Sun Visual Perception Activity

sun visual perception activities

Working on visual perceptual skills with kids this summer? This sun visual perception activity is a fun way to build skills needed for handwriting and reading! It’s a free therapy slide deck that builds skills like visual discrimination, form constancy, and visual figure-ground.

Sun visual perception activity and free slide deck

Sun Visual Perception Activity

Summertime doesn’t have to mean not working on specific skills that help kids to improve functional hand writing and learning tasks. It also doesn’t mean building visual perceptual skills requires boring worksheets either.

This free visual perceptual activity has a sun and sunshine theme for summer days.

The visual perception sun activities include visual discrimination, form constancy, visual attention, and visual memory tasks.

Kids can work on form constancy as they recognize differences in the various sun images and activities.

You’ll love adding this these other visual perceptual activities too:

Sunshine Visual perceptual activities

There are several visual perceptual activities with the sun theme on the slide decks.

This is also great if kids are heading off to vacation or taking a break from therapy for a while. They can use the activity as a fun way to work on specific visual perceptual skills.

Want to access this free therapy slide deck? Enter your email address into the form below and to receive this activity.

FREE Sun Visual Perception Activity Slide Deck

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    Working on building skills this summer? The Summer OT Bundle is for you!

    Summer occupational therapy activities bundle

    Work on fine motor skills, visual perception, visual motor skills, sensory tolerance, handwriting, scissor skills, and much more so that kids can accomplish self-care tasks, learn, and grow through play all summer long.

    This bundle is perfect for the pediatric occupational therapist who needs resources and tools to use in summer therapy sessions, home programs, or extended school year therapy plans.

    This bundle is perfect for parents, grandparents, and caregivers looking to provide developmental fine motor activities designed to help kids build skills.

    • Send kids back to school in the Fall without worrying about the “Summer Slide”.
    • Use these materials to work on areas like hand strength, fine motor development, scissor skills, handwriting, pencil control, pencil grasp, sensory play experiences, and much more. Just pull out the pages or activities you need for your child, and develop skills through play!

    The Summer OT Bundle includes 19 resources that you can print and use over and over again:

    Helping children develop and achieve functional skills this summer was never so easy (or fun!)

    Be sure to grab the Summer OT Bundle, a HUGE resource of therapy tools and activities for all things building skills this summer.

    Grab the Summer OT Bundle here.

    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.

    Mermaid Sandcastle Activity

    mermaid sandcastle

    Do you know kids that love all things mermaids? Or, are you heading to the beach this summer and want to add a sandcastle activity to your skill building? This mermaid sandcastle is going to be a hit this summer! Kids can decorate the mermaid and build a sandcastle in an interactive slide deck for therapy goals!

    Use this mermaid sandcastle activity to work on therapy skills- decorate a mermaid and a sandcastle and then complete the mermaid writing prompts and sandcastle writing prompts.

    Mermaid Sand Castle Activity

    Did you ever see a kiddo or little girl who loves all things mermaids? Using mermaid themes in therapy activities can be a fun way to engage kids in something that interest them like mermaids.

    In this interactive slide deck children can move the pieces to add accessories to create a decorated mermaid.

    This mermaid slide deck is mirrored off of our popular disguise a turkey slide deck from Thanksgiving and our fun decorate a gingerbread house from Christmas time. Both free slide decks were really popular during the pandemic when all therapy was virtual. Just like those interactive slides, this mermaid sandcastle activity allows kids the freedom of expression and creativity to decorate a mermaid and a sandcastle with movable pieces right on the slides.

    This slide deck is a great summer occupational therapy tool to work on several areas.

    Skills like eye hand coordination, visual motor skills, visual memory, visual attention, and visual discrimination can be used to move the different necklaces and crowns for the mermaid.

    On the first slide children can select accessories for the mermaid by clicking and dragging on different accessories. They have to work on mouse control or finger isolation to click and drag.

    Mermaid Writing Prompts

    Next the slides prompt kids to write about what they selected to create their mermaid.

    Depending on the child’s individual goals or needs they can work on hand writing and write out the sentence prompts on paper or they can type right on this the scrub slide deck.

    The slide asks kids about the accessories they used to decorate their mermaid, so the prompts work on using visual memory and working memory skills as part of executive functioning. Children can try to recall the specific details about the accessories that they selected like the color the shape the form and other details.

    This helps with awareness skills and recognition as well as discrimination and visual memory. All of his skills are essential for hand writing when copying materials or writing from memory to form letters and numbers.

    Decorate a sandcastle activity

    Next the slide deck continues with the sea theme with an interactive decorate a Sandcastle slide. On this slide, children can decorate this the Sandcastle using features such as colorful and fun windows, doors, and flags.

    Sandcastle Writing Prompts

    Then the next slide continues with a handwriting or typing prompt and asks about details that they selected for their Sandcastle.

    Children can again work on working memory skills and attention to detail.

    Both of the slide decks both of these slides are fun ways to use a mermaid and sandcastle theme in therapy.

    Free mermaid sandcastle slide deck

    Would you like to add the slide deck to your therapy Toolbox? Enter your email address into the form below to access the slide deck. You will receive an email with a PDF that you can click to cook to connect the slides to your Google Drive. When used in the edit mode the clickable pieces on the interactive slide deck will be movable. Note please consider using a personal email address as school email addresses and work email addresses may block the delivery of this PDF via email.

    FREE Mermaid Sandcastle Slide Deck Activity

      We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at anytime.

      Working on building skills this summer? The Summer OT Bundle is for you!

      Summer occupational therapy activities bundle

      Work on fine motor skills, visual perception, visual motor skills, sensory tolerance, handwriting, scissor skills, and much more so that kids can accomplish self-care tasks, learn, and grow through play all summer long.

      This bundle is perfect for the pediatric occupational therapist who needs resources and tools to use in summer therapy sessions, home programs, or extended school year therapy plans.

      This bundle is perfect for parents, grandparents, and caregivers looking to provide developmental fine motor activities designed to help kids build skills.

      • Send kids back to school in the Fall without worrying about the “Summer Slide”.
      • Use these materials to work on areas like hand strength, fine motor development, scissor skills, handwriting, pencil control, pencil grasp, sensory play experiences, and much more. Just pull out the pages or activities you need for your child, and develop skills through play!

      The Summer OT Bundle includes 19 resources that you can print and use over and over again:

      Helping children develop and achieve functional skills this summer was never so easy (or fun!)

      Be sure to grab the Summer OT Bundle, a HUGE resource of therapy tools and activities for all things building skills this summer.

      Grab the Summer OT Bundle here.

      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.

      Outdoor Sensory Activities: Visual Sensory Processing

      outdoor sensory activities for visual processing

      Getting kids outside is more important in recent months and years than ever before. That’s why I’ve put together a series of blog posts on outdoor sensory activities for visual processing and visual motor strategies to incorporate in outdoor sensory play. You may have seen our Backyard Summer Sensory series that covers all things outdoor sensory activities. You can see the other posts in the series, including backyard oral sensory activitiesoutdoor sensory activities for tactile sense, outdoor proprioception activities, backyard auditory processing activities, and outdoor oral motor sensory activities (yep, that’s possible to address in outdoor play!)

      All of these outdoor sensory diet strategies are powerful ways to help kids thrive.

      Outdoor Sensory Activities for Visual Processing

      Today, I’m sharing visual sensory activities that can be done right in the backyard. The visual sensory system is so closely related to the auditory and vestibular systems and is essential for function and independence in skills like reading, writing, and motor planning, balance, eye-hand coordination, among many other areas.  The visual sensory system is responsible for visual acuity, oculomotor control of the eyes, and processing of what our eyes take in.  When one or more of these areas are a problem, functional skills are affected.

      We’ve been sharing creative and easy sensory-based activities that can be done right in the backyard.  This is perfect for summer (and the series was intended as a backyard summer series!) but each post in the series can totally be adapted for year-round sensory ideas for backyard play.  

      Visual sensory processing activities that can be done in the backyard this summer

      Backyard SENSORY ACTIVITIES for Visual Processing:

      These ideas would be a great addition to all of our summer occupational therapy activities here on The OT Toolbox! 

      • Grass hide scanning- Use grass clippings to fill a large plastic bin.  Tuck small items, coins, or small parts into the bin.  Ask kids to scan the area and locate items with just their eyes.  Kids can try to remember the order that they found the items in a visual memory game.
      • Backyard Toy Memory Game-  Continue to work on visual memory and scanning visual perceptual skills by spreading out small toys into a plot of backyard.  Ask your child to look at the toys and try to remember all of the items.  Cover the toys with a blanket and then remove one or two items.  Remove the blanket and ask your child to recall the missing item.
      • Cloud Scan-  Lay on the ground with your child as you look up at the clouds on a clear but cloudy day.  Watch clouds as they move across the sky.  Ask your child to see images in the clouds shapes.  Ask them to rotate on the ground so that their head is now where their feet just were.  Ask them if they still see the same shape or if it is a new shape. Discovering an outline of a shape in a form uses a visual perceptual skill known as form perception and works along with visual closure and form constancy to allow us to determine that shapes, letters and numbers are the same no matter what their direction.
      • Figure Ground Hunt- Use rocks and letters to practice visual perception with a sensory bin like we did in this activity.
      • Catch a ball.  Try catching while standing, sitting, swinging, rolling a ball, catching between legs, etc.
      • Hit a tennis racket at a target.  Ideas include bubbles, falling leaves, large balls, small rubber balls, and balloons. 
      • Scavenger hunts-try doing these while crawling.
      • Catching butterflies in a net.  Try catching fire flies, too.
      • Visual scanning between targets.
      • Bubble pop- Try popping bubbles with a toe, knee, foot, head, finger, or elbow.
      Visual sensory processing activities that can be done in the backyard this summer

        Looking for more backyard sensory ideas for summer?  

      The Summer Sensory Activity Guide is the place to find everything you need for a summer of sensory input.  Use the sensory activities described in the booklet as a guide to meet the individual needs of your child.  The activities are not a substitute for therapy.  Rather, they are sensory-based summer activities that are designed to address each sensory system through summer play.  Activities are described to involve the whole family.  Check out the Summer Sensory Activity Guide today!

      The guide is included in our Summer OT Bundle: 

      Working on building skills this summer? The Summer OT Bundle is for you!

      Summer occupational therapy activities bundle

      Work on fine motor skills, visual perception, visual motor skills, sensory tolerance, handwriting, scissor skills, and much more so that kids can accomplish self-care tasks, learn, and grow through play all summer long.

      This bundle is perfect for the pediatric occupational therapist who needs resources and tools to use in summer therapy sessions, home programs, or extended school year therapy plans.

      This bundle is perfect for parents, grandparents, and caregivers looking to provide developmental fine motor activities designed to help kids build skills.

      • Send kids back to school in the Fall without worrying about the “Summer Slide”.
      • Use these materials to work on areas like hand strength, fine motor development, scissor skills, handwriting, pencil control, pencil grasp, sensory play experiences, and much more. Just pull out the pages or activities you need for your child, and develop skills through play!

      The Summer OT Bundle includes 19 resources that you can print and use over and over again:

      Helping children develop and achieve functional skills this summer was never so easy (or fun!)

      Be sure to grab the Summer OT Bundle, a HUGE resource of therapy tools and activities for all things building skills this summer.

      Grab the Summer OT Bundle here.

      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.

      100 Things to do This Summer

      Print off this summer activity challenge for kids and keep the kids active and screen free this summer

      Having a summer bucket list that keeps kids from the inevitable summer boredom is essential…but a summer bucket list that actually helps kids develop skills and gain stronger bodies is powerful! This list of things to do with kids and families this summer is a list of therapist-approved activities that help promote stronger core muscles, refined fine motor skills, and the very skills kids need to learn, play, and develop.

      Summer Bucket List

      Need things to do this summer with the kids? Need therapist-approved activities for the whole family, that actually help kids develop motor skills, get off the screens, and build stronger kids? This printable list of summer activities for kids and families is just the thing to battle the boredom this summer!

      I am a mom of four. I have heard, “I’m bored!” 4,000 times. Each summer. This summer might look a little different that most years, and because of that, I wanted to come up with summer activities for kids that are therapy-approved. These are summer things and active play ideas. You might call this an adventure challenge. You might call it a therapy home program. What this list of summer activities is for certain, is a way to get the kids active and off the screens. This list of 100 summer things (actually 104 summer things) costs little to no money, use the items found around the house, and meets the needs of kids. It’s part of our Wellness Challenge (More info on that coming next week!)

      Print off this summer bucket list activity challenge for kids and keep the kids active and screen free this summer

      100 Things to do this summer

      There is just something fun about creating a summer bucket list with the kids. But, what if you could hand-pick the very summer activities that help kids gross stronger muscles, gain sensory input that helps with regulation, and motor activities that improve balance, coordination, strength, and endurance? What if your summer bucket list not only built a summer of family memories, but also stronger and more functional minds and bodies?

      This printable summer bucket list does just that!

      Well, here we are at the tail end of another school year. This is the time that most parents and teachers celebrate the end of school and the start of summer…maybe more than the kids. With the end of the school year, it’s a time to celebrate lazy, hazy days of summer. This year is a different. Parents are celebrating the end of distance learning. Teaching kids at home through distance learning, while working from home is simply not a sustainable task for most. The list below is 100 things to do this summer. These are activities to keep the kids (and the whole family) active, and enjoying time together in play. Play is healing. Play is a learning opportunity.

      For pediatric occupational therapists, we know that play is the primary occupation of the child. Play is therapy and therapy is play. These summer activities for kids are designed to boost skills, while helping children emotionally, physically, and mentally.

      Kids NEED active play. They NEED to move. Kids need to create, think outside of the box, and they need to be bored. With boredom comes creativity, interest-based thinking, and innovation. This list of 100 things to do this summer might be an idea starter.

      The activities on this list fall into six categories: outdoor activities, indoor activities, water activities, games, creative “maker” activities, and imagination activities. Each summer activity challenges movement and is a summer activity that can be added to home programs.

      When the kids say they are bored, send them to this summer bucket list checklist and ask them to pick something on the list. With 104 ideas, there is something for each day this summer.

      Summer activities for occupational therapy home programs

      Summer Bucket List for Occupational Therapy

      The activities on this summer activity list inspire active play for kids. They build heavy work to add proprioceptive input. They add movement for vestibular input. They add tactile input. The activities are calming or alerting. They are sensory-based movement activities.

      Use this list as a home program. The list can be sent home to parents to inspire active play each day. Or, post it on your fridge and when the kids say they need something to do, ask them to pick one activity. Your challenge is to complete as many of the activities as you can. When boredom strikes, add these activities.

      Outdoor Active Play for a summer bucket list

      • Obstacle course
      • Nature walk
      • Climb a tree
      • Kick a ball
      • Driveway chalk
      • Go for a hike
      • Roll down a hill
      • Make a hideout
      • Draw the clouds
      • Run around the house
      • Pick flowers
      • Do jumping jacks
      • Fly a kite
      • Draw with chalk
      • Go swimming
      • Ride a bike
      • Watch the birds

      Indoor Activities for a Summer BUCKET LIST

      • Animal walks
      • Couch cushion course
      • Balloon toss
      • Bowl plastic cups
      • Indoor balance beam
      • Freeze dance
      • Yoga
      • Build puzzles
      • Hand clapping games
      • Board games
      • Catch socks
      • Write in a journal
      • Wheelbarrow walks
      • Army crawls
      • Wall push-ups
      • Dance party
      • Play with stickers

      SUMMER BUCKET LIST Water Activites

      • Water sensory bin
      • Spray bottle art
      • Squirt gun painting
      • Paint with water
      • Swim
      • Play in a sprinkler
      • Make a sensory bottle
      • Make sponge balls
      • Play in the hose water
      • Water flowers
      • Wash a car
      • play in the rain
      • Water table
      • Water balloons
      • Play in soapy water
      • Bubbles
      • Sink or float tests

      Summer Bucket List Games

      • Red rover
      • Play tag
      • Hide and seek
      • Play Uno
      • Play cards
      • Soccer
      • Catch a football
      • Board games
      • Hopscotch
      • 4 Square
      • Basketball
      • Relay Race
      • Charades
      • 7 Up
      • Mr. Wolf
      • Tug of war
      • Lawn tic tac toe
      • Bean bag toss

      Creative Activities for Summer

      • Torn paper art
      • Make play dough
      • Build with LEGO
      • Finger paint
      • Make a fort
      • Make a recipe
      • STM project
      • Make lemonade
      • Paint rocks
      • Leaf resist art
      • Coffee filter butterfly
      • Toilet paper roll craft
      • Paper bag puppets
      • Make bird treats
      • Create a song
      • Write a letter
      • Bake cookies
      • Draw

      Imagination Play for summer

      • Think of a goal for you to accomplish
      • Dress up
      • Make up a play
      • Invent something
      • Make up a dance
      • Act out a story
      • Write a story
      • Imagine a cardboard box is something unique
      • Pretend to be something or someone else
      • Think of a new ending to a movie
      • Imagine all the things you are grateful for
      • Imagine you had $1,000. What would you do?
      • Think of a random act of kindness. And do it
      • Imagine you were…whatever you could do or be. How can you get to that point? Make a list of the steps.

      Get this list in a printable format below! Print it off, hand it out as an occupational therapy home program, or hang it on the fridge and when the kids say they are bored, direct them to the list!

      use this activity challenge for kids that are bored this summer or to use in ot home programs
      summer activities for kids

      Get the printable Summer Activity Challenge

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        More things to do this summer

        For more therapist-approved things to do this summer, use the Summer OT Bundle to work on all things handwriting, hand strength, fine motor skills, puzzles, scissor skills, and function in FUN and engaging ways.

        If you are a therapist who just doesn’t have it in you to reinvent the wheel this summer, the Summer OT Bundle is for you.

        If you are a parent who wants to work on the skills kids NEED to develop so they can write with a pencil and use scissors (but you’re tired of hearing the complaining about doing these activities), the Summer OT Bundle is for you.

        If you need resources and tools to fill home programs, extended year programs, summer camps, or to have the babysitter do with the kids, the Summer OT Bundle is for you.

        It’s 19 different products, resources, activities and guides to help kids gain the very motor skills they need to thrive. Read more about the Summer OT Bundle here and start having fun in effective ways this summer!

        Summer Occupational therapy bundle

        Click here to grab your copy of the Summer OT Bundle!

        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.

        Summer Occupational Therapy Activities

        Summer occupational therapy activities

        Working on building skills this summer? The Summer OT Bundle is for you!

        Summer occupational therapy activities bundle

        Work on fine motor skills, visual perception, visual motor skills, sensory tolerance, handwriting, scissor skills, and much more so that kids can accomplish self-care tasks, learn, and grow through play all summer long.

        This bundle is perfect for the pediatric occupational therapist who needs resources and tools to use in summer therapy sessions, home programs, or extended school year therapy plans.

        This bundle is perfect for parents, grandparents, and caregivers looking to provide developmental fine motor activities designed to help kids build skills.

        • Send kids back to school in the Fall without worrying about the “Summer Slide”.
        • Use these materials to work on areas like hand strength, fine motor development, scissor skills, handwriting, pencil control, pencil grasp, sensory play experiences, and much more. Just pull out the pages or activities you need for your child, and develop skills through play!

        The Summer OT Bundle includes 19 resources that you can print and use over and over again:

        Helping children develop and achieve functional skills this summer was never so easy (or fun!)

        Be sure to grab the Summer OT Bundle, a HUGE resource of therapy tools and activities for all things building skills this summer.

        Grab the Summer OT Bundle here.

        Looking for summer occupational therapy activities or ideas to use in home programs for the summer? This year’s summer OT activities may look a little different than previous years. In years past, therapists may have been gearing up for an end of another school year and a break from in-person OT sessions. What hasn’t changed about the end of a school year is the carefree days of summer that are ahead. As an OT, I love the feeling of the start of summer. There is just something about back-to-the-basics play of summer. Running around the backyard, hopping on bikes, sidewalk chalk, sprinklers and water play…summer play is a goldmine of motor and sensory activities that can boost those underlying skills kids NEED.

        Because of this, I wanted to put together a resource on summer occupational therapy activities that can be implemented today. These are strategies to use for your own child to boost development and challenge skills. These are ideas to use in teletherapy or in home programs. These are play ideas that help kids with the balance of screens and active play. Use the summer resources for parents, teachers, and therapists to develop underlying skills in very fun ways! These are AWESOME summer occupational therapy activities!

        Check the summer activities for kids of all ages listed below!

        In the bundle, there is the 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.

        NEW RESOURCE: The Summer Fine Motor Kit– This 90 page packet it specifically designed to build the motor skills kids have been limited in over the past year or so: handwriting, cutting with scissors, small motor manipulation, arch development and hand endurance, strength, pinch, and coloring. The Summer Fine Motor Kit includes different tools and materials than our other fine motor kits, but has some of the most-requested favorites in fun summer themes:

        • Summer Play Dough/Handwriting Mats (3 writing paper styles: single rule, double rule, and highlighted lines)
        • Lacing cards
        • Color and cut sensory bin cards
        • Sea Creature, Summer Play, & Summer Treats Silly Paths (great for pencil control and eye-hand coordination)
        • Tracing mazes/ Fine motor mazes
        • Symmetry drawing page
        • Fine Motor Flip Pages (flip a coin or small object and place them along a path)
        • Glue skills pages
        • Prewriting shapes sheets
        • Toothpick art activities
        • Pencil control worksheets/Fine motor placement paths
        • Scissor skills activities (simple and complex shapes)
        • Sensory bin cards

        NEW RESOURCE: The Summer OT Bundle– Want to cover all your bases this summer? This bundle has everything you need for therapy planning, home programs, summer camps, Grandma’s house, or extended school year programs so you can just print and go. The bundle is $20 and includes:

        Let’s help kids struggling from a year of mega-screen overload meet the goals they need to thrive. Plus…take more time for you this summer by using done-for-you resources!

        Occupational therapists can use these summer occupational therapy activities when planning OT home programs for for summer programs.

        Summer Occupational Therapy Activities 

        In many areas, schools are winding down for the year. You may have a few weeks or a few days left. The daily countdown of number of remaining school days is dwindling.

        You might be wondering how to balance work-from home and making summer days count.

        You might be wondering how to keep the kids busy this summer without breaking the bank.

        You might be a clinician thinking about summer programming and need a few fresh ideas.

        You might be thinking about summer plans and ways to encourage development in fun ways the whole family can enjoy.

        You might be a therapist putting together summer home programs.

        You might be a teacher who is READY for the final bell to ring this school year 🙂

        I wanted to put together a list of resources for summer activities that can boost the skills kids need. The “summer slide” can happen in handwriting and other school-based therapy goal areas, too!

        Summer Occupational Therapy Activity Resources

        ~ Do some or all of the activities listed here in this Sensory Summer Camp at Home plan. All of the activities and ideas are free and use items you probably already have.

        ~ Sneak in handwriting practice while traveling with these motivating and authentic ideas. HERE are a few MORE natural writing experiences for summer that keep those pencils moving.

        ~ Try some of the activities in this Summer Activity Guide designed to encourage play and creativity in activities for the whole family.

        ~ Practice the motor planning and fine motor skills needed for handwriting and with a sensory twist using the ideas outlined in this Sensory Handwriting Backyard Summer Camp.

        ~ Try these Backyard Vestibular Activities for Summer to encourage movement and sensory experiences right in the backyard.

        ~ Print off this June Occupational Therapy Calendar for ideas to last the whole month. (It’s from a couple of years back so the dates are off, but the activities still work!)

        ~ These no-prep, basically free summer activities won’t break the bank and boost the underlying skills kids NEED, in fun ways.

        ~ Use sidewalk chalk to boost fine motor skills.  

        ~Make a summer time capsule with the whole family and create memories that can be looked back on years from now.   

        ~Create a summer kick-off bucket filled with toys and items for months of sensory play.     

        ~The kids will love these frozen fruit kabob snacks. It’s a great alerting sensory snack that doubles as a healthy summer treat.

        The ideas listed above should help you create therapy home programs, and keep the kids loaded up on creative, open-ended, and movement-based PLAY that their little bodies NEED!

        Use these summer occupational therapy activities when planning sensory activities, fine motor, and gross motor developmental ideas for kids.

        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

        How to Run a Therapy Camp

        How to set up a therapy summer camp

        Have you ever thought about running a camp program as part of your therapy offerings? Maybe you work at an outpatient therapy clinic and are looking for summer camps to offer to kids for a cash-based service. Perhaps you are looking for themed ideas to add to summer therapy sessions. Maybe you want to offer a therapeutic summer program that hits on specific skill areas. Or, maybe you are wondering how to set up a DIY backyard summer camp for your kids. A therapy camp may be just the way to build skills in a fun way this summer.

        How to create a therapy summer camp

        Setting up a space camp, handwriting camp, or sensory camp as a supplemental activity resource is easy and requires just a little planning. In this post, we’ll discuss how to set up a camp program as a side income, a supplemental service to therapy clinics, a summer therapeutic camp, or DIY home program.

        therapy summer camp ideas

        How to start a therapy Summer Camp

        The steps below will help you decide how to run a summer camp at home or as a therapy camp that supplements summer programming.

        The first thing to consider (prior to deciding on a theme or goals of the summer camp) is to determine the scope of your therapy camp. Is it a suppliment to therapy where therapy goals will be addressed generally across a group of kids? Will insurance need to be involved? Will you be using your therapy license to make clinical decisions? Or, will the summer program be a supplement to therapy where goals are not specific to each child and each child moves through the same set of activities without individualized adjustments? Will the camp be a cash-based activity type of program, designed to prevent summer slide in handwriting or pencil grasp skills? Or will the summer camp act as a developmental play sessions? All of these are important to questions to consider before making other decisions on the program.

        Decide on the summer camp theme

        First, you’ll want to decide on the theme of your summer camp. Will your theme be based on an interest area? Some ideas include pirate theme, outer space theme, water theme, sports theme, fairies theme, and more. The options are truly limitless when if comes to a summer camp theme. The best thing about a themed summer camp program is that kids are typically highly motivated if the theme interests them.

        therapy summer camp ideas

        Summer camp theme ideas

        Summer camp theme ideas can be as specific or general as you like.

        Summer camp themes can be based on skills: fine motor, gross motor, handwriting, cursive writing, executive functioning skills, cursive writing, shoe tying, etc.

        Summer camps can also be based on the activities that will be done: play dough, science experiments, gardening, cooking, dancing, acting, writing, or messy sensory play.

        Or, the summer camp theme ideas can be based on a general theme like princesses, pirates, fairies, pretend play, cooking, nature, hiking, obstacle courses, camping, or anything! There are so many ways to incorporate interests and meaningful, motivating themes into a summer camp theme.

        You can find lots of weekly theme ideas here. These are tailored toward using a set theme in occupational therapy sessions, but are designed to be open-ended so that they can be adjusted to meet a variety of needs and skill levels like in a typical therapy caseload. The thing about a summer camp program is that the activities are not therapeutic or individual in nature. Rather, they are a set of specific activities and so the weekly themes you find in this resource will be quite helpful in planning themed activities.

        When I ran a cash-based program, the first thing that I decided on was the theme. We had a 4 week session with one class each week. The theme of the entire program was a Dig into Spring! theme. By deciding to first cover the overall theme of spring, I was able to come up with specific activities designed on the various skills being covered in the camp program.

        Decide on the Skills being addressed in the therapy camp

        Next, decide on the specific skills you are targeting. With a therapy camp, you likely won’t address specific goals. Rather, all of the participants will go through the activities as a supplement to build strength, sensory participation, or practice functional tasks. Are you going to cover sensory participation? Handwriting? Motor skills? Learning? Executive functioning skills? There are limitless options when it comes to skills being covered in a summer camp program.

        Make these skills as specific or general as you like. You’ll also need to consider the age of the child and general child development.

        Back to my Dig into Spring! camp…After deciding on the theme, coming up with the skills was next. I knew I wanted play and sensory activities to be predominant. Sensory based play is not an easy home program for some families to set up for children. Between the mess and the materials needed for sensory experiences, it can be hard to set up many activities that are so needed and powerful tools for building other underlying areas of development. I took the overarching skills of sensory participation and added fine motor work, core motor strength, balance, coordination, and handwriting.

        The nice thing about planning your own backyard summer camp (or summer camp program at a therapy site), is that you can tailor the activities to meet the needs of the kids you serve. An outpatient setting may want to set up a handwriting camp that gets children involved in fine motor strengthening activities with a mix of handwriting. Another group may include executive functioning tasks for high school aged students. Whether you want to highlight fine motor skills, sensory activities, or executive functioning, the sky is the limit when it comes to a diy summer camp.

        In a summer camp for kids, all of the children will participate in the activities at the same level. There won’t be specific goals being covered or adaptations or modifications. Now, if a child has a therapist or a support person that is involved in the activities who is able to modify the specific tasks and perform them as part of a therapy goal session, that is a different topic. For the discussion here, we are just covering the set-up of a therapy supplemental program or play group.

        If you are setting up a camp as part of an adjunct to a clinic or a therapeutic summer camp program, there may be additional liabilities, payment or insurance considerations, and goals that need to be established.

        DIY Summer Programming

        Next, decide on programming. How would you like to run this camp? Is it going to be one activity per day? For a backyard camp, keeping things open-ended at first can be beneficial for the whole family. Decide on one activity to address each day. For a more organized camp such as those being held in a therapy setting, perhaps you have a list of activities to run through each session.

        Some tips include:

        Have more activities available. If children work through the activities quickly, you will want to have other ideas available.

        Have extra “busy time” camp ideas ready. For the students that arrive early or leave a little later than other students, you can set them up with extra activities.

        Decide how you will set up the various activities. Will the whole group work through the activities together in a centers type of set up? Will you break the group up into smaller groups? Will kids rotate through the centers a different times? All of this depends on the number of participants in the group as well as the help that you have available.

        Will parents remain with children during the camp or will they drop off the students?

        Be sure to get contact information and background information such as allergies, background information, and any other information needed.

        Check-in/check-out- Create a system to allow for safe check-in/check out, especially if the camp set-up is drop-off style. Depending on the nature of the camp and location, this may require some extra thought and preparations.

        Summer camp disclaimers- Be sure to indicate in several places that the activities completed in your summer camp will not be therapeutic in nature. If you are a therapist, the activities will not be therapy! They are developmentally appropriate play-based activities that allow children to explore motor skills, sensory input, and are not a substitute for therapy. You may want to have this disclaimer in writing which parents of camp attendees agree to in writing.

        Another important disclaimer to include is write out a form for parents to sign which indicates safety and liability issues. This is a form that you may want to have written up by a lawyer, specific to your state and your particular summer camp programming activities.

        Social distancing, safety measures- Another consideration is regarding current situations in the way of health and safety. This consideration also requires forethought and planning depending on your situation and summer camp.

        Begin to plan the summer camp activities

        Now comes the fun part. Once you have a theme and skills decided on, you can begin to plan out your activities.

        Gather your ideas and your programming. Do a search on The OT Toolbox to look for activities for various themes and skill areas. We’ve got a lot of ideas here, so there should be something for every topic and skill.

        Finally, start filling in the programming with your activities. Summer camp activities may include a warm up activity, a gross motor activities, fine motor space activities, sensory activities, and more. Perhaps you a have a writing portion to incorporate handwriting in fun and “non-handwriting” way. Ask kids to check in or write their favorite thing you did that day as a way to incorporate writing without asking them to sit and actually practice written work.

        Summer camp themes

        Summer camp ProGram Ideas

        Sensory Summer Camp – Set up a backyard summer sensory camp that incorporates messy play experiences and motor skill development through play and interaction with friends.

        Sensory Handwriting Summer Camp- Helping kids with handwriting? Use the ideas in this sensory handwriting camp to help with letter formation, sizing, spacing, and pencil grasp using sensory play-based activities.

        Typing Camp- If you’re looking for an out-of-the-box idea for a summer camp program, how about a keyboarding club that helps kids improve typing skills, keyboard use, and typing speed?

        Summer Cooking Camp– A cooking camp is a fun way to spend the summer cooking up recipes, creating summer memories, and helping with problem solving, creativity, executive functioning skills, and motor development. Try the recipes in our cooking with kids recipe collection (an A-Z Recipes collection)!

        Cursive Writing Camp– Use the activities and ideas in this 31 days of cursive to teach cursive writing skills, letter formation.

        Fine Motor Summer Camp– Work on fine motor skills through play. Set up activities with various materials each day of the summer camp:

        Play Dough Summer Camp- How fun would it be to make play dough and explore textures, while strengthening fine motor skills? Try of the sensory dough recipes of our best homemade play dough recipes.

        So, what summer camps are you thinking of?

        Summer Sensory Activity Guide

        summer sensory activity guide

        I wanted to share a bit about this resource, the Summer Sensory Activity Guide. Therapists know the importance of incorporating therapeutic and developmental activities into the everyday activities that a child and family experiences.  From a trip to the playground to a day at the beach, there are so many sensory-rich experiences that summer life has to offer!

        summer sensory activity guide

        Summer Sensory Activity Guide

        What if you could add a few activities to the summer bucket list that would promote developmental skills while encouraging the integration of sensory tasks that help with behavior, attention, self-regulation, development, and more?

        The activities outlined in this Sensory Summer Activity Guide do just that!

        Looking for more summer occupational therapy activity ideas? We’ve got a lot here on The OT Toolbox!    

        This guide book is perfect for parents who are looking for summer activities based on sensory input.   It’s the perfect summer program for therapists to send home for activity ideas that will last all summer long.  The best news is that you can access the summer sensory guide as a special bonus to the Summer OT Activity kit.

        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.

        Summer OT Bundle

        Or, you may want to grab this massive Summer OT Bundle, instead. The 18 product collection includes $90 worth of occupational therapy resources for just $20. When you use the Summer OT Bundle in your therapy planning, OT sessions, or home programing, you can set kids up for success in handwriting, fine motor development, regulation, motor skills, and so much more. Check out the Summer OT Bundle Here.

        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 OT Bundle HERE.

        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.

        July Occupational Therapy Calendar

        Can you believe that July is upon us?  This month’s Occupational Therapy calendar is full of backyard summer fun activities that build skills using sensory processing components.  These are great activities to get the kids moving and developing skills using the senses.  


        In case you’ve missed it, I’ve been sharing monthly calendars where you can find themed activities designed to build developmental skills using the senses.  


        These calendars and activities are backed by expertise, education, and experience as an Occupational Therapist.


        July Occupational Therapy Calendar ideas for a sensory-based backyard with therapeutic activities designed to build development in kids.

         

        July Occupational Therapy Calendar



        This month is all about backyard summer fun and creative ways to incorporate sensory input into summer activities.


        There are a few easy steps you’ll need to do to get the calendar:


        July Occupational Therapy Calendar ideas for a sensory-based backyard with therapeutic activities designed to build development in kids.

        These activities are sure to keep away the summer boredom.  Many kids who receive school-based OT are on a break from their school-based therapy services and are following a summer program.  These ideas are perfect for adding to a summer therapy program or just doing for fun!

        Are you looking for Occupational Therapy activities to beat the summer OT slide?  What are you doing to work on certain goal areas?