25 Ideas For Occupational Therapy At Home (sensory, fine and gross motor activities)
Can we complete occupational therapy at home?
Earlier this month, my youngest son started back in occupational therapy.
After one session, it was 100% clear that they were not equipped to deal with his age, nor his needs. (The short version is that it was about as appropriate for a 12-year-old boy as dropping him off in a toddler class at the local daycare.)
After that experience, we decided to have an OT come to our home instead, for 30 minutes a week. She works with him on his fine motor skills and teaches me what I need to do to help him every day and long-term. It’s been better, but still not ideal.
The truth is, the older my child gets, the more I realize we need to find ways to help him assimilate his practice and learning into his every day life.
With this in mind, I decided to pull together a list of our favorite and most effective fine motor, gross motor and sensory occupational activities. These therapeutic exercises are easily incorporated into his learning and our days. Because of this, I find he doesn’t resist the practice, but instead, looks forward to it.
Overall, this is simply the most effective way for him to learn and progress.
(Please know, we have used and will continue to use occupational therapists to help our boys. This is not an assessment of all OT’s nor advice to discontinue services in any way. We have worked with some of the most amazing therapists in the past and my children are better for it!)
25 Ideas For Occupational Therapy At Home
Here are our favorite activities, divided into Fine Motor, Gross Motor and Sensory categories.
Fine Motor Activities
Japanese Character Writing
Silly Copy Work
Soap or Shaving Cream Writing (on the ground or in the shower – it works!)
Popsicle Stick Spacing (a Popsicle stick helps with spacing between words when practicing handwriting)
Dress The Dog (we actually dress my son’s service dog sometimes for button practice…)
Puzzles (one that gets the hands moving and requires fine motor coordination)
Building with LEGOs
Gross Motor Activities
Sidewalk Chalk Hopscotch
Target Practice (with Nerf guns, with Nerf bow and arrows, throwing tennis balls – anything that coordinates the body ‘s movements with the brain)
Chair Rides (rolling, spinning chairs are a favorite around here)
Army Belly Crawls
Couch Fort Building
Make Your Own Stress Balls
Nature Walk with Textures (gather as many different textures as possible!)
Shawna Wingert is a special education teacher turned educational consultant, and mom of two brilliant boys who have learning differences and special needs.
Shawna has also written four books: Everyday Autism, Special Education at Home, Parenting Chaos, and Homeschooling Your Child With Special Needs. A passionate advocate for individualized education, Shawna is frequently featured on Today.com, Simple Homeschool, Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers and The Mighty. She can also be found supporting parents online at her own site, DifferentByDesignLearning.com.