This collection of sunflower activities are perfect for adding to your therapy toolbox of weekly OT themes when it comes to helping kids develop skills through play. Check out the sunflower fine motor activities, sunflower crafts, and sunflower sensory play ideas below!
We are back with more seasonal activities that will be sure to put a smile on your face! After all, what is happier than a sunflower? We hope you use these crafts and activities to support the development and growth of your child’s skills, so we organized them accordingly. You’ll find projects to address fine, gross, and visual motor skills, as well as sensory, social-emotional, and cognitive needs as well!
Sunflower Fine Motor Activities
Do you have access to sunflower seeds? Use them in fine motor activities. Try these ideas using real sunflower seeds:
- Add to a sensory bin and add cups, scoops, and funnels to work on scooping and pouring as well as bilateral coordination skills.
- Use tweezers to pick up sunflower seeds.
- Pick sunflower seeds from the head of a sunflower
- Plant sunflower seeds in dirt.
If you are looking for Fall fine motor activities, than adding sunflower activities to the list is the way to go.
This Cupcake Liner Sunflower Craft challenges scissors skills, precision, and pincer grasps. Plus, you can strengthen the hands even more by squeezing a glue bottle while crafting.
I love addressing feeding needs with an artistic activity, just like this Fork Sunflower Painting. Using feeding utensils during play will work to develop the fine motor skills for self-feeding while participating in a meaningful and fun craft.
This Lacing Sunflower craft requires skills for using a hole punch, scissors, and lacing yarn – what more could you ask for? Go ahead and assess their visual motor skills while they are hole punching onto marked targets and lacing through holes, too!
Sunflower Gross Motor Activities
Sunflower Harvest Dash can be used to address gross motor skills in a group relay race or in a smaller session. Fill up a cup of sunflower seeds (or a ladle or spoon to increase the challenge) and race to the other side to dump your seeds into your sunflower bowl.
Place obstacles in between for a greater challenge. The bowl with the most sunflower seeds wins! This challenges dynamic movement, balance, and quick coordination/ gross motor problem solving skills. If working in teams, it can address social skills and team-building skills, too!
Use Reach and Squat Sunflower Vases to challenge your kiddo’s coordination, movement between sitting and standing, and visual spatial skills, too! Tape toilet paper or paper towel rolls to a wall at varying heights – these will be your “vases”. Have your child reach, jump, squat, lean, etc. to place flowers – real or crafted – into the vases. For an extra challenge, have a climbing feature near the wall to climb and place the flowers into very high vases.
Fall themed movement activities make kids smile and are always a safe bet to get kids the movement breaks they need to learn! Plus, you can add the extra challenge of motor coordination and visual processing skills by having them try to copy the movement on the picture, without demonstration. Grab the Fall Fine Motor Kit for gross and fine motor activities (including fun sunflower themed activities!)
Sunflower Activities to Develop Visual Skills
You can add sunflower activities designed to develop visual skills as they relate to handwriting, like letter recognition, letter reversals, and more!
A Visual Perception with Flowers worksheet can help develop skills of visual discrimination, spatial reasoning, visual motor skills, and motor planning.
Be sure to read more on visual motor skills to better understand various visual skills and what activities to do to improve each individual skill.
Sunflower Sensory Activities
Just about any theme can be made into a sensory bin for some sensory exploration – including a great Sunflower one! Add in additional activities or skills to address visual motor skills (scooping and dumping items) or fine motor skills (using tongs with items).
Sunflower Playdough is another great way to strengthen skills through working in a multisensory way – squish and mold the playdough onto images on mats, use a pincer grasp to place sunflower seeds, or anything their heart desires! Try to scent the sunflower playdough with earthy/floral essential oils for a more robust sensory experience.
Sunflower Activities for Social Emotional Learning
Sunflowers can be used to identify emotions as part of social emotional learning development. Use the sunflower cupcake liner craft to make sunflower faces and add emotional identification via facial expressions of others. Kids can draw faces onto the cupcake liners to help strengthen social bonds and understand how to name emotions of their own and others.
My favorite way to use these cards is as a tool to bring emotional regulation into the conversation; i.e, “Yes, this sunflower does feel sad – why do you think he is sad? What could he do to feel better?”.
This Positive Self Talk Flower worksheet can help those of us who have low-self esteem or lack of confidence. Starting here, with positive self-talk, may be the first step to encourage more successful social skills.
Here is another Sunflower Resource for positive thinking and coping skills. This was designed for group use but can easily be adapted for one-on-one or a take-home project as well.
Sunflower Activities for Executive Function
Crafts are a great way to incorporate attention, focus, task completion, impulse control, prioritization, and direction following! Use these flower crafts to focus on specific executive functioning skills. Just add yellow and brown paper to make the flowers into sunflowers.
Sequencing cards are definitely a go-to for me – someone has made one for just about every theme imaginable! These sunflower themed ones are perfect for addressing sequencing tasks and direction following.
Using sunflower seeds and petals in a Sunflower Life Cycle activity can challenge short term memory, problem-solving, and sequencing.
BOOKS ABOUT SUNFLOWERS
I always love to strengthen a theme with additional on-theme activities like a snack, a story or a place to visit. To fully embrace the sunflower theme, here are some sunflower books to check out from your local library:
That ought to get the ball rolling for some excellent sunflower-themed activities in your home, school, or clinic. We hope that you adapt these activities to best suit your practice and bring some sunshine to your day!
Sydney Thorson, OTR/L, is a new occupational therapist working in school-based therapy. Her
background is in Human Development and Family Studies, and she is passionate about
providing individualized and meaningful treatment for each child and their family. Sydney is also
a children’s author and illustrator and is always working on new and exciting projects.