Beautiful Oops Book Activity

folded paper animals

This preschool book activity centers on fine motor skills with a concentration on awareness of differences, making mistakes, and not focusing on specific details, using a creative Beautiful Oops book activity. One part of social emotional development is the ability to “go with the flow”. Allowing ourselves to make mistakes and to adjust is a key part of maturity and a personality trait that can be difficult to teach unless given examples and practice. in this book activity, we read the book, Beautiful Oops! and created folded paper crafts using our mistakes.  

This book craft is part of a series of activities that help kids build social and emotional skills, as well as acceptance, friendship, empathy, and other important skills involved with social emotional development. For more activities that help build these skills, check out the resource, Exploring Books Through Play: 50 Activities Based on Books About Friendship, Acceptance and Empathy.

Book craft for Beautiful Oops folded paper animals process art.

Beautiful Oops Craft

  This post contains affiliate links.  

Have you read the book, Beautiful Oops! by Barney Saltzberg?  This is a book that we completely fell in love with.  The creative process of art spills out over the pages as little (and big) “oops” messes, tears, and folds become art.  While we do many crafts that are focused on an end product, process art is something we love in many creative projects!

Beautiful Oops! is a process art guide book.   As we read the book, one of our favorite pages was the folded corner Oops that became a reason to celebrate with a cute penguin.  We decided to make folded paper animals and couldn’t stop creating!

Folded paper animal crafts for kids based on the book, Beautiful Oops


Folded Paper Animal Crafts

We started with a big pile of assorted cardstock, a few pair of scissors and some glue.  We started with a fold on the corner of the paper and let our imaginations go!

We cut…

…and cut some more…  

…and folded…

…and glued…

…and added details to our animal creatures.

Beautiful Oops folded paper animal crafts
Folded paper animal crafts based on the book, Beautiful Oops

  We made a feeeew animals.

Folding paper Crafts

Use this craft to build fine motor skills! When kids fold paper, they work on a variety of fine motor skills. Click each link to read more about these specific skills and how they impact function.

Finger isolation

Hand strength

Arch development and intrinsic hand strength

Separation of the sides of the hand

Eye-hand coordination

Bilateral coordination

Fold paper to work on fine motor skills in the hands.
Monkey bookmark craft

  And then put our folded paper creatures to work holding pages in books!  

Paper bird bookmark craft
Penguin paper craft bookmark

  We had a blast with this book and can’t stop making our oops’ beautiful!   Looking for more activities and crafts based on Beautiful Oops!?  Try these from the Preschool Book Club:

Straw Blow Painting from Homegrown Friends

Painting on torn Newspaper from Buggy and Buddy

Circle and Holes Art from Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

Oops Painting from Mama. Papa. Bubba.

hands-on activities to explore social emotional development through children's books.

Love exploring books with hands-on play?  

Grab our NEW book, Exploring Books Through Play: 50 Activities based on Books About Friendship, Acceptance, and Empathy, that explores friendship, acceptance, and empathy through popular (and amazing) children’s books!  It’s 50 hands-on activities that use math, fine motor skills, movement, art, crafts, and creativity to support social emotional development.    

GET THE E-BOOK

Get the PRINT 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.

Space Activities for Kids

Space camp ideas for home programs or DIY summer camp with space fine motor, galaxy crafts, and space sensory play

If your kids are outer space enthusiasts, then this space theme activities are just the thing to add learning and skill building with space activities. This collection of space activities for kids are actually part of a DIY summer camp that we designed. When the kids need a backyard summer camp or something fun to look forward to, easy and creative activities based on a space theme can do just that. This summer, create a home summer camp with an Outer Space theme…all while building skills in therapy or at home. Our space theme slide deck is just one way to help kids build skills, and a great way to lead into space theme learning and play with the kids!

For another space themed virtual therapy activity, try this free outer space Connect 4 game. It’s great for kids of all ages.

Space camp ideas for home programs or DIY summer camp with space fine motor, galaxy crafts, and space sensory play

Here, you’ll find everything you need to plan a space camp fun that builds skills like fine motor skills, gross motor skill development, sensory input, regulation, emotional support, bilateral coordination, eye-hand coordination, executive functioning skills, and more. Read on for all of the outer space fun!

Space Camp for Kids

Whether you are planning a space camp in your therapy programming or trying to think of ways to build skills for kids this summer in a fun and creative way, this space camp idea is for you. For parents that need something out-of-the-box this summer (that doesn’t break the bank!), a backyard space camp can be just the thing to get excited about.

Outer space activities for a space camp or space theme home program

Space theme ideas

You’ll want to check out some other space activities we have here on the Toolbox website. Add these ideas to your space camp planning. These ideas can get you started with planning. Scroll below to find more specific space activities based on skill area.

For more creative ideas with a space theme, be sure to check out my Outer Space Awesome Pinterest board.  

We even grabbed up a handful of our all-time favorite Outer Space books from the library to share with you.  If you’re looking for activities to do with the kids this summer, a space theme will be a sure hit. Your Summer Camp at home will be complete with Space crafts, Space snacks, Space sensory, fine motor, and gross motor learning and play.

Outer space theme activities for kids

Space theme

These activities are set up by theme (books, snacks, crafts, solar system models, sensory play, and movement learning activities) so that you can pick and choose activities for each day of your themed camp.  Make the week work for you!  Choose just one or two activities for each day, or go all out and do one from each category.  It’s totally up to you and your little campers! 

space fine motor activities for using to improve fine motor skills with a space theme

Space Fine Motor Activities

Use this outer space play dough mat printable to work on hand strength, fine motor skills, and eye-hand coordination. Simply print it off and slide into a page protector to use each day during your space camp.

 We made this Outer Space model using pipe cleaners.  We didn’t get into planet size, but rather checked out the size of each planet compared to the others from The Planets book and crafted them based on the pictures in the book. we strung the pipe cleaner planets along fishing line and taped it between two walls. This was a fun way to explore how the planets are spaced from the sun.

Outer Space Pipe cleaner solar system model

Space Visual Motor Activities

Visual motor skills and visual perception can be worked on with a space theme. Grab this free space visual discrimination worksheet to incorporate visual processing into a space camp.

Here is another free space visual perception worksheet to print off and work on visual processing skills.

This space maze is a visual motor activity that my own kids loved. Use Wikki Stix to build a maze and work on eye-hand coordination and other visual processing skills to work through the outer space maze.


Outer Space Books

Start off your daily activities during a week of Space activities with a Space book.  Some of our favorites are ones we read weekly and others are ones we love to check out from the library.
Here are outer space books for kids.



Outer Space Snacks

Cooking with kids is a huge way to build motor skills and executive functioning skills through cooking. Below are outer space snacks that the kids can help to make while building skills.

Outer space themed snack Stars and Planets snack for kids

Affiliate links included below.

We quickly made this space snack while doing a little space reading.  Kids will gobble up the stars and planets. We even made it a fine motor sorting activity by sorting the stars and planets from the snack mix.  This outer space themed snack will be a hit during your Summer Camp at home or space themed week.  We used a cup of Cheerios Cereal and a cup of Puffs snacks to make our stars and planets snack mix.  Have the kids sort the planets and stars into separate bowls for fine motor practice that Toddlers and young Preschoolers will love.

More Space themed snacks to fill the rest of your week:

Outer space snack ideas for kids

Eat the solar system from Creative Kid Snacks
Rocket Ship Wrap from Creative Kid Snacks
Eat the Moon snack from Things to Share and Remember

More Solar System Models for Kids for the rest of the week: 

Make a solar system mobile like Artsy Craftsy Mom
Create a balloon solar system model from Creekside Learning
Use recycled plastic lids to create a solar system like Still Playing School
Make a solar system with Legos like Kitchen Counter Chronicles.

Outer Space Crafts

If there is one thing that occupational therapists love, it’s the use of kids crafts as a therapy tool. Be sure to check out our Constellation crafts.  There are a bunch of space and star craft ideas based on constellations and outer space…that double as a fine motor and visual motor skill building tool.

Use this space martian craft that the kids can make to build fine motor skills, and then use in handwriting activities to space between letters and words.

Use these outer space crafts to make one each day of the week of your DIY summer camp…or just use them with your space-loving kiddo!

Make a Rainbow Rocket ship like Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails
Create a Textured Moon craft from Fantastic Fun and Learning
Make Q-tip Star Art like Mess for Less
Kids will love this Launching Rocket Ship toy from Lalymom.
This Moon mobile will be a hit. (from Fantastic Fun and Learning)

Outer Space Sensory Play

 Our Outer Space sensory activities were a huge hit in adding proprioception, vestibular, and tactile sensory play into the day. Use them as part of a sensory diet with learning components. Mix these space sensory ideas into the schedule as a reward that also meets the sensory needs to benefit regulation and social-emotional skills.

These space themed sensory play ideas are ways to teach about planets, with an astronaut theme in mind. Know a little future astronaut? They will love these sensory play and learning ideas.

Lots of ideas are to be found on our Outer Space sensory  round up!

Space Themed Move and Learn Activities

I love the rocket ship in this space themed party!  Climb in and out of a cardboard rocket ship for lots of movement and play. 
Then, use another cardboard box to make this glow in the dark space fort like Lalymom.
Nurturestore made a great Space math game.

Space Fine Motor Kit

Know a kiddo that loves all things space, astronauts, and planets? The Outer Space Fine Motor Kit is your chance to develop fine motor strength, dexterity, and coordination skills.

Addressing hand strength, endurance, and precision is out of this world fun! The Outer Space Fine Motor Kit includes:

  • Fine Motor Mazes
  • Fine Motor Ten Frames for motor activities
  • 1-20 Star Counting Cards
  • Bead Copying Strips
  • Space Alien Directed Drawing Sheets

This fine motor kit includes 24 pages of printable resources. Included in this printable pack are:

  1. Two pages of color coded bead copying strips
  2. Two pages of blank bead copying strips
  3. Four pages of “draw and write” directed drawing activities with a space theme (Includes 3 styles of handwriting lines: highlighted lines, single rule, and double rule)
  4. Nine pages of fine motor mazes
  5. 1-20 Outer Space Counting Cards
  6. Four pages of fine motor ten frames activities

These printable activities extend to work on a variety of other functional areas, too: handwriting skills, numbers, math, adding, subtracting, one-to-one correspondence, scissor skills, coloring, and more.

Click HERE to grab the Outer Space Fine Motor Mini-Kit.

Outer Space Fine Motor Kit



Have fun with your Outer Space themed week of fun! 

Sensory Activities for Babies

My baby hates tummy time! Here are ideas to help with tummy time for infants and babies

Sensory activities for babies is a tool to help little ones grow and develop life-long essential skills. Baby sensory experiences and sensory play go hand in hand.  A baby has so much exposure to sensory stimulation each day.  From sounds, to sights, to textures and temperatures, a baby’s sensory system is rapidly developing and filing away information.  In our house, when child number four was a baby, she was exposed to A LOT of auditory and visual stimulation from older siblings!

Sensory ACTIVITIES for Infants

Here, you will find sensory activities for infants and babies that can be used to help you connect and play with your little one. These baby sensory play ideas will encourage exploration of colors, textures, and properties.

First, I wanted to share this resource for parents of new babies and also therapists that work with families.

Resource for New Parents

First, I wanted to let you know about an exciting new resource for new parents. Many people think new parents are the only ones that need baby advice. Maybe you found yourself as a new mother who suddenly had a lot of questions on sleep patterns, eating and childhood milestones. But, if there is one thing that therapists wish they could tell new parents, it’s that parents could have a better understanding of how movement plays into development.

Therapists are many times, seeking resources to share with parents to support a family through the first year of baby’s development so they can thrive.

Remarkable Infants is a great opportunity for parents and professionals alike to educate more people on how to support a baby’s first-year development for future learning development.

Yes, this course does provide information on helping a baby sleep and eat, but this course is the other more comprehensive sections. The pieces most other baby trainings don’t provide.

It’s a 5-step, all-inclusive online training for new moms focusing on the development of the whole child from birth through 12 months of age. It includes the following:

  • Language Development (Talking with your baby)
  • Healthy Sleep Habits (Understanding baby sleep)
  • Cognitive Development and Motor Development (Playing with your Baby)
  • Reading with your Baby (Vocabulary, visual-motor, speech and language)
  • Infant Nutrition (Feeding your baby)

Even though this course is geared to moms, it’s also great for professionals. It can be a HUGE help to clients, expecting moms you work with and those that have kids with learning challenges. The more we can help educate parents on the necessity of building a baby’s cognition, speech and language and motor movements in their first year, the further ahead that child will be later in life.

The 2 best parts are:

1. Each section is taught by a specific professional (Occupational Therapist, Speech and Language Pathologist, Pediatric Sleep Sleep Specialists and Registered Dietitian) with evidence-based research. So you know you’re getting advice from the pros!

2. If you are a professional, you can get CEU credits/Certificate of Completion for taking this course.

You can also get an additional 10% discount when you use our coupon code “COLLEEN10.” To join the Mommy Academy, click here. Don’t forget to enter the discount code!

resource for new parents

Our Mission at the Mommy Academy is to provide new mamas with easily accessible, organized, evidence based information and practical skills.  Our resources strive to remove overwhelm and exhaustion and allow new moms to spend less time on Google and more time connecting with their baby and taking care of themselves.  Our mission is to make new mamas feel less alone through heartfelt encouragement, a mama community and expert support.

Sensory Play Ideas for Babies

Child development begins in the womb. As that baby develops and grows in utero, they are already stretching and moving, practicing reach and grasp, and stretching against the walls of their mother’s uterus. That push and pull that you felt as an expecting mom was your little one gaining strength and sensory input! That motor development continues after birth, and that’s when the fun begins because as mom or dad, we get to snuggle that little one, engage with them, and watch their every move!

Sensory activities for babies 0-3 months old

Sensory Activities for newborns

Let’s talk specifics. During the newborn and infant stages (0-3 months), you’ll see so many physical and sensory milestones. These are developments that impact movement, communication, and feeding. Sensory developmental milestones during the first three months include:

  • Following a person with their eyes
  • Lifting their head to observe and listen
  • Pushing up to their arms while lying in tummy time, now baby can REALLY start to take in the world around them
  • Holding the head up while laying on their belly
  • Opening their fist into stretched fingers- Little one can grasp and begin to explore textures
  • Bringing hands to the mouth for sensory input, calming, and soothing
  • Reaching for toys to explore
  • Turns toward sounds or voices
  • Makes eye contact
  • Moving legs and arms- They are figuring out how their body moves in space and how much effort needs to be exerted to move

From the first weeks when baby doesn’t focus their eyes on anything, they strengthen eye movements and focus to visually track a toy or person by the end of the three months of age. During this stage, it’s important to allow that little one to move, stretch, kick, and strengthen their core, neck, arms, and legs, and eye muscles. Sensory activities for newborns can include:

Songs and Nursery Rhymes- For our littlest newborns, this is a wonderful first play activity. Singing softly or reciting nursery rhymes to infants gets your little one used to the sound of your voice. Make eye contact up close as you recite rhymes and songs. Baby’s vision is capable of focusing on objects at about 8 inches from their face. Using exaggerated mouth movements and wide eyes when you speak to your little one provides a high-contrast point that they can focus on.

Follow the noise- Use a rattle, squeaky toy, or other toy that makes noise as you move the toy in front of your little one’s field of vision. You want your baby to visually track the noise and follow the toy with their eyes. While baby won’t be able to really follow moving objects with their eyes until about three months of age, this activity boosts so many areas and creates the building blocks of auditory processing and visual processing. This activity can be accomplished at various stages, and in various positions. Baby can be swaddled up and laying on their back while following the toy with their eyes. Try it when baby is in tummy time. Soon, you will see reaching for that fun toy. It’s a great way to encourage reach, grasp, and even gross motor skills like lifting the head and neck while in tummy time, and rolling.

Tummy Time Back Rub- Tummy Time can be hard for babies! That little cry is so sad and makes you want to pick your little one up and snuggle them until they feel safe. But, remember the benefits of tummy time and help them to feel safe and comforted on their belly. Get down on the floor with your little one and lightly rub their back while you sing, speak, or hum. Put your face right next to your little one so they feel the warmth of your body. Make eye contact and engage with that sweet nugget!

Chest to chest- We talked before about how tummy time doesn’t need to happen on the floor. Place baby on your chest as you lean back on a couch. Your baby’s face will be close to yours and at a great position to speak softly. Depth perception of the eyes doesn’t develop until about 5 months of age, so until then, your little one is building the eye strength to better see the world. This positioning is helpful to help your little one build upper body strength.

Blanket time- A colorful play blanket is a great space to stretch, kick, and move those arms and legs. Positioning toys around baby encourages them to engage while strengthening their core, neck, arms, legs, and eye muscles. Position toys in a semi-circle around baby and get down on the floor to get in on the play action. This is a great way to build the skills needed for rolling and manipulating objects.

Leg Kick- While baby is on the floor on their back or belly, provide some bicycle action to their legs. You can slowly “bike” their legs to get them moving and then tap the bottoms of their feet. This tactile input “wakes up” the feet and can get them kicking and moving. Place a toy or object that makes noise at their feet and they will see and hear a response to moving their legs.

sensory activities for babies 3-6 months old

Sensory Activities for 3-6 months

Purposeful movement drives development and development occurs through purposeful movement. This is a fun series of months. You’ll see sensory development that drives motor skills and communication milestones:

  • Rolls from back to belly and belly to back- baby is starting to really explore proprioception and vestibular input as they move and figure out how their body moves
  • Holds the head and neck steady in sitting- They can focus vision on moving targets when the neck and head are steady
  • Investigates textures, size, shapes, and details of objects

During 3-6 months, the baby is starting to gain some control of their body. They will start to use purposeful movement, influenced by toys and faces on the people around them in order to explore. Try these sensory activities for 3-6 month age range:

Foot Rattles- There are socks out there that have built-in noise makers. These little foot rattles encourage baby to move and shake those legs. While lying on their back, they can see how intentional movement works.

Peek-a-Boo- This is an age-old favorite…and there’s a good reason why we love this classic game! When mom or dad hides their face and then suddenly takes their hands away, baby is learning some valuable skills. They learn that objects don’t go away just because they can’t see them. Object permanence, cause and effect, and problem solving begin at this young age, and while it can take a while to master, it’s an essential skill down the road! Try playing peek-a-book with faces, objects and a blanket, and by gently swiping a blanket over baby. (Always use super close supervision with this activity!)

Crinkly Soft Toys- One of my favorite ways to develop those early fine motor skills is with a simple crinkly soft blanket. You know the kind…it’s soft material on the outside, but crinkly fabric sewn into the middle. So, when baby squeezes and grabs the soft toy, they hear a crinkly noise. The best kind are small fabric swatches because they are light enough for baby to manipulate and pick up. The OT in me loves to see that little grip grab and pull the material. You can see those motor skills develop right in front of your eyes! Use the crinkly toy in tummy time to encourage reaching and rolling, or while laying on the floor as baby brings both hands together and gives the toy a taste. They can work both hands together in a coordinated manner with feedback from the mouth. It’s a great toy for building cause and effect, too!

Mirror Play- Find a baby-safe mirror and use it in tummy time. Place a few baby items on the mirror and they can begin to push up onto their arms by putting weight through their shoulders and upper body. Another way to use a baby safe mirror is to place it in front of baby while they are in supported sitting. Baby will begin to babble and “talk” to the baby they see in the mirror.

Hula-Hoop Reach- Your little one is still building those motor skills and someday down the road they will be doing big kid things! For now, use a hula hoop to attach rattles and baby toys in a circle around them as they are in tummy time in the center. The circular positioning of toys encourages reach (and eye-hand coordination), visual scanning, rolling, and pivoting on the upper body as they move and stretch for different toys.

Sensory activities for babies 6-9 months

Sensory ACTIVITIES for 6-9 months

The months between 6-9 months are a big one for little ones’ development. Senses prevail and as your baby starts to gain more physical control, they are exploring more sensory input. Little one will begin solid foods for the first time and what a sensory experience that is!

Movement and gains in gross motor skills allow baby will move from tummy time with weight through their arms to pushing up on their arms. They will begin to lift their belly off the floor to all fours. They will move from supported sitting to unsupported sitting with reaching for toys. You’ll see that little bundle move from tummy time to rolling, crawling, and reaching. Let them move, kick, and stretch!

  • Moves from supported sitting to independent sitting- Exploring the world around them
  • Bears weight through hands in crawling position
  • Reaches for toys while lying in the belly
  • Moves toys from one hand to the other
  • Uses both hands to manipulate and explore toys
  • Reacts to sudden sounds
  • Listen and responds to sounds or voices
  • Begins to babble
  • Shows an interest in foods
  • Tries baby food for the first time and will move to explore more tastes and varieties of soft foods
  • Imitates others in play
  • Focuses on near and far objects

This is a fun age! Purposeful movement occurs and you will see baby learning so much. Here are some baby play ideas that boost the sensory development and motor skills babies need to move, manipulate toys, feed themselves, and get from place to place:

Sitting Games- Place pillows around your little one to create a soft crash mat. As baby gains the skills to sit up with balance, they can reach for toys around them. Offer a basket of washcloths, a bowl of nesting toys, hand-sized balls (ones that can’t be placed into the mouth), or other novel items. This is a great opportunity to practice reaching, placing objects into containers, and getting stronger at balance!

Living Room Obstacle Course- Along the same lines as the previous activity, use living room pillows and couch cushions to create obstacles on the floor. This is a great way to encourage movement in a variety of patterns and gain skills in crawling. As baby grows, they will become more confident in their movement and this is great to see! Be sure to stay close by and ensure the space is baby-proofed!

Bubbles- Blowing bubbles with baby is a wonderful way to encourage visual tracking, eye-hand coordination, core strength, sitting balance, neck control, and even fine motor skills! Encourage your little one to watch the bubbles as they float away and visual processing skills develop. Ask them to get the bubble and they can work on controlled reach and grasp. Bubbles are a great activity throughout the toddle years too as baby learns to gain control in standing and walking. Grab a container of bubbles and have fun!

Roll a Ball- A partially blown up beach ball is a wonderful tool for helping your little one gain balance and strength in sitting. The ball when not blown up entirely provides a great opportunity for grasp. Just be sure to keep a close watch on your little ball player. This activity should only be done under very close supervision and always trust your gut. You know that the ball is going straight to the mouth once your little one has a hold of it, so stay close by. Rolling a beach ball toward baby is wonderful for developing visual processing skills, eye-hand coordination, grasp and release, strengthening, and more. Adding more air to the ball makes it harder to grasp and harder to catch as the ball will roll more quickly and smoothly. Older kiddos can use that ball to kick, throw, and even pat-pat-pat!

Box of Toys- Have an Amazon delivery box or a shoebox sitting around? It’s a novel toy for your little one! Fill it with baby-safe objects or toys and get ready to have fun. Pulling items out and dropping them back in teaches baby so much about weight, grasp, eye-hand coordination, and even gravity. They will love to see how things fall and how they hit off other toys. Dumping a box of toys is fun of its own and is another experiment of it’s own. Baby, as they start to move and crawl can push or pull a box and gain the feedback of pushing the object along the floor. Babies that are standing at a coffee table or couch can explore and drop items into the box while they learn to hold on the safety of the couch and use one arm to hold an object. SO much development can happen with a simple cardboard box!

Put in and Take Out- Take that box play even further by using a smaller opening. An empty tissue box is another awesome tool for building skills in fine motor work, eye-hand coordination, and visual processing skills. By placing items in a container, little ones can work on things like visual discrimination and visual memory, all through play and not aware that those basic skills will carryover far into their educational years as they learn to read, write, and complete math. Amazing, right??!

Sensory activities for babies from 10-12 months old

Sensory Activities for 10-12 months

The next phase is a big one! During the tail end of the first year, you see big strides in free movement. You see stronger eye-hand coordination, and intentional movement. You see refined fine motor skills, improved mobility, and a stronger baby. Here are more specifics about this stage:

  • Pulls up to stand at furniture
  • Takes first steps holding onto furniture to “cruise”
  • Moves in various positions from laying to sitting, sitting to pulling up to stand, etc.
  • Drops toys into containers and grabs them to manipulate
  • Uses a pincer grasp (holds small items like cereal between the pads of the thumb and pointer finger)
  • Explores toys with mouth, hands, and visually
  • Says first words
  • Feeds self with finger foods
  • Takes first steps without support

During this stage of development, babies are moving and grooving! They are building on the skills they’ve achieved and refining those motor skills. Babies are using what they’ve got in the way of grasp, reach, and gross movement to really develop their vestibular sense. By moving in different planes to crawl, swing, turn, and roll, there is movement of the fluid in the inner ear which stimulates the vestibular sense. The vestibular sense allows us to know where our body is in space. With the vestibular sense, we are able to sit without falling over, move from one point to another safely, and track objects with our eyes (which is needed in reading and writing). Try these sensory activities for 10-12 months:

Tunnels- Set ups a floor obstacle course like we talked about a few slides ago, but add some more challenging experiences. Use a baby tunnel or a large cardboard box. What a fun space to add baby toys, bins, baskets, and soft blankets for crawling over and playing with!

Kitchen Play- At this stage, baby will be much sturdier in their sitting. Set ups a scattering of kitchen bowls and wooden spoons or scoops. They can bang, stack, and drop to see how items work and move. Recycled items such as egg cartons, cereal boxes, and plastic container are fun to explore too. Be sure to make the space baby safe. This is a great way to engage your little one while cooking and preparing meals.

Sensory Play- This stage is fun because as the fine motor skills develop, you will see more refined use of the hands from a raking grasp” where all of the fingers rake items in order to pick them up in the palm of the hand into a “pincer grasp” where the pointer finger and the thumb are able to pick up a small item. Encourage sensory play by providing cooked spaghetti cut up into small lengths. Scatter the cooked spaghetti on a black placemat or tray. The high visual contrast and interesting sensory experience will engage your little one and build fine motor skills they will need down the road.

Fine Motor Play- Around 10 months, you will see more refined fine motor skills as baby uses their pointer finger and thumb to pick up small items with the pincer grasp we just talked about in our last slide. Suddenly, you will notice every speck of dirt and fuzz ball on the carpet…and so will your little one! Encourage those fine motor skills by providing baby cereal and a container for them to drop pieces into.

Stacking Activities- Use stacking cups, blocks, or small boxes (empty tissue boxes work great!) to stack and knock over! Baby will begin to gain more refined motor skills and the excitement of knocking those towers over again and again will not end!

Rolling Toys- Use balls of various sizes, toy cars, and even recycled paper towel tubes to explore how things move and roll. Take the excitement level up a notch by adding a ramp using a large cardboard piece to make a ramp. Watching items as they roll down and grabbing them to push them down all over again is big fun! It’s a great way to encourage fine and gross motor skills, visual motor skills, eye-hand coordination, and balance.

These sensory activities for babies are baby sensory ideas that will help infants develop essential skills, through play.

This post contains affiliate links.  

We shared recently our Visual Motor Integration developmental milestones post with general timelines of baby’s hand-eye coordination.  It’s important to note that all children develop differently and some of these activities may not be appropriate until they are developmentally able to participate.   

Tummy Time and Sensory ACTIVITIES

Really important pieces of advice like placing your baby in tummy time, limiting time spent in baby positioners, encouraging a variety of sensory stimulation, allowing movement, and connecting with your baby through play aren’t just tips. They are really important. They are strategies for success. The next few slides I’m sharing are tools to give your baby a motor and sensory baseline that will impact them down the road with things like visual motor skills, attention, reading and writing, frustration tolerance, emotional regulation, and more. It’s the skills that kids today are really lacking in

My baby hates tummy time! Here are ideas to help with tummy time for infants and babies

 When Baby Hates Tummy Time

We shared this mirror play idea on Instagram.  At the time, Baby Girl was five months old an able to do tummy time in a Boppy pillow. Having a better understand of tummy time myths is important for new parents to understand what to do when baby hates tummy time.

The thing is that floor play for babies is essential for developing skills in infants and toddlers. And, that floor time play is important to building visual motor skills, strength, and coordination even throughout the first year (and beyond)!

Here is information on how tummy time impacts spatial awareness development in babies.

The baby positioning floor pillow provided extra support and elevated my little one’s upper body to encourage reach during tummy time. As with any piece of baby equipment, this pillow and others should be used under supervision by an adult and for short periods of time.  We used a small mirror and a few colorful ball pit balls to encourage reach and exploration.  Of course the big sisters had to help!

How to help baby enjoy tummy time

Helping to encourage lots of tummy time in your little one doesn’t need to be stressful. But many times, it may seem like your baby hates tummy time! They scream, they cry, and they place their face right on the floor. Scary, right? Don’t worry, we’ve all been there as new moms.

Tips to help with tummy time:

Get down on the floor with your baby and encourage reaching for enticing toys or towards your face/hands as you are right out of reach.

Try some of the tummy time ideas in the Mommy Academy course.

Add tummy time in throughout the day. Try a few minutes after diaper changes or when baby is in a pleasant mood. All of that tummy time adds up to build the strength needed for pushing over to the side.

Try chest to chest tummy time as the adult holding the baby lies back on couch cushions.

Try a football hold.

While sitting on a couch, try tummy time on your lap while rubbing baby’s back.

Also, is your little one pushing up on their arms when in tummy time? The weight of the head tends to pull them over into a side position/laying on belly from tummy time, so that is another benefit.

 Babies get so much exposure to different textures naturally through play.  This is just a simple way to encourage functional reach and tummy time play.  Some other items that work well with this baby sensory play activity that we love:   

Colorful plastic cups 

Extra large crafting pom poms (We received ours from www.craftprojectideas.com) Be sure to closely monitor baby if they are able to place items into their mouth! 

Chew items

Baby safe, plastic baby links

Find many more baby play ideas here to drive sensory input through play based on each stage through the first year.

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

Dinosaur Proprioception Activities

dinosaur movement cards for kids to use for heavy work and coping tools to address dinosaur sized feelings

This dinosaur brain break activity is a set of free proprioception activities that provides heavy work with a dinosaur theme, making movement and proprioceptive input a fun way to address dinosaur -sized needs. Whether you are looking for heavy work activities for the kids to add to distance learning or heavy work activities for OT teletherapy programs, these free dinosaur movement cards are a great sensory activity to add to your therapy toolbox. Scroll all the way to the bottom of this post to grab your Dinosaur Movement Activity Cards…and check out the Dinosaur OT activities too!

dinosaur movement cards for kids to use for heavy work and coping tools to address dinosaur sized feelings

This post explains more about proprioception sensory activities but to better understand why and how to incorporate movement breaks into learning, check out this post on brain breaks for kids.

This freebie was originally created as part of October’s Sensory Processing Awareness Month, however, for a kiddo that loves anything dinosaurs, it works out great any time of year. Kids with sensory integration needs are those kiddos who are bumping into everything and everyone.  The little ones who fall out of their chairs, press too hard on their pencils, are clumsy, fidget, or seek extra movements. They might flap their hands or slap their feet when they walk.  The thing about kids is that everyone is different and everyone will have different needs, interests, and abilities.  This Dinosaur Sized Feelings sensory movement activity  is perfect for kids seeking sensory input and kids who just need to move!

Dinosaur feelings can impact emotional regulation, sensory processing, self-care, and function. Use dinosaur themed activities like these dinosaur heavy work cards as a coping tool.

Now, it’s important for me to note, that when I say Dinosaur-Sized feelings in this post, I’m talking about the child’s feeling of hyposensitivity to their environment.  They are seeking out extra stimulation from people, walls, cushions…anything really and are feeling a big need to improve their central neural system functioning in order to complete tasks and function.  

(Read more about the Central Nervous System below!)  

What I’m not talking about in this post is the emotional side of feelings.  There has been at least one study done that attempts to determine whether emotional feelings can be influenced by proprioceptive input. I’m not talking about the big emotional feels we all have. In this activity, I’m focusing on the big feelings of sensory needs kids might have, and how to stomp those sensory needs out with proprioception. It’s all about the ability to regulate those giant, dinosaur-sized sensory related feelings that impact emotional regulation, coping abilities, worries, anxieties. This post on Zones of Regulation activities explains a little more on self-regulation and specific ways to address these needs.

What is Sensory Integration?

Let’s cover some of the background info about what’s going on behind self-regulation. Typically, our Central Nervous System integrates sensory input from the environment in a balanced process that screens out certain information and acts on important information, at an automatic level…one that we are not cognitively aware of.  For kiddos with atypical sensory integration, the central nervous system has difficulty screening out unimportant information from our environment.  For those children, interaction with their surroundings can be stressful as they are either over responsive or under-responsive to normal stimulus. This results in dysfunctional behavior and social difficulties. 

For a thorough explanation of sensory integration, sensory processing, and what specific actions look like as a part of our sensory systems, grab this free sensory processing booklet. You’ll access the free booklet and join a short email course that explains sensory processing in great detail. It’s a free informative course via email that you don’t want to miss.

free sensory processing booklet

Proprioception Activities for kids

I shared a post in the past about proprioception and handwriting with too much pressure.  In that post, I told you how  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.    (This post does contain affiliate links.)

Kids who are showing signs of proprioceptive dysfunction might do some of these things:

  • Appear clumsy
  • Fidget when asked to sit quietly.
  • Show an increased activity level or arousal level.
  • Seek intense proprioceptive input by “crashing and bashing” into anything.
  • Slap their feet when walking.
  • Flap hands.
  • Use too much or too little force on pencils, scissors, objects, and people.
  • “No fear” when jumping or walking down stairs.
  • Or, are overly fearful of walking down steps/jumping.
  • Look at their body parts (hands/feet) when completing simple tasks.
  • Sit down too hard or miss chairs when sitting.
  • Fall out of their seat.
  • Fluctuates between over-reacting and under-reacting in response to stimulation.
  • Constantly on the move.
  • Slow to get moving and then fatigue easily.
Dinosaur themed sensory (proprioception) heavy work activities for organizing and calming sensory input. This is perfect for a child who seeks out sensory stimulation.


Dinosaur Themed Heavy Work Activities

This activity is easy.  There is not much to it really, other than being a dinosaur themed way to calm and organize those big dinosaur feelings. The heavy work activities add proprioception that can be a tool to address regulation or sensory needs. Here, I’m sharing with you a few heavy work suggestions that may help hyposensitive kiddos.  I wanted to share activities that might be of interest to the child that loves a dinosaur theme.  It’s my hope that these work for you and your family!  If you are looking for more dinosaur themed movement activities, check out this past post sharing Dinosaur movement activities, based on the book popular children’s book, Dinosaurumpus.  

Dinosaur heavy work activities can help as a coping tool for self-regulation in kids.

Please note (as with any activity that you find on this website): This is meant to be a resource and not Occupational Therapy treatment.  Please seek individualized evaluation and treatment strategies for your child.  All kids are so different in their sensory needs and abilities and adverse reactions can occur with globalized treatments.   

Dinosaur themed sensory (proprioception) heavy work activities for organizing and calming sensory input. This is perfect for a child who seeks out sensory stimulation.

  Big dino-sized feelings can happen in a little body!    

These dinosaur brain breaks are free heavy work cards for dinosaur proprioception activities

 Simply print out the free printable, cut out the cards, and pretend to play, walk, and eat like a dinosaur!  We did use our Mini Dinosaurs as we practiced all of the Dino Moves in these activities. Use them in a scavenger hunt. Your child needs to find hidden dinosaurs and once they bring them back to you, do a proprioception activity from the handout.

Another idea is to do the heavy wok activities before a fine motor task like handwriting to calm and organize the body.  You can get the free dinosaur proprioception activities printable by joining the thousands of others on our newsletter subscriber list.  You will receive occasional newsletter emails. Once you subscribe you’ll receive an email with a link to the free printable, as well as other freebies that only our subscribers receive.  

Kids will love these dinosaur activities for occupational therapy to help kids address fine and gross motor skills using OT dinosaur activities.

Dinosaur Activities for OT sessions

Looking for more Dinosaur activities?  Try adding these to your occupational therapy interventions. Some of the ideas below are great for adding to teletherapy sessions. Others make great OT home programs.

Dinosaur Activities for Occupational Therapy

Ok, you have a child on your OT caseload (on in your classroom or home) that LOVES all things dinosaur…how do you get them involved in therapy sessions? You can totally guide therapy goals along a theme like dinosaurs. The OT dinosaur activities listed below are fun ways to work on specific skills in therapy sessions, using hands-on play and activities. You’ll find fine motor dinosaur activities, gross motor dinosaur ideas, dinosaur printables, sensory play with a dino theme, and even dinosaur visual perception activities. If you have a child in OT who LOVES all things dinosaur, these are great incentive activities that will build attention and focus to the session. Adding a much-loved theme to therapy sessions can empower a child as they play with more intent and attention.

Occupational therapy activities with a dinosaur theme for heavy work activities and movement.

Dinosaur Gross Motor Game– This dinosaur game offers kids a chance to MOVE! Use a child’s love of dinosaurs to create movement breaks and indoor activity with a dinosaur theme. This is one indoor play idea that my own children loved when they were little, but the bonus is that they gain midline crossing, motor planning, sequencing, bilateral coordination, balance, endurance, proprioception, and vestibular benefits all in the same movement activity.

Dinosaur Playdough Kit can be made with play dough and a few small dinosaur figures. It’s a great way to add proprioception to the hands as heavy work before a handwriting activity. This busy activity can be pulled out at any time and kids can keep those hands busy while building intrinsic hand strength and endurance needed for tasks like coloring. Read more about warming-up the hands before fine motor tasks here.

Free Dinosaur Visual Perception Sheet– This printable page can be printed off once and used with a page protector sheet for the whole therapy caseload. Or, add it to teletherapy sessions or distance learning as part of a child’s specific plan. Kids can work on visual perceptual skills such as scanning, form discrimination, figure ground, form constancy, and other visual perception skills. It’s perfect for dinosaur fans of all ages!

Dinosaur Counting Cards with clothes pins to clip onto the matching number of dinosaurs is a great way to build hand strength with a dinosaur theme. Print them off and add them to your therapy toolbox. Here are more ways to use clothes pins in building skills in kids.

Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs book and jacks game– have you read the children’s book, Goldilocks and the three dinosaurs? This children’s book is very cute and a fun way to add books to occupational therapy sessions. Then, add the fine motor and motor planning jacks game to build coordination and dexterity skills by playing jacks. This is such a fun way to add movement and reading to therapy sessions, making motor planning, sustained attention, bilateral coordination, crossing midline, floor play (heavy work!), all integrated into a single dinosaur activity!

Dinosaur Matching with mini-figure dinosaurs is a fun way to work on visual scanning, visual discrimination, visual memory, and other visual perceptual skills. Using a small ball of play dough, press the dinosaur’s feet into the dough. They can then try to match up the feet to the footprints. All you need are mini dinosaur figures and salt dough, play dough, or similar dough. It’s a fun way to work on skills that come in handy for handwriting, reading, and number identification.

Dinosaur Guessing Game is a fun way to work on discrimination skills and visual attention. For kids that have trouble attending to tasks, this dinosaur themed activity may do just the trick. Use dinosaur figurines and a box or basket to hide the dinosaurs. You can cover the dinosaurs and ask children to find the dino with specific features such as sharp teeth or a specific color. This visual memory game builds skills needed for letter discrimination and attention to detail.

Free Dinosaur Number Puzzles– Kids can cut the paper puzzles into strips to work on scissor skills and bilateral coordination. The strait lines or these puzzles make it a great beginning scissor activity for children learning to use scissors. Then, they can challenge those visual perceptual skills to build the puzzle by scanning, and attending to details as they discriminate parts of the puzzles.

Dinosaur Emergent Reader– Use a piece of colored paper to create a cone dinosaur craft like the one shown in this post. Kids can make colored dinosaurs and match them to dinosaur counters or small pieces of paper that match the colors. Don’t want to make the dinosuar crafts? Use colored cups to pretend!

Free Dinosaur Subitizing Game– This dinosaur subitizing printable page has a fine motor component by that builds precision and dexterity as kids place counters on a printable play mat. They can roll a dice ans work on an the essential math skill of subitizing. What is subitizing? Essentially, this skill means kids can look at a group of objects and know how many there without having to count each object one by one. Subitizing is important in math, especially higher math skills.

Dinosaur Sensory Bottle– You know we love sensory bottles! Sensory bottles are a great tool to add to your toolbox to address sensory needs or self-regulation. Using a sensory bottle as a coping tool can help kids relax, calm down, or focus. This dinosaur themed sensory bottle is great for kids who love dinosaur anything! Here is more information on how to make a sensory bottle.

Dinosaur Letter Tracing– Kids can work on fine motor precision and dexterity while also working on letter formation, gross motor skills, bilateral coordination, crossing midline, visual tracking, and so many more skills. All you need are dinosaur mini-figures, paper, and a marker. Draw a large letter on the paper and then children can place the small dinosaurs along the lines to “build” the letters. Here is more information on teaching letter formation and using manipulatives like these small dinosaur figures in teaching letters.


DIY Dinosaur Tangrams
All you need is a set of tangram shapes, paper, and markers to make your own dinosaur tangram pattern cards. Kids will love building their own pattern cards, too. This is a great activity for those who have the actual tangram puzzle pieces, but don’t have access to a color printer or are able to purchase pre-made dinosaur pattern cards. Work on visual perceptual skills by copying and building the geometric dinosaurs together as a fun activity that little dinosaur fans will love. Here is a great resource on how to use tangrams to build visual perceptual skills. Check out that article, and then you can read more on the specifics of tangrams and handwriting. The fine motor activity and the functional task of writing go “hand-in-hand”!

Dinosaur themed sensory (proprioception) heavy work activities for organizing and calming sensory input. This is perfect for a child who seeks out sensory stimulation.

Are you looking for thorough information on Sensory Processing and Proprioception (or any of the sensory systems and how they affect functional skills, behavior, and the body’s sensory systems?  This book, Sensory Lifestyle Handbook, will explain it all.  Activities and Resources are included. Get it today and never struggle to understand or explain Sensory Integration again.  Shop HERE.

This post is part of our 31 Days of Occupational Therapy series where you can find free or almost free treatment activities and ideas.  Stop by every day!  You’ll find more fun ideas each day in October.

Free Dinosaur Movement Cards

Dinosaur brain breaks and proprioception activities

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    Alphabet Exercises for Kids

    Alphabet exercises for indoor gross motor activities for kids

    Exercise for kids is so important on many levels. Use these alphabet exercises to help build skills, and get the kids moving with an alphabet theme. In therapy, we look to help children build their gross motor skills, core strength and endurance, body awareness, motor planning, and self-regulation skills. It is recognized that regular exercise can help defend against childhood mental health and behavioral disorders, such as anxiety and depression. The consistent engagement in physical activity promotes overall health and wellness and provides a more grounded mindset for daily living and participation in life activities.

    Exercise can build confidence and self-esteem, helping a child to feel better about themselves and increasing their overall happiness. One way to engage children in activity is with a structured therapy band exercise program, however, occupational therapy home programs can be creative and use out-of-the-box ideas like this ABC theme exercise activity.

    For a printable PDF version of this alphabet exercise page, scroll to the bottom of this page and enter your email address.

    These letter exercises are also available in an interactive Google slide deck where students can move parts of the slide as they complete each letter activity. Click here to access that ABC exercises slide deck.

    Alphabet exercises for indoor gross motor activities for kids

    ABC’s OF EXERCISE

    With all of the time that children must sit completing school work as part of teletherapy activities, or even their increased time engaging with electronics at home, they need encouragement to exercise or simply participate in physical activity during the day. Research tells us that outdoor play is essential. However, even going outside to play or engage in motor skills is a challenge for some children! Making exercise a fun playtime activity is the best way to help a child build skills while benefiting their health and wellness and keeping weight in check.  

    Alphabet Gross Motor ACTIVITIES

    Would you like a playful way to engage a child or children in therapy exercises or in a home exercise program? How about trying this fun ABC’s of Exercise activity page? There are many ways to use these alphabet exercise letters in learning and occupational therapy activities guided by individual goals.

    • Children can either spell words or even their names to engage in the physical activity which accompanies each letter.
    • Use some homework spelling words and perform the exercises related to them! Wow…homework AND exercise!
    • Another easier way to play is by placing either A through Z foam letters, Bananagrams, or Scrabble tiles into a bag or basket and then have the child pull one letter out at a  time and match it to the corresponding letter on the ABC’s of Exercise chart to perform the exercise listed.
    • Work through the child’s name for an individualized exercise program.
    • Add the letter gross motor activities to a letter of the week learning program.

    Don’t have foam letters or board game letter tiles?  No worries, just grab some puzzle pieces, folded pieces of paper, beans or craft sticks and write the letters on them! Toss any of these into a bag or basket and pick one…easy and cheap!  You can also incorporate some handwriting with this activity too by having them write each exercise letter or a word beginning with that letter after they complete the exercise.

    The best part about this activity page is that it is open-ended so you (or they) get to determine how many to perform of each exercise and how many exercise letters to perform. In addition to being open-ended, this activity page provides a wonderful opportunity for teaching students exercises which can later be used when the child is feeling heightened and needing some self-regulation intervention tools. Use the activity sheet as an inclusion tool for a whole class activity, small group or individual therapy session, or even as a supplement to a motor pathway in the school building! Have the child do the activity that spells their name when using it as part of a motor pathway in school!

    The following list are the exercises and their descriptions which are utilized in the ABC’s of Exercise resource:

    ABC Exercises:

    A is for arm rolls gross motor activity part of an abc exercise for kids

    Arm rolls – Have child lift arms out from their sides and rotate arms in small circular patterns, first forward and then backward.

    B is for butterfly legs gross motor activity part of an abc exercise for kids

    Butterfly legs– Have child sit on the floor with legs flexed and bottom of feet touching. Then have them flap their legs up and down to resemble the wings of a butterfly.

    C is for crab walk gross motor activity part of an abc exercise for kids

    Crab walk – Have child sit on the floor, lean back on their arms and lift their body up with their legs and arms to walk along the floor resembling the walk of a crab.

    D is for duck walk gross motor activity part of an abc exercise for kids

    Duck walk – Have child squat down and walk on the floor while squatted resembling the walk of a duck. Add having them bend their arms up to make them look like duck wings.

    E is for elephant trunk swing gross motor activity part of an abc exercise for kids

    Elephant trunk swing – Have child stand up and lean forward with arms extended and fingers linked together. Once this position is achieved, have child sway their arms left and right resembling an elephant’s trunk.

    F is for frog jumps gross motor activity part of an abc exercise for kids

    Frog hops – Have child squat down on the floor with their arms in front of them and have them leap forward as far as possible resembling a jumping frog. Do this repeatedly.

    G is for giant leaps gross motor activity part of an abc exercise for kids

    Giant tape lines – Place tape lines on the floor to work on jumping from line to line or complete giant jumps by attempting to jump as far as possible from a standing position.

    H is for high knees gross motor activity part of an abc exercise for kids

    High knees – Have child lift alternating knees up to hands for tapping and while marching around the room. Have them lift knees as high as possible.

    I is for incline climb gross motor activity part of an abc exercise for kids

    Incline climb – Have child climb up a slide, long wedge or hillside or toss the couch cushion or even the bed mattress in the floor and make a ramp. If all else fails, just use the stairs!

    J is for jumping jacks gross motor activity part of an abc exercise for kids

     Jumping jacks – Have child start by standing with arms out to their sides and legs together then have them jump while spreading their legs and feet apart and arms up and over their head. Follow with bringing arms back to sides and legs and feet back together.

    K is for knee squats gross motor activity part of an abc exercise for kids

     Knee squats – Have child start with standing up and then squatting to floor and back up again, repeatedly.

    L is for lunges gross motor activity part of an abc exercise for kids

     Lunges – Have child step forward with one leg and lower their hips until both knees are bent, then push back up to starting position. Alternate legs.

    M is for mega jumps gross motor activity part of an abc exercise for kids

     Mega jumps – Have child jump from a higher level to the floor, either from a chair, sofa, steps, etc. or they could also simply try to jump as far as possible forward and then try to jump farther each time to beat their last distance.

    N is for neck rolls gross motor activity part of an abc exercise for kids

     Neck rolls – Have child stand or sit to roll their neck and head in a circular pattern from left to right and from right to left.

    O is for overhead stretch gross motor activity part of an abc exercise for kids

    Overhead stretches – Have child reach up overhead, link fingers together and stretch arms up as high as possible. Add standing on tiptoes to make it really high. 

    P is for push ups gross motor activity part of an abc exercise for kids

    Push-ups – Have child lie on the floor and push their body up with their hands and arms. If a regular push-up is too difficult, complete knee push-ups by simply weight bearing on flexed knees while completing push-ups rather than trying to weight bear on toes.

    Q is for quad stretches gross motor activity part of an abc exercise for kids

    Quad stretches – Have child perform, sit to stands and stand to sits, while sitting in a chair. Do this repeatedly.

    R is for run in place gross motor activity part of an abc exercise for kids

    Run in place – Have child run in place for a specific amount of time such as while counting to 20.

    S is for snake slither gross motor activity part of an abc exercise for kids

    Snake slither – Have child lie on their stomach and move their body forward trying to keep as much of their body in contact with the floor as possible, similar to an army crawl.

    T is for toe touches gross motor activity part of an abc exercise for kids

    Toe touches – Have child stand and bend over to touch their toes with their fingers and back up to standing. Do this repeatedly.

    U is for under over maze gross motor activity part of an abc exercise for kids

    Under/over laser maze – Create a laser maze with use of tape, string, or streamers in the hallway and have child go under and over to move through it. Or have them crawl under tables and over furniture to achieve under/over.

    V is for vertical wall taps gross motor activity part of an abc exercise for kids

     Vertical wall taps – Have child stand beside a wall and jump to tap the wall attempting to beat their last height touched with each jump.

    W is for windmills gross motor activity part of an abc exercise for kids

    Windmills – Have child stand with arms and legs out to the sides. Have them bend over to touch right fingertips to left toes and back up to standing and then bend to touch left fingertips to right toes and back up to standing.

    X is for x marks the spot gross motor activity part of an abc exercise for kids

    X-marks the spot exercise – Have child cross over legs and feet and cross over arms and hands while jumping to create X patterns with extremities. Or complete ‘X’ cross crawls to work on cross-lateral activity of extremities.

    Y is for yoga gross motor activity part of an abc exercise for kids

    Yoga poses – Have child pick a yoga pose to complete, such as cat pose, cobra pose, or shark pose.

    Z is for zig zag run gross motor activity part of an abc exercise for kids

    Zig-zag run – Use small obstacles to create a zig zag course or simply attempt to run a zig zag pattern.

    With home learning, indoor activities, and social distancing upon us, this exercise activity page will help meet the needs of your child so they can get in their daily exercise while also releasing some extra “cooped up” energy!

    Alphabet gross motor exercises for kids

    FREE Alphabet Exercise PDF

    Enter your email address below to access this free ABC PDF to add heavy work, core strength, movement, and gross motor skills with an alphabet theme. Use the printable alphabet exercise PDF as a poster for learning letters through movement.

    Get a free ABC Exercise PDF

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      Resources:

      Educating the Student Body: Taking Physical Activity and Physical Education to School. Editors: Harold W. Kohl, III and Heather D. Cook. Authors: Committee on Physical Activity and Physical Education in the School Environment; Food and Nutrition Board; Institute of Medicine. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2013 Oct 30.

      This post was written by contributor author, Regina Parsons-Allen.

      Easter Egg Game- Color Scavenger Hunt

      Easter egg game that kids will love while working on color matching, color identification, visual perception.

      If you are looking for a fun Easter egg game that the kids will love, then you are in luck. Add this activity to your Easter activities and use up a few of those plastic eggs. This color scavenger hunt uses plastic Easter eggs, and it’s a very fun way to play and learn! Use those plastic eggs to encourage gross motor skills, visual perception, and color learning in a way that kids won’t forget. While the kiddos are playing this Easter game, they are building cognitive skills AND underlying skill areas like visual scanning and other visual perceptual skills.

      Easter egg game that kids will love while working on color matching, color identification, visual perception.

      We set this Easter activity up years and years ago. (2013 to be exact!) However, it’s one of those activities that stands the test of time. If you’ve got plastic Easter eggs on hand, use them to build skills like the ones we worked on here!

      This Easter egg activity helps kids learn colors and learning with a color scavenger hunt gross motor activity

      COLOR SCAVENGER HUNT

      This color scavenger hunt is so easy to set up…and so much fun. Kids can work on identifying color names, and color matching. I wrote different colors on slips of paper and put them into plastic eggs.  The kids got to pick an egg from the bowl and “sound out” the color on the slip of paper.  Ok, my 5 year old sounded out the color with help.  The other two said the first letter of the word and guessed the color.  They were pretty excited to “read” the color on their slip of paper!  

      Kids will love this Easter egg game using plastic Easter eggs in a color scavenger hunt activity.
      Use this color scavenger hunt with easter eggs to work on color matching and color identification with kids.

      An Easter Game Kids will Love

      Now for the egg game…So then, they had to run off and find something that was the color of the written word on their slip of paper…and it had to FIT inside the egg.    I sat and waited for them to run back and show me what they found while they tried to fit it in their egg.   (completely genius way for this mom to finish a cup of coffee!)  

      Kids can look for objects that match plastic Easter eggs in a color scavenger hunt that allows them them move and play with learning, too.

       They had a little trouble with some things, but this was a fun and different way to work on visual perceptual skills.  Will that little doll fit in the egg?  We weren’t sure by looking at it, but with a little fiddling, she did!   Fitting the eggs together with the little objects inside was a great fine motor exercise.

      Kids can look for matching colors in this plastic Easter egg game that helps them with color matching and visual scanning.

        They found something for each color!  

      Kids can play this color scavenger hunt game with plastic Easter eggs for a fun Easter game that can be played indoors or outdoors.
      Kids can learn color names and work on learning skills like visual scanning, fine motor skills, and gross motor skills with this Easter game.

       This Easter themed play activity could be modified in so many ways for learning words, colors…have fun with it 🙂

      Want more ways to play and learn this time of year?

      This time of year, one of our more popular products here on The OT Toolbox is our Spring Occupational Therapy packet. The best news is that, this packet has had a major upgrade from it’s previous collection of spring sensory activities.

      In the Spring OT packet, you’ll now find:

      • Spring Proprioceptive Activities
      • Spring Vestibular Activities
      • Spring Visual Processing Activities
      • Spring Tactile Processing Activities
      • Spring Olfactory Activities
      • Spring Auditory Processing Activities
      • Spring Oral Motor Activities
      • Spring Fine Motor Activities
      • Spring Gross Motor Activities
      • Spring Handwriting Practice Prompts
      • Spring Themed Brain Breaks
      • Occupational Therapy Homework Page
      • Client-Centered Worksheet
      • 5 pages of Visual Perceptual Skill Activities

      All of the Spring activities include ideas to promote the various areas of sensory processing with a Spring-theme. There are ways to upgrade and downgrade the activities and each activities includes strategies to incorporate eye-hand coordination, bilateral coordination, body scheme, oculomotor control, visual perception, fine and gross motor skills, and more.

      THE BEST THING ABOUT THE SPRING ACTIVITY PACKET:

      One of my favorite parts of the Spring Occupational Therapy Packet is the therapist tool section:

      • Occupational Therapy Homework Page
      • Client-Centered Worksheet

      These two sheets are perfect for the therapist looking to incorporate carryover of skills. Use the homework page to provide specific OT recommended activities to be completed at home. This is great for those sills that parents strive to see success in but need more practice time for achieving certain skill levels.
      This activity packet is 26 pages long and has everything you need to work on the skills kids are struggling with…with a Spring theme!

      Here’s the link again to grab that packet.

      Use this Spring Occupational Therapy Activities Packet to work on occupational therapy goals and functional skills with a spring theme.

      Floor Play for Babies

      Baby floor play is one of those essential play activities that maybe kids are missing out on more than ever. Here we are talking about why babies need to get down on the floor to baby play, and how to set up floor play activities for babies and toddlers. Baby development depends on movement and play. These ideas will guide you in creating play activities that maximize child development through those early years.

      What is Floor Play

      Floor play and movement play is one of those things that not only help babies develop essential skills, it is a powerful way to help them excel with higher level tasks. There is so much more than just placing a baby down on the floor to play. Let me explain…

      When little ones are on the floor in tummy time or in play activities, they are developing essential core strength and visual perceptual skills that will help them down the road in areas like reading, endurance in play, and even handwriting. Here is more information on how floor play and tummy time helps with the development of spatial awareness and other visual perception skills.

      Time spent on the floor helps with kinesthetic intelligence as well. With tummy time play comes skills like body awareness and reasoning, eye-hand coordination, motor skills, and spatial ability for function.

      Play For Babies

      Baby floor play is such a powerful way to help with child development! Use these floor play activities for babies to support skills like crawling.

      For babies, tummy time helps to build strength in the core, arms, neck, and shoulder girdle needed for sitting up, changing of positions, and coordination. Here are baby play ideas that can be incorporated into floor time activities. Movement like participating in play, changing positions, reaching, crawling, moving objects, and functional tasks require endurance and stability. Tummy time is an important task for infant babies as well as older babies for different reasons. In each stage, floor play encourages use of the body and eyes in coordinated motor plans.

      More Floor Activities for Babies and toddlers

      Floor play for babies can look like toys placed in front of the infant. Using noise toys, rattles, and eye-catching toys encourages reach, visual tracking, neck and head movement, and development of visual processing and auditory processing.

      Floor play for infants can look like a scattering of toys placed in a circle around the child. This positioning encourages turning, rolling, and creeping or crawling, especially when the little one is pushing up onf their elbows and hands.

      For very small babies, floor play can look like getting very close to the child to encourage them to pick up their head and make eye contact.

      Baby play ideas can be easy but pack a powerful punch when it comes to child development and helping with skills like crawling and learning.

      Older babies that are sitting up can benefit from a scattering of toys placed around them on the floor. Place pillows behind and around the baby and encourage them to pick up toys like large blocks as they bring the toy to their mouth to explore. Picking up and bringing items to the midline promotes endurance of core strength, stability in the core, and coordination as they reach and turn.

      Playing on the floor can include baby mats or baby-safe mirrors. Check out this baby sensory play idea using mirrors for an easy way to encourage movement and endurance in floor play using everyday items such as cups, balls, and baby toys.

      Babies that are beginning to crawl love play tunnels…and for good reason. Baby play tunnels are exciting and fun! But not only that, they develop skills like visual motor skills, cause and effect, visual scanning, visual convergence, and so much more. Here are more play tunnel activities for babies.

      Try this indoor play idea that boosts development of skills such as fine motor skills, visual motor skills, and visual perceptual skills using toddler-friendly blocks!

      Floor play for babies builds skills and helps them develop and learn to crawl while building endurance and strength for motor movement tasks.
      Use large blocks or other baby toys in floor play for babies. Super easy!

      Occupational therapists know the value of movement and playing on the floor has on babies. We know that babies need tummy time and a chance to move on the floor without use of the Bumbo seat, swing, and other baby positioners. We KNOW that play is the child’s primary occupation and that through play, they develop motor skills, cognition, language, and so much more.

      That’s why I’m SO excited to share a valuable new resource for new and expecting moms.

      Remarkable Infants is a HUGE resource for new parents. This online course, taught by 5 child development experts, is a 5 hour crash course on development of the whole child from birth through 12 months of age. It is literally everything that we WISH new parents knew about tummy time, positioners, developmental milestones, baby play, communication, sleep, and nutrition.

      How to Dye Pumpkin Seeds for Sensory Play

      This post on how to dye pumpkin seeds was one we originally created back in 2014. The thing is that colored pumpkin seeds is still just as much fun for fine motor and sensory play as it was years ago! We make these dyed pumpkin seeds each year and always play with them a TON in fine motor activities and sensory trays. This year, we made rainbow pumpkin seeds after Halloween. Use this recipe on how to dye pumpkin seeds to create a Fall activity for play activities of your own this year! We’ve been playing with them in all kinds of sensory play activities, fine motor fun, and learning activities.
       
      Use these instructions on how to dye pumpkin seeds to make colored pumpkin seeds for fine motor and sensory play with kids.
       
       
       
       
       


      Dye pumpkin seeds for kids to play with:

      Pumpkins are all around us these days! If you have carved a pumpkin with the kids and have the seeds sitting in a bowl ready for roasting, you are in luck. Before you mix up a batch of your favorite roasted pumpkin seeds recipe, save a few handfuls for dying for sensory play!
       
      Dying pumpkin seeds isn’t hard. In fact, the kids will love to get in on the mixing action. They will love to use those dyed pumpkin seeds in sensory bins, for fine motor pumpkin seeds activities, or even Fall crafts like this pumpkin seed craft.
       
      Pumpkin seeds are a great addition to sensory play experiences. Allowing kids to scoop the seeds directly from the pumpkin is such a tactile sensory experience! But for some kids, that pumpkin goop is just too much tactile input. Using dyed pumpkin seeds in sensory play is a first step in the tactile experience.
       
      Use this recipe for how to dye pumpkin seeds with kids.

      How to Color Pumpkin Seeds the Easy Way

      This post contains affiliate links.

      This year we made them a bit differently than last year.  I tried to roast the seeds after coloring them with the food coloring.  To make our seeds this year, we used liquid food coloring dye and gel food coloring.  Each type of food coloring worked really well.  The problem with roasting the seeds after coloring them is that the colors don’t “stick” as well to the seed, making less vivid colors.  I would suggest first roasting your seeds and THEN dying them like we did here.

      Colored pumpkin seeds are great for kids to use in sensory play.

       
       
      Whether you use liquid food coloring dye or gel food coloring, add the seeds to plastic baggies and add the food coloring.  Seal up the baggies, mix the seeds around, (or hand them over to the kids and let them go crazy), and get the seeds coated in coloring.  
       
      Spread the seeds out on aluminum foil spread on a cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes.  Be sure to check on the seeds often to make sure they are not burning.  If you roast them first, the colors will cover any brown spots.
       
      How to dye pumpkin seeds to use in kids crafts this Fall.

      Colored Pumpkin Seeds for Fine Motor Play

      We used our dyed seeds in art projects first.  Manipulating those seeds is a great way to work on fine motor skills.  Little Sister was SO excited to make art!

      Add additional fine motor work by using a squeezable glue bottle to create a pumpkin seeds craft and pumpkin seed art. Squeezing that glue bottle adds a gross hand grasp and fine motor warm-up before performing fine motor tasks.

      How to dye pumpkin seeds to use in a Fall mandala craft.

      Use dyed pumpkin seeds to make a colorful mandala craft with fine motor benefits. Picking up the pumpkin seeds uses fine motor skills such as in-hand manipulation, separation of the sides of the hand, pincer grasp, open thumb web space, and distal mobility.

      Placing the colored pumpkin seeds into a symmetrical pattern of colors promotes eye-hand coordination and visual perceptual skills such as visual discrimination, figure ground, and other skills.

      Dying pumpkin seeds is a fun Fall activity for kids.

      Little Guy made a gingerbread man.  Because why not??! 😉

      Squeezing the glue bottle into a shape and placing the colored pumpkin seeds along the line is another exercise in visual perception and eye-hand coordination.

      Colored pumpkin seeds can be used in Fall sensory play and fine motor crafts.
       
       
      Little Sister made a rainbow with her seeds.
       
      Use colored pumpkin seeds to make a fine motor craft with kids.
       

      How to dye pumpkin seeds for sensory play for kids.

      How to Dye Pumpkin Seeds for Sensory Play

      Use the directions listed above to create a set of colored pumpkin seeds. Use the colorful pumpkin seeds in a big pumpkin sensory bin to create a tactile sensory experience. Kids can draw letters in the seeds to work on letter formation. Add this idea to your toolbox of sensory writing tray ideas.

      Add a few Fall themed items such as small pumpkins, acorns, pinecones, scoops, and small bowls to the sensory bin activity. Dyed pumpkin seeds are a great sensory bin medium this time of year when making an easy sensory bin.

      Kids will love using dyed pumpkin seeds in sensory play.

       
      This sensory play activity was very fun.  We couldn’t keep our hands out of the tray as we played and created.
       
      Use dyed pumpkin seeds for sensory play with kids.
       

      Colored pumpkin seeds are fun for Fall crafts.

       

      Wondering how to dye pumpkin seeds and use in sensory play?

      More Colored Pumpkin Seed Activities:

      Be sure to use your dyed pumpkin seeds for a few fun ideas like these:

      Pumpkin activity kit
      Pumpkin Fine Motor Kit

      Grab the Pumpkin Fine Motor Kit for more coloring, cutting, and eye-hand coordination activities with a Pumpkin theme! It includes:

      • 7 digital products that can be used any time of year- has a “pumpkins” theme
      • 5 pumpkin scissor skills cutting strips
      • Pumpkin scissor skills shapes- use in sensory bins, math, sorting, pattern activities
      • 2 pumpkin visual perception mazes with writing activity
      • Pumpkin “I Spy” sheet – color in the outline shapes to build pencil control and fine motor strength
      • Pumpkin Lacing cards – print, color, and hole punch to build bilateral coordination skills
      • 2 Pumpkin theme handwriting pages – single and double rule bold lined paper for handwriting practice

      Work on underlying fine motor and visual motor integration skills so you can help students excel in handwriting, learning, and motor skill development.

      You can grab this Pumpkin Fine Motor kit for just $6!

      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.