Helping kids develop fine motor skills doesn’t require a bunch of fancy therapy equipment or carefully selected developmental toys. Here, I’ll show you how to use junk mail to help kids improve motor skills. This snowman collage is a winter craft that kids can use to work on areas like scissor skills, eye-hand coordination, visual motor skills, and hand strength! It’s a fun indoor activity for winter when the kids need something different to do. Grab that junk mail, we’re going to build a snowman!
Snowman Collage Craft
We got a bunch of junk mail today with random neighborhood coupons inside… When my kids were younger, they loved to use scissors to practice cutting. And, actually, using the coupons found in junk mail to practice scissor skills, is actually a very functional and easy way to practice cutting along lines.
Junk mail is easily accessible and a material found in most homes. So, why not use it to help kids develop fine motor skills?
Junk Mail Craft
While we used junk mail to create a snowman collage, this craft technique can be used for any shape or theme.
Kids can use junk mail to work on snipping paper with scissors, eye-hand coordination, and visual motor skills. Try these strategies using junk mail:
- Work on snipping along the edges of paper to create a fringe- This is a great bilateral coordination activity for preschool aged children and new scissor users.
- Work on cutting along lines or coupons for early scissor skills- Cutting coupons or basic shapes is an early scissor skill activity. Junk mail often times includes flyers that are made from cardstock or heavy materials, as well as thinner materials, so it’s easy to progress through a graded activity to meet the needs of all levels of kids.
- Cut out pictures- Use junk mail to cut out pictures or shapes. This is a nice way to work on simple to complex cutting skills. Progress from easy or basic shapes to more complex shapes.
For more scissor skills activities and how to progress along various grades, check out these Scissor Skills Crash Course.
To further along from basic scissor skills, use the junk mail materials to create a collage craft. You could use the steps below to make any shape or theme, making it a great addition to weekly therapy themes or preschool themes.
For our snowman craft, I first drew a snowman shape onto blue paper. This part could be graded as well. Use a larger shape for younger children or make a smaller shape for addressing more refined skills and precision.
Next, ask your child to cut out blue and white pieces of junk mail. This is where the craft gets open-ended. You can let kids snip random shapes, or you could request that they cut all squares. I love that this scissor skills craft fits with all levels and needs.
When kids are sorting through a stack of junk mail for specific colors, they are developing a variety of skill areas:
- Eye-hand coordination
- Visual scanning
- Finger isolation (page turning)
- Precision and refined grasp (manipulating one page at a time)
- Visual attention and visual memory
Next, you will need squeeze glue from a bottle. As a pediatric occupational therapist, I love the use of a squeeze glue bottle over a glue stick for so many reasons. By using a squeeze glue bottle, kids are building refined use of skill areas:
- Refined grasp
- Hand strength
- Eye-hand coordination
- Arch strength
- Open thumb web-space
- Visual motor skills
You can focus on certain areas with use of a squeeze glue bottle by asking kids to place glue onto specific spots. Just use a marker to dot throughout the shape. Kids can then place glue dots on those specific spots.
If working with glue bottles is a helpful activity for the children you serve, you will love the Glue Spots Exercises in the Winter Fine Motor Kit.
Next, kids can place their junk mail pieces onto the glue and within the collage area to create the snowman.
Ask kids to line up strait and curved edges along the curved lines of the snowman. This is a great way to work on visual motor skills.
To grade this activity to make it easier, make the lines of the snowman thicker with a black marker.
You can see that we completed this craft on the floor, making it a shoulder strengthening activity as well.
That’s a pretty cute snowman…and great for practicing those snipping skills!
Want more ways to boost fine motor skills with a snowman theme or winter theme? The Winter Fine Motor Kit is on sale now!
This print-and-go winter fine motor kit includes no-prep fine motor activities to help kids develop functional grasp, dexterity, strength, and endurance. Use fun, winter-themed, fine motor activities so you can help children develop strong fine motor skills in a digital world.
More than ever, kids need the tools to help them build essential fine motor skills so they develop strong and dexterous hands so they can learn, hold & write with a pencil, and play.
This 100 page no-prep packet includes everything you need to guide fine motor skills in face-to-face AND virtual learning. Includes winter themed activities for hand strength, pinch and grip, dexterity, eye-hand coordination, bilateral coordination, endurance, finger isolation, and more.
Colleen Beck, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.