By: Laura Petix, MS OTR/L

One of my favorite, probably most functional ways to practice graded force: pouring liquids. 

If you need a quick introduction to graded force, you can read a little more about it and a long list of activities here. 

Why pouring liquids works on graded force

When you’re pouring juice, coffee, water, or “mommy juice”, you need to first have a good understanding and recognition of how heavy the pouring container (e.g. bottle, pitcher etc) is. 

This requires a good sense of body awareness and activation of your proprioceptive receptors.

Once you have an idea of how full or empty the bottle is, you can anticipate how fast/hard to pour the bottle. 

You’ll also have to take into consideration the size of the container you’re pouring into: how wide the opening is, how full you want it, etc.

The consequence of placing too much force (pouring too hard and too fast) is that you’ll most likely spill, or surpass the amount you needed.

The consequence of using too little force is that the liquid will either dribble down the side of a wide mouth cup, or it will take you too long to fill the container.


I’m creating this from #quarantineland so you know these are easy to find materials around any household (or clinic)

  • Pouring bottle/pitcher
  • At least 1 clear container/cup to pour liquid into (the more you have, the more ability you have to vary the size, dimensions and challenge)
    • Note: If you have one of those pyrex clear measuring glasses with different measurement  lines, this would be a wonderful addition to add some real-life skills to the mix.
  • Tape
  • Sharpie (if you’re using clear tape)  

How To

  1. Add some tape to the outside of the target glasses/containers
  2. If the tape is clear (like mine in the example) draw a line on top of the tape for a visual target.
  3. Add this to all of your target containers (I only used 2, but feel free to add as many as you want). Try to vary the location of the line on each target container.
  4. Fill up your pouring bottle/pitcher/glass
  5. Instruct your child to try to pour just to the line, not too past it and not below it.


Developmental Motor Skills & Activities


Free Instant access to my Members Only Vault with Resources & Activities


Laura Petix, MS OTR/L

I’m an enneagram 6, so my brain is constantly moving. My OT lenses never turn off and I can’t “un-see” the sensory and other developmental skills that go in to literally every activity. I love taking what I see and breaking it down into simple terms so parents can understand what goes into their child’s behavior and skills.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *