Huff and Puff Spelling! Therapy Activity of the Week

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[Source:  The OT’s Bag]

I absolutely love this activity I created in a pinch one day and it has since become a favorite of my students. This activity has the added benefit of potentially helping students to calm down. Many times I hear an adult tell a child to take a deep breath to calm down but often a child can’t stay focused enough for this deep breathing. I have found using activities with sustained blowing and a functional goal is much more effective and fun.


OT Skills this Activity Targets:

-sustained breath support

-visual motor skills

-visual tracking

-convergence and divergence with eyes

-prone extension position for core strength

Materials/Equipment Needed:

 -26 foam or paper cups




-colored permanent markers

Instructions to Make the Activity:

Cut an opening in top of cup larger than the pom-pom. Label each cup with 1 letter of the alphabet, I like to use several colors of markers to match the colors of pom-poms.

How to Play:

Line the cups up in a straight row turned upside down, against a wall is ideal to prevent the cups from blowing over. Create a starting line, painter’s tape work well. The student blows the pom-pom with the straw across the floor to go inside the cup opening.

How to Grade the Challenge:

-When placing the cups in a line, alphabetical order is easier than a random order.

-Increase or decrease the distance from the starting line to the cups.

-Have the student spell their class spelling words or create a sentence. After blowing the word or sentence,  have the student write it on a clipboard or dry erase lap board.

-Only allow the student to blow a pom-pom of the same color as the letter that is their target.

-Rather than crawling like a snake, offer a scooter board.

-When there are 2 or more students, body awareness and praxis become more of a challenge in order to plan your route around another body in the way.

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