Toys & Tools

As school-based OTs, we have a superpower. Our ability to turn just about anything, toys or other items, into a tool to help our students develop functional skills within the classroom is something to be proud of.

 

On this page, we will be honing in on our superpower and sharing with you a new tool we are using to facilitate a variety of skills in our students. By providing you with pictures and videos we hope to help you decide if the tool we are using would be beneficial to you and your students. 

 

As always, we want you to know that links to other sites from this page are likely affiliate links. Affiliate links help to support the OT School House by providing a small commission on purchases at no additional cost to youIf you have any questions about these products, we would be happy to answer them as best we can. Please use either the comments below or Email

 

Also, feel free to scroll down to see previous toys!

Hey there, 

 

You may have already seen this on our Facebook page, but a few weeks ago we posted a video featuring Trina from the Home Learning Company.  Over the years, and in the process of helping her own son learn, Trina developed several learning tools and games that she now shares with the world. Her products have been featured on several newscasts geared toward typically developing children, but now we have introduced her to OT and how these same tools can help children of all abilities. 

 

Check out this video to see all of the different games you can purchase to play with your kiddos. I just played Big Top with one of my students yesterday, and he loved it. And, he now knows what patterns are!  

 

PS. It's a bit long since it was filmed live, so feel free to skip ahead a bit to see all the different games

This week I used the time off from work to go live on our Facebook page to show everyone one of my toys to use with the kids I serve. PLUS PLUS is a toy straight from Denmark (just like LEGO blocks are) and they are nearly as versatile as LEGO Blocks are.

 

Check them out in this live recorded video and see what types of things you and your students can do with these small and magnificent PLUS PLUS tiles. 

PS. It's a bit long since it was filmed live, so feel free to skip ahead a bit. 

Hey there,

 

This week's toy is more of a tool, and it's a handy one that can be used with so many toys, tools, and other educational items. It is called the EazyHold cuff and you can get it HERE using our affiliate link that helps to support the OT School House. The EazyHold cuff is a silicone band that, as you can see above, can attach to so many items to help your student grasp a meaningful item. 

 

Check out how all of these kids use their EazyHolds in this video and listen to our interview with one of the creators of this great tool on the OT School House Podcast.

Like what you see with the EazyHold? Get yours here!

 

Scroll down for more activities you and your students will love!

One day an old man lost his cane and was very sad. For this cane was a magical cane that had sprouted from a sunflower. Luckily for him though, he knew just where to get another one. He grabbed his keys, unlocked the gated fence, and in his backyard was a full garden of sunflower canes. 

 

Hey there everyone,

No video this week, but I did want to share with you these cool dice that come with pictures on them. Give 1, 2, 3 or more of them a roll and let your students' imagination do the rest. 

 

You can even record what they say and let them write out on paper their initial thoughts. These Story Cubes are always great fun and an easy way to get kids to want to write. Get them on Amazon HERE and check out the many different versions. 

 

Scroll down for more activities you and your students will love!

Hey everyone,

 

This week's activity includes both a warm-up toy as well as a cool tool. The warm-up toy is last years addiction, the infamous spinner. You can find them on Amazon among other places. I recommend buying a few as they tend to get lost easily. 

 

The cool tool I am referring to is Memory Ties™. As I am writing this, their website is currently down, but you can like them on facebook to find out when it will be back up. Also, when the website is back up, be sure to get the shoe that comes with different colored laces, it makes it easier to teach the activity. 

 

If you'd like to see more videos like this where I show detailed activities you can do with your kids, let me know with an e-mail.  

 

Scroll down for more activities you and your students will love!

Hey everyone,

 

I hope you are having a wonderful day. Today's video is slightly longer than previous videos, but that is because I basically provide a therapy session to my wife using these K'nex pieces. K'nex are super cool and they were one of my favorite toys when I was growing up, so I hope you see the value in them and pick some up for your own therapy or educational sessions. 

 

If you'd like to see more videos like this where I show detailed activities you can do with your kids, let me know with an e-mail.  This video was fun to shoot, and I can think of many more videos that could be done simply using K'nex. 

 

Get K'nex on Amazon 

 

Scroll down for more activities you and your students will love!

Hey everyone,

 

I'm super excited to show you this week's toy. It's called the TechBoss 3D Intelligent Pen and it is used to create 3D "drawings".  In this video, I show you how I use the pen to make a small toy and you can see the planning that goes into the activity. In my opinion, this would be a great activity for students who have attention difficulties and need to learn how to slow down. In the video, I speed up the video to save you time, but the slow speed in which the plastic "prints" from the pen reinforces a mindful and purposeful planning activity for your students. 

 

I also want to emphasize the process versus product model of thinking when using this tool. This has come up a few times this past week as I have seen art projects in some classes that make me say to myself "there is no way that student created that project!" Cleary the aide or teacher cut, colored and pasted that for the student rather than letting them do it themselves. 

 

So just be mindful that something doesn't need to be perfect to be appreciated by our students.

 

Get the 3D Pen on Amazon 

 

Scroll down for more activities you and your students will love!

Small Plastic Cups - ~$6 on Amazon

Or find them at your local dollar store

Hey everyone,

 

Welcome back to the OT School House Toy of the week St. Patty's Day Special edition! Today's toy of the week are this little plastic cups. You can get them on Amazon for about $6 or find them at your local $1 store. They are great for imitation games, two-handed, and crossing midline skill building. They are also cheap and easy to carry around from one site to the next. I highly recommend storing a few in your travel bag as they can work as both an assessment tool and a treatment activity. 

 

Please, watch the video and see a few different ways to play. Kids of all ages enjoy building with these cups, so give it a try!

 

Scroll down for more activities you and your students will love!

Tic - Tac - Toe Variations - FREEEEEE! 

Hey there,

 

This week's Toy isn't a toy at all. Tic-Tac-Toe and a few variations of this traditional game are some of my favorite go-to activities for pre-writing warm-ups and when working on letter formation. You can play one-on-one with a student who will benefit from imitating letters, or have an entire class pick a buddy and practice their spelling words while having fun.

Quick story: When I was younger, my parents made me write out each of my 20 spelling words 5 times as part of my homework. It always worked, I did well on my test, but I HATED doing this every day. I sure do wish it could have been as fun as playing tic-tac-toe. 

 

Please, watch the video and see a few different ways to play. Your students will write just about anything when it's a game. Give it a try next week.  ​

 

Scroll down for more activities you and your students will love!

Hey there,

 

This week's Toy of the Week is I Spy: Find it Fast 

 

This week, I felt like shifting our attention to a topic that many OTs forget to look at and that is the ability to track and shift attention from one stimulus to another. This game does just that. It is a fun way to help a student develop the ability to shift their eyes as necessary in order to find the information they need. 

 

I spy can be adapted in many different ways which makes it great when you are traveling from school to school. Check it out on Amazon for about $9 Here!

Welcome back, everyone! This is another favorite for my younger students who need to work on some self-care skills. This book is full of buttons, snaps, and zippers and has a special treat at the end. Highly recommend taking a quick look at the video and heading over to PacificKid.net or Here to go directly to the page for this book. 

Hope you like it!

A favorite among my Kinder students, Dexteria Jr. will have your students tracing, poking, and pinching in no time. And the best part, after the student traces and erases, they get to take a #SELFIE 

 

Have a skim through this video to see what the app looks like and if its appropriate for you and your students. It's not always clear what I'm doing with my fingers, so to fill you in I am squashing the squash with my index finger, pinching the peppers with my thumb and index finger and using a stylus to trace and erase. I always recommend a stylus for my students when using an iPad or other tablets. They are too cheap not too. Try these stylus' - 10 for just $6  

 

Looking for more Apps to develop fine motor and visual motor skills? Click here

This week, we have a miniature version of a classic game that promotes the development of fine motor skills and social participation, among other skills. This travel size version of Match-4 allows you to focus on building your students in-hand manipulation skills through placing several game pieces into one hand and having them put one piece at a time into the game "board". If your students try to use their second hand to get out a game piece, prompt them to use that hand to hold onto the game board. In this video below, I play my wife in a quick match to show how in-hand manipulation skills are used. Check it out and if you think this game would help your students, get Match-4 here!

Kicking off our Month of Play and Toy of the Week, we have the U-Create Doodletop. This spinning top that creates circles as it spins  provides much more therapeutic value than the popular "spinners"

 

This toy is perfect for your students who seem to have the fine motor skills to rotate and manipulate small items, but just haven't quite mastered that tripod grasp. Have your student give it a spin, and then use it to write their name at the top of the page. Then transition them over to a small pencil to see if they begin to generalize the tripod grasp. Check out the video below!

 

For an extra top, a mechanical spinner, and interchangeable markers, you can get this one for ~$13.

 
Do you have a tool you think should be shared with the OT School House community?
 
Leave us a comment below!

Please note that some of the links on this page may be affiliate links, meaning we may receive a commission, at no additional cost to you, if you purchase something from the linked website. You can read all of our disclosures here.

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