Christmas Occupational Therapy Activities

Christmas occupational therapy activities

This time of year, it’s all about the Christmas trees, holiday spirit, and festivities, so these Christmas occupational therapy activities are sure to brighten therapy caseloads! Many years ago, we created a free December calendar with OT activities for Christmas, and you’ll want to grab that resource, too. But if you need extra therapy ideas to plan our a whole month of OT sessions, you’ll find tons of ideas here. Below, you’ll find activities and ideas to use in occupational therapy planning during the Christmas season while building skills in fine motor, visual motor, gross motor, and more.

Christmas occupational therapy activities

Christmas occupational therapy activities

I don’t know about you, but I’m getting into the Christmas spirit. Whether you are trying to think up some fun Christmas occupational therapy activities to add to the mix this month, or are looking for Christmas activities that kids and the whole family will love, it’s a fun time of year for adding creative Christmas ideas! 


That’s why I wanted to put together some therapist-approved Christmas activities for kids. These are ideas that add a motor component to learning and play. Stay tuned, because this week is all about Christmas activities for kids here on The OT Toolbox! 

First, let’s share some of our favorite free Christmas occupational therapy activities.

The team behind The OT Toolbox has been BUSY. There are new free resources you can grab:


These are all fun ways to support specific skills through play.

These Christmas OT activities would be a great way to get ideas for home programs or holiday break activities, too! 


These Christmas activities for kids are perfect for using in occupational therapy activities, in home programs, in the OT clinic, or in the classroom. All of the occupational therapy Christmas activities are designed to promote motor development including fine motor, gross motor, visual motor, and sensory, all with a Christmas theme!

Christmas Activities for Kids

Each of the Christmas activities below target specific skills such as sensory, fine motor, visual motor, etc. OR, they target age groups like toddler Christmas activities or preschool Christmas activities.

All of the activities and ideas you’ll find here are perfect for the occupational therapist looking for Christmas themed fine motor activities, sensory challenges, visual motor activities, gross motor ideas, brain breaks, and more!

I’ll link to all of the posts this week here but be sure to stop back each day to see the activities and ideas that you can use in therapy treatment sessions, in the classroom, and in the home. 

Christmas Activities for Toddlers– These toddler Christmas activities support development for younger children and support OT goals or the areas of development in toddlers.

Christmas Craft Ideas for Kids– Use these holiday crafts to build fine motor skills, eye-hand coordination, sensory moor skills, visual motor skills. Crafts are a powerful therapy tool and these Christmas OT crafts work on hand strength, scissor skills, and so much more.

Christmas Activities for Preschoolers– These Christmas OT activities for preschoolers develop skills in kids ages 3-5. These moor skill activities can be used in preschool occupational therapy programming or in occupational therapy early intervention.

Christmas Party Games for Kids– These holiday activities are great for occupational therapy sessions, but they are prefect for planning Christmas parties in the classroom, from the perspective of an occupational therapist mom! Use these fun holiday ideas at home, for family time too.

Christmas Sensory Activities– These Christmas sensory bins, Christmas sensory bottles, writing trays, and sensory dough activities support tactile sensory play during the holiday season. Use these sensory activities at home, in the therapy clinic, or at school to support skill building this time of year.

You’ll also love:

Christmas Fine Motor activities
Christmas fine motor activities to build hand strength.

Christmas Fine Motor Activities– These fine motor activities support eye-hand coordination, hand strength, motor planning skills, separation of the sides of the hand, finger isolation, and much more!

Christmas calendar


Be sure to grab our Christmas Occupational Therapy Calendar that is full of therapist-approved Christmas activities for kids this season.


NOTE-All of the activities and ideas indicated in this article as well as those listed are to be used as ideas to meet the individual needs of each child. All activities should be used according to the child’s individual evaluation and interventions.

More Christmas Activities

Working on handwriting with kids this Christmas season? Grab your copy of the Christmas Modified Handwriting Packet. It’s got three types of adapted paper that kids can use to write letters to Santa, Thank You notes, holiday bucket lists and much more…all while working on handwriting skills in a motivating and fun way! Read more about the adapted Christmas Paper here

The Modified Christmas paper is available inside the Member’s Club, in our Christmas Therapy Theme. Members can log in and grab all of those paper formats there.



 
Use these Christmas activities for kids in occupational therapy while working on skills like fine motor skills, gross motor skills, visual motor skills, sensory concerns and other occupational therapy goal areas!
 
 

Colleen Beck, OTR/L is an occupational therapist with 20+ years experience, graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. As the creator, author, and owner of the website and its social media channels, Colleen strives to empower those serving kids of all levels and needs. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

Christmas Crafts for Kids

Christmas crafts for kids

If you are looking for therapy ideas that build skills this time of year, then you will love these Christmas crafts for kids. These are craft ideas driven by fine motor skill development but also promote skills like hand strength, bilateral coordination, eye-hand coordination, precision of grasp, motor planning, direction following, and creativity. These holiday crafts are perfect for adding to your Christmas occupational therapy ideas.

From garlands to DIY Christmas ornaments, you AND the kids will love these holiday craft ideas. We’ve pulled our favorite Christmas tree crafts, reindeer crafts, snowman crafts, and Santa crafts all into one place. The best part is that these crafty ideas are perfect for the whole family (or therapy caseload…check out the fun Christmas crafts below for ideas that suit kindergarten up through the older kids! 

Christmas craft for kids


Christmas Crafts for Kids

If there is one most of us are short on this time of year, it’s time. There is just NO time to search Google for fine motor craft ideas or Christmas crafts to add to the occupational therapy activities in December. That’s why I wanted to put together a list of tons of ways to be creative with a Christmas craft for kids.

Christmas Crafts for kids for the holiday season crafting. These Christmas crafts for kids will keep the kids happy while strengthening fine motor skills, visual motor skills, coordination, and more while working on the skills kids need, all with Christmas crafts!


Most of these Christmas crafts are process-based but some are not, making them the perfect mix for the therapist looking for crafts that meet the needs of a varied occupational therapy caseload. Use the Christmas craft ideas below to add a holiday theme to your therapy plans this month!

This post is part of our Christmas Activities for Kids series we’ve got going on this week. It’s all designed to share holiday activities so you don’t need to search all over the internet! If you missed yesterday’s post, you’ll want to check out Christmas Activities for Toddlers to find occupational therapy activities designed for the 2-3 year old age range.

These are activities, games, and ideas for kids with a Christmas theme that can be used in occupational therapy treatment in the home, school, or clinic!

If you missed the announcement post on our Christmas Activities for Kids series, you’ll want to check it out. We’ll have a different Christmas activity theme each day this week!

Christmas Craft for Kids Supplies

This time of year, it’s a great idea to have a craft supply center out for kids to get crafting. Use the kid-made crafts as holiday gifts for family, package toppers, or to attach to a family holiday card. You can even attach a small craft to a candy cane for easy gift-giving.

Most of the Christmas crafting supplies can be found in a dollar store or for fairly cheap, making this December bucket list item easy and a fun way to spend days leading up to the holidays. 

Some Christmas craft supplies you can have on hand include:

  • Pipe cleaners
  • Glitter
  • Craft pom poms
  • Glue
  • Cotton balls
  • Paper plates
  • Clear plastic Christmas ornaments
  • Clothes pins
  • Googly eyes
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Beads
  • Buttons
  • Construction paper or card stock
  • Yarn
  • Ribbon
  • Hot glue
  • Thread
  • Plastic lid
  • Wreath form
  • Mason jar

Once you have a collection of materials, you can start making an easy Christmas craft!

As a therapist, I love to see the fine motor skills, scissor skills, and sensory input accomplished through crafting as an occupation. But there is the opportunity for creative thinking, executive functioning skill work, and motor planning at work too. 

Set out a bin or basket of the crafting materials above and let the child explore and create. You can give them an idea of what to create…Ask them “Do they think they can make a Santa Claus using the materials they have in front of them?” By offering a crafting target and the materials with an open-ended craft idea, you are adding in skills such as planning, prioritization, working memory, problem solving. These skills are very much related to the emotional regulation when a project is needing completed but there are challenges in the way. A simple holiday craft can be a fun way to address and develop this skill. 

Some Christmas crafting ideas include:

  • Santa Claus
  • Elf
  • Angels
  • Christmas gifts
  • Rudolf 
  • Reindeer
  • Christmas tree ornaments
  • Snowman craft
  • Christmas wreath
  • Gnome
  • Santa’s beard
  • Cookies
  • Christmas tree
  • Christmas art

You can also challenge kids to use specific forms of crafting: fingerprints art, handprints, salt dough crafts, or one of our Christmas templates. Whatever the type of craft, you’ll find tons of ways to develop skills.

Christmas Craft Ideas

Some of our favorite ways to craft this time of year include:

Bear Christmas ornament craft
Bear Christmas ornament craft



Scissor Skills Reindeer Craft- Another Christmas craft that is based on a children’s book is this Olive the Other Reindeer Ornament that doubles as a scissor skills craft. Wouldn’t it be fun to make a whole Christmas tree full of ornaments made in therapy sessions?

Bilateral Coordination Bear Craft- This bear craft Christmas ornament helps kids use bilateral coordination and motor planning to wrap twine around a bear, making it a fun craft and a powerful therapy tool too! This Christmas craft goes along with a popular children’s book, making it a great craft to share as “occupational therapy homework” over the holiday break!

Christmas tree craft



Hand Strength Christmas Tree Craft- Use this Christmas Tree Fine Motor Craft activity to develop strength in the hands and more. This activity uses a hole punch to create lights for each Christmas tree. The bonus with this craft is the learning and math component. Add a colorful twist by adding colored tissue paper to the backs of the trees with glue.

Fine motor Christmas tree craft
Build a Christmas tree with clothespins

Clothespin Christmas Tree Craft- Paint clothes pins and a painters stick and ask students to build a Christmas tree while developing fine motor skills. You can use this activity over and over again in therapy sessions. Read the instructions and the why behind this Christmas tree craft.

Pinecone Christmas tree
Pine cone Christmas tree

Pine Cone Christmas tree- This is another Christmas tree craft that kids will love. It builds fine motor skills, eye-hand coordination, and bilateral coordination skills, too. Read the instructions to make a pine cone Christmas tree of your own.

Fine motor Christmas card craft
Christmas card with tree




Hand Strengthening Christmas Card Craft- This Homemade Christmas Card for kids is a fun Christmas card kids can make for family or friends. It provides an opportunity for hand strengthening with the hole punch Christmas tree. Sneak some handwriting practice in, too!

Bottlecap Christmas tree craft
Bottlecap Christmas tree craft




In-Hand Manipulation Bottle Cap Christmas Tree- Use recycled bottle caps to make this Bottle Cap Fine Motor Christmas Tree Craft. This fine motor activity can be a holiday decoration that boosts fine motor skills such as precision, in-hand manipulation, tip-to-tip pincer grasp, rotation and dexterity of the fingers needed for in-hand manipulation, and bilateral coordination.

Christmas tree fingerprint
Christmas tree fingerprint craft



Finger Isolation Ornament- This ornament craft is based on the well-known children’s book, Little Tree. Read the book and then make the ee cummings Little Tree Christmas Ornament AND sneak in fine motor skills like finger isolation, scissor skills, and so many other skills.

Christmas holly craft made with bottle caps
Christmas holly craft made with bottle caps




Process Art Ornament- This Bottle Caps Holly Ornament  is a creative process craft and if you make them with friends or in a classroom setting, there will be no two that look exactly alike. This Christmas craft for kids is a powerhouse for the fine motor development that occurs:  Scissor skills, bilateral coordination, eye hand coordination, and more.

Plastic lid ornament craft.
Plastic lid ornament craft.

Plastic Lid Ornament Craft– Use recycled plastic lids to make an ornament craft using washi tape. We then used a bunch of the lids to make an ornament garland. Read the instructions for this ornament garland craft.

Snowman craft for Christmas
Snowman craft to build fine motor skills.



Paper cup snowman craft- This snowman craft uses crafting materials that build fine motor skills and pencil control skills. Add details with a fine tipped marker to work on pre-handwriting or pencil control skills.

Egg carton snowman craft
Snowman egg carton craft

Snowman Fine Motor Craft- Creating this Snowman Fine Motor Craft is a fun way to develop skills like bilateral coordination, pincer grasp and more. This craft is one that builds fine motor strength and precision while creating a fun holiday decoration.

Make an egg carton Christmas tree
Make an egg carton Christmas tree to build fine motor skills.




Fine Motor Christmas Tree Craft- This Fine Motor Christmas Tree Craft addresses many skills needed for development and function. This craft has been very popular here on The OT Toolbox, and for a good reason!  It’s a way to recycle egg cartons while working on various skills: bilateral coordination, fine motor strength, precision, eye-hand coordination, visual attention, spatial awareness, arch development, wrist extension and stability, and more.

Pipe cleaner Christmas tree craft
Pipe cleaner Christmas tree craft builds fine motor skills.


Tripod Grasp Christmas Tree- Kids will love this Pattern Christmas Tree Craft because they can make it as sparkly as they like! Encourage a little math and visual motor work with patterns on the Christmas tree while promoting a tripod grasp. 

spaghetti wreath christmas craft
Spaghetti wreath craft is a great sensory craft for Christmas.



Tactile Sensory Play Wreath Ornament- This Spaghetti Wreath Ornament is another process art Christmas craft that kids will love. In fact, it’s a sensory goldmine and can be used for sensory play along with fine motor work and crafting! 

Christmas tree suncatcher
Christmas tree suncatcher craft



Precision Christmas Tree Suncatcher Craft- Need a Christmas craft that helps with precision and dexterity? This Christmas Tree Sun Catcher Craft will make the windows look festive!




Holiday Crafts without a Christmas Theme- To switch things up, here are several Winter Bird Crafts that boost fine motor skills and can be done this month or all winter long.


Kid-Made Christmas Ornament Crafts Looking for ornaments the kids can make? This collection of ideas has something for everyone. It’s a great way for kids to make a holiday gift for their family while working on fine motor skills and other occupational therapy goals.

Easy Christmas Crafts

Therapy professionals are always looking for craft ideas that can be graded to meet the different needs of a variety of skill levels. Especially during this busy time of year, it can be so difficult to manage all of the holiday events in a school day (holiday parties, parades, school-wide assemblies, special events, sick kids that miss days of school, etc.) that meeting required IEP minutes during the month of December is tricky sometimes.

That’s why a school based OT needs a quick craft idea that builds skills no matter what level the student is at: from preschool or pre-K up through high school and with a variety of skill-building areas. These craft ideas are simple, and can be graded up or down depending on the abilities of the student:

Pipe cleaner stars are an easy Christmas craft for kids
Thread beads onto pipe cleaners to work on fine motor skills.
  1. Thread beads onto pipe cleaners like we did in at our winter party.
Popsicle stick snowflake
Use craft sticks to make a snowflake.

2. Use popsicle sticks to make a snowflake to challenge tactile sensory touch and fine motor skills.

paper icicle craft
Cut paper icicles to work on scissor skills.

3. Cut out paper icicles (we have a template in that post) to work on scissor skills and eye-hand coordination.

Need more Christmas ideas? These Christmas Activities for Preschoolers are a big hit, too!

Need Christmas craft ideas for this holiday season? These Christmas crafts for kids will keep the kids happy while strengthening fine motor skills, visual motor skills, coordination, and more while working on the skills kids need, all with Christmas crafts!

More Christmas Activities for Kids


Working on handwriting with kids this Christmas season? Grab your copy of the Christmas Modified Handwriting Packet.

It’s got three types of adapted paper that kids can use to write letters to Santa, Thank You notes, holiday bucket lists and much more…all while working on handwriting skills in a motivating and fun way! Read more about the adapted Christmas Paper here.

Need Christmas craft ideas for this holiday season? These Christmas crafts for kids will keep the kids happy while strengthening fine motor skills, visual motor skills, coordination, and more while working on the skills kids need, all with Christmas crafts!

Christmas Crafts and Handwriting

Pair the Christmas crafts with Christmas handwriting. Use one of the Christmas crafts for preschool parties or school holiday parties this time of year.

Then, students can use the modified paper below to write a list of holiday words or even directions to complete the Christmas tree craft or reindeer antlers! 

Breathing Star

mindfulness-for-kids-christmas-coloring-page

This breathing star coloring page is perfect for Christmas Mindfulness and winter mindfulness activities…but today, we’ve got star breathing tool for you.

Discussing mindfulness for kids is a powerful strategy in addressing so many needs. Kids with sensory processing needs or self-regulation needs, or even emotional regulation needs may benefit from this holiday awareness activity.

Breathing Star

First, let’s talk about what a breathing star is.

A breathing star is a visual prompt that allows kids to follow a star design with their eyes or fingers to guide mindful and deep breathing. The breathing star can be a variety of shapes or forms, but the benefits are the same.

A breathing star might include:

  • A breathing star drawn on paper while doodling
  • A printable star coloring page like the one below
  • A star with arrows that a user can follow with deep breaths
  • This Star of David deep breathing tool

It’s a free printable Christmas coloring page with benefits! Scroll below to grab your printable page.

mindfulness-for-kids-christmas-coloring-page

This mindfulness tool goes along well with our wreath breathing exercise,  Pumpkin deep breathing exercise, and Thanksgiving mindfulness activity.

what does mindfulness for kids mean?

Why Use a Breathing Star?

First, let’s talk about what mindfulness means. Mindfulness in children is the ability to be aware of one’s actions and self in the moment. 

Mindfulness for kids is an important part of self regulation and the ability to regulate our senses, feelings, and body.

Consideration of well-being is important in addressing occupations across environments. OT practitioners can address mindfulness as a means for improving regulation, self-efficiency, stress, anxiety, trauma exposure, or other issues the child may face. Some mindfulness strategies for kids include breath awareness, body sweep, and labeling of feelings.

One such mindfulness tool for children includes deep breathing. Combining this with stress-reducing coloring or focused activity can be a means for helping kids to become aware of how their body is responding to outside input or stressors.

You’ve probably seen the variety of coloring books out there designed as coping tools for stress or anxiety. These can be a way to teach kids about focused awareness and mindfulness in the moment.

It allows us to focus on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting what’s happening on the inside: in our feelings, thoughts, or sensations. This can be a tough skill for kids to master and why a breathing star can support that need.

For kids, mindfulness is a skill that allows them to be aware of their body and how it’s responding in the moment. Mindfulness for kids is important for them to have the ability to pay attention and responding to input from the world around us.

Mindfulness in kids means noticing their body and the things happening around them. It has a lot to do with impulse control. Just like any other skill, mindfulness is an ability that develops over time.

It’s easy to see how this skill relates to so many other areas that occupational therapists address: self-regulation, self-confidence, attention, social-emotional skills, coping skills, sensory processing, impulsivity and inhibition, and overall well being.

Also be sure to check out these Mindfulness for Kids YouTube Videos.

How to Use a Breathing Star Visual Support

A tool like this self regulation star is easy to use:

  1. Start with a pointer finger pointing at any of the points on the star.
  2. Take a deep breath in as the finger traces along the arrow.
  3. When you reach one of the points of the star, pause and hold your breath.
  4. Then, trace along the arrow to the next point as you breathe out.
  5. When you reach the next point of the star, your lungs will be empty. Pause and hold your breath with empty lungs.
  6. Continue as you trace along the outer edge of the star, pausing to hold your breath at each point.

How Does a Breathing Star Work?

The best thing about the printable breathing star is that it is a visual cue that can be used in any situation or no matter the environment.

We cover how a printable tool like this sensory breath star can support a variety of needs in our resource on breathing exercises.

The benefit of the breathing star is the pause points at the end of each star’s point. This pause point allows for breath control. As the breath is held after filling the lungs or emptying the lungs, the lungs continue to expand as does the rib cage. This offers interoceptive awareness as heavy work fills the chest area.

We cover this sensory strategy in our resource on relaxation breathing.

Occupational therapy practitioners working with children are interested in the well-being and the whole child. Functioning and independence in daily occupations are impacted by the “whole child”. The breathing sensory star offers the tool to support these needs.

Christmas star mindfulness for kids activity and coping strategy for deep breathing and awareness.

Below is a free printable coloring page for holiday mindfulness. Pair this with our Christmas Mindfulness coloring page for a mindfulness exercise for kids.

Get a Christmas Star Mindfulness Coloring Page

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    Christmas Mindfulness

    Use this Christmas mindfulness activity as a coping strategy for kids during the holidays.

    If Christmas mindfulness is something you would like to achieve this holiday season, we’ve got a seasonal strategy for you. This deep breathing Christmas tree exercise is sure to be a go-to Christmas season mindfulness activity that supports self-regulation needs for kids and families. Use this holiday sensory tool along with our breathing star.

    Christmas Mindfulness

    This time of year, most of us knee deep in holiday planning, prep work, and to-do lists! Having a few mindfulness for kids tools up your sleeve is a good idea this time of year. Today, I wanted to provide some tips on mindfulness during the holidays.

    For our kids with self-regulation needs or emotional regulation challenges that impact learning, emotions, anxiety, or worries, the holiday season can be a time of even more concern.

    Over the holidays, school and routines are off. There may be late nights at holiday parties, parents out for work events, unfamiliar family and friends visiting, new sights and sounds. All of this sensory input and environmental input can put a regulation system on overdrive.

    Then, in the school environment, there may be school parties, special events, and special themed days. The classroom Christmas party (or winter party) can be cause for sensory overload for some kids. Picture a classroom full of excited children at the end of a semester. The noises, sights, and environmental input can be just too much.

    In the community, there is holiday music, crowds, and a sense of excitement in the air. This can be a reason all its own for Christmas mindfulness tools.

    Then imagine the child with regulation needs at a family party with unfamiliar guests, a scratchy sweater, strange smells, and lots of noise. A Christmas mindfulness tool that the child can pull out and use to ease worries or stressors can be a great strategy for this time of year.

    Kids are barraged by schedule changes, anticipation of holiday events, later bedtimes, holiday travel, parent/teacher stress, increased sugar…and more. They feel these big feelings and can “lose it”, seemingly at the drop of a hat. Children can melt down in front of our eyes. This time of year perhaps especially, there is SO much going on inside those little bodies and minds. Focusing on mindfulness and coping strategies can help.

    I mean, think about it this way: We as adults are totally stressed out by deadlines, shopping lists, travel, extended family, holiday budgets, and the never-ending to-do lists.

    Our kids see that stress and anxiety.

    Think about our kiddos with sensory struggles. They are bombarded by lights and music, hustle and bustle in the grocery store, shopping mall, and even by the neighborhood lights. The later bedtimes and influx of sensory input is a challenge to process for them. It’s overwhelming and exhausting.

    Think about our students with praxis or motor issues. There are crowds to navigate, auditorium stages to maneuver and they need to do it FAST. There are schedules to maintain and growing to-do lists!

    And that’s just the beginning. All of our kids…no matter what their strengths or needs be…struggle with the change in routines, the adult stress, anticipation, holiday projects, gift giving issues, that extra sugar from holiday sweets, itchy holiday sweaters and scratchy tights, or mom’s stress from holiday traffic.

    That “iceberg” of underlying issues and concerns is a holiday version that leads to emotional breakdowns, poor coping skills, and sensory meltdowns.

    Now, think about the kiddo with executive functioning challenges. They can’t plan ahead or prioritize tasks when they have a holiday letter to write, a classroom sing-along to practice for, and Grandma’s house to visit next weekend. It’s hard for them to function when their routine is off kilter and anticipation is high.

    Christmas Mindfulness Activity

    Below, you will find a Christmas mindfulness activity and some coping strategies to address the holiday stress. This mindfulness tool goes along well with our Pumpkin deep breathing exercise, and Thanksgiving mindfulness activity.

    Christmas mindfulness activity for kids during the holiday season.

    When we think about the holidays from the perspective of a child. Having a set of mindfulness activities for kids is a great way to fill their toolbox with strategies they can use each day.

    Essentially, the post urges us to be mindful of the child’s thought process, emotions, and coping strategies this time of year.

    Holiday Mindfulness

    Below, you’ll find a printable Deep breathing Christmas tree printable that kids can use to support regulation needs.

    Print off the sheet and trace along the arrows as the user breathes deeply in and out. This calm and centering visual tracking paired with deep breathing can help the user to focus with mindful breathing.

    Mindful breathing is helpful in calming heart rate, easing anxious thoughts, and helping the user to focus on one thought rather than the many thoughts that may be running through their head.

    You can even pair the visual Christmas mindfulness breathing tool with visualizations.

    • Ask the user to visualize a calm space with a lit Christmas tree in a dimly lit room.
    • Ask the user to visualize a calm space rather than the hustle and bustle that may be happening around them.
    • Invite the user to imagine deeply breathing in the scent of a Christmas tree and breathing out the same scent as they empty their lungs.
    • Invite the user to picture the worry and anxiety slowly releasing from their body as they move down the slopes of the Christmas tree.
    • Pair the deep breathing with thoughts of things that remind you of peace and love (for example) for with each breath.
    • For each layer of the tree, kids can concentrate on one thing, person, or aspect of the holidays that they are grateful for. Thinking about whatever it is that you are grateful for is a simple way to pair the benefits of slow deep breaths with intentional thoughts.

    Then, show the user how to carry over this Christmas mindfulness strategy using a real Christmas tree.

    1. After using the printable Christmas tree deep breathing exercise, they can look at a real Christmas tree and trace the lines of the tree’s sides with their eyes as they breathe in and breathe out.
    2. Ask them to trace an imaginary Christmas tree, or triangle shape on the palm of their hand using the pointer finger of their other hand.

    This becomes a Christmas mindfulness tool that they can use any where and any time even without the printable exercise.

    Christmas mindfulness activity

    Christmas COping Tools

    This holiday season, I wanted to fill your toolbox with the tools your little one (or client/student) needs to thrive.

    These are the strategies and tips we can use to slow down, take a deep breath, and recognize the underlying issues going on behind behaviors, meltdowns, and frustrations.

    Because when you have the tools in place, you have a blueprint for success in the child.

    Here are some holiday tools that can help both YOU and a CHILD struggling with all that this time of year brings:

    Christmas Mindfulness

    This is a coloring page. Use it as a handout or home program. Kids can color it in and work on fine motor skills, too!

    Use the Christmas mindfulness handout with kids as a group or individually. You can set this up in several ways. Ask them fist to list out some things they are grateful for. Then, quietly say an item with each breath break.

    As a mindfulness group activity, use the Christmas tree graphic and explain that they will be pairing deep breathing with a focus on love or peace. Come up with a list of things the group loves about the holidays. As you work through he deep breathing exercise, the children in the group can focus on things that brings them peace personally.

    Or, you could invite the child to think in their head about some things that remind them of the holidays and then with each breath in, they intentionally concentrate on that thing/person/idea.

    More Christmas Mindfulness Strategies

    Here are more coping tools for kids that focus on addressing underlying needs so that kids can function. Use these strategies as part of a sensory diet or within the day.

    The thing about mindfulness is that the tools that support needs will differ for every individual. During the holiday season, there are ways to support mindful needs with the holidays in mind:

    Free printable Christmas Mindfulness Printable

    Want to grab our Christmas tree mindfulness deep breathing exercise? Enter your email address into the form below. This printable is also available inside The OT Toolbox Member’s Club. Members can log in and head over to our Mindfulness Toolbox where we have this and other Christmas mindfulness printable exercises.

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      Wishing you a thriving, stress-free, and functional holiday season for you and those kiddos you serve!

      Christmas Games for Kids

      Christmas party games for kids

      Looing for a few ways to develop skills through Christmas games for kids of all ages? I’ve got you covered! These therapy games for Christmas are perfect for a classroom holiday party, a virtual Christmas party, or even Christmas youth group games that get kids engaged and having fun as a group. You’ll love how easy these games are to set up (most use holiday items from around the home)…and the therapists here will love the skill-building benefits of these Christmas occupational therapy activities!

      Christmas Games for Kids

      This time of year, there are classroom holiday parties and Christmas party activities to plan. When planning Christmas activities for kids, I love to put on my “therapy hat” and make the games movement-based, promoting development, and fun, all with a holiday theme. Here are Christmas party games for kids that double as therapist-approved!

      Christmas party games for kids that help with areas of development through movement and play, perfect for kids Christmas parties, holiday parties,indoor recess, or occupational therapy activities during the Christmas season..

      Christmas party Ideas for Kids

      When there is a classroom Christmas party to plan (or hey, even a fun office Christmas party…) it can be hard to come up with ideas that are quick, inexpensive, festive, and develop skills. These Christmas party ideas can be used to promote skills like fine motor, gross motor, and sensory processing. 

      Try these Christmas fine motor activities to boost skills like precision, hand strength, grasp, and other skills needed for tasks like pencil grasp and managing clothing fasteners. 

      Try these Christmas sensory activities for messy, tactile, and sensory play during Christmas games.

      What is a Christmas party for kids without a Christmas craft activity? The ones listed in this post promote visual motor skills and fine motor skills. 

      That’s why I was super excited to share a collection of Christmas party games for kids. These holiday party games are perfect for promoting development, play, and movement with a Christmas theme.

      Use these kids’ Christmas games for classroom parties, kid-friendly family parties, or even as a break from holiday shopping or while waiting at a restaurant. Each of these games are great for promoting the skills kids need while providing sensory input, visual motor skills, coordination, balance, and more.


      This post is part of this week’s Christmas Activities for Kids series here on The OT Toolbox. Each day this week, we’re rounding up fun and creative ways to play and support development in kids with a Christmas theme. If you missed any of the posts this week, be sure to check them out on the main Christmas Activities For Kids page.


      Each of these Christmas Games for Kids and Party Ideas are separated into skill area, so if you are hosting an occupational therapy Christmas event, then these would be a perfect fit!


      Are the kids ready for some holiday celebrations? Here are party games that pack a therapist-approved punch!


      Christmas Games FOR bALANCE AND cOORDINATION

      First, this list of Christmas Proprioception Activities may be just the thing for a transition activity in the classroom. This time of year especially, the regular routines can be off and holiday excitement is on a high level. A movement activity can be a great transition activity.

      Christmas Twister- You’ll need a Twister game for this party game. You could also create a Twister board on the floor using masking tape. On the Twister game mat, tape squares of paper. On each piece of paper, write Christmas-themed words. Each color should have the same Christmas themed word. Then, they can put their right hand on “gift” or left leg on “reindeer”, etc.

      Santa Says- Put a spin on Simon Says with a Santa hat and even a beard! Kids can move, listen, and balance with this fun Christmas party game! Use these printable Simon Says commands to target specific skills during the game.

      Santa Toss- Use our Santa Snack Cups to play a game of toss. Kids can either toss cotton balls or ping pong balls into the cups or play a game of catch as they try to toss a ping pong ball from one cup to a partner’s cup.

      Gift Push- Load cardboard boxes with heavy objects like books.  Ask the child to push the boxes across a room.  For less resistance, do this activity on a carpeted floor.  For more heavy work, do this activity outside on the driveway or sidewalk. This can be a relay race where teams of students transport gifts across a room. The students can wear Santa hats as they push “sleighs” across a space.

      Reindeer Kick- Promote calming proprioceptive input through the upper body with wheelbarrow race type movements. Kids can also stand on their arms and legs in a quadruped position and kick their legs up. Try other animal walk types of movements with races with a group of students or children.

      Here are a few more reindeer themed party games with ideas like Pin the Nose on Rudolph and Pass the Stocking (a great game for classroom parties!)

      Christmas party games for kids that help with areas of development through movement and play, perfect for kids Christmas parties, holiday parties,indoor recess, or occupational therapy activities during the Christmas season..


      Christmas Games FOR EYE-HAND COORDINATION

      Below are some active games promoting eye-hand coordination. These are great for the classroom or for a kid-friendly holiday party:

      Mitten Toss- Fill a plastic sandwich bag with dry beans and tape to secure. Push the filled bag into a mitten.   Use the mitten as a DIY bean bag in tossing target games. Or, make regular bean bags into snowflake beanbags. They can be used to toss into a bucket or bin. 

      Bean Bag Relay Race- This is a great relay game for a large group of students. Split the group into teams. Each team should stand in a line. The beanbags can be in a bucket in front of the first person in each line. The first student can pass the bean bag between their legs to the person behind them. That person can pass the bean bag to the student behind them by handing it over their head. Each team can race to pass all of the bean bags over and under the heads and legs of each member in the lines. The first team to get all of their beanbags to the end of the line wins.

      Snowball Toss- Use a ping pong ball or soft craft pom pom in a tossing game. Use these homemade Santa Cups as targets. Making the cups is half of the fun!

      Christmas Cookie Relay- Make these EASY no-sew felt cookies and use them in a relay race with friends. Teams can race to move all of the cookies on a cookie tray to plates on the other side of the room by using a spatula to carry ONE cookie at a time from the cookie sheet to the plates. The first team to finish is the winner!  

      Sensory Christmas Games


      Jingle Bell Shake- Every child puts their head down or covers their eyes. One child moves around the room and shakes jingle bells. Other students need to listen to where the child moves. Then, the child stops shaking the jingle bells and continues to move silently. They can hide somewhere in the room. Then the other students need to race to where they think the child is hiding. Ask students to hold jingle bells by the small loop to promote fine motor skills, too!


      Christmas Gift Wrap- Wrap a gift with many layers of wrapping paper. Two kids can put on oven mitts and race to open a gift.  The first one to open the gift wins. To play with a group of students, use a timer and have the kids attempt to open the gifts for 10 seconds, and then pass the oven mitts to the next player when the buzzer sounds.


      Stocking Guess- Fill a stocking with many small items. A child should reach into the stocking and feel an object. They can guess what the object is by touch. Try to guess all of the objects in the stocking. Use items like small ornaments, mini candy canes, miniature Christmas trees and other items.

      Jingle bell activities for fine motor skills and Christmas parties for kids, these bell activities are great for fine motor skills!


      Christmas Games FOR VISUAL PERCEPTION

      These Christmas games develop skills like visual perceptual skills, attention, memory, impulse control, and other executive functioning skills.

      Use Christmas ornaments in Christmas games that develop visual perceptual skills, memory, and attention.


      DIY “I Spy” Christmas Game- We played this DIY I Spy game with real toys in the past. For this Christmas party game, you will first need to gather various small items and Christmas themed toys. Items may include: candy canes, small stocking, bells, berries, pine twigs, figures, and ornaments of various colors. Spread all of the items on a table. Kids can play “I Spy” by visually scanning for a particular item described by its color or shape.

      Christmas party games for kids that help with areas of development through movement and play, perfect for kids Christmas parties, holiday parties,indoor recess, or occupational therapy activities during the Christmas season..

      Christmas Ornament What’s Missing- Use those same Christmas themed items in a “what’s missing” game that works on visual scanning, visual memory, figure ground, visual discrimination and other visual perceptual skill games. Show the student all of the items and then cover them with a stocking or Santa hat. Take away one of the items. Then reveal the items and see if the child can recall the “visual picture” they saw before to identify the missing item(s).

      Christmas party games for kids that help with areas of development through movement and play, perfect for kids Christmas parties, holiday parties,indoor recess, or occupational therapy activities during the Christmas season..

      Christmas Writing Games

      Use Christmas paper to list out Christmas items on a tray. Kids can race to write as many items as they can. The only rule? Handwriting must be legible!

      Use Christmas paper to work on line awareness and letter formation while writing a letter to Santa.

      List out as many words as you can spell using the letters in a word or phrase such as “Christmas Party” or “Santa Claus”, or “Frosty the Snowman”.

      Write a list of holiday kindness activities. Make it a checklist and get started on sharing holiday cheer.

      Working on handwriting with kids this Christmas season? Grab your copy of the Christmas Modified Handwriting Packet. It’s got three types of adapted paper that kids can use to write letters to Santa, Thank You notes, holiday bucket lists and much more…all while working on handwriting skills in a motivating and fun way!

      More Christmas Games that Build Skills

      You’ll find more occupational therapy Christmas games and holiday party activities in our Christmas Therapy Kit. The kit includes materials to develop a huge variety of skills. Use them in obstacle courses, gross motor brain breaks, Simon Says games (call it Santa Says!), fine motor activities, party crafts, and much more.

      Looking for done-for you therapy activities this holiday season?

      This print-and-go Christmas Therapy Kit includes no-prep, fine motor, gross motor, self-regulation, visual perceptual activities…and much more… to help kids develop functional grasp, dexterity, strength, and endurance. Use fun, Christmas-themed, motor activities so you can help children develop the skills they need.

      This 100 page no-prep packet includes everything you need to guide fine motor skills in face-to-face AND virtual learning. You’ll find Christmas-themed activities for hand strength, pinch and grip, dexterity, eye-hand coordination, bilateral coordination, endurance, finger isolation, and more. 

      Colleen Beck, OTR/L is an occupational therapist with 20+ years experience, graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. As the creator, author, and owner of the website and its social media channels, Colleen strives to empower those serving kids of all levels and needs. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

      Elf I Spy WOrksheet

      elf worksheet for elf I spy activities

      Are you looking for a holiday themed activity to address emotional regulation in the weeks leading up to Christmas?  This Elf I Spy worksheet is a great way to address emotional regulation, while working on visual perceptual skills at the same time! Print off the free I Spy printable and use it to build skills. This would even go REALLY well with an Elf on the Shelf coloring sheet to add to your holiday activities! This elf worksheet goes perfectly with our recent Santa I spy printable.

      Elf worksheet for working on emotions I spy with kids.

      Elf Printable

      Many students have experience with an elf arriving at their house this month so be prepared to hear all about the hijinks that might be going at home when you use this activity in your therapy sessions. 

      While the elf or other traditions can be fun and exciting for children, it can be hard for some people to manage the ups and downs of the holiday season.  This worksheet provides a framework for discussing all the emotions your students might be processing at this time of year.

      Maybe your elf on the shelf can deliver this worksheet from the North Pole as an easy elf themed activity that develops skills!

      Elf Emotions

      When you begin working with your students using the Elf I Spy printable as an emotions worksheet, focus your students attention to the bottom of the page.  It will be important for your students to study the elves first to be able to use their visual discrimination skills to identify the similarities and differences. 

      Some of the differences are quite subtle so encourage your students to notice the small differences like the shape of the eyes or mouth.

      The next step includes assigning a color to each of the elves at the bottom of the page.  You could let your students choose whatever colors they prefer or you could ask them to match the colors to the Zones of Regulation: red, yellow, green, and blue.  

      Once the colors have been assigned, it’s time to start visual scanning and coding the elves at the top of the page.  Encourage your students to scan in an organized way.  Students who struggle with executive functioning might have a hard time completing this task in an organized and efficient manner.  Here is an opportunity to provide some coaching on how to improve their execution of this visual task.  

      For students who struggle with visual perception, you could provide the following intervention strategies and accommodations:

      • Demonstrate how to use a tracking tool such as a ruler to help keep their place as they work
      • Try covering some of the elves with another piece of paper to limit the amount of visual information.  Move the paper down as they scan.

      Other ways to address Emotional Regulation

      The Zones of Regulation program is often used by school staff to address emotional regulation with students.  You may be wondering about other ways you can address emotional regulation during your therapy sessions.

      Mindfulness is a proven tool for promoting regulation in children as well as adults.  With the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it may be a great time to start incorporating a “mindful minute” into the beginning or end of your sessions with students.  A “mindful minute” is just what it sounds like!  Have your students find a comfortable position sitting on the floor or at the table. Take a deep breath and exhale. On the inhale, start a timer for 1 minute.  Count the number of breaths you take in and out in 1 minute.  For students who may have a hard time taking deep breaths, you could encourage them to lie on a yoga mat with a little stuffed animal resting on their belly.  Can they give the stuffed animal a ride as they take deep breaths in and out?  

      Here are some other mindfulness activities and resources:

      Another great strategy for promoting regulation is deep breathing.  Deep breathing encourages self regulation by sending a message to the brain to slow down.  Taking deep breaths is an effective way to calm the sympathetic nervous system.  Here are a couple more holiday themed deep breathing resources for you to print and use with your students:

      These are perfect to incorporate into your mindful minute or to use as students transition into your therapy space or back to the classroom.  

      Identify Elf emotions on the Elf Worksheet

      Asking your students to identify 2 tools for each zone using the elf emotions is another way you could extend this activity in your therapy sessions. 

      For example, what are some tools a silly elf could use to move from the yellow zone to the green zone?  Would deep breathing or stretching theraband help the elves regulate?  Have the students practice the tools that match up with each zone.  This will help them build their own tool box for self regulation!

      Free Elf Worksheet for I Spy Emotions

      Want to add this elf worksheet to your holiday therapy toolbox? Enter your email address into the form below and the printable will arrive in your email inbox. OR, if you are a Member’s Club member, just log into your account and find this and hundreds of other resources ready to download.

      Free Elf Emotions I Spy Worksheet

        We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at anytime.

        Colleen Beck, OTR/L is an occupational therapist with 20+ years experience, graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. As the creator, author, and owner of the website and its social media channels, Colleen strives to empower those serving kids of all levels and needs. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

        Looking for done-for you therapy activities this holiday season?

        This print-and-go Christmas Therapy Kit includes no-prep, fine motor, gross motor, self-regulation, visual perceptual activities…and much more… to help kids develop functional grasp, dexterity, strength, and endurance. Use fun, Christmas-themed, motor activities so you can help children develop the skills they need.

        This 100 page no-prep packet includes everything you need to guide fine motor skills in face-to-face AND virtual learning. You’ll find Christmas-themed activities for hand strength, pinch and grip, dexterity, eye-hand coordination, bilateral coordination, endurance, finger isolation, and more. 

        Christmas Sensory Stations

        Christmas sensory stations

        We love a good sensory path. With quick sensory stations, mindfulness breaks, movement, heavy work activities, and motor activities, a sensory path is an easy way to help kids that need to MOVE. We’ve shared a few sensory paths here on the website, including our Spring Sensory Stations, our Fall Sensory Stations.

        These printable sensory stations make up a quick sensory path that can be used in school hallways or the walk to the therapy clinic. Add them to your toolbox of Christmas mindfulness strategies. Now we have a Christmas Sensory Path made up of quick holiday sensory stations!

        Free Christmas sensory stations for a holiday sensory path

        Christmas Sensory Stations

        This time of year, it can be hard to get kids to focus on the tasks they need to complete in the school setting.

        It can even be hard for kids to walk down the hallway!

        That’s where these Christmas Sensory Station printables come in. Print them off, laminate them (or slide them into a page protector sleeve) and hang them on the wall. They make a great movement break for the home, too.

        Let’s break down the sensory path activities in this printable packet:

        1. The first Christmas sensory station included in this free resource includes a figure 8 deep breathing activity with a holiday theme. Kids can trace along the figure 8 as they take in deep breaths and then breathe them out. There are Christmas lights decorating the figure eight. Encourage kids to take deep breaths in and out as they feel their breathing rate calm.

        2. The next sensory activity in this Christmas sensory path is a gross motor activity that incorporates proprioceptive input and vestibular input to leap like a reindeer. Kids can either get onto all fours to leap or they can stand on their feet like a reindeer taking off to soar in the Christmas night sky with Santa and the other reindeer! The printable is open-ended so you can ask kids to complete as many reindeer leaps as you like.

        3. Next, you’ll find a wall push-up activity. On the palm images are Santa’s sleigh. The sensory station instructs kids to push Santa’s sleigh to give it a hand in taking off. Kids can complete wall push-ups by pushing against the hand visuals. This offers heavy work input through their upper body as a calming motor activity. Do as many wall push-ups as needed.

        4. Then, there is a jingle bell jumping jack activity that engages the vestibular sense and gets kids active, moving their whole body, and working on coordination, motor planning, and symmetrical and asymmetrical movements gross motor movements. If kids need to “wake up” their system and become more alert, try asking them to hold real jingle bells as they do the jumping jacks.

        5. Finally, the last Christmas sensory station is an eye-hand coordination/ deep breathing activity to calm the system. It includes a Christmas tree tracing activity where kids can trace along the spiral and take deep breaths in and out. This calming activity can re-set kids and help with relaxation.

        All of these sensory station activities are open-ended so you can ask kids to say the ABCs or count as they complete the tasks. You can also rearrange the order of the sensory walk tasks or omit some of the activities is you like.

        Print off several pages and add them in a pattern down the hallway. Or, ask kids to complete each activity a certain number of times. It’s totally up to you and the needs of your kids!

        Christmas Party Sensory path

        With many schools omitting parent involvement this year and limiting visitors to the classroom, you might be looking for an EASY holiday themed movement activity. Print off these Christmas sensory stations and add them to Christmas obstacle courses or a relay game for the classroom Christmas party!

        Or, add this Christmas sensory station kit to your holiday occupational therapy ideas!

        Free Christmas Sensory Stations

        You can print off the Christmas sensory stations below. Just enter your email address into the form. A note that this printable is also found inside our Member’s Club. Members: just log into your account and download directly from the dashboard. (You can grab our Winter Sensory Stations printable while you are there, too!)

        FREE Christmas Sensory Stations for a Sensory Path

          We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at anytime.

          Colleen Beck, OTR/L is an occupational therapist with 20+ years experience, graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. As the creator, author, and owner of the website and its social media channels, Colleen strives to empower those serving kids of all levels and needs. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

          More Christmas Activities

          Looking for done-for you therapy activities this holiday season?

          This print-and-go Christmas Therapy Kit includes no-prep, fine motor, gross motor, self-regulation, visual perceptual activities…and much more… to help kids develop functional grasp, dexterity, strength, and endurance. Use fun, Christmas-themed, motor activities so you can help children develop the skills they need.

          This 100 page no-prep packet includes everything you need to guide fine motor skills in face-to-face AND virtual learning. You’ll find Christmas-themed activities for hand strength, pinch and grip, dexterity, eye-hand coordination, bilateral coordination, endurance, finger isolation, and more. 

          Christmas Lights Worksheet for Number Tracing

          Free Christmas lights number tracing worksheet

          Today, we have a fun Christmas lights worksheet for you. But, this printable handout doubles as a number tracing worksheet. The PDF can be printed off, laminated, and used in so many ways to work on number formation or as a Christmas math worksheet during the holiday season. Grab this printable number tracing DF below, but be sure to check out the various ways to use this resource in therapy sessions, the classroom, or home. We’re covering them all!

          Free Christmas lights number tracing worksheet to address number formation

          Christmas Lights Worksheet

          The holidays are upon us!  Like it or not, they are COMING!  What better way to embrace the upcoming season, than incorporating it into lesson plans and therapy sessions?

          Check out this informative article from Continental Press on the Benefits of Incorporating Holidays into a classroom or therapy session.  It includes the benefits, how to’s, and some great teaching points.

          Some of the key things to remember when planning your holiday themed lesson/therapy plan:

          • Not all learners celebrate the same holidays.  Some do not celebrate at all.  Find out the preference of each learner before presenting holiday specific activities. If you are unsure, go for a “winter theme” instead of holidays, or be well rounded and work on ALL of the holidays if your learner celebrates something.
          • Some schools have strict policies about incorporating holidays such as Christmas into the lesson plan.
          • Adding exciting activities can motivate learners to complete tasks, but it can also raise their arousal level.  Regulate how much excitement you add into the lesson plan each day and watch for signs of sensory dysregulation.
          • If in a public school or secular private school keeping religion out of these lesson plans is not only wise, it is the law.  While many families believe and celebrate Christmas with the story of Christ, school based activities need to be centered around reindeer, holiday lights, snowmen, trees, gifts, and Santa if this is acceptable.

          How to use this Christmas Lights Worksheet

          This Christmas Lights Number Trace Worksheet can work on multiple skills at once.  This is the key to any activity.  Most students (or the ones we work with) do not like writing activities, therefore making it time efficient, fun, and incorporating multiple goals at once is the key to success.

          Other than number tracing, which is obvious, what other skills are built using this Christmas lights worksheet?

          1. Kinesthetic awareness – this is essentially learning by doing. While tracing, the hope is that learners are feeling the movement of the numbers as they are being formed, thus making it easier for them to independently form them.
          2. Fine motor skills – tracing on a line and staying in a designated space helps build the intrinsic hand muscles necessary for good handwriting.  The smaller the picture, the more muscle control is required. 
          3. Coloring – add coloring to this activity to further aid in fine motor development.  This also works on recognizing the borders of the lines, using different colors, making patterns, fine motor control, attention to detail, neatness, prioprioception and countless other skills.
          4. Proprioception – since I mentioned it, let’s talk about it.  Proprioception in this case is going to involve the pressure of holding the writing tool, pressure on the paper, arm and wrist support on the table.  Did you know, increased pressure on paper can cause hand fatigue?
          5. Bilateral coordination – one hand needs to hold the paper while the other traces and colors.  Be sure to remind your learner to use their “helper hand.”
          6. Visual Perception – being able to scan the paper to trace the numbers in order (or any order you provide), perceiving the line to trace and following which direction it is going, and noticing lines and borders for writing/coloring.  
          7. Social skills – talking about the holiday, talking about the picture, sharing crayons to build social interaction, turn taking, following directions, and staying seated with peers all build social skills.

          Christmas Math Worksheet

          Whew!  That is a lot of skills for one worksheet!  Using this Christmas Math Worksheet you have built on at least seven different skills.  

          Just a few more pointers while working on these types of number tracing worksheets:

          • Tracing will build kinesthetic and fine motor skills even if your learner does not know numbers.  This becomes just a tracing task rather than number recognition.
          • To many learners, tracing does not always build their ability to write after tracing letters or numbers.  Some learners see these items as merely symbols, not actual letters or numbers.  No amount of tracing is going to magically make them be able to make these figures if they do not have any meaning.
          • Use multiple methods if working on number recognition or formation such as writing in the air, using different mediums to write, copying from a model, matching numbers, doing number puzzles to name a few examples.
          • Visual perception – always rule out VISION problems before assessing if your learner has difficulty with visual perception.  There are times the learner can not see the work in front of them, or can only see part of it.  

          Using a Number Tracing Worksheet in Therapy Sessions

          When you use this Christmas lights worksheet to address number formation goals in therapy sessions, you can consider these points on documentation.

          How to document about your session:  

          “Student participated and was cooperative during 75% of activity.  Learner was able to trace 7/12 numbers within 1/4” of line with R hand using a tripod grasp on large half inch diameter crayon.  Learner demonstrated fair bilateral coordination, needing two reminders to use their helper hand to stabilize paper. Learner was able to color 12/12 shapes with 80% coverage and poor attention to borders, making 3-5 marks outside of each shape.  Learner demonstrated average visual perceptual skills while correctly scanning page left to right and top to bottom 12/12 numbers.  Learner demonstrated fair social skills needing two reminders not to touch peers, and one prompt to ask before taking objects from peers.”

          While documenting, it is not necessary to state you are doing a Christmas Number Lights Worksheet.  Documenting progress and skills is most important, or simply stating it is a 123 tracing worksheet will be sufficient.

          As you can see, an activity like the christmas lights worksheet is not only fun but FUNctional, which is the OT motto.

          For more great Christmas activities check out this blog from Colleen Beck creator of the OT Toolbox:

          Free Christmas Lights Number Trace Worksheet

          You can grab a copy of this printable number tracing worksheet and start using it right away in therapy sessions. Enter your email address into the form below and the printable will be delivered to your inbox. If you are a member of The OT Toolbox Member’s Club, this resources is available inside your member’s dashboard.

          FREE Christmas Lights Number Tracing Worksheet

            We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at anytime.

            Have a great holiday season!

            Victoria Wood, OTR/L

            Victoria Wood

            Victoria Wood, OTR/L has been providing Occupational Therapy treatment in pediatrics for more than 25 years. She has practiced in hospital settings (inpatient, outpatient, NICU, PICU), school systems, and outpatient clinics in several states. She has treated hundreds of children with various sensory processing dysfunction in the areas of behavior, gross/fine motor skills, social skills and self-care. Ms. Wood has also been a featured speaker at seminars, webinars, and school staff development training. She is the author of Seeing your Home and Community with Sensory Eyes.

            *The term, “learner” is used throughout this post for readability, however this information is relevant for students, patients, clients, children of all ages, etc. The term “they” is used instead of he/she to be inclusive.