Beautiful Oops Activity

This “Beautiful Oops” activity is a preschool book craft focusing on fine motor skills with a concentration on awareness of differences, making mistakes, and not focusing on specific details, using a creative book activity based on the book, Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzberg. If you are looking for hands-on book related activities, this one is a big hit!

Beautiful Oops Activity

One part of social emotional development is the ability to “go with the flow”. Allowing ourselves to make mistakes and to adjust is a key part of maturity and a personality trait that can be difficult to teach unless given examples and practice. in this book activity, we read the book, Beautiful Oops! and created folded paper crafts using our mistakes.  

This book craft is part of a series of activities that help kids build social and emotional skills such as:

  • acceptance
  • friendship
  • empathy
  • understanding
  • and other important skills involved with social emotional development.

For more activities that help build these skills, check out the resource, Exploring Books Through Play: 50 Activities Based on Books About Friendship, Acceptance and Empathy.

Beautiful oops activity to make a folded paper giraffe craft

Beautiful Oops Craft

Beautiful Oops book by Barney Saltzberg

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What does Beautiful Oops teach?

Have you read the book, Beautiful Oops! by Barney Saltzberg?  This is a book that we completely fell in love with.  The creative process of art spills out over the pages as little (and big) “oops” messes, tears, and folds become art.  While we do many crafts that are focused on an end product, process art is something we love in many creative projects!

Beautiful Oops! is a process art guide book.   As we read the book, one of our favorite pages was the folded corner Oops that became a reason to celebrate with a cute penguin.  We decided to make folded paper animals and couldn’t stop creating!

Folded paper animal crafts for kids based on the book, Beautiful Oops

paper folding activity

To make our folded paper animals, we started with just a few materials. The best thing about this paper folding activity is that there was no “right way” to do the craft. Each paper fold was part of the process art! Just like in the book, Beautiful Oops, any fold, cut, tear, or pasted paper was part of the process to create something beautiful. When an “oops” happened when cutting the paper or folding the paper, it was just part of the fun!

Gather a bunch of materials to make the paper folding activity:

  • Paper- scrap paper, construction paper, cardstock…whatever you have on hand
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Scraps of materials

We started with a big pile of assorted cardstock, a few pair of scissors and some glue.  We started with a fold on the corner of the paper and let our imaginations go!

We cut…

…and cut some more…  

…and folded…

…and glued…

…and added details to our animal creatures.

Beautiful Oops folded paper animal crafts
Folded paper animal crafts based on the book, Beautiful Oops

  We made a feeeew animals.

Folding paper Crafts

Use this craft to build fine motor skills! When kids fold paper, they work on a variety of fine motor skills. Click each link to read more about these specific skills and how they impact function.

Fold paper to work on fine motor skills in the hands.
Monkey bookmark craft

  And then put our folded paper creatures to work holding pages in books!  

Paper bird bookmark craft
Penguin paper craft bookmark

  We had a blast with this book and can’t stop making our oops’ beautiful!   Looking for more activities and crafts based on Beautiful Oops!?  Try these from the Preschool Book Club:

Straw Blow Painting from Homegrown Friends

Painting on torn Newspaper from Buggy and Buddy

Circle and Holes Art from Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

Oops Painting from Mama. Papa. Bubba.

hands-on activities to explore social emotional development through children's books.

Love exploring books with hands-on play?  

Grab our NEW book, Exploring Books Through Play: 50 Activities based on Books About Friendship, Acceptance, and Empathy, that explores friendship, acceptance, and empathy through popular (and amazing) children’s books!  It’s 50 hands-on activities that use math, fine motor skills, movement, art, crafts, and creativity to support social emotional development.    



easy paper folding ideas

easy paper folding ideas

The easy origami paper folding ideas in this blog post are designed to support fine motor and visual motor skills with a single fold of the paper. While this is not the style of traditional origami crafts, the ability to fold the paper’s corner and then use the imagination to create an animal or creature is part of the fun!

When pinching and pressing the paper to create a crease, finger strength and pinch strength are targeted.

In addition to the easy paper folding ideas we listed above, there are other easy origami ideas that can support these skills as well.

Here are some easy origami ideas that you can consider for your classroom:

  1. Paper Airplane– An easy and classic origami project that students can have fun with. You can have a contest to see whose airplane flies the farthest. Use the paper airplane craft with other fine motor components like we did.
  2. Paper Helicopter– We used this activity to work on finger strength and visual skills.
  3. Paper Boat– Create simple paper boats. You can discuss concepts related to floating and buoyancy, making it an educational and creative activity.
  4. Origami Frog– A fun and simple origami frog that can “jump” when you press down on it. This can be a great way to engage students in a quick and enjoyable project.
  5. Origami Fortune Teller (Cootie Catcher)– Fold a fortune teller and let students write or draw their predictions or goals for the upcoming days or weeks. It’s a playful way to set positive intentions. We have a Fall cootie catcher template and a Spring cootie catcher template here on the website.
  6. Origami Bookmark– Create colorful bookmarks with simple folds. Students can personalize them with drawings or quotes, making reading a bit more enjoyable. Here’s another bookmark craft you might like.
  7. Origami Butterfly– Craft simple butterflies with vibrant colors. This can be a great way to discuss symmetry while creating beautiful decorations for the classroom.
  8. Origami Heart– Fold paper hearts for Valentine’s Day or just to spread a bit of love. Students can write positive messages on the hearts. We used cardboard tubes to pinch into a folded heart. While this isn’t a form of origami, it’s an easy and cute paper folding craft.
  9. Origami Fish– Make origami fish and discuss aquatic life or ocean conservation. You can create a collaborative underwater scene by combining the fish.
  10. Origami Star– Craft easy paper stars and discuss their significance in different cultures. You can even string them together to create a festive garland.

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

Working on fine motor skills, visual perception, visual motor skills, sensory tolerance, handwriting, or scissor skills? Our Fine Motor Kits cover all of these areas and more.

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easy paper folding ideas

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