How You Can Continue Occupational Therapy at Home

 April 28, 2021

When kids have extended breaks from therapy, they tend to regress quickly. It can take days, weeks or even months to regain the skill they’ve lost.

Right now, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are all facing extended time away from clinics. During this break, our kids are losing the skills they’ve worked hard to develop with their OTs. However, it doesn’t have to be that way as there is an easy solution to this problem: practicing occupational therapy at home.

Taking on your OT’s job may seem daunting. But since you can’t get out to occupational therapy appointments, it’s your best option until the pandemic ends.

The good news is helping your child retain their skills is much easier than helping them improve upon their already developed skills. All you have to do for skill retention is to practice the following occupational therapy exercises at home.

Fine Motor Skill Exercises

The following exercises are best for practicing the proper movement of the small muscles in our hands:

  • Shuffling cards
  • Playing with finger puppets
  • Cutting patterns using kid-safe scissors
  • Playing with Play-Doh, putty, clay or modeling foam
  • Playing finger soccer or thumb war
  • Turning a doorknob using one hand
  • Sticking and peeling stickers


Sensory Processing Exercises

To process sensations from their bodies and environment properly, your child should try these exercises:

  • Jumping on a trampoline
  • Running laps
  • Pushing a heavy object across a room
  • Hugging a teddy bear
  • Doing beginner yoga poses
  • Using calming aromatherapy
  • Laying under a weighted blanked for ten to fifteen minutes


Bilateral Coordination Exercises

You should engage your kid in the following exercises to help them retain their bilateral coordination skills:

  • Playing catch with a ball using both hands
  • Squeezing a sponge in both hands
  • Playing with toy brooms
  • Using a jump rope
  • Playing with toy drums
  • Making shapes with legos or blocks
  • Marching like a soldier


Crossing the Midline Exercises

If your kid is in occupational therapy to develop the muscles used to cross the midline, we recommend trying the following exercises at home:

  • Crawling
  • Playing twister
  • Swimming in a pool
  • Dancing to fast music
  • Making circles and other patterns using ribbons
  • Moving like different animals, such as walking like a bear, crawling like a crab or hopping like a bunny
  • Using chalk to draw eight figures on the ground


Upper Body Strength and Stability Exercises

To maintain upper body strength and stability, these exercises work best for children:

  • Riding a runners bike
  • Bouncing and balancing on a Bosu ball
  • Laying on the tummy when playing with toys
  • Climbing a toy ladder laid on the floor
  • Playing with a hula hoop
  • Playing on a jungle gym
  • Participating in a crawling race


Eye-Hand Coordination Exercises

The following exercises work best for keeping our eye-hand coordination sharp:

  • Using popsicle sticks to make different shapes
  • Throwing and catching a ball
  • Tracing with a highlighter
  • Making bubbles and popping them
  • Playing with lacing cards
  • Making necklaces using patterns and beads
  • Playing “Simon Says” with a group of people

Together, these exercises will keep your child in top shape until they can get back to regular OT sessions with a professional.

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