If you are looking for therapy ideas that build skills this time of year, then you will love these Christmas crafts for kids. These are craft ideas driven by fine motor skill development but also promote skills like hand strength, bilateral coordination, eye-hand coordination, precision of grasp, motor planning, direction following, and creativity. These holiday crafts are perfect for adding to your Christmas occupational therapy ideas.
From garlands to DIY Christmas ornaments, you AND the kids will love these holiday craft ideas. We’ve pulled our favorite Christmas tree crafts, reindeer crafts, snowman crafts, and Santa crafts all into one place. The best part is that these crafty ideas are perfect for the whole family (or therapy caseload…check out the fun Christmas crafts below for ideas that suit kindergarten up through the older kids!
Christmas Crafts for Kids
If there is one most of us are short on this time of year, it’s time. There is just NO time to search Google for fine motor craft ideas or Christmas crafts to add to the occupational therapy activities in December. That’s why I wanted to put together a list of tons of ways to be creative with a Christmas craft for kids.
Most of these Christmas crafts are process-based but some are not, making them the perfect mix for the therapist looking for crafts that meet the needs of a varied occupational therapy caseload. Use the Christmas craft ideas below to add a holiday theme to your therapy plans this month!
This post is part of our Christmas Activities for Kids series we’ve got going on this week. It’s all designed to share holiday activities so you don’t need to search all over the internet! If you missed yesterday’s post, you’ll want to check out Christmas Activities for Toddlers to find occupational therapy activities designed for the 2-3 year old age range.
These are activities, games, and ideas for kids with a Christmas theme that can be used in occupational therapy treatment in the home, school, or clinic!
If you missed the announcement post on our Christmas Activities for Kids series, you’ll want to check it out. We’ll have a different Christmas activity theme each day this week!
Christmas Craft for Kids Supplies
This time of year, it’s a great idea to have a craft supply center out for kids to get crafting. Use the kid-made crafts as holiday gifts for family, package toppers, or to attach to a family holiday card. You can even attach a small craft to a candy cane for easy gift-giving.
Most of the Christmas crafting supplies can be found in a dollar store or for fairly cheap, making this December bucket list item easy and a fun way to spend days leading up to the holidays.
Some Christmas craft supplies you can have on hand include:
- Pipe cleaners
- Craft pom poms
- Cotton balls
- Paper plates
- Clear plastic Christmas ornaments
- Clothes pins
- Googly eyes
- Popsicle sticks
- Construction paper or card stock
- Hot glue
- Plastic lid
- Wreath form
- Mason jar
Once you have a collection of materials, you can start making an easy Christmas craft!
As a therapist, I love to see the fine motor skills, scissor skills, and sensory input accomplished through crafting as an occupation. But there is the opportunity for creative thinking, executive functioning skill work, and motor planning at work too.
Set out a bin or basket of the crafting materials above and let the child explore and create. You can give them an idea of what to create…Ask them “Do they think they can make a Santa Claus using the materials they have in front of them?” By offering a crafting target and the materials with an open-ended craft idea, you are adding in skills such as planning, prioritization, working memory, problem solving. These skills are very much related to the emotional regulation when a project is needing completed but there are challenges in the way. A simple holiday craft can be a fun way to address and develop this skill.
Some Christmas crafting ideas include:
- Santa Claus
- Christmas gifts
- Christmas tree ornaments
- Snowman craft
- Christmas wreath
- Santa’s beard
- Christmas tree
- Christmas art
You can also challenge kids to use specific forms of crafting: fingerprints art, handprints, salt dough crafts, or one of our Christmas templates. Whatever the type of craft, you’ll find tons of ways to develop skills.
Christmas Craft Ideas
Some of our favorite ways to craft this time of year include:
Our new hot chocolate craft uses a printable template that you can modify to meet the needs of each child on a therapy caseload (or at home or in the classroom!) Just print off the template and go. There are even visual step-by-step directions and a data collection form for this holiday craft.
Scissor Skills Reindeer Craft- Another Christmas craft that is based on a children’s book is this Olive the Other Reindeer Ornament that doubles as a scissor skills craft. Wouldn’t it be fun to make a whole Christmas tree full of ornaments made in therapy sessions?
Bilateral Coordination Bear Craft- This bear craft Christmas ornament helps kids use bilateral coordination and motor planning to wrap twine around a bear, making it a fun craft and a powerful therapy tool too! This Christmas craft goes along with a popular children’s book, making it a great craft to share as “occupational therapy homework” over the holiday break!
Hand Strength Christmas Tree Craft- Use this Christmas Tree Fine Motor Craft activity to develop strength in the hands and more. This activity uses a hole punch to create lights for each Christmas tree. The bonus with this craft is the learning and math component. Add a colorful twist by adding colored tissue paper to the backs of the trees with glue.
Clothespin Christmas Tree Craft- Paint clothes pins and a painters stick and ask students to build a Christmas tree while developing fine motor skills. You can use this activity over and over again in therapy sessions. Read the instructions and the why behind this Christmas tree craft.
Pine Cone Christmas tree- This is another Christmas tree craft that kids will love. It builds fine motor skills, eye-hand coordination, and bilateral coordination skills, too. Read the instructions to make a pine cone Christmas tree of your own.
Hand Strengthening Christmas Card Craft- This Homemade Christmas Card for kids is a fun Christmas card kids can make for family or friends. It provides an opportunity for hand strengthening with the hole punch Christmas tree. Sneak some handwriting practice in, too!
In-Hand Manipulation Bottle Cap Christmas Tree- Use recycled bottle caps to make this Bottle Cap Fine Motor Christmas Tree Craft. This fine motor activity can be a holiday decoration that boosts fine motor skills such as precision, in-hand manipulation, tip-to-tip pincer grasp, rotation and dexterity of the fingers needed for in-hand manipulation, and bilateral coordination.
Finger Isolation Ornament- This ornament craft is based on the well-known children’s book, Little Tree. Read the book and then make the ee cummings Little Tree Christmas Ornament AND sneak in fine motor skills like finger isolation, scissor skills, and so many other skills.
Process Art Ornament- This Bottle Caps Holly Ornament is a creative process craft and if you make them with friends or in a classroom setting, there will be no two that look exactly alike. This Christmas craft for kids is a powerhouse for the fine motor development that occurs: Scissor skills, bilateral coordination, eye hand coordination, and more.
Plastic Lid Ornament Craft– Use recycled plastic lids to make an ornament craft using washi tape. We then used a bunch of the lids to make an ornament garland. Read the instructions for this ornament garland craft.
Paper cup snowman craft- This snowman craft uses crafting materials that build fine motor skills and pencil control skills. Add details with a fine tipped marker to work on pre-handwriting or pencil control skills.
Snowman Fine Motor Craft- Creating this Snowman Fine Motor Craft is a fun way to develop skills like bilateral coordination, pincer grasp and more. This craft is one that builds fine motor strength and precision while creating a fun holiday decoration.
Fine Motor Christmas Tree Craft- This Fine Motor Christmas Tree Craft addresses many skills needed for development and function. This craft has been very popular here on The OT Toolbox, and for a good reason! It’s a way to recycle egg cartons while working on various skills: bilateral coordination, fine motor strength, precision, eye-hand coordination, visual attention, spatial awareness, arch development, wrist extension and stability, and more.
Tripod Grasp Christmas Tree- Kids will love this Pattern Christmas Tree Craft because they can make it as sparkly as they like! Encourage a little math and visual motor work with patterns on the Christmas tree while promoting a tripod grasp.
Tactile Sensory Play Wreath Ornament- This Spaghetti Wreath Ornament is another process art Christmas craft that kids will love. In fact, it’s a sensory goldmine and can be used for sensory play along with fine motor work and crafting!
Precision Christmas Tree Suncatcher Craft- Need a Christmas craft that helps with precision and dexterity? This Christmas Tree Sun Catcher Craft will make the windows look festive!
Holiday Crafts without a Christmas Theme- To switch things up, here are several Winter Bird Crafts that boost fine motor skills and can be done this month or all winter long.
Kid-Made Christmas Ornament Crafts– Looking for ornaments the kids can make? This collection of ideas has something for everyone. It’s a great way for kids to make a holiday gift for their family while working on fine motor skills and other occupational therapy goals.
Easy Christmas Crafts
Therapy professionals are always looking for craft ideas that can be graded to meet the different needs of a variety of skill levels. Especially during this busy time of year, it can be so difficult to manage all of the holiday events in a school day (holiday parties, parades, school-wide assemblies, special events, sick kids that miss days of school, etc.) that meeting required IEP minutes during the month of December is tricky sometimes.
That’s why a school based OT needs a quick craft idea that builds skills no matter what level the student is at: from preschool or pre-K up through high school and with a variety of skill-building areas. These craft ideas are simple, and can be graded up or down depending on the abilities of the student:
- Thread beads onto pipe cleaners like we did in at our winter party.
2. Use popsicle sticks to make a snowflake to challenge tactile sensory touch and fine motor skills.
3. Cut out paper icicles (we have a template in that post) to work on scissor skills and eye-hand coordination.
Need more Christmas ideas? These Christmas Activities for Preschoolers are a big hit, too!
More Christmas Activities for Kids
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.
Christmas Crafts and Handwriting
Pair the Christmas crafts with Christmas handwriting. Use one of the Christmas crafts for preschool parties or school holiday parties this time of year.
Then, students can use the modified paper below to write a list of holiday words or even directions to complete the Christmas tree craft or reindeer antlers!