Rainbow Pencil Control Exercises

Pencil control exercises with colored pencils

If you are looking for ways to work on handwriting legibility and pencil control, then you are in the right place. This Occupational Therapist loves to teach kids handwriting.  Neatness counts when it comes to writing on the lines and being able to read that homework assignment a few hours into the nightly after-school ritual.  Today, I’ve got one easy tip for helping kids to manage with pencil control in order to write on the lines at an age-appropriate speed. Add this pencil control activity to this list of pencil control exercises.

Pencil control exercises with colored pencils
This activity is perfect for kids from Kindergarten on up through school-aged.  Anyone who is writing with a pencil and trying to form letters on lines, copy written work, fill in worksheets, and take notes will love this handwriting exercise in pencil control.
 
Try these pencil control handwriting exercises to work on writing in lines with the small muscles of the hands for more accuracy with lines, legibility, and speed when writing.
 
 


Pencil Exercises

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Pencil exercises like this simple colored pencil activity are powerful ways to improve pencil control in handwriting.
 
This activity is really, so simple.  There is nothing you need more than a pencil and paper.  We pulled out colored pencils to make our handwriting activity into a rainbow of color and to add a visual scanning component.

 

Try these pencil control handwriting exercises to work on writing in lines with the small muscles of the hands for more accuracy with lines, legibility, and speed when writing.

 

Rainbow Pencil Control Exercises

With this activity, we’re working on keeping the pencil strokes within the lines of a small circle.  

  1. First, draw a bunch of circles in different colors on a piece of paper.  The circles should be 1/4 inch in diameter.  
  2. Ask your child to fill in the circle with the matching colored pencil. A red circle should be filled in with the red colored pencil.  

The objective here is to fill in the whole circle without going over the lines.  Because the circle is so small, filling it in with the colored pencil requires very small muscle movements of the fingers.  

A child who uses their wrist or forearm to write (such as a child using a grasp such as the thumb wrap grasp, for example, are over compensating for weakness and lack of endurance of the intrinsic musculature in the hand and utilizing a stabilizing grasp.  This rainbow pencil control exercise strengthens dexterity, including range of motion in the thumb IP joint. Read more about the thumb IP joint and handwriting in a previous post.

This overcompensation does not allow fluid motions of the fingers when moving the pencil in handwriting.  Because the circles are so small, the child can focus more on using the small motor motions to fill in the color.

 
Try these pencil control handwriting exercises to work on writing in lines with the small muscles of the hands for more accuracy with lines, legibility, and speed when writing.

 

 

More Pencil Control Exercises


Extend this activity to further your child’s fine motor skills and pencil control in handwriting:

  • Ask your child to draw an “X” in each circle, without going over the lines.
  • Ask your child to draw horizontal or vertical lines within each circle, much like we did here.
  • Create a color coding activity: Match one circle color up with another pencil color.  When you call out a color, your child can fill in that colored circle with a different, predetermined colored pencil.  This is a test of visual scanning and quick thinking.
  • Draw larger circles and show your child how to fill them in with strait pencil strokes.
  • Work on pencil control strokes using the pages in our Colors Handwriting Kit
Pencil control exercises for kids using colored pencils

    This rainbow handwriting activity is part of the Rainbow Activities for Kids series.  Find more rainbow activities here:

rainbow activities for kids

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT:Rainbow in a Bag – No Mess Art // Powerful Mothering Rainbow Pasta Threading // Play and Learn
Everyday Rainbow Tinker Tray // Still Playing School How to Flip a
Rainbow | Simple Science for Kids
// Lemon Lime Adventures Rainbow Sun Craft // Fairy Poppins Beginning Sound Rainbows // Playdough to Plato DIY Rainbow Crayon Names // Pre-K
Pages Rainbow Bear Color Matching Game
// Life Over Cs Rainbow
Marble Painting Process Art
// Preschool Inspirations DIY Paper Plate Loom: Rainbow Yarn Art // Sugar Spice and
Glitter Rainbow Sight Words // The Kindergarten Connection Rainbow Math with a DIY Abacus // Fun-a-Day Simple Rainbow Sensory Bottle for Kids // Coffee Cups
and Crayons Roll a Rainbow // The STEM Laboratory  

Colored pencils exercises for improving pencil control in handwriting.

Looking for more handwriting ideas?  Here are some of my favorites:

Colors Handwriting Kit

Rainbow Handwriting Kit– This resource pack includes handwriting sheets, write the room cards, color worksheets, visual motor activities, and so much more. The handwriting kit includes:

  • Write the Room, Color Names: Lowercase Letters
  • Write the Room, Color Names: Uppercase Letters
  • Write the Room, Color Names: Cursive Writing
  • Copy/Draw/Color/Cut Color Worksheets
  • Colors Roll & Write Page
  • Color Names Letter Size Puzzle Pages
  • Flip and Fill A-Z Letter Pages
  • Colors Pre-Writing Lines Pencil Control Mazes
  • This handwriting kit now includes a bonus pack of pencil control worksheets, 1-10 fine motor clip cards, visual discrimination maze for directionality, handwriting sheets, and working memory/direction following sheet! Valued at $5, this bonus kit triples the goal areas you can work on in each therapy session or home program.

Click here to get your copy of the Colors Handwriting Kit.

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.

Crossing the Midline Activity Letter Rainbow

Crossing the midline letter activity

This crossing the midline activity is a way to help kids with midline skills, as well as letter identification, using a rainbow theme. In the simple midline activity, children create a rainbow while visually scanning from left to right to match letters with different colors of the rainbow. It’s a letter version of our rainbow ladder that is also instrumental in helping children with underlying handwriting skills including visual motor integration and crossing the midline.

Crossing the midline activity for letter fluency, visual motor integration, and midline crossing skills.

This particular  Kids can work on so many skills with this simple visual motor rainbow.  We worked on matching printed lower case letters to cursive letters but you could do this one with upper and lower case letter match-ups or just matching upper case to upper case.  Some of the underlying skills that is necessary for kids to write legibly are visual motor integration and crossing midline.  This visual motor integration letter rainbow works on those skills with a colorful result.

We also used our rainbow of hues to work on the visual motor skills needed for pencil control.  This activity also addresses the ability to coordinate visual input to the motor movements of the hands. Kids can work on their fine motor development with the simple rainbow activity described below.


Work on crossing the midline and letter identification to match letters to cursive letters with a rainbow.


Crossing the Midline

In another blog post, we cover more about crossing the midline, particularly with the lower body, in a midline marching activity for children.

So, what crossing the midline?  

Midline of the body is an imaginary line that drops from the middle of the head, strait down over the nose, to the belly button and divides the body into left and right sides.  Many movements and functional tasks occur with just one hand, like holding a phone. A user could hold the phone on one side of the body and turn their head to that direction. In that particular task and positioning, the activiy is localized to a side of the body and doesn’t cross the midline.

Other tasks occur at the midline. This includes activities such as reading a book or brushing the teeth. The dominant hand will do most of the work, like turning the pages of the the book or manipulating the toothbrush, while the nondominant hand assists in the task. In our examples, the activity occurs mainly at midline, and there is not much crossing over of the middle of the body. However, the non dominant hand might assist by holding the book or by squeezing the toothpaste onto the tooth brush, (or holding the toothbrush while the dominant hand squeezes the toothbrush). As a side note, many of these muscle movement patterns are not something that we think through throughout our day. The movement patterns are just automatic and natural. That is part of muscle memory and motor planning that has been established and ingrained. Trouble occurs when there is a block to the automaticity such as difficulty with crossing the midline.

Still other activities require intense midline crossing. This includes activities where the midline must be crossed in order for the task to be completed. Activities exemplifying midline crossing include dressing the lower body or in play. In the example of dressing, you notice that one arm reaches over the midline in order to feed the opposite foot into a pants leg. Similarly, with pulling on socks, both hands reach to one foot and the right arm crosses the midline when pulling on the sock of the left foot.

Crossing midline refers to moving the left hand/arm/foot/leg across this line to the right side (and vise versa).  Crossing midline also refers to twisting the body in rotation around this imaginary line, and leaning the upper or body across the middle of the body.

Problems with Crossing the Midline

When crossing the midline is a problem, or it’s not been properly established as an automatic movement pattern, you may notice these movements instead of crossing midline:

  • Switching hands during an activity
  • Twisting the body to complete tasks- rotating the trunk to complete tasks
  • Preferring to use one hand over the other: Using the right hand for tasks on the right side of the body and using the left hand for tasks on the left side of the body
  • Mixed dominance
  • Trouble with fine motor tasks that require two hands: writing, coloring, cutting with scissors, manipulating utensils, cutting with a knife and fork, etc.
  • Trouble with gross motor tasks like jumping, skipping, hopping, crawling
  • Trouble with laterality
  • Trouble with keeping their place when reading across a page

Crossing the Midline Letter Activity

The midline letter activity described here is a beneficial way to work on crossing midline for several reasons:

  • The activity encourages children to cross midline with large motions across a page
  • The activity encourage visual shifting to scan across a page, incorporating crossing the midline into reading and writing tasks which can impact reading fluency and accuracy
  • The activity works on letter identification and challenges children to integrate visual skills with movements (hand eye coordination)

In the crossing the midline letter rainbow activity described here, we worked on cursive letter identification. Many times when children practice cursive writing, they do so in isolated practice settings: practicing rows of cursive letters, one at a time, and then stringing that letter into words on a worksheet. But sometimes, the cursive letter fluency piece is skipped. Reading a letter or a word pairs the cursive letter with orthographic patterns so that cursive writing and reading becomes fluent.

You could use this midline rainbow activity with any letter matching exercise:

  • Matching shapes or colors
  • Matching letters to images that start with that letter to incorporate phonological awareness
  • Matching lowercase printed letters to uppercase printed letters
  • Matching lowercase cursive letters to lowercase printed letters
  • Matching uppercase printed letters to uppercase cursive letters
  • Matching lowercase cursive letters to uppercase cursive letters

Set up a crossing the midline activity:

This rainbow activity can be performed in several ways.  Children can work on a large scale and address bilateral coordination and midline crossing with a large piece of easel paper or butcher paper taped to a wall.  Another option is to set this rainbow activity up at a dry erase board or chalk board.

To make the midline board:

  1. Colored markers/crayons/chalk/colored pencils-We used (affiliate link) Mr. Sketch scented markers to add multisensory learning components.
  2. Next, draw two vertical lines on opposite sides of the paper, or about 2-3 feet apart.  
  3. Along the left vertical line, form letters in one format (print, cursive, lowercase, uppercase, etc.) 
  4. On the opposite line, form either matching letters in upper case/lower case/cursive. Ensure the letters are mixed in order, so the lines need to cross over one another.

Next, work on crossing midline skills:

  1. To perform this visual motor letter rainbow, ask the child to start on the left side and draw an arching line to connect to the matching letter on the right side of the paper.  Working on a large scale to perform this activity promotes crossing of the midline as well as visual motor skills.


    2. Ask the student to start at the left line and stop at the right line when drawing their rainbow lines. When the child is making the arches, they should not start or go over the vertical lines by more than 1/4 inch.  Ask them to connect the matching letters with matching colored markers. 


Grade this activity by asking the child to start and end at the vertical lines without crossing over the lines.  This is an excellent way to address pencil control and visual motor skills.


Vary the activity

  • Complete the midline activity by completing the rainbow in a standing or seated position.  Be sure to watch for the child to compensate for midline crossing by shifting weight, rotation of the body, pivoting of the trunk, or movement of the legs.  The child should remain facing forward without any of these motions noted.
  • Kids can also complete this activity with diagonals of with strait lines to connect the letters.
  • Address visual motor skills with the letter rainbow on a small scale as a table-top activity.  
  • Draw the lines on a smaller scale and ask kids to connect letters while touching but not going over the vertical lines with the colored markers.
  • Use different surfaces- dry erase board, chalkboard, asphalt or sidewalk with sidewalk chalk, working on a large piece of paper or cardboard on the ground, and paper hung on a wall are all options.
  • Use a variety of writing materials: If working on a dry erase surface, use Dry erase markers. You’ll need a rainbow of colors.
  • Work in a sensory bin using sand or other sensory bin base materials. Letters can be written under the sensory bin, like we did with this sensory writing tray.
  • This activity works well on the ground too. In that case, use Rainbow colored chalk if working on a large piece of cardboard from an old box or on the sidewalk. This option adds resistance to the activity, providing proprioceptive feedback.
  • You could also use crayons, finger paints, colored pencils, sidewalk chalk, or water colors.
Use scented markers for a multisensory learning approach to crossing the midline and matching letters.

Need more ways to work on visual motor integration, crossing midline, handwriting, and functional skills? Grab the Colors Handwriting Kit. It comes with activities to promote functional handwriting, and multisensory learning. You’ll also get a bonus offer of fine motor activity pages.

Just print and go!

Colors Handwriting Kit

Rainbow Handwriting Kit– This resource pack includes handwriting sheets, write the room cards, color worksheets, visual motor activities, and so much more. The handwriting kit includes:

  • Write the Room, Color Names: Lowercase Letters
  • Write the Room, Color Names: Uppercase Letters
  • Write the Room, Color Names: Cursive Writing
  • Copy/Draw/Color/Cut Color Worksheets
  • Colors Roll & Write Page
  • Color Names Letter Size Puzzle Pages
  • Flip and Fill A-Z Letter Pages
  • Colors Pre-Writing Lines Pencil Control Mazes
  • This handwriting kit now includes a bonus pack of pencil control worksheets, 1-10 fine motor clip cards, visual discrimination maze for directionality, handwriting sheets, and working memory/direction following sheet! Valued at $5, this bonus kit triples the goal areas you can work on in each therapy session or home program.

Click here to get your copy of the Colors Handwriting Kit.

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.

Use rainbow colors to work on the skills needed for handwriting with a visual motor letter rainbow activity.

Here are more rainbow activities to pair with ours:

PreWriting Lines Activity Rainbow Slide Deck

prewriting lines activity rainbow slide deck

This rainbow therapy slide deck activity is a prewriting lines activity that can help kids with the visual motor skills needed for writing letters, numbers, and in all aspect of handwriting. Prewriting skills are those very important developmental skills needed before kids can actually write letters or numbers. Pre-writing lines activities are an often-times skipped step of handwriting. That’s why I wanted to create a rainbow drawing art activity that can be used in teletherapy (or face-to-face sessions) that works on this important skill.

You’ll also love these free rainbow therapy slide decks: Rainbow drawing art activity and the rainbow emotions slide decks. Add both to your occupational therapy interventions.

Prewriting lines therapy slide deck for teletherapy and air writing prewriting forms.

Prewriting lines

As we discussed in this blog post on a past pre-writing lines activity, working on pre-writing lines prior to practicing letter formation is an important step for preschool-aged kids, and actually helps to develop a strong basis for proper letter formation.  

Establishing pre-writing lines allow kids to strengthen visual motor skills, hand muscles, promote pencil strokes needed for letters, and improve pencil control. 

We’ve also previously talked about the progression of pre-writing lines. Prewriting lines development is as follows:

What Are Pre-Writing Skills?

In short, pre-writing skills are the lines and strokes kids need to master and know BEFORE learning how to print the alphabet. Each of these lines is developed in a sequence, based on how old the child is. We’ve covered developmental progression of pre-writing lines previously.

This developmental sequence of prewriting lines is as follows:

  • Age 1-2: Spontaneous scribbles
  • Age 2-3: Imitates a vertical line, horizontal line, circle
  • Age 3-4: Imitates a cross shape, and diagonal lines, a crude square
  • Age 4-5: Imitates an X, triangle, square

This is a very basic description of ages and developmental progression of line development and pre-writing skills.

As always with child development, each child will progress through this developmental sequence somewhat differently and at different speeds. Some children may draw a square with refined pencil strokes and sharp corners or controlled curves before another child. Other children may form perfectly slanted diagonal lines while others at the same age may make bumpy or curved diagonals.

Still another concern that should be addressed: Older kids may have been introduced to handwriting before they have mastered prewriting lines and then you see the breakdown in letter formation, reversals, inaccuracies with curves, diagonals, line placement, etc. In this case, it is ok to go back and work on these forms in multi-sensory learning strategies. Use sensory bins, rainbow writing, drawing on sandpaper, finger-paint, drawing in shaving cream, etc. to work on accurate copying and forming of these line forms.

This developmental progression of pre-writing lines should be taken as a general outline.

In short, we want to see each of these line formations develop before a child is asked to copy or trace letters.

There are many hands-on activities that help to work on these skills.

Pre-writing virtual activity

So how do you work on pre-writing skills in a virtual occupational therapy environment? There are many ways!

Copying pre-writing forms can be achieved in teletherapy through creative thinking, use of the camera, and items the child has in the home. To get started on thinking outside the box, check out our free teletherapy with kids mini-course, where you will find loads of information on all things teletherapy, including for those who are at the pre-writing stage in their in their writing and visual motor skills.

prewriting lines teletherapy activities

Rainbow prewriting lines activity

You can use the slide deck presented here to work on prewriting lines with children, as another virtual therapy activity.

In the free Google slide deck, kids can complete several activities to work on copying pre-writing lines, and they all have a rainbow theme.

prewriting lines rainbow activity for kids

Kids can first copy the prewriting lines with air writing as they point to the lines. Then, they can use whole body movements to air write the forms. This incorporates motor planning, crossing midline, and visual tracking.

In the rainbow therapy slide deck, you’ll find all of the pre-writing lines, including slides for strait vertical lines, horizontal lines, diagonal lines, a cross, curves, wiggly lines, arches, a square, a triangle, and more.

teach prewriting lines to kids with a rainbow theme

Finally, children can draw the prewriting forms onto paper.

Want to add this prewriting lines therapy slide deck to your teletherapy toolbox?

Enter your email into the form below and you’ll get access to thsi free Google slide deck.

Prewriting Lines Activity Rainbow Slide Deck!

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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.

    I Spy Colors Activity

    I spy colors virtual I spy game

    If you’ve ever played “I Spy with my Little Eye”, then you are going to love this I Spy colors therapy slide deck. It’s a movement activity that gets kids up and moving and challenges several developmental skill areas: visual processing, tactile sensory exploration, handwriting, and strength, endurance, and movement challenges. Kids can go through the free therapy slide deck in an occupational therapy teletherapy session and work on learning colors as well. Add I Spy colors as a color scavenger hunt that kids will love!

    Use this along with our color exercises slide deck for more color theme activities in therapy.

    This I Spy virtual game is just one of the free slide decks we have available here on the site. Check them all out!

    I Spy colors therapy activity for teletherapy. This is a color scavenger hunt for kids.

    Need more teletherapy resources? Working with kids in teletherapy? Need streamlined info on how to structure your sessions? Need activities for week-to-week therapy planning? need answers for all of your teletherapy questions? Join the free teletherapy course, a 5 day email series on telehealth for occupational therapists.

    I Spy Colors

    The kids you are working with may have played I Spy before. In a traditional look-and-find game, they need to search a book, puzzle page, or other activity page for hidden items. You may have even played I Spy with my little eye while waiting at a doctor’s office, or in a restaurant. It’s a good activity for kids that keeps them busy. But did you know there are even more therapeutic benefits to this game?

    I wanted to create a teletherapy activity that required no materials other than paper and pencil. This I Spy Colors therapy slide deck does the trick.

    Therapists can use this free interactive slide deck in therapy treatment sessions virtually as a color scavenger hunt activity.

    The activity asks users to search their house for an object of a particular color. By looking around the home for the color detail of objects, children are strengthening several visual perceptual skill areas:

    • Visual scanning– moving the eyes for a specific aspect of details: colors of objects. Visual scanning is a skill needed for reading as kids scan their eyes over the lines of a page.
    • Visual discrimination– visually determining differences in colors of objects. The slides ask kids to locate items that are in a range of colors. This color activity is slightly more advanced than just finding a blue item. Can they find teal? Visual discrimination is a skill needed for distinguishing differences in letters and words when reading.
    • Figure-ground– Pulling out details of objects from a busy background. When users scan their home for a specific color, they are visually identifying objects that may be hidden in a busy background. This visual skill is used in functional tasks every day.
    • Visual memory– Holding a “picture” of details such as the shade of color in the mind. As kids look throughout their room or home, visual memory is needed to recall the color and shade they are looking for. This visual skill is needed in reading and math.
    • Visual closure– identifying an object when only parts of it are seen. This visual perceptual skill is used when children locate an object in the room that may be partially hidden. Visual closure is used in reading when readers are able to identify a word by only some of the letters.
    • Visual convergence– A visual processing skill, this motor task allows vision to shift in scanning. By scanning to near and far points, kids are strengthening this skill. Visual convergence is used in the classroom when scanning from a teacher or the board to the desk, or from near to far and far to near.

    Users can then identify features of the object by responding to questions about texture. The slide deck asks about aspects of the found item by asking the child to explore the tactile aspect. Is the item fuzzy? Soft? Rough? How does it feel?

    This part of the color activity brings in features of the tactile sensory system.

    Color I spy for a virtual I Spy game, using materials in kids houses, making it great for distance learning or online therapy games.

    Virtual I Spy

    This virtual I Spy activity takes the fun of the classic look and find game online, making it great for teletherapy activities with kids of all ages. This particular color game goes beyond just “I Spy” however…

    Use the virtual activity for working on other areas in therapy, too:

    • Movement challenges- Kids get up and move to find the objects
    • Visual perceptual skills- covered above
    • Tactile sensory exploration and challenges- Can they find a green object that is fuzzy? This activity can be expanded in many ways!
    • Handwriting- work on skills such as line awareness, letter formation, sizing, legibility. Kids can then self-assess their work, making carryover of writing skills stick.

    Users can move the interactive piece of the slide deck to mark off tactile sensory aspects of the colorful item they found.

    Finally, there is a color writing activity where users can write a sentence about the object, using the describing words that they selected. This part of the slide deck may be a higher level for some users, but the writing piece invites users to incorporate aspects of language and creative writing into the I Spy Colors activity.

    Use this I Spy color activity to teach colors and work on various child development skills, including handwriting.

    I Spy Colors for all ages

    The slide deck is designed so it meets various levels and can be graded to different ages:

    • Younger kids can just look for the objects in a color scavenger hunt.
    • Teach colors, making it a preschool color activity that is perfect for virtual learning.
    • Some children can skip the tactile sensory aspect and just seek out items in the I Spy portion of the activity.
    • Grade the activity up by discussing tactile features.
    • Further grade the activity up by incorporating handwriting. Younger students can just write the word.
    • Older students can write the word in a sentence, working on adding describing words.
    • Kids that complete the handwriting portion of the slide deck activity can self-assess their handwriting, using the interactive check marks as they look over their written work.

    There’s somethign for everyone with this I Spy Colors therapy activity!

    Want to play I Spy Colors?

    Grab the free Google slide deck by entering your email into the form below. You will receive a PDF containing a link to open the slide deck. Be sure you are logged into your Google account before clicking the button on that PDF. Save the PDF in your therapy files so you can access this resource any time and share with those on your caseload.

    FREE Color I Spy Activity!

      We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at anytime.

      More color activities

      Add this slide deck to these hands-on color activities:

      Benefits of coloring– Use a couple of crayons to work on many areas of child development.

      Visual Motor Color Match Activity– This activity translates wonderfully to virtual therapy sessions. It can be used in face-to-face interventions as well, or as a home activity.

      Colored Pencils Handwriting Activities– All you need is a set of colored pencils for working on many skill areas.

      Color Mixing Rainbow Write– Work on letter formation and size with this rainbow write activity that challenges kids to mix colors and see what the result is.

      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 About Friendship Slide Deck

      Writing about friendship google slide deck for teletherapy

      Today, I have another free Google slide deck to share with you. This one is perfect for writing about friendship. In this teletherapy occupational therapy activity, kids can explore social emotional learning while working on handwriting skills. Kids can use this slide deck to write about the qualities of a friend, and use the friendship words and friendship writing prompts for developing social skills that is important for making friends. Also try this friendship skills for personal space and body awareness slide deck.

      Write about friendship with this free Google slide deck that helps kids with social emotional skills, resiliency, and handwriting skills.

      Writing about Friendship

      I have had this friendship activity on my mind for a while now. After noting the lack of social interaction that we’ve been seeing in kids more this past year, I’ve had this friendship writing activity planned as a tool to support kids’ social emotional needs.

      We know the power that socialization has on child development, mood, and

      When it comes to hybrid learning, virtual classrooms, and online activities and social events, kids are losing out on the social aspect of sports and activities that they have had in the past. This lack of face-to-face interaction impacts a child’s ability to make friends.

      And, children that struggle with social-emotional development are impacted by the added complexity of seeing face masks on faces. They can’t get social cues like smiles or other facial expressions that are a sign of a friend.

      To help children better understand facial expressions and emotional learning skills, grab this facial expressions worksheet.

      Additionally, children that are in virtual learning situations and those in hybrid classes are seeing all or half of their peers virtually. This isolation can potentially impact a child’s social participation, and may be especially impactful for children with social, emotional, or communication challenges.

      Participation in virtual classrooms and activities limits social participation in a way that limits the opportunities to make friends and nurture friendship relationships.

      Children who struggle with social skills or social participation in a typical school setting can have a difficult time with making friends.

      Even more to consider is the impact that this past year has had on a child’s perspective of interacting with others socially. One study took a look at children’s perspectives as a result of this year’s events.

      The study also noted that children expressed concern, anxiety, and worry about leaving their home after being on a lockdown mode. Because, here’s the thing: staying at home is safe, right? It’s where kids are protected. Staying home and interacting with others virtually has a sense of security.

      But, when kids are asked to leave the home, we are starting to see an emergence fear of going outside. There can be a fear of interacting with others.

      And that’s where an issue with making friends could come into play that REALLY impacts our kids down the line.

      It’s really interesting when you think about it.

      Because of the need for virtual interaction, kids are bored, angry, overwhelmed, tired, and lonely because they have to stay at home without being able to go out. Because there are so many unknowns related to the current situation, it’s hard to identify specific strategies to help kids struggling.

      But, there are options to assist with social and emotional supports. There are tools for mental health supports.

      attention must also be paid to the emotions of fear, worry, guilt, loneliness, boredom, and anger, with an emphasis on strengthening resilience and offering psychological support to parents and children, a point that has already been emphasized by a number of scholars during this crisis (Coyne et al., 2020)

      One thing that has been determined that we need to do for sure is to foster children’s resilience.

      Resilience refers to specific personal attributes that help children manage disappointments and even traumas to a point. In part, resilience involves emotional regulation and social emotional development.

      One specific way to foster resilience and social emotional development is through the discussion of friendships, specifically relationships that may be missing as a result of needing to work and learn online and in virutal settings.

      That’s where this writing about friendship activity comes into play. Use the interactive slide deck and Jamboard activity to drive discussion on friendships and offer a source of discussion points for building friendships during this strange time.

      Friendship Writing activity for handwriting and developing resilience in kids as part of social emotional learning.

      Free Writing About Friendship Slide Deck

      In the friendship writing activity slide deck, you’ll see that there are several aspects of friendship that kids can write about and dive into. These handwriting tasks each dive into aspects of social development, making friends, and understanding friendship. The writing activity can even be used as a tool for social supports during a time when kids are not interacting with freinds on a face-to-face basis.

      Maybe the slide deck is a starting point for coming up with ways to interact with friends virtually. Or, kids can explore how they can maintain friendships even when they do not see their friends for a while. This is all part of resilience that we can help to foster in kids.

      Help kids to identify  and write about qualities of a true friend paragraph writing that can develop social emotional skills.

      Sort the qualities of a good friend

      The first part of this slide deck is two slides that allow kids to sort aspects of good friends from qualities of “could be better” friends. The slide deck is interactive when it’s used on edit mode of Google drive, so kids can actually slide the images into the correct category.

      Use this friendship writing slide deck to work on handwriting and writing about friends.

      Identify ways you are a good friend

      Users can then identify ways that they are good friends to others. This is a place where users can type in their responses, making the ways to be a friend very open-ended.

      This is a nice space to identify novel ways of maintiaing friendship during a time where virtual interactions are necessary. How can kids interact and maintain friendships with others when there is not face-to-face school or activities?

      Children can use this space to identify aspects of friendship that can be maintained virtually or from a distance.

      Kids can work on typing skills here. Or, take the writing piece off the computer and ask that children work on handwriting on paper. Focus on letter formation, letter size, margin use, etc.

      A friendship mind map to explore social emotional skills.

      Friendship mind map

      The next slides ask kids to copy onto paper, a mind map. This is a great visual motor activity as they see the image and break it apart into pieces so that they can copy the shapes. Work on visual motor integration and ensure the child doesn’t miss any pieces, overlap lines, and copies all aspects of the mind map. This is a great way to work on the skills needed for reading and writing.

      Then, on their own friendship mind map, kids can write qualities of a friend. This visual exploration turns friendship into a picture as kids brain dump various aspects of social friendships.

      Friendship words for working on handwriting skills, in a free Google slide deck for therapy.

      Friendship words handwriting activity

      The next slides on the deck are spaces where kids can copy various friendship words. This part of the friendship writing activity can meet various needs.

      Children can work on copying words with accuracy, and correct letter formation, without omitting or adding letters. This is an exercise in visual perceptual skills.

      Kids can work on letter formation as they write the letters on their paper. I’ve included directional arrows for proper letter formation.

      Cursive writing activity with a friendship theme, in a Google slide deck for occupational therapy.

      There are slides with cursive writing, too, for older children working on their cursive handwriting.

      And, finally, there is a visual cue of lined writing space with highlighted portions for smaller letters. In these spaces, kids can type right onto the slide to copy the friendship terms.

      AND, maybe my favorite part, is that when you download this free deck, you’ll also get access to the JAMBOARD version, so kids can “write” right on the screen using a fingertip, stylus, or mouse. Then, they can write the words on the lines with they highlighted spaces. Therapists, teachers, or parents could also use the lined spaces to correct or star good use of the lines.

      Friendship writing prompts for social emotional development and handwriting.

      Friendship writing prompts

      The next aspect of the slide deck is a writing prompt. Kids can use the writing prompts to write sentences or a paragraph onto paper to further extend the activity.

      Free Friendship Activity Slide Deck

      Want access to this free Google slide deck?

      You can get access to this free slide deck and JAMBOARD by entering your email into the form below. This is necessary to deliver the PDF containing a link to the slide deck to your Google Drive. Save the PDF because you can add it to your toolbox for future use.

      Save that PDF file, because you can come back to it again and again and send it to the kids on your caseload (or classroom) so they can make their own copy on their Google drive.

      Be sure to make a copy of this slide deck and not change the url to indicate “edit” at the end. When you make a copy of the slide deck onto your Google drive, you will end up with your own version that you are free to adjust in order to meet your student’s needs. By changing the url to “edit”, you can potentially mess up the original version that many other therapists and The OT Toolbox users are given.

      FREE Writing About Friendship Slide Deck

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        More Social Emotional Learning Resources

        Want to help kids explore social and emotional learning through play? Exploring Books Through Play inspires social and emotional development though play based on children’s books. The specifically chosen books explore concepts such as differences, acceptance, empathy, and friendship.

        Exploring Books Through Play: 50 Activities Based on Books About Friendship, Acceptance and Empathy is filled with hands-on activities rooted in interactive, hands-on, sensory play that focus on creating a well-rounded early childhood education supporting growth in literacy, mathematics, science, emotional and social development, artistic expression, sensory exploration, gross motor development and fine motor skills. Kids can explore books while building specific skills in therapy sessions, as part of home programs, or in the home.

        Click here to explore acceptance, empathy, and friendship through play.

        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.

        Coyne, L. W., Gould, E. R., Grimaldi, M., Wilson, K. G., Baffuto, G., and Biglan, A. (2020). First things first: parent psychological flexibility and self-compassion during COVID-19. Behav. Anal. Pract. 6, 1–7. doi: 10.1007/s40617-020-00435-w

        Valentine’s Day Handwriting Activity Slide Deck

        Valentine's Day handwriting activity and free slide deck for occupational therapy

        Adding fun handwriting activities doesn’t need to be boring! This Valentine’s Day handwriting slide deck proves that. Here, you’ll find an interactive free Google slide deck that challenges visual perceptual skills in the form of a match-up type of game and a Valentine’s Day themed handwriting task. Use these occupational therapy slides in teletherapy activity planning or in hybrid/face-to-face lesson planning. Let’s get ready to help kids develop the skills needed for handwriting with hearts and love!

        You’ll also love this Valentine’s Day gross motor slide deck for occupational therapy and physical therapy teletherapy sessions.

        Valentine's Day handwriting activity and free slide deck for occupational therapy

        Valentine’s Day handwriting activity

        This free slide deck includes two separate activities. The first is a match up game, a lot like the virtual handwriting activities we’ve shared before, including this pencil theme write the room activity.

        In this particular therapy slide deck, students can use the Valentine’s Day theme to identify the missing item on the match-up, spot it style of Valentine’s Day puzzles.

        Valentine's Day Spot it activity to practice visual perceptual skills with a heart theme.

        Then, on the next slide, students are given a handwriting task where they copy the word and a sentence.

        There are several reasons why I’ve included these two activities together on a handwriting therapy activity.

        When kids complete a spot-it game visual perception activity, they are challenging and developing several visual perceptual skills including form constancy, visual discrimination, visual memory, and visual figure ground skills.

        All of these perceptual skills are needed for copying written work. When a child copies a word, they need to visually shift from their paper to the word or sentence that they are copying. To copy, students need visual perceptual skills of visual memory so that they can recall where they left off as they copy letters and words. They also need visual discrimination skills to quickly identify the differences between letters. Finally, kids need visual figure ground skills so that they can visually pull out the letters or words that they pull out of a sentence as they copy.

        So, in this slide deck, students can first determine the image that is different between the two circles. One Valentine’s Day symbol is matching and all others are different. The student can click on the heart in the corner of the slide and drag it onto the matching Valentine’s Day symbols.

        Valentine's Day handwriting activity for kids to practice handwriting skills.

        Next, each match-up puzzle in the deck is followed by a handwriting activity. Users can copy the word or they can copy the sentence, or they can copy both! This slide deck is very adaptable depending on the needs of the child.

        You’ll find different Valentines themes including cute animals with hearts, heart trees, sweet treats, heart cupcakes, emojis, conversation hearts, watercolor hearts, and even more heart themes!

        Additionally, this activity is available on Google Jamboard so that users can write right on the slide with a stylus or their finger.

        Free Valentine’s Day Handwriting Slide Deck

        Want to add this slide deck to your therapy toolbox? Enter your email address into the form below.

        Enter your email address below and you will receive a PDF containing a link to copy the slide deck onto your Google drive. Next, save that PDF file, because you can come back to it again and again and send it to the kids on your caseload (or classroom) so they can make their own copy on their Google drive.

        Please use the copy of the slide deck and do not change the url.

        FREE Valentine’s Day Handwriting Activity!

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          Want to add more Valentine’s Day activities and movement tools to your skill-building?

          he Valentine’s Day Fine Motor Kit is here! This printable kit is 25 pages of hands-on activity sheets designed to build skills in pinch and grasp strength, endurance, eye-hand coordination, precision, dexterity, pencil control, handwriting, scissor skills, coloring, and more.

          When you grab the Valentine’s Day Fine Motor Kit now, you’ll get a free BONUS activity: 1-10 clip cards so you can challenge hand strength and endurance with a counting eye-hand coordination activity.

          Valentines Day fine motor kit
          Valentine’s Day Fine Motor Kit to develop fine motor strength, endurance, dexterity, and coordination of hand skills.

          Click here to grab your copy of the Valentine’s Day Fine Motor Kit.

          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.

          Write the Room Pencil Theme

          Write the room handwriting activity

          Working on handwriting? What about pencil grasp? Today, I have a fun companion to make working on these skills more fun. This write the room activity has a pencil theme and it works perfectly with some other pencil themed activities recently released here on the site: Pencil Theme Deep Breathing Exercise and our Virtual I Spy pencil theme activity.

          Write the room with a pencil theme for virtual handwriting activities.

          What is Write the Room?

          Write the Room activities are just that: a handwriting exercise in copying and writing words that are posted around the room. Typically, students walk around the room and find matching images and words. They then copy those words onto paper.

          There are several skills that kids strengthen with room writing handwriting activities:

          • Visual attention
          • Visual shift
          • Visual memory
          • Visual discrimination
          • Visual scanning
          • Copying from a distant point

          These skills translate into handwriting when copying information from a far point, which can be difficult for kids to do.

          With Write the Room activities, kids can strengthen these skills with a focus on handwriting.

          Virtual Write the Room

          More kids are in hybrid learning or virtual learning situations right now, so typical handwriting activities can be difficult to use for the activity’s benefits.

          That’s where this virtual write the room activity comes in. Use the free Google slide deck or the Google Jamboard option as a virtual option.

          While kids can’t walk around and write, or visually scan a room to copy the words, they can use the words scattered on the slide decks.

          And, to make this a challenge, I’ve created a Draw the Room option as well. Kids can copy the simple forms to work on copying from a near or far point. Just move the screen further away for a distance copying task.

          Copying forms is a great visual motor activity that is needed for the skill of handwriting and forming letters.

          This virtual write the room activity is also available on Google Jamboard. Students can write write on the Jamboard whiteboard option using their finger or stylus to simulate handwriting and letter formation as well as drawing and copying skills. Using the Jamboard option is a great way to see how the student is forming letters when they write it directly on the screen.

          Free Write the Room Activity

          Want to add this handwriting activity to your therapy toolbox? Enter your email into the form below. You will receive an email with a PDF to access the Google slide deck AND a link to the Jamboard option.

          NOTE: Please do not change the urls. Please make a COPY of these files onto your Google drive, when prompted.

          Free Write the Room Slide Deck

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            winter fine motor kit

            For more handwriting activities, be sure to grab our Winter Fine Motor Kit. Loaded with tons of fine motor and handwriting activities, this printable packet has pages of winter themed write the room options, including all lowercase letters, all uppercase letters, and cursive handwriting.

            Click here to get your copy of the Winter Fine Motor Kit.

            JOIN THE PENCIL GRASP CHALLENGE!

            Want to know how to fix a problem with pencil grasps? Need help knowing where to start when it comes to immature pencil grasps or a child hating to write because their hand hurts? The Pencil Grasp Challenge in open for you! In this free, 5 day email series, you’ll gain information, resources, specific activities designed to promote a functional, efficient pencil grasp.

            The pencil grasp challenge is a free, 5 day mini course and challenge. During the course of five days, I’ll be teaching everything you need to know about the skills that make up a functional pencil grasp. You’ll learn what’s going on behind the inefficient and just plain terrible pencil grasps you see everyday in the classroom, clinic, or home. Along with loads of information, you’ll gain quick, daily activities that you can do today with a kiddo you know and love. These are easy activities that use items you probably already have in your home right now.

            Are you in??

            Besides learning and gaining a handful (pun intended) of fun ideas to make quick wins in pencil grasp work, you’ll gain:

            • 5 days of information related to pencil grasp, so you know how to help kids fix an immature pencil grasp.
            • Specific activities designed to build a functional pencil grasp.
            • Free printable handouts that you can use to share with your team or with a parent/fellow teachers.
            • You’ll get access to printable challenge sheets, and a few other fun surprises.
            • And, possibly the best of all, you’ll get access to a secret challengers Facebook group, where you can share wins, chat about all things pencil grasp, and join a community of other therapists, parents and teachers working on pencil grasp issues.

            Click here to join the Pencil Grasp Challenge.

            free pencil grasp challenge

            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.

            Pencil theme deep breathing

            pencil theme deep breathing exercise

            Today, I’m continuing with our pencil theme with another deep breathing exercise. This pencil themed breathing activity is a fun way to incorporate mindfulness or self-regulation strategies into a therapy theme. In occupational therapy interventions, OTs often times work with kids on the occupation of handwriting. It’s a necessary “job” of students and an important part of a child’s participation in education. I think the OTs out there will appreciate this pencil deep breathing activity in therapy sessions!

            Pencil Theme Deep Breathing Exercise

            This deep breathing exercise goes well with other deep breathing exercises we’ve shared here on the site. Here is information on breath control, including deep breathing exercises. You’ll find information on deep breathing as a coping strategy impacts self-regulation as well as achieving that alert-calm state that enables us to focus and attend.

            In the classroom, this is so important!

            Want to add this pencil deep breathing activity to your therapy toolbox? Enter your email into the form below and the PDF will be mailed to your inbox.

            You can also direct your students to this blog post and pull up the image below. Kids can follow the arrows in the image below. Then, they can use a pencil with the same deep breathing strategies no matter where they are.

            Pencil theme deep breathing exercise.

            Free Polar Bear Theme Deep Breathing Exercise

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              Here are more deep breathing/mindfulness resources you will love:

              Join the pencil grasp challenge!

              Want to know how to fix a problem with pencil grasps? Need help knowing where to start when it comes to immature pencil grasps or a child hating to write because their hand hurts? The Pencil Grasp Challenge in open for you! In this free, 5 day email series, you’ll gain information, resources, specific activities designed to promote a functional, efficient pencil grasp.

              The pencil grasp challenge is a free, 5 day mini course and challenge. During the course of five days, I’ll be teaching everything you need to know about the skills that make up a functional pencil grasp. You’ll learn what’s going on behind the inefficient and just plain terrible pencil grasps you see everyday in the classroom, clinic, or home. Along with loads of information, you’ll gain quick, daily activities that you can do today with a kiddo you know and love. These are easy activities that use items you probably already have in your home right now.

              Are you in??

              Besides learning and gaining a handful (pun intended) of fun ideas to make quick wins in pencil grasp work, you’ll gain:

              • 5 days of information related to pencil grasp, so you know how to help kids fix an immature pencil grasp.
              • Specific activities designed to build a functional pencil grasp.
              • Free printable handouts that you can use to share with your team or with a parent/fellow teachers.
              • You’ll get access to printable challenge sheets, and a few other fun surprises.
              • And, possibly the best of all, you’ll get access to a secret challengers Facebook group, where you can share wins, chat about all things pencil grasp, and join a community of other therapists, parents and teachers working on pencil grasp issues.

              Click here to join the Pencil Grasp Challenge.

              free pencil grasp challenge

              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.