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Functional Activities for OT at Home

The goal of occupational therapy, better known as OT, is to increase children’s independence across their natural environments. Occupational therapists work on underlying skills in order to build up to completing larger, functional tasks, such as dressing, grooming, bathing, and toileting.  Some of these areas are executive functioning, social skills, sensory processing, fine motor skills, visual motor skills, motor planning, coordination, transitioning skills, etc. Here are some ideas for functional activities for children at home to target some of the skills you are working on in therapy!

  • Sensory processing: playing with food, washing vegetables before a meal, making bubbles with dish soap, collecting items in nature in a basket, making homemade sensory bottles with plastic bottles
  • Motor planning/coordination/force modulation: matching assorted jars and bottles with their tops, serving food with tongs/serving spoons, spreading butter/jam on toast, squeezing toothpaste on a toothbrush
  • Hand strengthening: squirt toys in the bathtub, opening and closing Ziplock bags, ringing out washcloths, squeezing shampoo/soap bottles, marking off items on a grocery list while at the store, stirring different dough consistencies, watering plants with a spray bottle
  • Visual motor skills: sorting clothes by color, sweeping into a square on the floor marked with painter’s tape, lining up buttons/zippers/snaps appropriately

Several of these functional activities address more than one area, and they can be adapted with the amount of assistance you give your child to help them complete the activities. If you have any questions about occupational therapy or how to modify these activities, reach out to your child’s occupational therapist!

Download or print more information and ideas here.

Hensley Barnes, OTD, OTR/L