This Christmas maze printable is a fun way to incorporate the holiday season while working on fine motor skills like in-hand manipulation. Add these free printable Christmas mazes for a therapy tool, or home activity that builds skills!
Christmas Maze Printable
Wait, what? “Christmas” and “manipulation” should not be in the same sentence, right? Well…….there is an awful lot of manipulation going on at the holidays in order for Santa to deliver the goods.
However, we are not referring to that type of manipulation. In hand manipulation is an important fine motor skill to develop the intrinsic muscles of the developing hand. That sentence is a mouthful and sounds highly professional. Be sure to slip that one into your conversation somewhere this month to sound super smart!
The term “manipulate” we are referring to when talking about “in hand manipulation” does not mean to control a situation or person, but rather; to treat or operate with or as if with the hands or by mechanical means especially in a skillful manner. Therefore in- hand manipulation refers to working the intrinsic hand muscles skillfully.
Check out this article by Kelly DeYoung of the OT Perspective as she delves further into in-hand manipulation.
Intrinsic hand muscles with a Christmas Maze Worksheet
In simpler terms, there are many very tiny muscles inside the palm of the hand connecting to the fingers. They are called intrinsic muscles because they are within the hand. Great dexterity starts with the ability to move all of the muscles of the hand, rather than relying on more primitive motions using only the wrist or arm.
Now that we are clear that we are referring to skillfully working the small muscles of the hand, let us get on to the fun stuff!
Below, you can grab a set of FREE Christmas maze printables for in-hand manipulation as an excellent way to build these muscles while motivating your student at the same time.
How to use these Christmas Maze Printables
- Have your student hold items such as coins, beads, bingo chips, mini marshmallows, in the palm of their hand.
- Show them how to use their first finger to trace along the maze path.
- At each circle have your student place one of their items onto the spot.
- Continue tracing along the path placing objects until they reach the end of the maze.
These Christmas and Candy Cane activities work on in-hand manipulation, finger/hand strength, dexterity, separation of sides of the hand, visual perceptual skills, following directions, and so much more all in one fun PDF printable.
More ways to use these free printable christmas mazes
Ways to modify or change this task:
- Laminate the page to make it reusable. Try coloring it first!
- Print on different colored paper
- Enlarge or shrink page to change the challenge
- Have younger students use bingo markers on the dots as a fun game
- Trace the line with a marker, then color the circles if handwriting is your objective
- Color the picture after or before working on the in-hand manipulation task to add to the challenge
- Have students pick up the coins one by one to get into their hand before dropping them one by one. No raking grasp or sliding coins off of the table!
Observe Skills when using the Christmas Mazes
When working on this type of in-hand manipulation, there are several observations to be made.
- Can your student pick up the coins one at a time without using a raking grasp or sliding them off of the table?
- How many items can your student hold at once without dropping some?
- Can your student move the items from the palm of their hand to their finger tips to get them out, or do they drop the coins by opening their fingers?
- Can your student continue to hold the coins while isolating one finger to continue the maze?
- How many times do you need to repeat the directions so your student can follow them?
- How many reminders does your student need while doing this activity?
- What is your student’s frustration tolerance when they have to start over?
- Is there any cheating or cutting corners going on? There always is.
The best part of themed treatment planning is the ease of it. It is streamlined and can be adapted for multiple levels of students. If your students enjoyed the Christmas in-hand manipulation free printable, they will LOVE this Christmas Fine Motor Kit! If you order soon, you can get it while it is on sale.
If you prefer a more “winter themed” treatment plan, the OT Toolbox has you covered. They offer a Winter Fine Motor Kit crammed full of printable tasks to use to develop important fine motor skills.
Writing all of these Christmas pages has me excited about trying some of these activities with my students. I especially love this one, as in-hand manipulation tasks are one of my go to treatment plans for building hand muscles. I just might order the Christmas Fine Motor Kit too. With the holiday season as crazy as it is, I just don’t have time to create endless lesson plans and come up with novel ideas, when the OT Toolbox has me covered already.
Free Christmas mazes
Now to the fun stuff! CHRISTMAS! These printables are a great way to incorporate meaningful relevant activities into the holiday season. As always, be mindful of your school’s policy on using specific Christmas activities that feature Santa. Some districts have strict rules about how holidays can be celebrated. Usually “winter theme” is a safe bet. Candy canes, snowmen, snowflakes, hot cocoa, penguins, polar bears, etc are not usually frowned upon.
Enter your email address into the form below and these printable Christmas mazes will be delivered. If you are a member of The OT Toolbox Member’s Club, you’ll find these printable mazes in your member’s dashboard area.
Victoria Wood, OTR/L
Victoria Wood, OTR/L is a contributor to The OT Toolbox and 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, “student” is used throughout this post for readability, however this information is relevant for all types of learners, patents, clients, children of all ages, etc. The term “they” is used instead of he/she to be inclusive.