Shoebox Tasks for Skill Building

Shoebox Tasks are an inexpensive and fun option that can help build independence for children and adults with special needs.

Parents are constantly trying to find activities for their children to develop skills and abilities on par with their developmental milestones. However, often the puzzles and educational toys available on the shelves can be expensive and/or too difficult for a child with developmental delays such as autism or executive functioning deficiencies to manage successfully.

Ultimately, the goal for our children is to be independent. A key to building this independence is by increasing their confidence by letting them feel as though they can finish a task on their own. This step-by-step process should start from a skill that they have already mastered, while gradually increasing the level of difficulty. This process helps children slowly gain more independence as they develop the skills that can lead to effective self management.

Even adults who need a high degree of structure to experience success can benefit from the opportunities shoebox tasks can provide.

“Developed by Ron Larsen during his time as a therapist with the North Carolina TEACCH program, the tasks have proven to be an educational breakthrough for those students who are beginning their educational journey while developing greater independence. The Tasks also provide an example of the kind of visual organization necessary for teachers/caregivers who are serving this population.”

Our very ownDana Conley- James OTR/L loves sharing shoebox tasks with patients and their faimlies: “During my experience with shoebox tasks… I have found them to be:”

  • Fun, creative, visually stimulating, and a catalyst to invoke curiosity
  • Inexpensive to make- all of those seen above were created by local COTA students including those working at Blue Mountain Therapy.
  • Effective for self management/addresses initiation/termination of activity, working L to R (as we read and write), problem solving, making choices, organization, time management , and independence …
  • Can be graded for varying levels and diagnoses as needed in multiple ways (color, size, shape, theme, skill, difficulty, concept)
  • Teachers and parents have really enjoyed them as well; as they provide novel ways to address learning

Watch this great video for more ideas:

Also, visit for more information and ideas.

Want to schedule an assessment at Blue Mountain Therapy for your child?