Toobeez Timer
Primary Market
Health, Occupational Therapy
Character Focus
Cognitive Skills
Items Needed
1 Toobeez set, index cards (one for each activity you would like to complete in a specific amount of time), tape, marker, activities planned for the therapy session
The Activity Time
30 - 60 minutes


  • Turn the abstract concept of time into a concrete method of teaching anticipation of time and effort.
  • Improve organizational process of planning, sequencing and time management in order to complete required tasks in a specific time frame.
The Challenge

The child will independently identify how many tasks he/she must complete before a specified amount of time has passed.


Time: 5 minutes


  • 1 Toobeez set
  • index cards (one for each activity you would like to complete in a specific amount of time)
  • tape
  • marker
  • activities planned for the therapy session


See the following points:

Activity Plan

Time: 30 – 60 minutes

Instruction: Individual

Space: Minimal or Medium

Activity Setup

1. Create a closed structure (for example, a square, triangle or cube) to display to the child as a model.

Therapist Tip: Be sure not to make a line because that can sometimes be misunderstood in that it could continue on forever. The goal of this activity is to provide a concrete way to demonstrate time. The size and shape of the structure will depend on the number of tasks you have planned and the amount of time estimated to complete each task during the therapy session. That is, a 60 minute therapy session may equal three tasks if 20 minutes are alloted for each task. Therefore, three tasks can be completed, so use a triangle (since it has three sides).

2. Lay out in front of the child the pieces to make the same structure as the model. (That is, for a triangle, lay out three tubes with one sphere attached to each tube).

3. On the notecards, write the tasks that need to be completed. Continuing with the triangle example, Card #1 may read “swing time,” Card #2 may read “letter practice with clay,” and Card #3 may read “handwriting practice”).

4. Tape one card to each tube.

5. Present the set up tubes with notecards attached in a list format (top to bottom – with the first activity to be completed at the top and the last activity at the bottom) to the child.


Helpful Hints

  • Be sure to review these tips prior to beginning the activity, and if necessary, share reminders with the group during the activity.
  • Be sure to be seated in a quiet area to minimize distractions.
  • Depending on the amount of time estimated to complete each activity, give the amount of time a specified length of tube. For example, 15 minutes may be demonstrated by an 11” tube; 20 minutes by a 16” tube; 30 minutes by a 24” tube. If working for a long amount of time, use the 36” tube to provide a visual cue of longer periods of time.
  • If a child is not yet reading words, use pictures (drawn or with Boardmaker™ ) of the activities that are planned for the therapy session.

Here are available Training Options!

Activity Instructions

1. Seat the child with the activity tubes in list format to the left of the child.

2. Review with the child how long the therapy session will be. For example, “Good morning, Jimmy. Today we will be working together for one hour/30 minutes, etc.”

3. Present the child with the model shape/structure that they will make by the end of the therapy session and discuss that he/she will know that therapy time is finished when the structure is complete. For example, “Jimmy, we will be finished working together when your square looks like mine.”

4. Review the activity tubes with the child, telling him/her what is expected of them during the therapy session. Verbally presetting a child in this way assists the organizational process and allows them to anticipate the sequence of events for the therapy session (30/60 minutes).

5. Ask the student to read the first activity on the list (top). Providing a list also adds structure to the child’s therapy session and facilitates an organized approach to a task – a specific beginning point and specific end to the session.

6. Complete the prepared activity and place the first tube (with the activity on the index card) in a position that will begin the shape (either the top of the shape or the left as this also provides a structured approach to task and requires the eyes and brain to proceed using the same approach as reading – top to bottom and left to right).

toobeez-timer27. Complete the next task prepared for the therapy session and place it beneath the first task’s tube. Ask the child how many tasks are left until he is finished the therapy session. He could either look at the shape/structure to identify how many missing pieces there are, or he could look at the list and identify how many tasks are left on the list.

8. Continue this pattern until the therapy session is complete.

9. When the activity is complete, move on to the Discussion and Processing questions.

The student is able to see that there is only one last task to complete.

The student is able to see that there is only one last task to complete.

The student is able to visually identify that all the tasks have been completed and that the therapy session is finished.

The student is able to visually identify that all the tasks have been completed and that the therapy session is finished.

Therapist Notes

  • Be sure to praise the child for hard work
  • If the child becomes distracted and demonstrates difficulty attending, review what you expect from them and let them know that they may have a rest break when a task is complete
  • Be sure to allow rest breaks as needed. These should occur when the task is completed and before the next task begins. If seated at a table to complete the prepared therapy tasks, be sure to include movement in the rest breaks. Rest breaks can include: standing up to stretch, getting a drink of water, eating something crunchy such as two pretzel rods, swinging on a swing, bouncing on a therapy ball, etc. Be sure to set a two-minute timer (or however long you feel necessary) for the rest breaks
  • Be sure to choose rest break activities that you have identified as organizing for a child. Rest break activities that over stimulate children will not allow them to come back to the table to finish seated work tasks that you have prepared for him/her
  • Be sure to remind the child not to rush through the activities just to complete the shape/structure

Therapist Assessment

  • Therapist’s observation of participation in the activity with increased structure of the therapy session
  • Did the child demonstrate a longer attention span to the planned therapy tasks with structure?
  • Did the child demonstrate less distractibility or less frustrated behavior (that is, getting up and walking around in the middle of a task)?
  • If this structure greatly improved a child’s ability to attend and concentrate for an extended period of time, share this with parents/teachers/support staff in order to carry this strategy over into the classroom and home to improve readiness to learn

Activity Discussion and Processing

Use the questions below as a guide for your discussion. Select the questions you feel will best benefit your child. It is not mandatory to cover every question. Make sure to let everyone (other staff observing, parents that are observing the session) share their ideas, and remind participants that everyone’s opinions and feelings are important!
Work through the following questions:

A. For the child:

    • Did you like doing this throughout the therapy session?
    • What was good about it?
    • What did you dislike? Why?

B. For teachers/para-educators/other therapists:

  • Did you observe a difference in behavior or attention span with the therapy session structured in this way?
  • What were the differences? Were the differences helpful for the child’s learning or did it appear to distract the child further?
  • How could we work together to utilize this strategy across all areas of the child’s day?

Activity Variations

1. For a group of students.

Apply the same strategies of organization and time management to a group therapy session. Upon completion of each task, a different member of the group can add another piece to the shape/structure.

2. Using pictures instead of words.

If a child is not able to read the instructions of the therapy session on the index cards, use pictures instead. If a child is learning to read, pair
pictures with the words to begin associating the activity with the words.

Candice Donnelly-Knox is a licensed and registered occupational therapist with over three years of experience. She has experience working with students (ages 3 to 21) with a variety of needs including Autism Spectrum Disorders, ADHD, Cerebral Palsy and Down syndrome etc. Candice is dedicated to providing each student with an individualized plan to address their unique educational needs; needs that may include activities of daily living, coping skills, reading and handwriting, and functional math skills such as money management, pre-vocational and vocational skills.
All Activities of Candice Donnelly-Knox

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