If your child is receiving occupational therapy, you know firsthand that your therapist is an important member of the team dedicated to bringing out your child’s best potential. Likely he or she has some amazing tricks and tools that help your child meet his sensory needs. As the parent, you too are an important member of the team. The more your child practices with you at home between sessions, the faster their progress will be.
To help guide you, we’ve created a list of some common occupational therapy goals and tools that can be used at home to help develop these crucial skills. (Note, your child’s therapist is likely familiar with these products and they may already be part of their OT toolbox.)
1. Fine Motor & Strengthening
Building muscle strength goes hand in hand with developing fine motor skills. These are the foundation for many daily tasks, such as writing, eating, and getting dressed. You can incorporate a variety of activities to work on fine motor skills. An easy way to encourage kids to practice is with sensory putty. Squeezing and stretching putty exercises kids' muscles. For additional fine motor development, opt for Discovery Putty so that kids can pull out the pieces to work on their grasp.
2. Deep Pressure
Many kids are soothed by deep pressure input, as the compression sends calming signals throughout their bodies. Tight bear hugs are a great way to provide this but may not always be practical. Sensory sacks offer children the means to self-regulate. They just have to climb in and pull the fabric as tight as they need around themselves, forming the ultimate deep pressure cocoon.
There are countless sources of tactile input in daily life but sometimes kids need a specific type. Tools like our Tactile Bean Bags are an easy way to expose children to a sample of textures in order to find what they are looking for. Running their hands over the textured materials can help kids self-soothe in overwhelming situations, and they also can serve as a simple fidget tool.
4. Visual Motor
Hand-eye coordination is an integral part of daily life and is dependent on visual-motor skills. A common occupational therapy goal is to help kids develop the ability to see something and then use that visual information to manipulate an object. Play scarves are the perfect tool to work on this skill since they can be used for numerous activities. Have your child toss them in the air then catch them with the opposite hand. Stuff the scarves in a box and have your child pull them out again, or use them for eye-tracking activities.
The tools listed above are great starting points. For parents who are ready to take the next step, check out some of our Sensory Kits that include many more sensory tools to help reach common occupational therapy goals.
We’d love to know which sensory tools help you at home! Share them in the comments, leave a review on the product page or reach out to our Customer Care team.