Let’s take a dive into the technology world of occupational therapy! Normally, it can be hard to keep your child’s attention throughout the day, but there is a way to help keep their attention span on track. Using fun occupational therapy apps is a great way to manage your child’s attention. Here I will list several occupational therapy apps that can be used as an activity or as a quick break between other activities. Many therapists like to use apps to take breaks or reward the child at the end of the session. These apps are wonderful tools to use at home for online learning and learning at home.
Below I listed the occupational therapy apps into the targeted skill area that will work best for your child. I will able to find apps that help with handwriting skills and letter formation, visual motor skills, visual perception, fine motor skills, and auditory skills. The apps that I listed can be download on IOS apps for iPhones and the Google Play Store on Androids.
Apps for Handwriting Skills and Letter Formation
Apps for Visual Perception
Apps for Fine Motor Skills
Apps for Auditory Skills
What apps do you use in your therapy practice, the classroom, or at your home? Feel free to share what apps you use.
For more information, click on the following websites.
Thanksgiving is just around the corner and the best way to celebrate it is by making fun festive crafts! There are so many amazing Thanksgiving crafts that you can do at home, but what’s better than making Turkey Thanksgiving crafts! Making turkey crafts is the perfect theme for your child to celebrate and understand Thanksgiving. I picked out some of my favorite turkey crafts that I think you and your child will be thankful for. Gobble gobble!
1. Thanksgiving Turkey Dough Craft from Tools to Grow OT – This is the perfect tactile recipe that will allow you and your child to explore and create your very own turkey! Your child will be exposed to great sensory benefits such as tactile, proprioception, following verbal and written directions, tool usage, hand strengthening, and praxis.
2. Soda Bottle Turkey Fine Motor Activity from Stir the Wonder – What’s better than getting into the holiday spirit by making a big motor turkey! Here your child can decorate their turkey with large colorful feathers, googly eyes, and some brown paint. Instructions here
3. Turkey Juice Box Cover from Sugar Aunts - If you’re looking for a cup holder for your child for Thanksgiving dinner, here is the perfect craft you can make at home. Just grab some colored feathers, googly eyes, some crafting scarps, and a cardboard tube that can be made into a turkey cupholder.
4. Clothespin Feathers Turkey from Stir the Wonder - Making this fun craft is a great way to work on your child’s fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and bilateral coordination. Your child can match the colored feathers to where they belong on the turkey.
5. Turkey Fine Motor Activity and Craft from Fantastic Fun and Learning – Working on scissor skills and cutting the toilet paper roll is the perfect way to help strengthen your child’s fine motor skills. Also, placing the feathers into small holes of the turkey makes perfect practice for fine motor skills and visual skills.
6. Feed the Turkey from Mama OT – Sometimes the simplest crafts are the best! Work on bilateral coordination, pincer grasp, hand-eye coordination, and in-hand manipulation, and then decorate your turkey. Take it up a notch by adding in some tongs and placing the turkey on one side of your child and the noodle on the other side to promote crossing the midline.
7. Play Dough Toothpick Turkey from Mama OT – Roll up some playdough or Theraputty to make a toothpick turkey. Work on building up pincer grasp, tripod grasp, strengthening fingers and webspace, separation of the two sides of the hand, bilateral coordination, and hand-eye coordination. This super simple turkey craft is easy and fun!
8. Clothespin Toilet Paper Roll Turkey from Mama OT – This fun activity provides a great way for your child to work on their fine motor skills. The clothespins are the perfect item to help your child work on their pincer grasp, strengthening their fingers/hands/webspace, and bilateral coordination.
9. Button the Feathers on the Turkey from Mama OT – This turkey craft uses buttons and other creating pre-buttoning activities to help your child develop their fine motor and self-dressing skills. Work on your child’s pincer grasp, bilateral coordination, hand-eye coordination, and button/self-help skills when doing this activity.
10. Thankful Turkey Craft from Kids Activities Blog – Using this step-by-step tutorial by Kids Activities Blog is a great way for children to share what they are thankful for and to work on their visual skills!
11. Turkey Felt Board Feather Matching from Teach Beside Me – Working on bilateral coordination, hand-eye coordination, and fine motor skills is best when making a craft for Thanksgiving. This activity is fun because it allows your child to work on color recognition and pattern.
12. Feather Color Sorting and Fine Motor Activity from Fantastic Fun and Learning - To get started with this craft, gather some colorful playdough, feathers, googly eyes, and small foam triangles to work on color sorting and recognition. This is the perfect activity to help your child learn how to sort colors and work on their fine motor skills at the same time!
13. Thanksgiving Handwriting Craft from Tools to Grow – Work on fine motor skills, bilateral integration, visual-motor coordination, praxis, and hand-writing skills by making this Thanksgiving Handwriting Craft. Such a great turkey craft to do with your child to show what they are thankful for!
14. Watercolor Coffee Filter Turkey from Typically Simple – Cutting along the edges of the coffee filter, adding color with a marker, and drawing a turkey face on the front is a fun creative craft to do before Thanksgiving. Typically Simple shares a craft to work on scissor skills and fine motor skills.
15. Leaf Turkey from Toddler Approved – Grabbing some leaves from outside is a fun fall and Thanksgiving craft. This is another great fine motor skills craft to work on with your child.
If you have any suggestions on fun Thanksgiving activities that are more sensory-related please share with us!
Thank you for reading our 15 Fun Turkey Crafts for Thanksgiving article!
Handling online learning with your child during a pandemic could be challenging at times, especially if your child needs out of the classroom services. Moving from in-person therapy sessions to at-home therapy sessions may be a rough transition. Occupational therapists are trying to figure out the best way to help your children reach their goals as well as staying safe and healthy. One solution that can help you and your family is teletherapy!
What is Teletherapy?
Teletherapy allows for the technology world and therapy world to come together. Technology allows therapists to work with their children through the screen of a computer. Occupational therapists are a part of the move to make teletherapy more common. During the pandemic, it is more commonly known for therapists to be working with their clients through teletherapy with a variety of both physical and mental health conditions.
For more information on teletherapy, click here!
Occupational therapists can use teletherapy to help their patients achieve the same goals during their online sessions as if they were in-person sessions. Teletherapy uses several interventions to help your child achieve their goals with the following:
The OT Toolbox shares more information on understanding teletherapy.
Here are the best tips to help with teletherapy:
If you want more helpful tips for teletherapy, click here!
How Online Learning works with Occupational Therapy?
Online learning is broken down into four categories based on occupational therapy done in school. These categories are broken down into:
Presence Learning shares more on online learning here!
Platforms to use for Teletherapy
Occupational therapists are using social platforms to use for teletherapy. All of these platforms have been approved and are easy to use.
10 Teletherapy Games Your Child Will Love
To keep your child interested with therapy while being online and offline, here are some fun games you can play with them any time during the day!Teletherapy Online Games
Mr. Potato Head Online: This game is great to work on spatial awareness, but your child doesn’t get the chance to work on their fine motor skills. http://mrpotatohead.play.scriptmania.com/mrspotatohead/?fbclid=IwAR0LUES0MCL7m3MxPvt_jYV_u1I6xDNgVyFdpVrOsOBytymVI4rgxBThFa4
Nick Jr. Games: This website is great for children to work on their visual perceptual skills. http://www.nickjr.com
Jeopardy Labs: This game is great for the family! You and your kids can make your own Jeopardy boards while working on your child’s handwriting skills! https://www.growinglittlebrains.com/blog/fun-ot-teletherapy-games
ABCya!: This is a fun educational website with games that go by subjects and themes. https://www.abcya.com
Toy Theater: This website is great for older kids to help with executive functioning. https://toytheater.com
THERAPY OFF-LINE GAMES
7. Simon Says
8. Rock, paper, scissor
9. Tic tac toe
10. Scavenger Hunt
Check out for more fun games here! https://www.theottoolbox.com/teletherapy-activities-for-occupational-therapy/
Hand muscles are very important to accomplish daily activities. Therapists often observe that most children that they work with have weak hand muscles. Children who have weak hand muscles can struggle with daily activities. To help strengthen these muscles, it is important for children to complete tasks to help strengthen their hand muscles. These activities do not have to be boring; they can be really fun and creative!
Children are not the only ones who may have weak hand muscles, adults can also have weak hands. Therefore, making it important for both children and adults to complete everyday tasks. These tasks can involve using fine motor skills which allow for coordination, movement, and strength in our hands.
Children use their fine motor skills while holding a pencil, using scissors, tearing paper, tying shoes, zippering up jackets, and many other daily activities.
Working on hand strengthening activities are important for children to work on while they are young, so they do not struggle with daily activities when they are functioning adults.
It's also important to keep in mind that your child’s hand muscles do not get better in one session, they need multiple sessions to see progress. It is all about REPETITION.
Here are some different types of creative activities that I found for strengthening hand muscles:
Theraputty or playdough: Your child can squish, pinch, roll, squeeze, or smush when playing with Theraputty or playdough which is great to build up strength for hand muscles.
My children love Crazy Aarons THINKING PUTTY. There are so many fun and unique versions. There is magnetic putty, glow in the dark putty, hyper color putty that changes color when played with, outer space putty and so many more!
Both putty and playdough are perfect for hiding small objects, such as coins or beads, then make your child find them and pull them out. Rolling the playdough into a snake and then cutting it with scissors is a great way to work on using fine motor skills and visual skills. Playing with Theraputty and playdough is great for hand-eye coordination, building up hand muscles, and working on play.
PUSH AND PULLING TOYS AND ACTIVITIES
WEIGHT BEARING ACTIVITIES
Here is a great source that I found to get more information on weight-bearing activities.
If you want more information on how to strengthen your child’s hand muscles, here are some websites I found with a lot of educational information.
There are so many more fun and creative activities to help strengthen your child’s hand muscles. Remember, it will take a while to see some progress, but with practice every week your child will get better! Consistency is key!
It's just around that time of year again! Halloween is a fun time to learn new and fun sensory activities that involve ghosts, pumpkins, and spooky sensory bins. These sensory activities promote a great way to help children strengthen fine motor skills, promote creativity, give exposure, encourage playtime, and help complete a goal.
All of these fun activities are a great way to celebrate Halloween this year. I love that these fun Halloween sensory activities can be done with one child or in a group activity.
Here are some fun Halloween sensory activities to complete a goal with your child.
Ghost Sensory Activities
A fun way to get into the spirit of Halloween and enhance fine motor skills are ghost activities! These activities are perfect to try at home, school, or at a clinic. One fun idea that you can use with your child is playing with shaving cream. Playing with shaving cream has many benefits when looking for a fun sensory activity.
Ghost foam is a fun way for kids to make and play with. Playing with shaving cream can improve handwriting skills, visual motor skills, and play skills. It is also a great activity to work with children who are tactile. Be careful though shaving cream can be quite messy, I suggest keeping a towel nearby to clean up the mess!
Here is a fun recipe from Growing a Jeweled Rose to make a spooky ghost!
This fun spooky ghost activity involves using the sink and bathroom! It is a great way to incorporate everyday activities into something exciting. Turning ghosts into ice can also be a fun way to involve sensory play while being at home. Following the steps in making the spooky ghosts, it can be an easy way to teach your child how to follow steps in their daily routines.
Learning how to follow these steps can help enhance creativity and teach your child how to use their imaginations. Waiting for the spooky ghost to cool down, you and your child can create an imaginative world using fingerpaint that can help improve fine motor skills! After playing with your spooky ice ghost and creating your enchanted imaginative world, your child can learn how to clean up their mess.
Here is another fun recipe from Finding the Golden Gleam to
Pumpkin Sensory Activities
Pumpkins are a big part of Halloween which can lead to many fun activities all season long. It is the perfect theme to use all fall from Halloween to Thanksgiving. You can work on carving pumpkins, playing with pumpkin seeds, using pumpkins as a themed sensory pin, or even finger painting a pumpkin.
All of these fun activities can be worked on at home, school, and occupational therapy sessions. If you try this at home, it will be a fun family activity that will create so many amazing memories and at the same time help strengthen your child’s sensory skills. These pumpkin sensory activities can be an outstanding way to work on strengthening therapeutic skills!
A great way of strengthening therapeutic skills is carving a pumpkin! Carving pumpkins combine using your fine motor, gross motor, and sensory skills. After you carve your pumpkin, taking out the pumpkin seeds is a perfect example of sensory play.
You can even color the seeds of the pumpkin for creativity. Working on carving the pumpkin can help strengthen your child’s hand muscles and fine motor skills. Be careful with using sharp objects around children. This activity can be done in the comfort of your own home!
Here is a recipe to dye pumpkin seeds for sensory play!
Pumpkin Squish Bag
Making your own pumpkin squish bag is the best way to celebrate Halloween this year! It is the perfect activity to strengthen up your child’s hand muscles. After carving your pumpkin, you can use the pumpkin’s insides as the best way to create a mess-free squish bag! Putting the pumpkin’s insides in a zip lock bag can help create the spooky concoction.
Drawing a scary face on the squish bag is an exciting way to celebrate Halloween in this fun activity. The pumpkin squish bag is a wonderful fine motor skills activity.
Your child can learn how to manipulate the pumpkin seeds while they are in the bag. Pushing the pumpkin seeds around can also incorporate using both visual and fine motor skills. This is the perfect sensory activity to get your child involved in celebrating Halloween and perfecting their hand-eye coordination!
Here is a link to a great explanation of how to make your squish bag from Little Bins for Little Hands!
Spooky Sensory Bins
Sensory bins are a beneficial way for children to learn how to play and use their senses! Playing with the toys in the bin can help calm down your child, make your child focus, and initiate interactions.
Some of the sensory bins can be decorated to match the seasons. It is also easy to make sensory bins, they can be made with any type of tray, bin, or box making it super affordable. Putting the seasons with the sensory bins is a great way to create Halloween sensory bins.
This page has great resources to make Halloween themed sensory bins for an effective therapy session.
Witches Brew Sensory Bin
This spooky sensory bin is a great way to incorporate sensory play and Halloween! You can add any type of object or item that you want when it comes to making a spooky sensory bin.
Sensory bins are a great way for a child to explore sensory play and feel many different textures. In the Witches Brew Sensory Bin, adding several spooky-themed objects can be really exciting. Adding different tools to the sensory bin is also a great way to incorporate fine motor skills.
Placing several objects in the bin can help the child identify them and point them out. This is a perfect exercise to work on visual-motor skills. Playing in this sensory bin can be a perfect way to concocted spooky Halloween spells!
Here is the website where I find the perfect recipe to make this spooky sensory bin!
Halloween Cloud Dough
Making Halloween Cloud Dough can be quite messy! Cloud dough is super soft and easy to mold which is perfect for children.
To incorporate the Halloween theme, the cloud dough can be colored into any color, but for Halloween, the perfect colors would be black, white, and orange. I found the perfect recipe on how to make Halloween Cloud Dough here at Simple for Kids - https://www.simplefunforkids.com/how-to-make-cloud-dough.html/.
If you want to read more on Halloween Cloud Dough, Simple for Kids has the perfect article for more information.
Playing with the cloud dough is the perfect opportunity for children to learn more about sensory play. There are so many benefits when playing with cloud dough:
If you want more information on the benefits of cloud dough, here is the website that I found for more information.
Children who have special needs, such as those with autism, have difficulty communicating, interacting, and comprehending in ways that are easy for the rest of us. These challenges facing them result in their inability to focus on something or pay attention easily. A safe and effective solution involves introducing them to a sensory room. This is a sort of sensory gym used in occupational therapy, helping special needs children engage cognitively and physically.
The pandemic, with all its lockdown restrictions, has made life more challenging for special needs children and their parents. Thankfully, introducing children to a sensory room is a great way to reduce the hardships suffered due to the pandemic.
A sensory room, also called a sensory gym, is a space that engages multiple senses simultaneously, helping to regulate the brain’s negative reactions to outside stimuli. It can help develop coping skills when a child is placed within one of these spaces.
A sensory gym can be an entire room, or it can be part of a room that has been carefully crafted into an occupational therapy space for special needs children. Each one of these safe spaces should match the needs of the particular child to ensure they are as effective as possible. Children who have autism, cerebral palsy, Down Syndrome, or ADHD can greatly benefit from having easy access to a sensory room.
There are a number of benefits to having a sensory room for your special needs child. Each year we receive thousands of calls from parents who are looking for a safe and effective outlet for their children. Here are the most significant and impactful benefits of a sensory gym:
A sensory room is a type of occupational therapy that helps children with special needs, such as those with autism, with sensory integration. This is vital due to it being a major cause of developmental, behavioral, and information processing issue. When you provide your special needs child with a sensory gym, you help their sensory systems either become more active or less overactive. The pandemic has caused new challenges for special needs children that can be alleviated thanks to interacting with and exploring a sensory room.
It absolutely is! To develop and learn, children need a stimulating environment and lots of opportunities for play. At an early age, kids learn about the world around them by using their senses: touching, smelling, tasting, seeing, and hearing. The best learning environment is one where a child feels safe and encouraged to use their senses and explore their environment.
Sensory play represents a child’s ability to engage their senses as they play and it is recognized as one of the most important educational tools from a very early age. Sensory play includes a variety of activities that stimulate any or all of a child’s senses, helping them explore and use those senses.
The experience of exploring the world through sensory play is fundamental for a child’s development. Art and sensory play promote creativity and imagination, boost curiosity, problem-solving, hand-eye coordination, and fine motor skills. Sensory play enhances a child’s social-emotional skills, supports language development, and lifts self-esteem.
Why is Sensory Play Important for Children with Developmental Disabilities?
Children with developmental disabilities often experience difficulties in exploring the world around them with their five senses. They may have a hard time making sense of different sensations they experience with their senses and may need extra support to learn through senses.
Sensory play is important for kids with special needs because it has many benefits. It helps kids understand how their bodies work and teaches them how to process information from their environment.
Taste sensory play helps kids with developmental disabilities recognize different kinds of food, but it also helps them associate food with fun and pleasure. Sight play teaches children about colors and encourages them to experiment with light. Through touch play, kids learn to explore the world with their hands, and so on.
Sensory Play Encourages Fine Motor Development
Fine motor skills involve the coordination of small muscles of hands and fingers with the eyes. Although these movements seem so natural and effortless, fine motor skills are complex skills that involve synchronized efforts of the brain and muscles.
Different art and sensory activities require a child to hold and manipulate a variety of objects, materials, textures, and shapes. Holding and manipulating items such as pencils, brushes, squeeze bottles, crayons, pipe cleaners, Play-Dough, pom poms, beads, straws, stickers, and other small objects promote small muscles development and encourage eye-hand coordination.
Fine motor skills ensure that a child masters a variety of skills from getting dressed to writing their own name. These skills improve brain functions and encourage overall development.
Sensory Play Boosts Brain and Cognitive Development
Brain development in early childhood is rapid and radical and amazingly progresses in the first five years of life. More than a million neural connections (synapses) are created in every second of this early-stage development. In other words, the brain is most flexible to learning during the first few years of life.
Sensory play improves brain plasticity and flexibility, helping grow and strengthen connections in the brain’s pathways. Brain plasticity and flexibility are essential for the child’s ability to complete more complex tasks, cognitive and language development, and gross motor skills.
Sensory activities can help develop memory, enhance a child’s problem-solving skills, and teaches kids sensory attributes such as dry, cold, warm, sticky, wet, smooth, bumpy, etc.
Also, sensory play sparks creativity and allows children with disabilities to make new discoveries and build upon their existing knowledge.
Sensory Play Promotes Social and Emotional Development
Sensory play promotes social interaction and helps children develop their social and emotional skills through engaging with their peers in play. Painting, drawing, and other arts and sensory activities help children with developmental disabilities express their emotions and thoughts. Through the use of a variety of colors, materials, and textures, they can communicate their inner world without using words.
Sensory Play has a Calming Effect
Playing with Play-Dough, coloring, building sandcastles, or engaging in other forms of sensory play has a calming effect and can help children relax when they are anxious, upset, or frustrated. Moreover, sensory play helps kids with developmental disabilities be content and teaches them how to live a happier life.
Sensory Activities for Children with Developmental Disabilities
When you plan sensory activities with kids with special needs, take into consideration how they will experience these activities.
Kids who have physical limitations can enjoy the sensory play by seeing, smelling, tasting, or listening.
Children who are deaf have a hearing impairment can feel the vibrations and feel the music through other senses such as touching or seeing. Children who are visually impaired or blind may benefit from touching different textured objects such as scratchy paper, bumpy rubber balls, soft fabrics, etc.
Children who are overly sensitive to sensory stimulation, like kids on the autism spectrum, may enjoy sensory activities differently. For example, a child may wear a smock or rubber gloves while painting if they get oversensitive about having paint on their hands or clothes.
When you plan sensory play for kids with special needs, always put safety first. Make sure that someone supervises a child and provide help if needed. Be aware of overstimulation and the child’s developmental needs. Finally, ensure that sensory play is age-appropriate and that the child makes the most of it.
After five years in practice, I decided that I needed to upgrade the look of my office to allow for optimal patient care. Upon researching some possibilities, I came across the Fun Factory Sensory Gym. I immediately called the company to purchase my own gym unit. We scheduled an install date and in three short days, my gym and my vision were complete. My patients and their parents walk in and are amazed at the beautiful and fun set up. I truly feel that my patients are getting the most effective and efficient care because I have the best equipment to address their individual needs. With the Fun Factory Gym equipment, I am able to help these children improve by Leaps and Bounds!
The Kaufman Children’s Center was proud to announce an exciting upgrade made here at the KCC. Over a long weekend in late January 2013, we completed a huge remodel to our sensory gym.
Our Fun Factory Sensory Gym has been life changing for our family! The entire experience of having the FFSG team in our home was so enjoyable. The crew’s heart and soul is behind the work they’re doing. From the first phone call, FFSG was committed to helping our family and our 3 small children with their various special needs. We have already experienced the calming effects of the net swing and the multiple ways the entire gym provides sensory input and regulation for our intense sensory seekers. What a great tool for our family and more than worth the investment!