Are you looking for a quick and easy activity to address the components of visual perception that you can also use to address numeral formation this holiday season? This Christmas I Spy is a fun activity that can be used in a variety of ways to target the skills your students need including visual perception and numeral formation. Add this I Spy printable to your occupational therapy Christmas ideas!
Christmas I Spy
It’s the busiest time of the year and this Christmas I Spy is a no prep printable you can take from the printer right to your therapy sessions with your students. The best part of this worksheet is that it can target so many skills at once!
Some of the skills addressed with Christmas I Spy will target the components of visual perceptual skills. Visual perceptual skills are foundational to reading and writing. There are many components of visual perception that play a role in our student’s performance at school, but this activity primarily addresses visual discrimination and visual memory.
You can begin using this worksheet with your students by asking them to name some of the pictures they see on the page. Then, focus their attention to the bottom of the page to the pictures they will look for during the activity.
Support Visual Skills with a Christmas I Spy
Using their visual discrimination skills, ask your students to identify each of the pictures at the bottom. Encourage your students to use a different color for each picture they find. This is a strategy you can teach them to support their visual discrimination skills. The students can circle each picture working on their fine motor dexterity skills or they could color each small picture.
This activity is also great for addressing visual memory. Visual memory is the ability to retain and recall visual information. Visual memory is essential in reading and writing, but it is also important for completing tasks like Christmas I Spy in an efficient way.
As the students begin to work, they will be using their visual memory and scanning skills together to recall where they have seen each picture.
Visual scanning is also an important skill that will be addressed with Christmas I Spy. Visual scanning is a function of the oculomotor system that involves using the eyes in a coordinated way to scan the environment for information.
For students who may have difficulty with visual scanning, try teaching strategies such as moving a ruler down the page as they track across, encourage them to scan in an organized manner from left to right, or you can reduce the demand by asking “can you find 3 candy canes”, for example.
Another way to support students who may have difficulty with visual perceptual tasks such as I Spy, would be to take turns finding the different pictures. Not only would this take away some of the demand for struggling students, but it would also allow you to model visual scanning skills at the same time.
Work on Number formation with a Christmas I Spy Activity
Finally, Christmas I Spy provides your students with an opportunity to address number formation. After they find and color each picture, they will need to write the number in the box.
Here is a place where you can take this pencil/paper task and make it a kinesthetic learning experience for your students! Many students need kinesthetic learning experiences or the opportunity to touch, move, and feel in order to learn.
Occupational therapists are uniquely trained to provide these types of kinesthetic learning experiences to students. You will find that when you design an intervention to include a sensory, tactile, or movement experience, your students will be instantly engaged. Engagement and participation are the keys to learning!
More ways to use this Christmas I Spy Printable
You could extend this activity to include a kinesthetic component by:
- Forming the numbers using gingerbread scented playdough, like this Gingerbread Salt Dough Recipe
- If snow is more your style, try this snow dough recipe Snow Dough Recipe
- And for an even more sensory experience try Candy Cane Moon Dough from
- Pair the printable with this Hot Chocolate Craft for a winter themed activity.
- Bend red and white “candy cane” pipe cleaners into the numbers your students need to practice
- Use sand trays to practice numeral formation. Use red and green sand to stick with the holiday theme or get inspired to use other materials/textures from ideas here: Writing Trays for Handwriting
- Practice writing numbers in shaving cream. Add a little silver glitter to mimic snow.
So, grab your hot cocoa and hit print on Christmas I Spy! You will have so much fun with your students this holiday season while working on important visual perceptual and numeral formation skills!
Katherine Cook is an occupational therapist with 20 years experience primarily working in schools with students from preschool through Grade 12. Katherine graduated from Boston University in 2001 and completed her Master’s degree and Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study at Tufts University in 2010. Katherine’s school based experience includes working in integrated preschool programs, supporting students in the inclusion setting, as well as program development and providing consultation to students in substantially separate programs. Katherine has a passion for fostering the play skills of children and supporting their occupations in school.