Creative Storytelling

creative storytelling

In this blog post, we created used a few creative storytelling ideas including a fun story telling area in the living room using couch cushions and toys to encourage reading with babies and toddlers. This was a fun creative storytelling idea, and used movement-based and sensory-motor learning activity for young children, encouraging motivation and fun during story time!

story telling area

story telling area

A story telling area in the home is a creative reading idea that doesn’t need to be fancy!

Creating a storytelling area in your home using couch cushions or blankets is a wonderful way to engage children in imaginative play and foster a love for stories. The best thing is that babies and toddlers can crawl over those couch cushions and pillows, encouraging crawling!

You can do this right in the living room or you can set up a designated storytelling corner in the home. This would look like a section of the living room, bedroom, or playroom, or even a cozy nook in any room of the house. This helps create a dedicated space for storytelling activities.

Try using some of these items found around the home to set up a storytelling area without spending any money:

Cozy seating: Arrange couch cushions or pile up soft blankets to create a comfortable seating area for both parents and children. This will make the storytelling experience more enjoyable and relaxing.

Blanket fort or tent: Use blankets and chairs to build a simple fort or tent structure. Drape the blankets over the chairs to create a cozy enclosure where the storytelling can take place. Children will love the sense of adventure and the enclosed space for immersive storytelling.

Imaginative props: My children love reading to their favorite stuffed animals and baby dolls! Gather household items that can be used as props to enhance the storytelling experience. These could include:

  • pillows
  • stuffed animals
  • hats
  • scarves
  • items that can be repurposed as imaginary objects in the story

Soft lighting: Adjust the lighting in the area to create a warm and cozy ambiance. Dim the overhead lights, use fairy lights or battery-operated candles, and allow natural light to filter in through curtains or blinds. Soft lighting adds to the enchantment of storytelling.

Sound effects: Utilize your voice and objects around you to create sound effects that bring the story to life. Mimic animal sounds, use different tones and pitches for characters, or use household items to create simple sound effects (e.g., tapping two spoons together to create the sound of horse hooves).

Storytelling prompts: Use a basket or container to hold visual prompts such as pictures from magazines, postcards, or nature photographs. These prompts can spark storytelling ideas and inspire children to create their own tales. These can be used in visual schedules too.

Theme-based storytelling: Change the storytelling area to match the theme of the story. For example, if you’re telling a story about a pirate adventure, add some toy props, draw a treasure map, or create a “ship” out of cushions and blankets. Use some of the ideas in our therapy themes to get you started with movement-based activities, sensory play ideas, crafts, and more.

Take it outside: A picnic or snack lunch, reading in a tree or even on the playground is fun. Use our outdoor sensory swing idea for a calming and organizing reading opportunity.

No matter how simple or complex the storytelling area is, the most important aspect of storytelling is the connection and engagement between parents and children. Select the ideas that work for you and use these storytelling space features to encourage creativity, engagement, and a love for reading.

Today was our first day back into routine after the holidays.  The husband was back at work and my nephew Baby Boy, (who, along with Baby Girl, probably need new “names” since they definitely Think they are big kids…but in reality, really are Toddlers, not Babies…But I’m not ready for that yet.  SO, Babies they will stay!) was back with us as everyone went back to work…we resumed our routines.
I had this little play area set up today for an invitation to read.
creative storytelling with baby dolls and stuffed animals


Of course, Big Sister jumped right into the role of teacher/librarian.  She loves being the boss Big Kid who can tell the littler kids all about life at pre-K, dance class, and every other place that only she know about since she is the Big One in the family.  You know, how life is on the Pre-K streets 😉

creative storytelling-kids can read to toys
Storytelling at it’s finest!  She was reading to all of her “students” from a book that she wasn’t too familiar with.  Sometimes, if we’ve read a favorite book maaaaaaaany times, she can memorize the words and story lines of a whole book.
Doing the rote memory thing is great! It is so empowering…allowing them to gain confidence, learn beginning/middle/end transitions, and lets them test voices, feelings, and  sound effects.
A step beyond memorization reading is when they build a story based on the pictures they see in a book.  They can elaborate on experiences and use their imagination to follow the pictures.  At this stage, a child is testing their confidence in concepts of beginning/middle/end, depicting feelings, dialogue, and transitions.  Big Sister throws out a lot of reeeallly excited “And THEN”s as she turns the pages 🙂
It is really fun to see where the story goes when she reads to her students.  There is a lot of switching roles, changing focus (getting distracted by details in a picture), and stories based around the girls in the pictures 🙂
creative storytelling- let kids read to their toys
Baby Girl is a willing “student”!
She also loooves doing what the Big Kids do…


Baby Boy is a little tired from all these stories!  It’s nap time for this guy.


Creative storytelling ideas

experimental storytelling

We came up with the term experimental storytelling when thinking about how to keep little ones engaged longer. You could also call this creative storytelling. So, what are some ways to “Experiment with Storytelling” and get creative with reading time?

Experimental storytelling refers to innovative and unconventional approaches to narrative creation and presentation. It involves breaking away from traditional storytelling techniques and experimenting with different forms, structures, and mediums to convey a story or evoke a particular experience.

These ideas push the boundaries of storytelling conventions, challenging the audience’s expectations and inviting them to engage with narratives in new and unexpected ways. Another way to express this is with the term, creative storytelling!

For young children, it might involve switching things up in an age-appropriate way:

  • A different storytelling environment using creative reading areas listed above
  • Taking the reading outside to a picnic reading
  • Involving multisensory learning
  • Using different voices to read
  • Acting out a story with toys or figures to represent the characters

Some examples of experimental storytelling include:

  1. Change the order of the story: Experimental storytelling may involve non-linear storytelling structures, where the story is not presented in a chronological order. It may employ flashbacks, flash-forwards, or fragmented narratives to explore different perspectives or create a sense of mystery. You can ask the child to fill in different results, actions, or details to the story. Think MadLibs with a story!
  2. Multi-sensory approach: Experimental storytelling often incorporates elements from various artistic disciplines, such as visual art, music, theater, dance, technology, and interactive media. Taking a multisensory approach combines different mediums to enhance the narrative and create a more immersive experience.
  3. Interactive elements: Get those readers moving! Add gross motor actions to the story or incorporate fine motor tasks with book themed crafts. Or, make a sensory bin based on the story. All of these interactive activities encourage participation and interaction.
  4. Innovative use of technology: Kids know a lot about technology…it’s part of their daily life! Consider how you can take traditional storytelling and add a bit of tech to bring the story to life. Consider creating Google slides, tablet drawings, videos, virtual reality (VR), interactive websites, or video games to include technology in a unique and immersive narrative experiences.

creative storytelling

Getting creative with telling stories makes things fun and engaging. Try these ideas:

  • Use a puppet to tell the story, quiz the children on colors, ask ‘what happens next’, pique their curiosity, question emotional states.
  • Play the Director Game: The child tells the story as Mom/Dad writes it down. Draw pictures to go along with the story.  Read it together.  Save it forever 🙂
  • Tell a story about this morning’s experience.  Recount details/characters/feelings.  Add surprise endings for fun.
  • Act out a favorite story using super hero figures, Little People…whatever in on hand and a favorite in your house.
  • Tell a story based on one of your child’s drawings.  Scribbles are detailed drawings, too 🙂
  • Invitation to play storytelling: Set up an invitation to play like ours!  You could also sit on a big comfy blanket with lots of pillows and start reading to yourself. 
  • Use fun voices and sounds…See how long it takes for little kiddos to climb up into your lap.
  • “Choose Your Own Adventure” books, where young and older readers can make choices that determine the story’s direction.
  • Act out the story with gross motor actions
  • Paint or draw while listening to the story

What are some creative storytelling ideas that you’ve used with little ones?

Writing and Reading Stick

Reading stick

When it comes to handwriting, copying without losing place on the page impacts writing (visual attention plays a big role here), so much so that a reading stick or writing stick tool can be a huge help. Here we are showing an easy way to make a reading stick or writing stick that can be used to impact writing without missing letters or words…and why this happens.

What is a Reading Stick

Handwriting is a challenge when spacing is inaccurate.  Poorly spaced letters and words as a result of visual spatial difficulties can lead to illegible handwriting.

A reading stick is a pointer stick that kids can use to follow along with words when reading and writing.

When reading from a chalkboard or smartboard, a teacher might use a large pointer stick for this task. One tip for teachers is to add a bright visual cue to the end of the pointer stick to add a visual contrast that is engaging and visual. This might be something like bright tape added to the end of the pointer stick, neon tape or post-it notes folded over the tip of the pointer stick are some ways to easily do this.

But, when kids are reading and copying from a space on their desk, they can use a miniature version of the pointer stick as a reading tool. What’s nice about the version that we created is that the reading stick can be used in many different ways:

  • Use the pointer stick with the visual cue at the end to point along with reading from a book.
  • Turn the reading stick on it’s side to follow along line by line when reading.
  • Use the craft stick as a spacing tool when writing.

Why use a reading stick for writing?

A writing stick is a handwriting tool that can also be called a pointer stick for handwriting. Students and teachers can use a writing stick to follow along with written work to support handwriting needs so that a student doesn’t miss letters or words when writing.

Copying handwriting work requires several areas of visual processing:

Using this pointer stick to copy words can help with copying written work without omitting letters or words. The reading stick then doubles as a spacing tool.

Using a spacing tool can be a HUGE help for some kids!  This handwriting spacing tool pointer stick is a physical prompt and a visual cue that helps kids in handwriting and become independent with when writing.

There is a lot going on when a child is required to write.  The visual motor skills needed to accurately copy or write written work requires the processing of visual perceptual skills along with coordination and manipulation of the pencil along lines and margins.

These are a lot of different areas that can break down and result in sloppy or illegible handwriting!

Try this handwriting spacing tool pointer stick to help kids with spatial awareness when writing.

Use a spacing tool pointer stick to help with placing spaces between letters and words, assuring words, phrases, or sentences are not omitted, and when aligning columns of words, as in lists.

Handwriting Spacing Tool Pointer Stick

Affiliate links are included in this post.

Try using this spacing pointer stick to keep margins aligned too.

Looking for other ways to address spacing in margin use?  Here are a bunch of ideas for spatial awareness with margins.

use a marker to make a reading stick to follow along with words when reading or writing.
Use a marker to make a reading stick for kids.

You will need just two materials to make a spacing pointer stick:

Amazon affiliate links included:

Use the marker to make a brightly colored dot on one end of the craft stick.  You could also use a small sticker, but I wanted to ensure a bright contrast between the colored craft stick and the colored dot.

Use a reading stick to follow along when reading to make sure words aren't missed.
Use a reading stick when reading so kids don’t miss words or lines of text when reading.

And that’s it!  Show the child how to use it to keep their place when copying written work, when aligning margins, and when spacing between words.

Use the spacing tool pointer stick to help kids with spatial awareness in these ways:

  • Point to words when copying from a text or sheet on a desk.  The pointer stick can help keep the child’s place, visually.
  • Align columns in math and lists of words.
  • Align left and right margins on the page.  Keep the margin from drifting in toward the middle of the page.
  • Space between letters and words when writing.
Use this handwriting spacing tool pointer stick to align columns of words or math problems when writing, perfect for kids who struggle with spatial awareness.

Read more about spatial awareness and how it relates to handwriting.

Some spacing tools can be themed!  Go beyond the simple dot or sticker and make a spaceman spacing tool. You can also use a clothespin tool for spacing between words when writing. Finally, this writing spacer craft is another handwriting craft kids can make.

Another great way to add hands-on play to spatial awareness is an activity like these spacing puzzles.

Use this handwriting spacing tool pointer stick to help kids with spatial awareness when writing.

Need more handwriting strategies?  

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.

Scanning Activities for Reading (Free Download)

visual scanning for reading

Today, we have a fun scanning activities for reading using a printable visual scanning worksheet resource that supports the underlying visual skills to target scanning exercises. Plus, the scanning worksheet users will love the fun theme. Vision truly impacts learning so if we can support the areas of development that help a child thrive, we are moving in the right direction.

One of the ways that occupational therapy professionals support development is through meaningful occupations, and anything fun and playful is a winner when it comes to pediatric OT! This visual scanning worksheet is just that: a fun skill-builder!

There are many visual scanning activities that support functional participation. Here, we’re talking specifically about reading skills.

Visual Scanning and reading

The end of the school year might feel like coasting into the finish line, however it needs to be focused on meeting goals and preparing learners for summer reading. 

Learners seem to have a love/hate relationship with reading. I believe the people who hate reading struggle with this task. 

Becoming a proficient reader takes a combination of skills. Beyond vision, phonics, spelling, and letter recognition, are the visual perceptual skills needed to read fluently. One way to foster the needed skills is with an activity like the visual scanning worksheets shown below. It’s a printable resource that focuses on scanning activities for reading. 

Visual scanning impacts reading in many ways.

  • The child who struggles with letter reversals
  • The child who labors with reading and commonly skips words or lines of words when reading.
  • Saccadic eye movement, or visual scanning, is necessary for reading a sentence or paragraph as the eyes follow the line of words.
  • Visual scanning allows us to rapidly shift vision between two objects without overshooting as when shifting vision during reading tasks.
  • In copying written work, this skill is very necessary.
  • Skips words or a line of words when reading or re-reads lines of text
  • Must use finger to keep place when reading
  • Poor reading comprehension

All of these aspects of reading can be an issue because of scanning challenges.

So what’s going on here, visually?

Visual scanning is one of several visual perceptual skills. These have been highlighted in posts before, but as a reminder, they are:

  • Visual Attention: The ability to focus on important visual information and filter out unimportant background information.
  • Visual Discrimination: The ability to determine differences or similarities in objects based on size, color, shape, etc.
  • Visual Memory: The ability to recall visual traits of a form or object.
  • Visual Spatial Relationships: Understanding the relationships of objects within the environment.
  • Visual Sequential-Memory: The ability to recall a sequence of objects in the correct order.
  • Visual Figure Ground: The ability to locate something in a busy background.
  • Visual Form Constancy: The ability to know that a form or shape is the same, even if it has been made smaller/larger or has been turned around.
  • Visual Closure: The ability to recognize a form or object when part of the picture is missing

All of these areas combined make up visual perception, and is part of the bigger picture of how our eyes work functionally.

Visual perception is the ability to organize and interpret the information that is seen and give it meaning.  This is a common thread in therapy treatment, as it is the foundation for many activities addressed daily.

Visual perception is essential for reading, writing, math, self care tasks, instrumental activities of daily living, and play.

How to develop SCANNING Skills FOR READING

There are ways to support the development and accuracy of visual scanning skills when using visual scanning worksheets.

  1. Reading Readiness Skills- When my girls were young, the summer reading list meant a chance to earn a ticket to Six Flags from the school!  It also meant a dollar per chapter book from mom and dad.  I was out $61.00 just from one kid that summer.  It was worth it. 

In preparation  we did a lot of scanning activities for reading readiness.  These included worksheets like the ones offered on the OT Toolbox, as well as games.  Amazon has their (affiliate link) visual perceptual games chunked into one search category. 

This might include using reading prompts, desired books, and short reading passages or use of a short series of images, letters, or icons on visual scanning worksheets.

Other strategies include working on scanning the environment for details. Ask kids to look for items that are all one color, for example.

Another reading readiness activity that supports reading is I Spy activities like these I Spy colors game, I spy with real toys, and printable pages (Many are found in our Membership).

2. Visual Scanning Games- Some activities to develop scanning skills for reading include:

  • Tricky Fingers
  • QBitz
  • Where’s Waldo
  • Highlights Magazine
  • Spot it Games.

3. Vision Activities– Also be sure to check out these vision activities for kids to support all of the underlying skills that impact reading and learning.

Specifically, be sure to check out these visual scanning activities that cover the full gamut!

4. Take a Deeper Look at What’s Going On- When assessing for reading difficulties, once you have ruled out visual acuity issues, use a screening tool or assessment to test for visual perceptual deficits

The Motor Free Visual Perceptual Test, as well as the Test of Visual Perceptual Skills, assesses the different visual perceptual skills, broken down into different areas. 

5. Visual Scanning Exercises- The free spring weather visual scanning exercise (grab it below!) is just a sample of the larger packet offered HERE on the OT Toolbox. Targeting scanning exercises doesn’t need to be complicated. Using simple three item series of images builds visual scanning skills.

Below you’ll find a free downloadable spring visual scanning exercise you can use to support visual scanning needed for reading skills. These activities include a weather and Spring theme, but you can use them all times of year. The sun and clouds themes work for everyone with fun scanning exercises kids love.

This visual scanning exercise is a great scanning activity for reading. It relies on visual attention, discrimination, memory, visual-sequential memory, and figure ground.

For more scanning work, grab the Spring Fine Motor Packet. This 97 page no-prep packet includes everything you need to guide fine motor skills in face-to-face AND virtual learning. Includes Spring themed activities for hand strength, pinch and grip, dexterity, eye-hand coordination, bilateral coordination, endurance, finger isolation, and more. 

6. Visual Perception Activities- There are several posts this month highlighting Visual Perceptual Activities for Spring. 

For some therapists, parents, and educators this scanning activity will be great worksheets for spring break, on those long rides to Grandma’s house.

Others will find these PDF sheets great for a spring lesson plan. Make a great packet of pages to send home, or do during class.  You can laminate these pages to make them eco-friendly and reusable. Some people project these onto smart boards, however I personally prefer the added skills involved in writing on paper.  However you choose to motivate your learners is the key to success.

DATA COLLECTION during scanning activities

Scanning activities for reading readiness are great for data collection. It is easy to measure the number of correct/incorrect guesses.

Of course, a scanning activity gets tricky when other factors such as impulsivity, attention, and compliance skew the data. Be sure to document these aspects of scanning that impacts reading skills as a functional task:

  • Document the number of errors, while adding narrative about the learner’s behavior. 
  • Provide several different types of visual perceptual tasks to try and determine which specific skills (or combination) are deficient.  This way your treatment can be more efficient, if you can hone in on one or two skill areas, such as visual memory, or scanning. 

DOCUMENTATION of Scanning tasks to support reading

  • Does your learner scan in sequential order, or all over the page?
  • Are items completely missed when scanning?
  • Is your learner taking their time, or making random guesses?
  • Does your learner thoroughly look at all the choices before giving an answer?

Some of these questions are not easy to answer. Continue to provide different types of exercises in order to measure progress. 

Progress is often the answer we seek, rather than “why do they do that?”  Often doctors do not know the why, but have to try different things until they find something that works. 

Use spring break (if you are lucky enough to have one) to rest and recharge for all of the fun spring activities that can be added to your treatment plans and OT Toolbox!

As a related resource, check out our blog post on types of eye specialists. Another great resource is our blog post on behavioral optometrists.

Free scanning activity Download to support reading skills

Want to add this printable scanning activity tool to your therapy toolbox?

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

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

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FREE Visual Scanning for Reading Exercise

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    Victoria Wood, OTR/L is a contributor to The OT Toolbox and has been providing Occupational Therapy treatment in pediatrics for more than 25 years. She has practiced in hospital settings (inpatient, outpatient, NICU, PICU), school systems, and outpatient clinics in several states. She has treated hundreds of children with various sensory processing dysfunction in the areas of behavior, gross/fine motor skills, social skills and self-care. Ms. Wood has also been a featured speaker at seminars, webinars, and school staff development training. She is the author of Seeing your Home and Community with Sensory Eyes.

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

    Kindergarten Readiness and Executive Functioning Skills

    Kindergarten readiness and developing executive functioning skills in kindergarten

    Many parents of preschoolers have questions about preparing for kindergarten. There are kindergarten checklists and loads of resources online designed to address kindergarten readiness. One area that parents might miss when getting ready for kindergarten is the concept of executive functioning skills.

    Executive functioning skills develop from very early in childhood! These skills can easily be developed through fun, age-appropriate play. Sound familiar? Combining learning and play in kindergarten is essential to build skills with an age appropriate awareness and at developmental levels. This is the exact way that children should be preparing for kindergarten!

    Kindergarten readiness and developing executive functioning skills in kindergarten

    Kindergarten Readiness

    There is immense amount of pressure for children to be ready for the academic demands of
    school, even from kindergarten. From the moment they walk in the door, most kindergartners
    are pushed to be “little sponges” of the academic content to meet standards. However, most of us
    recognize that this may not be the most appropriate approach to take. Finding engaging executive functioning activities can be tricky. The ideas here should be a great start to add to your kindergarten lesson plans or use in kindergarten preparations.

    However, there are more child-friendly things that parents can do to help their children get ready
    for kindergarten. Provide children with opportunities to be independent! Teach them the steps to
    wash their hands (initiation, working memory, shifting, monitoring), how to blow their nose
    (initiation, working memory, and monitoring), and letter recognition (working memory). Teach
    them how to follow directions (impulse control, working memory, and shifting).


    Working on some kindergarten prep through play can involved executive functioning skills at the same time. Start here to understand exactly what executive functioning skills entail, but when it comes to kindergarten aged children, here are some of the executive functioning skills that can be addressed through play as well as tasks that will help them prepare for kindergarten:

    Kindergarten lesson plans can include these reading and writing activities that build executive functioning skills

    HandWriting in Kindergarten

    Amazon affiliate links are included below.

    Be sure to start by reading our resource on name writing for kindergarten to support the handwriting and fine motor skills needed in kindergarten, as this is a new skill for many 5 year-olds that are picking up a pencil for the first time. (Or preschool students that were rushed into pre-writing tasks.

    There are many ways to integrate reading and writing preparation into play. Have your child match uppercase and lowercase letters in games or at the store. This encourages working memory (what letter they need to look for). Games like Zingo are great for teaching sight words in a fun way while also requiring a child to use their impulse control, shifting, and working memory.

    More reading and writing for kindergarten:

    Alphabet Discovery Bottle

    Magnetic Letter Handwriting Game

    Name Soup Writing Your Name 

    Fizzy Dough Letters 

    Handwriting Cookie Cutters

    Kindergarten lesson plans can include these math activities to develop executive functioning skills to prepare for kindergarten

    Math, Science, and Executive Functioning

    Early math and science skills can be fun and easy to integrate into play! If the weather is
    conducive, try hopscotch, saying the numbers out loud as you jump! For mental flexibility,
    change the rules of how they go through the series: hop on one foot, jump on two feet, switch
    feet, and so on. For older children or those who know their evens and odds, have them only jump
    on the odds or only on evens.

    For science, create simple science experiments, like vinegar and baking soda volcanos! This
    requires initiation, monitoring, impulse control, shifting, and planning/organizing.

    More kindergarten math activities to build executive function:

    Caterpillar Math Craft 

    Math with Checkers 

    Cardboard Tangrams 

    Play Dough Math 

    Counting Nature 

    Play and Executive Functioning

    Play is critical, but with the push to be ready for academics, play is getting pushed to the side
    However, without play, children suffer. They lack the ability to find joy in learning.

    Outdoor play provides the opportunity for children to develop their executive functioning while
    participating in child-led adventures! Taking a bike ride or a walk around the community, or
    even playing basketball in a driveway, requires a child to demonstrate strong impulse control and
    monitoring skills for safety. Red light, green light is also a great opportunity to work on impulse

    Outdoor play also encourages children to take risks while being aware of their surroundings.
    Whether determining if cars are coming, stranger danger, or appropriate clothing to wear outside,
    this is an incredible opportunity to encourage executive functioning development!

    Can’t play outside? Build a fort! Planning/organizing, initiation, shifting, time management, and
    working memory are critical for this.

    Kindergarten play ideas to build executive function

    Teaching Spatial Concepts 

    Bugs and Beans Sensory Play 

    Outdoor Small World Play 

    Painting Toys in the Water Table 

    Sticks and Stones Simple Sensory Play

    Use these executive functioning games in kindergarten lesson plans and to prepare for kindergarten

    Games and Activities to build executive functioning skills in kindergarten

    Some family-friendly games include Outfoxed (initiation, working memory, monitoring,
    planning/organizing, and impulse control) and Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Game.

    For less structured activities, think about making something in the kitchen, like baked goods. Making slime with a slime kit is another engaging way to build executive functioning skills.

    For a less structured executive functioning activity, try making a bracelet from a bracelet kit that involves patterns or low-level direction-following.

    For kindergarten readiness, focus on fun! This is a time of extensive growth, including in the
    area of executive functioning.

    For more executive functioning activities, grab this Executive Functioning Activity Guide. It’s full of strategies to address common executive functioning areas that impact working memory, attention, impulse control, organization, and more.

    executive functioning skills activity guide The OT Toolbox

    Outdoor Pre-Reading Activity for New Readers

    We’re back to join the All Things Kids bloggers with this month’s series.  We’re talking about Fall and Outdoor fun with the kids.  We are a family that plays outside every.single. day.  Friends at church have said to us, “Wow you guys are tan, you must spend a lot of time outside”… Yep! We do.  (with sunscreen, don’t worry haha) 

    So, when we realized that this month’s series post is all about outdoor play this fall, we were beyond excited!  Getting outside with littles is necessary for the kids and for mama.  Otherwise, we have a tornado of toys in the house and children bouncing off the walls and each other.  Well, those things happen regardless, but the fresh air and yard to run in help.  A lot.  

    We made an outdoor scavenger hunt for early readers and pre-readers.  This literacy activity would be perfect for any time of year, but there’s something extra crispy and fun about playing outside in the Fall.  We took the letters outside for letter learning and word sounding.  This isn’t our first outdoor literacy activity, We loved our sight word scavenger hunt.  
    Outdoor Pre-Reading Activity for new readers from Sugar Aunts

    This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.  
    Use clothes pins for a pre-reading activity. This is great for indoors or outdoors.

    Using Clothes Pins in Learning

    We started with a bunch of wooden spring clothes pins.  We use these clothes pins in a ton of learning and play activities.  Art, learning, and play are more fun with a fine motor manipulative like this simple household item.

    Learning and play with clothes pins in literacy activity. from Sugar Aunts.

    Literacy Pre-Reading Activity

    Big Sister used a permanent marker to write uppercase letters on the clothes pins.  We wanted to use upper case letters so that Little Guy (age 5) would be able to identify the letters.  He is just starting to identify lower case letters, but I wanted to ensure confidence and success in this part of the activity so he would try something a litter harder for him: sounding out letters in pre-reading skills.  
    Literacy Activity for kids Outdoors from Sugar Aunts

    We worked together to sort out the letters on the clothes pins.  We did a few different activities with the clothes pins once we had all of the letters.

    First, we went on a scavenger hunt around the yard, pinning our clothes pins to objects in nature with the corresponding letter.  It was a fun pre-reading task to sound out things that we saw.  Pinching the pins onto items was a fun fine motor task for both kids.  We pinned R to “roots”.

    S is for “sticks”.

    We did a few quizzes for Little Guy.  Big Sister and I thought of an item and said I know something that starts with the letter “S”.  He had to think and look to find something that started with “s” as he sounded out sssss.  This is such a great pre-reading activity for pre-readers.

    B is for bark.

    C is for clover.

    M is for moss.

    A is for arborvitae.  Time for a science lesson!

    How many ABC items can you think of in the great outdoors?  We put together a list of ABC nature items that you can find in our NEW newsletter.  It’s a completely free way to be sure you see all of our posts.  Each Wednesday, you’ll receive an email of our latest blog posts along with other fun stuff.  Sign up for the newsletter to get the full list of ABCs of Nature items.  But don’t worry, we’ll be sharing the list with you at some point in the future.  Watch this space!

    Tips to Make Reading Fun

    Do you have a reluctant reader in your house?  The features from this week’s Share It Saturday have got some GREAT tips on how to make reading fun for kids of different ages.  A love of reading begins from a very young age and promoting that love throughout childhood is so important…and fun!  We’re loving these reading ideas from the features this week.  Stop by and check them out for lots of great reading ideas:

    How to make reading fun for kids:




    • Go with a beloved theme.  Does the child in your house LOVE all things nature?  Try these books from Peace But Not Quiet.  The transportation lover in your house will love these cars, planes, and trains books from School Time Snippets.  Or maybe a topic sure to inspire giggles, like chickens would guarantee some extra reading time.  Rubber Boots and Elf Shoes has a great list of chicken books.
    • If you’re encouraging your new reader to try more words, these sound it out slider cards from The Measured Mom looks like a great way to practice.
    • We’ve got lots more ideas on ways to make reading fun for your reluctant or new reader.  Check out the full list of  Creative Sight Word Activities