Occupational therapy games including a client-choice game; world record challenge; search and finds; scavenger hunts; Pictionary; Simon Says; mazes; sequencing; and bingo will be reviewed in this blog post.
In the teletherapy OT world, games can take a variety of formats. From built-in apps to activities off of the screen, to games with materials and screen sharing, there are several options for occupational therapists to incorporate games within our sessions. Allow your client to tap into their competitive spirit with the following games that can be adapted to target your client’s needs and address their goals.
There are many different OT teletherapy ideas and occupational therapy games that occupational therapists can utilize during office and virtual visits and here are a few occupational therapy games that require almost zero preparation:
The Mystery Choice Game
Use plastic eggs, posterboard, cups, post-it notes, anything you can use conceal something from your side of the screen. Give your client some control of the session by allowing them to pick which one they would like. Underneath have directions for the next task. For example, if you are doing animal walks, your client might select different colored plastic eggs that you show them on the screen to find different animals in it. Working on letter sequencing? Hide the letters you are working on behind colored squares of paper and let them pick which color they want to do first. Fun and interactive, this is also a nice way to build rapport with a new client.
World Record Challenge
Having trouble keeping your client motivated? Invoke some competitiveness by asking them if they can set their own world record! This works especially well for timed activities including dexterity tasks (stacking 10 pennies) and sensory activities (the highest jump challenge). You can also use the number of repetitions to motivate your client. For example, the number of reciprocal actions completed without making an error or even the number of letters aligned correctly on the baseline.
Search and Find
Another great occupational therapy games is search and find. Finding items in hidden pictures can facilitate visual scanning skills along with cognitive strategies, and address visual discrimination. TheraPlatform offers a built-in app in which you can quickly make your own search and find with bright and colorful pictures, perfect for preschool students. Highlights Kids also offers digital hidden pictures of varying complexity that can be used for older children through adults. To make the search even more challenging, you can select to list the hidden items by name, rather than showing the pictures. This can be a great way to reinforce left-to-right and up-down scanning skills and can be very challenging!
It is important to build intentional movement into teletherapy sessions, especially when you’ll be incorporating plenty of seated work. Playing a game of I Spy is another quick and no-prep activity that you can use in between seated activities. Instead of the normal format, the therapist will say, for example, “I Spy something fuzzy” and the client will get up to move and attempt to find something that fits the description. Not only does it give your client the movement break he or she needs, but it also provides a natural way to work on functional short-term memory skills.
A fun and interactive game that can be graded to meet your clients at their level, Pictionary is a no-prep activity that simply requires an interactive whiteboard such as one on TheraPlatform. To demonstrate how to play, begin by drawing your own picture and allow your client to guess what you are making. Then allow your client to take the lead with their drawing. Visual motor integration skills and the ability to draw representational pictures are easily targeted in this game.
Simon Says is a popular game for both in-person and teletherapy occupational therapy sessions. Why? It can be customized to target so many different skills! A few examples include: Motor planning, auditory processing, midline crossing, following one or two-step directions, left/right differentiation, and sensory regulation!
Sequencing skills are essential for many functional activities like washing hands, dressing, or completing a simple household chore. TheraPlatform features many built-in games including a sequencing game that contains pictures for your clients to drag-and-drop into the correct order. Since it is built right into the teleconferencing platform, when your client gets a sequence correct, they will receive a digital token. An excellent way to work on a foundational skill while also keeping your client motivated!
Another must have occupational therapy games are mazes. They are great for developing both problem-solving and visual perception skills and can be enticing for many clients. The website Toy Theater offers free mazes that you can cast on your screen for your client to navigate. Even better, your client can move through the maze using a simple click rather than using drag and drop to draw lines. This is a great alternative for isolating those visual perception skills without the challenge of the motor component.
Bingo Baker is a simple website that allows you to create a one-of-a-kind bingo card. You can type whatever you would like into the squares or even drag and drop pictures for clients who cannot read. Highly customizable, use bingo to reinforce the use of self-regulation strategies at home, write sentences, or simply fill the squares with several motor activities and help your client perform the activity that comes up on the card.
Need more ideas for occupational therapy? Check out TheraPlatform (all-in-one EMR, practice management and telehealth). TheraPlatform allows you to upload of your digital resources and organize into folders. You can also take advantage of the platform’s built-in apps, interactive whiteboard and screen sharing. Neither you nor your clients will have to download any software to access the online platform and built-in apps! Get started by signing up for a free 30-day trial. No credit card required.
What game do your clients love for you to bring to your teletherapy sessions? Comment below to share!