Bilateral Coordination Toys

Bilateral coordination toys

Here we are covering all things bilateral coordination toys. When it comes to bilateral integration, coordinating both sides of the body in play can be a challenge for some children. These bilateral skills impact functional use of the body, motor planning, and bilateral integration as a whole. It’s through play with occupational therapy toys targeting bilateral skills that children can strengthen and develop this essential motor skill. Let’s dissect a few select toys that promote this skill.

Bilateral Coordination Toys

We’ve previously covered both fine motor toy ideas and gross motor toys. Today’s topic closely mirrors those areas. Today is all about the bilateral integration that goes into motor play. 

First, let’s talk 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 integration

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!

This integrated use of both sides of the body can be developed through 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.

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.

Pop Tubes Toy for Bilateral Coordination– Pop tubes can be used in many ways to work on bilateral skills. Use them for a fine motor bilateral coordination task, or use them to work on a large scale or small scale. Wrap one around a wrist and build off of that tube. Or create a chain of tubes. Hold one and drop objects through the tube and into a container. How will you use this bilateral coordination toy?

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. A buckle toy, with 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!

Also, check out these other soy suggestions based on therapeutic development through play.

  1. Fine Motor Toys 
  2. Gross Motor Toys 
  3. Pencil Grasp Toys 
  4. Toys for Reluctant Writers
  5. Toys for Spatial Awareness 
  6. Toys for Visual Tracking 
  7. Toys for Sensory Play 
  8. Bilateral Coordination Toys 
  9. Games for Executive Functioning Skills 
  10. Toys and Tools to Improve Visual Perception 
  11. Toys to Help with Scissors Skills
  12. Toys for Attention and Focus 

Printable List of Toys for Bilateral Coordination

Want a printable copy of our therapist-recommended toys to support bilateral coordination?

As therapy professionals, we LOVE to recommend therapy toys that build skills! This toy list is done for you so you don’t need to recreate the wheel.

Your therapy caseload will love these BILATERAL COORDINATION toy recommendations. (There’s space on this handout for you to write in your own toy suggestions, to meet the client’s individual needs, too!)

Enter your email address into the form below. The OT Toolbox Member’s Club Members can access this handout inside the dashboard, under Educational Handouts. Just be sure to log into your account, first!

therapy toy

Bilateral Coordination Toy Giveaway

⚠️ Day 7 ⚠️ of the Therapy Toys & Tools Giveaway!

This pop tube set is not only a major way to develop bilateral coordination skills…it’s also super popular with kids right now as a fidget toy! It includes 72 pop tubes, so you can give one to each client on your caseload…or use them to:

  • Add them to your therapy toolbox to build chain links,
  • Build a big marble runs
  • Create X-Large letters
  • Make a maze path students can walk through and crawl under
  • Coordinate both hands or both sides of the body (upper/lower) to create a marble maze around your arms and legs
  • Use one hand to hold the tube and another to drop beads into a target.
  • Make pop tube chain links. Or work on a smaller scale to strengthen fine motor skills with the mini tubes
  • Build a giant snake with bends and loops

Want to add this tool to your therapy toolbox??

And 5 winners will get a set of tools from The OT Toolbox Shop.

Want to enter?

  • Go to the email form below.
  • Enter your email address in the form.
  • That’s it!

Fine print: This giveaway is in no way affiliated with Facebook or Instagram. There are 6 winners each day. One winner gets the toy, the other 5 get OT Toolbox materials. Giveaway ends 12-6 and winners will be selected and notified 12-7-22. 🗓Open to international entries! Be sure to enter a correct email address into the form: that’s how I’ll contact winners!

Bilateral Coordination Toy Giveaway

and Therapist-Recommended

BILATERAL COORDINATION TOYS HANDOUT

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    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.

    Visual Tracking Tips and Tools for Treatment

    Here we are covering all things visual tracking, including what visual tracking means, how to improve visual tracking skills, and visual tracking toys to support development of this visual processing skill.

    Visual Tracking toys and tools to improve visual fixation, visual tracking, visual saccades, in handwriting, reading, and so many functional daily tasks and skills in kids.

    What is Visual Tracking

    Visual tracking is typically defined as the ability to efficiently move the eyes from left to right (or right to left, up and down, and circular motions) OR focusing on an object as it moves across a person’s visual field.

    This skill is important for almost all daily activities, including reading, writing, cutting with scissors, drawing, and playing.  According to typical development of visual processing, the ability to visually track objects emerges in children around the age of five.  

    Reading a paragraph without losing their place, copying a list of homework from the chalkboard, misalignment of vertical and horizontal numbers in math problems, confusion in interpreting written direction, mixing up left/right, persistent letter reversals…Does any of this sound familiar? It’s all visual tracking!  

    Vision and visual tracking are tasks that happen without us even realizing.  The brain and it’s jobs is an amazing thing and our eyes are moving, tracking, scanning, focusing, pursuing, and accommodating without us even realizing.     There are many ways to work on visual perception in playful and creative ways.  

    visual tracking exercises

    Visual Tracking Exercises

    Using visual tracking exercises like the one described below can be a powerful way to use eye exercises to improve vision in kids. These are the visual skills needed not for visual acuity, but rather, those unseen visual problems that impact visual processing skills.

    Visual tracking exercises can include vision therapy activities that improve areas such as visual saccades or smooth visual pursuit.

    Difficulties in Visual Tracking

    You might see problems with these tasks if a child has difficulty with visual tracking:

    • Losing place when reading.  Re-reads or skips words or lines.  
    • Omits, substitutes, repeats, or confuses similar words when reading.
    • Must use finger to keep place when reading.
    • Poor reading comprehension.
    • Short attention span.
    • Difficulty comprehending or remembering what is read.
    • Confusion with interpreting or following written directions.
    • Writing on a slat, up or down hill, spacing letters and words irregularly.
    • Confusion with left/right directions.
    • Persistent reversals of letters (b, d, p, q) when naming letters.
    • Reverses letters when writing (persistent reversals after 2nd grade.)
    • Errors when copying from a chalkboard or book to paper.
    • Misalignment of horizontal and vertical series’ of numbers in math problems.

    Also related to visual tracking and very similar while being involved in many of these problem areas, is visual scanning.  

    It is important to note that not all of these difficulties indicate a true visual tracking and or visual scanning problem.  For example, many children demonstrate poor reading comprehension and may show a short attention span while not having visual scanning problems.  

    All children should be evaluated by a pediatric physician, behavioral optometrist, and occupational therapist to determine true visual processing and visual tracking or visual scanning deficits.  These recommendations are meant to be a resource.    

    Visual Tracking toys and tools to improve visual fixation, visual tracking, visual saccades, in handwriting, reading, and so many functional daily tasks and skills in kids.

    Visual Tracking Activities

    Today, I’m sharing an easy visual tracking activity that will help kids with many functional difficulties.  This post is part of our new series where we are sharing 31 days of Occupational Therapy using mostly free or inexpensive materials.

    Today’s activity should cost you at most $2 unless you already have these items in your craft cupboard or office supplies.  Add this activity to your treatment bag for multiple activities.  Read on:

    Amazon affiliate links below.

    This Visual tracking activity is easy to set up.  Gather recycled bottle caps.  I used round dot labels from our office supplies to color the inside of each cap.  You could also use a marker or paint to color the bottle caps.  Use what you’ve got on hand to make this treatment activity free or almost free!   Next, gather matching crafting pom poms.  These can be found at the dollar store for and inexpensive treatment item.    

    visual tracking activities

    Skills Related to Visual Tracking

    It’s important to mention that there are several skills related to visual tracking. These sub-areas should be identified as a piece of the overall puzzle. Areas related to visual tracking play a role in the eyes ability to fixate on an object and follow it as it moves. These skills include:

    • Visual fixation
    • Peripheral tracking
    • Visual pursuit

    Visual Fixation Activity: (Maintaining vision on an item in the visual field) Work one eye at a time.  

    1. Have your child close one eye and place a colored crafting pom pom onto a matching bottle cap.  They need to use one hand to place the pom pom into the corresponding bottle cap and not move bottle caps around on the table.
    2. After the child has filled all of the bottle caps using one eye, repeat the task with the other eye.  
    3. Then complete the activity using both eyes.    
    4. You can also do this activity by placing the label dots on a paper. Match the bottle caps onto the dots. 

    Visual Stare Activity (the amount of time the eyes can fixate on an object without eye movements)

    1. Hold up one bottle cap on your nose.
    2. Ask your child to sit about 18 inches from you and stare at the bottle cap.  Note their eye movements as they stare.  
    3. Keep track of time that the child can stare at the target without visual saccades (eye movements).

    Peripheral Tracking Activity (visually tracking from the peripheral visual fields)

    1. Arrange the bottle caps on the table.  
    2. Place a pom pom in the center of the table, with the bottle caps all around it.  
    3. Ask your child to stare at the pom pom. While keeping their head still and only moving their eyes, ask them to quickly find a bottle cap with the same color.  
    4. Ask them to scan to another bottle cap of the same color until they’ve found all of the caps with that color.  
    5. You can add a level to this task by writing letters or numbers in the bottle caps and asking the child to find letters in order or numbers in order.

    Visual Tracking Pursuit Activity (watching and tracking a moving object)

    1. Set one bottle cap on the right side of the table.  
    2. Place another at the left side.  
    3. The adult should blow a crafting pom pom from the right to the left and ask the child to follow the pom with his eyes, without moving their head.
    4. Repeat by blowing the pom pom from the left to the right, front to back, and back to front in front of the child.

    Visual Tracking Tracing Lines (Watching a pencil line as it is formed, and following the line with eye-hand coordination to trace with a pencil or marker)

    1. Set one vertical row of bottle cap on the left side of the child.  
    2. Place another vertical row on the right side.
    3. The adult should draw a line from one bottle cap on the left side to a matching bottle cap on the right side.  
    4. Instruct the child to follow the pencil as you draw.  Nest, trace the line with your finger.  
    5. Ask the child to trace the line with their finger.  
    6. They can then trace the lines with a pencil or marker.
    Visual Tracking toys and tools to improve visual fixation, visual tracking, visual saccades, in handwriting, reading, and so many functional daily tasks and skills in kids.

    Mor eye tracking Strategies

    • Complete mazes
    • Do puzzles.
    • Use a newspaper or magazine article.  Ask your child to highlight all of the letter “a’s”.
    • Draw or paint pictures.
    • Place a marble in a pie pan.  Rotate the pan around and watch the ball as it rolls. Don’t move your head, only your eyes!
    • Find as many things shaped like a a square in the room.  Repeat the activity, finding all of the circular shaped items in the room.
    • Play “I Spy.”
    • Dot-to-dot pictures.
    • Play balloon toss.
    • Use tracing paper to trace and color pictures.
    • Trace letters with chalk.
    • Play flashlight tag on walls and ceilings. The adult an child each holds a flashlight. As the adult shines the light on walls, the child keeps their light superimposed on top of yours. Start with simple strait lines.  Then add curved lines, then a circle.  Tell them what you are drawing next.  Advance the activity by drawing shapes without telling them what you are doing next.
    • Play with wind-up cars.
    • Create a race track on the floor. Follow cars with your eyes.
    • Roll a ball between you and the child.  Roll from left-right, right-left, front-back, back-front, and toss the ball.

    Visual Tracking toys and tools to improve visual fixation, visual tracking, visual saccades, in handwriting, reading, and so many functional daily tasks and skills in kids.

    Visual tracking Toys

    Looking for more tools to improve visual tracking?  The toys below are great for improving visual tracking and visual scanning in fun ways.  These toys, games, and ideas may be a great gift idea for little ones who have visual perceptual difficulties or problems with visual tracking and handwriting, body awareness in space, letter reversals, detail awareness, or maintaining place while reading.  

    SO, save these ideas for grandparents and friends who might ask for gift ideas for birthdays and holidays.  These are some powerhouse visual tracking ideas!

    Use Pattern Blocks and Boards to work on visual fixation of shapes and sizes of shapes. 

    This Wooden Tangram Puzzle has many different shapes and forms that can be copied from instructions. Copying from a diagram is a great way to practice visual tracking.

    For younger kids, this Wooden Stacking Toy encourages tracking for color sorting.  Try some of our pom pom activities that we discussed above!

    Mazes are excellent for fostering and building on visual tracking skills. Particularly those that involve a moving ball such as a Marble Run
    or a labrynth.

    Watching a ball or moving object that is thrown around a room (like a balloon) is a great way to work on tracking in a big area. These Sportime Sensory Balls SloMo Balls are lightweight and move more slowly than a typical ball, allowing kids to visually track the bright color. These are very cool for games of toss and rolling in all planes and directions. Use them to address peripheral tracking as well. 


    A flashlight can be used in so many visual tracking activities. Shine the light on words or letters taped to walls. Play “I Spy” in a dark room, shine shapes like this flashlight can for visual tracking and form tracking.

    More visual Tracking Toys

    Also check out these other top occupational therapy toys:

    1. Fine Motor Toys   
    2. Gross Motor Toys 
    3. Pencil Grasp Toys 
    4. Toys for Reluctant Writers 
    5. Toys for Spatial Awareness 
    6. Toys for Visual Tracking 
    7. Toys for Sensory Play 
    8. Bilateral Coordination Toys 
    9. Games for Executive Functioning Skills 
    10. Toys and Tools to Improve Visual Perception 
    11. Toys to Help with Scissors Skills 
    12. Toys for Attention and Focus 

    Printable List of Toys for VISUAL TRACKING

    Want a printable copy of our therapist-recommended toys to support visual tracking skills?

    As therapy professionals, we LOVE to recommend therapy toys that build skills! This toy list is done for you so you don’t need to recreate the wheel.

    Your therapy caseload will love these VISUAL TRACKING toy recommendations. (There’s space on this handout for you to write in your own toy suggestions, to meet the client’s individual needs, too!)

    Enter your email address into the form below. The OT Toolbox Member’s Club Members can access this handout inside the dashboard, under Educational Handouts. Just be sure to log into your account, first!

    therapy toy

    Visual Tracking Toy Giveaway

    Today’s prize in our annual Therapy Toys and Tools Giveaway is a visual tracking toy…a rebuildable marble run! This (Amazon affiliate link) marble run is a visual tracking (and fine motor, eye-hand coordination) toy with big fun. Plus use it with water for sensory play or drop jingle bells, beads, or crumbled paper into the run to add more fun & fine motor play. It’s a fun way to build visual attention and visual tracking skills through play.

    Want to add this tool to your therapy toolbox??

    And 5 winners will get a set of tools from The OT Toolbox Shop.

    marble run visual tracking toy

    Here’s how it works:

    🏆 12 days of giveaways

    🏆 72 prizes

    🏆Automatic entry for Member’s Club members!

    🏆Toys specifically selected to help kids thrive!

    Want to enter?

    1. Scroll down.
    2. Enter your email address in the form.
    3. That’s it!

    Fine print: This giveaway is in no way affiliated with Facebook/Instagram. There are 6 winners each day. One winner gets the toy, the other 5 get OT Toolbox materials‼️ Giveaway ends 12-6 and winners will be selected and notified 12-7-22. 🗓Open to international entries! 🌎 Be sure to enter a correct email address into the form: that’s how I’ll contact winners! 📧

    Visual Tracking Toy GIVEAWAY

    and Therapist-Recommended

    VISUAL TRACKING TOYS HANDOUT

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      Visual Tracking toys and tools to improve visual fixation, visual tracking, visual saccades, in handwriting, reading, and so many functional daily tasks and skills in kids.

      Gross Motor Toys

      gross motor toys

      If you are looking for the best gross motor toys to challenge coordination, balance, motor planning through whole-body movement and heavy work play, then you are in luck with these occupational therapy toys. Each one is designed to develop gross motor skills: strength, coordination, balance, posture, and more.

      PLUS, head to the bottom of this blog post for Day 2 of our therapy toy giveaway. We’re giving away a gross motor kit with agility cones, tossing loops, bean bags, and hula hoops, perfect for gross motor, balance, coordination, and even heavy sensory play through whole body movements.

      We started off the fun with yesterday’s fine motor toy ideas. Today is all about the gross motor play.

      First, let’s talk 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 Toy Ideas

      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

      Toys for Core Strength

      Toys that develop core strength get kids moving in a variety of positions. These toys support and challenge the vestibular and proprioceptive systems so they can be calming activities as well. Strength and stability in the core is needed for almost all functional tasks. Challenge kids with these core strengthening toys by getting them moving, on the floor in floor play or strengthening the core muscles through movement and balance coordination. Some ideas for developing and strengthening core strength include:

      Toys for balance

      Toys that challenge movement changes, stepping from high to low and low to high, and movement with vestibular input offer opportunities to challenge and develop balance and coordination skills.

      Gross Motor Coordination Toys

      Encourage movement, whole body play, and gross motor coordination with throwing, tossing, and hand-eye coordination or foot-eye coordination skills with these gross motor coordination ideas:

      Obstacle Course Toys

      All of the gross motor toys listed above could be used in obstacle courses…and what a great way to encourage so many skills! These are perfect additions to your obstacle course ideas, and challenge balance, coordination, motor planning, and add sensory input. Use these obstacle course toys to vary movement and encourage the specific skills kids need:

      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!

      More therapy Toys

      Check out the other therapy toy recommendations in the list below:

      1. Fine Motor Toys
      2. Gross Motor Toys
      3. Pencil Grasp Toys
      4. Toys for Reluctant Writers
      5. Toys for Spatial Awareness
      6. Toys for Visual Tracking
      7. Toys for Sensory Play
      8. Bilateral Coordination Toys
      9. Games for Executive Functioning Skills
      10. Toys and Tools to Improve Visual Perception 
      11. Toys to Help with Scissors Skills 
      12. Toys for Attention and Focus 

      PRINTABLE LIST OF TOYS FOR GROSS MOTOR

      Want a printable copy of our therapist-recommended toys to support gross motor development?

      As therapy professionals, we LOVE to recommend therapy toys that build skills! This toy list is done for you so you don’t need to recreate the wheel.

      Your therapy caseload will love these GROSS MOTOR toy recommendations. (There’s space on this handout for you to write in your own toy suggestions, to meet the client’s individual needs, too!)

      Enter your email address into the form below. The OT Toolbox Member’s Club Members can access this handout inside the dashboard, under Educational Handouts. Just be sure to log into your account, first!

      ANNUAL THERAPY TOYS AND TOOLS GIVEAWAY

      It’s Day 2 of The 2021 Therapy Toys & Tools Giveaway and we are talking balance, coordination, strength, & stability! Swipe ➡️ to check out today’s prizes.

      This obstacle course kit can be used in SO many ways, and includes: agility cones, bean bags, small tossing loops, and adjustable hula hoops. 🤩

      Here’s how it works:

      🏆 12 days of giveaways

      🏆 72 prizes

      🏆Automatic entry for Member’s Club members!

      🏆Toys specifically selected to help kids thrive!

      Want to enter?

      1. Go to the form below.
      2. 2. Enter your email address in the form.
      3. That’s it!

      Today’s giveaway is a gross motor goldmine: an obstacle course kit! Plus, 5 winners will get fine motor tools from The OT Toolbox Shop. Each day will be a different skill area, and you can enter those giveaways, too.

      This is going to be fun!

      Fine print: This giveaway is in no way affiliated with Instagram. There are 6 winners each day.

      Giveaway ends 12-6 and winners will be selected and notified 12-7-22. Open to international entries! Be sure to enter a correct email address into the form: that’s how I’ll contact winners!

      GROSS MOTOR TOY GIVEAWAY

      and get a handout: Therapist-Recommended

      GROSS MOTOR TOYS HANDOUT

        We won’t send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.

        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.

        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!

        Forest Animals Shadow Matching Worksheet

        shadow matching worksheet with forest animals theme

        Today we have a fun shadow matching worksheet for you. This forest animals activity is great for adding to a woodland animal theme, but more importantly, use the shadow worksheet to build visual perceptual skills in areas such as form constancy, visual memory, and more.

        Shadow math
        Free printable shadow matching worksheet with a forest animals theme.

        Shadow matching worksheet

        How are your visual perceptual skills?  

        My learner can see, but can’t really SEE.  Wait, what?  Isn’t all “seeing” the same?  Not really.  There is seeing in the sense of visual acuity, how well the eyes can see items up close and at a distance.  Then there is seeing in the sense or perceiving an object. A person can have great visual acuity, 20/20 in fact, but have terrible visual perception.  In visual acuity the eye basically has to see the object.  In perception it not only has to see the object, but make sense of it. These vision issues are covered in our blog post on visual efficiency.

        For example; I can see the puzzle pieces, but I can’t perceive that each piece becomes something whole, or which piece is the right shape.

        This article does an excellent job of explaining visual perception, its effects, and how to improve this skill.

        Armed with this information, it is critical to work on developing visual perceptual skills at an early age.  Visual perceptual skills begin in infancy with facial recognition, and by school age are necessary for reading, writing, and mathematics.

        When it comes to visual perception, the OT Toolbox has you covered!  Check out the latest PDF free printable, Forest Animals Shadow Matching Worksheet.

        You can get the shadow matching worksheet below by entering your email address into the form, or head to The OT Toolbox Member’s Club and going to the visual perception area. Use this item in a forest animals theme! And if you’re doing a forest animals theme, definitely be sure to add this Forest Animals Scissor Skills Activity. It’s a free set of printable puzzles kids can color, cut out, and put back together.

        This is a great activity to build visual perceptual skills as early as preschool age. It addresses form constancy, figure ground, visual discrimination and visual attention. You can find other matching activities that support visual perceptual skill development in our free visual perception packet. It includes resources like this flower match-up, and outer space matching worksheets.

        Ways to modify the shadow matching worksheet:

        • Laminate the page for reusability. This saves on resources, and many learners love to write with markers!
        • Print in black and white or color for different levels of difficulty
        • Cut the shapes and make a matching game instead of using a writing tool to draw lines
        • Talk about the animals, describe their characteristics, and give context clues to help your learner understand why certain pictures match

        Other skills addressed using this forest animal activity sheet:

        • Attention
        • Behavior
        • Frustration tolerance
        • Task avoidance
        • Self regulation
        • Organization
        • Scanning
        • Fine motor skills – pencil grasp, drawing lines

        In order to create a full lesson or treatment plan, therapists will need to be armed with more than just this one shadow matching worksheet.  The OT Toolbox offers several free printable items to work on visual perception, including:

        If you are looking for all of your resources in one place, the OT Toolbox also offers a Visual Processing Bundle, featured here:

        What other tasks or games work on visual perception?

        • Puzzles or dot to dots
        • Working on spatial concepts such as “in, out, on, under, next to, up, down, in front of.”
        • Hidden pictures games 
        • The game Memory – matching hidden pictures
        • Word search puzzles and mazes
        • Construction tasks using legos or popsicle sticks
        • Copying 3D block designs
        • Cleaning and organizing – washing dishes, sorting silverware, sorting laundry, organizing spaces
        • There are several Ipad apps available if necessary, but I recommend using electronics with caution, and following up with a real life task.

        Now you know  more about “seeing” better.  Before working on visual perceptual skills, make sure your learner has correct visual acuity.  Sometimes their struggle is due to acuity rather than perception.  In this case, a pair of eyeglasses is an easy fix!

        Whether your learner is working on this shadow worksheet, or any other resources by the OT Toolbox, make learning fun and motivating.  There is nothing better than a learner who is excited to see what their therapist has to offer.

        shadow worksheet, shadow matching worksheet, forest animals

        Free Shadow Matching Worksheet

        Want to work on shadow matching with a forest animals theme? This shadow worksheet supports development of visual perceptual skills through play! Perfect for adding to a forest animals weekly therapy theme. Enter your email address into the form below.

        Or, if you are a Member’s Club member, be sure to log in and then head to the visual perception area of free downloads that are on The OT Toolbox website. Not a member? Join now.

        Free Forest Animals Worksheets

          We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at anytime.

          *The term, “learner” is used throughout this post for readability, however this information is relevant for students, patients, clients, children of all ages, etc. The term “they” is used instead of he/she to be inclusive.

          Victoria Wood

          Victoria Wood, OTR/L has been providing Occupational Therapy treatment in pediatrics for more than 25 years. She has practiced in hospital settings (inpatient, outpatient, NICU, PICU), school systems, and outpatient clinics in several states. She has treated hundreds of children with various sensory processing dysfunction in the areas of behavior, gross/fine motor skills, social skills and self-care. Ms. Wood has also been a featured speaker at seminars, webinars, and school staff development training. She is the author of Seeing your Home and Community with Sensory Eyes.

          Sensory Activities For 1 Year Olds

          sensory activities for 1 year olds

          This blog post is one of the oldest posts on the site, but the sensory activities for 1 year olds that we shared way back when are just as fun now! When this post was written, the babies that played with the balls and muffin tins were just 11 months and going on 1 year. Those little ones are now 11 years old! This is such a great brain building activity for babies that I wanted to reshare the idea for the latest crop of babies out there!

          If you are looking for more Baby activities, try the fun over on our Baby Play page. You’ll also find some great ideas for different ages on this post on baby sensory play.  We’ve been busy!

          sensory activities for 1 year olds

          sensory activities for 1 year olds

          This sensory activity for 1 year olds is an easy activity to set up. You’ll need just a few items:

          • colorful balls
          • muffin tins

          You can add create another sensory activity for the babies with the same colorful balls and a cardboard box or basket. We also used an empty cereal box with hole cut into the sides.

          Each sensory activity here supports development of eye-hand coordination, grasp and release, core strength and stability in dynamic sitting, positioning and seated play on the floor (floor play).

          Baby and Toddler Brain Building activity using balls and a muffin tin. Perfect for developing fine motor skills, visual perceptual skills in an active activity for sitting and mobile babies.

          An important consideration is the use of baby positioners as they can impact powerful movement-based play in babies.

          The best for sensory play for 1 year olds is just playing on the floor! There are so many benefits to playing on the floor with a basket of balls and a few muffin tins.

          Baby and Toddler Brain Building activity using balls and a muffin tin. Perfect for developing fine motor skills, visual perceptual skills in an active activity for sitting and mobile babies.

          What do babies love to do? Take things out and put them back into containers.

          We have a bunch of different colored and sized balls that are so fun to play with in so many ways. I had my nephew here one day and we needed something different to do. My nephew and my Baby Girl are both 11 months old and they absolutely loved this play activity! 

          I pulled out my muffin tins and they had a blast putting the balls into the tins, taking them out, putting them back into the box, and pulling them out again!

          Little Guy (my 3 year old ) loved joining in too. Really, who could resist playing with all of these colorful balls???

          Peek a Boo Sensory Activity for 1 year olds

          What else do babies love? The peek-a-boo game!

          It’s at this age (around one year) that babies often struggle with separation anxiety when being dropped off at a caregiver’s when separated from their parents or caregivers. You will even see signs of separation angst when a parent goes into another room, which can especially happen when the baby is tired.

          The next sensory activity for baby was a fun one!

          We had an empty cereal box that I cut circles into. They had a ton of fun putting the balls into a hole, and pulling a different one out as the box moved around…there were a lot of little hands in there moving that box around 🙂

          The it’s-there-then-it’s not of a great game of peek-a-boo (or peek-a-ball in this case!) is awesome in building neural pathways of the brain. 

           

           

          More sensory activities for babies

          Other sensory activities for 1 year olds and babies include using small baskets or boxes to transfer the balls from one container to the other.

          Transferring from box to box…working those hands to pick up different sized/weighted/textured balls.  Dropping the ball to see what happens is so predictable, but it is important in learning for babies. Just like when baby drops the cup from her highchair a million times…

          We had a ball!

          (couldn’t resist that one…heehee)

          Baby and Toddler Brain Building activity using balls and a muffin tin. Perfect for developing fine motor skills, visual perceptual skills in an active activity for sitting and mobile babies.

          Need more sensory ideas for 1 year olds? Try these:

          • Sensory tables- put interesting toys, textures, scoops, and containers on a low table like a coffee table. The new cruiser or early walker can stand at the table and explore the textures
          • Messy play on a highchair- Strap baby in and encourage messy food play. Thing about apple sauce, pudding, or mashed potatoes.
          • Textured fabrics- Put a bunch of fabric scraps into a box and invite the one year old to pull them out and put them back in.
          • Play with cups and spoons– with supervision- This is a great activity for eye hand coordination skills.

          Easy Fine Motor Precision Activities

          Precision activities

          Helping kids develop and strengthen fine motor skills is essential for functional tasks, and this resource on fine motor precision activities supports that development. Here, we are addressing what fine motor precision means and specific activities to do with kids to help with grasp manipulation, dexterity, and graded movements like managing a zipper, buttons, and adjusting a pencil within the fingers to write and erase. These are just a few examples of how grasp and release activities support fine motor skill development. Let’s break this down…

          Fine Motor Precision Activities

          Before we get to the fun stuff…the actual fine motor activities that support graded grasp and release, manipulation of objects within the hand, and various amounts of pressure and precision needed to perform functional tasks, let’s cover exactly what precision skills look like, what the term means, and why this area of development is so important.

          At the bottom of this post, you’ll find specific strategies to support precision development so that kids can complete these tasks and not fumble with objects in the hands.


          This post is part of my 31 Days of Occupational Therapy series where you can find 30 more ideas like this one with easy treatment materials.

          Easy precision in grasp, release, and rotation in fine motor skills for kids.  Precision is so important in dexterity in many skills like handwriting, cutting with scissors, and everything done with the hands!

          What is Fine Motor Precision?

          Fine Motor Precision refers to the ultra-fine motor skills in the hand, broken down into areas: grasp and release, fine motor rotation, in-hand manipulation, and proprioception. Together, these precision skills enable us to pick up an object with the right amount of pressure and motor dexterity so you can grasp the object accurately taking eye-hand coordination skills into consideration. After grasping the object without overshooting or missing the item, it is necessary to position or rotate the object within the hand

          Let’s cover each of those areas in greater detail below.

          But first, it’s important to note that a child’s ultra fine motor dexterity is dependent on bigger things.  And by that, I mean that in order for a child to use their hands super fine motor tasks, they first must demonstrate strength and control of their core, shoulder, and arm.  If any of these areas are not fully developed in stability or control, then the child will show compensatory strategies as they try to use their hands in handwriting or cutting with scissors. Gross motor coordination is a great place to start if precision skills seem to be “off” or delayed. Related to that is the key input of body awareness and the impact of heavy work on more distal motor coordination skills.

          One way to remember this is this:

          Proximal stability allows for distal mobility.”

          Colleen Beck, OTR/L

          Before a child can manipulate and move an object with dexterity and refined motor skills, there needs to be a base of support in stability in the core and upper extremity, mobility and coordination in the proximal joints (shoulder before elbow…elbow before wrist…and wrist before hand). Breaking it down further, arch development and strengthening of the intrinsic muscles in the hands are both areas that are essential for precision in the fingertips.

          The following resources will be a great way to break these areas of development down:

          Fine Motor Precision

          Kids and fine motor skills go hand-in-hand. (That is my funny-OT attempt at a fine motor skills joke!) But really, fine motor skills are a staple of a child’s development and are essential to function.

          Precision occurs with development of grasp when child to use the pads of the index finger, middle finger, and thumb to manipulate objects with opposition.  I talked a little about strengthening these types of grasp patterns.  

          Today, I’m sharing ways to work on the controlled use of these fine motor patterns in controlled dexterity tasks.  The precision of grasp and release is essential for very small motor movements in activities like picking up beads and releasing items like blocks with precision. This is broken down into areas of dexterity that all work together:

          • Grasp and release (we’ll break these two areas down even further)
          • Fine motor rotation
          • In-hand manipulation
          • Muscular force, or the amount of force applied through the muscles in small motor use, also referring to proprioceptive input through the hands and fingers.

          What is precision of grasp and release?

          Precision in grasp, manipulation, and release of small objects makes the difference between fumbling with zippers and buttons and efficiently grading movements in very small dexterity patterns like threading a string through a needle (kid-friendly, of course!) 

          Precision in grasp is related to the picking up of items.  A graded lateral grasp is needed to cut with scissors and only squeeze the scissors halfway shut for accurate cutting lines in some situations.  Around 3-4 years, a preschool aged child typically develops a greater variety of grasping patterns, including precision.  They begin to grade their scissor strokes so that they can cut a line or shape without opening and closing the scissors completely.  Grasps in babies typically begin with a raking motion and work towards a pincer grasp.  Precision in this skill occurs when the child is able to pick up very small items like beads with accuracy and graded movements.  

          Precision release is needed for stacking blocks without toppling them over, placing cards on a pile, opening scissors just a small amount, or placing small beads into a bowl.  Precision is needed for a child to let go of an item in a controlled manner.  If they are not exercising precision in release, you might see them rolling or tossing an object as they let go.  They will knock over a stack of blocks, or over open the scissors when cutting lines, making their accuracy very choppy.   

          Precision in rotation is another task that children develop around age 5. Rotation is a portion of in-hand manipulation and seen when turning a coin on the edges and the child rotates it in a circular motion.  Precision in rotation also occurs when holding a pencil between the fingers and the child rotates it over and over. 

          Easy precision in grasp, release, and rotation in fine motor skills for kids.  Precision is so important in dexterity in many skills like handwriting, cutting with scissors, and everything done with the hands!

          One way to develop these skills is through practice! One precision grasp and release activity I love is using popsicle sticks in various colors. You can stack the popsicle sticks so they build a wall without toppling over. Using the different colors allows kids to see how the sticks are aligned by offering contrasting colors. If they see a bit of yellow stick under the green stick, then they need to adjust the top stick with refined motor movements.

          Grade this activity for younger kids or those developing skills:

          • Simply place a single popsicle stick down on a table surface. Then pick it up.
          • Younger kids can stack just one stick on top of another.
          • Match colors.
          • Make a wall of popsicle sticks to develop more refined precision skills.
          • Place and sort popsicle sticks into a container on the vertical position (shown below)

          To practice precision in grasp and release, I showed my preschooler how to pick up and stack Popsicle sticks.  Picking up the sticks required a tip-to-tip grasp.  We used different colored Popsicle sticks for my 4 year old and my 17 month old.  

          The preschooler was able to pick up the sticks accurately without pushing other sticks around.  She could grasp the specific stick she wanted by an end or middle accurately.  

          The toddler grabbed the sticks with a pincer grasp, but showed much less accuracy.  

          Easy precision in grasp, release, and rotation in fine motor skills for kids.  Precision is so important in dexterity in many skills like handwriting, cutting with scissors, and everything done with the hands!

          To advance this popsicle stick sorting, the next step is precision in rotation. This can be addressed by asking the individual to sort popsicle sticks into containers.

          Different small cups (Dixie cups would work) but we used a popsicle mold to encourage a single hand to hold the mold as the assisting hand.

          We used an empty Popsicle mold to place the sticks into the cups.  What a great way to practice grasp precision!  We worked on sorting the craft sticks by color and had to hold the mold with one hand to work on bilateral hand coordination.  For the activity, we placed the mold on the floor and sorted the colored sticks without knocking the Popsicle mold over. Both the preschooler and the Toddler loved this simple activity.  

          Easy precision in grasp, release, and rotation in fine motor skills for kids.  Precision is so important in dexterity in many skills like handwriting, cutting with scissors, and everything done with the hands!

           Another precision in release activity was simply stacking the craft sticks.  The four year old could do this, but used her non-dominant hand to stabilize. 

          Precision in in-hand manipulation- In hand manipulation skills include different components as well. In our blog post, we cover rotation, refined movements within the hand, and how to actually move objects from the fingertips to the palm and ice versa. These are precision skills at work!

          Muscular force- This refers to knowing how much force to use to pick something up. When it comes to muscular force in fine motor skills this can mean the difference between overshooting an object when picking something up, fumbling with small objects, pinching things with too much force, or dropping items because not enough force is applied.

          As described above, muscular force also refers to the amount of force applied through the muscles in small motor use, also referring to proprioceptive input through the hands and fingers. Another term for this concept is force modulation, or graded force.

          Muscular force is a must for picking objects up, putting them back down, manipulating them within the hand, and rotation.

          We go into greater detail on the proprioceptive input in our blog post on proprioception. In summary, muscular force means the ability to inherently know how much force is needed to pick up and hold and manipulate a ladybug as opposed to a heavier rock. Too much force and the bug is squashed. Not enough force, and the rock slips through the fingers. Another example is pressing too hard when writing and holding a pencil. This experience and muscle knowledge happens through play!

          As you can see, all of these concepts work together to enable precision skills in functional tasks!

          Precision Activities

          We’ve covered a couple of precision activities related to grasp and release and rotation, but let’s go over a few more that include all aspects of precision, including muscular force activities and how these are related to functional participation.

          Easy precision in grasp, release, and rotation in fine motor skills for kids.  Precision is so important in dexterity in many skills like handwriting, cutting with scissors, and everything done with the hands!

          This post contains affiliate links.

          Looking for more ways to practice precision in grasp, release, and rotation with Occupational Therapy students or your kids?  Try some of these ideas.  While they are not all free (going with our series this month!), they are creative ways to practice precision.  

          • Precision engineering activities that use play dough and blocks to work on force modulation in the hands as well as eye-hand coordination.
          • Small motor pegboards like this precision pegboard activity combining crafts with fine motor skills
          • Perler beads- Try manipulating Perler Fuse Beads with Pegboards for precision in grasp and release. These pegboards are very small and work on very fine dexterity with precision. 
          • Stamp sets– Playing with stamps is a good way to practice graded grasp and release. Use these stamp blocks to accurately stamp within a specific area on a page. Draw squares or circles and the child needs to stamp in those areas. 
          • Tweezer games and activities like this Bed Bugs Game encourage a precise and graded grasp and release of the small game pieces using tweezers. This game is on my must-buy list for Christmas this year! 
          • This Avalanche Fruit Stand for another fun way to practice precision with a pair of tweezers. Stack the fruit with precision of grasp and release in a fun and colorful way! 
          • The Perfection Game is another game that is great for precise grasp and release. Encourage kids to rotate the pieces by twirling the peg of the game pieces to work on precision in rotation as well. 
          • Jenga is a precision work out in grasp and release of the blocks. My kids love this game!
          • Stacking blocks is a precision pattern activity that is perfect for working on graded grasp and release. 
          • This Tobbles stacking toy is a version of that, with bright and bold colors. Try stacking and taking these balls down without knocking them over! 
          • Sometimes, simple is best! These Wooden Color Cubes are perfect for simple block building and stacking while working on precision of grasp and release. 
          • Kids need precision of the thumb, too. These Slide Puzzles are not only fun, they work on small motor skills needed for graded movements in cutting and pencil control.
          Easy precision in grasp, release, and rotation in fine motor skills for kids.  Precision is so important in dexterity in many skills like handwriting, cutting with scissors, and everything done with the hands!

          It’s my hope that this post and ideas were helpful and a resource for you!  Looking for more fine motor activities for functional grasp?  Try these: 

          Use these Fine Motor Kits for hands-on activity kits to develop fine motor skills, strength, dexterity, and manipulation. Kids LOVE these fine motor kits for the motivating activities. Therapists love them because it’s fresh, fun ways to work on pinch, grip, manipulation skills, and much more. Try some of these themed therapy kits:

          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.



          Dinosaur Free Printable For Visual Perception

          dinosaur free printable

          If you know a kiddo that loves all things dinos, than this dinosaur free printable is for you! It’s a visual perception activity designed to develop and support visual perceptual skills such as visual discrimination, form constancy, visual closure, and other visual processing skills (visual tracking for one!) To grab this free printable dinosaur activity, read on! Add this resource to your dinosaur activities for an OT theme.

          Dinosaur free printable page

          Dinosaur Free Printable

          If you are working on the visual perceptual skills needed for letter formation, handwriting, or reading, then you are probably loving the recent free visual perception printable sheets that we’ve been sharing on the site.  

          This visual perception worksheet is great for working on skills like visual motor skills, visual scanning, visual discrimination, spatial reasoning, and visual memory.  Also, it’s a great way to develop pencil control by moving the pencil around obstacles as kids connect the matching pairs of dinosaurs.

          Visual perceptual skills are needed for so many functional skills. You’ll find easy and fun ways to work on visual perceptual skills through play here. 

          Kids will love this free visual perception printable sheet with a dinosaur theme

          How to use this dinosaur printable

          This printable dino activity can be used in many different ways to support hands-on learning.

          Print the page and slide it into a plastic page protector.  Kids can then use a dry erase marker to work on the page over and over again.  

          Try these tips to use the worksheet in different ways:

          • Connect the dinosaurs with a dry erase marker
          • Place play dough balls on the matching dinosaurs
          • Use finger paints to place a fingerprint on each matching dinosaur
          • Play I Spy: Ask users to find an object that has specific colors or other details

          OR, use it right on your tablet.  You won’t be able to draw a line to connect matching dinosaurs, but you will be able to save the ink as kids use their finger to connect the matching dinosaurs.  They will still address those visual perceptual skills by using the freebie on a tablet’s screen.

          Then, use this activity along with other dinosaur activities to support development of other skills. Other dinosaur themed ideas to use along with this printable activity include:

          Free Dinosaur Printabale

          To get your copy of this printable page, enter your email address into the form below. The printable is part of our 24 page free visual perception packet, so you can use all of the items in the packet along with this dinosaur activity. Just print and go!

          OR, if you are an OT Toolbox Member, you can log in and go to our toolboxes and access this resource along with every other freebie here on the website. For this particular tool, head to our visual tools page.

          Look for more free visual perception worksheets like this one, coming soon to the site.  

          You can check out our space theme visual perception free printable, or if you sign up for the freebie below, you’ll be directed to a page with all of the free printables in one place.    

          These visual perception apple theme shape stamps are a perfect way to work on visual perceptual skills and fine motor skills with DIY stampers.

          Be sure to try some of these pencil control activities to help with the visual motor skills needed for handwriting and to challenge a child you know with more activities just like the dinosaur free printable.  

          FREE VISUAL PERCEPTION PRINTABLE PACKET

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            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.

            Pasta Threading Activity

            pasta threading activity

            This pasta threading activity is a fine motor task that supports development of many skills. If you are looking for toddler activities, preschool activities, or ideas for older kids to develop motor control and coordination, pasta threading is the way to go!

            Pasta threading is a fun fine motor activity for toddlers and preschoolers.

            Pasta Threading

            First, you might be wondering what is “pasta threading”? If you have Pinterest, you may have seen activities where kids thread pasta onto straws placed into play dough. This is one form of pasta threading.

            Another way to thread pasta as a fine motor activity is to simply create a pasta necklace by threading the pasta onto string or yarn. This is a classic craft that helps develop many skill areas.

            By threading pasta, kids develop skills in areas such as:

            • Fine motor skills
            • Hand- Eye coordination
            • Creativity
            • Wrist stability and extension (needed for precision in the fingertips)
            • Attention and Concentration
            • Feeling of success and achievement when completed

            We’ve covered other threading activities in the past, including this gross motor threading activity. Working from a larger aspect like using whole-body movements is a great precursor to the more refined fine motor work needed for threading pasta noodles.

            Pasta Threading Activity

            Similar to stringing beads as a therapy tool, threading pasta can be graded in many aspects to support the individual needs of the user.

            1. Modify the material– You can stringing pasta onto cord, thick yarn, straws, or even lightweight string.
            2. Modify the pasta size– Use a larger noodle or a smaller noodle. You can target in-hand manipulation skills, pincer grasp, and arch development by using different sizes of noodle.
            3. Modify the positioning– Ask users to thread onto a free lying piece of string. Or place straws or skewers into playdough to change the positioning and shoulder involvement.

            Depending on the needs of the individual, you can adapt or modify these materials. Use a thicker straw or a smaller straw cut into pieces. Position the straws on angles or all in one direction.

            There are so many ways to change this single activity to support a variety of needs and skill levels.

            To complete this fine motor activity, you need only a few materials:

            • plastic straw or straight spaghetti
            • tubular pasta
            • play dough

            Be sure to incorporate the play dough into the activity so that the user has ownership in setting up the activity. There are also the added fine motor benefits of play dough as well.

            How to thread pasta

            To set up this fine motor activity, follow these steps:

            • flatten out play dough on to table
            • stick the straw/spaghetti into the play dough
            • thread the pasta onto the straw

            Pasta threading is a great fine motor activity that supports so many areas, and can easily be set up at home.

            Looking for more ways to develop fine motor skills and visual motor skills?

            Use these Fine Motor Kits for hands-on activity kits to develop fine motor skills, strength, dexterity, and manipulation. Kids LOVE these fine motor kits for the motivating activities. Therapists love them because it’s fresh, fun ways to work on pinch, grip, manipulation skills, and much more. Try some of these themed therapy kits: