Wednesday, June 05, 2019

How to Make an Occupational Therapy at Home Activity Jar for Kids

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Looking for inspiration on how to do occupational therapy at home with kids? You'll love this activity jar filled with occupational therapy and sensory integration activities and ideas.

Before my oldest son J started kindergarten, we started doing some occupational therapy activities at home with him, incorporating them into his morning routine. 

We already had the making of an epic sensory gym in our basement and I knew that he would need help making the transition to school so I figured making him a little therapy activity jar would be incredibly helpful for him.

With just a few simple materials and the help of the kids, I put together this occupational therapy at home activity jar that's filled with gross motor activities, heavy work proprioceptive activities, and ideas to stimulate the vestibular sensory system.

This idea is perfect for all kids, but especially those with autism and/or sensory processing issues who need some extra support for their sensory needs.

How to do occupational therapy at home with a DIY therapy activity jar for kids

How to Make an Occupational Therapy at Home Activity Jar for Kids

To make this activity jar, you'll need:

It's pretty straightforward to make. Simply write one activity on each craft stick, put them in a jar, and voila! Done!

OT at Home Activity Jar - ideas for doing occupational therapy at home from And Next Comes L

A List of Occupational Therapy Activities to Put into Your Child's Activity Jar

As for the activities, here is what is included in our jar:

  • Obstacle course
  • Play catch
  • Climb the slide
  • Bean bag toss
  • Jump on mini trampoline
  • Swinging - We have a variety of swings indoors and outdoors, including our DIY sensory swing and homemade taco sensory swing.
  • Ride balance bike - We have this one, but in a different design.
  • Spin on the office chair - J can spin and never get dizzy so we often find him doing this activity on his own.
  • Animal walks - Crawl like a crab, slither on the ground like a snack, etc.
  • Hopper ball
  • Balance board - We just put a piece of scrap wood on a pool noodle. It works great!
  • Wheelbarrow walk - I hold their ankles and they have to walk using their hands.
  • Parachute - Remember our homemade play parachute?
  • Pillow sandwich - The boys lay on their back. Then I put a large pillow on their body (it never covers their face) and then I lay on top of it.
  • Yoga
  • Sit on exercise ball
  • Big ball roll - The boys lay on their back. Then I roll a large exercise ball on their body, starting at their ankles and rolling up to their shoulders.
  • Sensory tunnel - I made my own (tutorial here). There are many, many, many activities that can be done with it!
  • Play with our homemade stretchy resistance bands
  • Jump and crash into our DIY no sew crash mat
So when it's time to do OT, the boys each pick a stick or two from the jar for us to try. Of course, you can modify your jar to include anything you want, fine motor, gross motor, vestibular, etc.

OT at Home Activity Jar - ideas for doing occupational therapy at home from And Next Comes L

Need More OT Exercises & Ideas to Put into Your Jar? Try these!

There are tons of printables and sensory diet resources available here to help you pick the right activities to include in your activity jar.

Use a DIY activity therapy jar to do sensory integration therapy at home


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  1. This is a fabulous idea! I also have a sensory seeker, and I think I will be making a jar today! Pinning too!

  2. Love it! Thanks for a list of great ideas to try. Planning to make our own jar to use in homeschool break time.

    1. They would be wonderful body break ideas for homeschool. Good thinking!

  3. Love this idea and our creative activities! Sharing today.

  4. We have this at our house and use it ALL the time!

    1. That's awesome, Cassie! What activities do you have in your jar?

  5. How long do you do this before school each day? I need to do this with my son. Thanks in advance for your help!

    1. It really depends on how much time we have to spare, but we usually get 8-10 minutes in before we have to leave. Mind you, his school starts at 8:40 AM so if it started at 9 like most schools, then we could easily get in 20-30 minutes.