Hi…I’m Avital Shuster, a mom of 3 and a pediatric occupational therapist. I’m also the creator of OTPlan .com (a search engine for pediatric activity ideas), Skills in a Box (a subscription service that provides developmental activity ideas based on specific skills), and OTPlanDough (themed homemade play dough kits). I own a private pediatric clinic in Orange County, CA, and prior to that worked as a school-based therapist for 10 years.
My favorite part about being a pediatric OT, aside from planning activities that work on developmental skills, is interacting with the kids and their families. As much as I love supporting them, I love learning new things from each and every child! I’m so thankful to be able to be part of their lives and do something I love so much!
I’m a big believer in using household and cost-effective materials to create activities that support the development of children! So, here is my list:
Challenge Items from OTPlan
1. Containers and Boxes
The possibilities are endless…but here are a few ideas:
- Stack them up and try to knock them down with a bean bag or a ball
- Fill them up with items, let the child put their hand through the opening to guess what’s inside.
- Use them in crafts.
- Poke a hole in the lid of a plastic container and let the child insert pom-poms, counting sticks, dried pasta, etc. through.
2. TP Rolls and Paper Towel Rolls
- Make a shaker/rain stick.
- “Lace” rubber bands over.
- Make binoculars.
- Write letters/words on them and let the child search for them.
- Draw a maze on them.
3. Pom Poms
- Use the in a sensory bin.
- Use tongs to transfer them from one container to another.
- Use them in craft (i.e. make a caterpillar using clothespins).
4. Jump Rope
- Tie it to a basket filled with bean bags and have the child pull the basket using the rope.
- Place the rope on the ground and balance along the rope.
- Place the rope on the ground and have the child practice jumping over it.
5. Pool Noodles
- Use it to bounce balloons.
- Slice pieces and lace them on a large pipe cleaner.
- Use it as stampers.
- Make sailboats and use them in a water sensory bin.
- Use it as part of an obstacle course.
There are so many activities that can be done with a ball!
- Throw and catch games.
- Throw to hit a target.
- Pass the ball over the head/between the legs.
- Kick the ball to a target.
- Hit the ball with a bat/pool noodle.
7. Squirt Bottles/Spray Bottles
- Great items for hand strengthening and finger isolation.
- Fill up with water and squirt on the letters/words you wrote with chalk on the ground.
- Use with pom poms and do a “race”.
- Fill up with puffy paint and squeeze the paint out to create a piece of art.
- Color/Chalk Art.
- Make an outdoor obstacle course path.
9. Egg Carton
- Use it for crafts.
- Color each “cup” in a different color. Use tongs and colored pom-poms and let the child sort the pom-poms and place it, using the tongs, in the matching colored cup.
- Work on buttoning skills.
10. Hole Puncher
- Make lacing cards.
- Let the child use a single hole puncher to work on hand strength.
11. Index Cards
- They are a perfect size and have the perfect thickness to practice cutting skills.
- Make lacing cards.
- Use for practice writing.
12. Pipe Cleaners
- String beads/cut straw pieces and make fun and colorful bracelets.
- Use them in lacing cards.
- Practice letters/number formation.
- Put them through a slit in a container lid.
13. Tongs and Tweezers
- Work on hand strength by using them to catch and transfer objects such as pom poms, mini erasers, cotton balls, etc.
14. Dry Pasta/Rice/Beans
- Put them in a sensory bin.
- Lace penne pasta on pipe cleaners.
- Practice letter/number formation.
- Use them in crafts.
- Use them to paint.
- Push them through a slit in a container lid or the bottom of an egg carton.
- Use them to practice letter/number formation.
- Insert them through dried penne pasta.
Thank you OTPlan for bringing innovation to this challenge with so many household items. It makes it easy for most people to find a few therapeutic activities for their children at home!
Check out these other Motor Box Challenge ideas:
OT Motor Box Challenge by Cait the COTA
OT Motor Box Challenge by OT.Outside.the.Box
OT Motor Box Challenge by OT_for_School
OT Motor Box Challenge by OT_for_Me.box
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