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!
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.)
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: https://www.visionlearningcenter.com/visual-perceptual-skills/
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. I can answer questions, and help you modify tasks to your student!