Looking to add a few summer crafts that double as a therapy tool to support development of fine motor skills, visual motor skills, and sensory motor skills? These summer themed crafts are one component of our massive list of crafts for kids that can be used all summer long. Add them to your list of occupational therapy crafts kids will love!
Why Use Summer Crafts?
There are so many benefits to crafts! Therapists use crafts to build fine motor skills, direction following, motor planning, bilateral coordination, visual processing and visual motor skills, eye-had coordination and so much more.
Consider the sensory benefits of crafts.
By making a textural craft or getting their hands messy with paint and glue, kids experience texture challenges and build tolerance to sensory input. Other kids crave messy sensory play and crafts are just the way to add that input in a controlled, yet creative way.
Summer Crafts for Kids
This summer, you may be looking for more activities to help kids build skills and achieve the motor experience they need to develop skills. Maybe you are seeking out therapy home recommendations for families. Perhaps yo need to have a quick activity on hand to fend off summer boredom. Whatever the reason, you’ll love this selection of therapist-approved summer craft ideas for kids!
These summer crafts can be added to a summer plans for occupational therapy. Add them to our new Summer OT Bundle. It’s a collection of 19 items that guide summer programming at home, at school, and in therapy sessions. The summer activities bundle covers handwriting, visual perceptual skills and visual motor skills, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, regulation, and more.
You’ll find ideas to use in virtual therapy sessions and to send home as home activities that build skills and power development with a fun, summer theme. Kids will love the Summer Spot It! game, the puzzles, handouts, and movement activities. Therapists will love the teletherapy slide deck and the easy, ready-to-go activities to slot into OT sessions.
Grab the Summer OT Bundle here.
Summer occupational therapy crafts
Below, we’re covering a bunch of Summer crafts and WHY they are so beneficial to development. Add these to occupational therapy planning this summer, use them in home programs, or add to the Summer bucket list! These are occupational therapy crafts to use all season long!
These summer crafts are great for different ages:
- Summer crafts for toddlers
- Summer crafts for preschoolers
- Summer crafts for older kids
The craft ideas support different levels and needs, but each craft idea can be adapted to meet the developmental needs of the individual.
Fork Painting Ice Cream Craft– Kids can work on bilateral coordination, eye-hand coordination, motor planning, and precision using this ice cream cone craft for kids. It’s a fun one that can be done in a variety of ways, making it an open-ended process art craft that kids will love to use as an expression of personality.
Add a scissor skills exercise to this craft by asking kids to cut out the cone shape, or add toppings that kids can cut from paper, making refined scissor tasks a fun part of the summer days.
This is a great summer craft for preschoolers or toddlers.
Toddler craft idea– This summer craft idea for toddlers is always a hit. Younger kids, children with lower physical abilities, and those with motor control needs can work on bilateral coordination, eye-hand coordination, motor planning, crossing midline, and shoulder/forearm mobility. This toddler craft is open-ended and can work for all ages. We used an easel, but you could use any inclined surface to build stability and strength.
Patriotic Fireworks Finger Painting Craft– Add sensory textural input with a patriotic theme. Kids will love this fireworks craft that helps kids with coordination and motor control.
Summer Time Capsule craft– As a mom, this might one of my favorite summer crafts in the list. There’s just something about capturing a moment of childhood in a time capsule. The lazy days of summer can lead to lots of creativity for kids. It’s a great time to develop skills and expand new interests. This summer time capsule can be a family event that lasts for years. This is a great summer craft for older kids that the whole family will enjoy.
Painting with Pinwheels– Kids that like to paint will love this craft. In fact, kids that like to explore how things move and work will also like this sensory craft. Grab a couple of pinwheels and get started on some sensory, creative art making with a summer theme. While this summer craft idea is great for preschoolers, it can be used at any age level.
Fairy Wands– These summer crafts are great for building fine motor skills. Kids can work on precision, bilateral coordination, and strength, pinch, open thumb web space, arch strength, eye-hands coordination…the list goes on and on! This is a fun summer craft for kids of all ages. We made a basic version, but you could add more detail if you like or make it a more complex craft for older kids. Add beads, glitter, tissue paper…it’s an imagination builder for sure!
Summer Olympics Rings craft– Perfect for a year with Summer Olympic games, this Olympic rings craft can help kids work on skills, too. Kids can build hand strength, bilateral coordination, scissor skills, and more.
Sun catcher crafts– These craft ideas have you covered for a whole summer. Use the sun catcher craft ideas to cover all windows in your home while helping kids develop fine motor skills, precision, scissor skills, and more.
Painting with Yarn– I love these sensory craft ideas for the texture challenges. Kids can pick one of the yarn painting craft ideas while exploring textures. Kids that need to challenge themselves with tolerating textures can try some of the craft ideas that are less messy. Other children seek out messy play. Use those painting ideas to build precision, refine movements, hand-washing, and more.
Potato Print Crafts– Potato print crafts are another craft idea that builds sensory tolerance or challenges textural sensory experiences. take this messy craft idea outdoors and get stamping while building eye-hand coordination, motor planning, and more.
Baking Soda paints– Using baking soda to make paints is so much fun. Kids can help mix the paints and gain experience and motor skills activity to work on scooping, stirring, and mixing. We love to use these baking soda paints as driveway paints while building core strength, shoulder and hip stability, and more. They work great on paper, too!
Summer Crafts for Older Kids
These summer crafts are mainly for older ages because of the motor skills needed and the problem solving and direction following components. These are great crafts to develop executive functioning skills.
Lighthouse craft– Heading to the beach? Or maybe you are wishing you were heading to the beach this summer. Add this lighthouse craft to your summer line up to help kids work on fine motor skills, tool use, scissor skills, precision, grasp, eye-hand coordination, and more. This summer craft for older kids supports the development of scissor skills.
Jellyfish crafts– Check out some of these jellyfish craft ideas to help kids work on a variety of skill areas. Use the items you have in your house for crafty fun while working on fine motor skills, scissor use, tool use, and more.
Frog crafts– If your kids are like mine, they LOVE to find a frog or a toad. These frog crafts/toad crafts are great for helping kids build skills like fine motor strength, dexterity, motor planning. Pick the ones that look like fun and build specific skill areas and have fun.
Newt craft– This newt craft (or salamander craft) is one of my favorites from when my kids were younger. It’s a great craft idea to challenge scissor skills. Cutting paper towels are a way to grade up scissor work to make cutting more difficult. Kids can work on cutting a complex shape while building refined scissor use with a cute animal craft result.
Dragonfly craft– This dragonfly craft is a fine motor powerhouse. Kids will love to make a whole family of dragonflies while improving pinch and grip strength, intrinsic hand strength, open thumb web space, scissor skills, eye-hand coordination, and more.
Narwhal craft– I have a daughter that loves narwhals so this narwhal craft is a fun one to work on scissor skills, eye-hand coordination, motor planning, visual motor integration, and more. Ask kids to copy a drawing to grade up the skill building. Add this to your beach craft ideas, too.
Rainbow Xylophone craft– This summer activity is a fun one for kids. Collect soda bottles or empty water bottles and turn them into a DIY recycled xylophone with auditory processing and visual processing benefits. Kids can also gain oral motor control and oral motor input while playing the xylophone. This can be calming sensory activity for kids that they will love.
Butterfly craft– Work on fine motor skills, precision, eye-hand coordination, motor planning, bilateral coordination, and scissor skills with a butter fly craft for kids. We used cupcake liners for this craft, but you could use coffee filters or paper.
Ant crafts– These ant crafts are not only cute, they build a lot of skills, too. Use them to work on fine motor skills, coordination, strength, motor planning, and more.
Constellation crafts– Summer is the perfect time to gaze at stars. Add some of these constellation craft ideas to build skills with fine motor benefits.
Sunflower Craft– Kids can work on scissor skills and fine motor control to build precision with a cupcake liner sunflower craft. Use squeezable glue to build hand strength and in-hand manipulation to manipulate and position sunflower seeds. This is a scissor skills craft that builds many skills.
Flower Cupcake Line Craft– This flower craft allows kids to build scissor skills including graded use of refined scissor skills. Stopping a snip when cutting is a challenge for kids who are just starting out with scissors. Add this summer craft to your preschool craft ideas toolbox…or older kids. It’s great for any age!
More Summer Activities for Kids
Add these ideas to your summer occupational therapy ideas.
If adding Summer OT ideas to play is on your agenda this summer, be sure to check out This bundle of Summer occupational therapy activities includes 14 printable products that can be printed off and used with students in face-to-face sessions, or sent to students on your caseload via email. Each summer OT activity packet can be used in virtual sessions and to guide your teletherapy sessions.
The Summer Fine Motor Kit is a new resource that includes 90 pages of activities, worksheets, hands-on play, handwriting, and scissor skills work to address fine motor skills, dexterity, and coordination. This kit is included in the new Summer OT Bundle.
Summer OT Bundle, you’ll find:
- Beach Fun Google Slide Deck/PDF set
- Summer Spot It! Printable Game
- Hole Punch Cards for matching upper case and lower case letters
- 7 Roll and Write Play Dough Sheets – Apples, Bees, Bugs, Buttons, Donuts, Play Dough, and Unicorn themes
- Summer Fun Pencil Control Strips
- Summer Lists Writing Prompts
- Summer Number Practice
- Summer Visual Perception Pages
Add these summer activities to your summer therapy plans.
Use these Fine Motor Kits for hands-on activity kits to develop fine motor skills, strength, dexterity, and manipulation. Kids LOVE these fine motor kits for the motivating activities. Therapists love them because it’s fresh, fun ways to work on pinch, grip, manipulation skills, and much more. Try some of these themed therapy kits:
- Fall Fine Motor Kit
- Winter Fine Motor Kit
- Spring Fine Motor Kit
- Summer Fine Motor Kit
- Frogs and Toads Themed Fine Motor Kit
- Letters! Fine Motor Kit
- Outer Space Themed Fine Motor Kit
- Valentine’s Day Fine Motor Kit
- Penguin Themed Fine Motor Kit
- Snowman Themed Fine Motor Kit
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.