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!

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

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    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. 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 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.

        Christmas I Spy

        Free Christmas I Spy worksheet

        Are you looking for a quick and easy activity to address the components of visual perception that you can also use to address numeral formation this holiday season?  This Christmas I Spy is a fun activity that can be used in a variety of ways to target the skills your students need including visual perception and numeral formation. Add this I Spy printable to your occupational therapy Christmas ideas!

        Use this printable Christmas I Spy worksheet for a party activity or in Christmas occupational therapy activities!

        Christmas I Spy

        It’s the busiest time of the year and this Christmas I Spy is a no prep printable you can take from the printer right to your therapy sessions with your students.  The best part of this worksheet is that it can target so many skills at once! 

        Some of the skills addressed with Christmas I Spy will target the components of visual perceptual skills.  Visual perceptual skills are foundational to reading and writing.  There are many components of visual perception that play a role in our student’s performance at school, but this activity primarily addresses visual discrimination and visual memory.  

        You can begin using this worksheet with your students by asking them to name some of the pictures they see on the page.  Then, focus their attention to the bottom of the page to the pictures they will look for during the activity. 

        Support Visual Skills with a Christmas I Spy

        Using their visual discrimination skills, ask your students to identify each of the pictures at the bottom.  Encourage your students to use a different color for each picture they find.  This is a strategy you can teach them to support their visual discrimination skills.  The students can circle each picture working on their fine motor dexterity skills or they could color each small picture.

        This activity is also great for addressing visual memory.  Visual memory is the ability to retain and recall visual information.  Visual memory is essential in reading and writing, but it is also important for completing tasks like Christmas I Spy in an efficient way.  

        As the students begin to work, they will be using their visual memory and scanning skills together to recall where they have seen each picture.  

        Visual scanning is also an important skill that will be addressed with Christmas I Spy.  Visual scanning is a function of the oculomotor system that involves using the eyes in a coordinated way to scan the environment for information. 

        For students who may have difficulty with visual scanning, try teaching strategies such as moving a ruler down the page as they track across, encourage them to scan in an organized manner from left to right, or you can reduce the demand by asking “can you find 3 candy canes”, for example. 

        Another way to support students who may have difficulty with visual perceptual tasks such as I Spy, would be to take turns finding the different pictures.  Not only would this take away some of the demand for struggling students, but it would also allow you to model visual scanning skills at the same time.  

        Work on Number formation with a Christmas I Spy Activity

        Finally, Christmas I Spy provides your students with an opportunity to address number formation.  After they find and color each picture, they will need to write the number in the box. 

        Here is a place where you can take this pencil/paper task and make it a kinesthetic learning experience for your students!  Many students need kinesthetic learning experiences or the opportunity to touch, move, and feel in order to learn. 

        Occupational therapists are uniquely trained to provide these types of kinesthetic learning experiences to students.  You will find that when you design an intervention to include a sensory, tactile, or movement experience, your students will be instantly engaged.  Engagement and participation are the keys to learning!

        More ways to use this Christmas I Spy Printable

        You could extend this activity to include a kinesthetic component by: 

        • Forming the numbers using gingerbread scented playdough.  Here is a link make your own from Learning4Kids – Gingerbread Scented Playdough Recipe
        • If snow is more your style, try this snow dough recipe from A Spotted Pony – Snow Dough Recipe
        • And for an even more sensory experience try Candy Cane Play Dough from kidsactivitiesblog.com
        • Hot Chocolate Playdough is another fun sensory idea from The Simple Parent
        • Bend red and white “candy cane” pipe cleaners into the numbers your students need to practice
        • Use sand trays to practice numeral formation.  Use red and green sand to stick with the holiday theme or get inspired to use other materials/textures from ideas here: Writing Trays for Handwriting
        • Practice writing numbers in shaving cream.  Add a little silver glitter to mimic snow.

        So, grab your hot cocoa and hit print on Christmas I Spy! You will have so much fun with your students this holiday season while working on important visual perceptual and numeral formation skills!

        FREE Christmas
        I Spy Worksheet

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          Katherine Cook is an occupational therapist with 20 years experience primarily working in schools with students from preschool through Grade 12.  Katherine graduated from Boston University in 2001 and completed her Master’s degree and Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study at Tufts University in 2010.  Katherine’s school based experience includes working in integrated preschool programs, supporting students in the inclusion setting, as well as program development and providing consultation to students in substantially separate programs.  Katherine has a passion for fostering the play skills of children and supporting their occupations in school. 

          Printable Santa Emotion Worksheet

          Printable Santa Emotion Worksheet

          Want a printable Santa emotion worksheet designed to support facial expression identification? This Santa emotion PDF is just that! And even better yet, if you are looking for ways to address visual discrimination using visual scanning activities with your students, this Santa Claus Emotions I Spy will check all the boxes!  Not only will you be able to address visual discrimination and visual scanning skills with this fun printable, but you can easily incorporate many other skills addressed in occupational therapy including fine motor control and emotional regulation.  Not to mention, this feelings worksheet is an easy way to have some fun this Christmas season in your treatment sessions with your students!

          Kids will love this printable Santa emotion worksheet to work on emotion identification and visual discrimination skills.

          Visual discrimination is one skill that makes up our visual perception. Visual discrimination is an essential skill for students to participate in school in both their roles as a student for tasks such as reading and writing, as well as their role as a friend.  We use our visual discrimination skills to read others emotions or changes in the environment.   As you can see, it is so important to address visual discrimination skills using scanning activities. This printable Santa Emotion worksheet I Spy activity will make it easy!

          What is visual discrimination?

          Visual discrimintation is the ability to recognize similarities and differences between visual images or objects.  Visual discrimintation is an important skill for students in school because of its link to reading and writing.  When looking at words on the page, readers need to be able to discriminate between subtle differences in letters like “b” and “d” or “5” and “S”.  Providing opportunities to build visual perceptual skills helps students engage in their occupations as a student! 

          Why is visual scanning important?

          Visual discrimination is a component of visual perception, but in order for students to use visual discrimination skills effectively, they also need to use their visual scanning skills.  Visual scanning sends the visual information to the brain, visual discrimination tells us why that visual information is important.  In order for the visual system to work, we need both!  Visual scanning is an important component of visual perception and there are so many fun ways to address scanning in your treatment sessions.  Try marble painting, using a flashlight, or looking at a Christmas I Spy book to address visual scanning.

          As mentioned before, students also need to rely on visual discrimination skills when reading other’s emotions.  When you begin this activity with your students, start by reviewing the pictures of Santa at the bottom of the page.  Talk about the similarities in the pictures, then talk about the differences.  Have the students select a color to match with each emotion.  This would be a great place to include Zones of Regulation colors and terminology if you use that program.  Emotional regulation is essential for social participation and this is a great way to hit on that skill with your students.  

          identifying emotions worksheet with a Santa Theme!

          Once you have reviewed the visual information and the emotions and filled in the coordinating colors, now it’s time to start coding or coloring in the Santa faces!  As the student scans and discriminates each Santa, watch to see that their visual system is working to support their performance.  There are many ways you could adapt or modify this activity to meet the needs of your students. 

          Here are some ideas to support visual scanning:

          • Use another paper to cover some of the visual information
          • Teach a strategy to help scan by making a mark on the page to indicate which row they are working on
          • Use a ruler to help students keep their place as they are working

          More ways to use this feelings worksheets pdf

          • Use bingo daubers for students who have not yet developed fine motor precision skills
          • Use tape or sticky tack to secure the printable Santa emotion worksheet to a vertical or inclined surface to address shoulder strength
          • Set up a container of markers on one side of the room and put the worksheet on the other side.  Have the students use a scooter board back and forth to retrieve the markers they need.
          • Use tongs and pom poms or beads to work on fine motor skills at the same time

          If your focus is on emotional regulation, you can easily extend this activity to target the student’s ability to identify their emotions.  When discussing Santa’s emotions, ask your students to think of a time when they felt happy, sad, excited, or mad.  It may also be fun for students to think about the self regulation tools Santa might use to help him regulate his emotions throughout the Christmas season!

          Free Printable Santa Emotion Worksheet

          Do you know a kiddo that would love this printable Santa emotion worksheet? You can download this emotions PDF and start working on skills like visual discrimination, scanning, coloring, feelings identification, and more!

          Free Santa Emotions I Spy Worksheet

            We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at anytime.

            Katherine Cook is an occupational therapist with 20 years experience primarily working in schools with students from preschool through Grade 12.  Katherine graduated from Boston University in 2001 and completed her Master’s degree and Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study at Tufts University in 2010.  Katherine’s school based experience includes working in integrated preschool programs, supporting students in the inclusion setting, as well as program development and providing consultation to students in substantially separate programs.  Katherine has a passion for fostering the play skills of children and supporting their occupations in school. 

            Christmas Tree Activities

            Christmas tree activities

            Check out the Christmas Tree Activities on this blog post for creative ways to incorporate a Christmas tree theme into occupational therapy interventions. Tis the season for Christmas tree crafts and festive holiday activities that develop skills and learning. A lot of these Christmas crafts and sensory ideas only require a few items to make and they can last for many years to come. Add these Christmas occupational therapy ideas to your therapy toolbox.

            Christmas tree activities for kids including fine motor Christmas tree crafts, and Christmas tree sensory activities.

            Christmas Tree Activities

            These activities are listed below in sections, so you can pick and choose the holiday activities that meet the needs of the child you are working with in therapy (or at home as a parent).

            Kids can work on fine motor skills, visual scanning, visual tracking, in-hand manipulation skills and grasp patterns with a holiday theme. The tree activities below develop skills through Christmas tree ornaments, garland and Christmas themed sensory bins.  

            Christmas Tree Crafts

            These are fine motor crafts that build motor skills, coordination, planning, and hand strength with a Christmas tree theme.

            Bottle Cap Christmas Tree craft-Save those bottle caps and make a Christmas tree. Help you kids paint and arrange the bottle caps into a Christmas tree. 

            Christmas Tree Craft– Have some clothespins siting in a drawer? Gather those up with some paint, stickers and paperclips to make a fun craft for the holidays.

            Christmas Tree Stamp Art– have your child make homemade gift tags. This activity will work on fine motor skills (scissor skills and grasp patterns). 

            A Very Merry Occupational Therapy Christmas –This article provide a variety of activities focused around Christmas for the whole month! Scroll down to activity eight to make a craft of stringing  cranberries and popcorn to make garland for your tree. Stringing items works on so many important skills. Bilateral coordination, visual tracking and visual scanning, fine motor skills and patterning. 

            Fine Motor Egg Carton Christmas Tree Craft-Save your egg cartons to make this fun Christmas tree craft. Grab some green paint and decorations to help your child make a table decoration. 

            Christmas Tree Fine Motor Craft– Grab a hold punch and paper and let your kids have fun by making Christmas trees with various amounts of holes. Can be used as a great way to count as well. The squeezing of the hole punch provides proprioceptive input and strengthening to the hands. 

            Christmas Tree Scissor Skills Craft– Use the same concept and have kids work on scissor skills with this easy cutting activity. These Christmas trees would look great on a holiday garland.

            Pine Cone Christmas Tree  Ornaments-Take a walk outside and gather up pinecones. Grab some paint and glitter, pom poms and make these cute ornaments with your kids. 

            Christmas Tree Suncatcher Craft-what is better then seeing the sun in the winter? Having a beautiful sun catcher to see it through. This activity works on pincer grasp and in-hand manipulation skills. 

            Pattern Christmas Tree Ornament– This fine motor craft is a fun one to work on pincer grasp, tripod grasp, in-hand manipulation, and more.

            Christmas Tree Sensory Activities

            Christmas Tree Sensory Play-make a fun Christmas tree with foam shapes and water. A fun sensory activity that works on cutting, patterning and sorting. 

            Christmas Sensory Binkids love playing in sensory bins. The link below has green peas and potpourri as the items in the bin. To make it a Christmas tree them use the green peas and add round ball for ornaments.

            Christmas Tree Oral Motor Activity– Did you know that drinking from a juice box offers kids heavy work through the mouth as they suck on the small juice box straw? This Christmas tree craft can be used with a juice box for a bit of calming sensory input through the mouth.

            Christmas Tree Mindfulness Activity– Use this Christmas tree deep breathing activity as a sensory break to address self-regulation for sensory needs or emotional needs. Print and go!

            About Christina: Christina Komaniecki is a school based Occupational Therapist. I graduated from Governors State University with a master’s in occupational therapy.   I have been working in the pediatric setting for almost 6 years and have worked in early intervention, outpatient pediatrics, inpatient pediatrics, day rehab, private clinic and schools. My passion is working with children and I love to see them learn new things and grow. I love my two little girls, family, yoga and going on long walks.

             

            Reindeer Games Gross Motor Slide Deck

            Christmas gross motor activities

            I am so excited to share this gross motor slide deck for teletherapy. It’s a reindeer games theme that allows kids to support gross motor skills in teletherapy, which is sometimes difficult to facilitate via a virtual therapy setting. These reindeer games activities are FUN for kids and they will be excited to see and do the gross motor activity on each slide of the therapy slide deck. Let’s explore reindeer games!

            Pair these with our reindeer activities to address other goal areas, and these free fine motor reindeer printables.

            Reindeer games activities for kids in a gross motor teletherapy slide deck.

            Reindeer Games Activities

            These reindeer games are fun for kids, and I am excited to use the therapy slide deck with my own kids at home. With colder temperatures and less kids’ sports activities this year, getting the kids active and moving can be tricky.

            So, that’s where these reindeer games for kids come in…we’ll use the reindeer games for a Christmas party at home as a way to get the whole family moving with a reindeer theme.

            Kids can use these reindeer games in teletherapy gross motor activities.

            Christmas Gross Motor Activities

            I wanted to use reindeer in the gross motor activities and challenge kids to move in different positioning, much like yoga positions. The gross motor challenges require kids to copy an image and hold that image.

            The slides can be graded to each child’s needs. Can they hold the position while reading the reindeer joke on the slide? Can they read just the response to the reindeer joke? Adjust the slide in a way that meets the needs of each child.

            The Christmas jokes are a fun way to encourage various positions and movement with themed Christmas gross motor activities.

            This Christmas slide deck goes great with our Gingerbread Man Teletherapy Slide Deck, our Decorate a Gingerbread House Teletherapy Slide Deck, and our Holiday Cookies Slide Deck.

            Use this gross motor teletherapy slide deck with a reindeer theme for Christmas gross motor activities.

            Gross Motor Slide Deck for Teletherapy

            Because incorporating gross motor skills in teletherapy is sometimes a challenge (especially to find interesting and new ideas!) this gross motor slide deck was desined for teletherapy in a way that instructs kids to copy various postions as they balance and strengthen their core.

            Included are some slides to incorporate propriocepetion and vestibular input as well.

            All of these skills can be addressed with this gross motor slide deck in teletherapy sessions:

            • Core strength
            • Stability
            • Balance and equilibrium skills
            • Coordination
            • Range of motion
            • Flexibility
            • Motor planning
            • Crossing midline
            • Movement patterns
            • Posture and postural control
            • Muscle tone
            • Proprioceptive input
            • Vestibular input
            Use these Christmas gross motor activities with a reindeer theme in teletherapy movement activities.

            Want this Free Gross Motor Slide Deck?

            This slide deck is not interactive. It has no movable parts on the slide deck. Because it is static slides in the activity, you can use the slide deck on any devices, including tablets and phones.

            Be sure to make a copy of this slide deck and not change the url to indicate “edit” at the end. When you make a copy of the slide deck onto your Google drive, you will end up with your own version that you are free to adjust in order to meet your student’s needs. By changing the url to “edit”, you can potentially mess up the original version that many other therapists and The OT Toolbox users are given.

            ou can grab a copy of this Google slide deck and use it to work on specific skills.

            Enter your email address below and you will receive a PDF containing a link to copy the slide deck onto your Google drive. Save that PDF file, because you can come back to it again and again and send it to the kids on your caseload (or classroom) so they can make their own copy on their Google drive.

            Please use the copy of the slide deck and do not change the url.

            FREE Reindeer Games Gross Motor Therapy Activities!

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              MORE VIRTUAL LEARNING SLIDE DECKS?

              Would you like more therapy slide decks? Grab the others to add to your therapy toolbox!

              Kids are loving this Decorate a Gingerbread House slide deck.

              Try this Gingerbread Man Slide Deck.

              Use this Holiday Cookies Activities to address working memory, visual perception, and direction following.

              Here is a Community Helpers Theme Slide Deck.

              Here is a Football Theme Slide Deck.

              Here is a slide deck for a Social Story for Wearing a Mask.

              Here is a Space Theme Therapy Slide Deck.

              Here is a Therapy Planning Interactive Slide Deck.

              Here is a Back to School Writing Activity Slide Deck.

              Here is an Alphabet Exercises Slide Deck.

              Here is a Self-Awareness Activities Slide Deck.

              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.