Baseball and Softball Activity

baseball and softball activity

Today I have a fun baseball and softball activity to add to your therapy toolbox. This interactive therapy slide deck goes really well with our other baseball activity (perfect for softball themed fun, too!); this baseball matching game.

Fun baseball and softball activity is a free slide deck for therapy that addresses handwriting skills, with an interactive Connect 4 game.

Baseball and softball activity

This baseball and softball activity is a digital connect four game is a lot like our other more recent digital connect four game with a space thing.

However this online connect four game has a baseball and softball theme that fits perfectly with the interest of many of the kids we work with.

Kids that love baseball or softball will love this Connect 4 game that actually addresses therapy goal areas and functional tasks, such as handwriting, letter formation, number formation, eye-hand coordination, visual scanning, visual memory, working memory, visual attention, and more.

Baseball & Softball Writing Activity

When you use it in Google slides the game is interactive, allowing kids to move the baseball and softball game pieces to play Connect Four.

This is just one of the many free slide decks available here on the site. Be sure to grab them all!

Because users can select the baseball or the softball game pieces, and then move them to cover spaces and play traditional Connect 4 games.

There is also a slide with letters on each space on the board. When players move their piece to cover that letter, they can write the letter focusing on letter formation. Expand the activity to ask kids to write a word that begins with that letter, or to write a sentence containing words that only begin with that letter. The game is very open-ended to meet the needs of all levels of students.

You’ll also find a game board containing numbers. Use this to work on number formation. OR, incorporate gross motor movement, balance, coordination, motor planning, and ask kids to do that number of a specific task, like jumping jacks, hops, skips, etc.

The online connect four game can be played with a therapist or another person and each participant can move the game pieces. Kids that love baseball or softball will love this virtual connect four game!

All of these are fun ways to address letter and number formation with an interactive and engaging activity.

Want to add this baseball themed activity or softball themed activity to your therapy Toolbox? Enter your email address into the form below to receive this interactive slide deck. It can be a great tool for a virtual therapy sessions teletherapy or face-to-face therapy activities. Consider even using this in-home or brain break activities in the classroom or at home.

To receive this free interactive connect four game enter your email address into the form below and it will be delivered to your email address via PDF.

FREE Baseball & Softball Digital Connect 4 Game

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    Also add our recent baseball emotions spot it matching game for your baseball theme in therapy.

    Colleen Beck, OTR/L is an occupational therapist with 20 years experience, graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. As the creator, author, and owner of the website and its social media channels, Colleen strives to empower those serving kids of all levels and needs. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

    Spring Worksheets for Fine Motor Skills and Handwriting

    Spring worksheets

    How would you like some free Spring worksheets? Today, I have a fun freebie that I’m excited to get into the hands of little ones. Here’s why: These Spring worksheets are a powerhouse in building fine motor skills. Kids can use play dough to build the fine motor strength they need to hold and write with a pencil, color, and complete fine motor activities all with more dexterity, precision, and endurance!

    Spring worksheets to help kids with fine motor skills, handwriting, and letter formation.

    Spring Worksheets

    These printable worksheets are great for using in school based occupational therapy sessions, because you can cover a variety of OT goal areas:

    • Fine motor skills
    • Eye-hand coordination
    • Handwriting
    • Letter formation
    • Letter spacing
    • Letter size
    • Coloring

    Spring Worksheets for Fine Motor Skills

    Here’s how these Spring printable pages work: Kids can first roll a die (Great for in-hand manipulation, arch development, and separation of the sides of the hand!)

    Then, they can use play dough to create that same number of balls of play dough. Be sure to ask kids to use just the fingertips for this part of the activiyt. Using the fingertips to roll balls of play dough is a powerful strengthening activity.

    Using the finger tips and thumb of one hand at a time to roll a play dough ball is an intrinsic muscle workout that builds the muscles of the thenar eminence, hypothenar eminence, the interossei, and the lumbricals. All of these muscle groups make up the intrinsic hand muscles which are those located within the hands.  

    We talked about this more in a post on building intrinsic hand strength using play dough.

    Read about more fine motor activities using play dough here.

    Spring worksheets for Handwriting

    After working out the hands and getting them warmed-up for writing, the page asks kids to then write on the lines. I’ve left the writing portion open-ended so that kids can write words, letters, numbers, or sentences, based on their level, skills, and age.

    The Spring themed worksheets come with a flower style and a fun snail activity page. But, each printable sheet is available in three different writing lines styles:

    • Double ruled lines
    • Single ruled lines
    • Double ruled lines with a highlighted bottom space

    Print off these worksheets, slide them into a page protector sheet and start building those fine motor skills!

    Free Spring Worksheet Set

    Want to add this set of worksheets to your therapy toolbox? Enter your email address into the form below to access. NOTE- Due to changes in security levels, users have reported trouble accessing free resources when using a school district or organization email address. Consider using a personal email address.

    FREE Spring Worksheets for Fine Motor and Handwriting

      We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at anytime.

      For more play dough activities and fine motor worksheets, grab the Spring Fine Motor Kit:

      Spring Fine Motor Kit

      Score Fine Motor Tools and resources and help kids build the skills they need to thrive!

      Developing hand strength, dexterity, dexterity, precision skills, and eye-hand coordination skills that kids need for holding and writing with a pencil, coloring, and manipulating small objects in every day task doesn’t need to be difficult. The Spring Fine Motor Kit includes 100 pages of fine motor activities, worksheets, crafts, and more:

      Spring fine motor kit set of printable fine motor skills worksheets for kids.
      • Lacing cards
      • Sensory bin cards
      • Hole punch activities
      • Pencil control worksheets
      • Play dough mats
      • Write the Room cards
      • Modified paper
      • Sticker activities
      • MUCH MORE

      Click here to add this resource set to your therapy toolbox.

      Spring Fine Motor Kit
      Spring Fine Motor Kit: TONS of resources and tools to build stronger hands.

      Grab your copy of the Spring Fine Motor Kit and build coordination, strength, and endurance in fun and creative activities. Click here to add this resource set to your therapy toolbox.

      Colleen Beck, OTR/L is an occupational therapist with 20 years experience, graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. As the creator, author, and owner of the website and its social media channels, Colleen strives to empower those serving kids of all levels and needs. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

      Eye-Hand Coordination Activity

      Eye hand coordination activity

      This eye hand coordination activity is an easy one to set up and can use the materials you have in your home. We used a flower ice cube tray and some craft materials, as well as a recycled scoop to work on eye-hand coordination skills, but the motor activity is very open ended. Let’s discuss hand eye coordination and a few ways to work on this skill area.

      Development of hand-eye coordination is an important place to begin.

      Our movements are guided by vision.  In order for our brains to coordinate a motor plan for a particular task, we need visual input for accuracy.  

      Eye hand coordination activity to help kids with refined motor coordination skills.

      Eye Hand Coordination Activity 

      Visual motor skills or eye-hand coordination impacts our dexterity and motor movements for so many tasks:  handwriting, scissor use, threading beads, reading a paragraph, throwing a ball, placing a cup on a shelf, coloring in lines, and pouring milk into a bowl are just a few skills that require coordination of the vision and hands.    

      If eye hand coordination skills are lacking, then these areas of function will be difficult to do with ease.  Learning, social interactions, and independence in tasks can be limited as a result.  That’s a pretty clear a reason to look at eye-hand coordination when there seem to be “bigger picture” problems. 

       

      What is eye-hand coordination and how does this skill impact "big picture" tasks like reading, writing, fine motor skills, and gross motor skills?  This easy, low-prep eye hand coordination activity can help.
       

      Scooping and Pouring and eye hand coordination

      This scooping activity is a simple way to work on the eye-hand coordination needed for coordinated movements of the hands in relation to visual input.  An activity as simple as scooping beads can help children (and adults addressing physical disabilities!) to improve their visual motor integration.  

      This post contains affiliate links.   We used  a HUGE bin of seed beads and a flower ice cube tray. This is a similar tray. It was a tray of 10 flowers, making it perfect for counting to ten with my toddler and preschooler and working on ten frame math facts with my kindergartner.    

      What is eye-hand coordination and how does this skill impact "big picture" tasks like reading, writing, fine motor skills, and gross motor skills?  This easy, low-prep eye hand coordination activity can help.

      I added a couple of small scoops to our beads.  These scoops came from dry laundry detergent and were the perfect size for scooping the beads into each flower.  

      Scooping and pouring the beads into each flower, one at a time works on eye hand coordination to make sure the beads fall into the flowers and not over the edge of the ice cube tray.  

      What is eye-hand coordination and how does this skill impact "big picture" tasks like reading, writing, fine motor skills, and gross motor skills?  This easy, low-prep eye hand coordination activity can help.

      How to improve eye hand coordination

      Scooping and pouring a material that “pours” is an eye hand coordination activity that helps to refine fine motor skills and motor planning. For children, setting up a scooping activity like the one described here can be graded to make the task more difficult, or easier. Different grades of scooping activities can be more difficult because there is less weight (pouring flour compared to sand) or more mobility ( scooping and pouring liquid compared higher viscosity of the materials.)

      In our scooping and pouring eye hand coordination activity, the beads are smaller and rounder, adding more of a challenge in coordinating the scoop and accuracy of pouring. To further grade this activity, different sizes of scoops can be used, and different sizes of containers to pour the material into.

      Make sure your child is scooping beads into one section of the ice tray at a time.  They need to intentionally fill one section while trying to keep the beads in that section.  If the beads are falling over the edge of the ice cube tray and into other sections, it’s not working on eye-hand coordination.   

      More eye hand coordination activities

      Looking for more creative ways to build eye hand coordination?

      Want more flower activities? Try these: Parts of a Flower Free Resources from Something 2 Offer Fun Garden Center Scavenger Hunt for Kids {Free Printable} from Crafty Mama in ME Flower Dissection from Schooling a Monkey Gross Motor Flower Number Line Adventures of Adam How to Plant Flowers with Your Kids from Living Life and Learning Flower Art for Kindergarten from Kidz Activities Flower Addition Clip Cards from Simple Fun for Kids

      Spring Fine Motor Kit

      Score Fine Motor Tools and resources and help kids build the skills they need to thrive!

      Developing hand strength, dexterity, dexterity, precision skills, and eye-hand coordination skills that kids need for holding and writing with a pencil, coloring, and manipulating small objects in every day task doesn’t need to be difficult. The Spring Fine Motor Kit includes 100 pages of fine motor activities, worksheets, crafts, and more:

      Spring fine motor kit set of printable fine motor skills worksheets for kids.
      • Lacing cards
      • Sensory bin cards
      • Hole punch activities
      • Pencil control worksheets
      • Play dough mats
      • Write the Room cards
      • Modified paper
      • Sticker activities
      • MUCH MORE

      Click here to add this resource set to your therapy toolbox.

      Spring Fine Motor Kit
      Spring Fine Motor Kit: TONS of resources and tools to build stronger hands.

      Grab your copy of the Spring Fine Motor Kit and build coordination, strength, and endurance in fun and creative activities. Click here to add this resource set to your therapy toolbox.

      Colleen Beck, OTR/L is an occupational therapist with 20 years experience, graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. As the creator, author, and owner of the website and its social media channels, Colleen strives to empower those serving kids of all levels and needs. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

      Flower Visual Motor Therapy Slide Deck

      Flower visual motor exercises for therapy

      This week’s occupational therapy theme is flowers and so today, I have a free flower visual motor therapy slide deck for you. In this free Google slide deck, you’ll find various aspects of visual motor skill work. With the official start of Spring, flowers are starting to pop up all over, so if the daffodils, lilies, and tulips make you smile, these visual motor flower activities are sure to brighten your therapy session!

      Flower visual motor therapy exercises for therapy

      Flower visual motor therapy activities

      If you are looking for Spring occupational therapy activities to help kids develop skills, this flower visual motor slide deck is it. Add this virtual therapy activity to some hands on flower activities and you’ve got a therapy plan for the week. It’s a great way to make a weekly occupational therapy plan and use the same activities again and again all week, saving yourself time and planning hours. Simply adjust each activity to meet the needs of each child on your therapy caseload to work on their specific goals.

      Flower visual motor activities for occupational therapy teletherapy sessions with a free Google slide deck for therapy.

      As you know, visual processing breaks down into smaller components that all work together to allow us to take in visual information, process that input, and complete motor operations so we can complete functional tasks. Visual motor skills include eye-hand coordination, visual perception, and visual skills like tracing, convergence, and other skill areas. All of these aspects of visual processing are important parts of performing day to day occupations.

      That’s why I created this flower theme therapy slide deck that includes different vison exercises.

      In the slide deck, you’ll find pre-writing line activities that ask the user to trace along the forms using a movable flower icon. This eye-hand coordination task requires visual tracking, visual attention, and motor integration with visual input.

      Work on visual motor skills with this flower theme slide deck in occupational therapy.

      Also, the slide deck includes copying activities. Users can copy the simple and more complex flower forms as they challenge aspects of visual motor skills that are needed for handwriting and math tasks.

      There is a handwriting portion as well. Kids can trace the letters on the slide deck using the movable flower piece. This makes the slide deck interactive, as they can work on mouse work, use of a stylus, or finger isolation to trace the flower along the letter. Then, the slide asks them to write words or phrases so they can incorporate handwriting work.

      Then finally, the slide deck includes several visual perception activities. Kids can complete each slide, typing or writing out their responses as they work on skills like visual discrimination, form constancy, visual memory, figure-ground, etc. All of these visual perceptual skills play a role in visual motor tasks that we perform on a daily basis.

      Free Flower Therapy Slide Deck

      Want to add this free slide deck to your therapy toolbox? Use it in teletherapy sessions, home activities to work on visual motor skills and visual processing, and to make therapy planning easier!

      Enter your email address into the form below to add this slide deck to your Google drive account.

      NOTE- Due to an increase in security measures, many readers utilizing a work or school district email address have had difficulty accessing downloads from the delivery email. Consider using a personal email address and forwarding the download to your work account.

      Flower Visual Motor Activities Slide Deck!

        We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at anytime.

        Spring Fine Motor Kit

        Score Fine Motor Tools and resources and help kids build the skills they need to thrive!

        Developing hand strength, dexterity, dexterity, precision skills, and eye-hand coordination skills that kids need for holding and writing with a pencil, coloring, and manipulating small objects in every day task doesn’t need to be difficult. The Spring Fine Motor Kit includes 100 pages of fine motor activities, worksheets, crafts, and more:

        Spring fine motor kit set of printable fine motor skills worksheets for kids.
        • Lacing cards
        • Sensory bin cards
        • Hole punch activities
        • Pencil control worksheets
        • Play dough mats
        • Write the Room cards
        • Modified paper
        • Sticker activities
        • MUCH MORE

        Click here to add this resource set to your therapy toolbox.

        Spring Fine Motor Kit
        Spring Fine Motor Kit: TONS of resources and tools to build stronger hands.

        Grab your copy of the Spring Fine Motor Kit and build coordination, strength, and endurance in fun and creative activities. Click here to add this resource set to your therapy toolbox.

        Colleen Beck, OTR/L is an occupational therapist with 20 years experience, graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. As the creator, author, and owner of the website and its social media channels, Colleen strives to empower those serving kids of all levels and needs. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

        Polar Bear Sensory Bin

        Use a polar bear sensory bin for occupational therapy interventions

        This polar bear sensory bin is an old one from The OT Toolbox site archives. This tactile sensory activity is a fun way to challenge sensory exploration with a variety of textures and materials. But more than that, this polar bear activity can be used in a therapy theme to address skills. The next part of the polar bear gross motor activity included a Our Polar Bear Sensory bin was cotton batting, tinsel, a stuffed polar bear, and a seal toy.  Little Guy glued some waxed paper to blue construction paper to make an ocean covered with ice.  We had a striped Christmas pencil for our “North Pole”. 

        Polar bear sensory bin

        Polar Bear Sensory Bin Materials

        There are many ways to set up this sensory bin. Use items you have in your home or therapy space. Use some of the materials listed below. You DO NOT need all of these items. The nice thing about creating a themed sensory bin is that you can use what you have on hand. Some ideas for the sensory bin include:

        • Container or bin
        • Teddy bear
        • Tinsel
        • Cotton balls
        • Cotton batting
        • Tissue paper
        • Rice
        • Dry beans
        • Blue or white construction paper
        • Tape
        • Wax paper
        • Clear cellophane
        • Aluminum foil
        • Arctic animal figures
        Make a polar bear sensory bin with figures, and sensory materials.

        Other materials that you may want to add to the polar bear sensory bin to encourage fine motor skills and coordination skills:

        • Tweezers to pick up and manipulate materials
        • Small bowls
        • Tongs
        • Spoons or scoops
        • Chopsticks
        • Pickle picker
        • Containers
        • Counting cards (try the winter themed ones in the Winter Fine Motor Kit)

        Fine Motor Skills in a Sensory Bin

        Using the materials and tools above, students can work on fine motor skills to manipulate and explore the items in the sensory bin. Some ways to work on fine motor skills include:

        Address in-hand manipulation by sorting items in the hands into containers or cups.

        Work on hand strength and arch development by moving items with tongs, tweezers, or pickle picker.

        Work on open thumb web space by pinching and pulling cotton balls.

        Work on finger isolation by moving materials and items around in the bin.

        Work on grasp and precision by picking up small items such as tinsel, mini-erasers, crumbled paper or tissue paper, etc.

        Use a Sensory Bin for Visual Perception

        This polar bear sensory bin can be used to address a variety of visual perceptual skills: visual discrimination, visual memory, visual attention, figure ground, and visual closure.

        Ask children to locate specific items by color or texture. They can also recall items that they found in the sensory bin. Ask kids to locate items that are partially hidden by other objects or sensory bin filler materials. These are all ways to work on visual perceptual skills with this polar bear sensory bin.

        Use a Sensory Bin for Eye-Hand Coordination

        A sensory bin like this polar bear theme can be used in so many ways to address eye-hand coordination:

        • Pouring materials
        • Scooping materials like beans or rice
        • Using tongs or tweezers to pick up and move items like mini erasers
        • Sorting sensory bin items into piles or containers
        • Picking up and exploring various sensory bin items

        Polar Bear Imagination Play

        My kids had fun just imagining stories for the items in the sensory bin. We used the stuffed bear as a polar bear and a seal figure who was trying to escape into the ocean…Imagination play!  

        Polar bear sensory bin with tinsel and arctic animal figures.

        Baby Girl did NOT like the texture or “feel” of the tinsel. It got stuck to her hands and she would try to pull it off…The seal is another story.  She carried that thing around all day 🙂  

        Kids of all ages can use the materials in the sensory bin to work on tactile sensory exploration, fine motor skills, and visual perception.

        Looking for more Polar Bear play ideas??  We had fun with our first Polar Bear Theme activities day!   We should have more ideas up tomorrow to go along with the Polar Bear theme. 

        You’ll also love all of the items in our Winter Fine Motor Kit. It’s loaded with coloring sheets, handwriting pages, puzzles, and crafts with a polar bear theme. There are sensory bin materials, polar bear finger puppets, lacing cards, and so much more.

        winter fine motor kit

        Click here to grab the Winter Fine Motor Kit.

        Gross Motor Toys

        Gross motor toys

        Kids need gross motor movement for so many skills. Today, I have gross motor toys to share! Here, you’ll find the best whole body toys and ideas to help kids with balance, core strength, stability, coordination, and endurance. Scroll on to check out some therapist-approved toys that help gross motor skill development!

        Gross motor toys to help kids develop skills in running, hopping, jumping, skipping, crawling, and more.

        Gross Motor Toys

        This list of toys for gross motor skills pairs well with our recent list of Fine Motor Toys. Today however, you’ll find toys that develop a few areas that are essential to areas of child development:

        Bilateral Coordination– Kids need bilateral coordination in whole body movements to move their body in a coordinated way. These whole body movements can include coordination of the upper and lower body, or both arms, or both feet, and all of the above! Here are bilateral coordination toys to address this specific area.

        Motor Planning– Motor planning with the whole body allows children to move in a room without crashing into objects or other people. Gross motor motor planning allows children to climb steps, navigate obstacles, or any movement-based task. Here is more information on motor planning and motor planning toys to address this specific sub-area.

        Gross motor coordinationCoordination of gross motor skills is needed for tasks such as kicking or catching a ball, riding a bike, getting dressed, or any task that uses the entire body. Here are hand eye coordination toys to address this particular sub-area.

        Proprioception– Integration of proprioceptive input allows children to know where their body is in space. It tells the body how much effort is needed to pick up and move objects. Proprioception allows us to understand the body’s position as it moves in a coordinated manner.

        Vestibular input- Integration of vestibular input allows children to navigate the world around them as they move. Going up or down steps or bleachers is an example of this. Moving into different positions during tasks is another example of vestibular integration. Movement through different planes requires integration of vestibular input.

        All of these areas work together in functional tasks and all are rooted in gross motor skills.

        Related: This dinosaur gross motor game is a skill builder, as well.

        Toys for Gross Motor Skill Development

        So often, therapists and teachers purchase items to use in their work using their own money. This giveaway offers a chance for you to win an item that will be useful in helping kids thrive.

        And, given that kids are on screens more than ever before with all of the virtual learning and hybrid learning models being incorporated all over the world, therapists are seeing more need for active, physical play.

        These are gross motor toys that you will find in therapy clinics. There is a reason why…because they are gross motor powerhouses! So, if you are looking for toy recommendations that build whole body motor skills, this is it!

        Amazon affiliate links are included below. You can read more about these items by checking out the links.

        Zoom ball is a great gross motor toy for kids.

        Zoom Ball– This classic toy is such a great way to work on many skills. A zoom ball can be used in different positions to challenge balance and vestibular input: Try using the zoom ball in sitting, standing, kneeling, standing on couch cushions, a slant…again, the options are limitless! Address skills such as:

        • Bilateral coordination
        • Core strength
        • Shoulder stability
        • Visual convergence
        • Motor planning
        • Coordination
        Pop and catch toys can help kids develop gross motor skills.

        Pop and Catch- Use this coordination toy indoors or outdoors to get kids moving. This toy can be played with while the child is standing, sitting, kneeling, or in a half-sit to challenge the core and eye-hand coordination in a variety of planes. Try playing on all fours on the floor for a shoulder girdle stability activity. Another use for this toy is by playing by standing at a table while the child shoots the ball across the table surface as they play like a ping-pong type of game. There are many uses for this pop and catch activity:

        • Eye-hand coordination
        • Motor planning
        • Vestibular input
        • Core strength
        • Stability of core
        • Stability of shoulder girdle
        use bucket stilts to help kids develop gross motor skills.

        Bucket Stilts– These bucket stilts are perfect for helping kids develop gross motor skills. I love this set because there are 6 colored buckets that make a great gross motor obstacle course tool, too. You could use them as stepping stones to challenge balance and coordination, too. Here are gross motor skills that you can work on using these bucket stilts toys:

        • Core strength
        • Vestibular input
        • Motor planning
        • Coordination
        • Balance
        • Endurance
        • Stabilizing
        use agility cones to help kids build gross motor skills in obstacle courses and more.

        Agility Cones– Sports cones are such an open-ended gross motor toy that can be used to develop so many skills: hopping, jumping, skipping, running, climbing, crawling…the options are endless. Use these agility cones in obstacle courses, challenges, drills, and more. I chose these particular cones because they can go very nicely with a Zones of Regulation activity! Use cones to support these areas:

        • Motor planning
        • Vestibular input
        • Coordination
        • Core strength
        • Endurance
        Use carpet markers to build gross motor skills with gross motor obstacle courses, motor planning, and more.

        Carpet Markers– These carpet markers are an occupational therapist’s dream toy! Use the colored marker spots to help kids work on so many movement skills in obstacle courses, visual perceptual skill activities, direction following, sensory movement breaks, positioning guides, and so much more. The arrows are perfect for addressing directionality. Use them to work on crawling, hopping, jumping, stopping on a point. Just some of the areas that these carpet spots support:

        • Core strength
        • Shoulder stability
        • Motor planning
        • Coordination
        • Endurance
        • Proprioception
        A parachute is a great gross motor toy for kids.

        Parachute– A parachute is another open-ended gross motor toy that the kids just LOVE. This one is small enough for small groups, but builds motor skills in a big way. Use the parachute to help kids develop:

        • Core stability
        • Arm strength
        • Motor planning
        • Endurance
        • Bilateral coordination
        • Proprioceptive input

        Gross Motor Toys

        Want to add these toys to your home, classroom, or therapy practice? I am SO happy to fill your toolbox so you can help kids thrive and build and develop the skills they need!

        Check out the blog comments below to see tips and ideas from readers telling us which gross motor toys they would love to use with the kids they work with and love. Have other gross motor favorites that aren’t listed here? Tell us about them!

        Be sure to check out the winners from this giveaway in our annual Therapy Tools and Toys Giveaway series!

        Colleen Beck, OTR/L is an occupational therapist with 20 years experience, graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. As the creator, author, and owner of the website and its social media channels, Colleen strives to empower those serving kids of all levels and needs. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

        Bilateral Coordination Toys

        Bilateral coordination toys

        Bilateral coordination toys are an occupational therapy intervention that helps children develop essential skills in bilateral integration. Toys that use both hands in a coordinated manner help children with bilateral coordination, crossing midline, and using both hands in tasks. These are essential skills that allow for an integration of both sides of the body, but more than that, bilateral coordination tells us that the brain is communicating effectively and sharing information between sides of the brain.

        Today, I’m excited to share bilateral coordination toys and games to help support this essential skill.

        Bilateral coordination toys for kids to develop coordination of both sides of the body.

        Bilateral Coordination in Play

        Using both sides of the body together is a skill needed for many tasks: writing with a pencil with one hand while stabilizing paper with the other hand is one such activity.

        Another bilateral coordination task is cutting with scissors with one hand while holding and manipulating paper with the other hand.

        Bilateral coordination in functional tasks makes up much of our day! Think of all of the other areas where you are using both hands or both sides of the body at the same time: getting dressed, tying shoes, cooking, typing, holding a book while reading, pouring a glass of water…the list could go on and on!

        For children with difficulty in crossing midline, or using integrated bilateral skills, using toys in play is an effective way to work on and nurture this skill.

        Looking for a toy to work on bilateral coordination to add to your gift giving this holiday season? Today we are covering ways to build bilateral coordination skills using toys and everyday items. We also have another giveaway to share today. This time it’s a fine motor toy that promotes a variety of sills, bilateral integration being one of them. I wanted to highlight this as a toy for building bilateral coordination because as we know, promoting this skill is a valuable building block to other tasks such as handwriting, cutting with scissors, self-care tasks, and more.

        Working on bilateral coordination in play is a means and a strategy for building this essential skill. So, why is bilateral coordination so important? And what exactly does bilateral coordination mean?

        DIY Bilateral Coordination Toys

        We’ve shared quite a few bilateral coordination toys and DIY activities here on this site in the past.

        A bilateral coordination lacing plate is a DIY toy and activity that can be used to work on coordinated use of both hands with a variety of themes.

        Using puzzles and games that you already have with an extra special addition can be a great way to work on bilateral coordination with puzzles.

        Play dough and sensory doughs are fun ways to play while working on skills like bilateral coordination and other motor skills.

        Stickers are an easy way to work on bilateral coordination and can be used in the classroom, clinic, or home and in combination with obstacle courses and other motor activities.

        Pegboards (both DIY and store-bought versions), are a fantastic way to work on bilateral coordination in play and in developing visual motor skills and coordination.

        DIY pick-up sticks are a fun way to address bilateral integration and coordinated use of both hands together.

        Making DIY lacing cards are a fun way to work on bilateral coordination. Making the lacing cards is part of the fun.

        Miniature rhythm sticks can be a musical and creative way to encourage bilateral coordination.

        Lock and keys games like with this DIY lock and key activity makes fine motor development an out of the box way to work on skills kids need for independence and instrumental activities of daily living.

        Bilateral Coordination Toys

        There are many bilateral coordination toys on the market as well. Let’s take a look at some toys and games that you can add to your therapy toolbox.

        Amazon affiliate links are included below.

        Bilateral coordination toy for use in bilateral coordination obstacle courses and other occupational therapy interventions.

        TruBalance Bilateral Coordination Toy This toy requires both hands as well as the eyes to challenge balance, coordination, and bimanual skills. Kids can work with this toy while sitting, standing, or in more challenging positions. Try incorporating couch cushions for a balance activity. Use this toy in a bilateral coordination obstacle course. Kids can use the pieces in a scavenger hunt type of activity where the parts are scattered at various levels and positioning, allowing the child to crawl, climb, walk, or squat while balancing the toy. The options go on and on!

        Use nuts and bolts activities to help kids develop bilateral coordination.

        Nuts and Bolts Bilateral Coordination Toy– This nuts and bolts activity is great for developing fine motor skills as well as bilateral coordination by requiring the child to use one hand to manipulate the parts while the other hand acts as a stabilizer. This is a nice way to develop skills needed for tasks like handwriting, pouring, stabilizing, cooking, etc.

        Zoom ball in therapy can be used to work on bilateral coordination, visual convergence, core strength, shoulder stability, and motor planning.

        Zoom Ball– This classic toy is such a great way to work on many skills: bilateral coordination, core strength, shoulder stability, visual convergence, motor planning, and coordination. Just like the TruBalance toy, a zoom ball can be used in different positions to challenge balance and vestibular input: Try using the zoom ball in sitting, standing, kneeling, standing on couch cushions, a slant…again, the options are limitless!

        Thumbs up is a bilateral coordination game for kids.

        Thumbs Up Game– This bilateral coordination game requires players to place rings on their thumb in a “thumbs up” position while they race to scoop and find the correct combination of colored rings to add to their thumb. It’s a fun racing game that builds visual perceptual skills too: figure ground, visual discrimination, visual memory, as well as the visual processing skill of scanning.

        Lacing cards help kids develop bilateral coordination skills.

        Lacing Buttons– There is no doubt about the power of lacing cards when it comes to developing bilateral coordination skills. However, this lacing buttons activity takes it up a notch with the eye-hand coordination and visual processing skills. Kids can lace buttons onto wooden shirt pieces while building bilateral skills, fine motor skills, and eye-hand coordination. However, the set also includes puzzle cards that ask the child to lace on colored buttons in specific order so it matches the cards. What a workout in visual processing skills, too!

        use lacing beads to help kids with coordination, fine motor skills, and bimanual skills.

        Animal Lacing Beads– These lacing beads are chunky wooden animals that help kids develop bilateral coordination, eye-hand coordination, fine motor skills, and visual perceptual skills. As an occupational therapist, I am drawn to this toy because of the different animals that could be used in sequencing activities, sensory bins, pretend play, stacking activities, and so much more.

        Apple lacing activity for bilateral skills.

        Wooden Lacing Apple– This lacing puzzle challenges bilateral coordination skills and can be used to work on eye-hand coordination, tripod grasp, and motor planning. Use this activity to help with stabilization as well.

        Press blocks offer a sensory feedback opportunity for building bilateral coordination.

        Press and Stay Blocks– These building blocks require bilateral coordination with a press so they stay, helping kids to develop bilateral coordination and get proprioceptive input to push them together and then take them apart. Building blocks are a great way to build fine motor skills and visual perceptual skills, and these are a great addition to your therapy toolbox collection.

        Labyrinth Game This maze game is a favorite in our house, and a tool for building bilateral coordination and visual perceptual skills too. Kids need to manipulate two knobs at the same time and coordinate visual information with one hand or the other…or both. It’s a brain building challenge that involves both sides of the body. Challenge kids to do this activity in a kneel or while standing on their knees at a low table to challenge balance and offer proprioceptive input as well.

        fine motor toy for kids

        Octi Buckle Plush Toy with Hook and Loop Straps– This play toy is a strategy to encourage development of fine motor skills, problem solving, color matching, coordination, and more. This stuffed play buddy is a toy that promotes development of many skills, bilateral coordination being one of them.

        Using toys that double as quiet time activities, busy bags, or travel toys…all while working on skills is what makes toys like the buckle plush toy a therapist-approved toy. Octi’s bright colors, shapes, straps, and zipper pouch will provide countless hours of recognition activities, brain building games and development puzzles. Your little one will stay busy counting the number of straps, connecting them together, pulling them apart, and starting over again. Kids can hide small items and treasures in the zip pouch, then unzip it later and get excited over their discovery!

        More Bilateral coordination activities

        Some of the smartest and most creative folks I know are the readers of The OT Toolbox. I asked readers to tell me sensory strategies they personally love and use to address sensory modulation. Scroll through the comments…you might just find some new sensory strategies that will work for you! Hopefully we can learn from one another!

        Tearing Paper Awesome Fine Motor Activity

        Tearing paper activity for kids

        So often, parents are looking for easy ways to help kids develop fine motor skills. Tearing paper is an amazing fine motor activity for kids.  It’s a simple fine motor activity that requires only scrap paper and your hands. In fact, tearing paper actually helps children develop so many essential skills: hand strength, hand eye coordination, precision, refined movements, bilateral coordination…

        Tearing paper is an amazing fine motor activity for kids to build coordination and hand strength.

        Tearing Paper

        When a child tears a piece of paper, they improve hand strength and endurance in the small muscles in the hand.  These intrinsic muscles are important in so many fine motor skills, including those important to handwriting and coloring, managing buttons and zippers, manipulating pegs, and more.  

        When paper is torn, the hands assume a great tripod grasp which is effective and a mature grasp for writing and coloring.  The non-dominant hand is assisting in the tearing and encourages appropriate assistance for tasks like holding the paper while writing, and managing paper while cutting with scissors.  

        Just look at the skills kids develop with a paper tearing activity:

        • Hand eye coordination
        • Bilateral coordination
        • Pinch strength
        • Intrinsic hand strength
        • Separation of the sides of the hand
        • Shoulder and forearm stability
        • Precision and refined grasp
        • Proprioceptive input
        • Motor planning
        tearing paper is a fine motor skills workout for kids.

        Paper Tearing Activity

        We use recycled artwork to create this Torn Paper texture art that would look great on any gallery (or family dining room) wall!

        Paper tearing activity for kids uses recycled artwork to build fine motor skills and motor control while tearing paper.

        Torn paper art work using recycled art:

          This craft is so simple, yet such a fun way to create art while working on fine motor skills.  

        Fine motor art craft for working on intrinsic muscle skills and tripod grasp with kids while using all of that recycled artwork, too!

         We all have piles of kids’ artwork that is gorgeous…yet abundant.  You keep the ones that mean the most, but what do you do with those piles of painted paper, scribbled sheets, and crafty pages?  You sure can’t keep it all or your house will become covered in paper, paint, and glitter.  We used a great blue page to make our torn paper art.

        For this paper tearing activity, first tear a sheet into long strips.  This will become the sky of our artwork.

        Use kids artwork to create a paper tearing activity that builds fine motor skills.
        Tearing paper builds fine motor skills and endurance in fine motor precision, making it a fine motor workout!

        Torn paper Collage

        Tearing strips of paper is especially a great fine motor task.  

        To tear a long sheet of paper, you need to grasp the paper with an effective, yet not too strong grasp.  Tear too fast, and the paper is torn diagonally and not into strips.

        Tearing the paper slowly while focusing on strait torn lines really encourages a workout of those intrinsic muscles.  We tore an 9×11 piece of painted printer paper into long strips, lengthwise.  The thin paper isn’t too difficult to tear, but requires motor control.

        This is a fantastic way to build motor planning skills.

        Tear paper in a torn paper collage artwork for kids. Tearing strips of green paper to build motor skills.

         Vary the texture of the paper and add green cardstock.  The thicker paper requires a bit more strength. Tearing paper that is thicker like cardstock, index cards, or construction paper adds heavy input through the hands. This propriocpetive input can be very calming and allow kids to regulate or focus while adding the sensory input they need.

        Tear and paste activity with blue paper and green cardstock to create a torn paper collage.

         We used one of the long strips of green cardstock to create grass by making small tears.  Be careful not to tear the whole way across the strip!  What a workout this is for those hand muscles.  

        Tearing paper into the edge of the page, and stopping at a certain point requires refined motor work. It’s easy to tear right across the page, but requires precision and coordination to stop tearing at a certain point. To grade this activity easier, try marking the stopping point with a pencil mark.

        Use painted paper to create torn art collage while building fine motor skills in kids.

         Next glue the blue strips onto a background piece of paper.  Tear white scrap paper into cloud shapes.  They can be any shape, just like clouds in the sky!

        Tear a piece of paper to help kids strengthen fine motor skills.

         Grab a piece of yellow cardstock and create a sun.  This is another fabulous fine motor workout.  Tearing a circle-ish shape and creating small tears really works those muscles in the hands.

        Tearing paper activity for kids

         Glue the sun onto the sky and enjoy the art.  

        More paper activities that build skills:

        Colleen Beck, OTR/L is an occupational therapist with 20 years experience, graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. As the creator, author, and owner of the website and its social media channels, Colleen strives to empower those serving kids of all levels and needs. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.