Cotton Swab Painting for Spring

Spring themed cotton bud painting worksheets

There are signs of Spring everywhere, and this Spring Cotton Swab Painting is one of them!  This spring themed Cotton Swab Painting activity will get you in the mood to change things up a bit, while developing important skills. This is a powerhouse Spring occupational therapy activity that builds many developmental areas through art.

Spring themed cotton swab art to build fine motor skills

Cotton swab painting

Before diving deep into the why and how of cotton swab painting, let’s talk about cotton swabs (formerly known as Q-Tips) first:

  • They are great disposable tools to use when germs are a concern
  • Your learner is only going to gag themselves once with it, before learning a valuable lesson
  • If you learner is sticking it in their nose, eye, or anywhere else it does not belong, they need extra supervision
  • Sustainability a concern?  Last Swab makes (Amazon affiliate link) REUSABLE cotton swabs!  Check it out! In the FAQ it says these are appropriate for art projects
  • Cotton swabs come in different colors, sizes, shapes, varieties for pure enjoyment purposes, or to develop different skills

Cotton Swab Art and Fine Motor

In doing research on the connection between math and fine motor skills, the data suggests fine motor precision is just as important as visual motor skills. 

Being able to cut on a line is not enough. An advanced learner needs to be able to cut intricate shapes. Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning is at the forefront of education.

These specific subjects require fine motor skills beyond basic cutting, writing, and coloring. This post on Using Everyday Items to Build a Tripod Grasp is helpful and informative.

The Spring cotton swab painting worksheet available at the bottom of this blog post develops fine motor skills while honing in on precision.  

Not only do learners need to develop command over the cotton swab, they need to be able to precisely mark it into the correct circular space.  This does not rule out less advanced learners. 

There is much to be gained from this task, without being able to make the dots in the correct places.

There are too many skills to count that are developed using just this one task. 

The benefits of cotton swab art in therapy to develop skills include:

  • Kinesthetic awareness – This means learning by doing. What better way to practice fine motor precision than with cotton swab painting!
  • Hand strength and dexterity – Dotting within the borders builds hand muscles and develops muscle control. 
  • Visual motor skills –combining what is seen visually and what is produced motorically.  This takes coordination to be able to translate information from visual input to motor output. Being able to dot onto a designated spot is more than just making random marks on paper.
  • Visual Perception – scanning to find all the dots, and visual closure to understand that dotted lines will create something. 
  • Sequencing – will your learner do the dots in order? Will they go in a haphazard pattern all over the page?  There really isn’t a right way in this task, but learning sequencing will be important in higher level tasks such as math
  • Proprioception – pressure on paper, grip on cotton swab
  • Social/Executive Function – Following directions, turn taking, task completion, orienting to details, neatness, multi-tasking, attending to task, compliance, task completion, and impulse control can be addressed using this Spring Cotton Swab Painting PDF
  • Bilateral coordination – remembering to use their “helper hand” to hold the paper while painting.  Using one hand for a dominant hand instead of switching back and forth is encouraged once a child is in grade school or demonstrates a significant strength in one or the other.
  • Strength – core strength, shoulder and wrist stability, head control, balance, and hand strength are all needed for upright sitting posture and fine motor tasks.

Remember, you can address all of these skills at once, or focus on one or two.  Some skills above will be addressed without your conscious knowledge, while other skills will be directly worked on. 

Using a cotton swab art activity for different levels

It is definitely possible to use a cotton swab art activity for various levels and skills. One single activity can be used with a whole therapy caseload, while meeting different skills, needs, and developmental levels.

How do I grade (make it easier/harder), change, or modify this task?  There are a million ways to use this cotton swab art in your treatment plans.  Below are just a few ideas to get you started:

  • Make this part of a larger lesson plan including gross motor, sensory, social, executive function, or other fine motor skills
  • Print in black and white or color for different levels of difficulty
  • Print on colored paper and use a hole punch to create this design
  • Talk about spring, clouds, flowers, seasons and more to further engage your learners
  • Enlarging the font may be necessary to beginning learners who need bigger space due to less accuracy
  • More or less prompting may be needed to grade the activity to make it easier or harder.
  • Add a sensory element by using a finger tip instead of a cotton bud. 
  • Use different types of paint or shaving cream for alternate types of learning
  • Work in pairs or in a small group to address problem solving, turn taking, and negotiation skills.
  • Make baked cotton swabs to work on developing fine motor skills.  I wonder if these can be used as watercolor paints?  This would eliminate some of the mess
  • Add glitter!  Glitter makes everything wonderful

The OT Toolbox has some great ideas for spring themes, fine motor precision, arts and crafts, treatment planning and more.  Start with this spring flower eye hand coordination activity.  What about more cotton swab activities?  Since you can buy these cotton buds in packs of thousands, you might as well use them in more than one activity.

Feeling overwhelmed?  Starting something new can feel intimidating. Some people are able to plow through their apprehension, while others get stuck.  Either way, the OT Toolbox has just what you need. 

An entire kit of Spring Fine Motor Activities!  This print-and-go Spring  fine motor kit includes no-prep fine motor activities to help kids develop functional grasp, dexterity, strength, and endurance. Use fun, Spring-themed, fine motor activities so you can help children develop strong fine motor skills in a digital world.

What does spring mean to you?  Embrace the new season and take a risk.  Get out of your comfort zone and push your learners to get out of theirs.

Free Cotton Swab Art Worksheets

Want to add this resource to your therapy toolbox so you can help kids thrive? Enter your email into the form below to access this printable tool.

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.

Level 2 members get access to all of our downloads, exclusive new resources each month, PLUS additional, premium content each month: therapy kits, screening tools, games, therapy packets, and much more. AND, level 2 members get ad-free content across the entire OT Toolbox website.

Join the Member’s Club today!

FREE Spring Cotton Swab Worksheets

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    NOTE*The term, “learner” is used throughout this post for consistency. 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.

    Victoria Wood

    Victoria Wood, OTR/L 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.

    April Occupational Therapy Calendar

    April OT calendar

    If you are looking for OT activities for the month, then you are in luck with this April occupational therapy calendar! April is occupational therapy month and here, you’ll find an Occupational Therapy calendar for your therapy planning.

    April occupational therapy calendar for planning OT sessions

    April Occupational Therapy Calendar

    Not only will you find a great calendar of activities for OT sessions, but we’ve included other therapy ideas and activities for OT month, and all of Spring!

    I have a HUGE resource for you that will carry you throughout the rest of Spring with treatment ideas and activities that are designed to meet the needs of many common goal areas.  This resource is perfect for planning a month or a season of therapeutic activities for kids.

    If you’ve seen the last few months’ calendars (Check them out, if you missed them: January, February, & March), then you will see that this month’s calendar is just a bit different.  

    Other Spring-related activities that will go well with this activities calendar include:

    I’ve found that I completely love coming up with themed activities that are designed to address many needs of children receiving (or who need to receive) Occupational Therapy services.  I’m enjoying this monthly calendar so much that I decided to take it a bit further.


    For April’s calendar, I decided to provide MORE ideas, more ways to develop necessary skills, and more ways to cover many more systems of development. 


    This month’s calendar is essentially going to rock your OT kiddo’s socks!

    April occupational therapy calendar for therapy planning


    Activities based on the Pyramid of Learning

    This month, I’ve decided to create a huge resource for your OT treatment activity ideas.  

    Each month’s calendar is such a valuable resource of OT ideas, and this month is no different, except that it has a TON more ideas to address many areas of deficits that typically present in kids receiving OT services.  I’ve got Spring themed activities that can be modified to meet the needs of your child.   

    Williams & Shellenberger Pyramid of Learning

    Each activity in this month’s OT calendar takes into account, the Williams and Shellenberger Pyramid of Learning.  

    The activities are designed so that they allow for proper sensory experiences in order to adjust for the child’s needs and presenting areas of difficulty.

    Based on the Pyramid of Learning, the activities are designed to meet the foundations of sensory needs in order to work on higher tasks that present as difficulties in functional skills.  

    The pyramid uses a triangle illustration to depict the central nervous system at the base of sensory systems as a support and underlying tier to sensory motor skills, perceptual motor skills, and cognition.

    Using the visual of the pyramid of learning in activity development, we can see how integration of the sensory systems as a part of the CNS impact development, functioning, and intellect.

    Let’s take a closer look at the pyramid of learning before exploring how the activities in our April calendar cover these areas.

    Base of the Pyramid of Learning

    The base of the pyramid is the Central Nervous System. Above that is the second tier, which identifies the body’s sensory systems. These systems include:

    • Tactile (touch)
    • Vestibular (balance)
    • Proprioception (knowing where their bodies are in space)

    Note that these three are at the base of they other sensory systems. This is an important concept covered in our book, Sensory Lifestyle Handbook.

    Then comes the other sensory systems:

    • Olfactory (smell)
    • Visual (vision)
    • Auditory (hearing)
    • Gustatory (taste)

    Sensory Motor Development Tier of the Pyramid of Learning

    Next is the sensory motor development level. This area includes body awareness, reflex maturity, sensory screening abilities, postural stability, bilateral integration, motor planning.

    These areas of development are closely related to the sensory systems. They are also essential to functional participation in essentially every functional task we perform throughout the day.

    Note that there are three areas of sensory motor development on the base of this tier:

    • Postural security (confidence in maintaining certain postures to prevent falling)
    • Awareness of two sides of the body (bilateral integration)
    • Motor planning (ability to plan their movement)

    Then, above those three areas are three more areas of sensory motor development. This relationship is also discussed in our book, The Sensory Lifestyle Handbook.

    • Body scheme (body awareness through movement)
    • Reflex maturity (having developed reflexes, for safety purposes)
    • Ability to screen input (knowing what sensory experiences are important to pay more attention to)

    Perceptual Motor Development Tier of the Pyramid of Learning

    Above the sensory motor level is the perceptual motor development tier. Perceptual motor skills rely and build on sensory motor abilities. These skill areas are smaller and more distally presented in relation to the internal systems. While built heavily on the sensory systems and motor abilities, these areas allow us to take in information about the world around us. It allows us to use that information to move and perceive what is happening in our world.

    This connection is essential to function and occupational performance.

    This is easy to conceptualize when you think about the areas that make up this level:

    • Eye-hand coordination (when they use what they see to guide the movement of their hands)
    • Ocular motor control (locating and fixating on something in their environment)
    • Postural adjustment (adjusting their posture to maintain balance)

    Then above those three areas of motor control areas are three additional perceptual motor skill areas of development:

    • Auditory language skills (hearing and speaking appropriately)
    • Visual-spatial perception (identifying what is seen in space)
    • Attention center functions (maintaining attention to tasks)

    Cognition Intellect Tier on the Pyramid of Learning

    At the top of the pyramid of learning stands the cognition or intellect tier. This area begins with daily living skills and behaviour at the base of the top tier, followed by academic learning.

    • Daily living activities (such as eating, toileting, bathing)
    • Behavior
    • Academic learning

    What does the pyramid of learning tell us?

    The very clear visual graphic of a pyramid shows us exactly how cognitive and learning abilities are based on sensory, motor, and perceptual development. These underlying areas are essential to functioning, behaviors, or the way we act and behave in any given situation, and learning.

    In order to move and participate in functional tasks, development in bilateral coordination, motor planning, and vision, proprioception, and tactile systems is necessary. In order to learn, auditory language development, oculomotor skills, the ability to screen input, and vestibular, visual, auditory, and proprioceptive input is necessary.

    Every functional task could be filtered down to identify underlying areas that impact one’s ability to perform specific tasks. And the entire pyramid builds upon itself, so that each task includes all of the skills and developmental areas under it as a whole pyramid.

    April Activities Based on Underlying Skill Areas

    And what I like best about this month’s calendar, is that the activities can be adapted in several different ways so that the resource calendar can be used over and over again in coming months.

    You’ll find many ideas in our Spring occupational therapy activities post.

    When you combine the calendar with the Spring Occupational Therapy Activities booklet, you’ll discover many ways to add movement, sensory movement, perceptual movement, and learning to Spring-themed activities.

    In fact, there are 109 activities in this book using all of the combinations of activities.  

    This month’s calendar is a little different that the last few calendars.  I’m including a schedule of sensory activities but it does not include specifics to perform each day’s task.  

    You’ll need the Spring Occupational Therapy Activities ebook in order to complete each day’s activity.  You will be guided through sensory activities that meet many different goal areas.    

    This ebook will carry you through the next few months as you work on each task and it’s breakdown of variant activities.    It’s all included in the ebook:  

    Get your guide to the this Spring’s Occupational Therapy activities today!  Use it all Spring long as you go through each task outlined in the book.

    April Occupational Therapy calendar of activities

    You will be able to grab the printable calendar by entering your email address into the form at the bottom of this post.

    1. Subscribe to our newsletter and grab your April calendar. It’s free!
    2. Buy the Spring Occupational Therapy Activities ebook.
    3. Play your way through the next few months with Spring-y activities that are broken down into several different goal areas.

    FREE April OT Activity Calendar

      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.

      Spring Sensory Activities

      Spring sensory activities

      Today, we’re talking about all things Spring sensory activities. When it comes to spring and the change in the weather (hopefully), a few sensory-themed activities can be a tool for working on a variety of skill areas, all through play and sensory exploration. These ideas are just one aspect of Spring OT activities that develop skills through play.

      Today, we’re going to discuss using sensory activities to address corresponding needs. Because when it comes to sensory processing, there can be related areas that are impacted as a result of sensory information being poorly processed and resulting in functional skills and development being impacted.

      Use these spring sensory activities to help kids with sensory processing needs to address areas of concern like bilateral coordination, gravitational insecurity, tactile defensiveness, tactile discrimination and other sensory needs.
       
       

      Spring Sensory Activities

       

      For the child with identified sensory processing difficulties, an effective treatment plan needs to be established, so that the individual can more effectively participate in functional activities.

      In today’s blog post, you’ll find some activities and modifications that can be used in the home, classroom, or therapy clinic. These are Spring sensory activities to add to a therapy plan this time of year. Add them to some of the other ideas being shared this week on our website and in our newsletter to create a themed set of interventions that meet the needs of a full caseload!

      Other seasonal occupational therapy activities can be integrated with these sensory ideas. Include aspects of these Spring OT ideas to create a well-rounded lesson plan this time of year:

      For a more exhaustive set of strategies, activities, and ideas, be sure to grab the Spring Fine Motor Kit (PLUS bonus kit which covers everything you need for Spring Break) that is on sale now for just $10. You’ll be loaded up on all kinds of tools that will last all season long.

      Spring Sensory Activities

      Let’s go over aspects of play for this time of year that incorporate much-needed sensory input for various areas. We’ll break down the activity ideas by sensory system to get you started.

      Spring Proprioceptive and Vestibular Activities

      These Spring Sensory Activities are designed to improve discrimination of Vestibular and Proprioceptive Information:

      Some kids with poor discrimination of sensory input, especially vestibular and proprioceptive input, may present with poor coordination, posture, balance, attention, and clumsiness, and/or constant fidgeting.

      These kiddos may benefit from some resistive work activities.

      Try some of these Spring themed ideas to work on these areas:

      Spring Heavy Work- Heavy work can be calming as a self-regulation tool. Use these free Spring themed heavy work cards to add activity ideas. They are great for brain breaks and to use in obstacle courses or a transition activity in a visual schedule.

      Spring Sensory Stations- Our popular sensory stations printables are great to add movement, heavy work, deep breathing, and mindfulness to the classroom, school hallway, clinic, or home. Print them off, slip them into a page protector, or laminate them, and hang them in a highly trafficked area in the school or classroom. Or, use them in a quiet calm-down corner. These sensory stations offer a chance for self-regulation and sensory input for brain breaks and calming input when kids need them.

      Bunny Wall Push-ups- Cut out a pair of bunny paw prints and tape them to the wall. This is a place to hop over to and then perform wall push-ups.

      Egg Rubber Bands- Provide heavy work to the hands by wrapping rubber bands around plastic Easter eggs. Kids can try to unwrap the rubber bands and then re-wrap the eggs. Use the bands as a hand exercise for the fingers in extension and in finger flexion.

      Tug-of-War- Use a rope or sturdy jump rope to pull heavy items from one location to another. Some ideas include a basket or bin full of books or weights. Transport a stuffed animal or plastic Easter eggs in the basket or bin. Sit or lay on a therapy ball to pull the objects out of the bin. Kids can lay in supine on the therapy ball while pulling the rope, too.

      Make a Spring Trail Mix- Add in crunchy and chewy items such as dry cranberries, small, chopped carrots, fruit leather, small pretzel pieces, bunny crackers or bunny pretzels.

      Make a Spring Crash Zone- Use heavy blankets, couch cushions, and pillows to create a crash pad area. Hide fake flower tops (remove the stems) in the pillows and blankets. Kids can jump and find various flowers. Give them a specific number or specific color to locate in the jumping area.

      Leap Frog- Remember the classic leap frog game? It’s a great Spring sensory activity! Kids can jump over small items or paper lily pads. In a pinch for time? Just use paper plates for your lily pads.

      Spring Sensory Ideas for Discrimination of Tactile System

      These Spring sensory activities are designed to bring awareness to and to improve a decreased or impaired discrimination of tactile sensory input:

      A poor body scheme is common in kids with sensory processing needs.  As a result, praxis and fine motor skills can be difficult.

      Kids may seek out additional input through their hands by touching everything they see.

      Other kids can’t discriminate between light and heavy tactile input.

      Here are some spring-themed sensory activities to encourage tactile discrimination:

      Use craft sheets and draw flowers or “grass” lines with a ballpoint pen. Then, the child can use a felt tip marker to trace the lines in the craft sheet. Allow them to trace with the ball point pen, too. Using the different writing tools provides various feedback in the resistive surface of the craft sheet. This is a great pre-writing lines activity for younger kids. You can see how we used craft sheets to work on pencil control using this sensory technique in a previous activity post.

      Use a vibrating pen- Create a flower shape or egg shape with Wikki Stix. Then, use the vibrating pen to draw lines or color in the parts of the flower/egg. Use cookie cutters to encourage bilateral coordination of an assisting hand and the dominant hand. Vibrating pens provide great sensory feedback to the hands.

      Use hot glue or regular school glue to create tracing forms. Write spring words like “sun”, “bee”, “flowers”, “grass”, etc. or trace Spring coloring pages with the glue. Allow the glue to dry and then place another sheet over the hardened glue. Use crayons to shade over the raised lines. Here is an example of how we used glue to practice sight words with DIY crayon rubbings with an emphasis on tactile sensory input.

      Spring Sensory Ideas for Somatodyspraxia

      Somatodyspraxia is a common occurrence in those with sensory processing challenges.

      Somatodyspraxia is seen via frequent falling, poor posture, balance, tripping, running into or bumping into others or objects, trouble managing small items or manipulating objects as a result of poor fine motor skills, along with poor body scheme and organization.

      Kids who struggle to process tactile input and vestibular information can be challenged with praxis concerns.

      Here are some Spring Sensory Activities designed to address somatodyspraxia:

      Spring obstacle course- Make an obstacle course that requires various motor movements, motor planning, changes in body position, and organization of body actions. This can easily be accomplished with pillows, couch cushions, chairs, laundry baskets or buckets, and everyday items. Use colored Easter eggs or fake flowers to carry through the obstacle course while challenging praxis.

      Bean Bag Toss- Use several small baskets or buckets to work on motor planning with bean bags. Use visual and verbal instructions to place or toss the bean bags into the targets with either one hand or the other (or a foot by placing the bean bag on the toes!). Use simplified instructions to follow instructions. Downgrade the activity by having the child repeat instructions and steps of the direction.

      For more assistance with somatodyspraxia, add more cues, simplified instructions, visual cues, and single-step motor tasks.

      Spring Sensory Activities for Bilateral Coordination

      Bilateral coordination difficulties are common for the child with sensory processing challenges.

      This looks like uncoordinated movements in hopping, jumping, jumping jacks, kicking a ball, catching a ball, running, climbing, etc.

      This might carryover to fearfulness when challenged to complete these tasks. You may also see trouble with hand dominance or left/right discrimination.

      Here are some Spring Sensory Activities that can help:

      Play Simon Says with a Spring Theme- Encourage bilateral coordination movements and alternating motions to follow directions. Use a Spring theme by saying “hop like a frog”, “crawl like a caterpillar”, etc. Use stickers or a stamp to identify the left or right hand and foot for these actions. Use our free Spring Heavy Work cards in a Simon Says activity this time of year.

      Play Hopscotch- Draw a hopscotch board and draw lily pads or spring flowers on the board. Kids can hop onto the squares. Also try jumping with one or both feet onto the target square.

      Spring sensory Activities to Address Tactile Defensiveness

      Tactile defensiveness can present in many ways, including a refusal to touch certain materials, resistiveness to certain clothing fabrics, food preferences, or avoidance of certain materials or activities.

      Adding heavy input or slow, calming vestibular input can be helpful in some individuals.

      Try some of these Spring themed sensory activities:

      Deep Pressure- Add weights to the wrists or a weighted lap pad along with heavy work to the hands. Try using a large eraser to erase flowers drawn on construction paper. Ask the child to erase the flower completely. Try using lighter pencil strokes and reducing the amount of erasing needed. This is one way to work on pencil pressure, too.

      Flower-Push- Add proprioceptive input to a gross motor activity that provides heavy work through the whole body. Draw a flower or sun on two paper plates. Place them on the floor and ask the child to place their hands on the flower picture while they get into a push-up position. The child can push the flowers across the floor.

      Caterpillar Roll- Use a blanket to roll the child up in a log position. The child is now a caterpillar! Add slow and heavy input through up and down the length of the child, using whole hands and slow movements.

      Spring Sensory Activities to Address Gravitational Insecurity

      Sensory challenges sometimes present with gravitational insecurity. This might look like the child that has trouble being positioned off the ground, such as on a raised surface like a swing, bleachers, on an elevator, or escalator, etc. Calming proprioceptive input can be helpful.

      Here are some Spring Sensory Activities that can help:

      Add Spring stickers to a weighted lap pad or wrist/ankle weights. Make it fun!

      Flower Breaths-Try deep breathing activities such as imagining blowing a dandelion fluff across a field. Use deep and slow breaths to imagine moving those flower fluffs away. This can be helpful before participating in an activity that requires motion that can be a challenge for the child, such as when riding in a car.

       
      Use these spring themed activities to develop and address areas that are difficult for the child with sensory processing needs, including tactile discrimination, tactile defensiveness, bilateral coordination, gravitational insecurity, and other areas.

      More Spring Sensory Activities

      Looking for more ways to promote sensory activities through movement and play? The Spring Fine Motor Kit gets kids moving in just the right ways to build strong and efficient hands. When you grab the kit now through the 22nd, you’ll also get a BONUS resources full of sensory strategies to meet all sensory processing needs.

      Spring Fine Motor Kit

      Score Fine Motor Tools and resources and help kids build the skills they need to thrive!

      Developing hand strength, dexterity, dexterity, precision skills, and eye-hand coordination skills that kids need for holding and writing with a pencil, coloring, and manipulating small objects in every day task doesn’t need to be difficult. The Spring Fine Motor Kit includes 100 pages of fine motor activities, worksheets, crafts, and more:

      Spring fine motor kit set of printable fine motor skills worksheets for kids.
      • Lacing cards
      • Sensory bin cards
      • Hole punch activities
      • Pencil control worksheets
      • Play dough mats
      • Write the Room cards
      • Modified paper
      • Sticker activities
      • MUCH MORE

      Click here to add this resource set to your therapy toolbox.

      Spring Fine Motor Kit
      Spring Fine Motor Kit: TONS of resources and tools to build stronger hands.

      Grab your copy of the Spring Fine Motor Kit and build coordination, strength, and endurance in fun and creative activities. Click here to add this resource set to your therapy toolbox.

      In this BONUS set, you’ll find: Spring Visual Perception Worksheets- Print these off and slide them into a page protector. Use them to work on visual perceptual skills like form discrimination, visual closure, figure ground, and visual processing skills like tracking, scanning, etc. Use manipulative items to work on fine motor skills with these worksheets such as play dough, slime, Wikki Stix, yarn, craft pom poms, or other items.

      Spring Fine Motor and Gross Motor Activities- Add these ideas to therapy home programs to work on pencil grasp or core strength. Use these ideas in therapy warm-ups, or to add movement to a child’s day.

      Spring Themed Brain Breaks- Cut up these cards and use them to add movement and motor skills into the classroom or home. It’s a great way to re-charge!

      Spring Themed Handwriting Practice Prompts- There are two pages of writing prompts that are ONLY in list form. That means kids don’t need to write out sentences while working on letter formation, spacing and size. They can work on all of the handwriting skills they need in a short list that is interest-based, making it motivational for them. And, the list format is a quick way to sneak in handwriting practice!

      OT Homework Sheet- Sometimes, it takes extra practice to make skills “stick”. When parents help in practicing therapy activities, it can make a difference in carryover. You’ll find a done-for-you OT homework sheet to use in weekly homework activities OR for use as a home exercise program!

      Client-Centered Worksheet- When our kiddos have a voice in their therapy, carryover and goals can be more meaningful to them. Use this worksheet to come up with Spring activities that meet the needs of a child, while taking into considerations that child’s interests and strengths to make activities meaningful.

      Sensory Activities and More- All of these extras were added to the already well-rounded Spring packet that includes activities designed around each of the sensory systems. You’ll find 13 pages of proprioception activities, vestibular activities, tactile activities, oral motor activities, etc. And, they include ideas to extend the activity to include eye-hand coordination, body scheme, oculomotor control, visual perception, coordination, and motor planning.

      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.

      Spring Visual Perception Activities

      Spring themed visual perception activities for kids

      Have you been following along with the Spring Occupational Therapy activities this week? All week long we’re covering various aspects of development and function with fun and creative spring-themed ideas. Today you’ll find Spring Visual Perception Activities. These are ways to promote visual perceptual skill development and the visual components that are needed for skills like reading, writing, and functional tasks.

      Spring Visual Perception Activities

       
      Working on visual perceptual skills in kids to help with handwriting, reading, or other skills? These spring themed visual perception activities will help.

      If you missed the other posts this week, you can check them out here:

      For a more exhaustive set of strategies, activities, and ideas, be sure to grab the Spring Fine Motor Kit (PLUS bonus kit which covers everything you need for Spring Break) that is on sale now for just $10. You’ll be loaded up on all kinds of tools that will last all season long.

      Each Spring theme includes activity ideas. To see all of the posts from this week (and to see what we’re coving tomorrow), head over to our Spring Occupational Therapy Activities page.

      For more creative strategies and ideas to use in therapy this time of year, you will want to grab the Spring Fine Motor Kit that includes our Spring Occupational Therapy Activities Packet. It’s loaded with tools and ideas to put into place in therapy sessions starting today. 

      For OT Toolbox readers and newsletter subscribers, you can access both of these materials in our Spring Fine Motor Kit DEAL which includes the bonus materials at the time of your purchase.

      Use the ideas in fine motor or gross motor warm-ups, or add them to a home program. You’ll find more visual perceptual activities and worksheets that can be used over and over again. You’ll also find handwriting prompts in list form so you can really focus on things like letter formation, spacing, and line use in short writing tasks. You’ll love the Spring themed brain break cards that can be used in the classroom or at home.

      Grab the Spring Occupational Therapy Activities Packet and bonus Spring Break Kit here.

      Working on visual perceptual skills in kids to help with handwriting, reading, or other skills? These spring themed visual perception activities will help.

       

      Spring Visual Perception Activities

      When we breakdown the term “visual perception”, you will see that there are many sub-areas that are needed for functional skills like reading, handwriting, spelling, coordination, and many functional tasks.

      Below, you’ll find an explanation of visual perceptual skills that impact function, as well as Spring-themed activities to help improve these areas.  

      Read more about how visual perception impacts handwriting here.  

      Visual Perceptual Skills

      Visual Memory- This visual perceptual skill allows us to store information that we see and use that information for future use. In order to recall visual information, we need visual attention.

      The selection and perception of visual input requires that information is perceived via the eye’s visual fields, and in coordination with oculomotor control, is processed through the visual cortex in the brain. This is how visual processing happens.

      Visual memory allows for discrimination of details of such things as letter discrimination, sight word identification, etc.  

      Spring Visual Memory Activities-

      • Use different colored plastic eggs or other items such as mini erasers. Put them in a series of three and show the student. You can then cover up the objects and then ask the student to replicate that series.
      • Create a Spring Memory game. Use pictures or stickers of flowers, chicks, bunnies, caterpillars, butterflies, etc. to create a DIY Memory game.
      • What’s Missing Game- Use those mini erasers from a dollar store to create a What’s Missing Game. Place a handful of erasers on a tray. Allow the child to memorize the items. Then cover them and remove one or more. The child needs to recall and identify the missing items.
      • Spring Memory Game (Free download)– print off this free printable and play memory games with a Spring theme.

      Visual Discrimination- This visual perceptual skill allows us to identify the features of a form/object/letter/number so we can tell the difference between objects.

      Using visual discrimination, we can identify similarities and differences related to the objects and use that information in conjunction with visual memory.  

      Spring Visual Discrimination Activities- 

      • Cut a spring picture or card into pieces. Kids can position the pieces to recreate the whole picture. Make this activity easier or more difficult as needed by the child.
      • Use a packet of spring stickers. Many times there are several sheets that contain the same stickers. Use them to make small cards. Mix up all of the cards and ask the child to find the matches.

      Form Constancy- This visual perceptual skill allows for recognition of objects in various environments or with attention to details and orientation.

      This allows us to recognize letters or numbers no matter their font or size.  

      Spring Form Constancy Activities-

      • Write lists of spring words on index cards in different sizes or fonts, or upper case/lower case letters. Hide the cards around the room. The child can look at one card and go off to find the matching font and word.
      • Using plastic eggs, draw shapes that are similar in form, but are different sizes on each half of the egg. Then, mix up the eggs and as the child to find matches and put them together.

      Visual Closure- This visual perceptual skill enables the identification of objects or forms and allows us to identify an object by viewing just a portion and using mental skills to complete the object’s form in our mind.

      Visual closure is a skill necessary for reading and recognizing words by viewing just the beginning letters. Visual closure is related to and requires visual memory and visual attention.

      Spring Visual Closure Activities- 

      • Gather several Spring-themed items such as small animal figures, flowers, cookie cutters, plastic eggs, etc. Place them on a tray and cover half of the items. Ask the child to name each item without seeing the whole object.
      • Make an “I Spy” Frame- Cut a hole or rectangle in an index card. Place it over a spring picture or item. Ask the child to name the object or item by seeing only a portion.

      Visual Figure Ground- 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.

      Spring Visual-Figure Ground Activities-

      • Use small items such as mini-erasers of various shapes like bunnies, carrots, and flowers. Spread them out on a table in a pile. Ask the student to sort the like shapes into piles.
      • Go on an “I Spy” nature walk and look for signs of Spring.
      • Flip through a catalogue or grocery flier to find specific items on a list. These can be items needed for a Spring event like Mother’s Day or Easter, or items needed for a recipe. 

      Visual Sequential Memory- This visual perceptual skill is the ability to visually take in and then later recall the sequence or order of items in the correct order. This skill is important in reading and writing.

      Visual sequential memory is important in spelling words correctly and recognizing that words are not spelled correctly.

      Spring Visual Sequential Memory Activities- 

      • Make an order of three or more items like three flowers. Ask the student to memorize the order and then to replicate it.
      • Talk about the steps to complete a task such as planting a flower seed. Write out or draw the steps. Cut the paper so the steps are separated. Mix up the order by spreading the various steps on a table surface. Ask the student to place them back into order. 

      More Spring Visual Perception Activities

      Spring Fine Motor Kit

      Score Fine Motor Tools and resources and help kids build the skills they need to thrive!

      Developing hand strength, dexterity, dexterity, precision skills, and eye-hand coordination skills that kids need for holding and writing with a pencil, coloring, and manipulating small objects in every day task doesn’t need to be difficult. The Spring Fine Motor Kit includes 100 pages of fine motor activities, worksheets, crafts, and more:

      Spring fine motor kit set of printable fine motor skills worksheets for kids.
      • Lacing cards
      • Sensory bin cards
      • Hole punch activities
      • Pencil control worksheets
      • Play dough mats
      • Write the Room cards
      • Modified paper
      • Sticker activities
      • MUCH MORE

      Click here to add this resource set to your therapy toolbox.

      Spring Fine Motor Kit
      Spring Fine Motor Kit: TONS of resources and tools to build stronger hands.

      Grab your copy of the Spring Fine Motor Kit and build coordination, strength, and endurance in fun and creative activities. Click here to add this resource set to your therapy toolbox.

      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.

      SHAMROCK ACTIVITY: Fine Motor Clip Cards

      Shamrock activity fine motor clip cards

      Today on the site we’ve got a great Shamrock activity…Fine motor clip cards with a shamrock theme! This is a great addition to St. Patrick’s Day activities in therapy, home or the classroom, and they work on a ton of different skills. Print them off, laminate the clip cards if you like, and you have a literal therapy pot of gold!

      These shamrock activity fine motor clip cards can help with hand strengthening skills, fine motor control and much more.

      This week as we roll out these fabulous Shamrock Activity (Fine Motor Clip Cards), let us take a moment to be thankful the weather is warming up and we can finally celebrate spring. If you are not fortunate enough to have spring weather yet, I feel for you. 

      According to the news report, people are moving out of California, New Jersey and New York in droves. I am surprised more of y’all from Wisconsin and North Dakota aren’t rustling out of there too!  No matter what the temperature is outside, this cute Shamrock Activity Fine Motor Clip Card spring themed activity will help get you motivated for warmer weather. 

      Shamrock activity for Fine Motor skills

      There is something magical about rainbows and unicorns.  Throw some shamrocks in there for good luck, and it is the perfect spring trifecta! 

      Add them to these other shamrock and St. Patrick’s Day themed activities that support the development of fine motor skills:

      These Shamrock Activity fine motor clip cards are so versatile, they  will be able to be modified for most, if not all of your learners.  Read below for ways to adapt and modify this fine motor activity.  

      How to use this shamrock activity:

      • Have learners count the number of shamrocks and place a mark to designate the number of items on the card.  These cards would be great with a (Amazon affiliate link) Dot or Bingo marker!  
      • Learners can color in the rainbows as they go
      • Cut these ahead of time, or make cutting a part of this fine motor counting clip activity
      • Use clothespins to attach to the shamrock cards to count the numbers.  Decorated clothespins are even more fun!  They are great spray painted gold, or dipped in glitter
      • Color and laminate these cards for reusable fun.  Learners can use dry erase markers to count the objects
      • Enlarge or shrink this page to change the level of difficulty
      • Change the type of paper, heavier weight is easier to handle, but may be harder to cut
      • Colored paper might be more motivating, or provide better contrast
      • Project this onto a smart board to make it a touch task, or have students follow along with the diagram
      • Scatter the cards around the room to include a gross motor component
      • Add these cards to an obstacle course having learners complete the challenge, collecting clips along the way
      • Scavenger hunt to have learners find all of the cards in order
      • Crab walk from one card to the next
      • Create an entire St. Patrick’s Day theme for the week!
      • Add spring fine motor tasks with this great fine motor bundle found on the OT Toolbox
      • The possibilities are really endless, don’t let yourself get stuck doing this fine motor activity  just one way

      Things to Observe with these Shamrock Activity Clip Cards

      When working on this shamrock fine motor activity, there are several observations that can be  made: 

      • Can your learner scan the page and count all of the shamrocks?
      • How many items can your learner correctly count?
      • Does your learner correctly hold and manipulate the scissors, crayon, or bingo marker? How much assistance do they need to grip scissors, cut the paper, or color the rainbow?
      • Do your learners have the strength to open and place the clothespins?
      • Can your student motor plan all of the skills needed for this task?
      • Will you need to modify this activity for success?
      • Can your student continue to hold the clothespins while trying to manipulate the paper?
      • What is the number of times you need to repeat the directions so your learner can follow them?
      • How many reminders does your learner need while doing this activity?

      Use these notations in your documentation to document data and support the development of fine motor skills.

      what skills do my learners need?

      While cutting, coloring, counting, and placing clips is a straightforward task for higher level learners, beginners will struggle with all of the parts needed to complete this task. 

      Think about all that has to be involved to do this counting shamrock activity:

      • Fine motor skills – Resources can be found in our fine motor skills library at the OT Toolbox
      • Strength
      • Bilateral coordination
      • Visual perception
      • Executive function/behavior/social skills
      • Following directions
      • Attention to detail
      • Work tolerance
      • Cutting on a line
      • Coloring
      • Counting
      • Multistep directions 
      • Processing skills

      This is just the start of the list when using these Shamrock fine motor clip cards! 

      Perhaps focus your attention on addressing, or observing, just one or two of these skills.  For example, work on following directions or counting, rather than all of them.

      Need more great Shamrock and St. Patrick’s Day tools?

      Here are a few more spring activities and ideas from the OT Toolbox to get you started. Round out your shamrock theme with this new Color Handwriting Kit with Bonus Rainbow Sheets!

      While spring is a lovely change of pace from winter, summer is really my jam! Bring on the heat!

      Free Shamrock Printable Clip Cards

      Want to add this resource to your therapy toolbox so you can help kids thrive? Enter your email into the form below to access this printable tool.

      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.

      Level 2 members get access to all of our downloads, exclusive new resources each month, PLUS additional, premium content each month: therapy kits, screening tools, games, therapy packets, and much more. AND, level 2 members get ad-free content across the entire OT Toolbox website.

      Join the Member’s Club today!

      Free Shamrock Activity- Fine Motor Clip Cards

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        Victoria Wood

        Victoria Wood, OTR/L 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 consistency. This information is relevant for students, patients, clients, school aged children/kids of all ages and stages, or whomever could benefit from these resources. The term “they” is used instead of he/she to be inclusive.