Sample Activity:
Manipulation Box


the recycling occuaptional therapist

The Recycling Occupational Therapist        

Learn how to make activities for developmentally disabled individuals out of common household recyclable objects.







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Each side of a box is covered with a minipulative activity
such as unscrewing bottle caps or removing Velcro strips.
The box size can vary depending on the size and physical
needs of the user. A box at about shoulder width and eye
height should be a good size to promote shoulder range of
motion and visual attention. Individuals will need to use the
non-dominant hand to stabilize the box, thus, promoting
bilateral hand use (using both hands). More challenged
individuals may remove the manipulatives on each box side
and drop them inside; more able individuals can reattach
the manipulatives as a separate activity. People find the
colorful manipulatives very inviting and fun.  

Directions To Make Activity

Cover each side of the box with contact paper. Be sure to use
colors that contrast with the manipulatives. Choose four of the
following activity suggestions to cover the four sides of the box.
You may repeat some or make up your own.
  • Cut out strips of sticky back hook Velcro and attach to one
    side of the box. Vary the strip
    lengths to increase challenge.
    Cut out matching lengths of sticky back loop Velcro. Cover

    the sticky side with contact paper. Individuals attach the loop
  • Velcro to the hook Velcro strips on the box.
  • Using a juice carton, cut off the threaded pieced that the
  • caps screw onto. Cut holes in the Manipulation Box to push
    the threaded pieced through. Attach the threaded pieces in
    place with duct tape from inside the box. Individuals screw
    the caps off and drop them inside the box. Use different sized
    caps and threads for greater challenge. More details are
    provided in my book.
  • Instead of using screw caps, use the push and pull caps
  • and bottle necks found on cider and milk gallon jugs.
  • Attach a cookie sheet to one side of the box. Place large
  • magnets on the sheet.
  • Attach interesting objects to the box with Velcro. Suggested
  • objects include a small shiny objects, pictures, musical
    button switch, ball filled with bells. This list is endless.
    Individuals can remove these to insert inside the box.
  • Make small holes all over one box side. Insert laces about
  • 12 inches long. Tie knots on the lace ends inside the box so
    that they can't be pulled all the way through the holes.
    laces are hanging on the outside of the box. Ask the
    to tie or untie two laces together. For greater
    challenge use
    laces of different colors to require color matching.

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©2008 Barbara Smith 








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