especially those first few weeks of school. Here, you’ll find a great connection activity to help preschoolers and parents find a way to make preschool drop off easier by connecting through the book, Owl Babies. Use this Owl Babies activity to help with that preschool separation stage. This post shares movement based separation anxiety activities that can help kids who are experiencing separation anxiety in preschool drop off, with ideas based on the children’s book.

      Separation anxiety can occur at various ages and stages, including toddler, preschool, kindergarten, and school-aged.

      For example, in the toddler years, separation anxiety is quite common. However, if there is extreme separation anxiety, this might be a toddler behavior red flag or something to look into.

      Separation Anxiety in Preschool or Kindergarten

      Step into a preschool classroom on the first day of school and you will likely see a few tears here an there (possibly some of those tears coming from the parents dropping off their child for the first time!).

      Separation anxiety in preschool age is normal! But here’s what you need to know about that visible preschool behavior that may be fueled by something besides getting used to leaving mom/dad/caregiver for the first time…and how to help with a simple preschool self-regulation strategy.

      The movement-based, sensory activity we share below can actually be used with preschool through kindergarten:

      • the 3 year old preschooler who is just being dropped off for the first time
      • the 4 year old preschool student
      • pre-k kids
      • kindergarten students
      • older, grade school students who are sad or upset on the first day of school

      preschool anxiety

      So, what is happening with preschool anxiety that causes tears, meltdowns, and clinging to mom or dad at the day care or preschool drop off?

      You have probably seen it before:

      Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, it’s time for preschool. The routine at home is the same: excitement, packing the bag, and gearing up for a day of learning colors, songs, preschool activities, and nursery rhymes. Getting into the car and driving to preschool is no problem.

      But then you pull into the parking lot and the worries begin.

      Tears, crying, clinging to Mom, negotiations, promises of seeing the little one in just 2 short hours.

      Two minutes later, she is happy, playing with play dough, and dry of all nose drips.

      It might even seem as if the preschool separation meltdown is just part of the morning routine.

      As a momma of four, I’ve seen plenty of tear-filled drop-offs.  

      And it just never stops breaking your heart.

      Separation anxiety is actually considered a normal process that occurs in early childhood, as a result of a maturing physical, cognitive, and emotional development. Specifically, the areas of development that lead to a period of separation anxiety in young children include:

      • Visual processing system (visual memory, visual closure)
      • Executive functioning skills (working memory)
      • Self-regulation skills (connecting emotions with behaviors)
      • Social-emotional maturation (emotional connections, attachment, and feeling safe with certain individuals)

      Despite the normal development that results in fears, worries, or flat out meltdowns following or leading up to a period of separation, severe separation anxieties do have the potential to negatively impact a child’s social and emotional functioning and this is especially true when the young child then avoids certain places, activities, and experiences that are necessary for healthy development.

      Separation Anxiety Disorder

      Sometimes, the family, parents, or caregivers also avoid these places, experiences, and activities. This can lead to even more negative experiences. When the family supports avoiding certain places or situations because of the young child’s separation, we can have situations where separation anxiety “hangs around” longer than is part of typical development.

      Officially, Separation Anxiety Disorder (SAD) is defined as ‚Äúdevelopmentally inappropriate and excessive anxiety concerning separation from home or from those to whom the individual is attached‚ÄĚ (American Psychiatric Association, 2000). However, for the young child, separation angst does not mean a disorder is present. It is only when the anxiety levels are so severe that they are not appropriate for developmental age that the official diagnosis of Separation Anxiety Disorder should be investigated.

      For those with severe symptoms, Separation Anxiety Disorder may result in school refusal and a disruption in educational attainment, refusal to attend doctor’s appointments, dentist visits, or other situations where a child is separated, no matter the physical distance, from the parent or caregiver.

      What causes Separation Anxiety Disorder?

      There are many developmental areas that enable to progression of separation anxiety in toddlers and preschoolers from levels of worry and age-appropriate anxiety at separation to an inefficient and “disorder” level of worry.

      Studies show us that some of these considerations may include:

      • Parenting behavior
      • Low parental warmth
      • Poor attachment
      • Trauma to the parent during the baby’s young years (death in the family, environmental, or other big situation)
      • Trauma to the child (Adverse childhood experiences, both large and small)
      • Insecure or anxious attachment styles
      • Diminished sense of control over one‚Äôs environment
      • Overprotective and over involved parenting behaviors
      • Parental intrusiveness- including extreme decision making on the part of the parent
      • Parental intrusiveness- including providing excessive assistance in the child‚Äôs daily activities (beyond age-appropriate ability)

      Common signs of separation anxiety in kids

      The natural and developmental stage of separation anxiety occurs from around age 6 months when the baby is able to notice that something is missing from their field of vision. This skill requires development of several areas:

      • Visual perception
      • Attention
      • Working memory (executive function)
      • Sensory motor

      Separation anxiety typically continues from around 6 months of age to about 5 years of age, however signs of separation anxiety can persist after age 5 and through age 6.

      However, the cognitive and emotional development that occurs during this age allows for kindergarten and younger elementary aged individuals to separate from their loved ones and know that they will be there even when the are not in view.

      Once the underlying areas noted above develop (around 6 months of age), you may see some common signs of separation anxiety:

      • Crying when the parent leaves the room or home
      • Upset and crying when a babysitter or caregiver comes into view
      • Tantrums
      • Avoidance behaviors (refusing to participate in activities that require separation)
      • Clinging to parents
      • Refuse to attend certain situations
      • Apprehension about harm coming to parents
      • Fears the parent will leave and not return
      • Running from the classroom/school bus/appointment setting

      Separation anxiety activities

      Today, I’m sharing a simple trick for helping kids with separation anxiety at kindergarten, preschool, or other drop-off situations like day care, a caregiver’s home, nursery school, or a church Sunday school room. These separation anxiety strategies can be addressed in occupational therapy sessions, used in cognitive therapy, or simply trialed at home or at school.
      Each of the separation anxiety activities listed below may be helpful in any situation where there is anxiety and stress as a result of separation from a parent or caregiver.

      separation anxiety activities

      One tool that can support separation anxiety in the classroom is starting each day with a feelings check in. This can help to get a handle on how emotions are impacting behaviors.

      This post contains affiliate links.

      Social Stories- Use social stories to create a visual narrative about how drop offs go and that parents will be back to get the child. Social stories can offer a verbal narrative for the child to use during these situations. Some of our social stories include:

      Self-Regulation Strategies- Practice the regulation tools that support the individual’s emotional status with self-regulation strategies. Select a set of calming or heavy work strategies that can be used in preparation for the separation situation, whether that be using at the school bus stop (like this deep breathing school bus exercise) or while driving into school. Having those set of strategies readily available and discussing how the child feels will go a long way.

      Movement-based separation activity – One fun way to work on separation anxiety in preschoolers that becomes part of the routine…here we are talking about the preschooler or kindergarten aged child that cries, clings to Mom or Dad, but then warms up to the classroom activities.

      Practice routines- Do the same thing every day during the week in preparation for school, including bed times, morning routines, and transportation routines. These visual schedules can help with some individuals.

      Wearable Charm- Another similar strategy is to create a DIY separation anxiety charm. Kids can make this along with the family adding heavy work through the hands. then, wear the charm to know that parents and caregivers still love and miss them even when not in view.

      Get enough sleep– Practicing good sleep hygiene is important for the child as well as the parent or caregiver. This has an impact on behavioral response and self-regulation. Read a related blog post on supporting newborns not sleeping as sleep in young ones in the home can impact sibling and parent sleep.

      Books about Separation- The activity listed below uses the book Owl Babies. But we added a heavy work goodbye sign that parents and children can use at school drop offs to ease separation anxiety. Or, this activity could work for kids that struggle with the transition to the classroom, because they are missing Mom and Dad or other caregiver.

      Use the book, Owl Babies by Martin Waddell!

      Use a magic number- In some cases, it can be hard for children to separate for even a very short period of time, and even in an environment such as the home. One strategy is the magic number technique. In this activity, the child and parent/caregiver can practice away time for short periods of time. Select a “magic number”. Then, move away from each other by going into a different room of the house. Use a timer or a watch to count up to that magic number. Try increasing the magic number up by a few minutes at a time until it’s less difficult to spend time apart.

      Create a plan- Having a plan or set of coping strategies prepared for time apart can help. For the kindergarten separation anxiety issues, maybe looking at a picture of the family that is stashed inside a pencil box would help. For another student in kindergarten, maybe touching a special keychain attached to the shoe or belt loop would work. Having this plan prepared before heading into the kindergarten room or daycare setting is key.

      Owl Babies Activity

      We read the book, Owl Babies (affiliate link- As an Amazon Influencer, I earn from qualifying purchases) and fell in love.  

      The sweet little Owl Babies in the book wake up from a nap to find their mother gone from the nest.  The owl siblings go through a series of concerns and thoughts about where their mom might be with a little almost-tears.  

      My older kids thought the book was pretty awesome and decided that each of the owl babies in the book were one of the girls in our family.  There were a few similar personality traits that aligned with the owls in the book and the sisters in our house.  

      The idea of knowing that mom comes back when she leaves is a lesson we’re going through at Sunday School each week and one that happens so often with kids.  Just like the Owl Babies (affiliate link), it can be hard to stay calm and not worry when mom goes away.  

      We decided to come up with an owl themed movement activity that kids could do when they are feeling anxious after leaving mom or dad.  

      Try this trick to help with separation anxiety in preschoolers, based on the children's book, Owl Babies.

      School Drop Off Anxiety

      This activity would be perfect for preschool kids or kindergarten students who are experiencing separation anxiety at the start of school or in a new classroom situation. For kids that cry at school drop off, or really struggle with missing Mom or Dad, this school drop off anxiety activity can help.

      To do the activity, first read Owl Babies (affiliate link) together.  Then, talk about how the owls in the book must feel when they see their mother has gone out of the nest. Finally, talk about how when the mom or dad in your family has to go away for a little while, they always come back and that they are thinking of the little one in your home while they are gone.

      Try this trick to help with separation anxiety in preschoolers, based on the children's book, Owl Babies.

      One easy way to help with separation anxiety is to come up with a hand signal.  We decided that making a bird wing sign would be a lot like an owl in flight.  Hook your thumbs together and spread your fingers out to create the wings of an owl.

      Then, wrap both hands around your thumbs to create a little owl baby of your own.  Now, squeeze your hands tight to give them a hug.  Your child can do this motion when the are feeling sad or nervous at school.  Tell them to think about the owl babies in the book (affiliate link) and how they felt when their mom came back.

      School drop off anxiety activity for separation anxiety in students

      Squeezing the hands tightly can provide a bit of proprioceptive input that is calming in a stressful situation like the preschool drop-off.  A simple hand hug might be just the thing that can help! It’s a self regulation activity that supports the whole body as a mechanism to address emotional regulation needs that show up as crying, clinging, and bolting “behaviors”.

      Then, when you pick up your little baby, be sure to swoop them up in a big hug!

      This activity would work with preschoolers who are a little older than my two year old.  She really enjoyed the book, Owl Babies (affiliate link), though and we have read it again and again!

      Let me know how this tip to help with separation anxiety works with your preschooler!

      Try this trick to help with separation anxiety in preschoolers, based on the children's book, Owl Babies.

      This Owl Babies activity is a fun and interactive book for kids of all ages!

      Use this separation anxiety activity to support kids that struggle at school drop off with anxiety or worries.


      kindergarten separation anxiety

      Let’s go a bit further with kindergarten separation anxiety and how to support this need.

      Kindergarten Separation Anxiety

      One thing about kindergarten separation anxiety is that it may not rear it’s head until after school has started. Typically (in many cases, not all cases), young children and parents are very excited for their little ones to head off to kindergarten. There are a lot of new things to experience as a new kindergartener!

      However, one new consideration may end up being a case of worries and anxieties after the school year has begun!

      What’s going on here?

      At the start of a school year, after school has been in session for a few days or weeks, things start to get old, quick. The young child has to wake up early every day. They have to spend 8 or more hours in school, paying attention, and on high alert, every day, Monday through Friday. There are new routines, new peers, new rules, new learning, new transportation, and they can be on high alert all day.

      Sometimes we see kindergarten students who experience a separation anxiety from their parents or guardians as a result. This involves stress and worries that might be brought up during the night, before bed, before school, at school, or even during slow times at home.

      The kindergarten child who is attached to their special parent, guardian, sibling, etc. are now spending many hours away from their person, people, and routines.

      Kindergarten separation anxiety may include fears as well:

      • they are going to miss out on something at home
      • their special person will become sick or have an accident while they are not together
      • they, the kindergartener, may worry that they will become sick, lost, or hurt while away at school
      • they may worry that they will become lost in the school or on the way to school

      Some things that we see with kindergarten separation anxiety may include:

      • Outbursts at home before school
      • Refusing to get ready for school
      • Outbursts or meltdowns before bed or on Sunday night
      • Refusing to go to school
      • Refusing to go on the bus
      • Refusing to sleep alone
      • Being afraid or fearful when they weren’t before
      • Refusing to do things they used to like to do like playing with friends
      • Refusing to leave the home or be away from their parent/guardian
      • Feelings of intense fear or helplessness
      • Agitated behavior
      • Anxiety that presents as crying, tantrums, shrinking away, or running away from unfamiliar people or situations
      • Excessive fear about other situations
      • Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
      • Reverting to younger habits such as sucking their thumb or talking in a “baby voice”
      • Restlessness
      • Trouble concentrating or paying attention
      • Worry during other times of day or night

      There may be other things going on too. With the kindergarten age, it might be hard for the child to express all that they are experiencing. We can however, support separation anxiety in kindergarten students.

      How to support Kindergarten Separation Anxiety

      One of the most important ways to help a kindergarten student who is experiencing separation anxiety is by giving them words for what they are experiencing.

      • Talk about separation anxiety- It’s important for the child to realize and understand that we all have worries and anxiety. We all experience stress at some point or another. We can come up with tools to support and work on these worries, however, so they don’t become all that we think about. What we don’t want is for the worries to prevent participation in all of the fun activities that comes along with kindergarten!
      • Give words to the feelings that the child is feeling. This involves interoception (the sensory system that allows us to recognize internal sensations). One of these aspects is headaches that come because of worries or anxiety. Other feelings might be rapid heartbeat, stomach ache, dry mouth, sweating, cold hands, tingly fingers, etc.
      • Read books about separation anxiety in kindergarten. There are a lot of great books out there about kindergarten separation anxiety in particular. That tells us that this is a very common issue!

      • Focus on Kindergarten Friendships- One of the fun things about kindergarten is meeting new friends. But being worried and over-thinking might mean that there is less time to talk to friends and do all of the fun kindergarten things! Try helping your kindgergartener to focus on friends when they are feeling very anxious about going to school.
        • Enlist a friend to help walk them to the classroom
        • Have a buddy to get started during the day
        • Check in with a friend when they feel the worries
        • Create a social support system with a small group of friends by having playgroups on the weekends or after school.
        • Use a few friendship activities to build awareness and understanding
      • Make a Clock- Using paper, make or draw a clock with the time that the child will reunite with their adult. This visual cue can help them to see that they will return to their loved ones. Include “grace” time for a window of time to allow for the school bus, traffic, etc. Plus this is a good clock activity too!

      Separation Anxiety Occupational Therapy

      Just like in kindergarten, sometimes we see clients that are worried or anxious about coming into the occupational therapy space. This might especially be the case for the new child experiencing OT for the first time. For parents to better know what to expect in OT sessions, read our getting started with occupational therapy blog post.

      Using some of the same strategies listed above and under kindergarten separation anxiety can support these kiddos so they can participate in therapy. Separation anxiety may need work with a child psychologist, however occupational therapy can support families and the team using meaningful and motivating strategies as well as tools that enable the individual to participate in daily functional tasks.

      Other separation anxiety OT tips include:

      • Work to establish a secure relationship to the teacher/therapy provider/classroom support staff/peers with the aim of reducing dependence on parents or guardians in the school environment over time
      • Use a timer
      • Use a visual schedule
      • Allow choices in therapy sessions
      • Work together on common goals
      • Make therapy fun and engaging with therapy themes
      • Create a social story on being away from loved ones for short periods of time
      • Educate parents and educators on the limbic system and the possibility of the child being in a fight or flight state as well as tools to support the child in this manner
      • Educate and provide interventions on interoception and support the child with tools to slow a fast heart rate, etc.
      • Educate on emotional regulation along with emotional regulation strategies such as the Zones of Regulation¬ģ, the Alert Program¬ģ (How Does Your Engine Run)
      • Trial child-led strategies such as DIR Floortime
      • Inquire about the child’s sleep hygiene and support the family in this way
      • Support the child and the family in any trauma related considerations
      • Explore a sensory diet for potential needs
      • Support the child and the family as a unit with education on co-regulation

      Occupational therapy empowers individuals with meaningful and motivating tasks. When separation worries interfere with the things that matter most to the child, we see the intersection with occupational therapy.

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

      Farm Brain Breaks

      farm brain breaks

      Today we have a fun addition to our brain break collection here at The OT Toolbox: Farm Brain Breaks! Brain breaks are such a useful tool for boosting attention and focus in the classroom. This is just one of the farm activities that we love as a therapy tool for building skills in kids. So, check out the Farm Brain Break activities below, along with the fun ways to use these movement activities in farm obstacle courses, farm stations, and more!

      As an Amazon Influencer, I earn from qualifying purchases.

      farm brain breaks

      Farm Brain Breaks

      We love this printable set of farm themed brain breaks because a farm theme is great for this time of year. Kids LOVE cows, chicken, roosters, pigs, and so adding a twist to the regular brain break activities makes the skill-building fun and engaging.

      You can probably think of a dozen or more animal walks, but having a set of farm animal brain breaks all in one place is perfect as a therapy tool for supporting self-regulation and heavy work needs.

      Why Farm Brain Breaks?

      Here’s the thing: Taking a sensory-based movement break in between learning tasks is a great way to help kids with sensory needs and without re-group and attend to classroom work.  

      Brain breaks are a great gross motor coordination activity, too. For the child that needs to work on skills such as the ones listed below, these farm gross motor activities do the job!

      • Balance
      • Standing on one foot
      • Hopping
      • Skipping
      • Squatting and standing back up
      • Building core strength
      • Balance in a dynamic position

      This month in the Virtual Book Club for Kids series, we read the fun book, Little Blue Truck and created farm animal themed brain breaks that are perfect for movement and sensory needs like vestibular activities in the classroom.

      Sometimes creative movement can be just the movement and gross motor exercise that kids can use as a sensory tool for effectively addressing needs in the classroom.  

      Brain Breaks use vestibular and proprioceptive input to address the sensory needs that can help kids with their attention and focus during classroom tasks. This can also support body awareness.

      Kids that need to boost their level of alertness with fast movements.  Those kids that seem to droop and lose attention during classroom work may benefit from a vestibular sensory movement activity that uses the whole body.

      Children that need to calm their body’s movements and regulate their sensory system may benefit from slow, rocking movements using the vestibular sensory system or heavy work gross motor activities that utilize the body’s proprioception system.  


      farm brain breaks


      Little Blue Truck and farm themed brain breaks for attention, focus and sensory needs in the classroom based on farm animals.



      Little Blue Truck Farm Themed Brain Breaks

      We came up with the brain break ideas in our farm theme based on the book, Little Blue Truck. This is a fun way to explore books in occupational therapy sessions to keep things fun and engaging.

      This post contains affiliate links.

      With the animals in Little Blue Truck (affiliate link), we focused on the farm animals and how they move and work to help our friend, the little blue truck.  There are many ways that kids can use the typical movements of farm animals to address sensory and attention needs in the classroom.


       Little Blue Truck book activity

      In the book, Little Blue Truck (affiliate link), we meet each of the farm animals that say a friendly “hello” to the little blue truck. ¬†When he ends up stuck in the mud, the animals are the one that come to help their truck friend. ¬†

      This book is such a fun way to look at the way friends can work together in small ways to help make big things happen.  What a great way to look at the way the class works together to make changes.  

      A group of classroom students that each do their part to pay attention and focus can make the whole classroom a better place. 

      We decided to use the movements of the animals in Little Blue Truck (affiliate link) to create gross motor, movement-based brain breaks.  These are activities that can be done in conjunction with the book and used all year long for attention and focus in the classroom.

      Little Blue Truck and farm themed brain breaks for attention, focus and sensory needs in the classroom based on farm animals.

      How to use Farm themed Brain Breaks

      Print off your brain break printable sheet.  The form is at the bottom of this blog post. Simply enter your email address and the printable will arrive in your inbox.

      Then, cut out the cards and start to play! These animal brain break cards can be used to add movement within the classroom.  They can be used at home or in therapy sessions. We love to use these along with other farm activities and crafts.

      Some fun ways to use these farm brain breaks are below:

      Farm Obstacle Course

      One way to support gross motor skills is with a Farm obstacle course:

      1. Place the farm brain break cards in an obstacle course. 
      2. Ask the child to go through the course by crawling as they push a tractor or pretend to be a tractor, doing animal walks, or moving on a floor scooter.
      3. When they get to a brain break, they should stand up and complete the brain break action. 
      4. They can then move onto the next activity.

      Farm Stations

      Set up stations around the room using the farm brain break cards. Here’s what this entails:

      1. Place the brain break activities in various places around the room. These will be the farm stations.
      2. The child can go to the first farm station and pick up the brain break card. They can collect a small farm animal figure in their hand.
      3. Ask them to copy the name of the animal onto paper.
      4. Then they should complete the gross motor farm animal action.
      5. If it’s an animal walk, they can use that farm animal walk to move to the next station.¬†
      6. Ask them to take the animal figure with them to encourage in hand manipulation as they collect more and more animal figures.
      7. At the end of all of the farm stations, the child can then place the animal figures into play dough like we did in our farm play dough sensory bin.

      Farm Writing Prompts

      Use the brain breaks as a warm up for handwriting. 

      1. Select one of the farm brain break cards. 
      2. Then ask the child to follow the directions to complete the brain break action.
      3. Next, use that card as a farm writing prompt. They can write a sentence or two about the animal such as their favorite thing about that animal, the role it plays on a farm, etc.
      4. Or grade the activity down by simply asking the child to write the name of the animal as the farm writing prompt.

      Little Blue Truck Activities

      Use these brain break activities based on the animals in the book (Amazon affiliate links) Little Blue Truck (affiliate link):

      Little Blue Truck book activity with gross motor movement brain breaks based on animal movements.

      Cow Walk: Stand on you hands and knees.  Walk across the room while shaking your head from side to side and up and down like eating grass.

      Sheep Crawl: Lie on the floor with your feet and arms tucked under you.  Inch yourself forward in a slow and steady crawl.

      Frog Hop: Hop like a from across the room.  Hop back again.

      Horse Gallop:  Stand on your feet.  Gallop across the room with one foot leading.  Gallop back with the other foot leading.

      Pig Roll: Lay on the floor and roll like a pig in the mud.

      Hen Flap: Tuck your hands under your arms to make wings like a hen.  Flap your wings as you strut across the room.

      Goat Kick: Stand on your feet and place your hands on the floor.  Walk across the room as you kick out your heels.

      Duck Waddle: Place your heels together with your toes apart.  Place your hands at your sides and waddle across the room.

      Print out your printable animal brain break cards.

      Add heavy work to these activities by pushing against the wall like the animals in the book (affiliate link) push against the little blue truck to help their friend out of the mud. 

       These farm animal themed brain breaks would work for any of these farm book. 

      Looking for more movement and learning brain breaks? ¬†You’ll love this dinosaur version based on the book, Dinosaurumpus! (affiliate link)

      Little Blue Truck and farm themed brain breaks for attention, focus and sensory needs in the classroom based on farm animals.

      Looking for more farm themed activities? 

      These Farm brain breaks go very well with our Farm Therapy Kit! It has 93 pages of farm activities and therapy resources: 

      • Farm connect the dot pages
      • Farm crafts
      • Farm visual motor activities using bales of hay
      • Farm sensory motor movement tasks
      • Farm handwriting activities
      • Farm visual discrimination tasks
      • Farm executive functioning tasks
      • Farm letter cards
      • And much more!

      Get your copy of the Farm Therapy Kit here!


      Free Farm Brain Breaks

      Print off the farm brain breaks page and get started with gross motor activities! This item is also found in our membership under Level 1 along with all of the other free printables on our site. It’s also found in Level 2 under Farm Theme.

      Not a member yet? Join us today!

      FREE Farm Brain Breaks

        We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at anytime.

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

        Big Red Barn Craft

        barn craft

        Looking for a fun barn craft to go with your favorite preschool book or farm theme? Get ready for an exciting and educational craft that your little ones will absolutely love. Inspired by the timeless children’s book “Big Red Barn,” we have a fantastic barn craft that not only brings the story to life but also helps develop those all-important fine motor skills. It’s the perfect activity to build precision and coordination skills while gaining the dramatic play benefits of puppets.

        So gather your materials and prepare for a barn-building adventure that will have preschoolers buzzing with joy and learning. Let’s dive into this Big Red Barn activity create something wonderful together!

        Barn craft

        As an Amazon Influencer, I earn from qualifying purchases.

        Barn Craft

        This month for our Book Club Play Date series we’re sharing a craft based on the book, Big Red Barn.  What a fun book for preschool aged children!  (And, don’t tell, but my older kids really got into this book, too!)  We made pretend play Farm Animals Puppets and a barn craft puppet show stage, perfect for farm pretend play.  This fun craft goes perfectly with a fun farm animal book!

        Plus, my kids loved repurposing this barn craft to use with our fingerprint farm animals.

        Barn craft for a farm theme

        This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

        Big Red Barn¬†(affiliate link) by Margaret Wise Brown is a quiet and calming book with it’s tone and rhythmic text. ¬†

        The Farm is full of life and this book is all about the animals. We see how the animals play and explore while the children are away. The detailed illustrations are creative and my kids loved looking for the tiny mice or butterfly on the pages of the book.  

        This was a new book to us, but it quickly became a hit in our house. ¬†Margaret Wise Brown also authored¬†Goodnight Moon¬†(affiliate link) (one of our favorites! ¬†Remember our Goodnight Moon¬†Goodnight Moon Memory Game?) It was fun to talk about the author and recall parts of Goodnight Moon that appear in this book–the barn in the picture, the mouse, and the moon. ¬†

        We wondered if the Big Red Barn from our story was the same as the barn in the picture in Goodnight Moon.  We love coming up with extension activities based on children’s books (more than a little bit!) and this book and activity rose to the top of our favorites!

        Big Red Barn craft

        You’ll need a few materials for your barn craft and puppets. Affiliate links included below:

        Barn craft with red popsicle sticks

        How to Make a Popsicle Stick Barn

        This barn craft is perfect for preschoolers. It’s not complex, and the 2D barn is perfect for encouraging bilateral coordination skills and crossing midline while using the printable farm animal puppets.

        First, we made the barn craft:

        1. Arrange the red craft sticks (affiliate link) like we did in the picture above.  
        2. Use glue to stick the top and bottom sticks on top of the vertical sticks.  I made a barn as my preschooler copied the steps beside me.  This was a good way to practice direction following with visual cues.  I was sure to craft my barn slowly so she could follow along with hers.  
        3. Count out the Popsicle sticks as you go.  We used 12 red sticks all together. You’ll want to make your barn on a piece of paper or waxed paper for easy transporting as it dries.
        barn craft

        4. Then we used a piece of Red cardstock(affiliate link)  to make the barn roof.  Simply cut the roof into an angled shape.  I had the roofs already cut out and showed my daughter how to glue it onto the back of the Popsicle stick barn.  

        5. You’ll need to let the barn dry for a few hours or overnight.  Just let it rest right on the paper.  

        Barn animal puppets for a barn activity

        6. Next, color in our Barn Animal Coloring Sheet.  You can get the free printable below.

        Coloring farm animal puppets

        7. Cut out the animals and tape onto craft sticks

        Farm animal puppets to use with the barn craft

        Once the barn has dried, you’ll be ready to play Barn Puppet Show with the farm animals.  Act out the story in Beg Red Barn, or create your own farm animal stories.  We had a lot of fun with our barn puppet animals.

        Big red barn activity

        Big Red Barn Activities

        Looking for more Big Red Barn activities? Use some of our farm ideas:

        See what the Book Club Playdates team have created to go along with this book.  With a snack, game, and sensory activity, you’ll have this book covered for your Preschool Book Club:

        Farm Haystack Snack from Fun-a-Day

        Farm Sensory Small World from Still Playing School

        Farm Animals Ring Toss Game from Craftulate

        More activities based on books that you will love (Because we sure did!):

        hands-on activities to explore social emotional development through children's books.

        Love exploring books with hands-on play?  

        Grab our NEW book, Exploring Books Through Play: 50 Activities based on Books About Friendship, Acceptance, and Empathy, that explores friendship, acceptance, and empathy through popular (and amazing) children’s books!  It’s 50 hands-on activities that use math, fine motor skills, movement, art, crafts, and creativity to support social emotional development.

        Free Barn Animal Puppets

        Use these barn animal puppets along with your barn craft. This resource is also found inside our Member’s Club, under the Farm Therapy Theme. Members can log in and access the resource on our Farm Therapy Theme page (Level 2 Members) or on our Fine Motor Freebie Downloads along with all of our free downloads (Level 1 and Level 2 members).

        Free Farm Animal Puppets

          We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at anytime.

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

          Print off all of the Farm themed resources inside the Farm Therapy Kit, which contains 93 pages of farm activities to target fine motor, gross motor, visual motor, self-regulation, scissor skills, handwriting, and more!

          Empathy Activities for Kids

          empathy activities for kids

          Many years ago, we made empathy bracelets as one of our favorite empathy activities for kids. Empathy activities like this bracelet craft are easy ways to teach kids about empathy as a foundation for social emotional skills. We made empathy bracelets as a way to develop social-emotional awareness and self-awareness of others and how they feel.  When you use a hands-on activity like this bead activity to teach abstract concepts like empathy, children can stimulate thinking and allow kids to grasp the perspectives of others. Use the empathy beads and the Quick as a Cricket activity idea here to help kids think about others and the world around them.

          empathy activities for kids

          Amazon affiliate links are included in this blog post. As an Amazon Influencer, I earn from qualifying purchases.

          Empathy Activities for Kids

          One fun way to teach kids about empathy is with the children’s book, “Quick as a Cricket”. By using this book about feelings, and a fun activity that can be adjusted to meet the needs of various kids, teaching about feelings and values is meaningful.  

          This book really hits on the self-awareness of a child as they see that each feeling in the book makes up a part of him.  We thought that if this boy is feeling all of these emotions about himself, then others are too! If you are looking for for more activities based on children’s books then we have a lot to share with you!

          Use empathy beads and make an empathy bracelet to teach kids empathy. Its one of many empathy activities to show respect and awareness of other's feelings.  This busy bag activity is based on the book, Quick as a Cricket.

          Activity to teach empathy

          Teaching kids about empathy is important. There are studies that show us that specifically teaching kids about empathy makes a difference. In fact, when we teach kids about empathy in ways that make sense to them (or are meaningful), we may see more positive positive social behaviors, such as sharing. 

          Helping others becomes more meaningful as well. Additionally, research tells us that kids that learn about empathy are less likely to be antisocial or present with uncontrolled aggressive behaviors.   

          Additionally, it’s been said that empathy and perspective taking serve an important role in what  is called prosocial behavior, or helping others, sharing, taking turns, etc.  

          One way to support this awareness of the feelings and needs of others is through serving others. Doing various acts of kindness can teach this skill in a practical and real life way. Check out our list of service ideas for ways to help others while developing empathy.

          After reading the book Quick as a Cricket, (just a few dozen times–this is a book you WILL read over and over again!), we talked about how each of us has many feelings that can be seen in animals.  

          Some of our feelings happen daily, and some not for a while.  Other feelings pair together (feeling small and sad).   

          Kids can have a difficult time with learning to be empathetic.  My kids really got an understanding of empathy as we talked about how other people might feel these feelings and we should be aware.  To take the empathy lesson a bit further, we made Empathy Bracelets with our empathy beads!    

          Empathy Activity

          Today, I have a fun friendship activity that uses a classic children’s book. Kids can struggle with the abstract concept of empathy and the perspectives of others.

          This empathy activity is part of a bigger picture when it comes to empathy skills. When we notice and are aware of how we feel, and how those feelings make us act, we can have sympathy and awareness for others. The first step is to do an emotions check in followed by a feelings check in. While similar, they both play a role in being aware of how we feel and the emotion terms associated with those feelings. We can then reflect on how others might feel when they are in a similar situation.

          This Quick as a Cricket activity will be a hit at your book club play date, or any day!  I loved the simplicity of our activity as it really went well with the simple rhyme of the book’s text.  

          How to teach kids' empathy? Make an empathy bracelet with empathy beads to show respect and awareness of other's feelings.  This busy bag activity is based on the book, Quick as a Cricket.

            This post contains affiliate links.  

          To discuss and learn more about empathy, we used just a few items. First, we read the book, Quick as a Cricket, (affiliate link) by Audrey Wood.   If you haven’t read this classic book, it’s one you definitely want to find!  

          The boy in the book discovers the characteristics of animals make up parts of himself.  The book has simple rhyming words and captures children’s attention.  It’s a great book to discuss self-awareness and feelings that make up all of us.  

          Quick as a Cricket activity for kids. Make a bead bracelet and talk about empathy, acceptance, and perspectives of others.

          Empathy Bracelets

          You’ll need just two items to make empathy bracelets with kids:

          1. Pipe cleaners
          2. Beads
          How to teach kids' empathy? Make an empathy bracelet with empathy beads to show respect and awareness of other's feelings.  This busy bag activity is based on the book, Quick as a Cricket.

          We grabbed a handful of colorful pipe cleaners.

          To make our empathy bracelets, we used a bunch of different colored beads. (affiliate link) Some of the beads were different shapes and sizes, and that fit in perfectly with our empathy talks.  

          People come in different shapes and sizes but we all have the same feelings inside!  

          To create the Quick as a Cricket (affiliate link) activity, I used our snap and stack (affiliate link) containers.  This worked great as a busy bag storage system so the kids could create bead bracelets whenever they wished as a quiet activity.  

          How to teach kids' empathy? Make an empathy bracelet with empathy beads to show respect and awareness of other's feelings.  This busy bag activity is based on the book, Quick as a Cricket.


          Before making the empathy bracelets, we read through the book once more.  

          We looked at each of the animals and talked about their color and found a bead that went along with the animal.  

          We discussed the feeling or description of the animal and how we sometimes show those feelings.  

          Then we made our bracelets.  It was fun to see how each of my kids made their bracelets differently.  One just plucked the beads from the bin and said the feeling that went along with that color.  

          Another flipped through the book and matched up beads to the animal.  

          Each empathy bracelet is different as it is made by a different child.  But, they all mean the same thing; they represent the feelings that we all share!  

          When you make these empathy bracelets, you could pull out colors to match the animals or feelings, or you could just let the child create as they wish.  It is completely up to you!    

          You can talk about empathy and kindness in many ways using activities with kids.  Mine loved this Little Blue and Little Yellow book activity to promote kindness, too.   

          Kids will love to wear their bracelets and fiddle with the beads.  As they fidget with the individual beads, they can remember the feeling that is associated with that bead.  They might see someone who is having a bad day and recognize the emotion.    

          Encourage empathetic respect of other’s feelings even when your child is not feeling that same way.  You can explain that not everyone has the same beads or colors of beads on their bracelet (or might not be wearing a bracelet!) but they still have those feelings and emotions inside of them.    

          How to teach kids' empathy? Make an empathy bracelet with empathy beads to show respect and awareness of other's feelings.  This busy bag activity is based on the book, Quick as a Cricket.

          Empathy Activities for Kids

          For fun and hands-on empathy activities for kids, grab our social emotional skills resource, Exploring Books Through Play: 50 Activities based on Books About Friendship, Acceptance, and Empathy, that explores friendship, acceptance, and empathy through popular (and amazing) children’s books!  It’s 50 hands-on activities that use math, fine motor skills, movement, art, crafts, and creativity to support social emotional development.    

          • Use plastic eggs to work on empathy by writing various scenarios on strips of paper. Kids can open an egg and state how they would feel in the scenario. This is a great group activity.
          • Use dolls and puppets. Act out scenarios and record the story on a phone or tablet. Kids can re-watch and describe the various feelings and how the characters felt and acted. 
          • For kids with autism, modeling, prompting, and reinforcement are strategies that can help.
          • Read books! These chapter books that teach empathy are great for the older kids or using as read-aloud books with the whole family. They are great ways to spark conversations about empathy. 
          • Writing about Friendship Slide Deck ‚Äď writing prompts, writing letters to friends, and handwriting activities to develop friendship skills, all on a free interactive Google slide deck.
          • Create a social story about specific events or tasks that involve other individuals. This can create options for the individual to use during a task and can help when there may be unexpected situations to navigate that lead to feelings of anxiety or worries leading up to a social situation or activity.

          • Children can benefit from perspectives of others, including through personal space. Use this Personal Space Friendship Skills Slide Deck as a tool to address body awareness and personal space among others. Friendship involves allowing personal space, and body awareness and all of this is part of the social skill development that some kids struggle with. Use this free Google slide deck to work on body awareness and personal space.
          • Here are five simple activities to teach empathy to preschoolers.
          • Pretend play is a wonderful way to teach empathy to young children. You can do this as an adult directed activity, through puppets or assigning roles to children during large group times. Encouraging a child child to be sad for a specific reason and having another child take care of them, will help children learn body language of others. 
          • Emotion activities that are available to complete on a daily basis, help children learn how to name different feelings in themselves and identify those feelings in others.
          • Friendship activities such as these friendship activities.
          • Using Book-related play activities- This digital download contains 50 hands-on, multi-sensory play-centered activities for anyone helping kids learn about friendship, acceptance, empathy, compassion, and differences in others. These activities encourage cooperation, negotiation and communication through play.
          Use this Quick as a Cricket activity to teach kids about feelings. It's a fun hands-on empathy activity for kids.

          More Quick as a Cricket Activities

          Expand on the empathy activities with other Quick as a Cricket activities that involve play and movement. First, pick up the book, Quick as a Cricket. (affiliate link) Then use the empathy beads activity here along with these functional activities to inspire development:

          Quick as a Cricket Snack from Craftulate can get kids busy in the kitchen building skills like executive functioning and fine motor skills.

          Quick as a Cricket Sensory Play from Still Playing School includes play and sensory based learning.

          Quick as a Cricket Art from Fun-a-Day inspires fine motor skills and motor development.

          hands-on activities to explore social emotional development through children's books.

          References on empathy skills

          Schrandt, J. A., Townsend, D. B., & Poulson, C. L. (2009). Teaching empathy skills to children with autism. Journal of applied behavior analysis42(1), 17‚Äď32. doi:10.1901/jaba.2009.42-17  

          What is Empathy?

          Empathy is the development of care for others. When I was young, my mom always told me to say ‚ÄúI‚Äôm sorry‚ÄĚ when I was in a conflict with my cousin. Sometimes I didn‚Äôt feel sorry (after all, he‚Äôs the one that took the ninja turtle from me first,) but I did what I was told. After a while, saying ‚ÄúI‚Äôm sorry‚ÄĚ felt repetitive with no actual meaning behind it. 

          Instead of teaching children to say ‚ÄúI‚Äôm sorry,‚ÄĚ what would happen if we helped our kids understand how another person is feeling, and respond with care for that person‚Äôs feelings. This is called empathy. 

          Empathy Development in Kids

          Did you know the ability to use and practice empathy in everyday situations is not a born skill and that there are actually specific and defined stages of empathy development? It’s true!

          There is real power to the development of empathy in the first five years of a child‚Äôs life. Not only do children need to understand who they are as a person, but how others feel. Empathy isn‚Äôt something that can be forced on a child, but it is something they can become familiar with and understand through adult support and play based activities. 

          stages of empathy development

          Here, we are covering the stages of empathy development and some activities that preschoolers can participate in, to understand and practice empathy. 

          Empathy is a complex skill that is learned over time.

          From the time a child is born, they open their eyes and notice that they aren‚Äôt the only being! There‚Äôs mom, dad, nurses and they all do everything possible to get the baby’s needs met. As a child grows, they are introduced to siblings, cousins, peers and other adults. Every interaction a child has, provides them with opportunities to understand social structure and engagement. 

          According to this article by Professor Martin L. Hoffman, the main theorist on the development of empathy in childhood, ‚Äúthere must be parallelism of feelings and affections with thoughts, moral principles, and behavioral tendencies.‚ÄĚ

          According to this article in ‚ÄúThe Matter of Style‚ÄĚ the 4 stages of empathy include the following:

          “ First stage (global empathy)

          It comprises the first year of a person’s life and consists of the fact that the child does not yet perceive others as different from himself. For this reason, the pain that he perceives in the other is confused with his own unpleasant feelings, as if it were happening to himself. For example, the baby who, on seeing his mother crying, dries his own eyes.

          Second stage (egocentric empathy)

          It corresponds to the second year of life, and the child is aware that it is the other person who is going through the unpleasant situation. However, she assumes that the internal states experienced by the other person are being felt by herself.

          Third stage of the child’s development of empathy (empathy for the feelings of others)

          It runs from the second to the third year. The child is aware that the feelings he experiences are different from those of the other person, and is able to respond to them in a non-self-centered way. At this point, she is already in a position to understand that the other person’s intentions and needs differ from her own and, therefore, that person’s emotions may also differ from her own. Thus, for example, she becomes able to console.

          Fourth Stage (empathy for the life condition of others)

          It comprises the final period of childhood. The feelings of others are perceived not only as reactions of the moment, but also as expressions of their general life experience. That is, they respond differently to transitory and chronic states of pain, since they take into consideration the general condition of the other.‚ÄĚ

          How to support empathy development in each stage

          Ages 0‚Äď12 Months:  Supporting strong, secure attachments in infants, is essential at this age. As children learn that others are understanding how they are feeling, and are supported by getting their needs met, babies learn that their emotions and feelings can be understood by other, even before they can talk. 

          Ages 1‚Äď3 years: To help toddlers develop empathy, describe their feelings to them, and the feelings of others around them. This is helpful when they are engaging in play with other kids, as toddlers have a harder time managing their emotions. For example, ‚ÄúWhen Sandy was sad, it was so nice that you gave her some ice to help her leg feel better.‚ÄĚ 

          Ages 3‚Äď5 years: In the preschool years, children are learning how to respond to their feelings and the feelings of others. Adults can support empathy development by asking open ended questions and providing concrete ways for children to calm down and express their feelings. Through using emotional tools such as pretend play-based activities, children are able to regulate their feelings and learn how to communicate their needs to others.

          A 6 year old boy recently saw his 3 year old brother become upset because he couldn‚Äôt climb as high on the play structure. The 6 year old could use toys to help his brother and asked him if he needed help calming down. Once calm, his brother helped his 3 year old get a step stool so he could reach the rung on the bottom of the play structure. 

          The social and emotional measures in this preschool rating scale, includes empathy goals for children ages 19 months and up. As empathy development becomes a focus in Early Childhood and essential for Kindergarten readiness, teachers and parents are looking for more easy to teach empathy through play. 

          A final note on empathy

          Empathy is something that isn‚Äôt taught to children, but a skill developed over time. Starting with strong, positive attachments in early childhood. When children have the opportunities to practice developing their social skills by being provided a variety of opportunities to engage in play throughout early childhood, their empathy grows exponentially. Adults can support the development of empathy in early childhood by asking open ended questions, creating opportunities for children to practice developing friendships through play, and providing children with concrete ways to respond to big feelings in themselves and others. 

          Bedtime Relaxation Stretches for Kids

          Relaxation stretches for bedtime

          In this post, you will find calming bedtime relaxation stretches for kids and families, based on the popular children’s book, Time for Bed. These activities are perfect for helping kids calm down before bed. We know the power of sleep hygiene in child development, but let’s consider the powerful impact of stretches before bed have on children.

          Relaxation Stretches for Kids Sleep

          An important thing to cover when it comes to helping children fall asleep and stay asleep at night is the concept of pre-bedtime yoga. When kids participate in bedtime stretches as part of their bedtime routine, it’s a sensory diet that supports sleep.

          relaxation stretches for bed time
          Use animal theme yoga poses to support relaxation at bedtime.

          One thing that we’ll cover here is the impact that the interoception sensory system has on sleep.

          Related is our resource on the role occupational therapy professionals can play in sleep for the whole family, when it comes to supporting a baby or newborn not sleeping.

          Relaxation Stretches for Kids Sleep

          An important thing to cover when it comes to helping children fall asleep and stay asleep at night is the concept of pre-bedtime yoga. When kids participate in bedtime stretches as part of their bedtime routine, it’s a sensory diet that supports sleep.

          I love to bring this concept together for kids by first talking about how everyone needs sleep. Kids, adults, and even pets and animals. Sleep supports growth, learning, and allows our brains to rest. You can even use a few of our hibernation activities to take this concept further with kids, depending on the interest level.

          Use these relaxation stretches for bedtime to incorporate calming sensory input.

          One thing that we’ll cover here is the impact of the interoception sensory system has on sleep.

          Children can get a little wound up before bed.  All it takes is one rouge energy burst and you’ve got giggling kids bouncing from every surface imaginable.  

          Couch cushions? check. They are jumping up and down.  

          Running from room to room? Check. There’s two of them chasing one another back and forth will the occasional knee slide across the hardwoods.  

          Practicing the living room tumbling skills? Yep and check. There’s one more doing somersaults across the room.

          Why must they gang up on me with their endless energy during those exhausting pre-bedtime hours?

          Having a set of bedtime relaxation stretches in the nightly routine can support sensory needs and promote a sense of calm before bedtime, just when children are wound up and excitable.

          benefits of stretching before bed

          We know that sleep is a necessary occupation for all of us, but for children sleep patterns and healthy sleep cycles support so many aspects of development.

          • Cognition
          • Learning
          • Behavior
          • Nutrition
          • Emotional development
          • Social development

          When children don’t get enough hours of sleep, or if they don’t get quality sleep on a consistent basis, there are several things that can occur:

          • Poor focus
          • Trouble concentrating
          • Attention and behavior problems
          • Poor academic performance in school
          • Excess weight or increased food intake
          • Problems paying attention
          • Health problems: obesity, type 2 diabetes, poor mental health, and injuries
          • Decreased physical activity
          • Poor mental health
          • Unhealthy risky behaviors related to decision-making
          • Risk-taking behaviors, bullying, school violence-related behaviors, and physical fighting
          • Higher risk of unintentional injury

          There are several studies describing the benefits of stretching before bed. Kids can benefit from a pre-bedtime stretching sessions to integrate sensory processing systems and the calming benefits of slow movement, heavy work as a regulation tool. This calms the body and helps with relaxation before bed.

          Stretching before bed supports sleep quality. One review of multiple studies found that mindfulness meditation practices that incorporate gentle stretching, such as yoga and tai chi, generally improve sleep quality.

          Another study found that older adults reported improved sleep quality after performing low level physical and cognitive activity. The researchers found that gentle stretching resulted in better sleep than when the participants performed more strenuous exercises, such as aerobics.

          Bedtime stretches help kids stay asleep. A study into resistance exercise training and stretching found that exercises could improve symptoms of insomnia. In the study, the participants performed stretching in 60-minute sessions three times per week for a period of 4 months. The results showed improved sleep quality when stretching in the evening.

          Better sleep supports learning and executive functioning skills. Other studies tell us that better sleep hygiene in children support development of executive functioning skills.

          yoga poses for stress relief

          Today, I’m sharing a great way to calm kids down before bed so that quality sleep is possible. These yoga poses for stress relief and bedtime relaxation promote organizing heavy work through the proprioceptive sensory system and gentle movement through the vestibular sensory system.

          Another contributing factor is the interoceptive system which connects our internal systems such as digestion, heart rate, circadian rhythms, and muscle tension. All of these factors play a vital role in impacting sleep, with both the ability to fall asleep, and the ability to stay asleep throughout the night. This study shares more on the interoceptive system’s role in sleep.

          These organizing and calming yoga poses stretch the muscles and joints to offer feedback to regulate an overactive system.

          If you’ve ever participated in a yoga session, you know the benefits of certain yoga poses in reducing stress and anxiety.

          It’s important to make the connection between stress responses, anxiety, over-active thoughts, and a hyper-response to stimulation and emotional responses. The difficulty in identifying and describing emotions in self (a huge part of social emotional learning and development) is referred to as Alexithymia.

          This ability develop social emotional skills occurs with age, and social skills interventions.

          Specifically, alexithymia is defined as difficulty identifying and describing emotions in self. We know that noticing and understanding internal body signals (aka interoception) is crucial to a bodily systems, so it makes sense that if interoception is affected, using or showing emotions, and identifying emotions in self will be affected.

          Interoception influences emotions by it’s control and underlying influence on internal processes of the body: toileting, hunger, thirst, and sleep!

          When interoception impacts sleep, it then further impacts emotions:

          • stress
          • getting angry or frustrated easily
          • anxiety
          • fear
          • worry
          • overly emotional responses
          • sadness
          • over-excitability
          • hyperactive responses

          All of these emotional responses are normal and good feelings to experience. However, when sleep is reduced, they can move into an area of impacting other functional tasks or everyday occupations.

          You’ll also find information and resources in this article on the limbic system including the stress response. You can see how all of these concepts fit together to impact daily functioning.

          How to use yoga poses for stress relief with children

          Using yoga to support relaxation at bedtime is not a new concept. Yoga naturally supports relaxation through the heavy work input of the proprioceptive sense.

          However, yoga also adds the benefit of deep breathing exercises to calm and center the body as an organization tool.

          When it comes to bedtime, adding anything to the nightly routine can mean a delayed bedtime, so making the relaxation stretches part of the routine that is already in place is important. If you read a book together each night, incorporate stretches into that. If brushing teeth and going to the bathroom are the only tasks that happen each night, use the time just after those jobs to do a few stretches.

          Adding bedtime stretches for the purpose of relaxation doesn’t need to be difficult. The most important thing here is to make it work for your situation and home. down the somersaults and hardwood floor stunts into relaxing bedtime.  

          Here are some tips to support relaxation at bedtime:

          • Use bedtime relaxation stretches in a nightly routine. A visual schedule can be helpful with some kids.
          • Dim the lights and turn on soothing music
          • Read a book before bed
          • Drink a warm drink as a calming food/sensory tool.
          • Set the mood for sleep with a calming bedroom or sleep space: snuggly blankets, cozy pillows, or cool temperature, depending on the individual’s preferences.
          • Use the relaxation stretches listed below.

          One way that helps to get kids relaxed before bed is reading a great book.  When kids can listen to an engaging story that is read aloud, their bodies can’t help but slow down.  

          Bedtime Relaxation Stretches for Kids

          These bedtime relaxation stretches are a combination of relaxing yoga moves and heavy work that helps to ground the body through proprioceptive input to the body’s sensory receptors in the muscles. 

          Performing these relaxing stretches can help transition kids to a calmed state that allows for a better sleep.

          Below are forms of yoga poses for children.

          We decided to use one of our favorite going to bed books, (Amazon affiliate link) Mem Fox’s Time for Bed

          In the book, we hear a rhyming verse about each animal’s transition to sleep.  It’s such a beautiful book to snuggle up with kids during night time routines.  In fact, Time for Bed can easily become one of those books that you read over and over again.

          We loved looking at the watercolor pictures in Time for Bed and picturing each animal as it got ready for sleep.  

          To go along with the book, we tried some of these bedtime relaxation stretches. 

          Grab your copy of the free printable below by entering your email address into the form, or going to The OT Toolbox Member’s Club and heading to the Mindfulness Toolbox.

          Time for Bed book by Mem Fox and relaxation stretches for bedtime

          To do these exercises, simply cut out the printable on the lines, and create a small stack of stretches.  Kids can do one or more of these relaxation stretches to calm down before settling in with the Time for Bed book. (affiliate link)

          Simply pull out a couple of the stretches and join your child on the floor to perform each stretch.  The stretches are designed based on the animals in the book.  

          When doing the stretches, hold the stretch for 2-3 minutes while maintaining deep breathing. 

          Bedtime relaxation stretches
          Print off these relaxation stretches for a bedtime calm down session for kids.

          As we all know, kids will be kids.  If your child is getting too wound up from the stretches (because sometimes the sleepy sillies take over and make concentrating on stretches and relaxing deep breaths nearly impossible!) simply put the stretches away and try them another day.

          Bedtime stretches with an animal theme
          Relaxation stretch for kids, incorporating yoga poses for stress, anxiety, or to calm down before bed.

          Your child will love doing these bedtime relaxation stretches with you and the whole family!

          Bedtime stretches to do before bed

          Little Goose Stretch– Lie on the floor on your back, with your feet raised up on the wall.  Keep your knees straight.  Spread your arms out on the floor like a goose.  Bend and point your toes slowly.

          Little Cat Stretch– Snuggle in tight!  Sit criss cross applesauce on the floor.  Bend forward at the hips and place your head on the ground.  Stretch your arms out on the floor over your head.

          Little Calf Stretch– Grasp both hands together behind your back.  Bend forward at the hips and raise your arms up behind you.

          Little Foal Stretch– Lie on your back and pull your knees in with your arms.  Hold the position and whisper about your day.

          Little Fish Stretch–  Take a deep breath. Hold your breath in your cheeks and puff out those cheeks.  Slowly let out your breath with pursed lips.

          Little Sheep Stretch–  Stand facing a wall and place your feet shoulder width apart.  Place your hands flat on the wall, shoulder width apart.  Push against the wall by bending and straightening your elbows.

          Little Bird Stretch–  Close your eyes.  Think about your day and take deep breaths.  Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.  Add a “wing” component by raising your arms up high as you breathe in and lowering them as you slowly breathe out.

          Little Snake Stretch–  Lie on your back on the floor.  Keep your legs straight and cross them at the ankles.  Place your arms over your head on the floor.  Cross them at the wrists.  

          Little Pup Stretch–  Get into a downward dog yoga position.  

          Little Deer Stretch– Sit on the floor with your legs straight. Spread them far apart and bend at the hips to touch one foot.  Hold it and then stretch to touch the other foot.

          Try this tonight!  Do a few stretches and then snuggle up while reading Time for Bed! (affiliate link)

          Calming bedtime books for kids

          MORE relaxing bedtime books for kids

          These relaxing bedtime books for kids are other ideas to use to support calming sensory input in a relaxation bedtime routine:

          Amazon affiliate links are included below:

          Free Printable set of relaxation stretches for bedtime

          Use the Time For Bed book and relaxation stretches we used above in a bedtime routine of your own. Get a printable PDF of these stretches by entering your email address into the form below. Or, members in The OT Toolbox membership club can grab this PDF by logging in and heading to Brain Break Tools.

          Free Time For Bed Relaxation Stretches

            We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at anytime.

            One more thing! If you are into creative ways to extend and learn based on books, you will LOVE this resource! 50 activities based on books that address friendship, acceptance, emotions…This ebook is amazing for covering all things emotional development through play!

            Get yours!  

            Read more about the book here.

            Exploring Books through Play helps kids develop fine motor skills and gross motor skills while learning about empathy and compassion.

            Libros de circo para ni√Īos

            Nos encanta ir a la biblioteca y llenar nuestra bolsa con un mont√≥n de libros nuevos (para nosotros). Muchas veces vamos con un tema cuando cogemos nuestros libros. Muchas veces, no lo hacemos tambi√©n y nos limitamos a coger lo que vemos de las estanter√≠as. Con el verano a la vuelta de la esquina y la llegada de los carnavales (y el circo) a muchos barrios/ciudades, hemos pensado que ser√≠a divertido explorar el circo a trav√©s de los libros. Incluso si no tiene la oportunidad de visitar el circo, es divertido leer sobre los animales, los artistas, los lugares de inter√©s y mucho m√°s en tantos libros estupendos. Algunos los hemos le√≠do y otros est√°n en nuestra lista de lecturas obligadas. ¬ŅTiene alg√ļn libro favorito de tem√°tica circense?

            Este post contiene anuncios de afiliados. Las compras realizadas a través de estos enlaces apoyan este blog.

            Libros de tem√°tica circense para ni√Īos

            Libros de circo para un campamento tem√°tico de circo o una EBV para ni√Īos

            Si yo dirigiera el circo
            del Dr. Seuss es un libro clásico del Dr. Seuss con palabras disparatadas basadas en un circo de la imaginación.

            Clifford en el circo

            por Norman Bridwell
            ¡Nos encantan todos los libros de Clifford y este libro de temática circense con nuestro perro rojo favorito no es una excepción!

            Ver el circo
            por H.A. Ray
            Un estupendo libro de “Levantar la solapa” que cuestiona al lector sobre las cosas que se pueden encontrar en el circo.

            Olivia salva el circo por Ian Falconer Olivia la Cerda salva el circo cuando todos los artistas est√°n enfermos. Un favorito en nuestra casa, este es un libro de Olivia que nos encanta¬°!

            Circo por
            Lois Ehlert Este es uno de esos libros de la biblioteca que sacamos una y otra vez. Nosotros Me encantan los atrevidos colores de este libro de circo y las llamativas ilustraciones de nuestras haza√Īas circenses favoritas.

            T√ļ ves un circo, yo veo…
            Mike Downs ¬°Disfruta del circo a trav√©s de los ojos de un ni√Īo cuya familia dirige el circo!

            La se√Īorita Bindergarten planea un circo con el jard√≠n de infancia
            por Joseph Slate Los libros de Miss Bindergarten son muy divertidos de leer y este libro con temática de circo no es una excepción.

            El circo de Harold
            Crockett Johnson Harold explora el circo y despierta la imaginación.

            Acto de circo de Jorge el Curioso
            H.A. Ray George vuelve a hacer sus curiosas travesuras cuando visita el circo y aprende a caminar por la cuerda floja.

            El oso Paddington en el circo
            Michael Bond

            Los libros que nos gustan:

            Tambi√©n te puede interesar nuestro tablero de Pinterest dedicado a los libros para ni√Īos. Nos encantan los grandes libros infantiles y una manualidad o actividad que los acompa√Īe. Echa un vistazo a este tablero de pines para encontrar mucha inspiraci√≥n:
            Actividades prácticas para explorar el desarrollo socioemocional a través de los libros infantiles.

            ¬ŅLe gusta explorar los libros con juegos pr√°cticos?

            Hazte con nuestro NUEVO libro,
            Explorando los libros a través del juego: 50 actividades basadas en libros sobre la amistad, la aceptación y la empatía
            que explora la amistad, la aceptación y la empatía a través de populares (y sorprendentes) libros infantiles. Son 50 actividades prácticas que utilizan las matemáticas, la motricidad fina, el movimiento, el arte, las manualidades y la creatividad para favorecer el desarrollo socioemocional.

            Libros sobre los hermanos

            ¬ŅTiene un nuevo beb√© en casa? Tal vez se est√© preparando para que el nuevo peque√Īo se sume a la diversi√≥n familiar en la casa. Un nuevo beb√© puede suponer un gran cambio en cualquier hogar. Utiliza estos libros sobre hermanos para ayudar a los hermanos mayores a adaptarse al cambio que supone un nuevo beb√©.

            Libros para los nuevos hermanos

            Tenemos un ni√Īo de 6 a√Īos, otro de 4 y otro de 2, y estamos esperando que se nos una el nuevo peque√Īo. Todos los d√≠as escucho a las se√Īoras del supermercado/preescolar/consulta m√©dica lo llenas que tengo las manos ūüėČ Oh, s√≠. ¬°Esto lo s√©! Pero por muy llenas que est√©n mis manos (y las cestas de la ropa, las listas de tareas y los carros de la compra…), mi coraz√≥n est√° m√°s lleno. Estoy tan bendecida de tener a estos tres y pronto a CUATRO peque√Īos pu√Īados.

            Verlos jugar es muy divertido. Estos ni√Īos tienen el asunto de los hermanos bajo control… hay colaboraciones en escenarios muy imaginativos que ocurren diariamente. Construyen fortalezas al aire libre, se manchan de barro y de hierba y construyen recuerdos. Por supuesto que se pelean entre ellos. Es decir, son hermanos. Se producen peleas y tormentos a diario. Todo forma parte de la familia.

            Algo que nos encanta hacer en familia es visitar nuestra biblioteca local. Amamos a nuestros bibliotecarios del departamento infantil y nos llevamos a casa una gran pila de libros cada semana. √öltimamente, hemos sacado libros de la estanter√≠a con un tema similar… ¬°Hermanos y hermanas! Con la llegada del nuevo beb√©, ¬Ņqu√© mejor tema para leer que los libros de hermanos?

            Estos son nuestros libros favoritos para hermanos que hemos estado leyendo una y otra vez √ļltimamente. Algunos los tenemos, y otros los hemos sacado de la biblioteca. Todos ellos son fant√°sticos para presentar a un nuevo beb√© a la familia, o simplemente para celebrar a los hermanos y hermanas.

            {Este post contiene enlaces de afiliados. Es decir, este blog recibirá una compensación monetaria cuando se realicen compras a través de los enlaces de este post. Nuestras opiniones e ideas no se ven afectadas en absoluto. Puede leer nuestra política de divulgación completa aquí. Como siempre, os agradecemos vuestro apoyo y comunidad aquí en Sugar Aunts}

            Libros sobre hermanos y hermanas

            Hermana mayor y hermana menor

            por Charlotte Zolotow

            ¬ŅTiene alg√ļn libro favorito sobre hermanos y hermanas?