Try Drawing on a Mirror with Dry Erase Markers!

My niece Emmaline shows us how we can draw a picture on a mirror. Drawing or writing on a vertical surface is great for development of the arm and shoulder muscles, and encourages the correct wrist position for writing.

Switch this activity up by playing Tic-Tac-Toe, practice writing letters and numbers, create a maze that your student has to solve, or write surprise messages to family members!

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Try This Fun Balance and Visual Motor Activity!

This activity is great for all ages, and works on several skills at once! This works to strengthen the core muscles, back muscles, neck muscles, and shoulder, arm, and hand muscles.

This works on balance skills. (You will still need to have at least one hand on your student for safety.)

This works on reaching skills. Including reaching across the midline. (Imagine there is an invisible line down the center of your body. Reaching with your right hand to grab something on the left side of your body, [and vice versa] is crossing the midline. For example, when you are about to drive and you buckle your seat belt, you cross your midline to grab the seat belt.)

This works on visual motor skills. This is how your brain and your body work together to understand visual input and respond with appropriate body movements. (For example, when someone tosses a ball to you, you respond by putting your arms up and closing them around the ball to catch it.)

How To Adapt This Activity: Play Tic-Tac-Toe with sticky notes. Use shaving cream to draw on the mirror instead of dry-erase markers. Roll your student back to a standing position between each turn to give them brief breaks from being in the prone (face down) position. Or simply roll your student toward the ground and back to the standing position. (Encourage your student to reach to the floor with his/her arms when you roll forward.)

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Tracing and Pencil Control

Here is a PDF of worksheets you can use to practice tracing, which will lead to better pencil control:

*Make sure your student sits with her/his feet flat on the floor, trunk upright, and with his/her helper hand resting on the paper.

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Trace and Color Shapes!

Help your student to trace and color these shapes to practice fine motor, visual motor, and visual perceptual skills.


  • Have your student sit with her/his feet flat on the floor if you are working at a tabletop
  • Remind your student to sit upright
  • Remind your student to use her/his helper hand to stabilize the paper
  • Encourage your student to keep the crayon touching the paper as s/he traces the shapes (don’t pick up the crayon at the end of each line)
  • Encourage your student to color within the lines

Posted in Bilateral Coordination, Handwriting, Helpful Links, Visual Motor, Visual Perceptual by with comments disabled.

What Are Visual Perceptual Skills?

In OT we talk a lot about Visual Perceptual Skills. Visual perception is essentially how our brains interpret what our eyes see. Many Students who struggle with simple puzzles, handwriting, and neatly coloring have difficulty with their visual perceptual skills. Here is a helpful website that breaks down what visual perceptual skills are, and gives an example of each skill:

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Let’s Try Coloring & Writing on a Vertical Surface!

Writing and coloring on vertical surfaces works on so many skills at once!

  • Helps to strengthen and stabilize the joints and muscles in the shoulder and arm
  • Bilateral coordination skills (using both arms at once) to stabilize paper on a wall
  • Encourages wrist extension which will help to develop a functional pencil grasp
  • Core Strength and Posture
  • Visual attention to task
  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Crossing midline (reaching across the center of our bodies)
  • Visual perceptual skills: spatial awareness
  • To learn more visit

Some Activity Ideas:

  • Writing & Coloring on a mirror with dry-erase markers (have your student erase their creations too by wiping with a damp paper towel)
  • Tape paper to the wall and color with small crayons
  • Place a paper with a pre-writing shape on the fridge and have your student place magnets directly over the lines of the shape
  • Do you have an eager helper in your household? Have your student “wash the walls” with a damp washcloth or help you wash windows (You MUST supervise if your student is using cleaning products.)
  • Drawing on a white board with dry-erase markers
  • Write in shaving cream or whipped cream on a mirror
  • Paint/draw/color/write on an easel

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Is your student working on their pre-writing shapes? Tic-Tac-Toe is a great way to practice writing Crosses and Circles!

  • For Crosses, remember to practice starting at the top when making the vertical line, and moving left to right when making the horizontal line.
  • For Circles, remember to practice starting and stopping at the same spot.
  • Remind students to use their helper hand to keep the paper still while they write.
  • Use a small writing utensil (broken crayon, small chalk piece) to build fine motor strength

Posted in Bilateral Coordination, Handwriting, Visual Motor by with comments disabled.

Moon and Stars Craft

Here is a link to a fun Moon and Stars Window Hanging Craft for Ramadan:

You will need scissors, a paper plate, tissue paper, glue, and paint/markers/crayons. Adults will likely have to cut out the crescent and star shapes, but younger hands should be able to help with all of the other steps!

  • Tearing tissue paper is a great way for students to practice using both of their hands, and it is a great hand strengthening activity as well.
  • Cutting the tissue paper is another great option to work on scissor skills.
  • Helping to hold and squeeze a glue bottle or paint bottle is a great way to strengthen hands and practice using both hands.
  • Coloring or painting the paper plate is a great way to practice using our “helper hand” to stabilize the plate while we paint or color with the dominant hand. This will also work on fine motor skills needed to grasp and manipulate a marker, crayon, or paint brush.

Posted in Bilateral Coordination, Handwriting, Helpful Links, Visual Motor by with comments disabled.

Gross Motor Alphabet Exercises

This is a link to the Alphabet Exercises

If you scroll down, there is a description of how to do an exercise for each letter. These gross motor exercises help students build their muscles, coordination skills, and balance skills. This is also a great way to get some wiggles and energy out!

*This resource is from the OT Toolbox Website, a great resource for Occupational Therapist. I encourage you to explore the site, and if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me at I can answer questions, and help you modify tasks to your student!

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Let’s Practice the Pre-Writing Shapes!

The Pre-Writing Shapes are typically mastered in this order:

  • Vertical line
  • Horizontal line
  • Circle
  • Cross
  • Square
  • Diagonal line /
  • Diagonal line \
  • X
  • Triangle

Tips for practicing the pre-writing shapes with correct formation:

  • Always start from the “TOP TOP TOP” (this is a phrase I use with many of my students)
  • Always move from the Left to the Right
  • Add a sound when making strokes to encourage engagement (I use “SHOOP!” with many of my students, as well as “CIRCLE…..STOP!” and “DOWN and ACROSS”)
  • Practicing on a vertical surface helps to develop muscles in the arm needed for better handwriting skills
  • Use small writing utensils – small piece of chalk, broken crayon, small pencil, small marker. Using small writing utensils encourages students to use a developmentally appropriate pencil grasp
  • Remind your students to use their “Helper Hand” to hold their paper still as they write
  • Have fun! It is important that students enjoy these activities or they will grow to dislike all writing activities.

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