Christmas Activities Calendar

Christmas activities calendar

If you are looking for a few Christmas activities (or a holiday calendar to send home for the Christmas break), then this December occupational therapy calendar is for you! We pulled a few of our favorite Christmas occupational therapy activities and put them onto a printable holiday activities calendar so you can print and go!

You’ll also want to check out our 25 days of Christmas ideas because you can grab 25 printable OT ornaments…perfect for decorating the tree in a therapy clinic!

Christmas activities calendar

Christmas activities calendar

The Christmas season is a hectic and chaotic time.  With holiday parties, altered schedules, and never-ending to-do lists, Christmas can be overwhelming for adults and kids.  Children see and hear everything and the Christmas time stress is no exception. These Christmas occupational therapy activities can be used in the clinic, home, or in a home program during the holidays. Scroll on for some fun OT holiday activities the whole family will enjoy while targeting various needs!

Christmas Occupational Therapy Activities

Adding to the therapy plans, a few occupational therapy Christmas activities is as easy as adding a holiday themed therapy activity or a planning to use a Christmas item such as a stocking, wreath, or candy canes into therapy games.

Children with sensory or developmental needs and typically developing kids feel the sense of chaos this time of year. The overload of sensory input can be exhausting to children with difficulty in processing input from their environment.  I mean, it’s overwhelming for me, too! 

With all of the excitement of the season, it can be hard to keep to sensory integration strategies to help with coping in over stimulating situations. Sensory kiddos can also show over or under-responsiveness to new situations, too.  Imagine walking into a crowded holiday party with music, lights, a dancing crowd, scents of different and weird foods, and lots of overlapping voices.  

A child can easily become over excited or over protective as they attempt to protect themselves from this noisy, smell party!

OT Christmas activities

Christmas OT Activities for kids

Kids who are working on specific skill areas like fine motor or gross motor development can easily become distracted in the excitement of the season and allow practice areas and goals to slide just a bit.  I mean, there are a lot of fun things a kid can be doing…why would they want to work on their letter formation and handwriting??! Adding a few Christmas OT activities for kids to work on various needs can make the therapy “work” more fun and meaningful.

So, with the upcoming season of busy craziness, I wanted to put together this Occupational Therapy Christmas Calendar.

Celebrate the Christmas season with Occupational Therapy goal areas and calming strategies during this hectic season, allowing families to connect and focus on the true meaning of the season while working on developmental areas.

It’s a way for kids and families to connect and cope during this busy season through holiday festivities, while simultaneously working on many Occupational Therapy goal areas.  Work on fine motor skills while building that gingerbread house.  Calm down with proprioceptive input while snuggled up in a blanket with the family and a good Christmas book.  These are Christmas-y ideas that will keep your whole family connected this year.

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Occupational Therapy Christmas Activities

Celebrate the Christmas season with Occupational Therapy goal areas and calming strategies during this hectic season, allowing families to connect and focus on the true meaning of the season while working on developmental areas.

Add these ideas to your Advent calendar for a Very Occupational Therapy Christmas!

NOTE:  Many skill areas are addressed with each activity.  You might be working on specific areas like calming activities, or handwriting.  Try to adapt the activities below to fit your child’s needs.

The list below can be done in any order.  This is meant to be an easy way to fit Occupational Therapy practice areas into everyday Christmas fun.  

If a day is a little too hectic to fit in an activity, switch it around and do a different activity.  The most important message is to connect with your family and meet the needs of each member in fun and festive ways this Christmas!

Christmas OT activities

Christmas Calendar Ideas

Note that some of the calendar days are slightly different than on the printable Christmas activity calendar below. From playing in the snow to creating your own Christmas memory game…the options are limitless when it comes to making memories and building skills!

Day 1 Make gingerbread salt dough to address fine motor, proprioceptive, and olfactory areas.  Cut out gingerbread men and make a garland…or just play with the dough! You can keep it in a covered dish or plastic bag to play again and again.

Day 2 Wrap up tight in a blanket and read Christmas stories for proprioceptive input.  A warm blanket is calming.  Wrap your child up like a burrito or full body proprioception.

Day 3 Write a letter to Santa.  Provide creative handwriting modifications for fun.

Day 4 Play outside and collect nature items.  Use them to make collage art or create a table-top sensory table.

Day 5 Carry boxes of donations for heavy work input. This time of year, many families donate to others.  Kids can carry boxes and bags for proprioceptive input while doing a good deed.

Day 6 Make snowballs and throw at targets.  If you don’t have snow where you live, make fake snow for sensory fun.  Be sure to take this activity outside! Throwing at a target is a great hand-eye coordination activity. Packing together snowballs requires bilateral hand coordination and proprioceptive information to determine how much pressure is needed. Don’t let that snowball smash in your hands by packing it together too hard!

Day 7 Have a family dance party to Christmas music. Be sure to swing, twirl, jump, and spin or loads of vestibular input.

Day 8 Work on fine motor skills and string cranberries and popcorn on thread with a needle. Managing a needle and thread is a fine motor skill similar to tool use.  Threading popcorn and cranberries works on tripod grasp, bilateral hand coordination, hand-eye coordination, visual scanning, visual tracking, patterning, and more.

Day 9 Carry shopping bags in both hands for bilateral coordination and proprioceptive input.  Not going shopping?  Fill shopping bags at home with cans from the cupboard.  Create an obstacle course to work on motor planning.

Day 10 Cut paper snow flakes to work on scissor skills.  Try cutting coffee filters, newspapers, cardstock, foam craft sheets. and tissue paper for lots of textures and line accuracy practice.

Day 11 Build a gingerbread house and work on fine motor skills. Encourage tip to tip pincer grasp by providing very small candies.  To amp it up a bit, add a pair of tweezers and have your child pinch with a tripod grasp.  Provide an icing bag to work on gross grasp, too.

Day 12 Play Christmas Charades for gross motor and vestibular input.  Encourage movement actions like Santa filling his bag, building a snowman, wrapping presents, and shopping.

Day 13 Encourage proprioceptive input by showing your kids how to build a Santa’s workshop with couch cushions and pillows.  Lifting heavy cushions is a great heavy work activity.  Once done, kids can calm down in their couch cushion workshop under blankets and pillows.  Add a few toys and pretend hammers from a toy tool set for pretend play and problem solving in this Santa’s workshop activity.

Day 14 Make scented potpourri with scents of the season.  Kids can work on scissor skills and fine motor skills by cutting evergreen stems, orange peels, and pulling bits of bark from evergreens.  The scents of this potpourri will fill the home and a fun way to explore the olfactory sense.

Day 15 Make a Christmas Tree Craft and work on fine motor skills, bilateral hand coordination, and strength. Kids will feel a sense of accomplishment when they see their tree decorating the house all season long.

Day 16 Provide a visual sensory activity by stringing a strand of Christmas lights in a surprising place like on the ceiling, along the tops of doorways, or under a dining room table.  Twinkly lights can be used in a calm-down area. Kids can help to string the lights and use bilateral hand coordination, executive functioning and motor planning to figure out where to place lights, hold up the strand, peel and tear tape, and stick it to the lights. 

Day 17 Work on visual scanning and other visual perceptual skills like figure ground by playing a Christmas version of “I Spy”.  Use the decorated Christmas tree as a decoration station: Ask your child to locate a specific colored ornament as they visually scan the tree.  For more fun, play the game while lying on the floor and looking up at the tree. 

Day 18 Make and drink hot cocoa.  The warm drink provides a temperature sensation that is different and new.  Add ice cubes and candy canes for more textural taste sensations. Following multiple step directions in a cooking with kids activity works on so many problem solving, math, and sensory skill areas.

Day 19 Use Christmas lights to create a DIY light table.  Use it for handwriting practice including line awareness, spatial awareness, letter formation, tracing, and drawing.  This is a visual activity that kids will love.

Day 20 Cook up goodies (or wrap pre-packaged treat!) and plan a good deed for neighbors.  Load up a wagon or sled and deliver the treats around the neighborhood.  Pulling a wagon or sled is a proprioceptive activity that can be calming and grounding.

Day 21 Improve hand strength with this fine motor Christmas Tree craft using a hole punch for proprioceptive input to the hands.  Decorate the house with the trees, or create a banner for the mantle.

Day 22 Work on gross motor skills by playing “Santa Says”.  Just like the game Simon Says, kids can copy and listen to directions and motor plan, actions.  Be sure to incorporate bilateral coordination and crossing midline for a brain break activity.  Use these Simon Says commands to get you started.

Day 23 Explore the sense of touch and scent with this Candy Cane Moon Dough sensory bin.  Work on fine motor skills and tool use by scooping and filling cups and cookie cutters.

Day 24 Wrapping presents is a powerhouse of developmental activities:  Measure paper to fit packages, Cut paper with scissors in a strait line, Fold paper, Tear and Cut tape, Stick tape along edges of paper.  Practice motor planning, problem solving, and executive functioning by crossing an item from your to-do list and wrapping a present or tow with your child.

Day 25 Celebrate Christmas Day with big Christmas bear hugs with family and friends. Hugs are great for proprioceptive input to the body. 

Enjoy the season with your family and make each and every moment count

Printable Christmas Activity Calendar

Want to print off a calendar of occupational therapy ideas to support parents? It’s a great way to send kids off to the holiday break with therapy ideas that support skill-building AND celebrate the season. You can grab a copy of this printable calendar by entering your email address into the form below.

The OT Toolbox Member’s Club members will also find this printable calendar inside the Member’s Club in the Therapist Tools section (Level 1 members) and in the Christmas Therapy Theme (Level 2 members).

FREE Christmas Activities Calendar

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    OT Christmas ACTIVITIES

    Extend the OT Christmas activities further by asking kids to write out the therapy schedule on Christmas modified paper to work on handwriting. This is a great holiday activity for the clinic while working on a variety of occupational therapy goals. Clients can then cross off items as they are completed. Grab a copy of this modified Christmas handwriting paper here and work on handwriting with bold lined paper, highlighted lined paper, and color coded paper…all with a Christmas theme!

    Colleen Beck, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to

    Christmas Occupational Therapy Activities

    Christmas occupational therapy activities

    This time of year, it’s all about the Christmas trees, holiday spirit, and festivities, so these Christmas occupational therapy activities are sure to brighten therapy caseloads! Many years ago, we created a free December calendar with OT activities for Christmas, and you’ll want to grab that resource, too. But if you need extra therapy ideas to plan our a whole month of OT sessions, you’ll find tons of ideas here. Below, you’ll find activities and ideas to use in occupational therapy planning during the Christmas season while building skills in fine motor, visual motor, gross motor, and more.

    Christmas occupational therapy activities

    Christmas occupational therapy activities

    I don’t know about you, but I’m getting into the Christmas spirit. Whether you are trying to think up some fun Christmas occupational therapy activities to add to the mix this month, or are looking for Christmas activities that kids and the whole family will love, it’s a fun time of year for adding creative Christmas ideas! 

    That’s why I wanted to put together some therapist-approved Christmas activities for kids. These are ideas that add a motor component to learning and play. Stay tuned, because this week is all about Christmas activities for kids here on The OT Toolbox! 

    First, let’s share some of our favorite free Christmas occupational therapy activities.

    The team behind The OT Toolbox has been BUSY. There are new free resources you can grab:

    These are all fun ways to support specific skills through play.

    These Christmas OT activities would be a great way to get ideas for home programs or holiday break activities, too! 

    These Christmas activities for kids are perfect for using in occupational therapy activities, in home programs, in the OT clinic, or in the classroom. All of the occupational therapy Christmas activities are designed to promote motor development including fine motor, gross motor, visual motor, and sensory, all with a Christmas theme!

    Christmas Activities for Kids

    Each of the Christmas activities below target specific skills such as sensory, fine motor, visual motor, etc. OR, they target age groups like toddler Christmas activities or preschool Christmas activities.

    All of the activities and ideas you’ll find here are perfect for the occupational therapist looking for Christmas themed fine motor activities, sensory challenges, visual motor activities, gross motor ideas, brain breaks, and more!

    I’ll link to all of the posts this week here but be sure to stop back each day to see the activities and ideas that you can use in therapy treatment sessions, in the classroom, and in the home. 

    Start with a Christmas sensory bin to target fine motor, visual motor, tactile, and even olfactory input.

    Christmas Activities for Toddlers– These toddler Christmas activities support development for younger children and support OT goals or the areas of development in toddlers.

    Christmas Craft Ideas for Kids– Use these holiday crafts to build fine motor skills, eye-hand coordination, sensory moor skills, visual motor skills. Crafts are a powerful therapy tool and these Christmas OT crafts work on hand strength, scissor skills, and so much more.

    Christmas Activities for Preschoolers– These Christmas OT activities for preschoolers develop skills in kids ages 3-5. These moor skill activities can be used in preschool occupational therapy programming or in occupational therapy early intervention.

    Christmas Party Games for Kids– These holiday activities are great for occupational therapy sessions, but they are prefect for planning Christmas parties in the classroom, from the perspective of an occupational therapist mom! Use these fun holiday ideas at home, for family time too.

    Christmas Sensory Activities– These Christmas sensory bins, Christmas sensory bottles, writing trays, and sensory dough activities support tactile sensory play during the holiday season. Use these sensory activities at home, in the therapy clinic, or at school to support skill building this time of year.

    You’ll also love:

    Christmas Fine Motor activities
    Christmas fine motor activities to build hand strength.

    Christmas Fine Motor Activities– These fine motor activities support eye-hand coordination, hand strength, motor planning skills, separation of the sides of the hand, finger isolation, and much more!

    Christmas calendar

    Be sure to grab our Christmas Occupational Therapy Calendar that is full of therapist-approved Christmas activities for kids this season.

    NOTE-All of the activities and ideas indicated in this article as well as those listed are to be used as ideas to meet the individual needs of each child. All activities should be used according to the child’s individual evaluation and interventions.

    More Christmas Activities

    Working on handwriting with kids this Christmas season? Grab your copy of the Christmas Modified Handwriting Packet. It’s got three types of adapted paper that kids can use to write letters to Santa, Thank You notes, holiday bucket lists and much more…all while working on handwriting skills in a motivating and fun way! Read more about the adapted Christmas Paper here

    The Modified Christmas paper is available inside the Member’s Club, in our Christmas Therapy Theme. Members can log in and grab all of those paper formats there.

    Use these Christmas activities for kids in occupational therapy while working on skills like fine motor skills, gross motor skills, visual motor skills, sensory concerns and other occupational therapy goal areas!

    Colleen Beck, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to