These owl activities are not just owl themed activities for kids, they are therapy tools to use in occupational therapy sessions! I love introducing the children that I work with to owls. There is something both appealing and mysterious about their big, thoughtful eyes and it’s fascinating to learn about their nocturnal nature. There are so many fun, creative ways that owls can be incorporated into therapy sessions to help you achieve your therapy goals.
Pick some of the owl activities below, using owl crafts, owl visual motor activities, and owl movement activities for helping kids develop skills.
Owl Toilet Paper Roll Craft
This super simple activity produces a gorgeous little decorative owl. All you need is a toilet paper roll and some markers. Googly eyes are a bonus but not essential. Use markers to color in or decorate the paper toilet roll.
Younger children can color as they would like to and older children can be encouraged to draw patterns around the roll. Holding the paper roll and drawing on it requires co-ordination between the left and the right hand. This introduces a good way to promote bilateral integration.
Coloring in the toilet roll requires some bilateral integration while turning the roll while drawing patterns around the roll increases the demands on coordination between the left and right hands. For more bilateral coordination strategies, try these activities for bilateral integration.
To add another element to the task you could ask your child to copy the patterns or designs that you have drawn on your owl. This could be fun in sessions if you have two children attending together or in class where children could work in pairs.
Copying the patterns on the owl requires good spatial organization and the ability to transfer visual information accurately onto paper.
Once the paper roll is decorated draw or stick eyes onto the top and fold the top ends inwards to create the owl’s ears.
Feed The Owl Fine Motor Activity
On the paper towel owl crat, draw the outline of an owls head and use scissors to cut out the beak so that it flaps open. You can stick a container underneath the beak to catch the food. Provide a clothes pin and a handful of small pom poms.
Use the clothes pin to pick up a pom pom and drop it into the owl’s beak. This is good for fine motor strengthening. Using a clothes pin also isolates the thumb, index and middle fingers which will help to establish a tripod grip. This is a great activity that uses a clothes pin activities to develop a child’s grasp.
Another option is to roll small worms of playdough between the thumb and index finger to feed to the owl. Rolling pieces of the playdough between the thumb and finger are great for precision, grasp development, and intrinsic hand strength.
How To Draw An Owl
How-to-draw activities are an excellent way to develop planning skills, copying abilities, pencil control and confidence in drawing. Children are often amazed at what they are able to draw after following a few simple steps.
The owl is a great animal to start with as it is made up of circles and simple shapes. Circles are one of the earliest developmental shapes a child is able draw.
The circle is also one of my best friends when we start working on letter formation in the foundation phase.
Mastering a good circle in an anti-clockwise direction puts you on the path to being able to form many of your letters correctly. Here are other prewriting lines activities that form this foundation of letter formation.
To draw an owl in building therapy skills needed for handwriting, use the simple steps from one to four to complete this cute owl. Copying simple shapes owl form helps children to develop their visual discrimination skills and to improve their copying abilities.
Once the drawing is completed spend some time discussing the final outcome. This part of self-assessment is effective in self-analysis and carryover of skills.
- Is it the same as the picture provided?
- Is anything different?
Copying, or visual motor integration is vital for successful learning in the classroom and learning.
The draw an owl activity can be extended to address other areas as well, including visual memory.
Challenge the children to have a look at the owl they have drawn for a minute and
then cover up their picture. See if they are able to reproduce the owl from memory. This is a good way to work on visual memory and copying, especially when copying written material from a distant point, where visual memory is helpful to recall materials so the child doesn’t need to shift their vision up and down for each letter or word.
Owl Bookmark Craft
Another great owl activity is this owl bookmark craft from Red Ted Art. When I tackle reading difficulties I find that creating an owl bookmark is a good way to motivate reluctant readers. Using the owl gives me an opportunity to talk to children about the importance of the visual system and how essential it is for our eyes to move well and see well so that we can read.
The owl bookmark craft helps them to understand many of the tasks that we do in therapy to develop eye tracking and visual perception. Most of all I think the children enjoy creating something of their own that they can keep and that they can use when they read their books at home.
When children follow the directions to make the owl bookmark, they are incorporating many fine motor skills and visual motor skills:
- Bilateral coordintaion
- Finger isolation
- Separation of the sides of the hand
- Arch development
- Hand strength
- Visual motor skills
- Spatial organization
Paper folding develops spatial organization, bilateral co-ordination, fine motor strength and selective finger movements. For other ideas on paper folding activities have a look and the Beautiful Oops Book Activity
There are also some lovely owl worksheet resources when you need to focus on pencil control and pre-writing skills:
I know that you will have a hoot including owls into your activities with your children.
Contributor to The OT Toolbox: Janet Potterton is an occupational therapist working predominantly in school-based settings and I love, love, love my job. I have two children (if you don’t count my husband!), two dogs, one cat, two guinea pigs and one fish. When I am not with my family or at work I try to spend time in nature. The beach is my happy place.