Occupational Therapy for Children

OCCUPATIONAL THERAPISTS

Our expert occupational therapists evaluate and treat children with conditions related to general development, sensorimotor skills, play, feeding and daily living skills to enhance each child's capabilities.  The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) provides a helpful document that explains the role of occupational therapy with children and youth.

Play is a Child's Work! 
Play is the work of childhood, and toys are the tools of the occupation of play!  Click here for a wealth of great tips on choosing toys for the children in your life!

  • Tips for Choosing Toys
  • "1-2-3 Just PLAY with me!".  You can order a sturdy box filled with cards to assist your child to meet developmental milestones through creative play suggestions for each stage!
  •  Pathways is a great resource with videos, games and milestones, to assist families through a child's development.
  • The Baby Center shares the developments of an infant and can help you choose toys that are appropriate for a newborn!
  • Play By Age is a great link to showcase activities for a child. The website gives you activities from ages 1 through over 5 years of age.
  • The Imagination Tree provides you with 20 fun ways to play with your 6-18 month old!
  • If you're looking for more fun appropriate play for your infant, this link will give you plenty of fun activities to do at different stages.
  • Zero to Three shares a lovely video on what is happening when your child is playing. Take a look!
  • Parents Magazine has an amazing link that gives you a weekly and monthly guide to your baby's physical and intellectual development!
  • Sensory TheraPlay Box is a monthly subscription that delivers sensory fun toys to your door!

Adapted Play

 Toys are not only to have fun, but also to help sustain curiosity for learning! However, many children with limited motor skills do not get the chance to interact with most of the cool toys that are readily usable by everyone else. There are ways of making these toys accessible to all children! University of Washington’s HuskyADAPT Collaboration Program is a great resource for learning and participating in toy adaptation!  Below are some great links to help you transform toys to make it accessible to all!

Self Care for Kids! 
Learning how to take care of yourself is part of growing up!  Occupational therapists can help kids learn how to dress, bathe, use the bathroom, brush teeth, and all other daily living tasks!  Click here for additional resources! 

Heavy Work Ideas for Toddlers to Promote Body Awareness and Self-Regulation
Our brains receive information about body and spatial awareness by lifting, pushing, and pulling heavy objects (also known as “heavy work”). A child can also activate this sensory feedback by compressing the joints with activities such as jumping on a trampoline or crashing into a cushion, and stretching the joints by hanging from monkey bars or climbing a rock wall. Learn more about what other activities activate these senses.

Independent Living Skills! 
All kids benefit from working on independent living skills (cooking, money management, using schedules, use of phones, etc.) from an early age, and as they grow this becomes even more important!  Check out this section for resources to assist your child in becoming independent!

Cooking Skills 
"Your Special Chef" is a collection of resources to help teach cooking skills to individuals with a variety of special needs.  The website has simple to complex breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, and drink recipes with visual picture instructions to help plan and sequence steps of cooking tasks as well as safety warnings to help practice kitchen safety.

Fine Motor Skill Development! 
Developing the muscles in the hand and the ability to use your hands is critical for children in all activities they engage in!  Occupational therapists can help kids learn how to use their hands and to develop skills such as writing, typing, using scissors, and buttoning a shirt!  Click on these links for additional resources to use at home!

Handwriting and keyboarding are both skills students need to master to produce effective written work. These two skills work together in the classroom to create an engaged, balanced, and successful learning environment.  View the document, Handwriting and Keyboarding Skills:  Standards for the Production & Presentation of Writing to help guide instruction to make sure that children are learning to write and type in a developmental order that promotes success.

Sensory 

  • Sensory Processing Disorder can be experienced by 1 in every 6 children. This disorder, depending on severity, can have an effect on a child's  everyday life functions. For more information about SPD, please visit this website by STAR Institute for a more comprehensive overview.  

Sensory Tools and Strategies

  • This website can help you locate different type of products, at different price points to help with your child's sensory needs in different environments. For more information click here.
  • Here is another website to help you find the perfect sensory object for your child's need. For more information click here.

Recreation, Play, and Camps resources click here.

The Play Lounge is a wonderful place for families to play. For more information, check out their Facebook page!

Recess Breaks with UW Coaches and Athletes

Embrace going back to school virtually with a Zoom your kids will actually want to join! This fall join The Whole U and UW Athletics in bringing back recess and P.E. with 15-minute recess breaks coached by UW athletes and team coaches every Monday and Wednesday at noon starting on Monday, September 28

All kids are welcome to join, whether every time or when it fits their unique schedule. Get to know UW athletes and coaches, connect with fellow Husky pups, and move together! Exercise and fitness are an important part of our everyday routines especially for school aged kids! Many of us are missing organized sports this year, so let’s gather together virtually and build our own community celebrating movement and athletics.

This program is created for kids ages 6—12 but all ages are welcome. Parents, you are welcome to join but are not required—we’ve got this! Feel free to share the link with friends and family that need a boost of some Husky love!

Zoom link - https://washington.zoom.us/j/94755524160  

Occupational Therapy Websites and Resources

OT Plan: The OT Plan is a website full of developmental activities, parent resources, and therapy related products available to support your child at home! It provides a simple search engine feature that helps parents find OT activity ideas organized by specific developmental skills and/or by the materials available in your home! 

The Best Ideas For Kids: An online community resource for sharing fun developmental activities while at home. Plenty of ideas for craft projects to work on fine motor skills, kid-friendly cooking recipes self-care independence, and information for parents about favorite tools like apps and educational resources. Visit and explore here. 

The OT Toolbox: Find resources, tools, ideas, and activities geared toward the healthy development of kids; from functioning self-care skills like dressing or potty-training, fine motor skills and handwriting, sensory processing, and executive processing skills like attention and self-regulation. Based on function and occupation-centered activities, the ideas shared on this site promote the underlying skills needed for action and performance in kids. Visit and explore here. 

Busy Toddler: This website has many ideas on different play activities for all ages. If you want to play inside or outside there are lists of activities you can do! Click here for more information!  

Cotton Ball Soccer: Pediatric occupational therapist Alexa Anderson and her boys demonstrate an indoor cotton ball soccer game that builds skills and is a calming activity.

    To try it at home check out the YouTube video!

Practice social skills using family playtime or digital communication. Games like tag, chase, tickles, peek-boo, and “flying through the air” are all social games that can be used to promote your young child’s social communication skills. Consider using the R.O.C.K. strategy included in this handout.

For older children, have your child stay in contact with family members or friends from school to share their personal experiences at home. Have your child generate a list of questions to ask their friend or family member to learn about what they are doing to stay busy at home.  Additionally, have scheduled mealtimes together and practice sharing the highs or lows of your day. 

Create your own sensory bin.  Sensory bins are a great activity for the development of various senses, as well as imaginative play skills! If your child likes to touch everything or shows some avoidance to different textures, sensory bins can be a great way to support tactile exploration and fulfill your child’s sensory needs. For more information and tips on how to build your own sensory bin(s), check out this site for details.

The Pacific Science Center: They have launched "Curiosity at Home", to engage kids who are home. Curiosity doesn't stop and now you can participate in live science experiments and create your own experiments by following their videos. For more science at home activities check out their website by clicking here.

Corona Superhero Kids: This book is a great way to discuss the coronavirus pandemic with your child. It uses child friendly language to bring awareness and solutions. If interested please check out this link. 

Ms. Tiffany's Room: Visit Miss Tiffany’s OT room to learn more about OT!  Click on all the fun things in the OT room to learn more and find fun resources and activities!

Virtual Art Therapy: Occupational Therapist Loren, shares how you can have fun and build skills with this art activity.

Tree Art For more information on the art activity click here.