Tag Archives: tripod grasp

I’m back to the OT blogging world!

My old hosting site no longer exists, so I have been forced to start from scratch. ¬†For those of you who are interested, since my last post I have become an almost full-time school therapist. I now work four days at school and one day doing early intervention home health. I’m very excited to share all my new OT ideas!

Spell It, the Bilateral Block Tower


Students use 2 wooden dowels to pick up letter blocks to spell a block tower.

OT Skills this Activity Targets:

-bilateral motor coordination

-fine motor skills

-tripod grasp

-visual motor skills



Materials/Equipment Needed:

-small wooden blocks

-2 inch wooden dowels (one set for each student), if you cut them any longer the student may use a fisted grasp rather than the desired tripod grasp

-letter stickers (from scrapbooking section at craft store)

Instructions to Make the Activity:

Adhere one letter sticker to each block. I made several full sets of the alphabet, plus extras of the most commonly used letters. I asked the school woodworking teacher to cut down the dowels for me and made sure the ends were sanded smooth. I keep my blocks and dowels in a hard plastic pencil case.

How to Play:

Scatter the blocks on the table and have the student hold one dowel in each hand to pick up a block. The student stacks blocks into word towers. It takes a little practice to regulate how much force to use with the dowels to keep the blocks from slipping or popping away.

How to Grade the Challenge

-To lower the visual demand, I have used simple stickers cut in half or thirds with each piece on one block.


-For students who cannot read or spell yet, I have a also made a set of pattern cards with colored blocks.

-Placement and orientation of the blocks can alter the challenge. Line blocks in a row with blocks all of same orientation (as you would read letters). To increase the challenge scatter the blocks so the student needs to also motor-plan how to use the dowels to turn the blocks around before stacking.

-Students can work in pairs, each holding only 1 dowel. The students must work as team to pick up and stack the blocks.