You’ll be able to jingle all the way this holiday season as you use this collection of jingle bell activities that bring with them skill building! Kids can develop fine motor, gross motor, visual motor, coordination, and sensory skills using jingle bell activities this time of year. Plus, the fun of jingly bells bring festive fun and even sweet-sounding instruments to boot!
Kids just love jingle bells of any size and shape and not just in this season either! There’s always something fun and engaging when you shake a bell whether you’re simply just playing with it, making a jingle bell craft, or have a plan to use it…everyone has to shake them.
These are just some of the Christmas occupational therapy ideas we have on the site…have fun building skills with holiday bells!
Jingle Bell Activities
December means a lot of opportunities for jingle bell fun so, how about some jingle bell activities that not only sound good, but work on some of those important skills too!
That’s right, jingle bells can work on much needed skill development and practice. They can be motivating and just what you need to address fine motor, visual motor, gross motor, sensory motor, and even oral motor skills too! Yep, I said oral motor! So, let’s combine this holiday theme with some educational and therapeutic activities to get festive and have some fun!
Jingle Bell Activities for Visual motor skills:
Add jingle bells to a marble run to work on visual tracking skills, eye-hand coordination, visual scanning, and many other visual processing skills. This activity doubles as a fine motor workout for kids, too.
Jingle bell shapes is an activity that works not only on fine and visual motor skills for shape formation and pipe cleaner manipulation, but how about those math skills that work on counting how many sides each shape has while forming the shapes? You also get free printables at this link so you can do just that.
Jingle bell names provides a festive visual motor and perceptual twist to some letter formation and practice of writing names. Adults write the child’s name on paper and then have the child place jingle bells on the letters just as if they were forming the letters with a writing tool.
This jingle bell maze is a super DIY activity that has you recycling and creating with a child to work on a variety of skills when its complete. That’s right DIY with a Styrofoam tray and pipe cleaners or straws and then add a bell. It’s an activity that works on bilateral coordination, eye-hand coordination, grading of movement, and motor planning too!
A simple jingle bell pencil is a great activity to provide a little auditory input while also working on handwriting or even drawing skills. What do you do? Just have the child string some bells onto a pipe cleaner and then wrap it around the top of the pencil or drawing tool and thus, you have created a musical writing implement!
Even though the jingle bell pencil was cool, how about a jingle bell paintbrush? That’s right, the same idea with use of a paintbrush which provides some cheerful auditory input while painting. Don’t want to paint? That’s ok, consider using it in a rice tray to do some letter formation instead! Fun for therapy or even art class too!
Jingle Bell Activities to Develop Fine motor skills:
Add these fine motor jingle bell ideas to your Christmas fine motor activities line-up this time of year:
The jingle bell drop is an activity that can be done three different ways and works on the use of tongs or even just a pincer grasp. Decorate the container like a reindeer or wrap with wrapping paper and have even more fun with this activity. You can even just pull some containers out the cabinet or recycle bin, add some bells, and your all set.
Here’s a jingle bell sorting idea that uses those bells to play and learn. Recycle again by using an egg carton and some paint and away you go with sorting and learning, plus you can specifically target in-hand manipulation, scanning, and eye-hand coordination and let’s not forget color identification.
Treading jingle bells onto pipe cleaners is an easy jingle bell activity that develops fine motor skills, bilateral coordination, and eye-hand coordination skills in a big way.
This jingle bell tree is a fun game that incorporates counting as you roll the die and count the dots and the bells to know how many to place on the Styrofoam tree. I love this one as I have done it before and the kids loved it too. A great activity to work on cupping hands together to shake the die and roll. It also addresses fine motor and visual motor skills to thread the bells onto the toothpicks. This can be tricky depending on the bell.
Use those jingle bells and cookie cutters as an invitation to play activity simply by just picking up and placing the bells inside the cookie cutters to work on pincer grasp or tong use. You can also incorporate patterning or even counting.
Jingle Bell Activities for Building Gross motor skills:
Need a little gross motor activity to go with all of the other fun listed here? Guess what, you can create a fun jingle bell toss game out of bells, plastic cups, and a slanted surface that you could create with cardboard or a foam board to make this fun game. Children will love it and so will adults!
If you have children or know of any that like nerf games than this activity might be for them. You create a target such as a tree with holes in it, add some dangling jingle bells, stand it up, and you’ve got a game. If nerf is not their thing, that’s o.k., you can easily substitute with bean bags or balls.
Don’t have cardboard to create a tree? That’s o.k. too, use plastic cups and create a tree-like pyramid and decorate with jingle bell ornaments. These games are great for gross motor and eye-hand coordination skills.
This jingle bell scoop and transfer activity is so simple, but so effective in addressing an important life skill as well as some motor skills of wrist rotation, shoulder control and stability, grip strength, and eye-hand coordination.
Jingle Bell Activities to develop Oral motor skills:
You can address oral motor skills with jingle bells too. Use a straw and jingle bells on a table surface, just like we did with this cotton ball oral motor activity. Simply hold the straw in your mouth and blow through the straw to move a jingle bell across the table. This jingle bell blowing activity is a fantastic way to work on breath control, building strength in the cheek and lip musculature, and can even address self-regulation as well.
Jingle bell Activities for developing Auditory skills:
Jingle bells automatically provide some auditory input, but here are easy instruments and craft ideas for the holiday.
Make jingle bell dominos to support auditory processing, including auditory discrimination skills. The dominoes can be used in fine and gross motor activities and add an auditory component to learning and play.
Another fun listening and discrimination activity uses jingle bells and movement. We shared this activity in our Christmas party ideas post a few years back. Kids will love to jingle a holiday bell and then listen for where in the room the sound is coming from. What a great attention, auditory memory, and auditory discrimination activity.
The jingle bell sticks are fun reindeer faces made on craft sticks using pipe cleaners, googly eyes, craft sticks, and a bell. Perfect for working on fine motor, sequencing, and activity engagement.
The fuzzy stick jingle bell craft is also another fun noisemaker that is made with only pipe cleaners and bells, that’s it. Same skills addressed here!
Jingle Bell Activities and Sensory skills:
Lastly, we have to mention sensory activities that can easily be created with the use of jingle bells. These are great occupational therapy Christmas activities to use this time of year.
One is called jingle soup which uses jingle bells in scented water and a child can work on placing, stirring, and serving the bells such as in a pretend restaurant. This can further work on those life skills of managing a spoon just like the scoop and transfer activity.
Making this jingle bell slime provides the perfect hands-on activity that addresses tactile tolerance and sequencing skills while using some important hand strength and bilateral coordination while kneading the slime by hand. Toss in those jingle bells and there’s your auditory input!
Using a paper jingle bell sensory bin and a pom-pom jingle bell sensory bin will not only provide lots of fun, but will give the opportunity for a child to work on tactile and auditory exploration. The paper bin will provide a little extra auditory input when the child hears the crunching of the shredded paper as they dig for jingle bells and a little extra tactile input as they feel the scratchiness of the paper. The pom-pom bin provides a little extra tactile input as they feel the softness of the pom-poms when they dig for bells.
Now take some time and provide some jingle to your therapy sessions, classroom, or at home learning activities as you work with kids on building some skills that are motivated by the core instrument sound of the season.
Regina Parsons-Allen is a school-based certified occupational therapy assistant. She has a pediatrics practice area of emphasis from the NBCOT. She graduated from the OTA program at Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute in Hudson, North Carolina with an A.A.S degree in occupational therapy assistant. She has been practicing occupational therapy in the same school district for 20 years. She loves her children, husband, OT, working with children and teaching Sunday school. She is passionate about engaging, empowering, and enabling children to reach their maximum potential in ALL of their occupations as well assuring them that God loves them!