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The Occupational Therapist's Bag Of Tricks

Updated on April 18, 2013

Occupational Therapist

I am an occupational therapist and I have been practicing OT for the past 15 years. I Graduated from Russell Sage College in 1997 with a BS and a MS, both in OT at that time. Over the past 15 years I have worked in a multitude of settings, working with many populations that had different needs. Because of this I had to use a ton of stuff to get them where I wanted to be.

I have gathered together a bunch of these things that I find useful in treatment and I consider these items as things in my Bag of Tools, or Bag of Tricks ... And I wanted to share them here in case you were looking to find a couple new ideas for your Bag.

Many of us do not have much budget from work to obtain the stuff we want, and have to get it ourselves, others have a great budget and are looking for ideas. Either way, I aim to share some of my OT ideas, as well as info on OT in general here.

Love that bag? Get it here!

"OT Bag Of Tricks" - Gotta Love The OT Students

Musical Discussion of the OT Bag Of Tricks.

I love the Assessment Break-Down ! - I could not contain myself... I just found that Way Funny. :O)

Trick #1 - The internet !

You do not want to forget the unlimited source of info - the world wide web.

Here are some of the main OT Resources.

Frigits Deluxe

Think of It Frigits Deluxe
Think of It Frigits Deluxe

This 9-time award winner is a magnetic must have! Show your fridge some love and turn it into a kinetic play-ground, as marbles and magnets enter the extreme sport of fridge surfing! Position the rails, buckets, serpentine chutes, and ferris wheel any way you want for the most intense rush! Whoop with laughter as the marble makes it to the finish line. This is a truly unique toy that teaches the principles of inertia, gravity, and blood pressure as your heart will pound with excitement!


Paraffin Bath

Glorified Crock Pot that houses paraffin wax. This item keeps the wax warm to keep it melted but at a safe temperature to allow for hands (or feet) to be dipped and coated. Usually has a hot setting to melt wax and a lower setting to maintain liquid state at a safe temp to be used.

HoMedics Paraffin Bath PAR-300-THP, Blue
HoMedics Paraffin Bath PAR-300-THP, Blue

Paraffin Wax heats much deeper than water or hotpack. People with arthritis find this to be very helpful for pain, and are often able to take less medications when they have this item. It is rather inexpensive and usually available at some local locations as well as online. Beware though - these cost nearly double this price when purchased at a medical supply store. And NO, Insurance does NOT cover them. (Good think they are pretty cheap!)


Games That Are Great For Fine Motor Skills

Controlled Release, Fine Motor Pincer, Eye Hand Coordination, Cognitive components as well

ThinkFun Brick by Brick
ThinkFun Brick by Brick

cognitive and fine motor and eye hand

Hasbro Perfection Fun on the Run
Hasbro Perfection Fun on the Run

pincer and controlled release

Pressman Toy - Original Topple Board Game
Pressman Toy - Original Topple Board Game

Controlled Release and Cognitive and fine motor skills

Patch Bed Bugs
Patch Bed Bugs

coordination (kids love this one)


cognitive, controlled hand use, fine motor skills


Best Careers: Occupational Therapist Job Description

Strengthening Products

CanDo Web Hand Therapy Device, Latex, 7" Diameter, Yellow: X-Light
CanDo Web Hand Therapy Device, Latex, 7" Diameter, Yellow: X-Light

Can work gross grip or separate out fingers etc. Interesting device, kids love, looks impressive

Complete Medical Hand Eggsercizer, Medium, Blue, 0.16 Pound
Complete Medical Hand Eggsercizer, Medium, Blue, 0.16 Pound

These are great - come in different sizes and strengths

Thera-Flex Brand Therapy Putty - 1 lb - Green - Firm Resistance
Thera-Flex Brand Therapy Putty - 1 lb - Green - Firm Resistance

Best prices I can find - look for amount you are getting - this is full lb. It comes in small amounts or large, you get better price if you buy more, and break it up into little containers yourself. - great for exercises - I use a lot with kids and adults - can do so many things with it

Reebok Thumblock Wrist Weight (2-Pound Set) or Two 1lb. weights
Reebok Thumblock Wrist Weight (2-Pound Set) or Two 1lb. weights

Also comes in 2 lb weights - put on wrists and do functional activities for UE strengthening - also helpful to fight tremors with self feeding etc.


Celebrate Occupational Therapy Month!!!

APRIL !!!!!!!!! (every year)

Feel free to cut and paste this pic into your social media - Change your Facebook Avatar to this great animated image - spread the word - April is OT month ! (will be on my facebook all month long)

More Great Items

Rory's Story Cubes
Rory's Story Cubes

Great for patients that you are trying to increase communication with - perfect for cotreat with speech :O)

Fold N Fly Paper Airplanes Kit
Fold N Fly Paper Airplanes Kit

Fine Motor - paper folding

Super Simple Origami: 32 New Designs (Dover Origami Papercraft)
Super Simple Origami: 32 New Designs (Dover Origami Papercraft)

Fine Motor Paper Folding, following directions, cognitive components

Sock Locks, Sock Holders, Sock Clips, Sock Sorters, Red Triangle Sock-Its! (8-Pack)
Sock Locks, Sock Holders, Sock Clips, Sock Sorters, Red Triangle Sock-Its! (8-Pack)

Have patients put socks through these - or washcloths - takes a good bit of work ! Hands need to feed the material in and then pull to get them through ...


LCR Dice Game

LCR Dice Game (Red Chips)
LCR Dice Game (Red Chips)

LCR Dice Game is a handy pocket dice game. LCR is quick to learn, fun for all ages to play! LCR is a game young and old can play on an equal basis. Simply roll the three cubes and pass your chips, left, right or center until the only remaining chip holder takes the center pot! For three or more players. The four inch tube contains chips, three playing cubes and instructions.


Twistable Hand Therapy Device

Tangle Creations Tangle Therapy
Tangle Creations Tangle Therapy

Relax and twist by using the powers of the mind. Use Tangle Therapy for hand and mind wellness. This Tangle is covered with soft, flexible texturized plastic. It is comprised of a system of rotating interconnecting links that can be twisted, turned, bent, coiled and shaped into an endless amount of shapes. Tangle Therapy relieves minor stress, improves range of hand motion, restores motion of joints, strengthens finger muscles, and rehabilitates hand muscles and joints. Complete instructions are included. Tangle Therapy fits in your hand for single handed manipulation. Ages 3 and up.


What is the Difference Between OT and PT ?

Physical Therapy Teaches You to Walk .... Occupational Therapy Teaches You To DANCE !!!

Please Share Your Ideas and Items - OT Ideas From Readers

I would like to have others put ideas here - to share - products items that are great to use for therapy, as well as ideas of what to do for therapy

Please Add What YOU Have Done In Therapy - or what you used successfully - to help other new therapists, or veterans looking for new ideas - File your comment under Idea or Item (product)

Which is Better OT or PT?

Well who cares if you can walk in the bars if you're naked...

To have a Bag of Tricks (or Bag of Tools) - you need a Bag!

You should really have a cool OT bag to tote around your tricks. In many OT settings, you are on the go, and transporting the therapy products with you - School - taking to classroom, Acute Care - Taking to Hospital Room, Home Care - bringing to the homes - Etc...

You should do this with a statement!

Here are some GREAT OT bags to show off your professional pride, and also to help identify you so others know you are the OT (don't want to get mixed up with the PT or ST etc.

OT embroidered bag
OT embroidered bag

Occupational Therapy Embroidered on nice Treatment Bag

Why not get a bag that SAYS OT - litterally !

This bag comes in several colors and all come flashing the OT title for all to see. - They run about $20

Click on pic to get to vendor.

Beginner OT Toolbag

A student begins collecting Tricks during her schooling. She shares these simple items with you.

(oh and Karen, Dycem is a name brand for non-slip material - They make the best stuff. A bit more expensive than the shelf liner though. I bet you had some OT using shelf liner and calling it Dycem. It really is a different product used for same purpose - and works much better. Shelf liner, though, can often work in a pinch for a fraction of the cost.)

OT Milano Bag
OT Milano Bag

Very nice Milano bag - OT !

If your into the more sophisticated look - check out the Milano Bag - Says OT and Occupational Therapy on it.

Click on bag to take you to vendor site. This bag sells for about 40.00. Is great for toting computer. Great for Home Care Therapist ! (or any therapist with mobile device for work or home )



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    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 

      6 years ago from Canada

      Dance is a very powerful therapy. Lately though I have taken to doing stretching exercises in a warm shower and it is really helping my muscles to come back from myositis. It is amazing how mobility exercises can help when they are done with warmth applied to the muscle. Love your occupational bags of tricks too ;)

    • Spiderlily321 profile image


      6 years ago

      Very nice lens. Thank you for sharing this!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      "OT's teach people to dance!", what a wonderful mission in life you have and a great bag of tricks!...*

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thanks for sharing. We can use these as well.

    • LouisaDembul profile image


      6 years ago

      I think occupational therapy is so important, and you seem to fill your bag up really well!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Thanks for the lens, I'm looking to get into occupational therapy!


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