Preschool Occupational Therapy

preschool occupational therapy

For parents of preschool children that require occupational therapy services, there can be a lot of questions. Here, we’ll try to cover preschool occupational therapy services. OT for preschoolers and early intervention occupational therapy services can be a whole new world for parents of preschoolers!

Preschool occupational therapy information, including what OT looks like in preschool settings, and early intervention occupational therapy

Preschool Occupational Therapy

From 3-5, children are developing in so many ways. From motor skills to cognition, to language…the preschool age is a time of massive changes. Be sure to check out these preschool activities for hands-on strategies to impact learning and development during the preschool years.

For the youngest of learners, classroom concerns tend to be centered around achieving developmental milestones, learning proper social practices, and creating an environment that all children can learn and grow in.

What does OT Look Like in the Preschool?

Occupational therapists can work with teachers to improve and sustain an environment that will support the growth during this very important time in childhood.

What they learn in preschool partially determines their future success – particularly when it comes to social, emotional, and cognitive skills. In fact, studies over the years continue to show that socio-emotional intelligence in preschool and kindergarten is a great predictor of future academic success (Rhoadesa et al., 2011).

Early Intervention Occupational therapy

Typically early intervention is a service that works with children aged 3 and under. For some states in the United States, early intervention continues through age 5. For children in those states, early intervention occupational therapy can occur in preschool settings.

Early intervention occupational therapists focus on functional participation of tasks at home, in the school, and in naturally occurring environments such as daycares.

An occupational therapist working with a preschool may:

  • Complete assessments of skills of ability to achieve age-appropriate levels, developmental progression, etc.
  • Support parents, teachers, and the family unit of the child through a family-centered model.
  • Set-up the overall environment for occupational success.
  • Offer recommendations for sensory play to boost sensory integration skills.
  • Offer developmentally appropriate activities.
  • Create a library of books that promote the development of social and emotional skills.
  • Work collaboratively with preschool teachers to support the preschooler’s needs and offer support and suggestions to meet student’s needs
  • Adapt daily activities to support development.
  • Create a self-calming area and visuals such as class schedule, individual schedule, or task schedules within the home or classroom, or school-wide environment.
  • Encourage use of transition tools to help preschoolers move from one task to another.
  • Build a fine motor “gym” where students can develop fine motor skills while they play.
  • Recommend sensory deprivation materials like a tent, headphones, or sunglasses to calm an overwhelmed student. 
  • Or develop a program to boost core strength and trunk stability – both very important for sitting at a desk throughout the day.  

OT Assessments in Preschool

In preschools, occupational therapists may ask parents and teachers to complete a quick check list (with space to add comments). They will complete an evaluation and document observations made during the evaluation. They may complete a sensory profile either preschool or via a caregiver form. Evaluation may occur at the preschool, in the home, or in various locations within the school, home, or other natural settings such as daycare.

A play-based assessment will be completed to note the preschoolers abilities and levels using a variety of toys and items. Some common preschool OT assessments include the Peabody Developmental Motor Scales (PDMS–2), the Developmental Assessment of Young Children-2 (DAYC-2), the Miller Function and Participation Scales, and the Battelle Developmental Inventory, Second Edition (BDI-2).

Occupational therapy evaluations in preschool assess areas such as:

  • Reflexes- A child’s ability to automatically react to environmental events.
  • Functional Skills- A child’s ability to complete daily tasks required in the home and school as well as identify the amount of assistance the child needs.
  • Positioning, balance, posture- A child’s ability to sustain control of his or her body within its center of gravity and retain equilibrium.
  • Sensory Processing- Sensory processing abilities, baselines, and regulation during activities in the home, classroom, or other natural setting.
  • Social Emotional Development- A child’s ability to regulate emotions and behaviors in tasks and learning at age-appropriate abilities. This can include peer interaction, adult interaction, and family interaction.
  • Locomotion- A child’s ability to move from one place to another. The actions measured include crawling, walking, running, hopping, and jumping forward.
  • Object Manipulation- A child’s ability to hold and manipulate objects, toys, and materials of various sizes. Examples of the actions measured include catching, throwing, and kicking.
  • Grasping- A child’s ability to use his or her hands.
  • Visual-Motor Integration- A child’s ability to use his or her visual perceptual skills to perform complex eye-hand coordination tasks such as reaching and grasping for an object, building with blocks, and copying designs.

For more resources and tools on preschool occupational therapy and early intervention, check out this resource on OT Early Intervention.

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.

Farm Activities

farm worksheets for kids

Well, our themed activities are going really well and seem to be really well received so far. Coming up with themes for occupational therapy sessions is key in organization and strategizing OT activities for every child on your caseload. So far, I’ve shared OT themes for apple activities and back-to-school activities. My hope is that these farm activities keep you on track for a successful school year. So when it comes to farm activities, you are going to love these farm animal ideas, farm gross motor activities, farm crafts, and other farm theme ideas!

Farm activities for occupational therapy activities, including farm crafts, farm fine motor activities, farm brain breaks, farm books, and more.

Farm Activities

These can be farm animal activities for preschoolers, or on up through the grade schools. I’ve tried to create a list of themed activities that cover various skills areas.

Farm Crafts

Barn craft for a farm theme

This barn craft is fun because kids can make a barn using craft sticks but also farm animal puppets. They can work on cutting, pasting, and following directions to make these farm crafts, but that’s not all. Then, use the farm animal puppets and the barn craft in an imagination play activity with this little farm puppet show! You can also use the farm animal craft sticks as a spacing tool in handwriting or a visual processing activity for working on convergence, tracking, and more. This craft comes with a free printable page that kids can color, too. Hello, small motor dexterity for pencil control!

farm theme craft

Hang onto that barn craft, because you can use it again and again for other farm activities. This Farm Fingerprint art activity uses the barn craft for counting, adding, and subtracting, but it’s a fantastic visual closure, visual tracking, and visual scanning activity, too. And, when you make fingerprint art, those fine motor skills are at work, too. Fingerprint art builds finger isolation, separation of the sides of the hand, and precision. Then, take it a step further and add details to the fingerprints, making it a pencil control and dexterity activity with cute results!

scarecrow craft for a farm activities theme

Every farm has a scarecrow, right? Use this scarecrow craft to work on scissor skills, direction following, problem solving, and even fine motor strength (a crumbled paper hat makes the scarecrow look very authentic!) We used this scarecrow for math facts and pre-algebraic equations, but you could add any learning or writing concepts to this smarty pants scarecrow craft!

Sheep craft– great for tactile sensory experience and fine motor work.

Farm Sensory Activities

duck sensory play idea for a farm activity theme in OT

This duckling sensory activity is a fun way to explore the senses with a popular and classic children’s book.

This farm sensory activity used what we had on hand: shredded paper! It was a snowy farm theme, so playing in that textured bin was a fun tactile challenge, but it was also an exercise in visual discrimination, visual closure, and other visual processing skills. We used sight words and found them in the snowy farm yard as the farm animals hid and played. Extend this activity to write out the words after they are found. This farm yard activity would work for letter identification and letter discrimination as well as words or numbers. So many fun ways to play at the farm!

Farm Fine Motor Activities

This Farm Play Dough Sensory Bin is very simple to set up. All you’ll need is play dough and a small tray, or even a plate. Kids can work on those fine motor skills and hand strength to spread the play dough out on a tray. Spreading out the dough on a plate or other surface strengthens the hands but offers manipulation opportunities for finger isolation, which is needed for pencil grasp and endurance in writing. Add some farm animal figures for pretend play. Pressing the animal feet into the play dough is an opportunity to build intrinsic hand strength in the arches of the hands. Here are more hand strengthening activities that you may also enjoy.

Farm Gross Motor Activities

Farm brain breaks

These Farm Brain Breaks can add movement and gross motor input to a child’s day and fit in great with a farm animal theme. Print off the cards and use them in the classroom or home.

These heavy work cards includes a set of 8 farm themed heavy work activities that can be used as a brain break or added proprioceptive input.

Farm Books for Kids

Some of the farm books that we have used in the past inspired activities listed above. These include our Little Blue Truck brain breaks activity and the Big Red Barn craft that we shared above. Additional farm books for kids that can inspire movement, crafts, and sensory play include:

Amazon affiliate links are included below:

Pete the Cat Old McDonald had a Farm– Use the animals in the book to work on fine motor and scissor skills by cutting shapes and turning them into farm animals.

Cows Can Moo, Can You?– This Dr. Seuss Book is a fun way to work on auditory processing and quiet/loud sounds with kids.

Goodnight Tractor– Part of the “goodnight” series, this is a great calm-down book to work on self-regulation with calming strategies.

The Farm Book– Therapists love this book for eliciting communication by language, vocabulary opportunities, and practicing sounds. Use the book for copying, teamwork, and problem solving.

Sheep in a Jeep– This is such a fun book! Pair the book with this sheep craft for fine motor work and sensory play.

Farm Theme Scissor Skills

Get these free farm theme scissor skills cutting strips and cutting shapes. Print off these cutting worksheets and use them to work on scissor skills, accuracy, precision, and bilateral coordination as they cut varying degrees of line thicknesses and simple geometric shapes.

These animal farm worksheets are great for building scissor skills in young kids to work on cutting on lines.

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

    Paper Plate Activities

    Paper plate activities and paper plate crafts for occupational therapy

    In occupational therapy, paper plate activities are one of those OT intervention tools that are low-cost and can be used in a multitude of ways to support many different developmental skills. From paper plate interactive activities, to scissor activities, to fine motor development, paper plate crafts and sensory activities can be used to promote many skill areas in occupational therapy interventions or at home and in the classroom.

    Paper plate activities and paper plate crafts to develop skills like fine motor skills, social emotional skills, and gross motor skills.

    Paper Plate Activities

    I get really excited when I talk about the next subject – paper plate activities! Paper plate crafts and activities are so fun and often require very little materials with the end result being so wonderful for kids! 

    Paper plates can easily be used for arts and crafts, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, subject or topic learning, visual motor and perceptual skills, emotions and self-regulation as well as a myriad of games.

    Paper plates can be a go-to when you need a quick activity in any setting or on those cold, rainy days when you need something to keep the kids busy. They are a great motivator for kids and can help build important skills that a child needs to continue to learn and to grow. 

    Paper plates are a thrifty tool for therapy to build those motor and perceptual skills while providing a fun activity that any child will want to engage in during sessions. The use of paper plates in the classroom can be for exploring emotions and self-regulation, creating after reading a book and lots of subject and topic learning fun. Their use in the home can include arts and crafts, instrument making, and games that result in some fantastic family entertainment.

    Paper plates will give you the variety you need to help many kiddos on your caseload, in your classroom, or in your household. So, the next time you’re at the store, grab some plain or even festive paper plates and see what fun you can create with kids and you may find that you enjoy the fun too! 

    Use these paper plate crafts to work on scissor skills, hand strength, dexterity, eye-hand coordination, and more.

    Paper Plate Crafts

    In occupational therapy interventions, we often use crafts as a medium for developing skills (taking us back to our roots of our profession!) These paper plate crafts are great for developing fine motor skills, scissor skills, bilateral coordination, motor planning, executive functioning skills, and more.

    • Mini Beach– Work on hand strength, utensil use, and more to make a paper plate beach craft.
    • Paper Bowl Scarecrow Craft– Use this paper plate craft to work on fine motor skills like precision, dexterity, and mixed medium use. Add in emotional learning to make the scarecrow personalized. Kids can take this craft and add their own unique twists for a multi-sensory craft with open-ended results.
    • Paper Plate Snail Craft– Work on precision, in-hand manipulation, arch development, and other fine motor skills with this paper plate snail craft.
    • Paper Plate Cars This craft is great for addressing scissor skills.
    • Paper Plate Baseball Craft– Improve scissor skills with this paper plate baseball craft.
    • Paper Plate Bubble Gum Machine Craft– Work on eye-hand coordination skills.
    • Thanksgiving Feast Plate – Use this craft to work on functional tasks such as meal skills and utensil use, as well as hand strength.
    • Tin Foil Moon– This is a great craft for working on graded hand strength and bilateral coordination skills.

    Paper Plate Activities for Emotions and Self- Regulation

    The best thing about occupational therapy professionals is that they can use ANY material to work on a variety of skill areas. Use paper plates to address social emotional learning and self-regulation skills!

    Paper Plate Fine Motor Activities

    Paper plates are a great fine motor activity to support hand strengthening, scissor skills, bilateral coordination, and more.

    Paper Plate Gross Motor Activities

    Paper plates can be used in therapy to support gross motor skills, too.

    Paper Plate Learning Activities

    Use these activities to work on functional tasks and executive functioning skills needed in daily occupations such as learning, math, using a phone, telling time, name writing, and more.

    Paper Plate Auditory Processing with Paper Plate Instruments

    You can use paper plates to work on auditory processing, too.

    Paper Plate Visual Motor Activities

    Paper plates are a great tool to use in therapy to address visual motor skills.

    Now, what are you waiting for? Go grab some paper plates and pick an activity!!

    Regina Allen

    Regina Parsons-Allen is a school-based certified occupational therapy assistant. She has a pediatrics practice area of emphasis from the NBCOT. She graduated from the OTA program at Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute in Hudson, North Carolina with an A.A.S degree in occupational therapy assistant. She has been practicing occupational therapy in the same school district for 20 years. She loves her children, husband, OT, working with children and teaching Sunday school. She is passionate about engaging, empowering, and enabling children to reach their maximum potential in ALL of their occupations as well assuring them that God loves them!

    Fall Activities for Therapy

    leaf activities

    These leaf activities are fun ways to incorporate colorful fall leaves into occupational therapy sessions! Fall themed activities to use all week in done-for-you therapy planning. Use real leaves from outside, or materials on hand. Fall leaves make a great theme for weekly occupational therapy themes!

    Leaf activities for kids to work on gross motor skills, fine motor skills, scissor skills, handwriting, and more.

    Leaf Activities

    Leaf Handwriting– These Fall writing prompts include leaf writing prompts, among other fall themed prompts. Includes sentence prompts and single words, all with a Fall and leaf theme.

    Pre-Writing Lines Activity- Work on Pre-writing activity with real leaves. Use real leaves to work on eye-hand coordination, visual motor skills, and pre-writing lines with hands on fine motor work.

    Bilateral Coordination Activity: Use this Leaf Craft to address bilateral coordination skills. Use real leaves to make a craft that builds bilateral coordination, heavy work proprioceptive input, and scissor skills.

    Leaf Craft for Older Kids: This Sewing Skills Leaf Craft is great for older kids that need to address fine motor skills. Use a needle and thread, wire, lacing cord to thread around leaf shapes. We used plastic canvas, but you could use cardboard, cereal boxes, or even laminated paper.

    Leaf Auditory Processing Activities– You can use leaves found out in the lawn to work on so many auditory processing skills including auditory discrimination and more.

    Leaf Therapy Activities– This free printable home program uses a Fall leaves theme for a leaf tic tac toe game. Kids can complete different leaf themed therapy activities and score tic tac toe!

    Hand StrengthLeaf Ten Frames are a great way to build hand strength using leaves. Use a hole puncher with leaves to work on hand strength and hands-on math.

    Leaf Sensory Play– This Nature Water Table is perfect for sensory exploration, but is a fun toddler Fall activity with very little prep. Use a bin, water table, or bowl to explore Fall’s colors and textures and challenge the senses.

    Leaf Sensory Activity– This corn husk painting activity is sensory activity art with the corn husk leaves of Fall! Sensory Painting- Use leaves, corn husks, and grasses for sensory painting. Then, practice handwashing!

    Leaves Heavy Work Activity– We used play dough and Fall leaves in this Fall Play Dough Press to add heavy work through the hands. Use natural materials and play dough to add heavy work for the hands. This is a great visual perception activity, too.

    Leaf Eye-Hand Coordination Activity– Use leaves to make these Fall tree crafts. They are great to work on eye-hand coordination and problem solving with a sensory experience to make these fall trees.

    Fall Scissor Skills Activity– This Fall leaves scissor activity uses leaves found right outside the home or therapy clinic! Use leaves to work on line awareness, bilateral coordination, and visual motor skills.

    Bilateral Coordination Activity– Work on bilateral coordination skills with this Fall leaf garland craft.

    Shoulder Stability and Posture– Use a vertical surface to build strength, stability, posture, balance, coordination, and eye-hand coordination skills with this easel leaf activity. We used these easel leaves to work on sight words and trick words, but you could use this activity for any multi-sensory learning or math activity, too.

    Leaf activities for occupational therapy to work on fine motor skills gross motor skills and other functional tasks.

    Fall Crafts

     

     

     

    This Fall Art Collage from A Little Pinch of Perfect adds a sensory and fine motor component to Fall art for preschoolers!

     

    Incorporate movement, songs, and gross motor skills with this Leaves of the Trees Preschool Song from Growing Book By Book. 

    These Autumn Leaf Hats from Mosswood Connections are a fun craft to work on scissor skills, bilateral coordination, and fine motor skills. 

    Address bilateral coordination, eye-hand coordination, finger isolation, and precision skills to make these Leaf Stamping Tee Shirts from Mommy Crusader.

     

    Make a Fall Nature Invitation like this activity from KCEdventures and this baby or toddler sensory table that we made using Fall leaves.

    Make Leaf Peg Dolls from In the Playroom to work on fine motor skills.

    Work on visual motor skills with this Leaf Color Sort from Stir the Wonder.

    fall fine motor kit
    Fall Fine Motor Kit

    Working on fine motor skills this Fall? Grab the Fall Fine Motor Kit!

    Printable 76 page, (no-prep) Fall themed fine motor activities and fine motor worksheets designed to build strong hands so kids can learn, hold & write with a pencil, and play.

    This print-and-go Fall Fine Motor Kit includes no-prep fine motor activities to help kids develop functional grasp, dexterity, strength, and endurance. Use fun, Summer-themed, fine motor activities so you can help children develop strong fine motor skills in a digital world.

    Includes Fall themed activities for hand strength, pinch and grip, dexterity, eye-hand coordination, bilateral coordination, endurance, finger isolation, handwriting, scissor skills, pre-writing skills, and much more.

    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.

    Sell Digital Products on The OT Toolbox

    sell digital resources

    Do you LOVE being creative? Do you make resources for the clients on your caseload and know that there are others out there that would benefit as well? Want to make money online but don’t want to deal with customer service, starting a website?

    Sell digital products on The OT Toolbox website

    Sell Digital Products on the OT Toolbox!

    We love to support occupational therapy professionals and supporting professionals by allowing them to create and serve others, while building an income on the side is just one way to do that!

    We are now accepting resources to sell in The OT Toolbox shop and we want you to join us!

    Here’s how it works:

    1. Enter your email address into the form below. This lets us know you are interested.
    2. You’ll receive an email detailing next steps. Think about what you would like to sell! Where is your passion when it comes to working with children? What topics do you love to talk about? Where are you experienced? What populations have you worked with?
    3. Get your product ready. We’ll want you to send us an example of the digital product that you would like to sell online. Good ideas are worksheets, handouts, digital therapy resources like slide decks, e-books, etc. Have an idea for something else? Just send your idea to contact@theottoolbox.com.
    4. We’ll take care of hosting the files, marketing, promoting your products on our social media channels and in our email, customer service, and all of the behind-the-scenes “hard stuff”!
    5. You’ll earn 55% of each sale. The remainder goes to The OT Toolbox to cover all of the hosting, delivery, customer service issues.

    Want in? Enter your email address into the form below to get started. I can’t wait to work with you!

    Colleen

    Want to sell digital products on The OT Toolbox??!

      We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at anytime.

      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.

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      Jungle Activities for Therapy

      Jungle activities

      Working with kids is always an adventure and that’s why these jungle activities fit the bill when it comes to fun therapy activities for kids. Here, you’ll find jungle jungle crafts, jungle sensory bin ideas, and other ways to make a jungle them therapeutic. There are even strategies to use in teletherapy. If you feel like you are a jungle explore sometimes when working with children, put on your adventure hat, because we’re ready for some therapy fun!

      jungle activities for a jungle theme in therapy or the classroom

      Jungle Activities

      This jungle theme is just one of the many therapy themes we have here on the website. These are themed therapy ideas that you can incorporate into your therapy sessions, add to a jungle preschool theme (or any age!), or use at home to help kids develop skills.

      When it comes to serving children in the therapy clinic or in the classroom, there are a lot of things to remember when promoting development of functional skills and underlying areas like fine or gross motor skills. And, these considerations carryover to the home, too…Two of the most valuable things that I have learnt from providing occupational therapy services are:

      1) that thorough planning is absolutely essential and 

      2) that the most effective sessions are fairly simple

      The outlines provided in this jungle theme therapy ideas are not prescriptive, set-in-stone templates. They are a framework to hang your own ideas and preferences on. Because sometimes you just need that little spark of inspiration to get you going.

      Occupational therapy teletherapy, as with face-to-face therapy, there is no one size fits all. So it’s up to you to adjust your session according to you aims and objectives for each individual child.

      Let’s step into the jungle and get some jungle themed activities ready for your littlest adventurers.

      jungle themed gross motor activities

      A fun jungle warm up or cool down is a fun way to start and end a therapy session, but there are other ways to incorporate jungle gross motor activities into a jungle themed classroom, lesson, or home activities:

      • Use these ideas as a jungle brain break during jungled themed learning
      • Use these whole body movements as a sensory break
      • Work on motor planning and core strength
      • Incorporate bilateral coordination and crossing midline
      • Use as an emotional regulation tool

      I am sure that you have realized that the first few minutes of an OT therapy session or teletherapy session are so important in setting the tone for the subsequent time that you will spend with the child. Take time to check in with the child that you are working with in order to get a sense of where they are at on that day. 

      This always helps me adjust my energy level and approach according to what the child needs. It’s a great time to introduce the theme of the session and incorporate gross motor activities as a way to “warm up”.

      Jungle Animal Exercises

      In order to introduce the Jungle Adventure ask your child what their favorite animal is. Talk a bit about what the animal looks like, where it lives, what it eats and why it’s the child’s favorite animal. 

      Then explore how their animal moves and act out that animal’s movement. This will lay the foundation for jungle exercises!

      Prepare some animal pictures before the session – these can be printed or drawn pictures, flashcards, pictures from magazine or online pictures that you can screen share with the participant.

      Present the child with a picture and demonstrate how that animal moves. Then set a timer for 30 seconds while you and the child perform the animal movement together.

      Examples of jungle animal movements include gross motor exercises like:

      • Move like a snake
      • Jump like a frog
      • Hop like a bunny
      • Crawl like a lion
      • Sway like an elephant
      • Stomp like a hippopotamus
      • Swing like a monkey
      • Fly like a hawk

      There are two main benefits to using gross motor exercises as a warm-up in therapy:

      1. The physical warm up is perfect for getting the child connected to the session and for helping to regulate the child if they have difficulties with focus and attention.
      2. The imaginary element of pretending to be an animal introduces the child’s language of play and brings the teletherapy session to life. 

      For more specific physical gross motor goals you can adapt the animal walks to target certain areas:

      • Upper body strength
      • Core strength
      • Co-ordination between left and right
      • Motor planning
      • Bilateral coordination
      • Crossing midline
      • Posture
      • Positioning
      • Changes in position

      Animal walks are also an easy exercise to ask the child to practice on their own between therapy sessions to promote their progress in these areas. 

      Once the warm up is complete take a seat and catch your breath. You are still in the jungle but now you are going to look at the little creatures that live there. 

      Jungle Fine Motor Activities

      This section of the session focuses on developing selective finger movements and finger strength with a jungle theme.

      As you did with the animal walks in the warm up, select a number of insect pictures that you can present to your child during the teletherapy session. Allow the child to select a picture and then use your fingers to imitate the movement that the insect makes. Moving your fingers like an insect requires a little creativity and imagination! Examples of bugs that I have used in sessions included caterpillars, ants, spiders, butterflies, grasshoppers. 

      Demonstrate how the insect moves across your desk or along your arm and encourage your child to copy the motor pattern.

      Adjust the demands of the motor pattern according to your child’s ability including more complex, selective finger movements to increase the demands on motor planning. Increase the amount of repetitions or distance the insect has to walk to increase the demands on finger strength. 

      For additional activities to develop fine motor skills have a look at these awesome animal themed paper folding activities.

      Jungle Activities for Visual perception

      Incorporating visual perceptual skills into the Jungle Adventure is easy. The activities that you select will target the specific skills that you are working on with the individual child.

      • For eye tracking you can ask the child follow an animal figurine that you move across a desk, field of vision, or the screen in teletherapy services.
      • Figure ground perception can be developed by working on animal themed I Spy worksheets.
      • Visual discrimination can be encouraged by completing spot the difference worksheets.

      I know you will have lots of tools in your box to develop the specific skills you are targeting and I encourage you to use the Jungle Theme to keep the child’s interest and motivation going.  

      Jungle Handwriting Activities

      When handwriting needs to be incorporated into occupational therapy sessions, there are many ways to use a jungle theme in handwriting goals.

      • Younger children are encouraged to write down the names of the animals or insects that we imitated in the beginning of the session.
      • Older children will enjoy copying out animal themed jokes. 

      Try this Jungle Joke for copying:

      What do you call a fly with no wings?

      Answer: A walk!

      Jungle Writing Prompts

      For more handwriting activities, use these Jungle Writing Prompts. These cards are perfect for older students who are writing sentences and paragraphs, AND younger students who copy words.

      The Jungle Writing Prompt set includes 54 jungle themed writing prompts, including 27 open-ended sentence prompts and 27 jungle themed words.

      Perfect for older students writing in sentence and paragraph format AND younger students copying words, these printable cards can be used in so many open-ended ways in therapy sessions.

      Jungle writing prompts
      Click here to grab the Jungle Writing Prompts to work on handwriting.

      Jungle Sensory Bin

      A jungle sensory bin is a fun way to incorporate many different goal areas. Start with a sensory bin material such as flour, dry beans, dry split peas, corn, rice, cotton, water, shaving cream, or shredded paper. Here are more ideas to create an easy sensory bin.

      Then add items to your sensory bin:

      • Jungle animal figures
      • Fake flowers
      • Fake leaves
      • Scoops
      • Cups and bowls
      • Jungle animal images

      Use the sensory bin to work on tactile exploration, motor skills, executive functioning skills, handwriting, and much more.

      The word cards in the Jungle Writing Prompts set includes animal images with words that are perfect for laminating and adding to a Jungle sensory bin.

      Well done! You have survived your Jungle Adventure and your children have had a blast. They were having so much fun that I am sure that they didn’t even notice that they were working on their sensory regulation, planning, gross motor skills, fine motor skills and visual perception. All in a day’s teletherapy work.

      Contributor to The OT Toolbox: Janet Potterton is an occupational therapist working predominantly in school-based settings and I love, love, love my job. I have two children (if you don’t count my husband!), two dogs, one cat, two guinea pigs and one fish. When I am not with my family or at work I try to spend time in nature. The beach is my happy place.

      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.

      Free Therapy Planner for Back-to-School

      Therapy planner for planning occupational therapy sessions

      Below, you will find a free printable therapy planner calendar that is an awesome resource to add to your therapy planner. Use the planning calendar to dream up and create an action plan for occupational therapy themes during the upcoming school year. Just pop in themes from our weekly therapy themes list and make the planning each week fun and easy.

      This therapy planner is perfect for school-based OTs, but it can certainly be used in clinics or in homes, too!

      Use this therapy planner to plan out occupational therapy sessions. It's an editable calendar that can be used over and over again.

      Free Therapy Planner

      During the summer months, many therapists start thinking ahead to planning therapy activities for the next school year. I know, I know. Summer just started. Some of us still have a car trunk full of hanging files, worksheets, a therapy ball, and pencil cases full of pencil grips. Is it really time to start thinking about planning for back to school?

      We are right on the brink of a new school year and you’ll soon be gearing up for another year in the clinic or classroom!

      Therapy Planning Calendar

      For the new school year, I have included a fun bonus to this post that you will find below. It is an editable Therapy Calendar for the upcoming school year…so you can change out the themes and make it meet your needs and the needs of those on your therapy caseload.

      Sometimes weekly themes can help you stay motivated AND make your life easier as a therapist while helping to keep children engaged in therapy activities from week to week.

      Enter your email address below to get the free printable therapy planning calendar. Use it as a guide to schedule and plan themed occupational therapy activities throughout the school year. You’ll also get a blank therapy planning calendar so you can fill in special themes that may go along with your school’s calendar or planned activities.

      Have fun planning out activities for this year’s therapy sessions!

      Therapy planner that occupational therapists will love

      FREE Back-to-School Editable Therapy Calendar

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

        Free Meet the Teacher and Meet the Therapist Forms

        Meet the teacher Meet the Therapist letter

        Each year, one of the most exciting parts of back-to-school is meeting a new teacher or therapist. That’s why these free meet the teacher forms/ meet the therapist forms are the way to go when it comes to starting the school year off right. Many teachers have created meet the teacher forms to introduce themselves to their new class, and OTs/COTAs should have the same fun to start off a new year of OT services.

        Free meet the teacher meet the therapist letters for back to school.

        Free Meet the teacher templates

        If you’ve worked in the school long, then you’ve probably seen a meet the teacher form or two. Meet the therapist forms are just as important! You can grab this set of editable forms and enter your information, then share them with your new caseload.

        Here’s how it works:

        1. Enter your email address into the form below.
        2. You’ll receive an email with a PDF containing a link to access this template of free meet the teacher/meet the therapist forms. (Save the PDF if you want to make a new letter next year!)
        3. When you click the link on the PDF, you’ll be sent to Canva. If you have a Canva account, you can open the files in Canva.
        4. If you don’t have a Canva account, you’ll be directed to create one (it’s free).
        5. When you open the link, you’ll see a template of 13 different Meet the Therapist Forms.
        6. Click on the text and change it to say what you like. Add a picture of yourself if you like.
        7. Download the page that you like and email it to your student’s parents, print it, or add it to your online classroom.

        When you access this free template of meet the therapist or teacher letters, you’ll find 13 different templates. Each one is editable in Canva, so you can add your own information.

        A Meet the Teacher letter or Meet the Therapist letter is a fun way to start of the school year. You can add fun facts, information about this upcoming school year, and even your working hours. A meet the therapist or meet the teacher letter is the perfect place to set limits on your working days or working times. Don’t set yourself up to answer phone calls or emails outside of your working hours, and you can let parents know that on your back-to-school letter.

        Add in contact information like a phone number or email address.

        Then, use this meet the therapist form on your school webpage, in an email to parents, or in an online classroom. Some forms are even printer friendly, so you can print off copies and send them home with students.

        Have fun making your Meet the Therapist Letter and let’s have a great school year!

        FREE Meet the Therapist Forms for Back-to-School

          So I can best serve you, are you…
          We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at anytime.

          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.