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.

Join the Member’s Club today!

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.

    Preschool Pre-Writing Skills

    pre-writing skills

    This pre-writing skills resource is a resource for anyone working with preschoolers. The fact is that in the preschool years, developmentally, preschoolers should not be writing. Rather, pre-writing is the area of focus. A huge topic of discussion for pediatric occupational therapy professionals is the fact that preschool pre-writing skills are developed rather than introducing handwriting at this young age. Developmentally, there is a lot of progression in the preschool years and pre-writing skills are just one of the many areas. Refer to more information on preschool activities for other developmentally appropriate activities.

    pre writing skills needed before preschoolers can write with a pencil.

    Pre writing Skills in Preschool

    Many times, parents of very young children don’t think about handwriting skills. It’s not typical to think about holding a pencil, writing words and sentences, and copying letters when children are just mastering building with blocks, learning to pull on socks, and creating finger paint masterpieces.  

    But the truth is, when young preschoolers are playing, they are building the very important precursors to handwriting.  

    The skills needed for managing a pencil, copying letter forms, and managing pencil control when copying lists and paragraphs into a space on a page are initiated in the early childhood years.  Below, you’ll find more about preschool pre-writing skills and the components of pre-writing skills that are developed through play.

    Pre-writing skills development begins with preschool aged children through play.

    What are Pre-Writing Skills?

    Preschool is prime time to develop the underlying skills needed for handwriting. So often, the older, school-aged kids that are struggling with handwriting are missing the underlying areas that make up the skills of handwriting.


    First, it’s important to recognize that handwriting is made up of so many areas. Handwriting is much more than holding a pencil (pencil grasp) and forming letters and numbers!  

    There are many pre-writing skills that transfer to accuracy in written work. These areas need to be developed and refined before handwriting can be successful. These skills are pre-requisites to even holding a pencil to form shapes and then letters.

    Consider the following skill areas that relate to handwriting: 

    1. Sensory Motor Pre-writing skills
    2. Fine motor pre-writing skills
    3. Visual-motor pre-writing skills 

    Let’s go into each area separately.

    Sensory-Motor Pre-Writing Skills- The sensory motor component is closely related. Consider the pyramid of learning and the developmental base that enables refinement in higher levels of development. The closely related areas of sensory and motor skills are pre-requisites for pre-writing before copying lines and shapes is even possible.

    • Gross motor development
    • Motor planning
    • Initial core control and core body strength
    • Bilateral arm and hand use
    • Crossing midline
    • Imitation of movements
    • Ability to learn novel motor movements
    • Tactile sensory awareness
    • Discrimination of sensation
    •  

    Fine Motor Pre-Writing Skills- From holding the pencil to moving and controlling the pencil when writing letter forms, handwriting requires a variety of motor movements that all must work together.

    These fine motor pre writing areas of development include:

    • Hand dominance
    • Pinch precision (using a tip to tip grasp)
    • Finger opposition
    • Finger isolation
    • Separation of the sides of the hand
    • Hand strength (endurance in play)
    • Fine motor development
    • Separation of the two sides of the hand, including:                    
      • Development and control of the skilled side of the hand                  
      • Development and control of the strength side of the hand stable side of the hand
    • Thumb Isolation and use as a stability point
    • Thumb dexterity and strength
    • Finger Isolation
    • Development of a dominant hand and an assisting hand
    • Manipulation of objects and dexterity of the hand with objects
    • Grasp strength

    Note that preschool can begin as early as 2 years old with some preschool classes. There is a big difference in development from the 2-5 year range in all areas, including fine motor development. A young 2 year old will developmentally have more primitive fine motor skills than a 5 year old child.

    Young preschoolers will develop precision and refinement of fine motor skills through play.

    Visual Processing Pre-Writing Skills- Additionally, there are the eyes.  What is seen and recognized needs to be coordinated with the hand.  Visual processing has a huge component in written work!

    During the preschool years, visual processing skills are developed through play. These components include:

    Cognitive Pre-Writing Skills- In addition to the motor components are the cognitive skills. These include the ability to follow directions, pay attention, and focus. The cognitive areas are closely related to the motor skill prerequisites.

    • Direction following
    • Attention and focus
    • Directional concepts
    • Memory
    • Sequencing
    • Awareness of left-right concepts in books and written work

    When Preschoolers are asked to write letters

    When young children are asked to write, trace, or copy letters before these skills are developed, bad habits can form. In these cases, you’ll notice that older students tend to have difficulty with handwriting.

    There are many things happening all at once that develop poor motor plans and bad habits. Because preschoolers are not developmentally ready to write with a pencil, you may see these issues:

    1. Immature grasp on the pencil/writing utensil
    2. Inability to form diagonal lines
    3. Forms letters from bottom to top
    4. Forms letter segmentally and inappropriately
    5. Weak grasp on the writing utensil
    6. Inconsistent hand use
    7. Weak pinch and base of support on the pinky side of the hand
    8. Poor posture
    9. Inattention
    10. Difficulty identifying letters and copying complete parts
    11. Many other issues!

    These mentioned issues with starting handwriting in preschool is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to introducing letter formation before kids are developmentally ready.

    Pre-Writing Lines in Preschool

    It is very important to mention pre-writing lines. These are the pencil strokes that precede formation of letters. Here are some resources you’ll want to read over and utilize in this important step in preschool development:

    1. We cover a great deal about pre-writing lines here.
    2. Use this pre-writing lines activity to work on this essential step.
    3. Consider this pre-writing lines slide deck when working with preschoolers in a virtual setting.
    4. Read about the developmental progression of pre-writing lines.
    5. Use this pre-writing leaf activity to work on the development of underlying skills as well as pre-writing line formation.
    6. Use these handwriting activities to work on pre-writing skill development.

    If any of these areas might be an issue for your child with handwriting troubles, consider grabbing The Handwriting Book as a resource that covers all of the underlying skill areas related to handwriting.

    So how are all of these areas addressed as a pre-writing skill in preschool? 

    The answer is through play!

    Can you believe that all of these areas are being addressed htrough play in the early childhood development stages?  And that all of these areas are building and developing with a resulting use in handwriting?  Amazing, right?  

    Pre-writing skills start to develop in preschool aged kids.

        Stop by later this week to find out easy ways to encourage development of the above skill areas in group settings in the preschool environment.  It can be difficult to address the needs of a preschool class when there are 16 four year olds that need reining in.  I’ll have easy ways to encourage development of fine motor skills, visual motor skills, and attention skills in fun and creative ways…coming soon!  

     The Handwriting Book

    BUY The Handwriting Book NOW    

    Want to know more about The Handwriting Book?  Click on the image above to find out how to address every underlying area related to handwriting skills.     Click here to BUY NOW.

     
     

     

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

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

    Spring Worksheets for Fine Motor Skills and Handwriting

    Spring worksheets

    How would you like some free Spring worksheets? Today, I have a fun freebie that I’m excited to get into the hands of little ones…our popular fine motor skills handwriting worksheets! These fine motor precision worksheets are actually Spring themed worksheets, BUT they can definitely be used year-round to work on handwriting and fine motor precision. You can get your hands on these printable Spring exercises and help little ones develop stronger hands!

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

    Spring Worksheets

    These free Spring worksheets for fine motor and handwriting skills are one of our popular printables for precision and dexterity (and handwriting). Here’s why: These Spring worksheets are a powerhouse in building fine motor skills. Kids can use play dough to build the fine motor strength they need to hold and write with a pencil, color, and complete fine motor activities all with more dexterity, precision, and endurance!

    We have so many themed fine motor worksheets like this one in our OT Toolbox Member’s Club. You can log in, click the ones you need and print them right away, without entering your email address for each printable.

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

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

    Spring Worksheets for Fine Motor Skills

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

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

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

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

    Read about more fine motor activities using play dough here.

    Spring worksheets for Handwriting

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

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

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

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

    Free Spring Worksheet Set

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

    FREE Spring Worksheets for Fine Motor and Handwriting

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

      Spring Fine Motor Kit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Join the Member’s Club today!

      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 Pressure When Writing

      If you’ve worked with kids teaching handwriting or fixing handwriting issues, they you probably have come across a common handwriting problem area…Pencil pressure when writing. Handwriting pressure can play a huge role in legibility, whether pressing too hard when writing or writing too lightly. 

      Pencil Pressure in Handwriting

      Some kids press too hard on the pencil. They may press so hard on the pencil that the pencil tears the paper when they write. When they try to erase, there are smudges that never really go away.

      Other students use too little force when writing. Or, you might see pencil pressure that is so light that you can’t discern letters from one another.

      Either way, pencil pressure plays a big part in handwriting legibility.

      Here are tips for pressing too hard when writing…and tips for helping kids write darker. Scroll down for everything you need to know about writing with that “just write” pencil pressure…Typo intended  🙂

      These writing tips are great for kids that press too hard when writing or write too lightly.

       

      Pencil Pressure with Writing

      Learning to write is a complex task.  Choosing a hand to hold the pencil with, pencil grasp, managing the paper with the assisting hand, sitting up straight.

      And then there is the physical task of marking letters: letter formation, line awareness, letter size… this is multi-level functioning for a child!  

      Yet another aspect to consider is the pressure one exerts on the paper when writing.  Press too lightly and the words are barely able to be seen.  Press too hard, and the letters are very dark, the pencil point breaks, lines are smudged, and when mistakes are erased, they don’t really erase all the way, the paper tears, and frustration ensues!  

      Sometimes, when it comes to pencil pressure, simply helping kids become aware that they are writing too lightly or writing with too much pressure can make a big difference. Here is one simple activity to work on pencil pressure. All you need is a sheet of foam crafting paper. 

      Pencil pressure is dependent on proprioception, one of the sensory systems.  With October being Sensory Processing Awareness month, this is the perfect time to talk sensory and handwriting!
       
      As an occupational therapist in the school setting, I’ve come across many school-aged children showing difficulty with pencil pressure.  There are reasons for these dark pencil marks and some tips and tools for helping with this handwriting difficulty. 

       

       
      Tips and tools for kids who write with too much pressure in handwriting.  Does your child write or color so hard that the pencil breaks?  Writing too hard makes handwriting difficult to read and effectively write.
       
       
       
      This post contains affiliate links.  

       

      Proprioception and Handwriting


      The proprioceptive system receives input from the muscles and joints about body position, weight, pressure, stretch, movement and changes in position in space.  Our bodies are able to grade and coordinate movements based on the way muscles move, stretch, and contract. 

      Proprioception allows us to apply more or less pressure and force in a task. Instinctively, we know that lifting a feather requires very little pressure and effort, while moving a large backpack requires more work.  

      We are able to coordinate our movements effectively to manage our day’s activities with the proprioceptive system.  The brain also must coordinate input about gravity, movement, and balance involving the vestibular system.


      When we write, the pencil is held with the index finger, middle finger, and thumb, and supported by the ring and pinkie finger as the hand moves across a page.  

      A functioning proprioceptive system allows us to move the small muscles of the hand to move the pencil in fluid movements and with “just right” pressure.  

      We are able to mark lines on the paper, erase mistakes, move the paper with our supporting arm, turn pages in a notebook fluidly, and keep the paper in one piece.

      Heavy Pencil Pressure

      When students press too hard on the pencil, handwriting suffers. Sometimes, children hold their pencil very tightly. Other times, they are seeking sensory feedback.  You’ll see some common signs of heavy pencil pressure:

      • They press so hard on the paper, that lines are very dark when writing.  
      • The pencil point breaks.  
      • When erasing, the pencil marks don’t completely erase, and the paper is torn.  
      • The non-dominant, assisting hand moves the paper so roughly that the paper crumbles.  
      • When turning pages in a notebook, the pages tear or crumble.
      • Movements are not fluid or efficient. 
      • Handwriting takes so much effort, that the child becomes fatigued, frustrated, and sore.  
      • It may take so much effort to write a single word, that handwriting is slow and difficult. 

      All of these signs of heavy pencil pressure are red flags for pencil pressure issues. They are not functional handwriting

      Below, we’ll cover ways to reduce  pencil pressure? 

      Writing Pressure: Too Light

      The other side of the coin is pencil pressure that is too light.

      Writing with too little pencil pressure is another form of non-functional handwriting. Some signs of too little pencil pressure include:

      • Kids may write so lightly that you can’t read the overall writing sample.
      • You can’t discern between certain letters.
      • The writing pressure is just so light that the child’s hand or sleeve smudges the pencil lines and the writing sample is totally not functional or legible.
      • The student starts out writing at a legible pencil pressure, but with hand fatigue, the writing gets lighter and lighter.

      All of these signs of too light pencil pressure and too much force when writing can be addressed with some simple tips. Working on proprioceptive input and hand strengthening can help with too light pencil pressure. Try some of the writing tips listed below.

      Pencil pressure and Messy handwriting

      Messy handwriting can be contributed to many factors.  Decreased hand strength, Visual motor difficulty, motor planning issues, visual memory difficulties, or impaired proprioception. 

      Difficulty with grading the movements required in drawing or making letters in a coordinated way may present as messy, smudged, illegible handwriting.
       

      Writing Tips for Pencil Pressure

      Bringing the writer aware of what’s occurring is one way to support pencil pressure issues. Proprioceptive activities allow the muscles to “wake up” with heavy pressure.

      Moving against resistance by pushing or pulling gives the muscles and joints an opportunity to modulate pressure.  

      Resistive activities before and during a handwriting task can be beneficial for children who press hard on the pencil. 

       

      Pencil Pressure Activities:

      Some of these pencil pressure activities are writing strategies to help kids become more aware of the amount of pressure they are using when writing.

      Others are tools for helping the hands with sensory needs. Still others are tools for strengthening the hands. Try some or a mixture of the following ideas to addressing handwriting needs.

      • Stress balls or fidget toys can help to strengthen pinch and grip strength. 
      • Use carbon paper or transfer paper to help kids become more aware of the amount of pressure they are exerting through the pencil when writing. Here is some easy ways to use a Dollar Store find to use carbon paper to work on handwriting
      • resistive bands- Use these as an arm warm-up to “wake up” the muscles of the whole upper body. They are great for positioning warm ups too. 
      • theraputty with graded amount of resistance (speak to a license occupational therapist about the amount of resistance needed for your child. An individual evaluation and recommendations will be needed for your child’s specific strengths/needs). 
      • Gross grasp activities- These activities can be a big help in adjusting the grasp on the pencil, helping the hands with sensory input and strengthening the hands to help with endurance when writing. 
      • Some children will benefit from using a liquid gel pen for fluid handwriting marks. The gel ink will provide feedback when gobs of ink are dispensed when writing too hard.
      • Still others will benefit from a gel pen, marker, or using a dry erase marker on a dry erase board. This can be beneficial as a tool for teaching about pencil pressure or as an accommodation for those writing too lightly.
      • Pencil Weights or Weighted Pencils- Weighted pencils can be helpful in providing sensory feedback through the hands.
      • A 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 writing on a dry erase board with dry erase markers to work on consistent pencil pressure- Pressing too hard will make the marker lines wider and press down on the tip of the marker. Can the learner keep a consistent line with their writing or drawing?
      • Use a grease pencil- These pencils are commonly used to marking wood or used in construction. The lead of the pencil is very soft and can be a great alternative for those that press too hard on pencils.
      • Cheap eyeliner pencil- One cheap alternative to a grease pencil is using an inexpensive eye liner pencil from the dollar store. Get the kind that you sharpen with a turn sharpener (almost like a hand held pencil sharpener). Kids can use that pencil to draw lines and match the amount of pressure they are using. This is a good activity for those that press too hard when writing, too.
      • 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. 
      • Hand exercises are a great way to “wake up” the hands before a handwriting task. Encourage the child to squeeze their hand into a fist as tight as he can. Then relax and stretch the hand and fingers. Repeat the exercise several times. Practice holding the pencil with the same type of tight and relaxed exercises Practice writing on tissue paper. A very light hand is needed to prevent tears. Discuss the amount of pressure needed for writing on the tissue paper. 
      • 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. 
      • Instead of writing on a notebook, pull a single sheet from the pages and place on a hard table or desk surface. The firm surface will limit the amount of pressure. You can also slip a clipboard between pages of a notebook to provide that hard surface, if sheets must remain in a notebook.
       
      Help kids with pencil pressure and handwriting problems with these writing tips to work on heavy pencil pressure or writing too light.

      Need more tips and tools for addressing handwriting needs? Be sure to check out all of our handwriting activities here on The OT Toolbox.

      More Handwriting Tips

      For a comprehensive resource on handwriting, check out The Handwriting Book. This e-book was written by pediatric occupational therapists and physical therapists who focus on function and take a developmental look at handwriting.

      In The Handwriting Book, you’ll find practical suggestions to meet all needs that arise with messy or sloppy handwriting. The developmental-based approach to teaching handwriting focuses on strategies to support common issues with written work.

      Click here for more information on The Handwriting Book.

      The handwriting Book

      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.

      BLANK WORD SEARCH

      blank word search

      What better way to work on visual perceptual skills AND handwriting, than by adding this blank word search template to your treatment plans? If you’ve seen some of the other St. Patrick’s Day activities on the site this week, then you can add this activity to your March OT lesson plans.

      This blank word search is great for visual perceptual skills and handwriting skills.

      The OT Toolbox has a lot of St. Patrick’s Day activities including this blank word search template.

      Plus you’ll find more free downloads in our Spring Activities headquarters.

      BLANK WORD SEARCH TEMPLATE

      When my girls were young, I was forever searching for ways to make their homework more fun, especially while learning spelling words.  Straight repetition and memorization might work for some learners, but for the rest, there needs to be more engaging ways to improve working memory for retention of information.

      How can you use this blank word search worksheet?

      What I love about simple worksheets like this blank word search PDF template, is the flexibility and usability it offers. 

      By thinking outside of the box, dozens of treatment ideas can be created!  (This type of activity analysis would be a great project for therapy students or new teachers).

      • Use current spelling words on your learner’s list for the clues to the wordsearch
      • Add thematic words to your grid (winter, animals, foods, colors, clothing)
      • Write random letters in the grid and use this as a scanning task (find all the A’s)
      • Have learners create a grid for other students to use. This works on critical thinking skills, as well as promoting neatness and accuracy
      • Use the printable blank template as a grid for working on letter sizing, letter formation, and neatness
      • Work on speed and dexterity by seeing how many letters/dots/numbers they can write in a given amount of time
      • Use dot markers for accuracy either with a blank grid or while searching for letters or words
      • Laminate the page for reusability and eco friendliness
      • Extend the activity by having students write a sentence after finding each word, draw a picture, or define the words
      • Younger learners do not need to be able to read or spell these words, this will be a copying and visual memory task for those who can not read
      • Try presenting this without including a word bank.  See how many words your learners can find without clues, or remember what words are on their spelling list
      • Enlarge this template onto a smart board for group work, encouraging students to come to the board, and write vertically
      • What other ideas can you come up with?

      What is your objective using this blank word search?

      As always, shift your focus and observations toward the skills you are building.  In this task it could be:

      • Fine motor: letter formation,  handwriting, grasping, copying from a model
      • Visual perception:scanning, figure ground, visual memory
      • Sensory: arousal level, pressure on paper/pencil, seating position
      • Speed and dexterity
      • social/emotional skills, following directions, frustration tolerance
      • Executive function: organizing work, work completion, task analysis
      • Strengthening, bilateral coordination
      • Any combination of the above, or something entirely different

      If your main objective is visual perception, check out this huge visual processing bundle offered in the OT Toolbox.

      what and how to document session using this blank word search page

      Using this blank word search in therapy sessions covers a variety of areas and goals. But how do you document? And what do you look for when using a tool like this in therapy sessions?

      Here are a few things to watch for when learners use this resource:

      • Document in real numbers, percentages, and actual data
      • Accuracy of finding the words
      • Timing for finishing the task
      • Amount of physical and/or verbal assistance
      • Grasping pattern 
      • Sensory skills/problems
      • Behavior, social function

      The resources available for individuals/members visiting the OT Toolbox, are great for new teachers/therapists who feel overwhelmed, needing an organized direction for making awesome treatment plans.

      Don’t forget seasoned professionals who are burned out, or looking for quick and easy printables, PDF templates, and activities.  Whatever category you fit in, whether you are a professional or parent, the OT Toolbox has you covered!  

      more ideas for your St. Patrick’s Day themed lesson plan

      Sticking with the winter theme and tired of Frozen songs and worksheets? Try our Spring Fine Motor Kit full of flowers, butterflies, rainbows, and Spring fun. These reproducible activity pages include: pencil control strips, scissor skills strips, simple and complex cutting shapes, lacing cards, toothpick precision art, crumble hand strengthening crafts, memory cards, coloring activities, and so much more.

      Understanding why you are doing treatment, what goals you are working on, how to assess and grade each task, document the lesson plan, and troubleshoot the activities, are the most difficult (and important) parts of treatment.  Picking a worksheet is easy, knowing how to use it is where skill is involved.  That is why it is so awesome that these tools are readily available.  No need to keep reinventing the wheel.  

      Use the resources available to you at the OT Toolbox, or wherever else you search for quality materials, then take a moment of free time to listen to the Spring raindrops. Grab those Spring fine motor printables, then settle in with a book and a cup of cocoa.

      Free Blank Word Search

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

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

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

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

      Join the Member’s Club today!

      Free Blank Word Search

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        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.

        *The term, “learner” is used throughout this post for consistency. This information is relevant for students, patients, clients, preschool, kids/children of all ages and stages, or whomever could benefit from these resources. The term “they” is used instead of he/she to be inclusive.

        Use a Timer to Work on Writing Speed

        how to use a timer to work on writing speed

        Many times, school-based OTs are asked about normal writing speed. Just how fast should kids be writing and how can you improve writing speed while maintaining legibility? This super easy handwriting trick is one that can be done right now.  Pick up your phone, turn on the timer app and start practicing handwriting. Read on for a writing speed activity that you can work on any time.

        How to use a timer to improve writing speed and maintain handwriting legibility.

        Writing Speed Activity

        Using a timer to help with reaching a normal writing speed (or FUNCTIONAL writing speed) while maintaining legible letter formation is one way that kids can develop consistency with correct letter formation, speed, and accuracy.

        Remember that the main goal is functional handwriting legibility when completing writing tasks independently.  

        Related, is this resource on a functional pencil grasp, as pencil grasp can also suffer when writers are rushed to complete a writing task. But the main thing to keep in mind is:

        • Is the written sample legible?
        • Is the written sample completed within a reasonable amount of time?
        • Is the written work illegible when required to be written in a specific amount of time?

        Remember that when writing in a faster time (as when copying notes that are on a digital slide deck and the material must be copied before the next slide is shown) it is expected that proper letter formation suffers.

        Think about the last time you quickly jotted down a phone number. Did the numbers look different than your normal handwriting? Young writers are the same way, but as long as the written work is legible, we are good to go!

        How to use a timer to help kids work on letter formation, handwriting skills, legibility, speed, and accuracy of written work.

        How to Use a Timer to Help with Writing Speed

        This post contains affiliate links.  

        Students who are working on handwriting are often times addressing letter formation skills.

        The ability to construct letters stems from a top to bottom approach and in correct letter formation order.  For example, a child should not be writing a letter in sections or with unnecessary re-trace.  

        Many times you see preschool children form letters by sections and not constructing the letter correctly.  These inaccuracies can be carried over to the later grade years and will absolutely interfere with legibility as the child is required to write more, at faster speeds, and in smaller spaces.  

        Addressing correct letter formation is a must for legibility.  

        So, the child who needs to work on “building” correct letter formation can typically perform these tasks when working one on one with an individual who provides differing levels of support.  

        These might include verbal cues, visual cues, and physical prompts.    

        But how is the child to transition from varying percentages of cues to more independence in their written work?  

        A timer is an easy tool to use in this instance.   I love to grab a kitchen timer for practicing written work.  

        Turn on the timer and use it to work on writing speed AND legibility:

        1. Tell your child that you are going to turn on the timer to count how long it takes them to copy a line or sentence with accuracy.  
        2. Then, try to beat that time while maintaining accuracy with correct letter formation.  When kids are rushed to complete written work, they tend to speed up and return to comfortable, bad handwriting habits.  
        3. Using the timer to copy one line with a goal to beat their own time is a motivating way to encourage carryover of appropriate skills.  

        Next, check the work. Kids love when they can check their speed and try to beat their time. Try jotting down the time spent writing and check each letter formation.

        This is a great time to collect data on legibility, too.

        Mark off the number of correct letter formations in a sentence. Or jot down the amount of letters that are legible (or illegible) during a specific amount of time.

        Many learners will want to try to beat their score on the next trial!

        Timers for Writing

        There are many writing timers that can be used to work on hand writing speed.

        These timers for writing are great because they are small and easily fit into a therapist’s therapy bag:

        This one has a magnetic back, making it convenient to stick to metal desks.

        A small timer that fits into the palm of the hand is perfect for the clinician’s therapy bag or for fitting into a desk pencil box.  

        using a phone timer to work on writing speed

        While a phone timer is great, the phone itself can be a distraction for kids.  

        Some kids can become hyper-focused on the time as it counts and will stare or become anxious about the time as they watch the numbers change.

        A wind-up kitchen timer can help in those cases. You will need to count down to figure out the time spent on a handwriting task.  

        However, a phone timer or the good, old microwave timer will do the job too, and in some cases can be motivating for some children.

        This timer trick works best with kids who are working on letter formation and can form letters accurately and with correct formation with extended time, modifications, and/or added cues.  

        More ways to use a timer in handwriting: 

        • Use a timer to work on speed.  For the child that writes very slowly or becomes overly focused on letter formation, use the timer as a countdown to improve speed and accuracy.  Mark each trial with time and correction errors. 
        • Set the timer for handwriting time.  This is a good way to get kids who are not motivated to work on handwriting skills.  Small rewards such as choosing a fine motor or visual perception activity between writing trials can be reward options.
        • Work on am and pm activities.
        • Use it along with moveable parts on a clock face, using manipulatives like we did in this rock clock activity.

        Here are more time telling activities that may be used along with our timer handwriting activity.

        How to use a timer to help kids work on letter formation, handwriting skills, legibility, speed, and accuracy of written work.

        Be sure to check out all of the easy handwriting tips in this month’s series and stop back often to see them all.     You’ll also want to join the Sweet Ideas for Handwriting Practice Facebook group for more handwriting tips and tools.  

        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.

        SHAMROCK ACTIVITY: Fine Motor Clip Cards

        Shamrock activity fine motor clip cards

        Today on the site we’ve got a great Shamrock activity…Fine motor clip cards with a shamrock theme! This is a great addition to St. Patrick’s Day activities in therapy, home or the classroom, and they work on a ton of different skills. Print them off, laminate the clip cards if you like, and you have a literal therapy pot of gold!

        These shamrock activity fine motor clip cards can help with hand strengthening skills, fine motor control and much more.

        This week as we roll out these fabulous Shamrock Activity (Fine Motor Clip Cards), let us take a moment to be thankful the weather is warming up and we can finally celebrate spring. If you are not fortunate enough to have spring weather yet, I feel for you. 

        According to the news report, people are moving out of California, New Jersey and New York in droves. I am surprised more of y’all from Wisconsin and North Dakota aren’t rustling out of there too!  No matter what the temperature is outside, this cute Shamrock Activity Fine Motor Clip Card spring themed activity will help get you motivated for warmer weather. 

        Shamrock activity for Fine Motor skills

        There is something magical about rainbows and unicorns.  Throw some shamrocks in there for good luck, and it is the perfect spring trifecta! 

        Add them to these other shamrock and St. Patrick’s Day themed activities that support the development of fine motor skills:

        These Shamrock Activity fine motor clip cards are so versatile, they  will be able to be modified for most, if not all of your learners.  Read below for ways to adapt and modify this fine motor activity.  

        How to use this shamrock activity:

        • Have learners count the number of shamrocks and place a mark to designate the number of items on the card.  These cards would be great with a (Amazon affiliate link) Dot or Bingo marker!  
        • Learners can color in the rainbows as they go
        • Cut these ahead of time, or make cutting a part of this fine motor counting clip activity
        • Use clothespins to attach to the shamrock cards to count the numbers.  Decorated clothespins are even more fun!  They are great spray painted gold, or dipped in glitter
        • Color and laminate these cards for reusable fun.  Learners can use dry erase markers to count the objects
        • Enlarge or shrink this page to change the level of difficulty
        • Change the type of paper, heavier weight is easier to handle, but may be harder to cut
        • Colored paper might be more motivating, or provide better contrast
        • Project this onto a smart board to make it a touch task, or have students follow along with the diagram
        • Scatter the cards around the room to include a gross motor component
        • Add these cards to an obstacle course having learners complete the challenge, collecting clips along the way
        • Scavenger hunt to have learners find all of the cards in order
        • Crab walk from one card to the next
        • Create an entire St. Patrick’s Day theme for the week!
        • Add spring fine motor tasks with this great fine motor bundle found on the OT Toolbox
        • The possibilities are really endless, don’t let yourself get stuck doing this fine motor activity  just one way

        Things to Observe with these Shamrock Activity Clip Cards

        When working on this shamrock fine motor activity, there are several observations that can be  made: 

        • Can your learner scan the page and count all of the shamrocks?
        • How many items can your learner correctly count?
        • Does your learner correctly hold and manipulate the scissors, crayon, or bingo marker? How much assistance do they need to grip scissors, cut the paper, or color the rainbow?
        • Do your learners have the strength to open and place the clothespins?
        • Can your student motor plan all of the skills needed for this task?
        • Will you need to modify this activity for success?
        • Can your student continue to hold the clothespins while trying to manipulate the paper?
        • What is the number of times you need to repeat the directions so your learner can follow them?
        • How many reminders does your learner need while doing this activity?

        Use these notations in your documentation to document data and support the development of fine motor skills.

        what skills do my learners need?

        While cutting, coloring, counting, and placing clips is a straightforward task for higher level learners, beginners will struggle with all of the parts needed to complete this task. 

        Think about all that has to be involved to do this counting shamrock activity:

        • Fine motor skills – Resources can be found in our fine motor skills library at the OT Toolbox
        • Strength
        • Bilateral coordination
        • Visual perception
        • Executive function/behavior/social skills
        • Following directions
        • Attention to detail
        • Work tolerance
        • Cutting on a line
        • Coloring
        • Counting
        • Multistep directions 
        • Processing skills

        This is just the start of the list when using these Shamrock fine motor clip cards! 

        Perhaps focus your attention on addressing, or observing, just one or two of these skills.  For example, work on following directions or counting, rather than all of them.

        Need more great Shamrock and St. Patrick’s Day tools?

        Here are a few more spring activities and ideas from the OT Toolbox to get you started. Round out your shamrock theme with this new Color Handwriting Kit with Bonus Rainbow Sheets!

        While spring is a lovely change of pace from winter, summer is really my jam! Bring on the heat!

        Free Shamrock Printable Clip Cards

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

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

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

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

        Join the Member’s Club today!

        Free Shamrock Activity- Fine Motor Clip Cards

          We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at anytime.
          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.

          • NOTE: The term, “learner” is used throughout this post for consistency. This information is relevant for students, patients, clients, school aged children/kids of all ages and stages, or whomever could benefit from these resources. The term “they” is used instead of he/she to be inclusive.