DIY Occupational Therapy Tools for Kids

pediatric OT tools

Kids love to make things. And, crafts are such a huge role in helping little ones develop early skills. Thanks to some brilliantly simple ideas, you can engage with children in activities they’ll go absolutely crazy for.

Homemade Stencils: Using stencils is a fun way for young children to practice their motor skills in writing. It’s super easy and CHEAP.

What you’ll need:

  • Paper plates
  • Paint/paintbrush
  • Scissors or craft knife
  • Pen or Pencil
  • Paper

Step 1: Draw pictures onto the plates

Step 2: Cut them out (duh!)

Step 3: Get the kids painting! They’ll love it and have something to put on mommy’s fridge that they can be proud of.

Tabletop soccer oral motor exercise activity: With just a few basic objects, you can make a kid-friendly activity to improve their oral motor skills. They will have fun as they engage in a fun indoor game while developing. (They won’t even realize its an exercise and not just a fun game!) So go for the goal with this game.

Tabletop Soccer

What you’ll need:

  • Green poster board
  • Pizza box
  • Scissors
  • Markers
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Box-top ads and glue or tape (optional)
  • Cotton ball

1. To make the field, trim green poster board to fit inside an opened pizza box, then draw the field as shown. Cut holes for goals at each end and make goalposts from pipe cleaners. Adhere cut-out box-top ads to the arena sides, if you like.

2. Place the pizza box on top of books or boxes so that the ball can fall cleanly through the goals.

3. Children use straws to blow the cotton ball across the field and try to score. Soccer rules apply — no hands allowed!

DIY “Stuffed Animal” Weighted Lap Bag- The sensory input from a weighted object usually in beneficial for children to learn. You’ll see better results that way. I’ve seen do-it-yourself weighted blankets and vests, but the “stuffed animal” is a fun variation on the tool that’s great for pediatric therapy.

What you’ll need:

  • Stuffingless dog toy (with the squeaker removed) or a regular stuffed animal that you remove the stuffing from
  • Aquarium rocks, beans, rice, etc. for weight
  • Sewing kit
  • Scissors

All you need to do to make this great OT tool is to fill the empty stuffed animal with objects of your choosing (aquarium rocks, beans, rice, etc.) and sew it up. And, there you have a super easy to make weight that you can use in your practice when you work with kids. You might want to adjust the weight depending on the child however. If you’re a skilled seamstress, try adding a zipper so you can add or remove weight as needed. This tool is great for kiddos that have trouble sitting still at their desks or while they’re eating! Added bonus: they also can be used as great homemade medicine balls for children.

Visual Tube- Practice eye hand coordination, visual motor skills, motor planning and visual tracking with kids using a simple tool you can make using only a few materials. And, its good for two activities so it lends a bit of versatility.

What you’ll need:

  • Recycled cardboard tube (from a papertowel roll)
  • Tape
  • Balloon
  • Colored paper
  • Yarn
  • Small object

Activity #1:  Wrap three pieces of colored paper around the cardboard tube several inches for each other (or use colored

tape).  The adult should blow up a small balloon.  Tie the yarn to the balloon and suspend it from the ceiling.

Give the child the cardboard tube.  The child should hold the tube horizontally with both hands.  The adult can call out a color
and the child should try to hit the balloon with that colored section on the tube.  Repeat changing the colors called.

Activity #2:  The adult should cut a small hole in the cardboard tube near one end.  You will need to use a sharp exacto
knife.  Put a large piece of clear tape over the hole on the outside and the inside.

Give the child the tube.  The child can put a small object in the tube (i.e. quarter, bouncy ball, etc.).  Place both hands over
the tube openings so that the object does not fall out.  The child should try to tip the tube up and down slowly until the
object can be seen in the window hole.


Author: Allied Travel Careers

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