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This Summer paper plate game is a super fun, kinesthetic, easy activity for a group.  It encourages visual-spatial skills, visual motor skills, and body awareness.  It is a definite challenge for kinesthetic awareness.

How to play the paper plate drawing game:

Give each player a pencil and a non-coated, white paper plate.  If you do not have paper plates you could use recycled, lightweight cardboard i.e. inside of a cereal box or heavy, cardstock paper.

Each player should hold the paper plate on his/her own head and be ready to draw on it with the pencil.

Read these directions out loud for the players to follow:

  1. Draw grass on the ground.
  2. Draw the sun with rays in the sky.
  3. Draw two flowers in the grass that are not touching.
  4. Draw 2 birds in the sky under the sun.
  5. Draw a ball in between the flowers.
  6. Draw one cloud in the sky next to the sun.

Take the plate off of your head and look at your crazy drawing.  If you want to score the drawing give yourself points if you –

  • Score 1 point if the sun is in the sky.
  • Score 1 point if none of the sun’s rays overlap.
  • Score 1 point if your flowers do not touch.
  • Score 1 point if your flowers are in the grass.
  • Score 2 points if your birds are under the sun.
  • Score 1 point if your ball is in between the flowers.
  • Score 1 point if your cloud is not touching any grass or flowers.

You can play this game with any theme.  The original idea I saw was a Christmas game.  Just create new directions and a new scoring system.

Want to make the paper plate game easier?

Instead of putting the paper plate on your head, play by having the children close their eyes and draw on regular paper.

Looking for an even easier version of the game?  Plan to only focus on visual-spatial skills.  The children can keep their eyes open and practice drawing all the objects in the right location based on the directions.

If you are looking for more kinesthetic awareness activities, check out Now You See It, Now You Don’t.

Now You See It, Now You Don’t includes 20 worksheets to practice kinesthetic skills without visual input. Some children rely too much on the visual system when completing visual motor activities. These worksheets encourage a child to use his/her kinesthetic sense (where the body is in space) to complete a visual motor task rather than relying on the visual system. The ebook includes 10 easier worksheets and 10 harder worksheets. The theme is animals and sports.  FIND OUT MORE.

Want to Play the Paper Play Drawing Game Again?

Read these directions out loud for the players to follow:

  1. Draw a campfire on the ground.
  2. Draw the moon in the sky.
  3. Draw three stars that are in a straight line.
  4. Draw a tree next to the campfire.
  5. Draw a triangle for a tent under the moon.
  6. Draw a marshmallow on a stick over the campfire but not touching the fire.

Take the plate off of your head and look at your crazy drawing.  If you want to score the drawing give yourself points if you –

  • Score 1 point if the campfire is on the ground.
  • Score 1 point if the moon is near the top of the drawing.
  • Score 2 points if your three stars are in a straight line.
  • Score 1 point if your tree is next to the campfire.
  • Score 2 points if your tent is under the moon.
  • Score 2 points if your marshmallow is on a stick over the fire but not touching it.
Looking for more silly drawing games?

Silly Sketches includes 10 drawings to create by following 6 simple directions. There are 10 drawing starters for each silly sketch to make the activity easier if necessary. This is suitable for one child to complete or for a group of children. This electronic book is in black and white.

This download encourages drawing skills, ability to follow step by step directions, creativity, visual motor skills and visual perceptual skills.

Find out more information about this drawing game for kids.

When to Play the Paper Plate Drawing Games for Kids

The best thing about these quick and easy drawing games is that they can be played anytime anywhere. Here are a few ideas of when you can start up these games:

  • indoor recess
  • five-minute filler activity
  • anytime the kids are getting antsy
  • boredom buster
  • to encourage children that drawing can be fun! It is a novel warm-up for those students who dislike handwriting practice.
  • want to add in academics? Pick a theme for the silly drawings. Maybe draw pictures from a vocabulary list.
  • try some of the activities with paper taped to the wall. This will encourage all sorts of different muscle activation.

The post Paper Plate Drawing Game for Summer appeared first on Your Therapy Source.

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Are you looking to encourage students to improve self-regulation skills and maintain classroom expectations?  This free self-regulation checklist will help students gain independence in school.  This checklist helps children:

  1. to understand what behaviors are expected of them.
  2. how to succeed in the classroom.
  3. to reflect on those behaviors during class time.

Students can refer to the self-regulation checklist throughout classroom work to check in on their organizational skills, state of regulation, focus, effort, and behavior in class.

This checklist is from the Self-Assessments and Checklists for Good Work Habits digital download.

The Self-Assessments and Checklists for Good Work Habits provide 8 checklists to encourage successful students.  Each checklist includes 6 areas to self-assess with written directions and picture symbols.

How to use this self-regulation checklist:

Print it out full size, half page or 4 to a page.

Review the checklist and expectations with the student.

Confirm understanding of the student.

Provide the student with the checklist for during class time.

The student can write his/her name and date at the top.

The student can periodically refer to the checklist to self check and confirm he/she is ready to work.

The student can put a check mark in the box if the reminder is being accomplished.

When the task is completed, the student can record his/her score out of 6 points.

BONUS IDEA –  student-generated data collection on his/her goals!

The student can keep track of the data using My Goal Tracker.  This is an electronic book of data collection forms for students to track their own progress. The student can track his/her goals over time, by monitoring the skills over the course of a day, week, month or quarter. Find out more information.

Download your FREE Self-Regulation Checklist

Enter your email below to download the FREE Ready To Work Checklist.  You will receive the weekly email newsletter and announcements from Your Therapy Source.  If you can not view the sign-up box send an email to info@yourtherapysource.com referencing this freebie and we will send it to you.

Move~Work~Breathe is a self-regulation curriculum designed by a school based occupational therapist, Thia Triggs.  This curriculum provides an effective, time-efficient structured system to provide classroom breaks, improve self-awareness and self advocacy and teach specific self-regulation skills so that kids have tools to use in their classrooms. This system will get kids moving, give them the benefits of a brain power boost [from getting their heart rate up], give them heavy work and isometrics to help them calm down, and help them learn techniques to quiet and control their bodies in order to return to their academic work.  FIND OUT MORE.

The post Self Regulation Checklist for Self Monitoring appeared first on Your Therapy Source.

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There is no doubt about it, children can get tired of practicing handwriting.  Even more so when they need to improve their handwriting.  Handwriting is a difficult task to practice over and over again.  Why not add in some fun handwriting games?  This freebie can be downloaded at the end of the post.

How Do You Play the Fun Handwriting Games?

Have you ever heard of MASH, the fortune telling pencil and paper game?  These two games are just like MASH but with different topics.  This freebie is from the complete fun handwriting worksheets packet that includes over 20 other similar games.

There are two freebies included in the download.

How to Play the Story Starter MASH Game:

Directions: Fill in the blank boxes with your story starter ideas. Draw a spiral in the circle. Count all the rings of the spiral. It is your lucky number. Start counting up to your lucky number at the #1 character. Stop counting lines when you get to your lucky number. Cross that item out. Continue counting up to your lucky number and crossing items out leaving only one option left in each section to decide what story to create!

How to Play the Boredom Buster MASH Game:

Directions: Fill in the blank boxes with some boredom busting ideas. Draw a spiral in the circle. Count all the rings of the spiral. It is your lucky number. Start counting up to your lucky number at #1 in outdoor ideas. Stop counting lines when you get to your lucky number. Cross that item out. Continue counting up to your lucky number and crossing items out leaving only one option left in each section to determine what you should do next!

When to Use the Fun Handwriting Games?

The best thing about these two games is that you sneak in handwriting practice but you are also encouraging literacy, creativity, expressive writing, and independent play time.  Wow – that is a lot for 2 pages, right?

So use them anytime! Quiet time, before screen time, rainy days, indoor recess, handwriting homeworks, when ever your child needs a boredom busting enrichment activity just print and play!

Get the Complete MASH Game Packet

Trust me, once kids start playing these games they will want to do more handwriting practice.  You can get the complete MASH Game Packet here.

The MASH games for kids is loaded with 20+ printables to practice handwriting, creativity and more!  Busy professionals, teachers, and parents will appreciate these ready to go activities to help children succeed and have fun.

Download your FREE Copy of the Games

Sign up to receive the weekly email newsletter and other announcements from Your Therapy Source.  You will be redirected to the download.  If you can see the box below to sign up, email us at info@yourtherapysource.com referencing this freebie and we will send you the download.

The post Fun Handwriting Games Freebie appeared first on Your Therapy Source.

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Young children seem to love cats – they are furry, cuddly and cute.  Pete the Cat books and Dr. Seuss’ Cat in the Hat offer wonderful opportunities for literacy with a cat theme.  If you are looking to extend cat picture books to practice visual motor, fine motor, and gross motor skills here are 6 free cat activities for preschoolers to print and use.

#1 – Simple Cat Drawing

Check out this sample cat (and airplane) pages from Simple Shape Drawings.  

These freebies include two simple pictures to draw around the outline of the cat and the airplane.  There are green start dots with an arrow to reinforce starting at the top.  The students will practice:

  • visual motor skills
  • graded muscle control to stay in the lines
  • prewriting skills
Get more details about the Complete Simple Shape Drawings packet

The Simple Shape Drawings digital download includes 20+ simple animals and objects to draw around the outline.  Students get tired of practicing visual motor skills following a basic path, use these activities to draw something instead.  The animals and objects include cat, airplane, rabbit, unicorn, guitar, dog, football, snake, dolphin, tree, flower, dinosaur, bear, apple, owl, moon/stars, lizard, boy, girl, wolf, turtle, and seahorse.

Download the Free Simple Shape Drawings Here

Download the Cat and Airplane drawing here

#2 – Can you catch the correct butterflies?

Can you help the cat to catch the correct butterflies?  Download this freebie from the Catching Butterflies complete packet.  Connect the dots to form the mystery letter.  Once you recognize the letter, catch (circle with your pencil) all of the matching butterfly letters.

This printable Catching Butterflies freebie encourages:

  • visual motor skills
  • visual discrimination skills
  • number recognition
  • letter recognition


This freebie is from the complete Catching Butterflies packet that is available here.

Catching Butterflies visual motor packet is an instant digital download of 26 activity black and white activity pages to practice visual motor, visual discrimination, and letter recognition skills.  Complete the dot to dot to reveal the letter.  Circle all of the matching butterfly letters.  FIND OUT MORE.

#3 – Fine Motor Cat Activities for Preschoolers

There are so many of us who just love CATS!  Adult and kids alike enjoy these cuddly creatures.  This cat fine motor game requires fine motor skills to fill in the cat and you can download it for FREE below.  Plus, you can watch a video of the game in action.

    1. Print each player a cat board.
    2. Decide how you will fill the 20 circles on the cat: small balls of clay, tongs with pom-poms, dot markers, color with crayons, pennies or bingo chips.
    3. Flip a coin.  If it lands on heads, fill in two circles.  If it lands on tails, fill in one circle.
    4. The first player to fill in all 20 circles on the cat is the winner.
What skills will children practice when playing the Cat Fine Motor Game?

This game encourages children to practice:

  • fine motor skills
  • finger strengthening
  • hand strengthening
  • eye-hand coordination
  • visual motor coordination
Download your FREE Cat Fine Motor Game

You can download your FREE copy of the Cat Fine Motor Game.

Get more information on the Complete Flip and Fill Animal Fine Motor Game Packet

The Flip and Fill Animal Fine Motor Game digital download includes 20 different animal game boards to practice fine motor skills and encourage hand strengthening.

Watch the Flip and Fill Fine Motor games in action.

Flip and Fill Fine Motor Games Animals - YouTube
#4 – Cat Whisker Lacing Activity for Preschoolers

How cute is this cat’s whiskers busy bag?  I happen to find it adorable!  Just print out the free download, cut out the kitty’s, laminate and hole punch to indicate where to lace the pipe cleaners.  Toss some pipe cleaners cut in half inside the busy bag and it is all set to go.  The child can lace the pipe cleaners through the holes to give the cat’s their whiskers.

I only used one hole punch to lace the pipe cleaners through but you could do two.  I liked the end result better with only one hole punched and lacing all the pipe cleaners through the one hole.  If it is difficult for the child, punch the one hole several times to make it larger to fit the pipe cleaners easier.

This activity encourages scissors skills, hand strengthening with the hole punching, visual motor skills with the lacing and creativity.

If you wanted to, you could color the cats before you laminate them.  I like the black and white cats because the pipe cleaner whiskers really stand out on the white background.

You can download the cat’s to print and lace at Your Therapy Source for free!

Here are some Shape People Punches that are also free.

Want more ideas for hole punching?  Check out Hole Punch Palooza

#5 – Finish the Cat Activities for Preschoolers for Visual Closure

Do you need an activity to practice symmetry, visual motor and visual closure skills?  These cat finish the picture printables are FREE (download at the end of the post).  It includes three levels of difficulty:

  1. Easiest – Trace along the dotted lines to complete the other half of the picture.
  2. Harder – Complete the missing parts of the other half of the picture.
  3. Hardest – Finish the missing half of the picture.
What is visual closure?

Visual closure is a visual perceptual skill that allows you to know what an object is even when the object is only partially visible. For example, if your sock is sticking out from under your bed you recognize it is your
missing sock. Another example is reading words together instead of every letter at a time.  This freebie has the children practice visual closure skills by complete the other half of the symmetrical picture.

This Shape Owls digital download packet includes 10 different owl shapes with 3 levels of difficulty to practice shape discrimination, visual closure, and handwriting skills.

What are visual motor skills?

Coordinating your eyes and hands to draw and write are visual motor skills.  Students need visual motor skills to perform actions such as drawing pictures, writing letters and catching a ball.  These finish the picture printables work on practicing visual motor skills because the child has to trace or draw to complete the symmetrical picture.

Download your FREE Finish the Picture Printables here

This freebie is from the full Complete the Picture digital download.  It includes 25 exercises with three levels of difficulty to practice symmetry, visual motor, and visual closure skills.

Sign up to receive the weekly email newsletter and announcements from Your Therapy Source.  You will get a link to download the FREE PRINTABLE.  If you are already a subscriber, please enter your email and you will be redirected to the link.

#6 – Find and Color the Cats

Here is a cat freebie from the Winter Visual Perceptual Puzzles packet.

Isn’t it so cute?  You can download it here.

#7 – Yoga Cat Activities for Preschoolers – Another FREE Printable

Don’t forget that the children need to move like a cat too!  And of course, yoga is just the exercise to practice all your cat moves.  Download this FREE Sun Salutation for Cats yoga free printable below.  (The illustrations were created by Annykos used under a Shutterstock license.)

Sign up to receive the weekly email newsletter and announcements from Your Therapy Source.  You will get a link to download the FREE PRINTABLE.  If you are already a subscriber, please enter your email and you will be redirected to the link.

The post Cat Activities for Preschoolers – 7 Free Printables appeared first on Your Therapy Source.

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Body awareness is the ability to understand where our bodies are in space and how our bodies move.  Body awareness activities help us to understand how to relate to objects and people at home, at school and outdoors. For example, proper body awareness tells us how far to reach for objects or how close to stand next to a person.  Sometimes, if people have difficulties with body awareness they may appear clumsy, uncoordinated or have delays in motor skill development.

Body awareness activities for children Proprioceptive input (heavy work activities)

This type of input gives our muscles and joints information about how our arms, legs, head and trunk move.  Any weight bearing activities are technically proprioceptive input.  Here are some examples:  wheelbarrow walking, jumping, stomping the feet, push ups, pushing/pulling, carrying heavy objects, etc.

Play games that involve identifying body parts

Simon Says is a wonderful game to encourage body awareness and self-regulation.  Call out more than one activity to increase the challenge such as “Simon Says touch your right hand to your left knee”.  Check out these free Simon Says cards.

Mirror Games

Give each child a partner.  When one person moves the other person has to copy their movements exactly.  Have children try to mimic poses of different movements with these body position cards.  Try copying the exact actions of the children pictured in the Move Like Me cards.

Practice spatial awareness.

Set up obstacles courses for children to go under, over, through and around objects.  Here are more ideas for spatial awareness.

Beanbag Alphabet Game

Beanbag Alphabet Fun Game used beanbags as a wonderful tool to encourage physical activity, body awareness, motor planning, and coordination skills in children. Move through the alphabet with your beanbag – download this freebie and learn how to play.

Body Awareness Printables

Download this FREE 6 page printable to reinforce body awareness in children and play games.

Ninja Motor Planning and Body Awareness Freebie

Here is a fun FREEBIE for the Ninja loving fan from Ninja Brain Breaks!  This activity encourages motor planning, body awareness, finger strengthening, and physical activity.  You can download the Ninja Clothes Pin Clip Activity here.

Hula Hoop Game

Through the Hoop – Break up the group into several small teams (about 3 children in each group).  Give each group one hula hoop.  Establish a starting line and another line about 10-20 feet away.  The first person in each group runs to the line that is 10-20 feet away and holds the hoop several inches off the ground.  Then the next person runs down, climbs through the hoop and back to the starting line.  The third person runs down, climbs through the hoop and back to the starting line.  The first person climbs through the hoop while holding it and runs back to start.  The first team with all three players through the hoop is the winner.

Creating Self-Portraits

Practice drawing pictures of people or ask the child to draw a picture of himself or herself. Name body parts as they are drawn.

Group Body Awareness Activities for the Classroom

Need a quick body awareness and spatial relationship brain break that combines estimation with movement and motor planning?  Here is a simple activity that helps students to understand spatial relationships to objects in the classroom.

Start out with each student standing up next to their desk.  Have them guess how many baby steps it will take to walk to the desk in front of them.  Once they have made the estimate, they can count the baby steps it takes.

Now try moving to a target further away with a different movement.  Guess how many jumps it will take to get to the window.  Once the estimate is made, the students can count the jumps it takes them to get to the window.  Return to the starting point.  Now ask the students to double the number of jumps it took them to get to the window.  The students must now adjust the size of the jumps and how the body moves through space to take double the amount of jumps to the window.

Have the students partner up.  The students can stand at least 10 feet apart.  Estimate how many hops it will take to meet in the middle.  Test your guess and hop to meet in the middle.  Try again with different movements – ie backward steps, heel to toe walking, lunges, marching etc.  Make sure to remind the students that part of the challenge is to meet in the middle but not to touch each other.

Q and A Body Awareness Activities for One or More Children

This game can be played with one player or a group of children to promote body awareness, motor skills, and listening skills.

The adult faces the group and is going to ask the children to move certain body parts based on questions.  The children are not to answer the questions.  They should move the body part that is the answer to the question.

Here is an example:
Question:  What body part waves hello?
Answer:  Children wave hands in air.

Here is a list of several questions and answers or make up your own.  See what questions the children can come up with.

Q:  What body part makes funny faces?
A:  Child moves mouth or tongue

Q:  What body part wears socks?
A:  Child moves feet.

Q:  What body part uses crayons?
A:  Child wiggles fingers.

Q:  What body part smells skunks?
A:  Child moves nose.

Q:  What body part climbs ladders?
A: Child moves arms and legs

Now change the game and request actions based on different noises:

Make a clapping sound with your body.
Stomp your feet
Snap fingers
March in place
Smack lips
Slap knees
Tap shoulders quietly

Now have children close their eyes.  Make one of the sounds with your body that you practiced together.  Can the children guess what body part you are using to make the sound.

Print the PDF of this activity here.

Simon Says Motor Memory Game

Do you need a challenging motor memory and body awareness activity?  This Simon Says Motor Memory Challenge game is a super easy activity to prepare although it is not so super easy to play.  Challenge yourself to see if you can remember all the moves.

Here is how you play:

  1.  Download and print the Simon Says Motor Memory Challenge game below.
  2.  Cut apart the 10 strips on the page.
  3.  Stack the strips with action #1 at the top.
  4.  Staple the strips together to form a thin “book” of strips.
  5.  Perform action #1: Tap your head with both hands 2 times.
  6.  Turn the page and without looking back, perform action #1 followed by action #2.  Tap your head with both hands 2 times and touch both hands to your right knee.
  7. Turn the page and without looking back perform three actions: Tap your head with both hands 2 times, touch both hands to your right knee AND jump up three times.
  8. Continue to move through the book remembering each of the actions and adding the new one.
  9. Can you remember all 10 actions?


Simon Says Exercise Ball Style

Have you ever played Simon Says exercise ball style?  This is an easy way to adapt a timeless game of Simon Says but add in more range of motion, muscle strengthening and spatial relationships.  It is more of a challenge when you use a large, exercise ball but if that is not available grab a large beach ball which is lighter weight.  No beach balls available?  Grab a kickball or playground ball?  No balls available?  Grab a pillow.  Just grab something large enough that requires two hands to hold.

Give each child playing an exercise ball or a large beach ball.  Provide the usual directions of a Simon Says game but add in some additional steps.  For example “Simon says….”

  1. Put the ball over your head.
  2. Hold the ball on your right side.
  3. Hold the ball on your left side.
  4. Squeeze the ball between your knees.
  5. Put the ball behind your back.
  6. Sit on the ball.
  7. Roll on your belly over the ball.
  8. Put the ball on top of the desk.
  9. Hold the ball next to the chair.
  10. Place the ball between your back and the wall.
  11. Touch your left foot on the ball.
  12. Put both hands on the side of the ball.
  13. Place your right foot under the ball.
  14. Touch the ball with your left foot, right hand and your chin.
  15. Bounce the ball three times.
Other Ideas for Simon Says Exercise Ball Body Awareness Activities

By adding in the extra location directions you are also reinforcing right versus left and spatial relationships.  The large ball encourages bilateral skills and crossing midline.  Simon Says incorporates body awareness, motor planning, crossing midline and balance.

Working with a group of children and only have one large ball?  Play hot potato.  Remind the children they always have to hold the ball with two hands (or two feet)!  Position the children in standing in a large circle with some space between each child.  Turn the music on and pass the ball around the circle.  Try passing it to the right, to the left or overhead.  Try sitting down and passing the ball using your feet.

The Simon Says download includes 68 body position cards (full page), 13 Simon Says Stop cards and 25 game ideas to use with the Simon Says cards. It also includes all the 81 picture cards in a smaller size (2.5″ by 3.25″ – nine cards to one page). Print the cards or play the Simon Says game using the electronic PDF on a screen or a tablet. This activity encourages body awareness, bilateral coordination, motor planning and following directions.

Find out more information.

Bonus Tip: Take Some Time to Explore New Spaces

When children have difficulties of sensing where a child is in space can interfere with motor skill development, peer interaction, and safety. When new skills are being learned take some time to fully explore the environment where the functional skills are to be learned.  Children need to explore and practice skills in the actual environment where they need to have appropriate body awareness.

Take for example a student who is bumping into objects or peers in the classroom. When the classroom is empty, go inside and have the student walk in and around the desks and chairs. Practice crawling under desks, kneeling down and sitting in different locations in the classroom. Add in games or activities to keep it novel. Provide verbal cues as the student walks by items if necessary ie. this desk is wide or this aisle is narrow. This exploration allows the child to develop a motor map of his surroundings with him in it. This helps to develop a better sense of how big desks are, how tall are the chairs, how wide is the carpet and how far is the bathroom.

This can apply to different areas of the school or home. How about the cafeteria? Let a child explore it to help define a motor map for in between cafeteria tables, on the cafeteria line and around garbage cans. At home, if the furniture is changed around allow time to just explore the new areas and obstacles without adding in the stressors of different goals.

Keep it simple sometimes and start out with just simply exploring the surroundings without adding in any other functional tasks to help build a strong foundation.

Need More Resources to Help Children Develop Body Awareness?

The Body Awareness Bundle from Your Therapy Source includes 9 amazing resources to help children develop body awareness, motor planning, and coordination skills.  All 9 digital resources will be available electronically immediately following payment.  Download this Crossing Midline body awareness freebie below to get an awesome coupon for the Body Awareness Bundle.

Click on each title for more details:

25+ Bilateral Coordination Exercises: Download of 28 bilateral coordination exercise sheets including QR codes with links to a video demonstration of exercises. Also includes hand out explaining bilateral coordination. ($8.99)

Simon Says: This download includes 68 body position cards (full page), 13 Simon Says Stop cards and 25 game ideas to use with the Simon Says cards. It also includes all the 81 picture cards in a smaller size (2.5″ by 3.25″ – nine cards to one page). Print the cards or play the Simon Says game using the electronic PDF on a screen or a tablet. This activity encourages body awareness, bilateral coordination, motor planning and following directions. ($6.99)

Move Like Me: Download includes action poses for children to practice motor planning, crossing midline, body awareness, timing, rhythm, coordination and physical activity. ($4.99)

Right or Left Games digital packet helps children to practice right and..

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Positive affirmations for children (and mantras) are terrific tools that children can use to support themselves. They help them develop a healthy sense of self as well as a positive mental-social-emotional mindset.

What are Positive Affirmations for Children?

Affirmations are short; positive “I am” statements that call you into an intentional way of being.  They should be accompanied by a visual image and inspire visceral sensations.   When you use an affirmation, you should experience yourself as you are declaring.

What are Mantras?

Mantras are words, sounds, statements or slogans repeated frequently as a way to attune with an intentional energy or quality.

Affirmations and Mantras Change How We Feel

Affirmations become mantras when they are repeated over and over to oneself, out loud or silently.  They change how we feel by aligning and attuning body, mind, and heart around a life-enhancing aspiration.  In other words, affirmations are another technique for kids to use to set themselves up for doing their best and feeling good about their efforts.

Affirmations help children understand that, like the food they eat, the thoughts they think also shape how they feel and behave.

All of the body-mind self-care tools in our self-regulation flash card set include a poem to be chanted while doing the activity.  The words of the chant support children in remembering how to do the exercise and call them into a new way of being. When repeated, the practice and the shift in feeling become an embodied habit.

How to Teach Positive Affirmations for Children Teach Children to Notice

In using positive affirmations for children, it’s important to encourage them to first notice if there are any repetitive thoughts already going on.  Explain to the children that repetitive thoughts are like playing a song over and over in their heads.

Ask children how they listen to music. What happens when they want to change the song they are listening to? Do they skip to a new song, download a new song or change the radio station?

Discuss how your inner voice works. We all have negative thoughts or “songs” we hear inside our head sometimes. Maybe we think we are not good at something or we feel sad. Other times we have positive thoughts or “songs” we hear with our inner voice that help us to achieve our goals or feel happy.

If they are playing fearful, negative “songs” such as: I can’t do this. I’m afraid. I’’m not good enough. I’m ugly. I’m stupid. Then, of course, they will feel self-doubt, anxiety or anger.  And, if that’s how they are seeing themselves, of course, they will have a hard time seeing the good in the people and events around them.

Acknowledge if this is going on and let kids know that it’s normal and that everyone deals with those voices.

Encourage Children to Change the Negative Songs!

Explain to the children that you can change your inner voice and that you are going to imagine changing your inner voice. Just like we change the song we are listening to, we can also change our negative thoughts to positive thoughts. Positive self-talk can help us to achieve a positive mindset.

Ask the children to think of a negative thought or “song” that they have in the mind or had in the mind at one time. Invite them to change the music.  Lead everyone in miming to teach the children how to change the “songs”.

Encourage them to pretend to change the radio station or access a new playlist that plays lyrics such as:

I am healthy and strong.
I am confident and capable.
I learn best at my own pace.
I am safe.
I am loved.

Teach Visualization

It’s empowering for children to act out physically what they are choosing to do mentally. This allows them to disengage with negative thinking and attune instead to a positive affirmation.  Practice not only saying the positive affirmation but also visualizing themselves completing the goal they have set in a positive, successful manner.

As they repeat the affirmation to themselves, coach them to see themselves that way –  reading well, climbing to the top of the jungle gym, making friends, etc. Give them time to notice how imagining it allows them to also feel it in their whole being.

If you need a picture book to supplement the lesson on positive affirmations for children, check out the beautifully illustrated affirmations for young children I Believe in Me by Connie Bowen According to early childhood educator, Leah Kalish, when she was first teaching, it inspired her to use affirmations and visualizations with her students daily. Very quickly, she noticed the beneficial impact on attitudes, behavior choices, and the ability to self-regulate.

Add Movement to Further Encourage Positive Affirmations for Children

Combine positive affirmations for kids and proprioceptive input with The Positive Path.  Children can jump along the path or do wall push-ups while they read words of encouragement.  Students can benefit from proprioceptive input to help get their bodies ready to learn.

Using the power of positive thinking with daily affirmations and physical activity can help students get their brain and bodies ready to tackle the school day.  FIND OUT MORE.

Add Drawing and Writing to Encourage Positive Affirmations for Children – FREE PRINTABLES

If you want to further expand your lesson on positive affirmations, download this 5-page digital packet of FREE PRINTABLES below.  The lesson is differentiated so students can choose from three different activities:

  1. Draw a self-portrait expressing positive traits or goals for themselves.
  2. Write out 5-10 positive affirmations on regular lined paper.
  3. Write out 5-10 positive affirmations on dotted lined paper to encourage proper letter formation.

Also included is a lesson plan and motivational poster to hang in the room to encourage children to change their inner voice “song” list.

Download your Positive Affirmations for Children Free Printables Here

Sign up to receive the weekly Your Therapy Source email newsletter along with other announcements.  You will be redirected to the free printables for positive affirmations for children.  If you can not view the box below, email info@yourtherapysource.com referencing this freebie and we will email it to you.

Looking for even more Positive Mindset Resources?

Check out the complete Positive Mindset bundle.  Growing up is tough these days – children have so much stress, homework, activities, sports and more. It is easy to get stuck in a rut rather quickly or to feel like you are not succeeding. Children need all the support they can get. The Positive Mindset Bundle includes activities, printables, and worksheets to help children boost their happiness, reach their goals, and build more positivity into their lives.

The post Positive Affirmations for Children appeared first on Your Therapy Source.

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Do you work with students who have difficulty applying pencil pressure when writing?  Students can start out writing lightly and then continue to get lighter and lighter.  Sometimes teachers or therapists have had success using markers to write with instead of pencils.  Here are a few additional ideas on how students can increase pencil pressure.

How to Increase Pencil Pressure + Lots of FREEBIES

Here are 10 ideas on how to increase pressure when writing:

  1. Try using markers or gel pens to make marks instead of pencils.
  2. Use a weighted pencil or hand/wrist weights to increase input to the hand.  Check out Therapy Fun Zone for a DIY Weighted Pencil.
  3. Write on carbon paper – the child has to press hard to make the marks go through the paper.
  4. Poke holes through paper to provide an example of applying pressure – check out these free Picture Poke cards.
  5. Put paper over bumpy material such as rough sandpaper or plastic needlepoint canvas. Write on the paper and you will have some tactile feedback.
  6. Color using shading to demonstrate that different shades require a different amount of pressure.  Try this free Shade Wisely activity or Missing Monster freebie.
  7. Use a dull pencil, golf tee or wooden dowel to write in clay.
  8. Warm up by squeezing a stress ball or upper extremity weight bearing activities such as wheelbarrow walking, Proprioceptive Poems, animal walks or wall push ups.
  9. Strengthen the fingers and grip with clothespin activities.  Try the free Ninja Clothes Pin activity.  Play some visual perceptual clothes pin games. Make clothes pin silly faces.
  10. Strengthen the fingers with hole punch activities.  Try punching out the matching shapes or these shape people punches.  If a traditional hole punch is too difficult try this type of hole punch.
Watch the Video on How to Increase Pencil Pressure

Pencil Pressure - Ideas to Help Students Increase Pencil Pressure - YouTube

Do you need to help students with pencil grasp too?

Pencil Grasp Interventions digital download was created by Thia Triggs, OTR.  She reports that as a school-based Occupational Therapist, the most frequent issue teachers ask her about is pencil grasp. “Is this grasp OK?”, “What should I do about this grasp?” “Should I give my student a pencil gripper?” “What pencil gripper should I use?”.  This 31 page PDF digital document is available electronically immediately following payment for just $6.99.

Which pencil grasps are OK?
Many teachers are surprised to learn that there are at least five different pencil grasps which research has shown to be fully functional. Children who use these grasps can write with enough speed and without increased fatigue or discomfort.

What interferes with developing a functional pencil grasp?
Learn about the four major reasons that a child may struggle with acquiring a mature pencil grasp and what you can do to address the causes.

What else can I do to change a child’s pencil grip?
Learn 10 therapeutic OT tips and tricks to modify a child’s pencil grasp.

Who will benefit from this product?
This product includes information valuable for entry and mid-level occupational therapists, and OTs’ who are new to pediatric practice, as well as teachers, special education professionals, interventionists, homeschool parents, and parents, committed to helping their child learn to use a functional pencil grasp.

What does the Pencil Grasp Interventions Digital Download Include?

This 31-page tool includes:
︎ What grasps look like in the major three categories
︎ Why some grasps are more advantageous than others
︎ What ages typically developing children are using these three types of grasp
︎ What four main factors interfere with pencil grasp development
︎ What parents and teachers can do to address those factors
︎ What tips and tricks do OTs use to support the highest level of grip a child is able to use 
︎ When should pencil grippers be used
Video – links to videos
︎ Therapeutic techniques in use.
Tracking Tools
︎ Track the pencil grasps of all the children on your caseload, or just one individual child, all on one sheet.
Printable Intervention Tools Shown in Videos & Pictures
︎ Donut Store Activity
︎ Color Sight Words by Code
︎ Alphabet writing
*************** Feedback ****************
“Great for problem-solving and data collection!”
“Excellent resource with activities!”
“I appreciate the tips and information.”
Add the Pencil Grasp Intervention digital download to your shopping cart.

The post How to Increase Pencil Pressure appeared first on Your Therapy Source.

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The FREE July 2019 Your Therapy Source Digital Magazine has been published.  You can sign up below to download the magazine.  It is filled with research, activity ideas and more – all free to download the 34 page PDF.

Table of Contents:



Sign up to receive the weekly Your Therapy Source email newsletter and announcements. After you enter your email, you will be redirected to the free printable. If you can’t see the sign-up box, send us an email at info@yourtherapysource.com referencing the freebie and we will email it to you.

The post July 2019 Your Therapy Source Digital Magazine appeared first on Your Therapy Source.

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Do you like to draw?  Or maybe you want to learn how to become better at drawing.  Step by step drawing activities are a wonderful idea to help children (and adults) learn how to draw.  Children can practice their skills and gain confidence with these types of lessons.  This FREE directed drawing and writing activity can be downloaded at the end of the post.  It is from the complete directed drawing packet – Draw, Color, and Write Active Play theme.

How Directed Drawings Work

Directed drawings are step by step directions to create a picture.  Instead of looking at the picture and trying to draw it yourself, directed drawings guide you through each step making it much easier to create the end result.

Children can get frustrated when they decide they want to draw but it doesn’t turn out the way they expected it.  Using step by step drawings can help to reduce frustration and increase confidence in their abilities.

How to Complete the FREE Directed Drawing and Writing Activity

At the bottom of this post, you can download and print the two pages.  Page one is the easier version.  Children have to follow the six directions to draw the girl swinging on the swing in the box provided.

Page two is more difficult.  Children have to follow the six step by step free directed drawing and then write a few sentences about the picture they created.

If the child is having difficulty with sentence production, offer a few suggestions with words associated with swinging to get the child’s creativity flowing.  Words such as outside, swingset, playground, park, backyard, friends, etc.

Get the Complete Draw, Color, and Write Active Play Packet

The Draw, Color, and Write – Active Play complete packet includes 10 step by step directed drawings to help children learn how to draw simple cartoon figures and provide inspiration for writing.

Busy teachers, therapists, and parents will appreciate these NO PREP directed drawing activities to encourage the following skills in children:

  • drawing
  • sequencing
  • following directions
  • writing skills
  • handwriting practice

The Draw, Color, and Write – Active Play packet includes 10 step by step drawing pages (just practice drawing) and 10 step by step drawing with writing pages.  In addition, there is a page with additional drawing ideas and a word bank.

Learn how to draw children jumping rope, riding a scooter, swinging, skateboarding, playing with a beach ball, soccer, dancing, flying a kite, hula hooping, and karate.  Now only will children learn how to draw and practice handwriting they will also get ideas to encourage an active, healthy lifestyle!

Download your FREE Directed Drawing

Sign up to receive the weekly Your Therapy Source newsletter and other announcements.  You will be redirected to the freebie.  It will open in a new tab.  If you can not see the sign-up box below please email me at info@yourtherapysource.com and reference the freebie you are looking for and I can email it to you.

The post Free Directed Drawing and Writing Activity appeared first on Your Therapy Source.

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Recent research examined the importance of postural control for reaching in children with cerebral palsy.  The authors wanted to determine why children with cerebral palsy exhibit small displacements during forward reaching in standing: is it because it is difficult to stabilize the lower limbs or is it because they can not control the movement of forward reaching?

In order to determine this, the study compared the motor performance of children with cerebral palsy and typically developing children, during anterior (forward) reach in standing.

Methodology of the Study

This cross-sectional study on postural control and forward reaching included 28 children, 14 with spastic cerebral palsy and 14 typical children, who were all evaluated by the Pediatric Reach Test and three-dimensional motion analysis.

Results of the Study on Forward Reaching

After data analysis the researchers determined the following:

  • Children with mild cerebral palsy show lower performance in the anterior reaching.

  • Children with mild cerebral palsy exhibited difficulties with flexing the trunk and shoulder.

  • Children with cerebral palsy performed anterior reaching with lower speed.

  • Children with cerebral palsy needed more time to control their reaches.


The researchers concluded that children with cerebral palsy show lower anterior displacement and movement control and decreased bending of the trunk and flexing shoulders while reaching forward, indicating poor postural balance.

Reference:  dos Santos Soares, L. M., Rozane, J. M. S. G., & de Paula Carvalho, R. (2019). Motor performance of children with cerebral palsy in anterior reach. Clinical Biomechanics.

Helpful Resource for Children with Cerebral Palsy

If you need  activity ideas, check out Therapeutic PLAY Activities for Children.  The digital download includes 100 play activity pages and 12 tip sheets. The play activities encourage the development of fine motor skills, bimanual skills, rolling, crawling, tall kneeling, standing balance and cruising with a strong focus on children with cerebral palsy.

Read more on Cerebral Palsy

Motor Planning and Cerebral Palsy

Hand-Arm Bimanual Intensive Therapy and Motor Planning

50 Bimanual Activities of Daily Living and get a FREE Printable!

Research Review on CIMT and Bimanual Therapy for Children with Cerebral Palsy

CIMT, Bimanual Therapy, and OT Home Programs

Read more on the Importance of Postural Control

Effects of Stabilization Exercises on Balance in Children with Cerebral Palsy

Trunk Control Measurement Scale for Children

Postural Control, Gross Motor Development and Mealtime

Sitting Postural Control, Focused Attention and Cerebral Palsy

Functional Tasks and Postural Control

Helpful Resources for Postural Control

The Core Strengthening Handbook:  This download includes 50+ activities including:

  • Quick and Easy Core Strengthening Activities for Kids
  • Core Strengthening Exercises With Equipment
  • Core Strengthening Play Ideas


The Core Strengthening Exercise Program: This digital download includes exercises to help make core strengthening fun and entertaining for kids while promoting carryover in the classroom and at home!  FIND OUT MORE.

The post Importance of Postural Control for Reaching in Children with CP appeared first on Your Therapy Source.

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