31 Days of Occupational Therapy with Free Materials

Use these free and recycled items to work on occupational therapy goals

Coming up with fun ideas for occupational therapy activities for interventions can easily become nerve-wracking! It’s easy to fall into a routine and use the same old cookie cutter activities in OT treatment sessions. Here, you will find a challenge designed to change that recipe for burnout! Below is a strategy to use out-of-the-box occupational therapy activities using free materials, or items you probably already have! 

Below is a series I ran one October, in which I challenged myself to write 31 days of posts about my profession: Occupational Therapy!  You will find 31 days of Occupational Therapy with free materials provides treatment activities, tips, tools, and ideas for many developmental, sensory, fine motor, gross motor, and visual perceptual areas.  I’ve bumped up the OT activities, though, to add more ideas to build fine motor skills or work on development, all with free items.

The best news is that these ideas are going to be creative fun that kids will love and (almost) all free.  The therapeutic modalities that I’ve outlined will provide you will a resource for frugal treatment of many Occupational Therapy goal areas.  I strive to create crafts and activities that use mostly free items that are found around my home in the play and learning that we do here.  


Use these free and recycled items to work on occupational therapy goals

Occupational Therapy Activities with Free Materials

Scroll through the activities below for fun ways to work on development. But first, let’s discuss a few items you may want to have in your therapy toolbox. These are recycled items and household materials that can be used in various ways. They are open-ended items to use in fine motor work, or in textured sensory play. Use the items to work on hand strength, scissor skills, motor planning, or other occupational therapy goal areas. 

Here are some free and recycled items to stock your therapy toolbox:

  • Cardboard
  • Cupcake liners
  • Sandpaper
  • Cardstock
  • Construction paper
  • Tissue paper
  • Index cards
  • Cookie cutters
  • Nuts and bolts
  • Plastic sandwich bags
  • Paper cups
  • Newspaper
  • Buttons
  • Tape
  • Craft sticks (popsicle sticks)
  • Craft pom poms or cotton balls
  • Recycled egg carton
  • Bread ties
  • String
  • Glue
  • Recycled bottle caps
  • Cardboard tubes
  • Rubber bands
  • Small containers
  • Crayons
  • Recycled bottles

occupational therapy items to add to your therapy bag

What would you add to this list?

Occupational Therapy treatment tips and tools for pediatrics and school-based therapy using mostly free or inexpensive materials and items you can find around the home.  Great resource and many ideas here!
Affiliate links are included in this post.
You can see a previous activity challenge, based on learning in the 31 days of learning with mostly free items challenge. I’m hoping that this series is just as helpful!

If you’ve been to this blog before, you might know that I’m an Occupational Therapist by trade, and love sharing helpful tips, tools and strategies that meet a variety of needs. It’s my hope that this OT Challenge will be an idea-generator for you!

More Occupational Therapy Activities

A few more resources on the site may be helpful for you. Below are some of our free courses, printable packets, and email courses that can be used in your practice. Let me know if there is another topic you are looking for information on. I would love to help out!


This Visual Processing Lab is an email series that delivers tons of content and information right into your email inbox. Expect to learn tons on visual perception, visual motor integration, and what that looks like in our kiddos who struggle with handwriting and eye-hand coordination. This email series is totally free! Join the lab here.

This visual processing lab is a series for occupational therapists looking for occupational therapy activities based on visual processing needs.



This Executive Function Mini-Course is a free email course on everything executive functioning. You will learn about executive functioning skills, how they develop, and what executive functioning challenges look like in our kids at home and at school. You’ll gain helpful tips that can be implemented right away. It’s a goldmine for any parent, teacher, or occupational therapist!


Take the Executive Function Mini-Course here. 

This executive function course is a helpful tool for occupational therapists, parents, or teachers working with kids on executive functioning skills.

 

Occupational Therapy Activity Ideas



In this Occupational Therapy with free materials series, you will find many of my favorite occupational therapy treatment activities for many developmental difficulties in pediatrics, all using items that you probably already have at home.  The nice thing about this series is that you don’t have to be receiving OT services or have a diagnosis of anything to benefit from these 31 days of tips and tools.  Many, MANY kids out there are working on shoe tying. Or writing on the lines.  Or many other developmental areas.  All of the activities will be low-cost and inexpensive.


Here is a little video that we created based on this series. It’s my hope that the activities below hit on the needs you have on your caseload!

It is my hope that you will find the ideas shared here in the next 31 days to be helpful and and a valuable resource.  AND, not only will the tricks and tips use mostly free or low-cost items, I will also have lists of my recommendations for toys and tools that can help with each area.  

This is going to be a great month …but fun! Use these activities to guide interventions, using out-of-the-box ideas, while working on goal areas your clients need.


And now, without further ado:

31 Days of Occupational Therapy with Free Materials

https://www.theottoolbox.com/2015/10/visual-tracking-tips-and-tools-for.html  
 
 
 Motor Planning Fine Motor Maze hand strengthening activity
 Scooping and pouring fine motor and hand dominance with beads

Day 22 The Benefits of Coloring

Day 23 Clothes Pin Exercises and Pinch Grasp Types

Day 24 Homemade Pegboard Activities

Day 25 Creative Scissor Skills Practice

Neat Pincer Grasp Fine Motor Activity Buttoning Tips and Tricks
 

Day 30 Gross Grasp with Recycled Containers

Day 31 Finger Isolation Fingerprint Activities

Did you LOVE this series as much as I did?  Here are MORE ways to work on Occupational Therapy using mostly free or inexpensive materials:  
 
Try a few inexpensive treatment tools like kid-friendly tongs and tweezers.  They can be used in so many different ways.  A set of simple supplies can be tools for many different OT treatment goals.
 
 
Even MORE great pages you where you will find tons of Occupational Therapy treatment ideas and info that can be incorporated into simple play at home, using frugal (mostly free) items that you already have:
 
 
Occupational Therapy treatment tips and tools for pediatrics and school-based therapy using mostly free or inexpensive materials and items you can find around the home.  Great resource and many ideas here!
Occupational Therapy treatment ideas using free materials
 
Love these ideas shared in this series?  Try some of these: 

Scissor Skills: Ideas for Kids and Occupational Therapists

   

Fine Motor Skills: Activities for Occupational Therapy

Handwriting Activities for Occupational Therapy

Easy Vegetable Rice Recipe Kids will Eat

Our Cooking With Kids series has been such a hit, both on the blog in in our home.  My daughter and I have created quality time together as we cook our way through the alphabet.  We’ve love trying new foods and sharing them with you and your families!  Today we’re sharing a go-to and easy recipe for any weeknight dinner.  This Easy Vegetable Rice dish is perfect as a side dish for families when you want to get some extra veggies into the kids.  The colorful rice dish can be a meal in itself, if you add your favorite meat. We made this dish together when a cousin was over for some playtime.  The two cousins had a blast in the kitchen and we got to eat the vegetable rice for dinner, making it a real treat to serve up food that we cooked together.  

Easy Vegetable rice recipe. This is an easy side dish or main meal if you add a protein.  Kids love this and can help with cooking in this easy cooking with kids recipe.

Easy Vegetable rice recipe. This is an easy side dish or main meal if you add a protein.  Kids love this and can help with cooking in this easy cooking with kids recipe.


Easy Vegetable Rice Recipe (for a main dish or side!)

(This post contains affiliate links.)
Start with 3-4 cups of cooked rice.  We used leftover rice, which we always seem to have when we eat any kind of dish with rice.  Save that leftover rice!  It’s totally yummy the next day. 

 (I cook my leftover rice in a saucepan with a layer of water at the bottom.  Stir occasionally and then when it’s started simmering, give it a good stir and cover with a lid.  Leftover rice has now become no-knows-it’s-leftover-rice!)

Back to our veggie dish.  Grab up any vegetables you’ve got on hand.  Frozen peas? Check.  Baby carrots? Yep. Peppers of any and all color? Yes please.  Other vegetables that make a great addition to this recipe: broccoli, cauliflower, onions, beans, cabbage, kale, spinach, celery, brussel sprouts, swiss chard, kidney beans, black beans, any beans…you get the picture.  
We made our vegetable rice dish with cooked onions, red and green peppers, peas, and carrots.  

Start by dicing the onion and sauteing in a small amount of olive oil.  You will need to cook any of the “tougher” veggies like broccoli or brussel sprouts.  While the onions are cooking, get the kids busy with chopping and dicing.  

Easy Vegetable rice recipe. This is an easy side dish or main meal if you add a protein.  Kids love this and can help with cooking in this easy cooking with kids recipe.

These two cousins used kid-friendly knifes
to slice and dice peppers.  I’ve found that slicing the peppers into strips and then having the kids chop them into chunks works well with the preschool age.  


Easy Vegetable rice recipe. This is an easy side dish or main meal if you add a protein.  Kids love this and can help with cooking in this easy cooking with kids recipe.

This little one had fun watching all of the cooking action…while enjoying a (large) red pepper snack.  Just kidding.  She only nibbled on the pepper.

Easy Vegetable rice recipe. This is an easy side dish or main meal if you add a protein.  Kids love this and can help with cooking in this easy cooking with kids recipe.

After you’ve got all of your vegetables chopped, add them to the onions.  Sprinkle in salt and pepper to taste.  At this point, we added a dash of lemon juice and 1 teaspoon dried parsley.  Allow the vegetables to cook for 2-3 minutes.  Stir in the cooked rice and heat for 1-2 minutes.  You want all of the flavors to combine.

Easy Vegetable rice recipe. This is an easy side dish or main meal if you add a protein.  Kids love this and can help with cooking in this easy cooking with kids recipe.
Serve hot as a side dish the whole family will love.  If you want to make this a meal, cut up chicken breasts or strip steak and cook on the side.  Then add to the rice at the end. 

Easy Vegetable rice recipe. This is an easy side dish or main meal if you add a protein.  Kids love this and can help with cooking in this easy cooking with kids recipe.
Enjoy!



Easy Vegetable rice recipe. This is an easy side dish or main meal if you add a protein.  Kids love this and can help with cooking in this easy cooking with kids recipe.

                                                 

      Easy Vegetable rice recipe. This is an easy side dish or main meal if you add a protein.  Kids love this and can help with cooking in this easy cooking with kids recipe.
Looking for more rice recipes?  Try some of these by the Cooking With Kids A-Z blogging team:


Steak Fried Rice from Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails


More Cooking with Kids ideas that you will love to make with your family:

Vegetable Quesadilla Recipe   Honey Nut Popcorn  Antipasto Skewers
M is for MushroomsVeggie Quesadilla Recipe | N is for NutsHoney Roasted Nuts Popcorn | O is for OlivesAntipasto Skewer Kabobs | P is for Peppers: Asian Chicken

Want to cook healthy foods for your family?  Grab Yum! Deliciously Healthy Meals for Kids, a cookbook for busy families that want healthy meal ideas. 

Healthy recipes for kids

Stellaluna Activity

If you haven’t read the children’s book, Stellaluna, then you are in for a treat. The Stellaluna activity and bat games we have to share today are fun ways to read the book and play with a bat theme, and the bat activities would work for a Halloween party with kids, too! Scroll on for Stellaluna games that teach and are fun!

Stellaluna Activity

Stellaluna book bat games including sight word games, math facts game, letter identification game.  This is a fun twist on learning facts and words for preschoolers, kindergarten, and second grade, with a bat theme!  I love the flashlight game!

Stellaluna by Janell Cannon is a sweet story of a bat who is adopted by a bird family after he is knocked from his mother’s grasp during a flight.  We see how different and same the bat and the birds are and also notice the differences.  We were able to talk about how we as family members are all the same, yet different, and how other people we meet or know might be different and do things differently, but inside we are all the same.  Going on the theme of differences and similarities among the bat and his new bird family, we decided to examine sight words, Upper case letters, and numbers with bats! For more fun, make a bat craft to go along with your Stellaluna game, too!

While this is a great preschool book extension activity, the best thing about our Stellaluna game is that we modified it to fit the needs of my three older kids.  We practiced upper case letter identification with the 3 year old preschooler, sight word identification with the Kindergartner, and math facts with the Second grader. The 16 month old just liked grabbing the bats from the wall.  Very fun and age appropriate, but we’ll share more about what the older kids did today 😉

Bat Activity

This post contains affiliate links.
If you haven’t read the book Stellaluna, grab it up at your library!  This was a new book to us, and one that I’m so glad we read. 

Stellaluna book bat games including sight word games, math facts game, letter identification game.  This is a fun twist on learning facts and words for preschoolers, kindergarten, and second grade, with a bat theme!  I love the flashlight game!


First, print off this free printable bat stencil.  Cut out the bat and trace it onto black cardstock paper.  We cut out about 15 bats, but you can cut out as many bats as you need.  It you’ll be practicing letters, you may want one for each letter of the alphabet.


Stellaluna book bat games including sight word games, math facts game, letter identification game.  This is a fun twist on learning facts and words for preschoolers, kindergarten, and second grade, with a bat theme!  I love the flashlight game!

Write on the bats with a white crayon.  We practiced sight words first and wrote out the words my Kindergartener has been working on. 

StellaLuna Activity for Sight Words

Stellaluna book bat games including sight word games, math facts game, letter identification game.  This is a fun twist on learning facts and words for preschoolers, kindergarten, and second grade, with a bat theme!  I love the flashlight game!

Tape the bats to the wall and get ready to play!  First, we played a flashlight sight word activity as a warm-up.  I read through a few pages of the book and when we got to a sight word, my son used the flashlight to find the matching sightword on the wall.  He really got into this activity.  

Next, to make it more of a game, we created a flashlight race.  We pulled out a second flashlight and when we reached a sight word in the book, the two older kids raced to flash their light on the sight word.  The first to light it up was the winner.  Using the flashlights in a dark-ish room reminded us of Stellaluna flying at night and how the birds would need a flashlight to see.

StellaLuna Activity for Math Practice

To play the math facts game with my second grader, I wrote out numbers 10-20 on the bats.  (Just flip the bats over and use the other side if you are playing more than one game!  No need to cut out more bats, unless you need them.)  Tape the numbered bats to the wall in a random arrangement.  This game was fun for her to practice her math facts up to 20.  I called out a number and then had her roll a die.  She then had to add the number to the number that I called out and run over to the wall and hit the right number.  We also did a round of subtraction.  You can make this more of a game by adding a second player.
 

Bat Game for Letter Identification

For my preschooler, we wrote upper case letters on the bats and taped them to the wall.  She played a version of the flashlight game as we scanned through the book.  I pointed to a lower case letter and named it and she had to flash the light on the letter on the wall.  We also practiced letter sounds by saying the sound the letter makes and she had to find the letter on the wall.
 
Scanning for the correct bat on the wall was a great way to incorporate visual scanning and visual perceptual skills into this learning game activity.  
 

More Stellaluna Activities

Looking for more Stellaluna activities?  Here are some fun bat activities that pair well with the book:
Get the kids cooking and make a fun Stellaluna Bat Trail Mix.
Stellaluna Night Sky Sensory Activity is a fun way to read the book and play. 
Stellaluna Busy Bag can work on fine motor skills.
 

7 Day Be the Change Family Challenge

Being a Mom and going through the routines and schedules of school, church, after-school activities, family obligations, and all that being part of a family entails…is exhausting.  Motherhood is a beautiful and messy job.  Between the diapers, sticky fingers, crusty faces, and the general mayhem that accompanies children, us Moms find moments of laughter, snuggles and peace.  Then there are the big whiffs of baby head and soft skin mixed with love.  (Every Mom knows that scent, right??)  The good hugely crushes the exhaustion and we keep going.





7 Day Challenge for inspiring good and change.  Take this challenge, loaded with easy activities that families and kids can do together for one week and be an inspiration of good, gratitude, and kindness by blessing and inspiring others.

When the outside world’s dangers and unpredictability nears the shelter of our homes, we can grow weary just when we need our strength…to smile through the dirtiest diapers and fighting-est kiddos.  It is SO good to hear of positive work being done in the world.  There are people who strive for kindness, bravely inspiring grace in the world.  Our kids’ world needs the good.


We’ve got something very exciting to share today.  Going on the theme of being the good in the world and inspiring others with kindness and graciousness, we’ve got a challenge for you.  A challenge for your family.  Make that a Challenge. (Capitalized makes it sound more “official”, right??)  This is a Challenge for your family to take part in over 7 days, with kid-friendly kind acts and activities that will inspire good in you and good in others.  Gratitude, joy, giving, kindness, awareness, patience, and a positive outlook can inspire others to be the good too.  This is a short and easy challenge.  One week of ideas that can be fit into your family’s schedules and needs.  Get ready to inspire and be inspired.


But first, you’ll want to hear how we were inspired to inspire others!
7 Day Challenge for inspiring good and change.  Take this challenge, loaded with easy activities that families and kids can do together for one week and be an inspiration of good, gratitude, and kindness by blessing and inspiring others.

Recently, I was invited to be a #CFAPittMoms Chick-Fil-A Pittsburgh Mom Ambassador, with a meet-up event. What an honor.  My family loves Chick-Fil-A’s food, the restaurant, and the friendliness of the employees.  When we eat out, our options are mainly fast food.  With four kids who love to make their presence known, it’s often times just easier.  Chick-Fil-A is usually our go-to restaurant choice and always a good one.  The food is fresh, healthy, and filling. I am kind of in love with the grilled chicken sandwich.  And the lemonade.  And the chicken noodle soup.  And the waffle fries.  And any of the sauces…


Back to the Blogger Ambassador event: (I’m easily distracted by my love of Chick-Fil-A and food in general…) The event was hosted by Chick-Fil-A and The Motherhood, and what an event it was!  We were greeted on a red carpet and treated like part of the Chick-Fil-A family.  It was an evening of generosity and values, along with information about Chick-Fil-A’s brand and coming menu items.  While being served up kindness and graciousness, us Pittsburgh area bloggers were fed Chick-Fil-A’s best menu items.  That’s not a bad night, at all!

The blogger panel was presented with information about Chick-Fil-A’s food preparation and menu motivation.  They do an awesome job of providing healthy options with their sustainable and crave-able ingredients.

After sharing exciting menu additions that will be coming to the menu in the next year, we were served a dinner and got to try a few new items. I was beyond excited about a new kale salad coming out in 2016.  (You NEED to try this salad.  So good!)

Besides serving us healthy, fresh, and sustainable food, Chick-Fil-A does an amazing job of inspiring with their family-like values.  

(That’s me on the right with Stephanie from Lexie Loo Lily Liam & Dylan Too.)

It was such a treat to not only get out for the night, but to meet a few new local bloggers and re-connect with others.  One of the highlights that I want to share is the theme of being remarkable.  We were introduced to the Remarkable Movement.  Individuals or groups can be inspired and inspire others to Be Remarkable.  



Based on the remarkable movement and the remarkable leaders at Chick-Fil-A, I wanted to share a family version of inspiration.  This is a challenge for your family, for kids, and for you to make a difference in small and meaningful ways, over a week’s time.  This is one week challenge (because let’s face it, any longer than a week is a lot of commitment when it comes to family time and kids needs.  Sometimes a commitment of 10 minutes is a lot to ask!)  

7 Day Be the Change Family Challenge

This challenge is simple.  Gather your family and get ready to inspire and be inspired.  Get ready to be the change and inspire the change in this world!  Each day, you’ll open an envelope together as a family and inspire.  Inspire each other, inspire others, and inspire yourself with good. Your week of challenges will be a time of growth and intention for your family.  The great thing about growth is that growth doesn’t stop.  Whether we’re talking about children or weeds, growing doesn’t end.  And adults don’t stop growing either! This challenge is about being brave, being inspirational, and being full of intentional growth.  Get ready to have fun, too!



The Seven Day Be the Change Family Challenge

7 Day Challenge for inspiring good and change.  Take this challenge, loaded with easy activities that families and kids can do together for one week and be an inspiration of good, gratitude, and kindness by blessing and inspiring others.
First, print out the sheet above.  Wait. First, make coffee.  It is always a good time for coffee.  Next,  get your printable challenge cards (above).  You can find and print off this sheet for free, here.  Cut along the black lines and fold each section into a long rectangle.  Place these, along with the printable daily instruction cards into an envelope.  Each day, gather as a family and read through the cards.  Be sure to allow time to do each day’s activities.  This doesn’t have to be a stressful–allow time to fill these activities into your schedule.  Remember that passing along positive changes to others is intentional and brave.  You are the change and it is starting with your family!

Print off this challenge card and all of the others in the 7 Day Family Challenge by entering your email HERE. You will be directed to your free printable.  OR just read from the info below 🙂


DAY 1: Notice.
Notice and appreciate others and the world around you.  Is a friend being helpful at school?  Did a stranger stop and pick up a piece of litter?  Observe and tell them “thank you.” for doing something helpful that makes a difference.  Does someone on the bus look sad? Ask them how they are feeling or if something happened that morning to make them sad.  Do you notice a mess in your classroom or house that needs cleaning?  Be the change and go beyond the expected.  Soon, others will notice you being the change and will follow your example.  And if no one notices your attempts?  Open your mouth!  Not to brag, but rather, invite others to notice their world, too.


EXTRA ACTIVITIES:


  • Make a card for someone you notice having a bad day.
  • Create a care package for a sick friend or neighbor.
  • Help a stranger by holding a door.

DAY 2: Give.
A surprise gift or little treat can change a person’s whole day.  A small dose of generosity can inspire a long string of kind acts.  Give a compliment, give a hand, or give away items to those in need. Being generous is giving what we have or what we are.  It can be easy to get swept up in schedules, homework, and household chores that need done.  Be generous with your time and intention as you inspire others by being giving to others despite busyness.  Share your time as you help a neighbor pull in trash cans. Or give your time by listening to a friend’s troubles with an open heart.  

EXTRA ACTIVITIES:
  • Give toys or clothes you no longer need to charity.
  • Give an unexpected gift of baked goods to a neighbor.
  • Give school supplies to a teacher to stock their classroom.
We made candy jars and gifted them to neighbors and teachers.

DAY 3: Gratitude.
Thanking someone lets a person know that you appreciate them.  When a person feels appreciated, they know they have a purpose and are loved.  Showing gratitude can be as simple as saying “Thank you.” to someone for letting you go first.  Don’t let an opportunity to show gratitude pass by without being a change, though–Look the person you are thanking in the eye and smile!  Or show gratitude in a bigger way by writing a card with a drawing or words that show your appreciation.  Tell them that they’ve made a difference in your life.  Leaving a positive imprint on someone can change the whole course of their day and those they come in contact with.

EXTRA ACTIVITIES:
  • Thank your postal worker for their hard work.  Give them a glass of water or a snack.
  • Thank your teacher.  They work hard and many days, get little appreciation.  Thank them with a jar of candy or a small gift along with a word of thanks.
  • Start a Gratitude Journal.  Each night before bed, write down a few things that you are thankful for.  This could be done as a family or individually.
                                       7 Day Challenge for inspiring good and change.  Take this challenge, loaded with easy activities that families and kids can do together for one week and be an inspiration of good, gratitude, and kindness by blessing and inspiring others.
DAY 4: Positivity.
Plant positivity in the lives of those around you with a smile and by going the extra mile.  A small dose of positivity spreads.  And a simple thing like a smile can inspire a wildfire of positive actions around you.  Smile as you hold a door for someone.  Compliment someone today with genuine words and leave conversations on a positive note.  Being positive requires bravery.  Choose to make a difference and inspire another person’s positive attitude as you hold open every door you come across today.  Smile at and greet people as they come through.  

EXTRA ACTIVITIES:
  • As you sit down to dinner, go around the table and name 3 positive things that happened for each person that day.   Discuss accomplishments and how you can help others in your family accomplish their goals.
  • Listen to a friend with a positive attitude.  If you notice negative words or complaining, turn it around with optimism.  Help your friend turn a big problem into a series of smaller, accomplish goals by writing down strategies to help.
  • Draw a family collage of happy thoughts.  Each family member can add to the artwork by drawing pictures and writing down things that make them happy.  Hang the collage art in a place that is always seen, like the living room wall.  You can even frame it!
7 Day Challenge for inspiring good and change.  Take this challenge, loaded with easy activities that families and kids can do together for one week and be an inspiration of good, gratitude, and kindness by blessing and inspiring others.
DAY 5: Kindness.
Small and random acts of kindness can change a person’s whole day.  It is easy to do a kind act or say kind words to others in a way that will allow them to grow and spread kindness.  It can be as simple as showing kindness to creatures by feeding the birds in your neighborhood or sharing bubbles with children at the park.  You can do many acts of kindness together as a family.

EXTRA ACTIVITIES:
  • Deliver flowers to a neighbor you don’t know that well.
  • Donate books to the library.
  • Write kind notes for siblings.


DAY 6: Patience.

Being patient can be hard!  When a friend just isn’t listening to what you have to say, when a child demands attention with a tantrum, or when a driver blows their horn at you on the highway…patience is self-control in difficult situations.  Showing patience can have a real impact on other’s behavior and attitudes, though.  Today, purposefully and intentionally pause before speaking to others.  Ask yourself if you have a thoughtful and patient response.  They may not realize you are exercising patience in your interactions, but your meaningful words will resonate.


EXTRA ACTIVITIES:


  • Plant seeds together as a family.  Talk about how we need patience to wait for the plant to grow.  Water your plant every day!
  • Talk about times when you must be patient as a family: waiting in line at the grocery store, waiting for a doctor’s appointment, or waiting for an upcoming fun event.  How can you make these times of waiting more tolerable?  Make an action plan for situations where patience is required.


DAY 7: Joy.

At the Chick-Fil-A meet-up I saw a quote that really inspired me.  I shared an image of the quote over on our Twitter feed.  “Nearly every moment of every day, we have the opportunity to give something to someone else- our time, our love, our resources.  I have always found more joy in giving when I did not expect anything in return.”-S. Truett Cathy

The best thing about this 7 day Family Challenge is that doing and being aware, giving, gracious, positive, kind, and patient will lend itself to joy.  You will see joy in others around you and in yourself as you make and are the change in others.  By helping and doing kind acts for others, you will find that joy doesn’t come from what you own.  It is helping others.  Showing gratitude for blessings and blessing others is joy.  Your challenge for today is to show joy just by being you.  Be brave and intentionally spread joy through kindness.  How can you extend this seven day challenge to additional days in small and meaningful ways?  

EXTRA ACTIVITIES:
  • Turn someone’s negative outlook into joy with a kind word, a small gift and word of thanks, or patience.  
  • Create Joy Art: Use watercolors, paints, and markers to create a work of art depicting joy.  What means joy to you?  Talk with your family about what Joy means to each family member and how possessions are not real sources of joy.

Get all of the challenge cards for free to print off and challenge your family again and again in these inspiring and brave ways.  Be intentional and be remarkable!

GET YOUR PRINTABLE 7 DAY CHALLENGE CARDS by entering your email.  You’ll be added to our newsletter mailing list and will receive occasional emails from us with our latest blog posts. 

7 Day Challenge for inspiring good and change.  Take this challenge, loaded with easy activities that families and kids can do together for one week and be an inspiration of good, gratitude, and kindness by blessing and inspiring others.
Love it?  Pin it!

7 Day Challenge for inspiring good and change.  Take this challenge, loaded with easy activities that families and kids can do together for one week and be an inspiration of good, gratitude, and kindness by blessing and inspiring others.

Share the 7 Day Challenge on Facebook.  Let’s change the world!

This post was sponsored by Chick-Fil-A and The Motherhood.  All opinions are my own.


Nickel and Dime Skip Counting Math

Second grade math.  It can be a complicated thing for kids.  Second grade math moves along fast.  We’re in our third week of school and my second grader is moving right along!  We made this nickel and dime coin activity for our Second Grade Math series.  This week’s theme is money and we used coins in conjunction with the skip counting that my second grader is doing at school this week.  It was fun to show her how skip counting by 5’s and 10’s is used in real-world applications like counting coins.  
Nickel and Dime money math skip counting to count money.  This is second grade skip counting math activity is a fun way to practice addition and teach money.


Nickel and Dime Skip Counting by 5’s and 10’s Math Activity

This post contains affiliate links.  Counting and playing with coins is an excellent fine motor activity.  We’ve shared a coin activity for kids before.  For this skip counting activity, we used our Play Money Set only because we had it.  You can do this math activity using real coins.

Nickel and Dime money math skip counting to count money.  This is second grade skip counting math activity is a fun way to practice addition and teach money.

To start, we practiced naming and sorting coins.  I had my second grader sort the nickels and dimes for this activity.  She is working on skip counting by 5’s and 10’s (both forward and backward) to and from 1,000.  So, skip counting out our nickel and dime coins was a great way for her to see how skip counting is used in real life.
Nickel and Dime money math skip counting to count money.  This is second grade skip counting math activity is a fun way to practice addition and teach money.


Second Grade Math Money Activity

To practice skip counting the coins, I created this Coin Skip Count printable sheet.  You can get the printable worksheet for FREE here.  Next, use small post-it notes to write different amounts of change.  Stick the notes along the left side of the worksheet.  You could also write directly on the sheet, but I wanted to save on ink and only print one page for many coin-counting trials.

Nickel and Dime money math skip counting to count money.  This is second grade skip counting math activity is a fun way to practice addition and teach money.

Show your child how nickels add up in increments of 5 and practice skip counting by 5’s to reach the amount on the page.  Then, add up dimes and practice skip counting by 10’s to reach the numbers.  

Alternate activities:
  • Practice skip counting down from 100 by subtracting coins to reach the number listed.
  • Add quarters to the activity to practice adding to dollars.
  • Add up coins to beyond one dollar.
Looking for more second grade activities?  Follow our Second Grade Learning Pinterest board.

Or, if you are looking for more second grade money activities, see what the others on the Second Grade Bloggers team have come up with this week: 

Here are some other great Money activities for your 2nd graders!

Chemical Reactions with Pennies from Creative Family Fun 
 
Money Activities for Second Grade from Look! We’re Learning! 
 
Money Math Problems for 1st-3rd Grade from Planet Smarty Pants 
 
Counting Coins Scavenger Hunt from School Time Snippets 
 
Skip counting nickels and dimes from Sugar Aunts 
Nickel and Dime money math skip counting to count money.  This is second grade skip counting math activity is a fun way to practice addition and teach money.
Love this post?  Share it on Facebook and Tweet: Teach kids how to count money with this nickel and dime skip counting math activity: http://ctt.ec/E9gwN+ it!

More math activities you will love:
 Commutative Property of Addition  How to Add with Regrouping  Use play dough in math  Bottle caps in first grade math

Quinoa Lettuce Wraps Recipe

Kids can be hesitant to try new foods.  Foods that look different or are a different texture than what they are used to.  Sometimes, getting the kids active in the cooking process can help ease anxieties about trying that new food sitting on their dinner plate.  Cooking with Kids is one of our favorite ways to spend time together.  So much learning happens in the kitchen and involving kids in the cooking process is quality time with talking and creating.  We made this Quinoa Lettuce Wrap recipe as part of our Cooking With Kids A-Z series (We’re already up to letter Q!).  You can see all of the recipes here.  Be sure to try this quinoa recipe if your kids are a little hesitant to try the small seed known as quinoa.  It’s packed with protein, has a mild flavor, and is gluten-free.  With the crunch of a leafy lettuce wrap, this Quinoa Recipe is one you want to try!
Quinoa Lettuce Wrap Recipe.  This is a delicious way to eat quinoa and fun for kids.  They will love this kids in the kitchen cooking with kids recipe!  Loaded with vegetables and healthy foods, this quinoa recipe will be a hit at dinner with the family.


Quinoa Lettuce Wrap Recipe

This post contains affiliate links. 

To make the Quinoa Lettuce Wrap, you’ll need the following ingredients:
1 cup quinoa, dry and cooked according to the package directions
1 carrot, shredded
1 can black beans 
1 tomato, diced
1 head iceberg lettuce or romaine lettuce
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon Balsamic Vinegar
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Grated Parmesan cheese, to taste
Quinoa Lettuce Wrap Recipe.  This is a delicious way to eat quinoa and fun for kids.  They will love this kids in the kitchen cooking with kids recipe!  Loaded with vegetables and healthy foods, this quinoa recipe will be a hit at dinner with the family.
To make the quinoa, first measure out the dry quinoa and water as indicated on the packaging.  Measuring dry and wet ingredients is a great learning opportunity for kids.  We love our measuring set for easy measuring with big numbers and clear glass for easily seeing the level of ingredients.  
Quinoa Lettuce Wrap Recipe.  This is a delicious way to eat quinoa and fun for kids.  They will love this kids in the kitchen cooking with kids recipe!  Loaded with vegetables and healthy foods, this quinoa recipe will be a hit at dinner with the family.

While the quinoa is cooking in the water, show your child how to slice and dice a tomato using a child-friendly knife.  Shred the carrot using a 

vegetable grater(This one is awesome for kids!).  Show your child how to open the can of beans, being careful with sharp edges of the can. This safety can opener
is great for kids. Using a colander, drain the beans and rinse with water.  



Add the tomatoes, carrots, and beans to the quinoa and stir.  Continue to cook for 10 minutes.  Add the olive oil and balsamic vinegar and stir.  Cover and allow the mixture to sit while you separate the leaves of the lettuce.

Quinoa Lettuce Wrap Recipe.  This is a delicious way to eat quinoa and fun for kids.  They will love this kids in the kitchen cooking with kids recipe!  Loaded with vegetables and healthy foods, this quinoa recipe will be a hit at dinner with the family.

Kids can gently remove leaves from the head of lettuce one at a time.  To more easily remove the leaves, cut off the base of the head.  Show your child how to carefully peel the lettuce leaves from the head and place them on a plate. 

Now you can fill the leaves with the quinoa mixture.  Scoop quinoa into the lettuce and add grated Parmesan cheese and salt/pepper to taste. 

Carefully wrap the lettuce leaf around the quinoa and enjoy!
Quinoa Lettuce Wrap Recipe.  This is a delicious way to eat quinoa and fun for kids.  They will love this kids in the kitchen cooking with kids recipe!  Loaded with vegetables and healthy foods, this quinoa recipe will be a hit at dinner with the family.

Quinoa Lettuce Wrap Recipe.  This is a delicious way to eat quinoa and fun for kids.  They will love this kids in the kitchen cooking with kids recipe!  Loaded with vegetables and healthy foods, this quinoa recipe will be a hit at dinner with the family.

You can also eat the filling right in a bowl.  This is one of our favorite quinoa recipes.  Loaded with veggies and protein, it could be a meal in itself!
Looking for more Quinoa Recipes?  Stop by and see what the Cooking With Kids A-Z Team have cooked up: 

Quinoa Apple Cinnamon Cake from Mum in the Madhouse

Simple Lunchbox Quinoa Salad from Rainy Day Mum


Quinoa Fruit Salad from Still Playing School

Looking for more Cooking With Kids recipes?  Try a few of our most recent culinary fun:

Vegetable Quesadilla Recipe   Honey Nut Popcorn  Antipasto Skewers
M is for MushroomsVeggie Quesadilla Recipe | N is for NutsHoney Roasted Nuts Popcorn | O is for OlivesAntipasto Skewer Kabobs | P is for Peppers: Asian Chicken

Want to cook healthy foods for your family?  Grab Yum! Deliciously Healthy Meals for Kids, a cookbook for busy families that want healthy meal ideas. 

Healthy recipes for kids

Alphabet Discovery Bottle

 Sometimes learning letters can be tricky for preschoolers and kindergarteners.  Remembering all of those letters (26 is a lot!) is frustrating and difficult and kids just aren’t into identifying the letters of the alphabet.  Many times you have a child who picks up on letters right away.  You can see posts on Facebook where proud parents are touting their two year old who knows all of the letters and the sounds they make.  They are proud mamas and papas and deserve to share their excitement with all of their friends on social media!  But sometimes, you have kids who just aren’t into learning letters.  As much as you try to introduce the ABC’s, some kids just have more trouble recognizing the way a letter looks, recalling the letter name, and identifying the letter’s sound.  Creative and multi-sensory teaching techniques can help with kids who are resistant in trying yet another letter learning activity.  We made this ABC letter identification discovery bottle to practice letter recognition. Have you made a sensory bottle yet?  These are very cool calming sensory tools in learning and play!


Alphabet letter recognition discovery bottle for preschool and kindergarten aged kids. This discovery bottle is fun for creative learning and sensory play with letter identification and recognition in kids.


Alphabet Letter Recognition Discovery Bottle

My three year old is always up for an interesting activity.  She is my little helper when it comes to our cooking with kids recipes.  Whenever I have an activity set up, she is always game to play!  This sensory bottle was just for her as we practiced naming the letters of the alphabet.  She helped me make our letter discovery bottle and that was part of the fun! (I’m including affiliate links in this post.)
Alphabet letter recognition discovery bottle for preschool and kindergarten aged kids. This discovery bottle is fun for creative learning and sensory play with letter identification and recognition in kids.
To make a sensory discovery bottle based on letters, you’ll need just two items:

Foam Alphabet Puzzle
(This is not the type of puzzle we used in our bottle. We found ours at a garage sale long ago. However, these foam letters would work in your discovery bottle. And if you find a puzzle like ours at a yard sale, grab it up!)

Alphabet letter recognition discovery bottle for preschool and kindergarten aged kids. This discovery bottle is fun for creative learning and sensory play with letter identification and recognition in kids.
So making this scented scenory letter activity is beyond easy.  First, dump out half of the salts into a large bowl.  Add in your foam letters.  Kids will LOVE doing this part of the activity.  Ask them to help you name the letters as you drop them in one by one.  Then, when you’ve got all the letters (or as many as your bottle can handle), start scooping in the remaining bath salts.  This is such a great sensory activity for kids.  The sense of scent (or olfactory sense) is one linked to recall.  How many times do you recognize a scent form your past and recall memories associated with that smell?  Invite your child to sniff the air as you scoop the salts back into the container.

**NOTE** Be sure to stay with your child as you do this part, and any parts of this activity.  Children should not taste the bath salts and if your child may put items into their mouth, refrain from allowing them to scoop the bath salts.  As with any activity on this blog, be sure to use your best judgement with your child’s needs and abilities and provide direct supervision.

You may want to glue the lid shut at this point, before allowing your child to play with the discovery bottle.
Alphabet letter recognition discovery bottle for preschool and kindergarten aged kids. This discovery bottle is fun for creative learning and sensory play with letter identification and recognition in kids.
Next, start playing!  Allow your child to shake, roll, shake some more with the discovery bottle.  Invite them to shake until they find and can identify the letters in the bottle.  Shaking the bottle has weight and provides proprioceptive input to kids.  Depending on the size of your bath salts bottle, it can be on the heavy side.  Use this activity as a warm up to fine motor tasks such as handwriting or drawing.  
Alphabet letter recognition discovery bottle for preschool and kindergarten aged kids. This discovery bottle is fun for creative learning and sensory play with letter identification and recognition in kids.

Alphabet letter recognition discovery bottle for preschool and kindergarten aged kids. This discovery bottle is fun for creative learning and sensory play with letter identification and recognition in kids.
Alphabet letter recognition discovery bottle for preschool and kindergarten aged kids. This discovery bottle is fun for creative learning and sensory play with letter identification and recognition in kids.

Alternate ways to play with this letter sensory bottle:
  • Look and search for letters.  As you find one, name it with your child.  Ask them to shake the bottle and search until they find that letter again.
  • Shake and roll the bottle and ask your child to name the first letter they see.  Have them shake and roll until they find letters in alphabetical order.
  • Ask your child to find a letter that starts the word “apple, ant…”.  Name words for each letter and ask your child to find those letters in the sensory bottle.
  • When your child finds a letter, ask them to name words that start with that letter’s sound.
  • Use the empty puzzle.  Point to a letter spot and ask your child to name that letter and then find it in the discovery bottle.
  • Ask your child to shake the discovery bottle and find a letter.  Ask them to point to that letter’s spot in the empty puzzle.
  • Ask your child to find a letter in the discovery bottle.  When they do, ask them to use the discovery bottle like a pointer and draw that letter in the air, using both hands on the bottle.  Provide hand-over-hand assistance, if needed.
  • Look around the room and play “I Spy”.  Say to your child, “I Spy  something that starts with the letter B.”  Have them guess the item in the room, then shake the sensory bottle and find the letter “B” in the discovery bottle.

Alphabet letter recognition discovery bottle for preschool and kindergarten aged kids. This discovery bottle is fun for creative learning and sensory play with letter identification and recognition in kids.

Alphabet letter recognition discovery bottle for preschool and kindergarten aged kids. This discovery bottle is fun for creative learning and sensory play with letter identification and recognition in kids.



Looking for more discovery bottle ideas using dry materials?  The bloggers in the Discovery Bottles Blog Hop Team have created discovery bottles using dry materials this month.  You know: rice, corn, paper, seeds…how many dry materials can you think of to use in a discovery bottle?  See what the bloggers have made: 

Candy Corn Discovery Bottle | Preschool Inspirations
Easy Halloween I Spy Bottle  | One Time Through

More creative letter learning ideas that your child will love:

Paper Football Sight Words

What do you do when your Kindergarten student would rather play paper football than practice sight words?  You combine his love of flicking folded paper across the table with introducing new words!  This Paper Football Sight Word game will get the most resistant student excited about scoring sight word touchdowns!


Sight word paper football game for Kindergarten students and beginner readers.


Paper Football Sight Word Game

This post contains affiliate links.  This sight word activity is really easy to throw together.  I used Jenga game pieces and a sheet of Green Cardstock to make the football field pretty easily.  To make the goal posts, tape the pieces into a goal post shape using little “donuts” of tape.  Stick more tape to the bottom piece to keep the goal post in place.  Here’s a hint that we shared about the Jenga pieces over on our Instagram page.  Grab up a Jenga game at your dollar store or $5 store for cheap play.  we use these blocks for all kinds of creative play and learning.   (Follow us on Instagram so you can see our daily fun!)
How to make a paper football.

Next you’ll make a paper football.  We used a strip of brown paper bag for a nice brown football.  

How to fold a paper football:

Now, I know that many of you, my lovely readers were note-passing-in-grade-school-on-up-through-high-school-who-passed-so-many-notes-your-locker-was-filled-a-third-of-the-way-with-folded-triangle-notes KNOW how to fold a triangle shaped paper note (I mean football).

This was you, too…right?

But.  Just in case you didn’t fill your locker with paper triangles of notes from friends, here is how you fold a paper football:

Cut a small paper bag in half, long-ways.  Then, cut down the sides so you have a long strip of paper that makes up both sides of the paper bag.  

Starting at one side of the strip, fold over a triangle.  Continue to fold the triangle over and over down the length of the strip of paper.  When you get to the end of the strip, tuck the remaining paper into the folds of the triangle.  Add a bit of tape to keep your football’s shape as you play paper football.

Sight word paper football game for Kindergarten students and beginner readers.
Then, on your Green Cardstock, draw lines for each of the 10 yard lines.  You can add numbers in for the lines.  (Practice counting off by tens with your child while doing this!)

Sight word paper football game for Kindergarten students and beginner readers.

To practice sight words, write a sight word on each yard line.  Start playing paper football. When the point of the football falls close to a word, have your child read the sight word. 

Looking for more Kindergarten sight word activities?  Try these: