Movement Activities Monster OT Slides

Recently, I’ve been sharing some occupational therapy slide decks with you. These slide decks are OT activities that can be used in teletherapy sessions as part of distance OT or distance learning. Today, I’ve got movement activities with a monster theme to share. These are monster themed occupational therapy activities that cover a variety of areas. When you access the OT slide deck, use in to work on OT activities like a therapy warm-up, gross motor skills, fine motor skills, visual perceptual skills, visual motor skills, and finally, a self-regulation check-in. Each activity in the collection involves movement activities that build specific skills. Scroll to the bottom of this post to enter your email to access the latest free occupational therapy slide deck.

Movement activities for occupational therapy sessions with a free OT slide deck that incorporates fine motor, gross motor, coordination, visual motor skills, regulation and other movement in monster theme activities.

Movement activities

As always, my mission here at The OT Toolbox is to help you help kids thrive through the use of easily accessible tools and resources.

try these monster activities for a lesson plan for writing, letter identification through movement.

The slides included in this set are acceptable movement activities for preschoolers because they use letters, helping preschoolers to recognize and identify letters. The slides would also work as a movement activity for kids in older grades as well, using the handwriting and visual motor activities to build specific skills like visual motor skills needed for handwriting tasks, copying lists of words, and visual perceptual skills needed for reading.

Monster Movement Activities for Kids

The slide deck promotes movement activities for kids in several ways. These are the slides and an agenda of activities to use in therapy sessions:

Warm-Up– Use the gross motor movement activities as a warm up to help with body awareness and a sensory tool to add proprioceptive and vestibular input. Kids can copy the body positioning to challenge balance and coordination, as well as motor planning. I’ve added a visual perceptual component to the warm-up movement slides by asking children to identify a partially hidden letter as they do the whole-body movements. This challenges visual perceptual skills including visual discrimination, visual figure-ground, visual closure, form constancy, and visual memory. Read more about these skills that are needed to complete hidden pictures activities, for example.

Monster activity with movement activities for preschool and movement activities for kids of all ages.

Writing- The writing slides in this slide deck ask kids to identify the month they are born and the first letter of their name to create a wacky monster name. They can write this word phrase to practice handwriting. The visual scanning and tracking involved in this activity really challenges the visual processing skills and visual efficiency of the eyes. The movement activity of writing their name incorporates a functional task that they may be working on in their OT goals.

Kids will love to work on handwriting with this monster name activity.

Fine Motor- The fine motor portion of this movement activity slide deck involves tearing paper into small pieces. By ripping paper, kids are building hand strength, bilateral coordination, eye-hand coordination, and efficiency of grasp. I’ve added a visual motor component to this activity by asking the child to use those paper scraps in shaping and copying specific shapes. The whole fine motor activity adds much-needed fine motor movement and eye-hand coordination to a shape building activity.

Visual- The visual portion of this occupational therapy slide deck is a favorite for some kids (My own kids included!) Use the slides to work on visual perceptual skills as they find matching shadows for the monster figures in a series of three slides. After the child completes each slide, ask them to jump and and cheer!

A monster visual perception activity for ot sessions.

Calm Down/Check-In- Lastly, you’ll find a calm down slide that incorporates the colors of the Zones of Regulation program. Children can complete the calm down movement activities shown on the slides and then choose a color to check in for their state of feelings.

Work on self-regulation activities with a monster theme.
Use the zones of regulation with a monster theme

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    HERE ARE MORE Movement ACTIVITIES TO USE IN VIRTUAL OT SESSIONS

    Heavy work movement activity cards

    Monthly movement activities

    Teletherapy activities for kids

    Work on fine motor skills in teletherapy

    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.

    Pumpkin activity kit
    Pumpkin Fine Motor Kit

    Grab the Pumpkin Fine Motor Kit for more coloring, cutting, and eye-hand coordination activities with a Pumpkin theme! It includes:

    • 7 digital products that can be used any time of year- has a “pumpkins” theme
    • 5 pumpkin scissor skills cutting strips
    • Pumpkin scissor skills shapes- use in sensory bins, math, sorting, pattern activities
    • 2 pumpkin visual perception mazes with writing activity
    • Pumpkin “I Spy” sheet – color in the outline shapes to build pencil control and fine motor strength
    • Pumpkin Lacing cards – print, color, and hole punch to build bilateral coordination skills
    • 2 Pumpkin theme handwriting pages – single and double rule bold lined paper for handwriting practice

    Work on underlying fine motor and visual motor integration skills so you can help students excel in handwriting, learning, and motor skill development.

    You can grab this Pumpkin Fine Motor kit for just $6!

    Coin Activities for Kids

    Coin Activities

    These coin activities are fun ways to develop fine motor skills AND functional money skills. The fact is that coin sorting activities and counting coins activities are functional…they are tasks kids need to develop for daily living skills. But, did you ever stop to think about the fine motor benefits of playing with coins? There are a handful! So, grab a handful of coins and use these coin activities to help kids with fine motor skill development!

    Coin activities for counting coins and sorting coins as an occupational therapy tool and a functional task for kids as they use money in IADLs.

    Coin Activities

    This is an older blog post on the website, but one that has so many fine motor activities using just coins. You’ll find coin sorting activities, coin rubbing art, money counting skills, and counting coin activities that build math and money skills as well as fine motor skills.

    But, I also wanted to go into detail on the various ways kids can use a stack of coins to develop skills needed for fine motor tasks.

    You may have seen a previous blog post detailing the use of plastic gold coins to develop fine motor skills…today’s article covers real coins you have in your purse or pocket, and can be used for teaching money to kindergarten or first grade students.

    Coin Sorting Activity

    A warm-up activity with sorting coins is a nice start to the therapy session because it can help to connect with the child and that they are engaged in the process, using a functional task that is needed for IADLs.

    Coin Sorting Activity #1

    A nice warm-up to an occupational therapy session is this coin sorting activity: Once we’ve said hello and I have checked in with how my client is doing its time to ‘show me the money’. Place a pile of coins on the desk, and spend some time sorting coins into piles. I ask the child to show me the coins that match and we discuss what pictures we can see on the coins, what numbers we can see and how much the coins are worth. Sorting coins is a great task to work on a variety of skills:

    • Visual discrimination
    • Form constancy
    • Size awareness
    • Visual closure
    • Visual figure-ground
    • Visual memory

    Coin Sorting Activity #2

    Once we have looked through all our coins I ask the children to place the coins in a pile in front of them and close their eyes. With their eyes closed they must pick a coin and show me which one they have collected.

    I have a list of corresponding whole body, gross motor exercises that they must perform depending on the coin they have selected. These exercises will target specific gross motor goals that we are working on.

    The gross motor skills addressed with these coin sorting exercises include:

    • Core stability
    • Shoulder stability
    • Balance
    • Bilateral coordination
    • Posture and positioning changes
    • Vestibular input
    • Proprioceptive input
    • Eye-hand coordination 

    Grab this handout by entering your email address into the form at the bottom of this blog post.

    Coin Activities for Fine Motor Skills

    Once we are all warmed up and feeling focused and attentive, we are ready to work on our fine motor skills. One aspect of money counting skills that can be difficult for children is the fine motor component. These coin activities take into consideration, all of the fine motor skills needed for counting and sorting coins.

    In-hand manipulation activities are a great way to boost fine motor skills needed for tasks like managing clothing fasteners, using a pencil when writing, manipulating items like coins or beads, and more. 

    The dexterity that is worked on when picking up coins from a flat surface is huge!  You need to pick up the edges with a tip-to-tip grasp and perform in-hand manipulation to “squirrel away” the coin into the palm of the hand.  In-hand manipulation is moving an object within the hand, without help from the other hand. This resource explains ways to work on in-hand manipulation with coins.

    Stacking coins is another great exercise.  We put the quarters into piles and counted out dollars.  But at the same time, we were working on translation of the coin from the palm of the hand to the tips of the fingers.   Translation is a type of in-hand manipulation that you use when moving an object from the finger tips to the palm and vice versa.  Stacking requires a lot of controlled dexterity!  

    Stack coins for a fine motor workout and to improve coin sorting skills.

    Why are these skills important? Kids need to refine their fine motor skills and in-hand manipulation in order to manipulate the pencil with slight movements while writing, erasing, and coloring.  They need the small motor control to manage fasteners like zippers, snaps, buttons, and shoe ties. 

    Using coins is a wonderful way to work on so many fine motor skills. You can target selective finger movements, tactile discrimination, in hand manipulation and finger strengthening. 

    For these fine motor coin counting activities, ask the children to count out a certain number of coins. I have been working with the number range between 10 and 20 depending on the child’s age. 

    1. Use plastic coins to build fine motor skills– This blog post includes a free printable handout detailing coin activities. This is a great home exercise program for parents.
    2. Count coins. Use these ideas to work on counting money and building fine motor skills.
    3. Use coins to work on patterns and skip counting, but also finger isolation skills. This blog post includes a free handout to use in skip counting with coins.
    4. Coin road – line the coins up in a row as quickly as you can using only your right hand. The children enjoy competing with me during this task. Once completed ask them to perform this activity again using their left hand. 
    5. Coin flip – line the coins up in a row. Using only one hand flip each coin over starting at one end and flipping each coin until you reach the end of the row. Work from left to right to reinforce directionality. Repeat with the other hand.
    6. Coin stack – see how high you can stack your coins. Keeping going (and counting) until your stack falls over.
    7. Coin grab – using one hand see how many coins you can pick up and keep safe in your hand. Don’t drop any coins while you are collecting. 
    8. Coin counting – this requires a piggy bank or a parent to assist with making a simple money counting receptacle from a cardboard box or recycled container. See you many coins you can count within a time limit. 
    9. Playdough and coins – this activity requires the addition of playdough. Where this is available encourage children to make impressions of their coins with playdough, roll small balls of playdough and build coin sandwiches or roll snakes of playdough and stand coins in the roll to represent the scales. 
    10. Dice and coins – If your child has a dice available try the following activities. Roll the dice and see if you can pick up the number of coins the dice lands on. Roll the dice and set out your coins in the same position as the dots on the dice (re-create the dice number pattern).
    Make coin rubbing art to work on learning coins, and building fine motor skills in kids.

    Coin rubbing art

    Coin rubbing art is a fine motor activity with huge benefits that you can add to your math art ideas. Rubbing the textures of coins onto paper builds so many fine motor skills: precision, bilateral coordination, pinch and grip strength, and eye-hand coordination skills.

    To make a coin rubbing, you’ll need a few materials:

    • A handful of coins
    • Paper
    • Crayons
    1. First place the coins on a table. Be sure to place some coins heads side up, and others tails side up. This helps children to identify both sides of the coin.
    2. Place a piece of paper over the coins.
    3. Use the side of a crayon to rub the texture of the coin through the paper. The image of the coin will show up on the paper.

    Work on holding the coin below the paper without moving the coin (bilateral coordination.

    Work on rubbing the crayon at the “just right” level of pressure (proprioceptive input)

    Read more about the benefits of coin rubbing art projects in this sight word crayon rubbing activity that we did.

    Coin Activities for Visual Perception

    An important part of money lesson plans is identifying different images on the coins, to enable counting and money use. But, visually discriminating between coin size and images can be very difficult for some children. Then consider that each coin has a different “heads” side and a different “tails” side. Then, consider that there are different versions of each coin. In the U.S. for example, each state has it’s own version of the quarter. This can make coin counting very difficult for children with visual perceptual skill challenges.

    Visual perception Coin sorting – this is a great way to work on visual discrimination. I ask my children to draw four or five circles on a piece of paper depending on the different denominations of the coins. Then we sort out pile of coins into the different denominations. Each circle is home to a certain denomination of coin.

    The coin whole body movement exercises listed in the form below is a fantastic way to work on discriminating between coin differences. Sometimes adding movement to learning is a game changer, and this multi-sensory learning activity is sure to be a hit.

    Coin activities for kids to improve fine motor skills, gross motor skills, pencil control, and visual discrimination.

    Teaching Money to Children and Pencil control  

    Finally, the following money activities incorporate the skill of pencil control. Right around kindergarten and first grade level, students are gaining more precision and dexterity with pencil control. Why not work on both coin sorting and coin identification AND pencil control for a doubled functional task?

    Coin decorating – Ask your child to write their name in large letters and then place coins over each letter to decorate their name. This can be done with individual letters or numbers if you are working on number formation or letter formations

    Coin race track – encourage your child to draw a race track. Use the coin as a car and demonstrate how to drive the car along the track using an individual finger. Each finger can have a turn to drive the car. 

    Coin rubbings – place a few coins on the table and place a piece of paper over the coins. Rub over the coin with a crayon or pencil to produce the impression of the coin on the page.

    Free coin exercises or learning money with multisensory learning.

    More Activities for a Money Lesson Plan

    Occupational therapists know the value of multisensory learning and this list of coin counting and sorting activities are sure to build knowledge and functional skills in children. For a whole-body, movement based resource on learning coins, grab this coin exercise handout.

    Free Coin Sorting Exercises

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      Be sure to wash hands after manipulating coins!  And as always, keep a close eye on your child when coins are part of fine motor play to ensure safety.

      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.

      Memory Card Games

      memory card games

      Occupational therapy professionals know the benefit of using memory card games to build skills in therapy sessions. OTs love to use games in therapy sessions to address a variety areas in novel and fun ways…and kids love the gaming aspect of therapy!

      Memory card games as an occupational therapy activity to work on working memory, attention, concentration, spatial relations, visual motor skills, and handwriting.

      Memory Card Games in Occupational Therapy

      There are so many reasons to play memory games in OT! Areas like executive functioning skills, to working memory, attention, focus, to fine motor skills, visual motor skills, visual perceptual skills, and even handwriting can be improved through the use of memory card games.

      We’ve talked about using games in a variety of ways…today, we’re covering the use of a Memory Card Game to work on various skills in OT. Here’s why this simple game is such a powerful tool for impacting function:

      Memory games are a powerful way to work on sort term memory, working memory, and executive functioning skills such as attention organization planning prioritization organizational skills.

      Memory games are fun way for kids to work on short term memory and other skills that are beneficial for learning in the classroom and at home.

      When kids play memory they can work on holding short term information in their memory In their short term memory. This allows them to use visual attention and visual memory while they remember where pictures are located playing a classic memory game.

      Kids with other executive functioning issues me to be struggling with the same challenges in the classroom or at home. By playing a game such as memory kids can work on these executive functioning skills in a fun and low-key manner.

      When they play memory kids can work on prioritization such as choosing which card to pick first.

      When you play memory you pick a card and if you seen it before you you need to remember where you’ve seen that location of the card. This scale requires time management self-regulation and self-control. You don’t want to pick up the next card in a rush without thinking through your your process of where you saw that picture last.

      Memory card games can be used to address visual motor skills.

      Playing a game of memory can help with short term memory and retention of information as well. When kids need to recall where they saw a card in a previous play they need to think back and use their mental memory skills in order to recall where that card is located in the board. This visual component of working memory skills carries over to the classroom when kids need to remember to do it to do their homework or what skills have worked in the past in order to solve problems on tests or in situations of game or learning at school.

      A memory game also helps with multitasking and helping kids to stay and complete a task through to completion. All of these executive functioning skills are powerful skills to develop through play such as using a memory game.

      “Grading” Memory Card Games to Meet Different Needs

      When therapists add a toy or game to their “OT toolbox”, they need to use the material in a variety of ways to meet the needs of different levels of children and while addressing different skill areas.

      This refers to grading activities.

      Grading, in occupational therapy, means making an activity more or less challenging in order to meet the needs of the individual. This can also refer to changing an activity in the middle of the task, depending on how the client or child is responding. Grading is important when it comes to finding the “just right” amount of support or adaptations that need to be made to a task that challenge the client while also allowing them to feel good about doing the therapy intervention.

      If the activity is too easy, you would grade it up to make it a greater challenge.

      If the activity is too hard, you would grade it down to make it easier to accomplish a sub-goal or skillset, while also challenging those skills.

      Memory card games are a great tool to use to challenge a variety of skill levels and abilities.

      • You can help to boost skills by changing the number of matches that you are using in the memory card game. If a child who struggles with attention, focus, impulse control, visual perception, eye-hand coordination, or working memory, you might play the memory game with only two matches or four matches so that there are four or eight cards total on the playing board.
      • You can further adapt this game by giving clear and concise instructions or hints in other words. Try to help the child use their memory, attention, working memory, and recall skills by defining the match that they are looking for and details that are on that image. This can be accomplished by saying things like, “I’ve seen that card before. Have you?”
      • Another strategy to grade memory games is to ask the child to talk through their moves. This self-reflection can build self-confidence, and it’s a helpful way to remember where they seen a matching card before. And, this self-talk skill also translates over to functional tasks. When a child performs a task such as a chore or a homework assignment they can talk through the task at hand. This allows them to recall what they’ve learned and what’s been successful. They are able to use skills they’ve established in the past. Self talk skill is a great strategy for kids who both struggle with executive functioning skills and anyone in general.
      • Another modification to memory card games include offering visual cues or verbal cues of what the child has seen. You can support this by asking the child “Have you seen this picture already?” Ask them to recall what the image was near on the board and see if you can picture in your mind where that card is in relation to others on the board. This involves a spatial-relations component as well as other visual perceptual skills.
      • Finally it’s helpful to reduce distractions while playing memory game. Sometimes the aspect of attention is limited by other things happening around a child which can’t be addressed in a situation such as a classroom or a community situation however you can work on specific skills such as showing the child how to self regulate like taking a deep breath or preparing themselves before they make their move. This can help with over feelings of overwhelm and stress the kids sometimes get.

      How to play memory games in therapy

      When kids play memory they are playing the classic memory game that you’ve probably played in your childhood.

      1. The game uses matching cards which are placed facedown on the table.
      2. Players take turns selecting to picture cards they turned one over at a time and see if they’ve got a match. If they’ve got a match they can go again.
      3. If the player doesn’t have a match they turn the cards back over so they were they are facedown on the table.
      4. Then the next player goes. The second player selects two picture cards and turns them over one at a time. It’s important to turn the cards over one at a time because if you have a card because if the first card that is turned over is a card that you’ve seen before then you need to remember where that match is on the board. This aspect of playing the game of memory really works on attention focus and impulse control.
      5. Players continue finding the matches until all of the cards are selected.
      6. The player with the most number of matches wins the game.

      What’s missing Activity with memory cards

      “What’s missing” is also another great way to use a memory game to work on specific skills of executive functioning including the ones listed above.

      How to play what’s missing with Memory Cards

      1. To play what’s missing you would set out a spare set number of memory cards on the table face up.
      2. Then the player gets to look at the cards for a set amount of time.
      3. The player tries to memorize every card on the table.
      4. Then the player closes their eyes or looks away from the table while another player removes one or more cards.
      5. Then the first player looks back at the table and tries to recall and identify the missing images.

      What’s Missing games address a variety of visual perceptual skills, visual memory, visual attention, spatial relations, form constancy, and visual discrimination.

      This activity can be graded up or down in a variety of ways by adding more cards shortening the amount of time to look at the cards and remember the cards or to add more matches and to remove more or less cards. To make this harder you can have two all different cards or you can have matches and some without matches.

      Memory games in sensory bins

      Memory cards make a great addition to sensory bins. Children that especially enjoy specific themes can use memory card games in a variety of themes with specific characters or topics such as vehicles, princesses, sports, animals, ect.

      To use memory cards in sensory bins, you need just a few materials. This can include a dry sensory bin material, the memory cards, and possibly scoops, tweezers. Dry sensory bin materials include such as dry beans, rice, sand, shredded paper, etc. Then memory cards can be added to the sensory bin and hidden away, much like we hid sight word cards in this sight word sensory bin.

      Another bonus is then building and refining fine motor skills through the scooping and pouring of the sensory bin materials.

      In the sensory bin, children can look for the matching memory cards. This activity builds skills such as:

      • visual discrimination
      • form constancy
      • visual memory
      • attention
      • sensory tolerance through play
      • fine motor control
      • transferring skills
      • bilateral coordination
      • controlled movements
      • MORE

      Memory Card Games and Handwriting

      Therapists are often looking for short and functional means of working on handwriting skills through play. Memory games are a great way to address this need.

      With a memory card game, children can write down the matches that they’ve found when matching cards. The same is true when playing “what’s missing” games. They can write down the words of the images that they’ve found on the playing board. And, by writing down these words, they can then work on letter formation, letter size, spacing, and legibility. This occurs in a in a short list format that is motivating for kids.

      Yet another benefit of working on handwriting skills with a memory game is that children are excited to find matches. This excitement can translate to the handwriting portion. Kids will want to write more words because that means they are finding more matches. This is a very rewarding and positive way to work on handwriting skills, which can often times, be a challenge for kids.

      Memory Card Games for Therapy

      Memory cards are a powerful tool to add to a therapy toolbox! This is especially true if memory games are focused on an interest of the child. You will really enjoy a new series of themed memory cards with handwriting pages that I have coming to the website shop.

      First up is our Back to School Memory Game and List Writing Prompts!

      Work on attention, memory, focus, visual skills, executive functioning skills, visual perceptual skills, concentration and a variety of other skills. PLUS, the themed cards include handwriting pages with a variety of lined paper options.

      This Back-to-School resource is a great way to quickly assess your caseload for handwriting, coloring, cutting, motor skills, midline crossing, visual memory, visual perceptual skills, motor planning, executive functioning, and more. And, such a fun and motivating activity to quickly and informally reassess each child on your caseload at a “just right” level.

      This memory card activity can be printed off, laminated, and used again and again.

      Click here to add the Back-to-School Memory Game and List Writing Prompts resource to your therapy toolbox.

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

      Tangram Activities

      Tangram activities

      These tangram activities are designed to develop visual perceptual skills, visual motor skills, and fine motor skills in kids. Tangrams make a great addition to any occupational therapy treatment bag!

      Tangram Activities

      Tangram activities for occupational therapy interventions

      Tangrams are a great tool for learning and development.  The colorful shapes are perfect for building images and working on math skills such as shape identification and patterning.  

      Tangrams are also an easy way to incorporate visual perceptual skills, fine motor skills, and visual motor integration into play.  

      Development of visual perceptual skills is essential for tasks like reading, writing, math, movement, self-care, and many other functional tasks. These tangram activities are perfect to improve visual perception in a playful way.  You can use tangrams to address visual perception in many more ways, including ideas to help with handwriting.


      Try DIY Sponge Tangrams for another version of these activities.

      And check out these cardboard tangrams for developing visual motor integration skills.

      How to use tangrams to improve visual perception skills needed for reading, writing, and functional skills.

      This post contains affiliate links. 


      Visual perception allows us to take in visual information, process it, and use it to interpret information from our environment.  There are many parts of visual perception, but today, I’ve got three visual perceptual skills that can be developed using tangrams.  

      How to use tangrams to improve visual perception skills needed for reading, writing, and functional skills.

       

      Visual Percepetion and Tangrams

      1. Visual Discrimination allows us to determine similarities and differences based on color, shape, etch. This skill allows us to know that a 6 and a 9 are different and that a p and a q are not the same letter. 

      Use tangrams to work on visual discrimination:

      • Place tangram shapes on a piece of paper.  Ask the child to locate all of the triangles, all of the squares, etc. 
      • Ask the child to find shapes that are the same even if they are different sizes.  This tangram set has several different sizes of triangles, making it a great tool for form constancy. 
      • Use two different shapes to discuss what makes the shapes similar and different.

      2. Visual Memory allows us to retain visual information.  We need visual memory in order to copy written work.

      Use tangrams to work on visual memory:

      Use the tangrams for a hands-on game of “Simon”.  Place shapes on a piece of paper, taking turns to add one new shape at a time.  Each player should recall the previous round before adding a new tangram shape.

      Place several tangram shapes on a piece of paper.  Allow the child to stare at the shapes for a period of time.  Then, cover the shapes with a second piece of paper.  Ask the child to recall the shapes that they saw.

      3. Form Constancy is the ability to recognize shapes and forms no matter what position they are in. 
       

      Use tangrams to work on form constancy:

      • Use tangrams to build form constancy by positioning shapes in different positions.  Ask the child to locate all of the squares, quadrilaterals, etc. 
      • Position shapes on one side of a piece of paper.  On the other side of the paper, position shapes that can be combined to make the shape on the first side of the paper.  Ask the child to match up the two sides.
      • Position shapes along one side of a piece of paper.  Position matching shapes along the right side of the paper, with the shapes slightly rotated.  Ask the child to match up the shapes.   
      How to use tangrams to improve visual perception skills needed for reading, writing, and functional skills.
       
      How to use tangrams to improve visual perception skills needed for reading, writing, and functional skills.
       
       
       

      Looking for more ways to build visual perceptual skills?  Try these:

      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.

      Color Sorting Activity

      Color sorting activity

      This color sorting activity is a powerful fine motor activity and a super easy way to learn and play for toddlers and preschoolers.  We’ve done plenty of activities to work on fine motor skills in kids.  This straw activity is the type that is a huge hit in our house…it’s cheap, easy, and fun!  (a bonus for kids and mom!)  A handful of straws and a few recycled grated cheese container are all that are needed for tripod grasp, scissor skills, color naming, and sorting.  SO much learning is happening with color sorting activities. Read on…  

      Fine Motor Color Sorting Activity with Straws

      This color sorting activity is great for toddlers and preschools because it helps to develop many of the fine motor skills that they need for function.

      I had Baby Girl (age 2 and a half) do this activity and she LOVED it.  Now, many toddlers are exploring textures of small objects with their mouths.  If you have a little one who puts things in their mouth during play, this may not be the activity for you.  That’s ok.  If it doesn’t work right now, put it away and pull it out in a few months. 

      Color sorting activity with straws

      Always keep a close eye on your little ones during fine motor play and use your judgment with activities that work best for your child.  Many school teachers read our blog and definitely, if there are rules about choking hazards in your classroom, don’t do this one with the 2 or 3 year olds. 

      You can adjust this color sorting activity to use other materials besides straws, too. Try using whole straws, pipe cleaners, colored craft sticks, or other objects that are safe for larger groups of Toddlers.  

      There are so many fun ways to play and learn with our Occupational Therapy Activities for Toddlers post.

      Kids can work on scissor skills by cutting straws into small pieces.

        color sorting activity using straws

      We started out with a handful of colored straws.  These are a dollar store purchase and we only used a few of the hundred or so in the pack…starting out cheap…this activity is going well so far!  

      Cutting the straws is a neat way to explore the “open-shut” motion of the scissors to cut the straw pieces.  Baby Girl liked the effect of cutting straws.  Flying straw bits= hilarious!  

      If you’re not up for chasing bits and pieces of straws around the room or would rather not dodge flying straw pieces as they are cut, do this in a bin or bag.  Much easier on the eyes 😉  

      Kids love to work on fine motor skills through play!

       Once our straws were cut into little pieces and ready for playing, I pulled out a few recycled grated cheese containers.  (Recycled container= free…activity going well still!)   We started with just one container out on the table and Baby Girl dropped the straw pieces into the holes. 

      Here are more ways to use recycled materials in occupational therapy activities.

      Toddlers and preschoolers can work on their tripod grasp by using small pieces of straws and a recycled grated cheese container.

      Importance of Color sorting for toddlers and preschoolers

      Color sorting activities are a great way to help toddlers and preschoolers develop skills for reading, learning, and math.

      Sorting activities develop visual perceptual skills as children use visual discrimination to notice differences between objects.

      By repeating the task with multiple repetitions, kids develop skills in visual attention and visual memory. These visual processing skills are necessary for reading and math tasks.

      The ability to recall differences in objects builds working memory too, ask kids remember where specific colors go or the place where they should sort them.

      These sorting skills come into play in more advanced learning tasks as they classify objects, numbers, letters, etc.

      And, when children sort items by color, they are building What a great fine motor task this was for little hands!  Sorting straws into a container with small holes, like our activity, requires a tripod grasp to insert the straws into the small holes of the grated cheese container.   

      These grated cheese containers are awesome for fine motor play with small objects!

      Sorting items like cut up straws helps preschoolers and toddlers develop skills such as:

      • Fine motor skills (needed for pencil grasp, scissor use, turning pages, etc.)
      • Hand strength (needed for endurance in coloring, cutting, etc.)
      • Visual discrimination (needed to determine differences in letters, shapes, and numbers)
      • Visual attention
      • Visual discrimination
      • Visual perceptual skills
      • Left Right discrimination (needed for handwriting, fine motor tasks)
      • Counting
      • Patterning
      • Classification skills

      Preschoolers can get a lot of learning (colors, patterns, sorting, counting) from this activity too.  Have them count as they put the pieces in, do a pattern with the colored straws, sort from smallest to biggest pieces and put them in the container in order…the possibilities are endless!

      Cut straw into small pieces and provide three recycled containers to sort and work on fine motor skills with kids.

      Color Sorting Activity with Straws

      Once she got a little tired of the activity, I let it sit out on the table for a while with two  more containers added.  I started dropping in colored straw pieces into the containers and sorted them by color. 

      Use colored straws to sort and work on fine motor skills with recycled containers.

      Baby Girl picked right up on that and got into the activity again.  This lasted for a long time.  We kept this out all day and she even wanted to invite her cousin over to play with us.  So we did!  This was a hit with the toddlers and Little Guy when he came home from preschool.  Easy, cheap, and fun.  I’ll take it!

      Looking for more fun ways to work on color sorting?

      You’ll find more activities to build hand strength, coordination, and dexterity in this resource on Fine Motor Skills.

      Free Virtual Connect 4 Game

      Virtual Connect 4 Game

      Today I have another fun virtual therapy activity: A therapy board game Connect 4! This therapy slide deck is a free virtual Connect 4 game designed for occupational therapy services (or other therapy services) that combine motor skills with visual perception and eye hand coordination. Therapeutic games are nothing new; Occupational therapists use board games in therapy services all the time to address function and independence skills. This therapy game is a bit different: it builds skills in kids through game play, and is a fun game for teletherapy.

      Grab this free virtual Connect 4 game for building skills in occupational therapy, using a outer space connect 4 game!

      Therapy Board Game

      We’ve shared virtual games and board games to use in therapy previously on this site. Some games are great for helping kids develop specific skills:

      Today’s virtual Connect Four game is just as much fun, and it’s a great tool to add to your therapy toolbox!

      Virtual Connect 4

      When it comes to teletherapy services, it can be hard to incorporate game play into therapy sessions in a way that addresses functional goals like handwriting, motor skills, or self-regulation. This virtual Connect 4 game does just that!

      This game is a Google slide deck and one of our free slides that can compliment therapy services, both online or in face-to-face sessions.

      To play the game, you’ll add the free slide deck to your Google drive, pull up the slide deck during therapy sessions, and work on a variety of skills. To use this game in distance therapy situations, you can send the link to students and you’ll each play on your own computers, watching as the edits are made to the slide deck. (Be sure to make a copy and send that specific link to a student- this way your student has their own copy of the slide deck on their Google drive.)

      The game is just like the classic Connect 4 game: try to get four in a row and block the other player from getting four in a row.

      This particular Connect 4 game has an outer space theme. So, the game pieces are planets! Check out more space theme activities below.

      When suing the Connect 4 game in therapy, kids can work on the following skills:

      • Visual perception
      • Visual motor skills
      • Eye hand coordination
      • Fine motor skills
      • Mouse use/keyboard use
      • Finger isolation

      The virtual Connect 4 game includes handwriting slides, so that when users place the game pieces, they cover a letter or a number. These are designed to promote handwriting skills and number formation skills.

      Use the handwriting slide to work on letter formation, word writing, sentence writing, and copying skills.

      Use the number slide to work on forming numbers, writing number words, or even gross motor skills: kids can do a motor activity like jumping jacks to animal walks the same number of times as the number they covered with their game piece.

      To reset the game pieces:

      1. When you are done playing, just hit the EDIT HISTORY link.
      2. Look on the right side bar for “Version History”.
      3. Click the box that says “Reset Game”.
      4. Then go to the top left corner of the screen where there is an arrow pointing left. Click this arrow.
      5. All of the movable game pieces will be reset to their original spots. You can start the game over again.

      This Space Connect 4 game will be a hit in your therapy sessions (or at home and in the classroom!)

      More space activities for therapy

      You can add this virtual Connect 4 game to these other Space theme activities, to help with therapy planning:

      Free Virtual Connect 4 for Therapy

      Want to add this free slide deck to your therapy toolbox? Enter your email address into the form below and you’ll gain access to this slide deck on your Google drive.

      For those using school district, university, or organization emails- You may have trouble accessing the free slide deck due to increased security warnings. To get around this, try entering a personal email address.

      Free Virtual Connect 4 Game for Therapy!

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

        Outer Space Fine Motor Kit

        NEW RESOURCE: Outer Space Fine Motor Mini-Pack!

        Working on fine motor skills? Know a child who loves all things outer space? This Outer Space Fine Motor Mini-Kit is for you!

        Work on grasp, hand strength, eye-hand coordination, handwriting, scissor skills, and all things fine motor with this Outer Space fine motor mini-kit.

        Addressing hand strength, endurance, and precision is out of this world fun!

        Includes:

        • Fine Motor Mazes
        • Fine Motor Ten Frames for motor activities
        • 1-20 Star Counting Cards
        • Bead Copying Strips
        • Space Alien Directed Drawing Sheets

        Grab your copy of this no-prep Outer Space fine motor worksheet set!

        Virtual Visual Motor Room

        Visual Motor Skills Virtual Therapy Room

        If you are looking for online games to target visual perceptual skills, and ways to build visual motor skills when working virtually, then this virtual visual motor room (or virtual visual perceptual skills therapy room) is for you. This virtual therapy room is based on our virtual sensory room and is designed to develop and strengthen visual motor skills, visual perceptual skills, and eye-hand coordination. Let’s play!

        This Visual Motor Skills Virtual Therapy Room is going to be a hit with your caseload.

        Free virtual visual motor activities for online occupational therapy activities

        Online Visual Motor Activities

        For therapists working in teletherapy, online puzzles, virtual games, and remote therapy games are one way to help kids build the skills they need for visual perception, visual motor, eye-hand coordination, and even executive functioning.

        That’s where this virtual visual motor room comes in.

        Therapists can access the free virtual therapy room from their Google drive and use the tools in teletherapy sessions.

        This slide deck is just one of the many free slide deck collections available here on The OT Toolbox.

        For more teletherapy games and tools that can be done remotely with kids on your therapy caseload, check out this resource on virtual therapy games.

        Virtual Visual Motor Activities

        There are so many awesome visual motor resources that can be used in occupational therapy teletherapy. In the virtual therapy room, you can find games and activities like these:

        • Online Sudoko
        • Virtual Connect 4 game
        • Online Snakes and Ladders
        • Virtual Bingo
        • Qwirkle
        • Uno
        • Yahtzee
        • Online Tic Tac Toe
        • Tangrams
        • Connect the dots
        • Geoforms
        • Shape building activities
        • Counting and graphing activities
        • Visual memory activities
        • Mazes
        • Word searches
        • What’s missing puzzles
        • MUCH more

        All of these virtual therapy activities can be used to challenge kids’ visual perceptual skills, visual motor skills, and motor skills.

        You’ll also see links to hands-on visual motor activities listed here on The OT Toolbox as well as a link to our free visual perception packet. Use these hands-on and printable therapy tools along with the virtual games and activities.

        Virtual therapy room for visual motor skills.

        When you click on the images in the virtual therapy room, you’ll be sent to links to videos, exercises, and resources to promote visual perception activiites and visual motor activities. T

        This therapy room is a great resource for kids of all ages. You’ll find therapy activities for all levels of visual perceptual skills and visual motor integration.

        Free virtual therapy room slide deck

        Want to add this therapy slide deck to your OT toolbox? Enter your email address into the form below and you can access this resource from your email.

        NOTE: Lately email addresses from school districts, organizations, and those with strict security walls have had our slide decks blocked. Consider using a personal email address to access this slide deck.

        Free Virtual Visual Motor Room!

          We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at anytime.

          Add heavy work with these heavy work exercises to incorporate many themes into therapy and play.

          heavy work cards for regulation, attention, and themed brain breaks

          Click here to grab these heavy work cards.

          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.

          Flower Visual Motor Therapy Slide Deck

          Flower visual motor exercises for therapy

          This week’s occupational therapy theme is flowers and so today, I have a free flower visual motor therapy slide deck for you. In this free Google slide deck, you’ll find various aspects of visual motor skill work. With the official start of Spring, flowers are starting to pop up all over, so if the daffodils, lilies, and tulips make you smile, these visual motor flower activities are sure to brighten your therapy session!

          Flower visual motor therapy exercises for therapy

          Flower visual motor therapy activities

          If you are looking for Spring occupational therapy activities to help kids develop skills, this flower visual motor slide deck is it. Add this virtual therapy activity to some hands on flower activities and you’ve got a therapy plan for the week. It’s a great way to make a weekly occupational therapy plan and use the same activities again and again all week, saving yourself time and planning hours. Simply adjust each activity to meet the needs of each child on your therapy caseload to work on their specific goals.

          Flower visual motor activities for occupational therapy teletherapy sessions with a free Google slide deck for therapy.

          As you know, visual processing breaks down into smaller components that all work together to allow us to take in visual information, process that input, and complete motor operations so we can complete functional tasks. Visual motor skills include eye-hand coordination, visual perception, and visual skills like tracing, convergence, and other skill areas. All of these aspects of visual processing are important parts of performing day to day occupations.

          That’s why I created this flower theme therapy slide deck that includes different vison exercises.

          In the slide deck, you’ll find pre-writing line activities that ask the user to trace along the forms using a movable flower icon. This eye-hand coordination task requires visual tracking, visual attention, and motor integration with visual input.

          Work on visual motor skills with this flower theme slide deck in occupational therapy.

          Also, the slide deck includes copying activities. Users can copy the simple and more complex flower forms as they challenge aspects of visual motor skills that are needed for handwriting and math tasks.

          There is a handwriting portion as well. Kids can trace the letters on the slide deck using the movable flower piece. This makes the slide deck interactive, as they can work on mouse work, use of a stylus, or finger isolation to trace the flower along the letter. Then, the slide asks them to write words or phrases so they can incorporate handwriting work.

          Then finally, the slide deck includes several visual perception activities. Kids can complete each slide, typing or writing out their responses as they work on skills like visual discrimination, form constancy, visual memory, figure-ground, etc. All of these visual perceptual skills play a role in visual motor tasks that we perform on a daily basis.

          Free Flower Therapy Slide Deck

          Want to add this free slide deck to your therapy toolbox? Use it in teletherapy sessions, home activities to work on visual motor skills and visual processing, and to make therapy planning easier!

          Enter your email address into the form below to add this slide deck to your Google drive account.

          NOTE- Due to an increase in security measures, many readers utilizing a work or school district email address have had difficulty accessing resources from the delivery email. Consider using a personal email address and forwarding the delivery email to your work account.

          Flower Visual Motor Activities Slide Deck!

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            Spring Fine Motor Kit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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