Winter Fine Motor Activities

winter fine motor activities

Looking for winter fine motor activities that boost the skills kids need? These fine motor ideas develop the skills that kids need for tasks like handwriting, pencil grasp, cutting with scissors, managing clothing fasteners, and more. You’ll find winter activities that boost hand strength, grasp, precision and endurance in the hands…all through play! We’ve even got a winter fine motor kit, loaded with resources, activities, crafts, and no-prep materials designed to help kids develop fine motor skills. So scroll on! 


First, stop by our fine motor skills library for tons of ideas to work on the motor skills kids need.


It has been fun sharing winter activities this week! If you missed any of the posts, be sure to check them out below. We’ve talked about indoor recess ideas for winter, brain break ideas, and activities to address bilateral coordination skills, and even mindfulness! You will have ideas for a season of development!


Check out the Winter Activities on the site this week: 


Monday- Indoor Recess Ideas

Tuesday- 
Winter Brain Break Ideas

Wednesday- 
Winter Bilateral Coordination Activities

Thursday-
Winter Mindfulness Activities

Friday- 
Winter Fine Motor Activities (TONS of  Free Printables!)


Now on to today’s topic, fine motor activities!

These winter fine motor activities can help kids develop the hand strength and fine motor skills needed for every day tasks, all with a winter theme.

Winter Fine Motor Activities

Winter is a great time to work on fine motor skills. It’s so functional! You can help kids by getting those hands moving so they have the finger dexterity, pinch strength, and finger isolation to put on a pair of gloves. You can address gross hand grasp, arch development, and bilateral coordination skills so kids can pull on a pair of boots. You can work on precision, separation of the sides of the hand, eye-hand coordination, and in-hand manipulation skills so kids can zipper and button winter coats. All of these are functional winter tasks!

We used those same hole reinforcer stickers to make a fine motor snowman craft that boosts skills like tip to tip precision, separation of the sides of the hand, and arch strength. 

Many winter fine motor activities can be adjusted to meet the needs of the individual. For example, these snow globe letter puzzle cards can address fine motor skills to color and manipulate the cards. The winter-themed activity can be modified to meet the needs of the individual: using less or more cards, incorporating fine or gross motor input, and positioning the cards in different planes or surfaces to work on various levels of fine motor control. It’s just one more way to make therapy skills like fine motor dexterity fun with a winter theme!

Similarly, this snow globe deep breathing exercise can be modified to address fine motor skills. Ask users to point and trace the breathing lines to integrate finger isolation, separation of the sides of the hand, and eye-hand coordination. Then, they can “draw” the same shape on their palm using their finger to point as they breathe. It’s a bilateral coordination and fine motor task that addresses self-regulation, too.

This winter clothing worksheet is focused on tracing numbers. But, this hands-on activity can address many fine motor skills, too. Ask kids to color the pictures. then, they can cut out each number strip to work on scissor skills. Then, ask them to write the winter clothing word. Finally, they can write the number to work on number formation skills. But what if you asked them to then roll the same number of play dough balls for each number? What a great way to work on hand strength. If you asked the child to place the correct number of mini erasers or coins on the table or in a slotted top, they can incorporate in-hand manipulation skills, too.

This beaded snowflake craft from Early Learning Ideas encourages bilateral coordination, separation of the sides of the hand, precision, in-hand manipulation, and a tripod grasp…with pretty results!


Use paper hole reinforcers to improve precision and dexterity by forming letters and names like Fun-a-Day did. 


If you’re looking for another craft idea, then this clothespin snowman craft uses a clothespin clip to really work the muscles of the hand. Move that snowman around and clip him onto bags, coats, and books! 


If you’re looking for a fine motor activity for kindergarten kids, then this sight word tic tac toe game is the ticket! Kids can make the game pieces, and move them around to play a game of tic tac toe while strengthening skills like tip to tip grasp, arch development, separation of the sides of the hand, and finger isolation.


For more craft ideas that boost fine motor skills, check out all of these winter bird crafts. You’ll find ideas for strengthening the hands and other fine motor skills while making cute bird crafts, bird feeders, and other activities. 


If working on scissor skills is a priority, a paper snowflake is the way to go this winter. But what if you took the paper snowflake up a notch by cutting cupcake liners? This cupcake liner paper snowflake activity boosts hand strength with a pretty result!


Working on pencil grasp? You don’t need a pencil! Make this snowflake stamp art and promote the fine motor skills that are needed for a functional grasp: separation of the sides of the hand, arch development, and an open thumb web space for example. This creative winter painting idea has a sensory component, too.

Winter Fine Motor Worksheets

Worksheets can get a bad rap. But, for the occupational therapy professional that thinks outside of the box, it is possible to use a printable tool to address hands-on skills like in-hand manipulation, separation of the sides of the hand, and more than just handwriting or scissor skills. The Penguin Therapy Kit, the Snowman Therapy Kit, and the Winter Fine Motor Kit all include resources that address so many fine motor areas:

  • dexterity
  • hand strength
  • in-hand manipulation
  • separation of the sides of the hand
  • finger isolation
  • arch development
  • finger opposition
  • pinch and grip strength
  • bilateral coordination
  • wrist stability
  • and more!

Print off the pages that you need and you’ll never run out of fresh fine motor activities this winter!

To end out the Winter Week here on The OT Toolbox, I wanted to create a fine motor worksheets that are a true resource during the winter months. These fine motor worksheets that cover a variety of different fine motor abilities:  

These reproducible activity pages include: pencil control strips, scissor skills strips, simple and complex cutting shapes, lacing cards, toothpick precision art, crumble hand strengthening crafts, memory cards, coloring activities, and so much more.

Play Dough Roll Mats- We’ve shared some free play dough mats before. They are perfect for developing fine motor skills and hand strength needed for tasks like coloring with endurance, manipulating small items, and holding a pencil. Kids can roll small balls of play dough with just their fingertips to strengthen the intrinsic muscles. The Winter Fine Motor Kit contains 6 winter play dough mats that can be used all winter long!  

Pinch and Grip Strength Activities- Includes: glue skills page, tong/tweezer activities, lacing cards, finger puppets, 1-10 counting clip cards, 10 toothpick art pages, find & color page, 5 crumble art pages. TARGET SKILLS: Precision, pinch and grip hand strength, tripod grasp, arch development, bilateral coordination, open thumb web-space.

Pencil Control Worksheets- Connect the arctic animals or winter items and stay on the pencil path lines while mastering pencil control. Some of the lines are small and are a great way to strengthen the hands, too.  

Arctic Animal Cutting Strips and Scissor Skills Sheets- Work on scissor skills to cut along lines to reach the arctic animal friends or snowflakes, snowmen, and mittens. This is a great way to strengthen the motor and visual skills needed for cutting with scissors.   Also included are 7 scissor skills strips with graded precision designed for data collection and accuracy development, 2 color & cut memory cards, 4 pages simple cutting shapes in small/med/large sizes, 3 pages complex cutting shapes in small/med/large sizes, 2 small and 2 large cutting skills puzzles. These worksheets help kids develop graded scissor skill accuracy and precision, visual perceptual skills, eye-hand coordination, crossing midline, bilateral coordination.

Handwriting Sensory Bin Materials- You and the kiddos will love these A-Z uppercase and lowercase tracing cards with directional arrows, 1-10 tracing cards with directional arrows, 1-10 counting cards. Using the sensory bin materials can develop tactile handwriting, letter and number formation, finger isolation, crossing midline, sensory challenges.

“I Spy” Modified Paper- Includes: Color and find objects in two themes: winter items and arctic animals; 3 styles of modified paper for each theme: single rule bold lines, double rule bold lines, highlighted double rule. Use these pages to develop handwriting, pencil control, line and spatial awareness, legibility, visual perceptual skills, visual memory.

Fine Motor Handwriting Sheets- Try the 4 Find/Color/Copy pages in different styles of modified paper, rainbow writing pages in 3 styles of modified paper. These handwriting worksheets use the winter theme to help with handwriting, visual perception, pencil control, visual memory, visual attention, precision, pencil control, functional handwriting.

Write the Room Activities- Using a winter theme, these Write the Toom cards includes: 5 lowercase copy cards, 5 uppercase copy cards, 5 lowercase tracing cards, 5 uppercase copy cards, 6 cursive writing copy cards, 2 styles of writing pages. TARGET SKILLS: Letter formation, pencil control, visual motor skills, visual attention, visual memory, line placement, functional handwriting at all levels and stages.

Get the Winter Fine Motor Kit Here.

winter fine motor kit

 

 

These fine motor winter activities will keep the kids active and moving all winter long.

Colleen Beck, OTR/L is an occupational therapist with 20 years experience, graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. As the creator, author, and owner of the website and its social media channels, Colleen strives to empower those serving kids of all levels and needs. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

Snow globe Alphabet Puzzle Cards

snow globe printable for letter matching

Here, you can access a set of free snow globe alphabet puzzle cards. These upper and lower case puzzle cards use printable snow globe puzzles for matching upper and lowercase letters. It’s a fun winter therapy activity that develops many skill areas. Let’s take a look!

This free snow globe printable is a hands-on, multisensory strategy to teach upper and lowercase letter matching. Use the snow globe letter match task in many ways in occupational therapy.

Snow Globe Letter Match

Get ready to have some Snow Globe Letter Fun with these snow globe printables.

Winter is upon us.  For many, this is a wonderful time full of sledding, ice skating, hot cocoa, bonfires, icicles, and snow.  If you live in the cold areas of the globe, winter can be magical.  I am a summer type myself, so winter and cold are not my favorite words.  If I could live in the Bahamas year-round, I would.   Unfortunately, being a popsicle saleswoman does not pay enough.

However, for those who love winter, the cold, and outdoor sports, this is your time! I grew up skating on frozen ponds listening for the crack sound before darting off the ice. We survived the blizzard of 1977 with snow piles as high as the roof.

For me I can get my winter fix on just one blustery day, or by staring into a snow globe! 

Snow globe Activity

Creating a fun winter treatment plan is a good way to pass those long blustery days stuck inside. This week center a lesson around snow globes.  You can research snow globes, talk about collectors, go broad and discuss winter, then start your activity session on snow globes.

Add this free snow globe breath awareness strategy as a deep breathing or self-regulation tool. Kids will love this whole snow globe theme!

Then, print off the snow globe printable at the bottom of this blog post and use it to work on letter identification, visual discrimination, and handwriting skills, and letter formation.

Snow Globe Facts

Writing this blog post led to finding a few fun facts about snow globes. Use these in your therapy sessions, classroom, or home to work on handwriting skills.

  1. Snow globes are a glimpse of winter one can view from the comfort of the beach.  Collectors have shelves lined with snow globes they have gathered from around the world.

2. If you want to bring back a globe from vacation, you will have to pack it in a checked bag.  No liquids over a couple of ounces in a carry-on bag.  I wonder how many awesome snow globes are sitting at security every day after being confiscated from lovely travelers.

3. The Queen of Snow Globes has an entire website dedicated to snow globes.

4. Andy Zito holds the world record collection of globes and domes, a whopping 11,500!

5. You can read about the history of snow globes. The first known snow globe was reportedly created from an idea to make a brighter surgical instrument.

Snow Globe Letter match

If you are looking for printables and snow globe ideas, The OT Toolbox has you covered!  A good place to get started is the Snow Globe Printable Upper- and Lower-Case PDF Printable Puzzle Cards.

This is a cute set of snowglobe worksheets that include the entire alphabet. It uses a winter theme to address goals related to matching upper- and lower-case letters.  Use this as a jumping off point to work on letter recognition, matching letters, and scanning goals. 

There are many ways to use this activity, but the most efficient would be to color in these cards, then laminate them. 

  •  Make this activity easier for learners by coordinating colors on sides that go together, or more challenging by leaving them blank. 
  •  If leaving them uncolored, how about printing them on fun colored paper to help with the less motivated learners?
  • During the entire first week, have all of your learners color a page, then laminate the whole bunch.  Now each student will have had a hand in this reusable activity, that can be repurposed each year.
  • Enlarge these pages to make a great floor puzzle!
  • Project these pages onto a smart board for an interactive game dragging the pieces around the board. I am not a huge fan of technology; however, I like to provide these options for people who are.

The term “jumping off” was used above in reference to this worksheet.  This does not need to be the complete lesson on snow globes OR handwriting. There is a continuum to learning anything.  For handwriting it might start with recognizing letters, move to matching letters or matching upper- and lower-case letters, progress to copying letters, then finally to writing them from memory.

Start where your learner is currently functioning, then move forward. Often it is wise to start at one stage earlier than the current level, so the learner can have a sense of mastery, before moving onto a more difficult challenge.

Have you ever noticed how many of your older learners gravitate toward “baby toys” or easy puzzles? This is because they have mastered them, and that sense of accomplishment, no matter how small, bolsters their spirit. Avoid getting stuck at this stage, but allow it at times, especially for your more reluctant learners.

The OT Toolbox can fill your treatment plan with great ideas, not just worksheets. Look at this post on winter fun activities. Adding our snow globe puzzle cards to a winter theme would be a great way to incorporate various skill areas.

In previous posts such as the Winter Fun Clothes Number Trace Worksheet, several goals were outlined beyond the most obvious.  Check out that post to get an idea of the goals that can be addressed using just one work page such as this Snow Globe Upper- and Lower-Case Letter Matching PDF.

Free Snow globe Printable

Want to add this snow globe letter match to your therapy toolbox? Enter your email address below to access a PDF for matching upper and lowercase letters. This alphabet puzzle card set is also available in The OT Toolbox Member’s Club so members can access it there without entering your email address.

Snow Globe Uppercase and Lowercase Letter Match

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    Enjoy your winter season full of sledding, ice skating, snowball fights, and building snowmen, while I just stare into my snow globe, lounging by the beach.  Just kidding, I do not actually live in the Bahamas yet, but I will be spending one glorious week in the Caribbean getting away from old man winter!

    Stay warm folks!

    Victoria Wood, OTR/L

    Victoria Wood

    Victoria Wood, OTR/L has been providing Occupational Therapy treatment in pediatrics for more than 25 years. She has practiced in hospital settings (inpatient, outpatient, NICU, PICU), school systems, and outpatient clinics in several states. She has treated hundreds of children with various sensory processing dysfunction in the areas of behavior, gross/fine motor skills, social skills and self-care. Ms. Wood has also been a featured speaker at seminars, webinars, and school staff development training. She is the author of Seeing your Home and Community with Sensory Eyes.

    *The term, “learner” is used throughout this post for readability, however this information is relevant for students, patients, clients, children of all ages, etc. The term “they” is used instead of he/she to be inclusive.