25+ Fun Occupational Therapy Telehealth Activities (To Try)

Are you looking for a list fun occupational therapy telehealth activities to try do with your patients? If so, then great!

The word therapy is not exactly an experience that people welcome with open arms – particularly true if your patient recently came out of operation or has barely started recuperating.  

The term connotes something tedious, monotonous, or for lack of a better term, unexcitable.  And it doesn’t end there.

The pandemic COVID-19, while seemingly loosening its grip over mankind, has required occupational therapists to halt their hands-on services – the core of occupational therapy.   

But the world of occupational therapists just got better – through telehealth.

Telehealth may seem complicated to some of you who are new to the concept, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll find that it isn’t a far cry from traditional therapy sessions you provide in person.  

The best part is that I’ve rounded up a list of fun ways for you to deliver occupational therapy telehealth activities whether your patient is a child or an adult.

So, sit back and relax as we journey through the fun shared by reputable sources that focus on occupational therapy.

Telehealth Activities That are Fun and Exciting (For Adults)

I love Ariel Landrum’s article at Guidance Teletherapy titled Interventions for Online Therapy with Children and Youth.  He capitalized on the challenges of working with your patients amidst the pandemic scare via the technology-based telehealth. 

The greater take was that the activities he suggested transcended the bland definition of therapy and transformed it into an experience that would excite your patients aged one to one hundred!  Here are some occupational therapy telehealth activities that you may consider employing in your practice.

Simon Says

Kids and kids-at-heart can definitely enjoy this activity.  With one person designated as Simon providing instructions for others to obey, players lose if they follow the command not preceded by ‘Simon Says.’ 

It’s a therapeutic game that integrates the shifts of high and low arousal during higher brain functioning processes like paying attention and decision making when excited.  You can alternate with your patient as Simon to raise the fun level.

Charades

A game of mimic where one person guesses the word or phrase that another person acts out.  Still employing the shifting roles, you can collaborate with your patients on topics like sports, animals, or professions. 

Your end goal in this game is to process communication styles, interpretations, and shorthand communications that your patient may unknowingly have been using with their family and friends.

I-Spy

The game starts with a selected theme like colors, objects, or shapes that you and your patient can alternately decide on.  The participants take turns guessing the nearby item selected in secret through descriptive cues with the phrase ‘I spy with my little eye.’ 

Ensure to limit the items to be guessed which are visible within the device screen (tablet, laptop, or desktop) you’re using in practicing telehealth occupational therapy.  This activity improves language development through vocabulary and pro-social engagement.

Going on a Picnic

The therapeutic results of this communication building and sequential cognitive connection game peak when played with the patient and their families.  Using the ABC’s pattern, a participant starts with ‘I’m going on a picnic, and I’m bringing (items that start with the letter A).’  The next person repeats the item then adds another that starts with ‘B,’ and the cycle continues.   When someone misses a word or can’t think of one, the game starts over. 

Promote supportive communication by discussing ways to remember details and consequently address frustration when the game has to start over because someone spaced out.

Reading

Discuss in advance what book (any book) you or your patient would read out loud while making sure to show the page and images to the camera. 

If you have access to a digital book online, a HIPAA compliant software will allow you to share screens so you can read together.  

Infuse this occupational therapy telehealth activity with fun by reading with varying character voices.

Show-and-Tell

People love showing and talking about things that they find interesting and exciting.  Through online therapy, you can encourage your patients to show you their homes as they give you a walkthrough of items that fire their spirits. 

They could be culturally significant items like family heirlooms or religious items that have personal significance for your patient.  What you’re building with this activity is rapport.

Board Games

Board games are excellent opportunities to encourage your patient’s ‘helper’ attitude by setting up the game and playing the pieces for you.  This activity also opens the conversation about your patient’s experiences in dealing with disability or illness. 

While it would be a perk if you alternate the control over the board game between you and your patient, it might be best that your patient is the one moving the pieces if you’re dealing with a young patient – the young get distracted easily when they don’t directly interact with a game.

Feeling Faces

Who doesn’t love emojis?  Show an emoji face on the screen and let your patient identify the feeling, and then vice versa.  For added fun, both of you can even emulate the emojis!  This activity creates emotional recognition and mirroring emotions which consequently encourages empathy.

Puppets

Puppetry is more fun online than in-person, especially if you’re working with young children because they enjoy seeing puppets on the screen. 

Complement this fun activity with storytelling to encourage your patient’s imaginative thinking, autonomy, and free expression through Q&As in the end.

Podcasts

Podcasts are everywhere!  Leverage its popularity by sharing screens on topics that are age-appropriate as you engage your patients in an interactive activity. 

Beforehand, you can agree on a hand gesture from your patient if you need to pause the feed and entertain a question.  Podcasts are useful resources for your patient’s coping skills as well as family therapy.

A list of FUNTASTIC - Occupational Therapy Telehealth Activities (for Kids)

There is no falling out from OT Plan’s activity ideas search engine.  It allows you to navigate hundreds of occupational therapy telehealth activities based on two major categories – skills and materials.  The list is nearly endless, but I picked up a few so you get a glimpse.  Enjoy!

By Skills

Activities of Daily Living (ADL) 

These are routine activities that your patient does every day without the need for assistance – eating, bathing, dressing, toileting, walking, and continence.

Ice Cube Handwash – Prolonged interaction with water and ice encourages thoroughness of and enjoyment in hand hygiene.

Balance

Promotes the ability to move or remain in a certain position without losing control or falling

Crab Walk Soccer – Crab walking promotes sensations from joints, muscles, and connective tissues as your patient works on the perception of movement and balance.

Bilateral Hand Use

Activities like clapping hands encourage the use of your patient’s both hands simultaneously in a controlled manner.

Paper Flower using Baking Cups – As your patient manipulates the pipe cleaner and pinch the muffin paper baking cups, your patient strengthens pincer grasp and works on hand dexterity.

Body Awareness

With this activity, you will help your patient have the sense and understanding of the location of different body parts together with how they move.

Balance on the Web – What you will promote with this fun occupational therapy telehealth activity is motor planning skills as your patient plans his or her route on the spider web.  

Supplement the benefit with a strengthened balance skill by encouraging your patient to walk on the web lines or squat down to pick up an object.

Core Strength

Activities under this skill aim to strengthen the muscles that work on stabilizing your patient’s entire body – abdominal, pelvic, low-mid back, and hip.

Midline Passing – Encourage your patients to work on crossing midline by passing a balloon between two or more participants.  It’s among the occupational therapy telehealth activities that promote motor planning and upper body strength.

By Materials

Basket

Promotes eye-hand coordination

Easter Egg Hunt with Spoons – It can be an indoor activity to help your patient work on balance, motor planning, pacing, and bilateral coordination.

Beads

 A material that you can leverage to improve your client’s distal finger control

Bean Mosaic – Using small pellets like beans or small buttons, your patients can strengthen their finger muscles as well as promote their pincer grasp pattern.

Yarn

A fun way of improving your patient’s fine motor control, sensory processing, and tactile perception.

Fishbowl – This is a multi-step activity that promotes cutting skills as well as bilateral hand use.

Ball

A fun way of improving your patient’s fine motor control, sensory processing, and tactile perception.

Toss it Catch it – This is among the exciting activities for patients as young as two years old.  You, as the occupational therapist, directly interact with your patient as he or she works on eye-hand coordination and the development of large motor skills.

Buttons

A multi-colored material that inspires imagination

Small Button Box – While the original benefit of this activity is the ADL pre-buttoning skill, it offers a wide array of skill enhancement – bilateral hand use, hand dexterity, in-hand manipulation, motor planning, pincer control, and pincer grasp.  Mix and match the buttons with coins and accessories with Velcro.

Conclusion

These fun occupational therapy telehealth activities may require preparation and sharing information beforehand with your patients’ families.  

But it doesn’t mean that online therapy diminishes your control over your practice’s therapeutic results.  

You can transform the seemingly mundane into a pool of excitement while your patients get their needed physical and emotional rehabilitation.  You just have to be open to thinking out-of-the-box – like the wise shift to telehealth.

Thanks for reading!

Rose G