Movement Activities Monster OT Slides

Recently, I’ve been sharing some occupational therapy slide decks with you. These slide decks are OT activities that can be used in teletherapy sessions as part of distance OT or distance learning. Today, I’ve got movement activities with a monster theme to share. These are monster themed occupational therapy activities that cover a variety of areas. When you access the OT slide deck, use in to work on OT activities like a therapy warm-up, gross motor skills, fine motor skills, visual perceptual skills, visual motor skills, and finally, a self-regulation check-in. Each activity in the collection involves movement activities that build specific skills. Scroll to the bottom of this post to enter your email to access the latest free occupational therapy slide deck.

Movement activities for occupational therapy sessions with a free OT slide deck that incorporates fine motor, gross motor, coordination, visual motor skills, regulation and other movement in monster theme activities.

Movement activities

As always, my mission here at The OT Toolbox is to help you help kids thrive through the use of easily accessible tools and resources.

try these monster activities for a lesson plan for writing, letter identification through movement.

The slides included in this set are acceptable movement activities for preschoolers because they use letters, helping preschoolers to recognize and identify letters. The slides would also work as a movement activity for kids in older grades as well, using the handwriting and visual motor activities to build specific skills like visual motor skills needed for handwriting tasks, copying lists of words, and visual perceptual skills needed for reading.

Monster Movement Activities for Kids

The slide deck promotes movement activities for kids in several ways. These are the slides and an agenda of activities to use in therapy sessions:

Warm-Up– Use the gross motor movement activities as a warm up to help with body awareness and a sensory tool to add proprioceptive and vestibular input. Kids can copy the body positioning to challenge balance and coordination, as well as motor planning. I’ve added a visual perceptual component to the warm-up movement slides by asking children to identify a partially hidden letter as they do the whole-body movements. This challenges visual perceptual skills including visual discrimination, visual figure-ground, visual closure, form constancy, and visual memory. Read more about these skills that are needed to complete hidden pictures activities, for example.

Monster activity with movement activities for preschool and movement activities for kids of all ages.

Writing- The writing slides in this slide deck ask kids to identify the month they are born and the first letter of their name to create a wacky monster name. They can write this word phrase to practice handwriting. The visual scanning and tracking involved in this activity really challenges the visual processing skills and visual efficiency of the eyes. The movement activity of writing their name incorporates a functional task that they may be working on in their OT goals.

Kids will love to work on handwriting with this monster name activity.

Fine Motor- The fine motor portion of this movement activity slide deck involves tearing paper into small pieces. By ripping paper, kids are building hand strength, bilateral coordination, eye-hand coordination, and efficiency of grasp. I’ve added a visual motor component to this activity by asking the child to use those paper scraps in shaping and copying specific shapes. The whole fine motor activity adds much-needed fine motor movement and eye-hand coordination to a shape building activity.

Visual- The visual portion of this occupational therapy slide deck is a favorite for some kids (My own kids included!) Use the slides to work on visual perceptual skills as they find matching shadows for the monster figures in a series of three slides. After the child completes each slide, ask them to jump and and cheer!

A monster visual perception activity for ot sessions.

Calm Down/Check-In- Lastly, you’ll find a calm down slide that incorporates the colors of the Zones of Regulation program. Children can complete the calm down movement activities shown on the slides and then choose a color to check in for their state of feelings.

Work on self-regulation activities with a monster theme.
Use the zones of regulation with a monster theme

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    HERE ARE MORE Movement ACTIVITIES TO USE IN VIRTUAL OT SESSIONS

    Heavy work movement activity cards

    Monthly movement activities

    Teletherapy activities for kids

    Work on fine motor skills in teletherapy

    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.

    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!

    Crossing the Midline Activity Letter Rainbow

    Crossing the midline letter activity

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

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

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

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


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


    Crossing the Midline

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

    So, what crossing the midline?  

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

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

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

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

    Problems with Crossing the Midline

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

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

    Crossing the Midline Letter Activity

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

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

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

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

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

    Set up a crossing the midline activity:

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

    To make the midline board:

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

    Next, work on crossing midline skills:

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


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


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


    Vary the activity

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

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

    Just print and go!

    Colors Handwriting Kit

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

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

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

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

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

    Here are more rainbow activities to pair with ours:

    In Hand Manipulation Letter Puzzle Activity

    In hand manipulation activities are one of my kids favorite ways to play.  The thing is, they have no clue what “in hand manipulation” means.  I mean, could you picture it? Hey MOM! Can we please please PLEASE do an in hand manipulation thing? It’s so much fuuuuuun!”  That’s kind of funny to think about and totally a meme you might see in an Occupational Therapy conference.  (hmmm. Time to start on the OT meme business…)  


    Kids just have no clue about the technical terms for the fine motor development that they go through.  And that is normal and completely ok.  Parents typically don’t even know what exactly is happening when their child picks up a handful of coins and as they squirrel them away in their chubby little palm before dropping them one by one into a piggy bank.  All that matters is that the child is manipulating items, working their fine motor development, and having fun.


    In-hand manipulation activities are a great way to boost fine motor skills needed for tasks like managing clothing fasteners, using a pencil when writing, manipulating items like coins or beads, and more. 


    This in-hand manipulation activity meets the fun expectation and works on so many fine motor skills. We practiced letter identification and made the activity work for my Toddler, too. 

    Work on fine motor skills like in-hand manipulation with a wooden letter puzzle.  You can do this with any puzzle and work on things like letter identification, letter formation, numbers, animals, or shapes. Perfect for preschool or toddler activities.

    In-hand Manipulation Activity with Puzzles

    This post contains affiliate links. 


    We came up with a similar idea a few months back. It worked for today’s activity with a slight twist. In-hand manipulation is a powerful fine motor skill that that kids use for tasks like manipulating a pencil in writing activities, managing buttons and zippers, manipulating shoe laces, and holding and managing small items such as coins or beads.  You can read much more about in-hand manipulation here.  


    To use puzzles in a fine motor activity like this one, you’ll need a small item such as dry split peas.  Dry beans or field corn would also work for this type of activity.  You’ll also need a wooden puzzle with edges. 

    Use dry peas in sensory play or fine motor activities.


    For today’s activity, we used a Melissa and Doug wooden See Inside puzzle. This was perfect for our activity because the pictures hidden behind the split peas played peek-a-boo with us as we added the peas.  My preschooler worked on her in-hand manipulation skills to fill up the letters by naming the letters and filling the letter space in proper-ish letter formation.  I tried to show her how to fill in the letters with dry peas in the same order she would use to write the letter.  This worked for most of the letters.  If you are working on letter formation with your little one, show them how to fill in the top of the letters as they sprinkle in the beans or peas a little at a time.

    Work on fine motor skills like in-hand manipulation with a wooden letter puzzle.  You can do this with any puzzle and work on things like letter identification, letter formation, numbers, animals, or shapes. Perfect for preschool or toddler activities.

     

    An upper and lower case letter puzzle would be great for older kids who are working on forming lower case letters. 

    Work on fine motor skills like in-hand manipulation with a wooden letter puzzle.  You can do this with any puzzle and work on things like letter identification, letter formation, numbers, animals, or shapes. Perfect for preschool or toddler activities.

     

    Work on fine motor skills like in-hand manipulation with a wooden letter puzzle.  You can do this with any puzzle and work on things like letter identification, letter formation, numbers, animals, or shapes. Perfect for preschool or toddler activities.

    We did end up doing the same activity with my Toddler’s chunky pets animal puzzle. This graded activity was great for her in-hand manipulation development too and she got to work on animal identification and animal sounds as she filled up each animal space in the puzzle. 


    You’ll love these puzzle activities that a few of our friends developed:

    Work on fine motor skills like in-hand manipulation with a wooden letter puzzle.  You can do this with any puzzle and work on things like letter identification, letter formation, numbers, animals, or shapes. Perfect for preschool or toddler activities.

    Are you working on in-hand manipulation for functional skill development?  Here are a few more creative ideas that you will love: