Upper Case Cursive Letter Formation

Teach kids how to write upper case cursive letters.

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

Upper Case Cursive

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

Uppercase Cursive LetterS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Uppercase Cursive D, F, T

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Uppercase Cursive B, P, R, L

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

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

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

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

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

Upper Case Cursive I and J

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Uppercase Cursive letter practice

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Need more uppercase cursive tips? Try the Handwriting Book:

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

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

The Handwriting Book breaks down the functional skill of handwriting into developmental areas. These include developmental progression of pre-writing strokes, fine motor skills, gross motor development, sensory considerations, and visual perceptual skills. Each section includes strategies and tips to improve these underlying areas.

  • Strategies to address letter and number formation and reversals
  • Ideas for combining handwriting and play
  • Activities to practice handwriting skills at home
  • Tips and strategies for the reluctant writer
  • Tips to improve pencil grip
  • Tips for sizing, spacing, and alignment with overall improved legibility

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

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

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

Writing with Both Hands-What you Need to Know

Kids may write with both hands and have poor legibility or speed with handwriting.

Writing with both hands is a common concern for parents, teachers, and therapists working with students on handwriting skills. Using both hands to write might look like switching hands while writing or even coloring as a result of hand weakness. But there could also be other considerations at play including mixed hand dominance or confusion on which hand to pick up the pencil and which hand holds the paper.

You’ll definitely want to check out a related resource on more information on hand dominance and establishment of a preferred hand in functional activities.

Writing with both hands- what’s going on

Have you seen a child on your therapy caseload that writes with both hands? Writing with both hands can be a problem when it comes to handwriting legibility and efficiency.

Have you ever wondered is my child a lefty or a righty? Or perhaps writing with both hands piqued your curiosity about whether or not your child is ambidextrous.

Or been asked if they are a lefty or righty and unable to answer?

Have you noticed that your child seems to use both hands equally when writing? If so, your child may be experiencing mixed hand dominance patterns or cross-dominance, and this is why you are not sure if they are a lefty or a righty. Writing with both hands can have implications that affect handwriting.

Read on for information on using both hands to write writing and what you need to know about mixed-handedness.

Writing with both hands, wondering what this means for kids in learning and writing? This has great information on mixed dominance and laterality in kids.

Where to begin when kids write with Both Hands 

First, it’s important to understand what is happening when a student uses both hands to write.

Hand dominance

Let’s discuss mixed dominance to begin. Here is more information about hand dominance and activities to promote laterality.

What is mixed dominance and what does this mean in child development? Read more about hand dominance and writing with both hands.

What is Mixed Dominance?

Mixed dominance refers to when a child does not demonstrate a strong preference for either the left side or the right side of the body for completion of activities, or clearly utilizes both hands for specific sets of activities. For example, a kiddo might throw with his left hand, but write with his right hand.

It should also be noted that children with mixed dominance often utilize both sides of the body equally, but poorly. When they fatigue, this leads to confusion with if they are left-side dominant or right-side dominant.

When Does hand Dominance Develop?

Dominance of one side of the body or the other is not expected until 5 years of age. Before the age of 5 years old, use of both hands is expected to a moderate degree. However, most children are showing a strong preference for one hand or the other by 3.5-4 years of age.

Determining Mixed Dominance

Dominance is typically determined through observation of the eyes, hands and feet and which one the child uses for task completion. For example, a child who is demonstrating mixed dominance may be right eye dominant, and left hand/foot dominant or left eye dominant, right hand dominant and left foot dominant, or any combination of these characteristics.

Therapists may utilize the Jordan Left/Right Reversal Questionnaire or clinical observations to help them determine mixed dominance. In a vision screen, the therapist can have the child pretend to be a pirate, and see what eye they close when looking through a tube/rolled paper.

The eye that the child closes is the non-dominant or “weak” eye and the dominant or “strong” eye is the open one. If the “strong” eye does not match the hand preference the child has been showing, this is mixed dominance in action.

Be sure to watch this space, because tomorrow we’ll cover more about writing with both hands, ambidexterity, and mixed dominance.

For more information on visual screening, check out our vision screening packet:

 

 

 

Writing with boht hands Impacts Writing and Reading

Children who experience mixed dominance patterns, evidenced by writing with both hands, often have challenges with left/right awareness.  This left/right confusion can impact reading and writing, as a result of delayed reading and writing skills. 

Left Right Confusion and Handwriting

The child that doesn’t know their left from their right side at the kindergarten to first grade stage may show challenges as they are learning letter formation.

Poor left/right awareness can affect a student’s ability to accurately form letters and result in ‘dyslexia’ looking reversal patterns.

The reversal patterns in letter formation and recognition may also lead to poor phonemic awareness, and later poor spelling, further delaying their reading and writing skills.

Reading left to right may also be a significant challenge as a result of poor eye teaming, as both sides of the brain are attempting to ‘dominate’ the skill. This struggle between the two sides of the brain results in poor organization of the information and retrieval of phonemic rules. Here is more information about visual processing and the skills that impact reading and learning.

Difficulties in these areas can be red flags of mixed dominance patterns that need to be addressed.

Switching hands when writing means that the student holds the pencil with a different hand each time and doesn’t have the experience to create motor plans for each letter. They are looking at different angles and directions to the paper, writing  sample to copy formations, and establishing loose “muscle memory” when it comes to creating an established plan of action for letter forms. 

Writing with different hands can impact overall organization on the paper, too. This includes use of margins, and writing in lists. Typically, when writing, we need to hold the paper with the non-dominant hand to stabilize the paper. Placing letters  

More implications of using both hands to write

Mixed dominance does not always seem like a big deal, but when left unaddressed your child may be left frustrated with their struggles in gross motor play, reading and writing. 

Struggles in these areas significantly impact a child’s self-esteem and desire to participate in age appropriate activities. Fortunately, mixed dominance can be easily addressed through therapy.

Try this pouring and scooping activity to refine hand dominance in functional tasks.

Occupational Therapists screen for visual problems in order to determine how they may impact functional tasks. Visual screening can occur in the classroom setting, in inpatient settings, in outpatient therapy, and in early intervention or home care.  

This visual screening tool was created by an occupational therapist and provides information on visual terms, frequently asked questions regarding visual problems, a variety of visual screening techniques, and other tools that therapists will find valuable in visual screenings.





 
Free visual processing email lab to learn about visual skills needed in learning and reading.
What is mixed dominance and what does this mean for kids?

Occupational Therapy Vision Screening Tool

Click here to read more about the Visual Screening Packet.   This is a digital file. Upon purchase, you will be able to access the 10 page file and print off to use over and over again in vision screenings and in educating therapists, teachers, parents, and other child advocates or caregivers.  

 

For even MORE information on eye-hand coordination and activities to use in your occupational therapy practice, you will want to join our free visual processing lab email series. It’s a 3-day series of emails that covers EVERYthing about visual processing. We take a closer look at visual skills and break things down, as well as covering the big picture of visual needs.


In the visual processing lab, you will discover how oculomotor skills like smooth pursuits make a big difference in higher level skills like learning and executive function. The best thing about this lab (besides all of the awesome info) is that it has a fun “lab” theme. I might have had too much fun with this one 🙂


Join us in visual processing Lab! Where you won’t need Bunsen burners or safety goggles!

Click here to learn more about Visual Processing Lab and to sign up.

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

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

The Handwriting Book breaks down the functional skill of handwriting into developmental areas. These include developmental progression of pre-writing strokes, fine motor skills, gross motor development, sensory considerations, and visual perceptual skills. Each section includes strategies and tips to improve these underlying areas.

  • Strategies to address letter and number formation and reversals
  • Ideas for combining handwriting and play
  • Activities to practice handwriting skills at home
  • Tips and strategies for the reluctant writer
  • Tips to improve pencil grip
  • Tips for sizing, spacing, and alignment with overall improved legibility

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

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

How to Write Cursive a

If you are teaching kids to write in cursive handwriting, these tips on how to write cursive a will help with a starter letter that supports the development of cursive writing skills. Writing letter a in cursive might seem like a good place to start when teaching cursive writing (after all, it’s the beginning of the alphabet!), but actually, you’ll want to start developmentally by teaching cursive letters in a sequential order.

How to Write Cursive a

Teaching cursive handwriting is a challenge for many parents and teachers.  Taking it step-by-step is key. Here, you will find strategies for how to write cursive letter a. Many times, there is not a specific curriculum that schools use and teachers need to scramble for resources and THEN fit handwriting time into an already jam packed day.

That’s why here at The OT Toolbox, you will find cursive writing tools that can be easily added into a school day. So, if you are wondering how to teach cursive writing, then you are in luck, because we have specific tips and tricks to teach cursive letters a-z.  

Here you will find tricks and tips to write cursive a…in fun ways!

Teach kids how to write cursive a with these cursive writing activities, tips and tricks that will stick.  

 

Lowercase cursive letter a is one of the wave letters.  The letters c, a, d, g, q, and o make up these letters that contain similar letter strokes. That’s why when children are taught to write in cursive, these letters are typically grouped together. We talked about how cursive letters are related and grouped into cursive letter families.

Teaching cursive letters in groups helps with letter formation, including the motor plan to form similar letters. When kids can practice cursive with a sensory approach to writing letters, they engage multiple senses along with the motor movements to form each letter. Grouping them into like letters makes the learning easier.

a in Cursive…where to start?

Start by reviewing how to form cursive c.

Start by reviewing and practicing cursive letter c. Cursive letter c (and cursive a) is a wave letter. Starting with some pencil strokes and multi-sensory practice of the wave formation is a good place to begin. Try some multi-sensory approaches to build motor planning for forming cursive a. 

Hold a small crafting pom pom or cotton ball in the thumb, pointer finger, and middle finger. This positions the hand into a tripod grasp and “wakes up” the muscles for writing.

Holding the cotton ball, students can use whole arm motions to “draw” an imaginary wave in the air. Encourage them to be sure to re-trace the wave so it has a big curved portion at the top or crest of the wave. Here is more information on teaching wave letters. 

By re-tracing that wave back down to the bottom, they can see the letter “c” or the beginning part of a letter a forming.

One tip to get that line really formed with re-trace is to tell kids that they want the wave to be great for surfing under. If the wave is fat at the bottom, it’s not a surfing wave. We want to see a wave that is ready to fall over and crash so a surfer can surf right along the inside of the wave.

Making a string of cursive c’s or a wave with several waves together is a good exercise.

These handwriting tips can help teach kids how to write cursive a

 

 

Next, turn cursive c into a cursive a.

Once that curved c is reviewed, and the students are tracing back over their wave lines so the curve looks like a single line, it’s time to turn lowercase c into lowercase a. 

Teach cursive a by telling students to form a cursive c that looks like a wave ready to crash over.

Their pencil should trace back over the wave line and move along the baseline. The pencil should move straight up to the top of the wave and pause where the wave is just about to tip over.

Next, the pencil should trace strait back down to the bottom line of the paper. Then, the pencil can move along the baseline to connect to the next letter. Here are tips to teach cursive letter connections.

Here are those cursive writing directions listed out:

  1. Write a cursive c with the top of the wave ready to crash.
  2. Move the pencil along the baseline and up to touch the tip of the wave. 
  3. Pull the pencil strait down to the baseline.
  4. Curve away to connect.

Poor Formation of cursive a?

What happens when the cursive a (or other writing in cursive) falls flat? There can be some troubleshooting to do when it comes to writing in cursive. Here are some problems you might see whth letter a.

  • The lines curving up to the top of the lowercase a aren’t touching- Remind the student to trace back over the curve of their magic c. Review how to make the curve of a letter c.
  • The “wave” looks to wide- A gaping wave can make the letter a look sloppy. Teach students to trace back over the curve of the along the same line. Try using rainbow writing for this method.
  • The up line to touch the top of the a is slanted. The a looks

Read here to find more tips to teach each cursive letter.

Practice cursive a with multi-sensory approaches to teaching letters

  • Use the pom pom/cotton ball large motor method described above
  • Practice the wave curves (focus on those thin, ready to break waves!) on the palm of the hand, by “writing” with the pointer finger
  • Rainbow write with crayons, markers, or chalk
  • Paint water onto construction paper
  • Try some of the sensory writing strategies described in this free creative cursive writing journal 
How to teach cursive letter a.
The Handwriting Book is a comprehensive resource created by experienced pediatric OTs and PTs.

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

The Handwriting Book breaks down the functional skill of handwriting into developmental areas. These include developmental progression of pre-writing strokes, fine motor skills, gross motor development, sensory considerations, and visual perceptual skills. Each section includes strategies and tips to improve these underlying areas.

  • Strategies to address letter and number formation and reversals
  • Ideas for combining handwriting and play
  • Activities to practice handwriting skills at home
  • Tips and strategies for the reluctant writer
  • Tips to improve pencil grip
  • Tips for sizing, spacing, and alignment with overall improved legibility

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

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

Summer Occupational Therapy Activities

Summer occupational therapy activities

Looking for summer occupational therapy activities to support skill building or developmental areas with a summer OT theme? Today, we have a spin on our traditional occupational therapy activities to bring you Summer occupational therapy strategies that can be used in summer sessions or in home programs for the summer.

Summer Occupational Therapy Activities

Summer OT activities may look a little different than previous years. In years past, therapists may have been gearing up for an end of another school year and a break from in-person OT sessions. In recent years, you may be seeing more pencil grasp needs, self-regulation needs, handwriting issues, and fine motor skill needs.

What hasn’t changed about the end of a school year is the carefree days of summer that are ahead. As an OT, I love the feeling of the start of summer. There is just something about back-to-the-basics play of summer. Running around the backyard, hopping on bikes, sidewalk chalk, sprinklers and water play…summer play is a goldmine of motor and sensory activities that can boost those underlying skills kids NEED.

Because of this, I wanted to put together a resource on summer occupational therapy activities that can be implemented today. These are strategies to use for your own child to boost development and challenge skills. These are ideas to use in teletherapy or in home programs. These are play ideas that help kids with the balance of screens and active play. Use the summer resources for parents, teachers, and therapists to develop underlying skills in very fun ways! These are AWESOME summer occupational therapy activities!

Let’s help kids struggling from a year of mega-screen overload meet the goals they need to thrive. Plus…take more time for you this summer by using done-for-you resources!

Occupational therapists can use these summer occupational therapy activities when planning OT home programs for for summer programs.

Summer Occupational Therapy Activities 

In many areas, schools are winding down for the year. You may have a few weeks or a few days left. The daily countdown of number of remaining school days is dwindling.

You might be wondering how to balance work-from home and making summer days count.

You might be wondering how to keep the kids busy this summer without breaking the bank.

You might be a clinician thinking about summer programming and need a few fresh ideas.

You might be thinking about summer plans and ways to encourage development in fun ways the whole family can enjoy.

You might be a therapist putting together summer home programs.

You might be a teacher who is READY for the final bell to ring this school year 🙂

I wanted to put together a list of resources for summer activities that can boost the skills kids need. The “summer slide” can happen in handwriting and other school-based therapy goal areas, too!

Summer Occupational Therapy Activity Ideas

Occupational therapy practitioners often use movement and sensory experiences in therapy sessions to challenge motor planning, motor skill development, and incorporate sensory motor activity through the primary occupation of childhood: PLAY.

Because of this, sensory motor rich activity is recommended as supplemental and everyday activity for kids of all ages to support development of skill growth. Many of the OT activity ideas listed below also support executive functioning skills, problem solving, and other cognitive aspects of functional tasks.

First, grab this summer sensory path printable packet. It’s a free sensory path printable with a summer theme. Use it in therapy clinics, home OT sessions, or in summer sensory camps!

Try adding these OT activities to your summer bucket list:

  • Make our 3 ingredient kinetic sand– Making kinetic sand offers heavy work through the hands as a self-regulation tool and offers a tactile sensory experience.
  • Make a kite craft to develop fine motor skills, visual motor skills, eye-hand coordination, and scissor skills.
  • Play TV tag (or one of these tag games)- Tag is a great gross motor activity to develop endurance, motor planning, coordination, balance, and visual motor skills while adding proprioceptive and vestibular input to regulate the system.
  • Make an ice cream craft to support hand strength and fine motor skills. This craft is great for developing scissor skills too.
  • Play sidewalk hopscotch– Use sidewalk chalk to draw a hopscotch board. Then play using rocks or bean bags. Hopscotch is a great tool to add heavy work, vestibular and proprioceptive input, and to challenge motor planning, balance, and other gross motor skills. Hopscotch is a way to teach skipping skills, too.
  • Paint rocks- This sensory experience challenges tactile input and offers a fine motor activity. Use finger paints or a paint brush to incorporate tool use and more fine motor work.
  • Wheelbarrow walk– This exercise is a heavy work exercise that helps kids with motor planning, movement, and endurance through play while adding heavy work. Use wheelbarrow walks in relay races or in obstacle courses.
  • Make a flower craft– Go on a nature walk as a motor and sensory experience. Then use the nature hunt findings to make a fine motor flower craft. There will be no two crafts alike with this fine motor activity.
  • Plant seeds- There are so many sensory benefits to gardening. Read more about sensory gardening with kids.
  • Wrap sticks in string- This simple activity is big on bilateral coordination, fine motor skills, precision, eye-hand coordination, and executive functioning skills. Go out in the yard and gather some small twigs. Then, tie a knot with the string and wrap around the stick. Switch out colors to make colorful designs and patterns. Can you cross different colored strings or yarn together to make a pretty wrapped stick? You can see how we wrapped craft sticks in string here.
  • Make lemonade- Making food with kids is a huge fine motor, sensory motor, and executive functioning tool to develop many skills with kids of all ages. Check out our cooking with kids page for tons more cooking ideas and recipes for kids as well as why each recipe supports development of skills.
  • Make a bug catcher– This fine motor activity is a huge hit with kids, and you can use the materials you have on hand. Just raid the recycle bin or grab some boxes and containers before they go into the trash can. Then, head outside to catch some bugs. This is a challenging activity that supports fine motor, visual motor, and sensory development.
  • Visit a playground- Playing at the playground has many sensory integration benefits and there are so many ways to use regular playground equipment to develop motor and sensory skill sin kids. If self-regulation is a challenge, then the playground is a wonderful summer haven for supporting specific needs.
  • Play tug of war- This heavy work game offers strengthening, balance, motor planning, and proprioceptive input that can be calming to support self-regulation needs.
  • Play in the sprinkler- A hallmark of hot summer days is playing in the hose or sprinkler. Children can practice putting on their swimming suit, applying sunscreen, and work on hopping, jumping, skipping, and moving through the sprinkler. And, don’t forget about involving the child in setting up and removing the sprinkler and hose, too. Pulling a hose is an opportunity for proprioceptive input that can be very calming.
  • Pick flowers- Go on a sensory nature walk with the family along a trail or in a park. Picking flowers supports development of visual perceptual skills, working memory, visual processing, fine motor, and self-regulation skills. Getting outside in nature can be a great overall activity that supports development and is a reset for the whole family.
  • Make lunch for your family- Develop fine motor skills, sensory experiences, executive functioning skills, and functional participation development by making lunch or dinner. Here are all of our cooking with kids recipes where you’ll find specific recipe ideas that support development, all from the perspective of an occupational therapist.
  • Chalk line obstacle course- Work on balance, motor planning, gross motor skill coordination through play using sidewalk chalk to create a driveway obstacle course. Can you hop on lily pads, tiptoe along a bridge, and animal walk on a wavy line?
  • Make DIY musical instruments- Making musical instruments are a fun way to build fine motor skills and address auditory processing skills too. Ideas include:
  • Climb a tree- Climbing on trees and limbs are a wonderful way to offer proprioceptive input, vestibular input, visual processing skills with depth perception, visual scanning, and eye-hand coordination. Holding on to a branch, pulling oneself up and over limbs, crossing midline, and bilateral coordination are developed through play. When finished, this is a powerful confidence booster!
  • Write a letter to a friend- (or a post card or email!)- Work on letter formation and other handwriting skills by writing a short letter or card to a friend this summer. It’s a very functional handwriting task that kids will be proud of!
  • Make a fairy garden- Use materials found around the home to support development of fine motor skills. The pretend play is a fun way to develop social emotional skills, too.
  • Wash the car (or a bike)- Support gross motor development by using a sponge, soapy water, and the hose to add proprioceptive input.
  • Watch and draw birds- Look for birds outdoors, in the yard, or from the windows. Address visual scanning, working memory, and pencil skills.
  • Go on a rainbow nature hunt- Use a piece of contact paper and find items of different colors of the rainbow to make a rainbow nature hunt craft. This is a great activity for fine motor, visual processing, and heavy work input.
  • Trace a friend with chalk on a driveway or sidewalk- Use sidewalk chalk to trace a friend on the driveway or sidewalk. This is a great activity to develop fine motor skills, and can support development of interoception by drawing internal organs and talking about how the body works inside and out!
  • Make bubble wands with pipe cleaners- use pipe cleaners and beads to develop fine motor skills to make a bubble wand. Then support oral motor skill development by blowing bubbles.
  • Play Red Rover- Lawn games like red Rover develop gross motor skills, visual motor skills, and executive functioning as well as adding proprioceptive and vestibular input.
  • Write the alphabet with chalk- Writing letters with sidewalk chalk supports the motor plan to create each letter and offers great proprioceptive feedback through kinesthetic learning. Writing letters with chalk or names and words can be a fun summer activity. Then spray the letters and words off with the hose or a spray bottle for more motor skill development!
  • Find shapes and images in the clouds- Look up to work on visual canning, memory, attention, and visual motor skill by finding shapes and outlines in the clouds.
  • Bake cookies
  • FInger paints
  • Fly a kite
  • Splash pad or water park
  • Write in a journal
  • Call a friend
  • Start a kickball game
  • Make leaf rubbings
  • Play hide and seek
  • Catch fireflies
  • Tie dye
  • Play cards
  • Build a fort
  • Have a sleepover
  • Play with glow bracelets at night in the yard
  • Read a book outside
  • Have a family game night
  • Draw self-portraits
  • Walk a pet

Need even more summer ideas?

~Add these hula hoop activities to therapy sessions.

~Use sidewalk chalk to support fine motor skills.

~ Print off and send home this list of 100 things to do this Summer. It’s a therapist-approved list of Summer activities!

~Print off these Summer Writing Lists to work on handwriting skills.

~Grab some of the materials in The OT Toolbox Member’s Club. There is something for everyone and Summer themed activities to support all skill levels.

~ Do some or all of the activities listed here in this Sensory Summer Camp at Home plan. All of the activities and ideas are free and use items you probably already have.

~ Sneak in handwriting practice while traveling with these motivating and authentic ideas. HERE are a few MORE natural writing experiences for summer that keep those pencils moving.

~ Try some of the activities in this Summer Activity Guide designed to encourage play and creativity in activities for the whole family.

~ Practice the motor planning and fine motor skills needed for handwriting and with a sensory twist using the ideas outlined in this Sensory Handwriting Backyard Summer Camp.

~ Try these Backyard Vestibular Activities for Summer to encourage movement and sensory experiences right in the backyard.

~ Print off this June Occupational Therapy Calendar for ideas to last the whole month. (It’s from a couple of years back so the dates are off, but the activities still work!)

~ These no-prep, basically free summer activities won’t break the bank and boost the underlying skills kids NEED, in fun ways.

~ Use sidewalk chalk to boost fine motor skills.  

~Make a summer time capsule with the whole family and create memories that can be looked back on years from now.   

~Create a summer kick-off bucket filled with toys and items for months of sensory play.     

~The kids will love these frozen fruit kabob snacks. It’s a great alerting sensory snack that doubles as a healthy summer treat.

One tool to support Summer OT home programs, OT tutoring sessions, or occupational therapy summer camps is our Summer Occupational Therapy Activities Packet.

It’s a collection of 14 items that guide summer programming at home, at school, and in therapy sessions. The summer activities bundle covers handwriting, visual perceptual skills and visual motor skills, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, regulation, and more.

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

Grab the Spring Occupational Therapy Activities Packet HERE.

NEW RESOURCE: The Summer Fine Motor Kit– This 90 page packet it specifically designed to build the motor skills kids have been limited in over the past year or so: handwriting, cutting with scissors, small motor manipulation, arch development and hand endurance, strength, pinch, and coloring. The Summer Fine Motor Kit includes different tools and materials than our other fine motor kits, but has some of the most-requested favorites in fun summer themes:

  • Summer Play Dough/Handwriting Mats (3 writing paper styles: single rule, double rule, and highlighted lines)
  • Lacing cards
  • Color and cut sensory bin cards
  • Sea Creature, Summer Play, & Summer Treats Silly Paths (great for pencil control and eye-hand coordination)
  • Tracing mazes/ Fine motor mazes
  • Symmetry drawing page
  • Fine Motor Flip Pages (flip a coin or small object and place them along a path)
  • Glue skills pages
  • Prewriting shapes sheets
  • Toothpick art activities
  • Pencil control worksheets/Fine motor placement paths
  • Scissor skills activities (simple and complex shapes)
  • Sensory bin cards

NEW RESOURCE: The Summer OT Bundle– Want to cover all your bases this summer? This bundle has everything you need for therapy planning, home programs, summer camps, Grandma’s house, or extended school year programs so you can just print and go. The bundle is $20 and includes:

The ideas listed above should help you create therapy home programs, and keep the kids loaded up on creative, open-ended, and movement-based PLAY that their little bodies NEED!

Use these summer occupational therapy activities when planning sensory activities, fine motor, and gross motor developmental ideas for kids.

Want to take summer play to the next level? Be sure to grab your copy of the Summer OT Activities Bundle!

Summer activities for kids

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:

Sensory Handwriting Backyard Summer Camp

handwriting camp

Have you ever thought about running a handwriting tutor session or a Summer handwriting camp? A handwriting camp is a great way to support the Summer slide when it comes to handwriting skills, or work on a few handwriting activities in fun and engaging ways over the summer months.

Summer Handwriting Camp Ideas

Summer is a time of relaxation, lazy play, and freedom for kids.  It can be a time of sliding backward in skills like handwriting, too.  While it’s important to remain free of schedules over the summer and allow kids to just be kids, there can be a need for some kids to maintain skills to prevent a loss of skills.  These sensory handwriting activities are a fun way to incorporate the senses into handwriting practice, in a fun way.  I’ve created sensory-based handwriting activities that can be used to create a DIY backyard summer camp at home.



Use these ideas to work on handwriting skills through the senses!

sensory summer camp at home idea for handwriting summer camp for kids using all of the senses to prevent the summer slide.

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

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

Grab the Summer Occupational Therapy Activities Packet HERE.

summer occupational therapy activities for kids

Tips to be a Handwriting Tutor

This post contains affiliate links.

Before beginning handwriting tutoring sessions, or a handwriting camp, you’ll want to create a few pieces of paperwork. Important papers such as disclaimers, waivers, and intake information can cover a few important issues as a handwriting tutor, handwriting coach, or handwriting camp. 

  1. Identify if you are using your therapy license or not? This is an important item to cover from the very start. Identify the scope of the handwriting tutoring sessions or camp sessions. If they are going to be considered under the scope of occupational therapy, there are certain considerations to be addressed. These are not to be considered therapy, unless you are actually doing an occupational therapy evaluation and creating a specific course of treatment. In these cases, fees for therapy or insurance can be collected, and you would operate under your license. Occupational therapy assistants would need to work under supervision of an occupational therapist. If the sessions would be operating without evaluation, assessment, and individualized interventions, then the scope of the sessions can occur under general tutoring or camp activities. In both situations, a disclaimer explaining these specifics should be created (next item).
  2. Disclaimer- Create a disclaimer that covers the scope of the tutoring or camp sessions.
  3. What will you cover in tutoring/handwriting camp? Identify the scope of tutoring content or handwriting summer camp content. Are you going to be covering letter formation? Simply handwriting practice? The importance of cursive writing? Cursive letter formation? Copying skills? Functional handwriting? Pencil grasp? Fine motor skills? Free writing?
  4. Waiver- Create a waiver that covers liability and removes yourself from any liability issues as a tutor or camp creator. There are many waiver and liability templates available, or you can reach out to a local attorney.
  5. Intake paperwork- Create paperwork for collecting information from parents. This should include name, contact information, special considerations such as allergies, emergency contact information, etc.
  6. Handwriting Camp Plans- Create a plan for handwriting tutoring or handwriting camp sessions. See below for ideas for each handwriting camp session.
  7. Collect money- Determine how you will be collect money to paid for tutoring sessions. A great tool that I have used in the past is SendOwl. You can create an account and create a “product” that is listed as a service. For an average of $20/month, you can have a way to collect income, sales pages, and market to your list month after month.

Handwriting tutoring or Handwriting Camp Plans

After you’ve created the logistics of the camp or tutoring session, it’s important to come up with a plan for general tutoring or camp sessions. You can create a plan for the entire camp that covers several weeks so that you’ve got ideas Try these tips to keep handwriting summer camps fun and stress-free.

  1. Identify what will be covered in the handwriting camp/handwriting tutoring.

Start by identifying what you’ll be covering in tutoring sessions or handwriting camp sessions. These are general topics and can be used with any student no matter the level (this is important if you are not going to be doing an evaluation and treatment plan and operating under your license).

Some topics for handwriting camps and handwriting tutoring sessions can include:

You can also consider a theme for the camp or handwriting sessions. Some ideas include an outer space camp theme or a circus summer camp theme.

2. Next come up with a schedule for handwriting camp sessions or handwriting tutoring:

Start off sessions with movement, play, and activities that build skills through play. Below are some ideas for the schedule of a tutoring or handwriting camp session:

  • Use lots of movement breaks and brain break activities.  Try to keep written work tasks as movement oriented as possible. 
  • Start each mini-session with gross motor activities: crab walks, jumping jacks, heavy work, or vestibular games.
  • Move on to fine motor movement activities, incorporating proprioception, and dexterity tasks.
  • Proceed to handwriting activities, keeping them as fun and activity-based as possible.  Incorporate several of the senses into written work, allowing the children to involve as many senses as possible in each mini-session. Limit written work activities to 15-20 minutes. You can use our free Handwriting printables and resources available on the website. See all of our Free Handwriting Resources HERE
  • Encourage 10 minutes of journal writing or letter writing.
  • Use these Summer Writing Lists for quick list writing that build handwriting skills
  • Finish with movement activities, using whole-body games like playing catch, batting a balloon, jumping rope, or kicking a ball. 
sensory summer camp at home idea for handwriting summer camp for kids using all of the senses to prevent the summer slide.

Summer Handwriting Camp Ideas



When it comes to handwriting, the motor sensory systems have a HUGE input in terms of handwriting ability, legibility, and fluency.  

START HERE for learning more about sensory processing and handwriting; This is everything you need to know about handwriting and sensory concerns.


I will be the first to admit: There are not too many kids out there who want to work on handwriting during their summer break.  The trick to building or maintaining skills it to make it fun.  Here are a bunch of ideas for motivating kids to write.


Once you’ve got some ideas to incorporating handwriting into summer days, you can try a few sensory strategies for practicing written work.  Try the handwriting ideas below to making written work fun using the senses.


Tactile Sensory Handwriting Ideas:

  • Pressing Too Hard When Writing Proprioception Tips is the perfect post if you are looking for tips on writing with too much (or too little) pencil pressure.
  • Fizzy Dough Cursive Letters uses the sense of touch with tactile exploratory input with fizzy, sensory letter formation.
  • Sensory Letter Formation Work on letter formation using dish soap in this tactile and olfactory letter learning and writing activity.
  • Fidget tips and tools can be used for kids who are constantly fidgeting during writing activities.
  • Write in shaving cream on a plastic tablecloth.
  • Practice letters while writing in oobleck.
  • Use mess-free sensory bags.
  • Form letters in a sand tray, salt tray, sugar tray, cornmeal tray, or flour.
  • Write with wet chalk.

Auditory Sensory Handwriting Ideas:

  • Write in the air letters while singing.
  • Use Encourage singing or humming during written work.
  • Use headphones to block out sounds or to provide background noise.
  • Practice written work from an auditory source.  
  • Take handwriting activities outdoors to the backyard, and notice birds chirping, cars, dogs barking, etc.
  • Minimize auditory distractions for other children.
  • Ask children to repeat the directions.
  • Use visual cues such as index cards with written directions.
  • Handwriting on Foam Craft Sticks and letters and coffee filters use the auditory sense when writing.  Whisper, tell, yell, rhyme, or sing the letters as your child writes them.

Olfactory Sensory Handwriting Ideas:

Proprioception Handwriting Ideas:

  • Start with these ideas  for understanding the basics of the proprioception sense and its impact on handwriting.
  • Write on a resistive surface.
  • Form letters with push pins on a lid.
  • Write with chalk on a driveway or rocks.  Try rainbow writing with chalk.
  • Write while laying on a trampoline. TIP: Use a clipboard.
  • Use a therapy ball to sit on, lay on, and write on.
  • Practice letter formation and pencil pressure by lacing a sheet of paper over a foam computer mouse pad. If pressing too hard, the pencil point will poke through the paper. 
  • vibrating pen provides sensory feedback to the fingers and hand and helps to keep children focused on the task. 
  • Practice handwriting by placing a sheet of paper over a piece of sandpaper. The resistance of the sandpaper is great heavy work for small muscles of the hand. 
  • Practice Ghost Writing: Encourage the child to write very lightly on paper and then erase the words without leaving any marks. The adult can try to read the words after they’ve been erased. If the words are not able to be read, the writer wins the game. 
  • This will provide the child with awareness and words for the way they are holding the pencil. 
  • Wrap a bit of play dough or putty around the pencil as a grip. Encourage the child to hold the pencil with a grasp that does not press deeply into the dough. Encourage using a “just right” pressure. 
  • Provide terms for they way they write. Encourage “just right” writing and not “too hard” or “too soft” marks. 
  • Use a lead pencil to color in a small picture, using light gray, medium gray, and dark gray. Talk about how using different amounts of pressure changes the shade of gray. 
  • Practice writing with a pen on thin paper surfaces such as napkins and tissue paper.

Vestibular Sensory Handwriting Ideas

  • Write while laying in the slide. Try using the slide as a writing surface while the child is lying on their belly.  Try both head towards the top of the slide and head towards the bottom of the slide.
  • Try a wiggle seat cushion such as a balance disc or a wobble chair.
  • Try sitting in a rocking chair, using a clipboard to write on.

Gustatory Sensory Handwriting Ideas

  • Form letters with taste-safe play dough.
  • Use bread dough to form letters.  Bake and eat.
  • Write in pudding.
  • Try taste-testing handwriting activities:  Try practicing writing while the student is chewing gum, or sucking on hard candy.  Other ideas include: chewing licorice, sour candy, chewy gummy candy, lollipops, or crunchy pretzels.  These types of oral sensory input are organizing. With the children, see if they notice improved concentration and written work output with these types of oral sensations.

Visual Sensory Handwriting Ideas

  • Write with highlighters.
  • Write with a flashlight in a darkened room.
  • Write with sparklers in the evening. (Use glow sticks for a safer option.)
  • Make a DIY light box.

 Sensory Summer Camp at Home themes

What do you think?

Have you thought about running an occupational therapy summer camp or a sensory summer camp? Maybe you’re thinking about targeting clients or just creating a group activity for non-clients as part of summer programming. Let me know if you’ve done any of the activities listed here. And, tell me…What are some awesome occupational therapy summer camp ideas you’ve had or sensory summer camp strategies that you’ve used?

 

Want to take summer play to the next level? Be sure to grab your copy of the Summer OT Activities Bundle!

Summer activities for kids

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

Cursive Writing Alphabet and Easy Order to Teach Cursive Letters

cursive letter order

In this post: Cursive writing order to teach letters of the alphabet, including Handwriting Without tears letter order for teaching cursive. The order that kids should learn the cursive alphabet, including print letter patterns that are directly transferable to cursive alphabet letters.

Cursive Writing Order




Learning to write the alphabet in cursive, writing one’s name in cursive, and writing words in cursive is something that many kids want to do around the second grade.  Cursive seems like a “grown up” style of communication that kids see adults or older students using and they try to make swoopy writing on their own.  Some children can be very motivated to learn to write the alphabet in cursive and use it in their written work.



Writing cursive letters in a group of similar pencil strokes is helpful for carryover of pencil control practice and letter formation. Here is more information on teaching groups of similar cursive letters together in a chunk, or cursive letter families.


Once kids have a start on cursive letter formation, they can practice in creative ways like on the window.


Other children who may not be exposed to cursive written work might have their first exposure to cursive in the classroom.  Still other students might be in a public or private classroom where cursive handwriting has been dropped from the curriculum.  These kids may need extra practice at home or might need to learn cursive handwriting from the very beginning.


But where to start when teaching kids (or adults!) the cursive writing alphabet and how to form words in cursive?  Read on for tips and strategies to get started on learning cursive letters.


Cursive writing alphabet and how to teach kids cursive handwriting with correct cursive letter order.


Cursive Writing Alphabet and Letter Order



We’ve touched on cursive handwriting in previous posts, include a small piece about starting to teach cursive letters.  This strategy will outline the alphabet and the letter order to make learning cursive more easy, based on learning letters in a developmental and progressive order.


RELATED READ: Practice letters in a Cursive Writing Journal.


There are print letter patterns that are directly transferable to cursive letters.


These are cursive letters that are formed similarly to their printed letter counterparts. The muscle movements of the hands that are used to form some printed letters are directly related to the same letters.  For this reason, it’s a good idea to start with these letters when learning the cursive writing alphabet.


The printed letter patterns that make up some letters will transfer directly to cursive, and when formed with a few subskills, cursive letter formation will easily follow (in most cases):

  • Left-to-right strokes
  • Good starting points
  • Direction of movement
  • Consistent stopping points
  • Control of downstrokes
  • Smooth rhythm
Given the subskills noted above, cursive letter formation will lend to more legible letter formation.  Often times, learning correct letter formation and motor practice will help with legibility and ease of cursive writing into a viable form of written communication.

 

When teaching the cursive alphabet, where to begin?

 

These letters have print patterns that are directly transferable to their cursive letters:

 
The following letters transfer directly to their cursive letter forms: c, a, d, g, o, q, i, t, u, j, e, l, f, h, p, n, and m.
 
Knowing that there are letters that use similar motor plans as a starting point, it is recommended to follow an order when teaching lowercase cursive letters:
 
c, a, d, g, q
i, t, p, u, w, j
e, l, f, h
k, r, s
b, o, v
m, n, y, x, z
 
Upper case cursive letters should be presented in a specific order as well:
A, C, O, U, V, W, X, Y, Z, P, R, B, H, K, N, M, I, J, E, L, I, J, Q


This letter order uses a combination of research-based strategies and focuses on movement based patterns as well as common letter formations, i.e. the way the letters connect to form words.
 
This upper case cursive letter order (or cursive capital letters) order teaches upper case letters that are similar to lower case letters first.  Always teach lower case cursive letters before upper case letters.
 
 
Cursive writing alphabet and how to teach kids cursive handwriting with correct cursive letter order.
Affiliate links are included below.
 
 

WOrk on Cursive Letter Order with these Ideas:

Here, you’ll find More creative ways to work on learning cursive writing:

Looking for more information on how to teach cursive writing? You’ll love our 31 day series on How to Teach Cursive Writing.  

The Handwriting Book breaks down the functional skill of handwriting into developmental areas. These include developmental progression of pre-writing strokes, fine motor skills, gross motor development, sensory considerations, and visual perceptual skills. Each section includes strategies and tips to improve these underlying areas.

  • Strategies to address letter and number formation and reversals
  • Ideas for combining handwriting and play
  • Activities to practice handwriting skills at home
  • Tips and strategies for the reluctant writer
  • Tips to improve pencil grip
  • Tips for sizing, spacing, and alignment with overall improved legibility

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.

Star Wars Occupational Therapy Lightsaber

star wars occupational therapy

Today I have a fun Star Wars occupational therapy activity. This block light saber requires just one material, but you can use this Lightsaber for so many OT goals! We actually created this counting block light saber years ago (original blog post was written in 2015) for May 4th activities for occupational therapy. May the 4th be with you with this fine motor Star Wars activity!

Star Wars occupational therapy activities for kids

Star Wars occupational therapy

Pediatric occupational therapy professionals know the power of using themes in OT therapy sessions. When we come up with a theme for fine motor, gross motor, visual motor, and sensory motor tasks, we can cover a wide range of OT goals while meeting the client (patient, student, etc.) where they are with a focus on their interests.

Using interests in therapy fosters meaning and engagement.

That’s where this Star Wars occupational therapy theme comes into play.

How many children have you met that love all things Star Wars? When you bring up the topic of light sabers, Millennium Falcon, Chewbacca, and Luke, you may see a sparkle in the eyes of a child that could talk for hours on all things Star Wars. That’s when you know you have a great therapy theme on your hands.

Using that Star Wars theme in therapy allows kids to focus on the tasks at hand, try new activities, and put themselves out there to try activities that might be just a little difficult on the range of “just right” tasks. The point here is to meet those goals but when working on goals is difficult, it can be easy to quit or give up. However, if there is a topic of interest that really sparks a light of engagement, then you have a tool to support goal development.

This is when we see kids thrive!

Let’s go over a few Star Wars occupational therapy activities focusing on fine motor skills, visual motor skills, gross motor skills, handwriting, and sensory play.

Star Wars Fine Motor Activity- Build a Block Light Saber

If your sons (and daughters) are anything like mine they love to make lightsabers out of anything.  Ever since they were introduced to Star Wars, the lightsaber is definitely a favorite in our house.  We built these blocks Star Wars lightsabers using counting blocks and wanted to share.  Because it sure is fun!

The block light saber is a fine motor powerhouse. By snapping together the blocks, you’ll see:

All of these fine motor skills are essential to functional tasks. Using the Star Wars theme adds a “4th” theme (force) that can’t be beat!

Build a lightsaber using counting blocks or cubes for a Star Wars occupational therapy theme.

How to Make a Star Wars Lightsaber with Blocks

We are sharing affiliate links in this post.    

To make build our lightsabers, we used one of our favorite toys; these snapping blocks are a toy that is used almost every day in our house.  From building robots to spaceships, and now lightsabers…we love these blocks.  They are great when used as a counting manipulative for preschoolers.  Other counting blocks could also be used.   

Use math blocks or counting snap blocks to make a light saber for May 4th activities or a Star Wars OT theme.

How to use this light saber in OT activities:

Visual Motor Skills- Create a block light saber model. Ask the child to copy the light saber using pattern blocks or snap blocks. They can copy the colors and spacing of the blocks to work on visual motor skills.

Other visual skills addressed with this activity include:

  • Visual scanning
  • Visual attention
  • Visual figure ground
  • Visual closure

Gross Motor Skills- Use the light saber to copy gross motor movements and motor planning patterns. The therapist can make movements with a block light saber and the client can copy them. Work on adding a sequence of movement patterns to work on sequencing, balance, motor planning, and recall. You can use the light saber like a movement stick like we did with this cursive writing warm-up activity.   

Other gross motor skills that are addressed with this Star Wars light saber therapy tool include:  

  • Crossing midline
  • Balance
  • sequencing
  • Motor planning
  • Visual tracking
  • Core strength and stability

Handwriting- This is one way to use the blocks light saber that I really love. Once the light saber has been built, use it as a spacing tool to space between words!

We’ve created a bunch of DIY spacing tools in the past: This light saber spacing tool joins the ranks of our popular space martian spacing tool, pipe cleaner spacing tool, craft stick and button spacing tool, and our craft stick (with a tracking dot) spacing tool.

To use the light saber as a spacing tool, the child can build their light saber using the snapping blocks. Then, ask them to write sentences on paper or a dry erase board, focusing on copying or writing words accurately on the lines. Show the child how to place the light saber blocks between each word as a visual cue and a tactile support to add space after the words. When they are completed with writing the sentence, they will have words that are accurately and consistently spaced out, making handwriting legibility a breeze.

Spatial awareness impacts handwriting legibility in big ways. The child can then recall using a light saber as their handwriting “force” each time they write, whether they have the actual light saber in hand or not. It’s a handwriting force that can’t be beat!

Sensory Activities- By adding sensory play into therapy sessions, children can address self-regulation needs, sensory challenges, and play-based learning. Scatter the blocks in a sensory bin with scoops, tongs, and cups. You’ll need a sensory bin base material as well. The sensory materials offer a way to explore textures and create in therapy sessions.

The student or child can find the needed items and then build their own light saber.

This sensory Star Wars idea addresses various skill areas:

  • Tactile exploration
  • Sensory motor skills
  • Visual processing
  • Proprioception

Build the lightsabers using a row of counting blocks.  Encourage your child to count out the blocks and match up the numbers when making a double lightsaber.  This is a fun way to encourage math through play and interests in Star Wars.  Have fun with your counting block lightsabers!  

Add this activity to these other Star Wars occupational therapy activities:

Star Wars Sensory Activities

  • Use Star Wars Moon Dough to encourage tactile hand sensory input, add heavy work through the hands with proprioceptive input.
  • Mix and make LEGO Star Wars Putty and develop tactile sensory challenges with bilateral coordination. Then address handwashing after playing.

Star Wars Fine Motor

  • Incorporate bilateral coordination, hand strength, coloring skills, and heavy work through the hands to make this Crayon Resist Death Star.
  • Work on scissor skills, bilateral coordination, precision, glue use, and handwriting to make this Star Wars R2-D2 Craft. 
  • Incorporate wrist extension, fine motor precision, hand strength, grasp development, tool use, and scissor skills and Make a Toilet Paper Roll Yoda.
  • Address tripod grasp, neat precision grasp, separation of the sides of the hand, open thumb web space, eye hand coordination, and visual motor skills with this Star Wars Day Perler Bead Pattern.

Star Wars Handwriting

Use the light saber spacing tool above with these Star Wars handwriting ideas in occupational therapy sessions:

  • Incorporate letter formation, copying skills, line use, spatial awareness, and handwriting legibility in a functional and meaningful Star Wars craft using this May the Fourth Be With You Card.
  • Use these Star Wars Children’s Books to work on handwriting skills by asking kids to copy sentences from the books or to find specific letters in the book and then work on letter formation. They can even use the pictures as inspiration for creative writing with a Star Wars theme.

Star Wars Executive Function Ideas

All of the crafts and activities above involve aspects of executive functioning skills. Making a play dough or slime recipe involves planning, prioritization, and other EF skill work. Try this activity with your star Wars theme to add more executive function work to your occupational therapy session:

  • Make stop action creations and work on planning, prioritization, impulse control, task completion and other executive functioning skills. You’ll find inspiration in this  Star Wars stop action activity.  

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.

Occupational Therapy Equipment List Writing Pages

occupational therapy equipment list handwriting worksheets

For occupational therapy month, we’ve been sharing free OT-themed tools and this occupational therapy equipment list handwriting pages is today’s freebie! Pediatric occupational therapists have some cool tools, so why not use those OT equipment items in handwriting practice? It’s a great way to promote the profession during OT month and all year long!

occupational therapy equipment list handwriting worksheets

Occupational Therapy Equipment List

Occupational therapy (OT) helps people become more independent. Whether it is babies, toddlers, students, people who are disabled or have had an accident, or those being rehabilitated from surgery, OT’s play a vital role. 

The cool thing is that OT equipment can literally be anything that helps people achieve functional goals, in any aspect of life!

OT equipment items could be the toys, tools, and games that help to develop skills:

  • Toys
  • Games
  • Scooter boards
  • Theraputty
  • Trampolines
  • Slant boards
  • Swings
  • Ball pit
  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Weighted materials
  • Puzzles

This list of OT items are just the beginning of our arsenal of tools!

While these look like toys (and in some cases are), they are often valuable tools to build independence, strength, focus, and help bridge the gap between functional and chronological age.

Use this word copying worksheet to talk about what each of these tools are, while building some great skills. 

Amazon has great occupational therapy equipment and OT tools and we’ve created a bunch of (Amazon affiliate link) OT equipment lists and suggestions for OT toys and tools.

We serve people from birth to the end of life. Did you know that April is OT Month?  A month-long celebration to advocate for the work we do. The OT Toolbox will be offering several valuable activities to share with your learners to educate them about our role. 

Occupational Therapy Equipment List Handwriting Worksheets

Today’s freebies are occupational therapy tools handwriting worksheets.

These occupational therapy equipment handwriting worksheets PDF highlight just a handful of the tools we use to help learners grow.

The occupational therapy tools, handwriting activity is presented with two sets of lines, to use with different levels of learners. Each picture is presented in simple black and white to encourage coloring as well as copying the words. 

How can I modify this task to work with all groups of learners?

  • Lowest level learners can cut and paste the words into the correct rows
  • Middle level learners can copy each word into the lines

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  • Higher level learners can write a sentence using the key words or write how these items can be used in therapy
  • Take away the word bank for higher level learners to sound out the words, or dictate the spelling aloud for a higher level challenge
  • Make this occupational therapy, copy the word sheet part of a larger lesson plan including gross motor, sensory, social, executive function, or other fine motor skills
  • Print in black and white or color for different levels of difficulty
  • Cut the shapes and make a matching activity instead of using a writing tool to copy the words
  • Talk about the equipment, describe their characteristics, and give context clues to help your learner understand why these tools are helpful
  • Enlarging the font may be necessary to beginning handwriting students who need bigger space to write.
  • Project this page onto a smart board for students to come to the board and write in big letters.
  • More or less prompting may be needed to grade the activity to make it easier or harder.
  • More advanced learners can work on social skills by talking to the group about these therapy tools
  • Write a report about occupational therapy, types of equipment, the history of OT, different disabilities, or how the equipment is used
  • Turn it into a gross motor task, sensory activity, following directions, or combination of all of these
  • Work in pairs or in a small group to address problem solving, turn taking, and sharing information with others

Talk to young learners about the role of occupational therapy

It is difficult enough to talk to adults about what occupational therapists do.  Now try describing this to a group of first graders!  If you describe it as playing on swings, trampolines, riding scooters, and getting fun fidgets, you will have everyone in the school trying to figure out a way to sign up for OT! 

Instead talk about the kinds of goals we address, and how we help other students to be more independent using the tools described on the occupational therapy tools, handwriting worksheet.

Start the conversation to promote the OT Profession

The conversation about what occupational therapists do might sound like this:

  • OTs might help a student who can not open all their lunch containers by themselves
  • If a student can not use the bathroom independently, put on their coat, wash hands, or eat their lunch with utensils, they might need occupational therapy
  • Not everyone is able to write their letters, cut, and color like the rest of the class.  OTs work on helping students to improve these skills so they can keep up with the class
  • Some students have difficulty making friends, playing with other people, following directions, sharing, taking turns, or standing in line.  Some of these students might need occupational therapy to help them with these skills
  • Have you noticed some students get in trouble at school?  They don’t finish their work, their stuff is a mess, they don’t listen to the teacher very well, and seem to make a lot of mistakes?  These are not bad students, they may need some help to get better.  There is a whole team to help students like these, OTs are one of them.
  • How do you think some of the items on the occupational therapy tools handwriting worksheet help students?

The month of April is specially dedicated to sharing our knowledge with other people.  Take a moment to give yourself a pat on the back while you are at it!  Keep an eye out for several posts this month dedicated to advocating for the OT profession.

Free OT Equipment Worksheets

Grab these OT equipment list handwriting worksheets and get started to open conversations about what we do as occupational therapists! AND work on the functional task of handwriting skills during your conversations.

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

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

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

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

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Free Occupational Therapy Handwriting PDFs

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    Don’t miss the other OT month freebies! This month the OT Toolbox is highlighting occupational therapy month by providing insight into what occupational therapists do, along with offering FREE resources to add to your lesson plans.  Keep an eye out for more posts from this series, including:

    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.