Fun Mitten Activities for Child development

mitten activities

It’s cold weather season and mittens are a part of the necessary wardrobe item this time of year. However, using mitten activities as a Christmas occupational therapy or Winter OT theme for developing skills is fun this time of season too. Winter activities can do more than compliment the season, they can help a child build their eye-hand coordination, fine motor dexterity and manipulation as well as their visual perceptual skills. 

Mitten activities that develop skills like fine motor, gross motor, visual motor and more. Great for a winter theme or mitten unit.

There’s no need to go outside with these fun mitten activity ideas, so stay warm and sneak in a little skill building too while also having fun. 

Mitten Activities and Crafts

We have rounded up an assortment of great mitten activities that address a variety of skills and a variety of ages. These are great ways to promote child development with a mitten theme, whether you are doing a mitten unit in the classroom, or need some winter activities for the therapy room or home!

We have taken the time to locate a few activities that will help many children. Browse these fun ideas and place them on your to-do list as they will help you work with children on building some important skills in therapy, in the classroom, or during at home learning. They include gross motor, fine motor, visual perception, craft ideas, a few books, and a few snack ideas to boot! 

Mitten activities to develop Gross motor skills:

Creating a gross motor activity with the mitten theme can be easily done using this tape mitten on the floor as kids can work on jumping, throwing, and a number of other movement activities involving this clever shape. How about rolling up some mittens and then tossing them into the floor mitten?  It’s endless what you could do here with this activity. 

Mitten matching is a great way to work on gross motor skills. Gather pairs of mittens or gloves and scatter them around a room. Kids can run around (or skip, hop, leap, or animal crawl) and try to match the mittens as fast as they can. What a way to develop memory skills, visual discrimination, and spatial awareness, too.

Another easy creation that incorporates the use of a scooter board can provide a combined challenge of visual memory, upper extremity strengthening, and neck extension while riding prone on the board. This mitten memory match game is played by having the child lie prone on the board and pulling themselves around the floor to locate the matching pairs of mittens which are placed all around.

One more fun gross motor activity that pictures a glove, however, a mitten could easily be substituted for the same purpose and the play is called Velcro mitten ball.  The Velcro ball is created by simply adding circular Velcro dots to the exterior of a wiffle ball and then having the children work on their eye-hand and bilateral coordination by pulling the ball from the mitten and tossing the ball at a target. 

Mitten Ideas to build Fine motor skills:

In the Winter Fine Motor Kit, you’ll find mitten themed activities designed for building fine motor skills. These include mitten lacing cards, mitten tracing activities, mitten handwriting ideas, and more. The Winter Fine Motor Kit is a printable pack loaded with activity ideas to develop fine motor skills.

Work on a functional fine motor task using real mittens. Simply gather several pairs of mittens and toss them into a big bin. Then, kids can match up the mitten pairs and use clothes pins to hang them on a rope clothesline. If you are working indoors, use a drying rack or even backing cooling rack to pin mittens together. This is a great bilateral coordination task that builds hand strength, and visual motor skills.

Mitten lacing is an activity that addresses fine motor control and pincer grasp, but also bilateral coordination and perceptual skills too. It’s an easy activity to create with the use of cardstock, foam, or even felt. An adult can hole punch around the outside edges of the mitten template or you can have the child do the hole punching – adding a hand strengthening element. 

This fun mitten beading is the perfect fine motor and bilateral coordination activity for kids to work on this winter season. By using a tripod grasp or a pincer grasp, children will build grasping skills, finger strength, and eye-hand coordination while beading and matching the colors on the mitten with an added learning component of color recognition. 

It’s a fun time with this color sorting mitten activity which combines color matching with tong use making it a great tripod grasp activity too. With colored mittens lying on the table top and matching colored pom-pom balls, kiddos use the tongs to pick up the pom-pom balls and place on top of the matching mitten color. Use paper, foam, or felt for your mitten creations.

Not exactly a mitten idea, but you can also use a child’s glove to work on finger isolation, separation of the sides of the hand, and dexterity tasks. Cut the fingers off a cheap glove and use the glove as a fine motor therapy tool .

A mitten or glove can be a weighted fidget tool too. Using a glove or mitten as a weighted tool is practical and frugal.

Mitten Activities for Visual perceptual skills:

Use mitten printables to work on skill-building. In the Winter Fine Motor Kit, you’ll find mitten handwriting activities, mitten drawing ideas, and more.

We love this mitten matching game! It can be completed with mittens being made from construction paper, foam sheets, or felt. Any of these materials will do and all you need is a clothesline, colored clothespins (or not), and some matching mittens…add-in a die and you can easily make it a game too. Works on strengthening, bilateral coordination, and shoulder stability along with color matching.  Plus, if you emphasize both mittens being clipped on being oriented the same way and it adds in some visual perceptual skills too!

This mitten matching interactive bulletin board is like the previous activity, but it has letters on the mittens and clothespins for matching. With this added learning element, it adds a fun perceptual component as well. Plus, who doesn’t like a vertical surface and the fact that it is an interactive bulletin board! 

Here’s a fun mitten pattern match visual perceptual activity where kiddos not only match the shapes and colors, but they also must orient the shapes in the same direction to match the model AND if you have the child focus on the lines, you can have them work on sitting the shapes on the lines making it more like a precursor to handwriting similarly to sitting letters on the baseline.

Ok, you have to try this fun mitten memory game!  With the use of scrapbook paper that has a pattern on one side and is plain on the other side, you can create a fun mitten memory game. This makes for a fun visual perceptual memory activity and if they orient the mittens the same way and clip them together with either a paperclip or a clothespin, voila, it adds some fine motor skill building too! Just laminate these mitten cards to use in sensory play for multisensory learning.

This alphabet match mitten activity is a quick activity that can be pulled together in a short amount of time and can easily use any alphabet items you might have such as magnetic letters, bead letters, foam letters, or even paper letters. Kiddos visually scan the letters on the mitten and place the matching letter item on top of the letter. 

Mitten Crafts

Try this fun penguin mitten craft, it’s cute and simple, plus kids love how it turns it!  This activity will give you the opportunity to work with kiddos on cutting with scissors, painting with a fork, and sequencing to complete the craft. Unique and creative is what you’ll get with this cutie!

Older kids will love this fun craft activity called friendly monster mittens that is easy to create and cheap to do as who doesn’t have at least a couple of singular mittens lying around. No mittens? Use some gloves or socks instead. Older kids will have the opportunity to use needle and thread making it a great life skill activity as they sew on buttons and pieces of felt to create their friendly monster mitten. Fun and cute! 

Mitten snacks:

This is a cute mitten toast idea that will warm-up any cold morning. It’s so easy to do, that the children will love using a simple cookie cutter to cut out their mitten toast shapes and you’ll be excited that you were able to sneak in some bilateral coordination and strengthening to the fun too! Plus, adding a little jam to this seasonal shape will give a little hands-on knife use with that spreading practice!

These cute Rice Krispy mittens will provide a sweet treat that children will devour right away and so will adults as kiddos can work on some basic cooking related skills such as ingredient gathering, measuring, stirring, and spreading. They also get to work with the cookie cutter again sneaking in even more bilateral coordination and strengthening.

Honestly, you could even try a mitten cookie cutter and create mitten-shaped grilled cheese and PB & J sandwiches. Have the child work on making the sandwiches relevant to there age and then use a simple cookie cutter and create fun mitten sandwiches! It’s an easy way to address basic cooking skills and add some hand strengthening to the activity.

Mitten Books

There are many mitten books that are a favorite children book for snuggling up and reading, but also developing skills through play.

These are great mitten books for preschoolers, or to use in a kindergarten mystery reader session. Simply add a movement component or one of the hands-on activities we’ve already covered, and you are moving toward child development with a mitten theme! (affiliate links)

The Mitten Teaches Sequencing Skills

Of those books, The Mitten is a powerful (and fun) way for kids to develop skills through a winter book. Use The Mitten by Jan Brett to work on sequencing, auditory memory, visual memory, recall, and ordering. It’s a great way to work on early executive functioning skills in young children. Each mitten story can easily be incorporated into all of your mitten fun this season. 

There are so many ways to incorporate books into occupational therapy, and these mitten books won’t disappoint when it comes to handwriting opportunities, movement, auditory processing with mitten story retelling activities, and sensory play.

There you go, all the mitten activities you need to get through the winter season in a fun way! The temperature outside might be causing you to say “Brrr”, but these activities can warm up your therapy, classroom, or at home activity time.

Regina Allen

Regina Parsons-Allen is a school-based certified occupational therapy assistant. She has a pediatrics practice area of emphasis from the NBCOT. She graduated from the OTA program at Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute in Hudson, North Carolina with an A.A.S degree in occupational therapy assistant. She has been practicing occupational therapy in the same school district for 20 years. She loves her children, husband, OT, working with children and teaching Sunday school. She is passionate about engaging, empowering, and enabling children to reach their maximum potential in ALL of their occupations as well assuring them that God loves them!

Toys to Improve Scissors Skills

scissor skills toys

Today we are talking all about the very best toys to improve scissor skills. When kids are learning to cut with scissors, developing scissor skills precision through actual use of scissors to cut various grades of paper is the primary goal and means. But, did you consider different toys that support scissor skill development? These occupational therapy toys specifically develop the skills needed to snip, cut, and manipulate scissors to cut!

Scissor skills toys to help kids use scissors.

Scissor Skills Toys

When working as an Occupational Therapist in the schools, one of my favorite skills to work on with kids was scissor skills. I loved working on the fine motor strength to open and shut scissors repeatedly in order to cut a shape with endurance, the eye-hand coordination needed in order to manage the scissors along lines, and the bilateral hand coordination needed to manage the paper and the scissors.  

There are a lot of little steps needed for each of these components of cutting a shape.  A child can become very frustrated with the task of cutting with scissors if just one of these areas are difficult.  I love that many scissor tasks can be graded according to skill, age, or ability when it comes to snipping.  And I love doing activities with my kids to work on hand strength needed for using scissors or working on visual motor skills  needed for cutting shapes with scissors.  

When it’s time to look for toys or holidays or birthdays, sometimes parents want a gift that is purposeful for independence or developmental skills like toys to help kids with getting dressed or toys to help with pencil grasp.  This one is all about our favorite toys to help with Scissor Skills!  

The scissor skills toys listed below will support development of scissor use no matter what type of scissors are used; The recommended toys for scissor use support development of the underlying skills needed for scissor use.

Toys and ideas to work on scissor skills in kids.  These are great gift ideas for preschoolers and Toddlers.

Toys to Help Kids work on Scissor Skills:

Scissor sets can help kids work on the developmentally appropriate levels of using scissors: snipping, cutting strait lines, then curved lines and angled lines. Finally simple shapes and complex shapes are covered as the child works their way through the books.  

Affiliate links are included below.

Ready, Set, Cut! from Alex Toys for scissor practice on curved and spiraled lines to create eight crafts.

Preschool Practice Scissor Skills book for ages 3-5 with 32 pages of scissor readiness skills for kids.  

The Melissa & Doug Scissor Skills Activity Pad with 20 pages of scissor skill mazes, activities, and art.  This book includes a pair of scissors.

Hand strength for scissor tasks

Toys that develop hand strength, separation of the sides of the hand, and the endurance needed to manipulate scissors in order to cut through paper can be developed with the use of fun with scoop toys and tong toys:

Learning Resources Handy Scoopers are beyond cool for scissor readiness and strengthening.  These scooping tools are great for using the muscles of the hands needed in scissor motions.  The opening and closing motions needed for scissor manipulation can be tiring for some children.  Practice scooping up crafting poms, cotton balls, tiny erasers, water beads, play dough, and more with these fun tools.

  We used bunny tongs in scissor play to work on hand strength.  These bunny tongs aren’t on Amazon right now, but we did find other egg tongs that will work on hand strength.  You can also use play dough to improve scissor skills.

Something really neat are these dough scissors for cutting clay and play dough.  These are great for strengthening the muscles of the hands.

Tong Toys to work on Eye Hand Coordination

Cutting with scissors requires precision in eye hand coordination skills. The ability to open and close scissors is a coordinated skill. This is one that develops through practice. These tong games are great for developing hand-eye coordination in scissor skill work:

How cute is this Barbecue Party Game that comes with barbeque tongs (great for grasping play!)  

Equally as cute and equally great for hand endurance is the PlayMonster Stacktopus which requires repetitive open/shut motions of the hand using octopus tentacles that slip onto the fingers and thumb. These open/shut motions mirror tongs or that of the movement of scissors…and it’s a great pre-curser for scissor skills!  

Jumbo sized Tongs would make a great stocking stuffer and are big time fun for grasping erasers, crafting poms, dice, and small items of all kinds.

Fun Scissors Gift Ideas for Kids: 

These would be fun stocking stuffer ideas while using tools and toys for scissor skills!

Zig Zag Cool Cuts scissors from Alex Toys cut zig zags and wavy edges.  These scissors make snipping fun.  A fun blade can make scissor practice fun for kids of all ages.  Throw this together with a pack of colored paper for an easy gift idea.  

Cardstock is thicker and can provide more resistance for new scissor users.  This increased resistance will slow snipping speed and allow for more accuracy when cutting lines of shapes.

Loop scissors are great for children with weakness in extending the thumb, or coordination difficulties.  The loop of the scissors opens automatically and the ease of opening the blades can allow for improved line awareness in cutting if the child does not need to focus on the physical task of opening and closing the scissor blades.

Spring Assist scissors are great for a child with hand weakness or fine motor difficulties.  The blades open with a spring assist and are great for beginner scissor users.

My First Scissors don’t have loops for little fingers to manage.  These snips are great for small children to use in the whole palm.  There is a spring mechanism to open the blades.

Ways to work on scissor skill line accuracy:

These materials make great gifts and are tools to help kids with scissor skill accuracy when cutting lines and shapes. Each material offers different textures or grades of resistance. Add some of these toy ideas to a gift bag for a child working on scissor skills through play.

Sometimes a child can manage the hand strength, and visual motor skills needed to manage scissors (open and shut with controlled movements) and hold the paper with an assisting hand while holding the scissors with an appropriate grasp.  The difficulty lies in their visual motor skills.  

Eye-hand coordination difficulties can make cutting along a line difficult.  Slower snipping with the scissors will allow for improved accuracy.  Providing a child with thicker paper can make cutting accuracy easier as increased resistance allows for slower snips.  

We love practicing cutting skills with foam crafting sheets for line awareness. Foam crafting sheets make a great stocking stuffer.  Going down the line of greatest to least resistance in scissor skills (and making scissor accuracy more difficult) would be cardstock, then construction paper, printer paper, then thinner paper or materials like tissue paper.  

bilateral hand coordination for scissor skills

We’ve covered specific toys for bilateral coordination skills in the past and those toys would be great for kids that need to improve scissor skills. When working to use both hands together in a coordinated manner to hold the paper with one hand and manage scissors with the other, bilateral integration is a must.

Bilateral hand coordination is needed to hold the paper (and rotate the page when curves and angles are happening) and to manage the scissors with the dominant hand.  These nuts and bolts are a fun way to work on bilateral hand coordination and strength of the hand.

Have fun shopping for fun scissor games and activities for your little one!

Check out these other great occupational therapy toy ideas:

  1. Fine Motor Toys 
  2. Gross Motor Toys 
  3. Pencil Grasp Toys 
  4. Toys for Reluctant Writers 
  5. Toys for Spatial Awareness 
  6. Toys for Visual Tracking 
  7. Toys for Sensory Play 
  8. Bilateral Coordination Toys 
  9. Games for Executive Functioning Skills 
  10. Toys and Tools to Improve Visual Perception
  11. Toys to Help with Scissors Skills 
  12. Toys for Attention and Focus