Summer Sensory Stations

Summer sensory activities

Today’s sensory resource is a self-regulation tool that is very popular among therapy professionals and educators: an all-new Summer Sensory Stations set! This set of printable sensory path activities are nice because they can be printed off, laminated (or placed in a page protector sleeve), and hung in a hallway. We’ve received so much great feedback about out other seasonal sensory stations that this summer version was a must! Add this resource to your Summer occupational therapy activities.

You’ll want to check out the other sensory station printables at the bottom of this post.

Free summer sensory stations for a DIY sensory path or self-regulation tool with a summer theme.

Summer Sensory Stations

A DIY sensory path can include a few quick stops to add deep breathing, mindfulness, proprioception, vestibular input, eye-hand coordination, crossing midline, and whole-body movement.

And that’s just what this set of summer themed sensory stations includes!

The movement-based stops offer users to take a break at various stations and integrate movement, coordination, and visual input with deep breathing, and heavy work.

What a great way to add a quick brain break between activities or to get ready for a therapy session!

In this summer themed set of activities, you’ll find a printable page for each “station” or stop along the sensory path:

Bee path infinity loop-

The first page in the summer sensory path kit is a bee infinity loop, which is great for mindfulness, deep breathing, crossing midline, eye-hand coordination.

Tracing the infinity loop offers an opportunity for mindfulness through the summer bees’ paths as they move along the loop. This creative way to foster visual attention, self-regulation, self-awareness, coping skills, and concentration is fun for summer! By tracing the loop, hand-eye coordination and mindfulness allow the user to be more present in the moment, and more aware of themselves.

Some users may stand on an uneven surface while doing this activity to challenge balance and visual skills. Think about adding a gymnastics mat, slant board, balance pod, or other uneven standing surface.

Others may want to kneel or do a lunge while completing this activity to further challenge balance and coordination skills. The nice thing about the printable sensory station is that it can be raised or lowered on the wall easily.

Leap like a dolphin-

The next page in the sensory paths for summer is a “leap like a dolphin” activity. It’s a powerful activity for vestibular input, motor planning, and proprioceptive heavy work

Proprioception offers a way to “wake up” the joints and muscles in the body. This leaping activity can be done from a standing, kneeling, or from the floor. Proprioceptive input from the muscles and joints provides information about body position, weight, pressure, stretch, movement and changes in position in space, so this leaping activity adds a summer theme!

Beach ball wall push-up-

Next in the Summer Sensory Stations kit is a beach ball wall push up page. Add whole body proprioceptive input through the upper extremity: shoulder girdle, elbows, wrists, and arches of the hands. Plus wall push ups are a great strength and stability exercise for the core.

You can modify this activity to place it lower on the wall for a lunge position, or even can do the wall push-ups from a seated position to challenge seated balance. This is a great motor and sensory opportunity for wheelchair users.

Seashell trace and breathe printable-

Users love our spiral path deep breathing exercises. There is so much heavy work benefit to filling and emptying the lungs as a self-regulation strategy.

Follow the circular path from the crab to the seashell while breathing in. Then follow the path again to breathe out. This visual offers a deep breathing exercise for filling and emptying the entire lungs, which is a great interoception and proprioception exercise for mindfulness and self-regulation.

Summer Sand Squats-

Finally, the last page in the Summer Sensory Stations printable is a summer-themed squat exercise.

Users can do a certain number of repetition of squats along with the visual for a balance activity and coordination exercise. This visual is left open-ended but you could challenge users to pick up an object from the floor for more balance opportunities, or you could ask them to move their hands or keep their vision on an object for visual attention, etc.

How to Use these Summer Sensory Stations

Using these Summer sensory path stations is simple:

  • Print off the pages.
  • Laminate them or slide them into a page protector sleeve. This way the sheets can easily be cleaned with a spritz of cleanser or disinfectant spray.
  • Hang the pages in a hallway to create a DIY sensory path. Or, hang them in a corner of a room to make a sensory calm down corner.

You can use these stations as a brain break, a scheduled sensory diet activity, a calm-down activity, or a transition activity for routine sensory input. The stations are great because they can be used with all individuals, making them perfect for a groups of children at a sensory summer camp (or any type of summer camp!) or meeting individual needs during therapy sessions.

Want these Printable sensory Stations?

Enter your email address into the form below. You’ll receive an email containing the PDF file. This resource is also available in our Member’s Club, where members can head to the dashboard and click a download button to immediately access the printable along with hundreds of other resources…no need to enter your email address!

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 Summer Sensory Stations

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    Looking for more Sensory Stations?

    Check out these other themed sensory station printables:

    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.

    Ultimate Guide to PLAY DOUGH MATS

    Play dough mats

    After reading below about the benefits of playing with play dough mats, go grab some of them for FREE. When using these fun play dough mats, you will start helping children work on important developmental skills. In addition to all the fun children will have while using these mats (which is a win), they will be developing the necessary fine motor hand skills needed for everyday functional tasks such as; fastener manipulation, classroom tool use, grasp patterns, and overall dexterity/manipulation used in multiple fine motor tasks. Be sure to check out our resource on playdough activities for fine motor skills to support this area.

    Play dough mats

    The benefits of using play dough mats

    Play dough is an AWESOME tool in itself! 

    With all of the attractive colors, and the sensory feel of it, playdough can be very enticing to children. With a little preparation and care, play dough mats can be almost mess-free! If pieces fall off, just tap with another blob of dough, and it blends back in with little need for clean-up. (Just avoid the carpet!) While engaging with these super fun play dough mats, children can stay occupied for a lengthy time in either independent play, or cooperative play with a partner.  

    You can easily use play dough mats during an OT session, as part of a home program, or as a fine motor station in the classroom. Each mat provides a theme to compliment any learning or skill building you might be looking for. After you read about all of the benefits, you’ll want to get all of these mats and start right away, but first let’s look at those specific skills they help develop. 

    Play dough can easily be made or purchased, and used with play dough mats to focus on developing so many skills.

    Many Benefits of play dough mats:

    • Hand and finger strengthening skills – squeeze, press, poke, and pinch the play dough while manipulating. Hand strength is a skill needed for most functional tasks. This helps build intrinsic hand musculature, and improves fine motor endurance.
    • Grasp skills – Tools such as plastic knives, scissors, cookie cutters, pizza cutters, and rolling pins, provide the opportunity to work on varied grasp patterns.
    • Bilateral integration skills – use both hands together in a coordinated manner to manipulate the play dough, therefore building bilateral coordination. They adjust the dough’s size, shape, and weight as needed for mat play. Bilateral coordination skills are needed for functional tasks like writing, dressing, cooking, and essentially all functional participation.
    • Manual dexterity skills – manipulate the putty to shape and pinch the dough to match the theme the of each mat. This gives them the opportunity to develop precise finger movements and thumb opposition.
    • Self-regulation skills – When children squeeze, press, poke, pinch and roll out the dough, they get deep proprioceptive input, which can be soothing and calming to a child. 
    • Eye-hand coordination skills – While creating and placing the shapes on the play dough mats to match the theme, learners are coordinating their hand and eye movements, working on important visual motor coordination skills. Eye hand coordination skills can impact functional participation.
    • Gross motor skills – Engaging with play dough works the larger muscles of the upper extremity (shoulder and arm) in order to push, pull, press, and roll the dough. Don’t forget, development occurs proximally to distally, so those larger muscles need engagement!
    • Creativity and play skills – Learners use their play dough creativity and imagination to add their own details to the mats, with their own play dough creations.  They can add small beads, sequins, buttons, or pegs in addition to their playdough shapes. 
    • Social skills – If mats are used with a partner, children will have the opportunity for cooperative and collaborative play They will be learning self-control and communication, coupled with pretend play, as they work to build items together on a single mat, or by trading mats and sharing details. These would make a great tool for social skill groups!
    • Visual perceptual skills – Play dough mats work on visual figure ground skills, as learners visually scan the boards to locate the circles for play dough ball size, location, and placement. Visual discrimination skills are needed to identify any size differences in the circles, and make the play dough balls larger or smaller as indicated. 
    • Olfactory skills – Adding a little scent, such as an essential oil to the play dough will provide children some olfactory input, making the experience more multi-sensory. 
    • Tactile skills – The addition of a little glitter, rice, or sand to the play dough, will provide children further tactile input. For some learners with tactile aversion, working with playdough may be difficult at first.

    Play dough does not need to be store bought. Go to our link here for some of the Best Dough Recipes.

    how to use play dough mats

    How to Use Play Dough Mats

    Using play dough mats is pretty self explanatory. Kids love using the fun and engaging play activities and often times don’t realize they are developing skills at the same time. These steps will help with using your play dough mats in therapy, the classroom for a fine motor brain break, or in the home for a play activity:

    1. You’ll need to print off the play dough mat that works for your needs. You can find different printable playdough mats for different themes.

    2. Laminate the page, or slide it into a page protector sheet.

    2. Select play dough, either home made or store bought. Select play dough consistency and resistance based on the individual’s needs.

    3. Consider how to adapt the activity based on the needs of the individual. Some considerations include thinking about fine motor skills, bilateral coordination needs, visual motor needs, or sensory needs.

    4. Position play dough mats and play dough to meet the needs and areas of development for the individual.

    5. Work on opening and closing the play dough container if this is an area of concern (it’s a great functional activity!)

    how to use play dough mats for occupational therapy

    Adapting Play Dough Mats

    Play dough mats can be used in occupational therapy to develop skills and work on goal areas through play. They can also be used to support needs and integrate adaptations in play for practice.

    Play dough mats are a fun way to play and build skills at home, too. They can be used in the classroom for a brain break, a sensory break, or a tool to build fine motor skills with a classroom theme.

    How can you adapt playdough mats for specific skill adaptations in OT sessions? There are so many ways…

    Motor Skill Needs- For individuals struggling with motor skills, you can tape the page protector sheet to the table surface. Another idea is to use sticky tack on the back of the page protector. This can secure the play dough mat to the table and limit it’s movement during play.

    Another motor skill strategy is to use a play dough mat with larger areas or smaller areas for the play dough. This can require more or less small motor movements, and can offer more or less opportunities for precision work.

    Bilateral coordination needs- Encourage bilateral coordination by asking the user to hold the play dough mat on the table. This is a great way to encourage paper positioning during writing tasks, too.

    Sensory needs- Play dough consistency will provide a varied tactile experience such as, sticky, slippery, firm, and partially dry. Much like different grades of thera-putty, different play dough recipes can be used to build fine motor skills or offer more or less heavy work through the hands.

    Some play dough to meet tactile preferences and tactile challenges include:

    Some play dough to meet tactile preferences and tactile challenges include:

    Regulation needs- Building on the sensory aspect, you can offer movement-based heavy work through the hands and upper body by offering less resistant play dough (more of a silky and fluid feel to the play dough consistency) or you can offer more heavy work using a heavier grade to the resistance.

    Visual needs- For users with visual processing needs, there are ways to adapt the play dough mats. Try outlining the areas where play dough is placed for a darker visual cue by using a dark marker. You can then slide the sheet into a sheet protector and play from there.

    Core strength/Stability/Visual Gaze- For some, maintaining an upright posture is difficult. You can easily position play dough mats on a slant board, easel, or vertical surface using sticky tack, tape, magnets, etc. This positioning strategy can be used to either support positioning and visual gaze needs to to challenge these areas to reach a “just right” level in therapy sessions.

    Free Printable Play Dough Mats

    Each of the free play dough mats below can be printed off and used over and over again. A few tips for using play dough mats in therapy or in the home or classroom:

    Space Play Dough Mat | gives learners the opportunity to strengthen their hands while developing essential skills that are needed for pencil writing, as well as the dexterity and precision skills that are needed for many daily, fine motor tasks. The simple thing about this outer space mat, is that it works on a specific set of muscles in the hand. 

    Astronaut Play Dough Mat | can be used as part of space theme, or a solo activity. Ask your learner to pull off a small piece of play dough and roll it between the fingers and thumb of one hand. It’s important to use just that one hand as it’s part of the challenge! Doing this hand activity will help build hand strength, dexterity, coordination, and endurance of the smaller muscles of the hand and fingers. 

    Play Dough City | complements any geography lesson as children fill in the circles of the city sky, while helping them to build their fine motor skills and endurance, which are needed for tasks like writing/coloring, pencil control for forming letters, functional pencil grasp, manipulation of clothing fasteners, opening/closing containers, and so much more. This cute mat can be used along with any other city activities including books, travel, and anything about city life.

    Ice Cream Play Dough Mat | create small balls of play dough that fit on ice cream images, while working on hand strength and other motoric skills needed for pencil grasp, endurance for coloring, accuracy with scissors, and dexterity for manipulation of buttons, zippers, and coins. This mat can be a great take home mat for use over the summer break. Be sure to include instructions on what you want the child to do!

    Toy Theme Play Dough Mat | helps children use their fingertip and thumb to roll a small ball of play dough, placing and pressing the dough onto the circles on the mat. They need just a small piece of dough to make the ball small enough to fit into the circles. This is a great activity for developing and defining the arches of the hand, strengthening the intrinsic musculature, and boosting visual perceptual skills too! This toy theme mat builds on the fundamental “job” that kids have, which is play! Use this themed mat during down time, or a rainy day, to add a little productive playtime.

    Play Dough Bird Mat | gives kiddos a hand workout, while they create small balls of dough rolled with their fingers, to match the circle sizes on the mat. There are various sizes to challenge the child’s precision and dexterity. Children can count the birds and match the colors of the birds too.  Another way to use this mat is to write numbers or letters in the circles in random order and then have the child scan the mat to challenge their visual perceptual skills.

    Roll and Write Play Dough Mat Bundle | all about helping kids warm-up their hands prior to handwriting. It makes handwriting more fun when using one of these 7 themed play dough mats. Children warm-up using dough, then work on letter formation, words, and sentences. 

    These printable play dough mats include a themed play dough area plus a writing area. Use the play dough as a fine motor warm up and then move to the handwriting aspect.

    Numbers 1-20 Sky/Ground Play Mats | helps children to work on 1-20 number formation, provides sensory input, encourages motor planning, and spatial relations. 

    A-Z Sky/Ground Play Mats | work on upper case and lower case A-Z letter formation, provides sensory input, encourages motor planning, and spatial relations. 

    Intrinsic Muscle Strengthening Play Dough Mat– This simple play dough mat limits the visual background and offers different sizes of circles. Users can create small balls of play dough to build intrinsic hand strength.

    All of the free play dough mats are available in our Member’s Club. There, you can just click and download the play dough mats!

    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!

    A final note on play dough mats:

    Do you want to use any of the play dough mats multiple times? Simply laminate them, or place in a sheet protector so children can use them repeatedly, any time they want. Play dough mats are a fun and engaging way for young children to work on problem-solving, pretend play, pre-academic skills, and other developmental functions. They don’t even know they are doing it, as they are having so much FUN!

    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!

    Note: Only use play dough with the appropriate aged children. take sensible precautions with small or differently abled children, as play dough and small manipulatives can be a choking hazard. Adult supervision should be provided. 

    June Occupational Therapy Calendar

    June activity calendar for occupational therapy

    If you are looking for Summer occupational therapy activities, this June occupational therapy calendar is for you! It’s loaded with June calendar ideas to help kids move, develop skills, and play this summer. Having a calendar for therapy activities ready to go is important to beat the summer slide when it comes to helping kids move with therapist-approved activities. Use this printable June calendar in occupational therapy home programs, summer lesson plans, and OT summer sessions! You’ll find more summer occupational therapy ideas on various places on the website.

    To get you started, also try this resource on summer occupational therapy crafts and this printable 100 things to do this summer.

    Both can be printed and used along with this free June activity calendar to support kids’ OT needs this year.

    June calendar ideas for occupational therapy and play at home during the summer.

    June Occupational Therapy Calendar

    We’re plugging along as the end of this school year arrives and the start of summer is right around the corner.  Are you ready for a summer with the kids?  
     
    It can be hard to stay on track with Occupational Therapy goals during the carefree days of summer.  This month, with the June activity calendar, I wanted to bring you easy ways to keep up on therapy goals.  
     
    There is nothing better than the whole family getting involved with a game or an outing. Family time is memory-making time and so this month’s  Occupational Therapy calendar is focused around family activities. 
     

    June Activities

     
    This Family wellness BINGO game is another tool to support overall family needs and can be a great addition to summer activities.
     
    The June OT calendar includes activities such as: 

    The June calendar ideas include other activities at the bottom of the page to support a variety of needs. These ideas can be used to replace activities on the calendar, if needed. 

    All of the June activities support a variety of developmental areas. We’ve selected the activity ideas based on development of skills through play and movement.

    Some of the developmental areas addressed in these June activities include:

    • Sensory processing
    • Visual processing
    • Executive functioning skills
    • Direction following
    • Motor skill development (fine motor and gross motor)

    Each June activity on the OT calendar targets sensory motor areas:

    • Tactile input
    • Proprioception
    • Vestibular input
    • Visual input

    Some activities are guided by olfactory, auditory, and gustatory input. 

    We’ve selected these June activities to support areas of functioning such as:

    1. Handwriting
    2. Scissor skills
    3. Self-care
    4. Cooking (following recipes)
    5. Game play
    6. Exploring the community

    More June Activities

    Exploring all that summer allows is a great way to develop skills during the Summer months. However, if you need a strategy, we’ve created a few resources for just this need.
     
    In fact, I’ve created a whole summer of OT activities that the get the family involved!  These are sensory-based treatment activities that build on skills that may make up your child’s Occupational Therapy goals.  The nice thing about these activities is that you can adjust the activity to meet individual goals. 
     

    You’ll be interested in our new Summer Occupational Therapy Activities Packet. It’s a collection of 14 items that guide summer programming at home, at school, and in therapy sessions. The summer activities bundle covers handwriting, visual perceptual skills and visual motor skills, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, regulation, and more.

    You’ll find ideas to use in virtual therapy sessions and to send home as home activities that build skills and power development with a fun, summer theme. Kids will love the Summer Spot It! game, the puzzles, handouts, and movement activities. Therapists will love the teletherapy slide deck and the easy, ready-to-go activities to slot into OT sessions. The packet is only $10.00 and can be used over and over again for every student/client!

    Grab the Spring Occupational Therapy Activities Packet HERE.

    summer occupational therapy activities for kids
     
    June Occupational Therapy calendar of activities for the family
     
     
     

    Want to take summer play to the next level? Be sure to grab your copy of the Summer OT Activities Bundle!

     
    Summer activities for kids

    Free June Activity Calendar

    Want to print off this calendar and add it to home programs or use it in therapy planning this summer? Enter your email address into the form below.

    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 JUNE 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.

      Sensory Handwriting Backyard Summer Camp

      handwriting camp

      Have you ever thought about running a handwriting tutor session or a Summer handwriting camp? A handwriting camp is a great way to support the Summer slide when it comes to handwriting skills, or work on a few handwriting activities in fun and engaging ways over the summer months.

      Summer Handwriting Camp Ideas

      Summer is a time of relaxation, lazy play, and freedom for kids.  It can be a time of sliding backward in skills like handwriting, too.  While it’s important to remain free of schedules over the summer and allow kids to just be kids, there can be a need for some kids to maintain skills to prevent a loss of skills.  These sensory handwriting activities are a fun way to incorporate the senses into handwriting practice, in a fun way.  I’ve created sensory-based handwriting activities that can be used to create a DIY backyard summer camp at home.



      Use these ideas to work on handwriting skills through the senses!

      sensory summer camp at home idea for handwriting summer camp for kids using all of the senses to prevent the summer slide.

      You’ll also be interested in our new Summer Occupational Therapy Activities Packet. It’s a collection of 14 items that guide summer programming at home, at school, and in therapy sessions. The summer activities bundle covers handwriting, visual perceptual skills and visual motor skills, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, regulation, and more.

      You’ll find ideas to use in virtual therapy sessions and to send home as home activities that build skills and power development with a fun, summer theme. Kids will love the Summer Spot It! game, the puzzles, handouts, and movement activities. Therapists will love the teletherapy slide deck and the easy, ready-to-go activities to slot into OT sessions. The packet is only $10.00 and can be used over and over again for every student/client!

      Grab the Summer Occupational Therapy Activities Packet HERE.

      summer occupational therapy activities for kids

      Tips to be a Handwriting Tutor

      This post contains affiliate links.

      Before beginning handwriting tutoring sessions, or a handwriting camp, you’ll want to create a few pieces of paperwork. Important papers such as disclaimers, waivers, and intake information can cover a few important issues as a handwriting tutor, handwriting coach, or handwriting camp. 

      1. Identify if you are using your therapy license or not? This is an important item to cover from the very start. Identify the scope of the handwriting tutoring sessions or camp sessions. If they are going to be considered under the scope of occupational therapy, there are certain considerations to be addressed. These are not to be considered therapy, unless you are actually doing an occupational therapy evaluation and creating a specific course of treatment. In these cases, fees for therapy or insurance can be collected, and you would operate under your license. Occupational therapy assistants would need to work under supervision of an occupational therapist. If the sessions would be operating without evaluation, assessment, and individualized interventions, then the scope of the sessions can occur under general tutoring or camp activities. In both situations, a disclaimer explaining these specifics should be created (next item).
      2. Disclaimer- Create a disclaimer that covers the scope of the tutoring or camp sessions.
      3. What will you cover in tutoring/handwriting camp? Identify the scope of tutoring content or handwriting summer camp content. Are you going to be covering letter formation? Simply handwriting practice? The importance of cursive writing? Cursive letter formation? Copying skills? Functional handwriting? Pencil grasp? Fine motor skills? Free writing?
      4. Waiver- Create a waiver that covers liability and removes yourself from any liability issues as a tutor or camp creator. There are many waiver and liability templates available, or you can reach out to a local attorney.
      5. Intake paperwork- Create paperwork for collecting information from parents. This should include name, contact information, special considerations such as allergies, emergency contact information, etc.
      6. Handwriting Camp Plans- Create a plan for handwriting tutoring or handwriting camp sessions. See below for ideas for each handwriting camp session.
      7. Collect money- Determine how you will be collect money to paid for tutoring sessions. A great tool that I have used in the past is SendOwl. You can create an account and create a “product” that is listed as a service. For an average of $20/month, you can have a way to collect income, sales pages, and market to your list month after month.

      Handwriting tutoring or Handwriting Camp Plans

      After you’ve created the logistics of the camp or tutoring session, it’s important to come up with a plan for general tutoring or camp sessions. You can create a plan for the entire camp that covers several weeks so that you’ve got ideas Try these tips to keep handwriting summer camps fun and stress-free.

      1. Identify what will be covered in the handwriting camp/handwriting tutoring.

      Start by identifying what you’ll be covering in tutoring sessions or handwriting camp sessions. These are general topics and can be used with any student no matter the level (this is important if you are not going to be doing an evaluation and treatment plan and operating under your license).

      Some topics for handwriting camps and handwriting tutoring sessions can include:

      You can also consider a theme for the camp or handwriting sessions. Some ideas include an outer space camp theme or a circus summer camp theme.

      2. Next come up with a schedule for handwriting camp sessions or handwriting tutoring:

      Start off sessions with movement, play, and activities that build skills through play. Below are some ideas for the schedule of a tutoring or handwriting camp session:

      • Use lots of movement breaks and brain break activities.  Try to keep written work tasks as movement oriented as possible. 
      • Start each mini-session with gross motor activities: crab walks, jumping jacks, heavy work, or vestibular games.
      • Move on to fine motor movement activities, incorporating proprioception, and dexterity tasks.
      • Proceed to handwriting activities, keeping them as fun and activity-based as possible.  Incorporate several of the senses into written work, allowing the children to involve as many senses as possible in each mini-session. Limit written work activities to 15-20 minutes. You can use our free Handwriting printables and resources available on the website. See all of our Free Handwriting Resources HERE
      • Encourage 10 minutes of journal writing or letter writing.
      • Use these Summer Writing Lists for quick list writing that build handwriting skills
      • Finish with movement activities, using whole-body games like playing catch, batting a balloon, jumping rope, or kicking a ball. 
      sensory summer camp at home idea for handwriting summer camp for kids using all of the senses to prevent the summer slide.

      Summer Handwriting Camp Ideas



      When it comes to handwriting, the motor sensory systems have a HUGE input in terms of handwriting ability, legibility, and fluency.  

      START HERE for learning more about sensory processing and handwriting; This is everything you need to know about handwriting and sensory concerns.


      I will be the first to admit: There are not too many kids out there who want to work on handwriting during their summer break.  The trick to building or maintaining skills it to make it fun.  Here are a bunch of ideas for motivating kids to write.


      Once you’ve got some ideas to incorporating handwriting into summer days, you can try a few sensory strategies for practicing written work.  Try the handwriting ideas below to making written work fun using the senses.


      Tactile Sensory Handwriting Ideas:

      • Pressing Too Hard When Writing Proprioception Tips is the perfect post if you are looking for tips on writing with too much (or too little) pencil pressure.
      • Fizzy Dough Cursive Letters uses the sense of touch with tactile exploratory input with fizzy, sensory letter formation.
      • Sensory Letter Formation Work on letter formation using dish soap in this tactile and olfactory letter learning and writing activity.
      • Fidget tips and tools can be used for kids who are constantly fidgeting during writing activities.
      • Write in shaving cream on a plastic tablecloth.
      • Practice letters while writing in oobleck.
      • Use mess-free sensory bags.
      • Form letters in a sand tray, salt tray, sugar tray, cornmeal tray, or flour.
      • Write with wet chalk.

      Auditory Sensory Handwriting Ideas:

      • Write in the air letters while singing.
      • Use Encourage singing or humming during written work.
      • Use headphones to block out sounds or to provide background noise.
      • Practice written work from an auditory source.  
      • Take handwriting activities outdoors to the backyard, and notice birds chirping, cars, dogs barking, etc.
      • Minimize auditory distractions for other children.
      • Ask children to repeat the directions.
      • Use visual cues such as index cards with written directions.
      • Handwriting on Foam Craft Sticks and letters and coffee filters use the auditory sense when writing.  Whisper, tell, yell, rhyme, or sing the letters as your child writes them.

      Olfactory Sensory Handwriting Ideas:

      Proprioception Handwriting Ideas:

      • Start with these ideas  for understanding the basics of the proprioception sense and its impact on handwriting.
      • Write on a resistive surface.
      • Form letters with push pins on a lid.
      • Write with chalk on a driveway or rocks.  Try rainbow writing with chalk.
      • Write while laying on a trampoline. TIP: Use a clipboard.
      • Use a therapy ball to sit on, lay on, and write on.
      • Practice letter formation and pencil pressure by lacing a sheet of paper over a foam computer mouse pad. If pressing too hard, the pencil point will poke through the paper. 
      • vibrating pen provides sensory feedback to the fingers and hand and helps to keep children focused on the task. 
      • Practice handwriting by placing a sheet of paper over a piece of sandpaper. The resistance of the sandpaper is great heavy work for small muscles of the hand. 
      • Practice Ghost Writing: Encourage the child to write very lightly on paper and then erase the words without leaving any marks. The adult can try to read the words after they’ve been erased. If the words are not able to be read, the writer wins the game. 
      • This will provide the child with awareness and words for the way they are holding the pencil. 
      • Wrap a bit of play dough or putty around the pencil as a grip. Encourage the child to hold the pencil with a grasp that does not press deeply into the dough. Encourage using a “just right” pressure. 
      • Provide terms for they way they write. Encourage “just right” writing and not “too hard” or “too soft” marks. 
      • Use a lead pencil to color in a small picture, using light gray, medium gray, and dark gray. Talk about how using different amounts of pressure changes the shade of gray. 
      • Practice writing with a pen on thin paper surfaces such as napkins and tissue paper.

      Vestibular Sensory Handwriting Ideas

      • Write while laying in the slide. Try using the slide as a writing surface while the child is lying on their belly.  Try both head towards the top of the slide and head towards the bottom of the slide.
      • Try a wiggle seat cushion such as a balance disc or a wobble chair.
      • Try sitting in a rocking chair, using a clipboard to write on.

      Gustatory Sensory Handwriting Ideas

      • Form letters with taste-safe play dough.
      • Use bread dough to form letters.  Bake and eat.
      • Write in pudding.
      • Try taste-testing handwriting activities:  Try practicing writing while the student is chewing gum, or sucking on hard candy.  Other ideas include: chewing licorice, sour candy, chewy gummy candy, lollipops, or crunchy pretzels.  These types of oral sensory input are organizing. With the children, see if they notice improved concentration and written work output with these types of oral sensations.

      Visual Sensory Handwriting Ideas

      • Write with highlighters.
      • Write with a flashlight in a darkened room.
      • Write with sparklers in the evening. (Use glow sticks for a safer option.)
      • Make a DIY light box.

       Sensory Summer Camp at Home themes

      What do you think?

      Have you thought about running an occupational therapy summer camp or a sensory summer camp? Maybe you’re thinking about targeting clients or just creating a group activity for non-clients as part of summer programming. Let me know if you’ve done any of the activities listed here. And, tell me…What are some awesome occupational therapy summer camp ideas you’ve had or sensory summer camp strategies that you’ve used?

       

      Want to take summer play to the next level? Be sure to grab your copy of the Summer OT Activities Bundle!

      Summer activities for kids

      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.