Pencil Control Worksheets

pencil control worksheets

Part of handwriting legibility is the visual motor skills needed for pencil control and one tool in our toolbox are pencil control worksheets. Pencil control in isolation isn’t always addressed, but actually focusing on the refined pencil strokes and controlled movements of the pencil makes a huge difference in overall legibility. In this blog post, you’ll find many pencil control worksheet ideas and even have the ability to access a few of our favorites.

pencil control worksheets

Pencil Control Worksheets

Pencil control worksheets, or printable PDFs that target specific visual motor skills needed to move the pencil with precision and refined movements are tools that support handwriting.

When we use pencil control worksheets, it’s more than just moving the pencil to make marks.

Pencil skills worksheets can target many aspects of writing with a pencil:

  • Making small lines within a given space
  • Writing a letter on a small space, such as on our code breaker worksheets
  • Tracing over lines (Read here about the benefits of tracing lines)
  • Using precise movements in order to re-trace over letters when forming the alphabet correctly (letters like h, m, n, and r have re-trace where the pencil moves over an already formed pencil line).
  • Erasing the pencil marks
  • Writing with an appropriate and legible pencil pressure
  • Fluid and coordinated pencil strokes

Using worksheets to target specific skills like practicing letter formation isn’t always ideal. The occupational therapy practitioners may actually sway away from rote handwriting practice.

We’ve all seen it: A child is copying letters on a worksheet and the letters progressively get worse as they go across the page…or the margin creeps in as the child writes down the paper.

That is not to say that all letter formation worksheets are bad! In fact, we LOVE to target specific skills using letter writing practice on printable PDFs.

The OT trick is to facilitate the underlying skills, special themes that make the worksheet fun and engaging, and even using interactive worksheets that support skills in games or play-based learning.

The multisensory aspect is what turns an ordinary writing worksheet into a therapy tool!

All of these reasons are why using pencil control worksheets are great ways to target specific skills leading to handwriting legibility and functional writing skills.

Below, you’ll find ideas to make DIY pencil control worksheets, and then some of our favorite pencil control sheets. You can also grab a printable pencil control worksheets pdf at the very bottom of the page.

DIY pencil control worksheets

DIY Pencil Control Worksheets

The ideas below are some of our favorite ways to create your own DIY pencil control worksheets.

Does your school-aged child have difficulty with line awareness, pencil control, or letter formation?  Is your preschooler just learning to control the pencil while making straight lines, the diagonal lines of an “X” or the angled, connecting lines of shapes like a square, rectangle, or triangle? Do you know a child who is learning to control the “wobble” of the pencil while making a circle that connects the start to the finish?

All of these are pencil control skills!

It is easy to make fun worksheets that apply to your child’s needs/age-appropriate level/skills…and interests!

To make your own worksheets, you need just a few items:

  • plain paper
  • lined paper
  • graph paper
  • marker or highlighter
  • markers
  • pencil
  • stickers
  • dice

You don’t need to use all of these items…the activities below can be created over the course of several days or weeks. Pick and choose an activity and then go from there!

 
We shared one of our favorite pencil control exercises previously.
 
Use that idea along with these other worksheet ideas for more visual motor and fine motor work.
 
These are some easy handwriting exercises that can be done at home, or in the classroom. However, going from personal experience, the school-based OT doesn’t always have a ton of supplies on them. Depending on the setting and schedule, you may only have a marker, a pencil, and some paper in your possession. That’s where these DIY pencil and paper worksheets come into play.
 
 
 
Pencil control worksheet with stickers
 

DIY Pencil Control Sheet with Stickers

 
This worksheet activity is great because it targets pencil skills with a motivation factor. Using fun stickers makes it engaging for the user. Plus, you can factor in the benefits of playing with stickers by asking the child to place the sticker at one end of the lines.
 
Try to find some stickers that work with your therapy theme of the week or just are fun and motivating for the child’s interests.
 
Don’t have stickers? It’s not a big deal. Draw a small smiley face, simple car for the child that loves vehicles, or even colors of the rainbow. You can easily factor in so many personal interests to make this activity motivating with a simple drawing.
 
To make this pencil control activity:
  1. Use a highlighter to make straight, angled, and curvy lines going across the page…or add different twists and turns for your older child to trace along. 
  2. Grade the activity with the line width. Use thicker lines for a new writer and the school-aged child can work on very thin lines.
  3. Add a sticker at one end of the line. You can also add another sticker at the other end of the line if you like. 
 
Ask the child to keep the pencil lines inside of the yellow guide.  Fun stickers at the end of the lines always help ūüôā
 
 
DIY pencil control worksheet

 

Graded Pencil Control Activity

This handwriting activity can be “graded” (adjusted to start out very easy for the child and then changed just slightly to make it more and more challenging).  Grading an activity is helpful for the learner because it allows the child to feel success and gain confidence during a task, but also builds success with more difficult  levels.
 
 Ideas to grade these pencil worksheets:
 
  • Consider orientation: By changing the direction of the lines, you can target different skills.
  • Lines that start at the top of the page and go down toward the child’s body are easiest. Start there. Consider placing this style of worksheet activity on a slant board or vertical surface for strengthening, support, or upper body positioning. 
  • Lines that go from left to right across the page cross the midline. This is a need for many children and can also target visual scanning skills.
  • Consider using all curved lines or all angled lines, depending on the needs of the individual.
((I love Little Guy’s knight costume sleeve in this picture.  He rocks the knight costume at lease once a day  haha!))
 
 
 

DIY Pencil Control Sheets- Shapes

 
For the preschool child who is just learning to control the writing utensil, requiring them to write letters or write their name is beyond the scope of their development. We cover this in our resource on what happens when preschoolers are asked to write.
 
The pre-writing skills preschoolers actually need involve lines, shapes, coloring, and of course, fine motor play! We can target these skills using a pencil control sheet on shapes.
 
Think of it this way: To make a letter “A”, a child needs to create diagonal lines, which are two separate pencil strokes. The pencil needs to be placed at the correct point as the second line is created. The diagonal lines are further down the line-up, developmentally. Then, the middle line needs to connect two diagonal lines. For the child with an “A” in their name, asking them to make these marks before typical developmentally ready, you may end up with curved lines, shaky pencil marks, and misaligned connecting lines.
 
Practicing these skills in preschool over and over again leads to a motor plan for a poor letter formation.
 
That’s where pre-writing lines pencil control tasks are key.
 
We can foster the line markings of letters by making shapes and lines that ARE developmentally appropriate.
 
Pre-writing skills that can be targeted with pencil control shapes include: 
  • Straight lines
  • Starting the pencil at a certain point
  • Stopping the pencil at a certain point
  • Diagonal lines of an “X”
  • The angled, connecting lines of shapes like a square, rectangle, or triangle (making a sharp corner)
  • Smooth pencil strokes to create a curved line of a circle
  • Connecting shapes completely to close the shape
  • Hand strength and endurance to color in the shapes
  • Lifting the pencil and placing it on a specific point (Like adding a triangle to the top of a square to create a house, which is a skill needed to form some letters like adding the middle line to an “A”)
 
 
This DIY worksheet is similar to the one described above. Simply draw shapes using a marker. Create thicker or thinner lines. Then ask the child to trace over the lines.
 
You can then ask the child to color in the shapes using a crayon. We explained the skills behind this task in our pencil control activity which used colored pencils to fill in circles. 
 
 


DIY Pencil Control WORKSHEET with Line Awareness

The next worksheet idea focuses on spatial awareness skills in handwriting. This is also a pencil control technique.
 
  1. Use a blank piece of paper and using a marker, draw a shape such as a square.
  2. Draw a square around it. 
  3. Take turns with your child to make larger and larger shapes.

This activity is an easy way to work on pencil control skills using pre-writing shapes, but also focuses on the sharp angle of lines as they turn a corner. 

When the child makes the shape around your shape, they can work on pencil control for evenly spaced pencil strokes.

 
It’s a lot like doodling you did in your notebooks or while talking on the phone, right?
 
 
Taking turns with your little handwriting student helps them to see an accurate shape right next to the lines that they are drawing…with sharp edges and straight lines.
 
 
 

 


DIce Pencil Control Worksheet

Big Sister LOVED doing this one.  She filled out the whole sheet and had so much fun!  She would roll the dice, count the dots, and draw the dots (in the correct arrangement) in the squares on the page.
 
To create this DIY worksheet, you’ll need:
  • Blank paper
  • Marker
  • Dice
  • Pencil, crayon, or marker

You can work on so many skills with this activity. Counting, Copying, and Drawing with accurate spacing all work on her visual perceptual skills and spatial awareness.  

Set this activity up by:

  1. Draw lines to create a large grid on the paper. 
  2. Roll a dice. We used a large dice but a regular game dice would work too.
  3. Count the dots on the dice using the point of the pencil. Touch each dot. (A GREAT activity for targeting graded precision skills with the pencil)
  4. Then draw the dots on the paper in one of the spaces. Draw the dots exactly as they are on the dice.
 
These skills are essential for forming letters on lines, placing letters close enough to others in a word, and when copying lists of words. It’s a great beginner activity for near point copying skills.
 

 
 
 
 
Make early handwriting fun and your preschooler will have success…and love it!
 
 

Printable Pencil Control Worksheets 

Printable pencil control PDFs are an easy way to work on skills in therapy. You can print off a handful of the worksheets for your therapy caseload and use them in a variety of ways to target different OT goals and by grading the activities.

In The OT Toolbox Membership Club, we have over 130 printable pencil control worksheets (along with a thousand+ other skill-building activities and PDFs!). Membership Club members can log in and then head to our Pencil Control Skill to access them all.

Some of our favorites include:

  • Pencil control mazes
  • Dot games
  • Simple line printables
  • Eraser skill PDFs
  • Pencil control roads
  • Mazes
  • Connect the dot PDFs
  • Pre-writing pencil mazes
  • Pencil shading worksheets
  • Pencil line drawing activities like adding textures, dot features, or symmetry activities
  • Word search printables
  • Connect the matching items
  • So many more!
free pencil control worksheets

20 Free Pencil Control Worksheets

To get some printable pencil control worksheets, head to these blog posts. Each one addresses various aspects of handwriting skills, but in them, you can get a free printable pencil control PDF.

To get these printable worksheets, simply go to the bottom of the blog post and enter your email address into the form. (Each printable is also found in Level 1 of our membership, where are all “freebies” can be found. Level 2 members also get this benefit as well).

  1. Pencil Control Exercise– Copy pre-writing lines and shapes in a given space, between writing lines
  2. OT Coloring Pages– target hand strength and coloring in the lines
  3. Copy OT Words onto lines
  4. Mitten I Spy and Writing Pages– Color the shapes with a colored pencil and then write the words on the lines
  5. Number Formation Worksheet– Trace numbers on the shaded numbers
  6. Winter Color By Number– Color in the given space with controlled pencil/crayon motions
  7. New Years Maze– Keep your pencil in the path of the lines
  8. Number Road Playmats– Great for pencil control when making numbers
  9. Blank Word Search– Place letters inside the squares of the wordsearch grid
  10. 100 Snowballs Worksheet– Place numbers inside the circles
  11. Snowball Letter Practice– Trace letters on snowballs
  12. Holiday Lights Letter Tracing worksheet
  13. Hannukah Word Scramble– write the letters in the boxes
  14. Christmas Word Match– write the letters in the boxes
  15. Arctic Animal Word Search– circle single letters or the words to work on pencil skills
  16. Shadow Matching Worksheet– Connect the matching animals with pencil lines
  17. Dinosaur Worksheet– Connect the matching dinos with lines
  18. Owl Directed Drawing– Use pencil lines to create a simple owl
  19. Cotton Swab Art PDF– Break a cotton swab in half and use it to dot the lines
  20. Fine Motor Writing Sheets– Place play dough or small objects in the dots…or mark each dot with an X to fill the picture. Then write on the lines

For more resources, check out our library of letter formation worksheets. These printables are free and can be used to target a variety of skills.

The OT Toolbox membership club

Get all of the items listed above when you join The OT Toolbox Member’s Club! Free printables are available in our Level 1 membership and the freebies PLUS 1500+ more printable tools are available in our Level 2 membership!

Join The OT Toolbox Member’s Club today!

Colleen Beck, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

DIY Light Box for Tracing

DIY light table for tracing

This DIY light box for tracing is an easy light box we put together in minutes. All you need is an under the bed storage container and a string of lights to make a tracing tool that kids will love. There are benefits to tracing and this tool is a fun way to build fine motor skills and visual motor skills as a visual motor skill leading to better handwriting.

DIY light box for tracing

A light box is a fun activity, and one you see in preschool classrooms, as it’s intended for hands-on play and exploring the senses. But did you know there are many benefits to using a light box for tracing (and other exploring play)?

How to Make a DIY Light Table for Tracing

This DIY Light Box was something I’ve seen around Pinterest and have wanted to try for a while…Once we had our Christmas lights outside, I thought we would definitely be doing this project after we pulled all of the lights back in.  So, after we brought the Christmas lights in from the outside bushes, this was easy to put together for a cold evening’s play!

You need just two items to make a DIY light table:

(Amazon affiliate links)

  1. Strand of white Christmas lights
  2. Clear, plastic under-the-bed storage bin

Important: The under the bed storage bin needs to be made of clear plastic or have just a slight opaque color to the plastic. Also, the top should be smooth. Many storage bins have textured surface or a white surface. The flat, smooth lid is important for sensory play as well as tracing with paper on the DIY light table. This brand is a good one to use.

Instructions to make a DIY light box:

  1. Plug in the lights.
  2. Place them into the bin.
  3. Either cut a hole in the base of the bin for the lights to go through or cut a small notch into the lid so the strand of lights can go under the lid.

To make this homemade light box safer and not use plug in lights, you can use battery operated button lights inside the storage bin. Or, there are many battery operated LED lights available now too. These are a great idea because many of them have a color-changing capability and can be operated from an app on your phone.

IMPORTANT: This homemade light box project should always be done under the supervision of an adult. The lights can get warm inside the bin and they should be unplugged periodically.

This is not a project that should be set up and forgotten about. The OT Toolbox is not responsible for any harm, injury, or situation caused by this activity. It is for educational purposes only. Always use caution and consider the environment and individualized situation, including with this activity. Your use of this idea is your acceptance of this disclaimer.

I put all of the (already bundled-up) strands of Christmas lights …seriously, this does not get much easier…into an under-the-bed storage bin, connected the strands, and plugged in!

 

DIY light box for tracing

A DIY light box made with Christmas lights
 

Once you put the top on, it is perfect for tracing pictures!
 
Tracing on a DIY light box
 
 

Tracing pictures on a light table

 
This is so great for new (or seasoned) hand-writers.  They are working on pencil control, line awareness, hand-eye coordination…and end up with a super cool horse picture they can be proud of!
 
Use printable coloring pages and encourage bilateral coordination to hold the paper down. You can modify the activity by taping the coloring page onto the plastic bin lid. 
 
Tracing a picture on a DIY light table
 
 Big Sister LOOOOVED doing this!  And, I have to say, that she was doing the tracing thing for so long, that we had to turn the lights off because the bin was getting warm. 
 
 
 
trace letters on a light table
 

Other ways to use a DIY Light Table

 
We went around the house looking for cool things to place on top of the bin.  Magnetic letters looked really neat with the light glowing through…Baby Girl had a lot of fun playing with this.
 
You can add many different items onto the DIY light table:
  • Magnetic letters (the light shines through them slightly)
  • Sand for a tracing table- We cover how to use a sand writing tray in another blog post and all the benefits of tracing in a sensory medium. With the lights under the tracing area, this adds another multisensory component to the learning.
  • Shapes (Magnatiles would work well)
  • Feathers
  • Coins
  • Blocks
  • A marble run
 
letters on a light table
 
What a great learning tool…Shapes:
 
 
Letter Identification, spelling words:
 

 Color and sensory discrimination:
 
 
 
…All in a new and fun manner!  We had a lot of fun with this, but have since put our Christmas lights back up into the attic.  We will be sure to do this one again next year, once the lights come back out again ūüôā
 

Please: if you do make one of these light boxes, keep an adult eye on it, as the box did warm up…not to burning warmth, but I would worry about the lights becoming over heated.  This is NOT something that kids should play with unsupervised!

Colleen Beck, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

Working on fine motor skills, visual perception, visual motor skills, sensory tolerance, handwriting, or scissor skills? Our Fine Motor Kits cover all of these areas and more.

Check out the seasonal Fine Motor Kits that kids love:

Or, grab one of our themed Fine Motor Kits to target skills with fun themes:

Want access to all of these kits…and more being added each month? Join The OT Toolbox Member’s Club!

What is Visual Memory?

what is visual memory

Have you seen visual perceptual terms like Visual Memory and wondered, exactly What Is Visual Memory?  Today we’re sharing how to use our dyed lollipop sticks in a few eye-hand coordination activities including visual memory, and explaining what this term means to development of handwriting, reading, and functional tasks.

This post contains affiliate links.

What is visual memory


What is Visual Memory?

Visual Memory is one part of a large arena known as visual perceptual skills. Visual memory focuses on one’s ability to recall visual information that has been seen.  Visual memory is a critical factor in reading and writing.  

When a child is writing a word, he must recall the formation of parts of the letter from memory.  It can be terribly frustrating for one with a visual memory deficit to perform a handwriting, spelling, or word copying exercise.  

Children with difficulty in visual memory will have trouble copying letters, words, and sentences from a chalkboard or book.  They may present with very slow handwriting, trouble forming letters, and mixing up letters or words within sentences.  

Producing written work on worksheets and tests may be difficult.  Recalling sight words in reading exercises can be hard as well as following along in a reading activity during stop and start tasks, due to comprehension and difficulty recalling what was read.  Kids with visual memory deficits can demonstrate difficulty with formation of letters and numbers and appear “lazy” in their written work.

what is visual memory
visual memory activity with shape building


Visual Memory Shape Building Activity

We used our dyed lollipop sticks to build shapes.  Make a shape example and have your child copy the form.  You can grade the activity as more difficult by removing the example and having the child build the shape using their “mind’s eye”.  

Assistance can be provided by giving visual or verbal prompts to assist with building simple shapes.  Further extend this visual memory activity by engaging colors and building the shapes with all one color.  

Then introduce shape forms with patterning or random colors.  Once the child demonstrates succeeds with shape copying, encourage letter and number building using the lollipop sticks.  

This simple activity can be extended in so many ways to help work on visual memory!

We did a few shape copying activities as well.  Little Sister had fun creating a neighborhood of houses using our colored lollipop sticks.  

Visual Memory Activities to help with Visual Memory Deficits:

  • Memory Games
    games or Concentration games
  • I Spy games and books
  • Encourage the child to recall the items to be found using visual memory.
  • Form copying games, such as Pixy Cubes
    Shape sequencing games, like Mental Blox
  • Place a tray of items in front of the child.  Allow them 30 seconds to memorize all of the items.  Cover the tray with a piece of paper.  Ask the child to recall as many items as they can.  Another version to this game is removing one or more items and asking the child to recall the missing items.

 As always, use your best judgement with your kids.  All activities that we document on this blog are supervised.  The information on this website should not be used as medical advise.  Please contact a therapist for an individualized evaluation if therapeutic advise is needed.

Visual Memory Definition

Visual memory can be defined as the ability to both store and recall visual information, and then retrieve that information for later use. Visual input such as images, shapes, colors, designs, and patterns contain attributes that allow us to discriminate differences between items in the world around us. This is important because we can utilize those visual attributes to identify objects and understand information during functional tasks that we complete day in and day out.

Visual memory also refers to the ability to remember what you have seen in the past and to use that information in the present or future. This involves working memory, which is an executive functioning skill and involves more advanced cognitive processes in order to pull information from the “files” in the brain to utilize visual information in a different setting or at another time.

For example, if a child is shown a picture of a pencil, they use their visual memory to remember what a pencil looks like, so they can recognize a pencil the next time they see one. This is a remedial example, but can be expanded on for practically every aspect of daily activities.

Consider the role that recalling previously seen and understood visual information plays in the following areas:

  • Learning- Visual recall of information, seeing previously learned information, visual reasoning and problem solving, etc.
  • Safety- Seeing how the dials on the stove are placed to cook and turned off ater finishing the cooking task, seeing the door knob of the house is locked, visualizing steps to walk up or down, etc.
  • Driving- recognizing roads, traffic patterns, and even the buttons that operate the vehicle
  • Community access- Getting around in the neighborhood, recognizing traffic patterns and safety signals to cross the road, going to appointments, etc.
  • Daily self-care tasks- Recognizing clothing, seeing patterns and colors to match clothing, visualizing items needed to get dressed or bathe, etc.
  • Taking medicine- Visualizing and recalling medicine bottles, seeing colors of pills, or knowing if one medicine was taken but not the other, etc.
  • Taking care of others- Visual memory implications might include safety, care, and every aspect of caring for others
  • Reading- Knowing where you stopped reading, not re-reading a passage over and over again, identifying letters, words, etc.
  • Writing- Visual memory plays a role in writing including letter formation, number formation, and placement of letters and words on a page.
  • Math- Visual information includes understanding and knowing numbers, symbols, patterns, equations, math facts, etc. by sight.
  • Every other aspect of functional performance!

Playing a role in the visual memory and specifically the input, storage, and retrieval of visual information, includes many aspects, or attributes of vision, including:

  • Color: The hue, saturation, and brightness of an object or image.
  • Shape: The form or outline of an object or image.
  • Size: The physical dimensions of an object or image.
  • Texture: The surface quality of an object or image, such as smooth, rough, or bumpy.
  • Contrast: The difference between light and dark areas in an image.
  • Position: The location of an object or image relative to other objects or images.
  • Motion: The movement of an object or image over time.
  • Depth: The perception of three-dimensional space in an image.
  • Pattern: The repetition of visual elements in an image.
  • Context: The surrounding environment or situation in which an object or image is viewed.

These visual attributes are important for processing and interpreting visual information and are used by the brain to create a coherent and meaningful visual experience. Playing a major role in visual memory is the visual perceptual skill of visual discrimination.

Think of it this way: When you build a 1000 piece puzzle, you dump the puzzle pieces out on a table. Visual memory enables you to:

  • Sort through the pieces to find all of the straight edge pieces.
  • Select pieces that have similar colors or patterns.
  • Notice the shape of pieces.
  • Build the puzzle while holding visual information in the mind to search for a particular color, shape, or pattern on the piece. For example: you might look for a piece with white background and texture, with a straight edge and a round connecting piece.
  • Hold information in the mind to look for another particular piece of the puzzle such as another straight edge piece that is red, but when you come across the white piece with a straight edge and the round connecting piece, you recall where to place that puzzle piece.

As you can see there are many factors playing into visual memory, but this visual processing skill is an important part of functional tasks.

visual memory tests
Visual memory tests include both a functional aspect and a standardized visual memory assessment.

Testing Visual Memory

When it comes to testing visual memory, occupational therapists evaluate using several standardized tests as well as non-standardized screenings.

Essential to testing visual memory skills is the functional aspect: Can the individual utilize short and long term memory in the retrieval of visual information in order to accomplish functional tasks? Answering this question can provide both opportunities to challenge deficits, as well as target key areas of functional performance that need to be addressed.

Visual memory tests are part of a wider assessment of visual perception or tests of visual motor integration. The occupational therapy provider completes these standardized vision tests during an OT eval. However, there is more to it that the standardized testing.

Using functional performance to assess visual memory is a key part of the occupational therapy assessment. One role of the OT provider is completing a visual motor test during functional tasks, using skilled interventions.

For example, the OT can ask the client to remember items that are needed in a particular activity. They can select and/or identify several items to brush teeth: toothbrush, toothpaste, cup, dental floss, water.

The therapist could assess to see if the client can remember all four words or items after a 10 minute delay, and then a 30 minute delay. At least 3/4 of the items should be recalled. This test can assess visual memory skills in combination with a functional task.

To further analyze the visual memory aspect, the therapist could point to objects in the room and ask the client to recall them immediately, after 5 minutes, and at the end of the therapy session.

Visual Memory Tests

Some of the standardized tests that assess visual memory skills include:

  • Motor Free Visual Perception Test (MVPT)‚Äď overall visual perception screening tool
  • Test of Visual Perceptual Skills ‚Äď breaks down skills into categories
  • The Developmental Test of Visual Perception ‚Äď thorough test of skills
  • Test of Visual Motor Skills/Perception ‚Äď a general screener to assess basic skills. Not a great test of different sub categories.
  • The Visual Memory Span Test- This test measures visual memory capacity by presenting a series of pictures to the participant and asking them to recall them in a specific order.
  • Rey-Osterrieth Complex Figure Test- This test requires the person to draw a complex figure from memory after seeing it for a short period of time. The test assesses visual memory, perceptual organization, and constructional ability.
  • Visual Patterns Test- This test requires the person to reproduce complex patterns after seeing them for a short period of time. The test assesses visual memory and visual processing ability.
  • Benton Visual Retention Test- This test requires the person to look at a series of geometric figures for a short period of time and then draw them from memory. The test assesses visual memory and visual perceptual skills.
  • Wide Range Assessment of Memory and Learning- This is a comprehensive memory assessment that includes tests for visual memory, verbal memory, and other memory domains. The visual memory tests include tasks such as recalling pictures and designs.
  • Wechsler Memory Scale- This is another comprehensive memory assessment that includes tests for visual memory, verbal memory, and other memory domains. The visual memory tests include tasks such as recognizing and recalling visual stimuli.
 

 
What is visual memory and why is it necessary for development of functional skills like handwriting and reading? Tips and activities from to work on visual memory in kids and adults.
 

 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
Use dyed lollipop sticks to work on visual memory by copying and building shapes, forms, letters, numbers, and pictures. Visual Memory  is an important skill needed for reading and writing.
 

 
 

 


Looking for more vision activities?  Try these: 

    
 


 

Colleen Beck, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

The Visual Processing Bundle has everything you need to work on underlying visual processing skills so you can help students with classroom tasks like copying written work, letter reversals, and messy handwriting in fun and engaging ways!

  • Over 235 pages of workbooks, worksheets, e-books, handouts, activity cards, tracking tools
  • Classroom accommodation ideas
  • Checklists
  • Multi-level visual-motor integration workbooks
  • Pencil control worksheets
  • Classroom and therapy activities
  • Activity cards
  • Specific and open-ended activity cards
  • Visual tracking guide

Target visual memory skills and many other aspects of visual perception and visual motor integration at a special price of just $18 (Regularly $45). Get your copy here.

Graph Paper Letter Spacing Handwriting Trick

Writing on graph paper to help kids work on visual motor integration skills and legibility through improved line awareness, letter formation, size awareness, spatial awareness, and handwriting neatness.

Today, I have a great occupational therapy trick and it uses writing on graph paper as a tool to support the spatial awareness needs. This graph paper handwriting tool is an easy way to teach kids how to place letters with appropriate letter spacing, letter size, and line awareness when writing. We’ve shared how to use graph paper for therapy including many OT goal areas in the past, but this letter spacing activity is a hit for working on letter formation and spacing. Try using this trick when visual motor integration is a concern or when students have difficulty with legibility in handwriting.

Writing on graph paper to help kids work on visual motor integration skills and legibility through improved line awareness, letter formation, size awareness, spatial awareness, and handwriting neatness.

Writing on Graph Paper for Legibility

This activity is just one of the many spatial awareness and letter size resources we have here on the website. There’s a reason why we cover so many specific tools when it comes to handwriting legibility: spacing between letters is a visual perception task that impacts overall neatness and readability of written work. 

When students who struggle with the underlying components of handwriting use regular writing paper or notebook paper, you can end up with written material with a variety of issues:

  • Inconsistent letter size
  • Mixed letter case
  • Inconsistent and sloppy line use
  • Words and letters that run together

Taking that a bit further, common handwriting concerns involve overshooting lines, poor placement of letters, and varying size of letter creation.  Using graph paper is just part of a simple trick to help with each of these areas.

All of this impacts written work.

That’s where writing on¬†graph paper¬†comes into play. As occupational therapy professionals, we use¬†graph paper¬†as an adaptive paper format for promoting spatial use, line use, consistent letter size, and even slowing down the written work.¬†

Writing on graph paper is a great alternative to typical lined paper designs. In the classroom, you see many different styles of lined paper: double rule, single rule, college rule, and then letter formation worksheets with varying line size and visual prompts. When we use grid paper in handwriting, we have a consistent box for each letter and even spacing between the letters. 

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If you missed yesterday’s blog post, you’ll want to read over another idea that encourages development and strengthening of several skills: using transfer paper to help with letter formation, letter size, line awareness, and pencil pressure

Writing on graph paper to work on letter formation and copying skills

Writing on graph paper to help with handwriting:

Use graph paper that is appropriately sized to your child’s handwriting size needs.  

There are various sizes  available: (affiliate links included)

Each category of paper can be used with different ages or stages of writing development. And, those different types of paper variations can be used for different students. Use the larger grid paper for kindergarten or 1st grade. 

Use the middle grid paper with 2nd grade or 3rd grade.

Use the smaller gid paper with older grades and even through middle school and high school.

There are even graph paper PDFs out there. Check out our post on free adapted paper for some ways to print different options. These various templates are nice because you can try different options to find out what type of paper works best for the needs you are targeting. 

The nice thing about handwriting on graph paper is that a pack of graph paper is often used in math and can readily be found in classroom, plus it’s not a type of paper that will stand out among peers, so this makes it more likely to be used and carryover of handwriting skills to be achieved. 

 Tips for Improving writing with graph paper

Let’s take this handwriting tool a bit further and cover interventions that use graph paper as a writing strategy. The ideas listed below are some ways to improve writing skills, and you can pick and choose the activity ideas that work for the specific individual, based on needs. 

1. Using the appropriately sized grids, use a highlighter to create pyramid style boxes for practicing word copying.  For each word, create a pyramid of highlighted boxes that stack the letters so the child practices the word with increasing motor plan effort.

For example, when practicing the word “play”, the child would practice “p”, then “pl”, then “pla”, and finally “play”.  

Practicing a word in this manner allows the child to shift their vision down to the next line with a visual cue to correct any mistakes that they made in letter formation.  It is important to monitor kids’ work as they begin this activity to make sure they are forming letters correctly and not building on inaccuracies in letter formation or organizational components (size and space of letters). 

 
2. Work on letter size. Use the grid lines as layouts to define a specific writing space for letters. You can target formation of tall letters by using two grids, or target tail letters by drawing a pen line around two grids (one above the baseline and one below the baseline.

Some students might need a more concrete version of the grid spaces. Cut out two boxes or one box and use that along a baseline on a blank piece of printer paper to practice writing different sizes of letters.

You can also target letter size by using a highlighter marker to identify the writing space on graph paper.

of the paper to The grid of the graph paper is a huge tool in allowing the child to form letters with constrictions on letter size, spacing, and line awareness.  

3. Finally, when the child writes a whole word, place a piece of paper under the last highlighted grid.  The paper should have normal lines without graph paper type of grids.  By placing the paper under the grids, the child can copy the style of writing that they used when writing the whole word.  Transferring the spacing, size, and line use to regular paper uses the visual cue of the graph paper with improved accuracy.

It is important to monitor kids’ use of the graph paper and writing each letter of the word in repetition.  Sometimes, kids will attempt to complete an activity like this one quite quickly in order to “get it over with”. In those cases, letter size, letter spacing, and line awareness can suffer.  Try to limit the number of words that are practiced with this method.

More ways to explore writing on graph paper

Other ways to use graph paper to practice handwriting accuracy:

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

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

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

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

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

Colleen Beck, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

Icicle Winter Scissor Skills Activity

Paper icicle craft

This paper icicle craft is a fun one for wintertime occupational therapy activities. If you are working on Scissor skills, cutting icicles into paper is a great fine motor task that builds eye-hand coordination, crossing midline, and visual motor skills to cut basic shapes. Be sure to add this paper icicle template for more tools for your winter occupational therapy toolbox.

Take fine motor work a step further by grabbing our new winter crossword puzzle to incorporate a whole winter theme.

Paper icicle craft that helps kids develop scissor skills, a great preschool craft for winter.

Paper Icicle Craft

Do you have a little one who is just learning to master scissors?  Scissor Skills for children who have never picked up a pair of scissors before can be very daunting.  Frustrations can build and the next thing you know, your little sweetheart is spiking the scissors across the table!  

Kids learn all things at different paces.  Every developmental milestone and functional activity are achieved at different paces. 

Scissor use is no different.  Kids as young as two can start to snip paper (and probably with an awkward-two handed grasp on the scissors!)  And as their fine motor skills develop, will achieve more and more accuracy with scissor use.   

This winter themed Icicle cutting activity is a great beginner project for new scissor users.  The strait cuts, bold lines, and even paper type are good modifications for a new little scissor-hands!  

Icicle Craft Beginner Scissor Skills Activity

Winter Icicle Craft

Preschoolers are just beginning to gain more control over scissors.  Preschool activities like this icicle craft at the way to go when it comes to building motor skills.

Strait lines are the perfect way to gain confidence when they are learning to cut…and ensure that they’ll want to pick up the scissors and try another craft again soon!  We started out with nice strait lines on these icicles.  Little Guy could cut the whole way across the page without needing to rotate the page to cut a curve or angle.

Draw icicles on paper to work on cutting with scissors. Great for winter occupational therapy activities.


Note: This post contains affiliate links.

How to Modify this Icicle Craft

The smallest icicle could have been a harder task for him to cut, if he turned the whole page around like he started out doing. 

We used a few different strategies to scaffold this paper icicle craft:

  • Cut through the page instead of turning around corners
  • Adjust the paper weight to a thicker resistance
  • Thicker cutting lines
  • Trials with thinner lines to carryover the task with practice
  • Verbal and visual cues

I prompted him to start one line from the edge of the paper and then instead of rotating the whole page (which would have probably given him a big chopped off icicle point), I showed him how to start the other side from the edge as well.  He was much more accurate with the lines and wanted to keep going!

We had two different types of paper for our icicles.  The first set was drawn on a sheet of white cardstock

Cutting from this thicker paper is a great beginning step for new scissor users and a modification often used for kids with fine motor difficulties. 

The thicker paper requires slower snips and allows for more accuracy.  I also drew the icicles on the cardstock with nice thick lines.  This gave Little Guy more room to cut within the lines and allowed for less line deviation. 

The second set of icicles were drawn with thinner lines on printer paper.  After practicing on the first set, he was game to cut more  icicles.  The thinner paper and lines requires more control of the scissors and better line awareness, and bilateral hand coordination.

Work on preschool scissor skills using aa paper icicle craft.

  This looked like so much fun, that even Big Sister wanted to get in on the icicle-making action!

 
 
Paper icicle craft for the window
 
We hung our icicles in the window to match the icy conditions outside.
 
Looking for more ways to practice beginning cutting? Check out this guide to scissor skills.

More paper crafts for winter

You’ll love these other cut and paste crafts for winter. Use them in winter fine motor ideas for occupational therapy activities

  • Winter crafts using paper and a variety of textures for sensory play, motor planning, and motor skills.
  • Paper Icicle Craft is an actual printable template that you can print off and use to work on the scissor skills we covered in this post. It’s a great way to make an icicle craft.
  • Build a Snowman Craft– Work on scissor skills and fine motor strength to build a paper snowman
  • Use these paper snowflake ideas from our list of snow and ice ideas.
  • Use activities in our Winter Fine Motor Kit.
  • Use the printable ideas in the Penguin Fine Motor Kit for building scissor skills and hand strength.
  • Incorporate snowman crafts and scissor activities using our latest Snowman Therapy Kit.

Done-for-you motor tasks to help kids form stronger bodies that are ready to learn.

Use fun, themed, fine motor activities so you can help children develop fine and gross motor skills in a digital world.

Themed NO-PREP printable pages include tasks to address fine motor skills such as:

  • Endurance Activities
  • Dexterity Activities
  • Graded Precision Activities
  • Pinch and Grip Strength Activities
  • Arch Development Activities
  • Finger Isolation Activities
  • Separation of the Sides of the Hand Activities
  • Open Thumb Web-Space Activities
  • Wrist Extension
  • Bilateral Coordination Activities
  • Eye-Hand Coordination Activities
  • Crossing Midline Activities

Click here to read more about the Winter Fine Motor Kit.

Colleen Beck, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

Line Awareness Activities

alinement in handwriting and writing lines activities

Here, you will discover line alignment resources and line awareness activities to promote accurate use of writing lines. Line awareness is a handwriting skill occupational therapists often address to promote functional written work and legibility in handwriting, by offering raised line paper and other handwriting strategies. Let’s talk line use!

Line Awareness Activities

Line awareness refers to placement of the letters accuratley on the writing lines. When we form letters, there are differnet letter sizes that are placed in different positions within the lines of the paper:

  • Letters that touch the top and bottom lines (b, d, f, h, k, l, t, and all upper case letters)
  • Letters that touch the bottom line (all upper case and all lower case letters)
  • Letters that cross the bottom line (g, j, p, q, y)
  • Letters that touch the middle line (or middle space if using single rule paper: a, c, e, g, i, m, n, o, p, q, r, s, t, u, v, w, x, y, z)

Line use allows for proper letter sizing and formation. Together these three aspects play an important role in legibility of written work.

Other aspects of line use refers to margin awareness or stopping writing before reaching the edge of the paper or writing area, and use of the left margin, or writing lists.

Typically, difficulties with line awareness are a result of visual processing problems. Visual processing skills that impact line use include: visual scanning, visual closure, visual discrimination, form constancy, eye-hand coordination, and visual motor integration.

Poor use of Writing Lines

Line awareness is a common struggle for many kids. You might know a child who writes with letters floating up over the lines, shows little regard to lines, or is inconsistent with line use. They might make letters of various sizes and write letters super big so that written work looks completely illegible and sloppy. Writing on the lines and using appropriate size awareness is an issue when visual motor integration skills are difficult for a child.

Perceiving visual information such as lines and available writing areas and then coordinating the motor movement needed to place letters accurately can lead to a lot of areas for legibility breakdown.  

A child turns in an assignment and the letters are written all over the paper. They started out writing pretty neatly. But then, as they thought out their creative writing prompt, you see the words and letters dropping below the lines. Some of the letters are too big and even are scooting up into the letters on the line above. All of these are examples of poor line awareness.

Many times, kids are working on neatness in handwriting due to letters being written all over the page with little regard to placement on the lines.  You might see kids writing with sloped arrangement as the words drift down over the lines or you might see younger kids who are making lower case letters the same size as the tall or upper case letters.  

They might write as if they don’t even see the lines on the paper.    

For older kids, they might not be able to go back over notes and understand what they’ve written in class.   

Line awareness is often times an area that kids need to work on when there are difficulties with legibility in handwriting.   

How can a child write neatly on lines of lined paper or worksheets when the letters drop below the lines?  As teachers and parents, it can become difficult to read their writing.  

How to Improve line awareness

There are many modifications that can be made to help with legibility due to trouble maintaining line awareness.  Kids can build the visual perceptual skills needed for line awareness with activities designed to help the child attend to the lines.   

Line use is closely related to spatial awareness that was discussed in yesterday’s email. Try using the tips and strategies in combination.   Here are a few easy hands-on strategies to help with line awareness and visual motor integration:

Here are a few easy hands-on strategies to help with line awareness and visual motor integration:

Use Beads to Help with Line Awareness

Motor Control in Handwriting

Line Awareness Quick Tip:
Work on letter formation before requiring students to address line awareness. Children are not developmentally ready to write on lines until between ages 5 and 6.

Fine Motor Quick Tip:
Help kids to improve pencil grasp and pencil control when writing on lines by separating the two sides of the hand. When writing, we NEED a stable base to support the fingers that hold and move the pencil.

Encourage creative play activities that separate the two sides of the hands by tucking a cotton ball into the palm when playing with toys like beads. Here is more info about motoric separation of the two sides of the hand and fun ideas for play.

Activities for Writing Lines

Below, you’ll find fun activities to promote use of writing lines for overall legibility of written work.

 
Creative activities to work on line awareness in handwriting
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More Ways to adjust Handwriting Lines:

  • Highlight the base line.
  • Provide bolded lines.
  • Try paper with raised lines.  This is the type I love for Kindergarten and first grade students. This type is recommended for second grade and older.
  • Try using graph paper.
  • For children who need more space on the page, this colored raised lined paper may help.
  • Use a movable baseline that provides a physical “stop” such as a ruler or index card.
  • Use paper designed to address placement on the lines like earth paper.
  • Highlight the bottom half of writing space
  • Trace baseline with bright colored crayon
  • Trace baseline with white crayon for waxy stopping
  • point
  • Marker on the bottom and top lines
  • Bold single lined paper
  • Low Vision Writing Paper
  • High visual contrast bold lined paper
  • Bold raised lined paper (in single space or double space
  • forms)
  • Adjust line height to fit the student’s handwriting
  • Raised Line Paper
  • Use a serrated tracing wheel to create DIY tactile paper
  • Make a stencil from a cereal box
Writing lines activities for occupational therapy handwriting sessions, to improve line awareness.

Want these writing lines tips in printable format? You can get this list in a handout to use in therapy. Just join our 5 day series on Handwriting Tips Printables to access this along with 4 other free handwriting handouts.

Join here, on the Handwriting Tips and Tricks printables series!

handwriting handouts
Creative activities to work on line awareness in handwriting

Colleen Beck, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

Valentine’s Day Maze for Visual Perception Activity

Valentine's Day maze

This Valentine’s Day maze is an easy DIY visual perception activity that requires only paper and a pencil. Sometimes an activity can be just easy to throw together and the kids love it.  This Heart Maze is a simple visual perception activity that can be adapted to any season or shape.  We used hearts for a Valentine’s Day occupational therapy activity, while practicing visual scanning, visual spatial relations, line awareness, and eye-hand coordination.

For more Valentine fine motor fun, use these printable Valentine cards for folding, coloring, and cutting.

Valentine's Day Maze for working on visual motor skills in occupational therapy interventions with limited materials, perfect for  virtual therapy at home.

Valentine’s Day maze activity

This visual perception maze is an easy way to work on visual motor skills needed for tasks like handwriting, reading, and learning. The hearts are placed in a path-like maze that challenges visual perception skills.

Kids can help with making this Valentine’s Day maze, or you can make a template and copy it over and over again. Let’s discuss how this maze works and how it and other visual perception skills helps kids with reading, learning, reading, and writing.

This post contains affiliate links.

Work on visual perception skills with this heat maze, for a Valentine's Day occupational therapy activity

Visual Perceptual Heart Maze Activity

How to make a Valentine’s Day Maze

You need just a few materials for this DIY maze, making this a good occupational therapy intervention for teletherapy.

So, grab your materials:

  • Paper
  • Pencil or marker
  • Scissors

We used construction paper to make a heart, but you could use regular paper as well.

It really doesn’t get much easier.  

  1. Draw a small heart. You can use regular paper or colored paper.

2. Using scissors, cut out the heart.

3. Trace the heart on a piece of white paper.

4. Place the point of the heart into the top of the heart so the hearts are connected. Trace the second heart on the paper.

5. Continue tracing, positioning the hearts in a line.  You want a “maze” to form around the paper. 

A heart maze is a fun visual perception activity to use in a Valentine's Day theme occupational therapy activities.

6. Fill in the blank space with more heart outlines, but this time, rotate the shape so it’s positioned randomly and not as close to the maze.

Use this Valentine's Day activity to work on visual perceptual skills in occupational therapy goals.

Next, you can follow the path of hearts and color them in. You could also place small objects on the hearts, like craft pom poms or mini erasers.

Another option is to use the heart template to cut more hearts from colored paper.  We used a darker shade to work on patterns as we filled in the maze. If two shades of colored paper isn’t available, just use two different colored crayons to color in patterns as the child completes the maze.

For children who are working on scissor skills, try using a thicker paper for the heart template. Cardstock is a great option because the thicker paper is resistive and offers proprioceptive feedback through the hands. Here is a link to pink card stock.

For more information on scissor skills and types of paper, try this crash course on scissor skills.

Visual perception, fine motor, eye-hand coordination, and other skills can be used with this heart maze in Valentine's Day occupational therapy sessions.

Visual Motor Maze

There are many visual skills being addressed in this occupational therapy maze activity.

Lining up the hearts requires eye-hand coordination to position the card stock hearts within the outlines.  Using the hands in a coordinated manner based on visual input is an important skill for many functional tasks including handwriting and scissor use.

This is a great strategy to support visual closure skills needed for reading and writing.

What Are Visual Spatial Relations?

Visual spatial relations is the ability to identify a form/shape/letter despite being rotated, and identify it as being rotated.  Children need visual spatial relations to identify the difference between a “b” and “d” and “p”, and “q”.  

This sheet full of hearts that look the same requires the child to identify the hearts that are following a path.  Some of the hearts not along the path are rotated  and the child should be able to identify by scanning, the hearts that are rotated.

Valentine's Day occupational therapy activities can include this hearth maze to work on visual perception.

Looking for more Visual Perception Activities?  

Try these:   Smashing Peanuts Activity

Elmer the Elephant Activity

Toys to Improve Visual Perception

Tangrams and Visual Perception

Visual Closure Bugs

Visual Perception Activities

Visual processing bundle full of resources and tools to work on visual perception and visual motor skills
Grab the Visual Processing Bundle to better understand visual perception skills through play and hands-on activities.

Need help fixing visual processing problems?

Know a student with identified visual processing problems…but difficulties are brushed over or missed in the school setting?

Have a kiddo on your caseload that struggles with visual tracking, fixation, eye teaming, or visual scanning? 

Need tools to incorporate visual perception and visual-motor strategies right into the classroom?

Wondering how to help kids who can not visually attend to an object in order to focus for more than a few seconds?

The Visual Processing Bundle is a comprehensive resource on oculomotor skills, visual perception, visual-motor skills. 

Details about The Visual Processing Bundle:  

  • Over 235 pages of tools, activities, resources, informaton, and strategies to address visual processing needs
  • Classroom accommodation ideas for visual perception challenges
  • Checklists for trialing various activities and strategies
  • 2 leveled visual-motor integration workbooks…with data collection tools to monitor progress
  • Pencil control worksheets to integrate visual input and motor work in meaningful ways
  • Classroom activities that can be incorporated into reading, spelling, math, and other subjects…reducing the amount of extra “work”
  • Activity cards to guide therapy warm-up sessions or used in home program development
  • Specific and open-ended activity cards to address visual attention and spatial awareness
  • Visual tracking guide explain components of visual tracking and specific activities to improve tracking
  • SO much more!

Click here to get the Visual Processing Bundle.

MORE FINE MOTOR HEART ACTIVITIES

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

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

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

Valentines Day fine motor kit

Colleen Beck, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

Wacky Wednesday Visual Perception Activity

Sometimes you have a book that is just so loved. ¬†We have a few VERY loved books in our house and one of those books with the dog-eared corners is Dr. Seuss’ Wacky Wednesday. ¬†We used the book in a visual perceptual activity and worked on the skills needed for handwriting. ¬†Visual perception is made up of many different skill areas that are used in virtually every functional task we perform. ¬†Handwriting is just one of those tasks that relies¬†on appropriate development of visual perception. ¬†Kids can use creative activities like hidden pictures and books like Wacky Wednesday to improve visual perception. ¬†Try this Wacky Wednesday Visual Perception Activity and have fun working on handwriting skills in a wacky way!




Kids love this Wacky Wednesday Visual Perception activity while working on visual perceptual skills.

 


Wacky Wednesday Visual Perception Activity

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Wacky Wednesday visual perception activity based on Dr. Seuss books
 
 
Dr. Seuss writes as Theo LeSieg in his book, Wacky Wednesday.  It is perfect for developing visual perception.  The book uses humor through hidden pictures to encourage readers to visually scan and locate weird, wacky, and out-of-place items.  Each page is like a puzzle that will have your kids pouring over the pictures until they find all of the wacky images.  

Visual Perceptual Skills Developed by Completing Hidden Pictures

Hidden pictures and visual scanning activities like the pages of Wacky Wednesday are great ways to encourage the development and strengthening of visual perception skills.  
 
When kids complete hidden picture puzzles, they strengthen many of the visual perceptual skills needed for handwriting and other functional tasks:
Visual Memory
Visual Closure
Form Constancy
Visual Figure-Ground


Visual Perception Skills

Visual perceptual skills are addressed by completing hidden picture puzzles. Kids visually scan pictures and find hidden items, locate unusual images, and store those pictures in their mind’s eye. ¬†Hidden pictures are a valuable tool for addressing the visual perception skills needed for handwriting.

Build these Visual Perception Skills by working on hidden picture puzzles

Visual Memory– This is one’s ability to store visual information in short term memory. ¬†This skill allows us to recall visual information. ¬†When completing hidden picture puzzles, kids visually store images of items they are looking for when scanning to locate a specific shape or image. ¬†This skill is necessary for handwriting tasks when copying information from a source, such as lists of words, homework lists, and copying sentences.¬†
 
Visual Closure– This visual perceptual skill allows us to see part of an object and visualize in our “mind’s eye” to determine the whole object. ¬†When we see part of an item we use visual closure to know what the whole item is. ¬†This skill requires the cognitive process of problem solving to identify items. ¬†Visual Closure is used to locate and recognize items in a hidden picture puzzle. ¬†In written work, we use visual closure to recognize parts of words and letters when reading and copying work.
 
Form ConstancyРThis skill allows us to visually recognize objects no matter their orientation.  When completing a hidden picture puzzle, children can recognize the missing object whether it is upside down or sideways.  In handwriting skills, we use this ability to read and know letters and numbers no matter which direction we see them. 
 
Visual Discrimination– ¬†This visual perception skill enables us to determine slight differences in objects. ¬†In hidden picture activities, this skill is needed to determine and locate different hidden objects. ¬†When writing and reading, visual discrimination allows us to perceive the difference between “p” and “d”.
 
Visual Figure-GroundР This skill enables us to locate items in a busy background.  Finding hidden items in a hidden pictures puzzle works on this skill by visually scanning and identifying items within a busy scene.  In handwriting, visual figure ground is necessary for copying written work from a model and locating the place left off when shifting vision.
Try this wacky Wednesday visual perception activity to address the skills needed in handwriting.


Wacky Wednesday Visual Perception 

The book is one that we were handed down in a bin of clothes and toys that another child had outgrown.  It was apparent that the copy of Wacky Wednesday was a favorite book for this other child.  When we started reading it, we were hooked too!


Use the book to visually scan and locate funny items while addressing the visual perceptual skills needed for handwriting. ¬†Then, ask kids to use those funny items they’ve found to work on handwriting skills. ¬†Kids can list out the funny items that are wacky. ¬†So, while searching and finding the funny images on each page, they can build the visual perceptual skills needed for handwriting. ¬†Then, they can visually shift to write lists while addressing neatness and legibility in written work. ¬†

Address visual perception with the book Wacky Wednesday.



Many times, a motivating subject or activity can be just the thing that helps kids want to practice handwriting.  Use the funny book that is Wacky Wednesday as a motivator.

If you are looking for more creative ways to work on the visual perception skills addressed in hidden pictures and relay them into handwriting skills, you are in luck! 

Work on visual perception with hidden pictures.

 

Hidden Pictures Handwriting Workbook

I’ve created this Hidden Pictures Handwriting Workbook to address visual perceptual skills through hidden pictures. ¬†In this workbook, you’ll find two separate puzzles and related handwriting activities that can help kids address the visual perceptual skills noted above. ¬†By completing this 11 page workbook, kids can use creative handwriting activities and themed writing prompts to practice written work in a fun way. ¬†

Hidden pictures visual perception workbook to help kids work on the visual perceptual skills needed in handwriting

 


What’s in the Hidden Pictures Handwriting Workbook?

  • 11 pages of activities
  • 2 hidden pictures puzzles
  • 8-9 themed writing prompts for each puzzle
  • Activities to promote visual shift, visual memory, visual discrimination, visual-figure ground, and form constancy
  • Digital file that you can print or use on your tablet



We used the Hidden Pictures Handwriting Workbook on our touch laptop screen. Using the workbook on a tablet or touch device allows kids to visually scan and address those visual perception skills without printing out the color images.  


This would be a great activity for a group in the classroom or for kids who need an at-home activity.

Visual perception hidden pictures printable workbook for kids who are working on handwriting.





This is a digital file.  


Get your copy of Hidden Pictures Handwriting Workbook for $4.99.

 

Hidden pictures visual perception handwriting workbook for helping kids address the skills needed in handwriting.

 

Looking for more ways to celebrate Dr. Seuss?  Try the books in the Virtual Book Club for Kids series:

 

Green Eggs and Ham Letter Practice from Still Playing School

Alphabet Puzzles from Sea of Knowledge

Would You Eat This? A Green Eggs & Ham Activity from Sunny Day Family

Horton Hears a Who Listening Activities from JDaniel4’s Mom
Dr. Seuss Sensory Play with Kinetic Sand from The Educators’ Spin On It
Lorax Cause and Effect Matching Game from Inspiration Laboratories

Ten Apples Up on Top Printable Math Activity from The Moments at Home


Cat in the Hat Inspired Popsicles from View from a Step Stool