Dragonfly Occupational Therapy Activity

This blog post by contributor author Regina Parsons-Allen describes a cute dragonfly-themed craft that can be used to address a variety of occupational therapy activity areas including: fine motor skills, visual motor skills, crossing midline, bilateral coordination, dexterity, and more. 

Looking for a creative and crafty occupational therapy activity that is easy to
prepare and packs big punch in addressing a variety of skills?
  This dragonfly occupational therapy activity and craft creation may be just what you
  It’s fun, versatile, easy to
implement, and addresses a large variety of skills and multiple skill levels
while also being cheap!!
 It’s a great
activity that can be easily upgraded or downgraded to provide the “just right”
challenge. While this dragonfly craft is perfect for the pediatric and school-based occupational therapy
practitioner, but would make
a great classroom center or take home activity too.

Create dragonfly crafts to work on occupational therapy goals with this occupational therapy activity that kids will love, using a dragonfly theme.

These dragonfly
crafts are so versatile they could be used as a simple occupational therapy craft activity, an
assembly activity, a game-like activity, or any combination.  Take a look at all of the crafty fun that can
be had with these fun flying creations.

Kids will love this dragonfly craft occupational therapy activity that works on skills like fine motor skills and visual motor skills.

Dragonfly Craft – A Fun Occupational Therapy Activity

Using the dragonfly
as a take home occupational therapy craft encourages skill development during the making process
with the end product being used for play or display.  

The child could make one dragonfly or a group
of dragonflies with the focus of the activity being on coloring and cutting
which addresses a child’s fine motor coordination, manipulation and grasp, distal
control, bilateral coordination and visual motor skills

Related: For more bilateral coordination activities like this one, try some of the ideas on our list of Winter Bilateral Coordination Activities.

This cute dragonfly craft uses clothes pins and a variety of craft materials to work on skills like bilateral coordination, visual motor skills, and fine motor skills in this creative occupational therapy activity.

How to make a dragonfly craft: 

Affiliate links are included below:

Color the clothespins with either a marker, crayon, or a colored pencil working on grasp patterns and distal control.

      Use tacky glue to glue on the googly eyes working on precision skills.

Cut the wings from selected tactile material working on scissor skills, including scissor grasp, bilateral coordination, and eye-hand coordination.

Possible materials that can be used for dragonfly designs could include felt, sandpaper, sticky sticks, chenille stems, paper straws, plastic straws, foam, Velcro, craft sticks, and plastic canvas.

Place the wings that are cut into an X pattern and pinch the clothespin to insert the wings. This process addresses fine motor strength, manipulation, pinch, and visual perceptual skills.

Use craft materials like pipe cleaners, craft sticks, wikki sticks, straws, and other materials in this dragonfly occupational therapy craft for kids.

Dragonfly Occupational Therapy Activity- Assembly Activity

To use the
dragonflies as an assembly activity requires the dragonfly materials to be
prepared prior to the session. 

The therapist pre-assembles the clothespins, having the googly eyes
glued on and the wing materials are already cut. 

Having these pieces ready
prior to the session allows the focus of the session to be on targeted skill
development directed by the therapist addressing individual goals. 

Activity focus
areas might include fine motor skills, bilateral coordination, tactile
tolerance, isolated or intersecting diagonal line practice, visual scanning,
motor planning and problem solving.

Work on fine motor skills and other occupational therapy goals with these cute dragonflies made from clothespins.

To set up the dragonfly craft as an occupational therapy assembly activity:

·     1. Place
the wing materials scattered on the tabletop and have the child visually scan
the table top for matching pieces.

·    2. Have
the child take the matches and create an X pattern for wing assembly.

·    3. Have
the child pinch clothespins open to insert the wings.

·    4. Continue
this process until all dragonflies are assembled with matching wings.

Dragonfly occupational therapy activity that kids can make.

Dragonfly occupational therapy activity that kids can make.

Dragonfly Occupational Therapy Activity or Game 

To use the dragonflies for fun game-like activities, the
dragonfly materials would be prepared prior to the session with one set of wing
materials inside of a bag.

1: Have the child reach into the bag, feel for only one wing, pull it out and
locate its match on the table top for dragonfly assembly.

2: Have child reach into the bag and feel the texture of one wing inside of the
bag and while keeping their hand in of the bag, use their other hand to locate
its match on the table top and assemble the dragonfly.

Activity focus areas might include the same as simple
assembly, but with this game-like approach tactile perception is more actively

Use this dragonfly craft to work on occupational therapy goals like handwriting with this occupational therapy activity idea.

Dragonfly Occupational Therapy Handwriting Activity

A bonus would be to couple this activity with some
handwriting practice. Take a look below at how easy it is to toss in some quick
handwriting work.

Use this dragonfly craft to work on occupational therapy goals like handwriting with this occupational therapy activity idea.

Dragonfly designs is a fun, cheap summertime activity that is
easy to implement during therapy sessions and packs a big therapeutic punch.  What therapist doesn’t enjoy those elements
for a therapy activity?   

This post was written by Regina Allen. Read about Regina in her Contributor Author Spotlight.

Mini Star Sensory Bin

A themed sensory bin can be just the item needed to address fine motor skills through tactile sensory play and tactile exploration with a themed twist. This mini sensory bin does just that with a starry night theme. This miniature version of a sensory bin can be tossed into a therapy bag for a fresh sensory activity!
Make a mini star sensory bin and use it to address fine motor skills, bilateral coordination, eye-hand coordination, and other skills as part of an occupational therapy activity kit bin rotation system while addressing therapy goals with kids.

Mini Sensory Bin Activity 

Affiliate links are included in this post. 
We’ve done plenty of sensory bins here on The OT Toolbox. From water sensory bin play to tactile play using mediums like rocks, sand, or even clay…exploring various sensations through pretend play and exploration is fun in a way that encourages fine motor skills, eye-hand coordination, bilateral coordination, graded grasp and release, crossing midline and much more!
Check out this sensory bin we made that is perfect for addressing stress and self-regulation.
Use star chain links to work on therapy goals like fine motor skills and sensory needs with a mini star sensory bin.

This mini sensory bin can be used for so many underlying goal areas: 

Pincer grasp- We used dry black beans as a sensory bin medium. Kids can explore and move the beans within the bin while building a pincer grasp as they hold and manipulate individual beans. Ask the child to pick up a single bean to count or to place within the star-shaped chain links.
In-Hand Manipulation- Use the black beans to boost the essential skill of in-hand manipulation as they hold and move a small handful of beans with in the hand. Ask the child to hold beans in their hand as they slowly drop one or a few beans at a time into the lid section of the bin. They can fill in the star chain links while working on this skill. 
Bilateral Coordination- Connect the star chain links together while addressing and improving tripod grasp, arch development, while allowing both hands to work together in a coordinated manner. 
Scooping and precision- Use a spoon or other utensil to refine the skills needed to move, scoop, transfer, and pour the beans into the lid section of the bin. Read more about developing and refining scooping, pouring, and transferring here.
Use star chain links to work on therapy goals like fine motor skills and sensory needs with a mini star sensory bin.

How to Make a Mini Star Sensory Bin

We used just a few materials to make this mini star sensory bin for tactile sensory input and fine motor play:
This is such a versatile and easy sensory bin to put together. Just pour 1-2 cups of dry black beans into a bin. Add the chain links…and play! 
Add this sensory bin into a therapy bag or add it to a therapy bin rotation
Use star chain links to work on therapy goals like fine motor skills and sensory needs with a mini star sensory bin.
Looking for more sensory play that boosts underlying skills? Try these ideas:
 S Themed sensory bins sticks and stones sensory play Water Bead Pretend Tea Party Liquid Chalk Driveway Sensory Play Circus Sensory Bin

Looking for more occupational therapy kits that can be used in a bin rotation in therapy? Here are lots of ideas:

Make a mini star sensory bin and use it to address fine motor skills, bilateral coordination, eye-hand coordination, and other skills as part of an occupational therapy activity kit bin rotation system while addressing therapy goals with kids.

Toy Theme Play Dough Mat Thank You

Thank you for downloading our Toy Themed Play Dough Mat! You should have an email in your inbox right now with a link to download the file. 

Did you find this page accidentally and want to get your free copy of our city themed playdough mat? Go to our toy play dough mat page to get your free toy theme play dough mat!

The email also includes some instructions and the “why” behind play dough mats like this one. There is a lot of development going on when a little one uses a play dough mat like the one you just accessed! Scroll below to to find some additional instructions to best use the play dough mat to increase hand strength of the intrinsic muscles of the hands.

You will love this Free Play Dough Mat with a Toy Theme to build fine motor skills!

How to use your free printable play dough mat and General Housekeeping Information on your Free Printable:

If you do not see the email right away, check back within 30 minutes. Be sure to check your SPAM folder.  Other subscribers using an email hosted on a school system’s email provider may have security restrictions in place that block the email. If you still don’t see the email, shoot me a message at contact@www.theottoolbox.com and I will send the file to you directly.

If you arrived here by accident and would like to receive a free toy themed play dough mat to improve hand strength, check out this post that shares information on the Toy Themed Play Dough Mat.

You are going to build so many small muscles of the hand with this activity!

1. To use this play dough mat, you will first want to cover it with a plastic surface so you can use it over and over again. Some ideas to do this include (Amazon affiliate links are included below):

  • Cover it with clear contact paper. Click the link to purchase a large roll of clear contact paper.
  • Slide the play dough mat into a clear plastic page protector sleeve. Add it to a folder workbook or binder booklet of play dough mats for quiet time or a busy bag-type of activity.
  • Use a laminator to cover the play dough mat with a laminated surface that can be used over and over again. This is a great price on a quick laminator and laminating pouches.
  • Use pocket sleeves to create a quiet time or fine motor center activity.

2. Once the play dough mat is covered, provide the child with play dough, clay, foam dough, or other moldable material.

3. Ask the child to roll small balls of play dough using just the fingers and thumb of one hand. They should use their dominant hand to roll small balls of play dough with the tips of the fingers and thumb. This is an AWESOME hand strengthening exercise for kids. 

4. Ask the child or children to roll various sizes of play dough so the balls of dough fit into the various circle sizes on the play dough mat. 

Play Dough Mats Can Be Used to Improve Fine Motor Skills

Kids love play dough! This toy play dough mat is a fun way to build so many small muscles of the hand with this activity! Follow the directions below to maximize intrinsic muscle strengthening. Start with play dough of any kind and the printable playdough mat.

Rolling play dough within one hand promotes development of a variety of areas: 

Strengthens the arches of the hands, helps awareness and coordination in separation of the two sides of the hand

Promotes finger isolation for improved control and dexterity

Encourages dexterity and coordination of the thumb and index finger which are important in pencil grasp

Strengthens the intrinsic muscles for improved endurance in fine motor tasks such as maintaining hold on a pencil, manipulating clothing fasteners, managing and using scissors, coloring, and many other tasks.

Looking for more play dough activities to boost fine motor strengthening? Use these play dough recipes with your toy theme printable play dough mat: