Peppermint Moon Dough Recipe

Moon dough recipe is a peppermint dough recipe for Christmas sensory play.

Have you ever played with moon sand, or moon dough? This moon dough recipe is an old post here on The OT Toolbox, and one that we loved looking back at. Have you made your own moon dough?  This stuff is seriously messy and majorly fun!  We made our Peppermint Moon Dough recipe a little different than the usual moon dough recipe that is out there.  This moon dough recipe is very soft and fun even for moms to play with!  It’s a great companion to our peppermint play dough recipe from years ago, too.

Moon dough recipe is a peppermint dough recipe for Christmas sensory play.


Moon Dough Recipe

We started with what we had on hand.  When it comes to kid-related messy play and making these sensory play activities, we love to use something that otherwise would be thrown away.  Likewise, waste in these activities is not something we are big fans of.  So, when ever possible, we’ll re-use sensory play materials for other activities and save things like dyed pasta and rice for future sensory activities.  

Note: This post contains affiliate links.  

This moon dough recipe used something that would otherwise be headed to the trash bin…I had some scented lotion that I had for a while… I really didn’t care for the scent.  That and some corns starch were all that were needed to make the base of our moon dough!  

Moon Dough Ingredients

There are only four ingredients in this easy moon dough recipe. You could even omit the food coloring and make this a 3 ingredient moon dough recipe!


To make the consistency of moon dough, use a 4:1 ratio of corn starch to lotion.  This will make a nice and fluffy, but moldable moon dough. 

We added a few drops of peppermint extract and some red food coloring.  We used the gel type of food coloring, but only because that is all we had on hand.  I’m sure liquid food coloring would work just as well, although with the added liquid of scent and food coloring, a little extra corn starch might be needed. 

Also to note when making your moon dough recipe is that different brands of lotion may effect this recipe.  As you mix the ingredients together, you many need to use more or less corn starch depending on the consistency.

Moon dough recipe that kids can make for a Christmas sensory activity. Make this candy cane scented sensory dough with kids.

Half of the moon dough, I kept plain white and the other half got the red food coloring for a very candy cane look.   Add a few little bowls and spoons for scooping, and a couple of Candy Cane cookie cutters, and we were ready to play!

Peppermint dough for Christmas sensory play with an easy moon dough recipe.

We all got busy scooping, fluffing, and mixing.  This was such a fun sensory play experience (for mom, too!)  The lotion made this dough very soft and with the peppermint scent, you could no longer smell the lotion’s scent.

Peppermint moon dough recipe that kids can use to scoop and pour for fine motor work.

Baby Girl (age 2) especially loved to scoop the moon dough.  She used the spoons and filled one cup after another.  And what great fine motor skills this was for her!  She liked to mix the red and the white colors together, dump it all out, and start scooping again!  Here is information on the developmental benefits of scooping and pouring with toddlers.

We played right on the hard wood floor of our dining room for an easy clean up.  Any stray moon dough bits were easy to broom right up.  

Moon dough activity for kids to scoop and pour for a holiday sensory activity.

Little Guy’s favorite part was making the candy cane molds.  We packed the moon dough into the cookie cutters and then pulled it up.  The moon dough would hold it’s shape of the candy cane.  There were a bunch of little moon dough candy canes before we finished!

Candy cane moon dough is a sensory material that smells so fresh for holiday family fun.

    The scent of peppermint candy canes filled the room!  We had so much fun playing with this moon dough!   

Christmas sensory dough with a 4 ingredient moon dough recipe.

When we were finished playing, I poured all of the moon dough into a storage bad and saved it to make a new play activity.  We’ll be using it again, soon!

Have you made moon dough? How about candy cane scented moon dough? 

Looking for more fun candy cane scented sensory play? 

More Christmas sensory ideas

You’ll find more Christmas sensory activities here, but be sure to try some of these sensory dough materials this holiday season.

Christmas modified paper

Christmas Modified Paper Pack

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.

Egg Carton Snowman Craft

Egg carton snowman craft

This egg carton snowman is such a cute Christmas craft to work on fine motor skills. And, better yet, this styrofoam egg carton craft uses materials you might already have on hand. You might know that we love fine motor crafts around here, right? Christmas crafts are no exception.  Why not make a festive holiday snowman craft and sneak in a few fine motor skills while decking the house in homemade decorations like this fine motor snowman craft? It’s a great winter occupational therapy craft that kids will love!


I got the idea for this fine motor snowman after we pulled out our Christmas decorations and and found our fine motor Christmas tree that we made a few years ago (also from egg cartons).  My son still remembers how much fun he had making that tree, and tells us about it every year we pull that cutie out of dusty attic boxes. I love that this fun craft helps in so many fine motor areas: tripod graspintrinsic hand strength with arch development, and an open web space.

Check out these Christmas Fine Motor Activities for more creative ways to work on fine motor skills and address development of skills this Christmas season. 

 

Egg Carton Snowman

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You’ll need these materials to make an egg carton snowman craft:
White styrofoam egg carton (OR paint a cardboard egg carton with white paint)
Scissors
Black crafting pom poms

Craft glue

Black permanent marker

Bamboo skewer

Recycled K-cup or other small cup, like a drinking cup

Black felt


Styrofoam Egg Carton Craft

Make this egg carton snowman craft and work on fine motor skills with the kids this year.

To make the egg carton snowman, first cut three sections from the styrofoam egg carton.  Cutting styrofoam is a great way to practice scissor skills.  It takes a bit more “oomph” to cut the egg carton and is a nice way to practice hand strengthening.


Poking the bamboo skewer into the stryofoam egg carton provides an opportunity to work on tripod grasp, intrinsic hand strength with arch development, and an open web space.

Kids can make a egg carton snowman craft with Styrofoam egg cartons.

More Christmas Activities

Writing out that Christmas wish list is a difficult task that brings out tears instead of holiday excitement.  I’ve got a solution for your kiddo with handwriting difficulties: a packet of modified paper for all of the Christmas handwriting tasks that come up each year.  Use this handwriting pack to help kids who struggle with handwriting to participate in holiday traditions while even working on and developing their handwriting skills!


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.     

Make this egg carton snowman craft and work on fine motor skills like tripod grasp, intrinsic hand strength with arch development, and an open web space with the kids this year.



Try these Christmas crafts for more fine motor fun:

Fine Motor Egg Carton Christmas Tree

Homemade Fine Motor Christmas Card

Jingle Bell Fine Motor Sort

Egg Carton Nativity Set

Want more ways to boost fine motor skills with a snowman theme or winter theme? The Winter Fine Motor Kit is on sale now!

This print-and-go winter fine motor kit includes no-prep fine motor activities to help kids develop functional grasp, dexterity, strength, and endurance. Use fun, winter-themed, fine motor activities so you can help children develop strong fine motor skills in a digital world.

This print-and-go winter fine motor kit includes no-prep fine motor activities to help kids develop functional grasp, dexterity, strength, and endurance. Use fun, winter-themed, fine motor activities so you can help children develop strong fine motor skills in a digital world.

winter fine motor kit
 
 

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.

Jingle Bell Kids Activity

Jingle bell kids activity for fine motor skills

Christmas is just around the corner, and we’ve got some fun ideas in store for you! This Jingle Bell Kid’s Activity can be a jingle bell game or a Fine Motor Christmas activity that kids will not forget! Use an egg carton and jingle bells kids can manipulate for a color learning and fine motor activity.

We’ve done our share of Christmas play activities and this Jingle Bell Sorting activity is just one way to play and learn with a Christmas theme.  We’re joining a bunch of other bloggers in a busy bag series where each month, we’ll bring you a busy bag activity to keep the kids busy and occupied (and learning!)   In-hand manipulation activities are a great way to boost fine motor skills needed for tasks like managing clothing fasteners, using a pencil when writing, manipulating items like coins or beads, and more.   

Jingle Bells for kids are a fun Christmas fine motor activity with an egg carton.

  This post contains affiliate links.  See our full disclosure here.    


Jingle Bell Kids Activity

This jungle bell kids activity is a Christmas busy bag that helps children build fine motor skills, as well as other learning components in a game format.

We’ve done quite a few “busy” time of activities on this blog.  These are the activities that kids can do on their own or with a little set up and explanation.  They are kept busy and learning, creating, or exploring on their own.  Busy bag activities are perfect for times when caregivers need to focus on other children, dinner preparation, or while waiting.  Modern day busy activities might be smart phone apps for some kids, as they “busy themselves” as they wait in a restaurant or doctor’s office.  A busy bag activity that is easy to set up might be something as simple as manipulating small items, or sorting sugar packets by color.  


Jingle Bell Activity for Kids

Independent learning is important to a child’s development.  When a child is learning on their own, they are able to come up with questions and ideas independently.  They develop problem solving skills, and exploring during the process of the activity.  When a child has an adult participating in an activity with them, they often times focus on the end product or goal rather than the process of the task. Children become aware of their own strengths and weaknesses during independent play and can gain a sense of satisfaction when they do a task on their own.  Busy bags are great for independent learning!  


Color Sorting with Jingle Bells

Paint the egg carton to match the jingle bells kids will use to work on color sorting, counting, and fine motor skills.

 We started with a recycled egg carton.  Technically, this isn’t a busy BAG since we made our activity in an egg carton…but it is a busy activity, and I love that it can fold up and stow away with the sorting material inside the carton.     The cardboard type was needed for this activity, in order to get the paint to “stick”.  I painted the sections of the egg carton in four colors.  I LOVE these poster paints for their bold colors.   

Paint the egg carton for a jingle bell sorting activity.

Little Sister (age 3) helped me paint the sections, and we let them dry overnight…because when Little Sister helps, a lot of paint is used.

Jingle bell activity to work on fine motor skills at Christmas.



The next day, we were ready for our jingle bell sorting activity.  We used jingle bells that we received from our friends at www.craftprojectideas.com (Thanks so much!!)  I poured the bells into the top section of the egg carton, and showed Little Sister how to sort them.

Kids can work on fine motor skills with this Jingle bell activity.

This is such a great activity for color identification, fine motor skills, scanning, hand-eye coordination, and early math.

This jingle bell activity is a toddler activity for Christmas because they can work on fine motor skills and color sorting with toddlers.

The colors are so bright and the jingle of the bells gives a great sensory input to this activity.  Little Sister sorted and sorted while I changed diapers, swept the floor, and watched her sort.

Christmas jingle bell game for kids
Kids can sort jingle bells in this Christmas fine motor activity.
Christmas jingle bells for kids to work on fine motor skills.
Jingle bell activity for kids
Preschool jingle bell activity to work on fine motor skills, color sorting, counting.



One of the cousins came over one day and these two three year olds had fun sorting together.
I showed them how to extend the play by counting the number of bells in each section.

Count jingle bells with this Christmas fine motor activity for children.



I love this activity for it’s fine motor aspect, too.  Managing the jingle bells as they picked them up and sorted them into the sections works on many skills.  You can encourage your child to pick up a few bells at a time and pocket them into the palm of the hand as they sort the bells one at a time.


Picking up several bells works on in-hand manipulation, specifically the skill of translation.  Moving the bell from finger tips to palm as they “squirrel away” bells into their palm is a difficult task for many kids.  This is a task needed in order to manage coins or other small items.

This jingle bell activity works on fine motor skills like in hand manipulation.



Placing the bells into the sections requires the child to use in-hand manipulation to move the bells from the palm to the finger tips.  This is also the skill of translation and is needed for pushing coins into a piggy bank or vending machine, or managing small items like marbles.


Translation is a complex task requiring strength and dexterity of the intrinsic muscles of the hand.  It’s fun to watch these skills develop in an activity like this one!

In hand manipulation is a fine motor skill that kids can refine with this jingle bell activity for children.

  We’ll be saving our painted egg carton for long after the holidays to sort lots of different items: crafting pom poms, paper clips, paper, dyed pumpkin seeds, and more!  Here is a big list of fine motor activities using craft pom poms.

With this activity and any other on our blog, please be sure to supervise your children when small items are involved.  If your child is one who puts items into their mouth, you may want to hold off on this activity for a while.  Use caution with this activity as it involves small parts.  

Christmas Handwriting Activities

Writing out that Christmas wish list is a difficult task that brings out tears instead of holiday excitement.  I’ve got a solution for your kiddo with handwriting difficulties: a packet of modified paper for all of the Christmas handwriting tasks that come up each year.  Use this handwriting pack to help kids who struggle with handwriting to participate in holiday traditions while even working on and developing their handwriting skills!

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

Christmas modified paper for holiday handwriting for kids

  Check out some more busy bag activities for the holiday season:

Christmas busy bags for kids

Christmas Busy Bags

Christmas Activities for Kids Printable Busy Bag

Christmas Counting Busy Bag

Decorate a Play Dough Christmas Tree Play Kit

Gingerbread Button Counting Busy Bag

Snowman Busy Bag

Reusable Christmas Sticker Busy Bag

Christmas Posting Busy Bag

Christmas Tree Busy Bag

Printable Mix and Match Christmas Puzzles

Christmas Chocolate Maker Busy Bag

Printable Q-tip Snowflakes

Candy Cane Stripe Counting

An Early Reader Christmas Busy Bag

 
 
 
 

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.

Pine Cone Christmas Tree

Pinecone Christmas tree

Today, I have a pine cone Christmas tree that was a big hit with my kids, but also a fine motor powerhouse. The pinecone ornament was a fun way to craft but the miniature Christmas tree craft helps kids with precision, pincer grasp, in-hand manipulation, and more. We made this Pine Cone Christmas Tree years ago, but it’s still a favorite ornament my kids love to pull out each year and hang on the tree! 

Here are more Christmas crafts that help kids build fine motor skills.

Cute Pine Cone Christmas tree craft that helps kids develop fine motor skills.

Pine Cone Christmas Tree Ornament

We love to take hikes in the neighborhood and woods to collect pine cones and always have a few around that are ready for fun projects and crafts.  Our pine cone Christmas Tree was fun for painting and even fine motor skills.  Pressing all of the little pieces into the pine cone was a great way to work the small muscles of the kid’s hands during a Christmas craft!  Our little pine cone Christmas tree is nestled in the branches of our tree looking pretty cute!    

Check out these Christmas Fine Motor Activities for more creative ways to work on fine motor skills and address development of skills this Christmas season.   

Pine cone Christmas tree craft for kids
Pine

Pine Cone Christmas craft

  Note: This post contains affiliate links.    

We started with some pine cones that we painted a nice green color.  You might have seen the action on our Instagram feed.  Once our pine cones were dry, we started decorating.  For this craft, we used a little red cord and crafting pom poms
in different sizes.  

Pine cone Christmas tree craft and ornament. Great for fine motor skills.

  The decorating part was great for fine motor work.  We used a little glue to glue on the yellow pom pom to the top of the pine cone tree.  Little Guy liked pushing the small pom poms into the pine cone.  We didn’t need any glue to make them stick…just a little finger muscle!  Pushing those little pom poms into the pine cone was a great way to work on tripod grasp while holding the pom poms and making them stick in the pine cone.  

Pine cone Christmas tree craft kids can make

We loaded that pine cone up with little white pom poms!

Pine cone Christmas tree ornament

To finish the decorations, all we needed was a little of the red cord to make it all come together!  We didn’t use glue for the cord either.  Just winding it around the pine cone was enough to make it stick and stay in place.  This was another fine motor dexterity task for Little Guy.  He was pretty pleased with the way his pine cone turned out!

Pine Cone Christmas tree is a pinecone ornament kids can make

More Christmas Crafts

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.

Tag Craft for Christmas

Gift tag Christmas tree art

This is a tag craft we made one year after making Christmas tree art with homemade stamps. I love these homemade gift tags that the kids made last year, and so did everyone on our Christmas shopping list!  The process to make the personalized bag tags is super easy, and once the Christmas tree stamps are done, it’s an exercise in scissor skills, too. When the gift tags are made by kids, they are extra special.  The fun part about these Christmas Tree Stamps are that you can use them for so many things besides gift tags: wrapping paper, Christmas art, or just for fun!  

Tag craft for Christmas is a personalized bag tag that kids can make as a gift tag craft.

Tag Craft

This tag craft starts with Christmas tree stamps, and is one of a series of toilet paper art activities we did. First, we made the Christmas Tree toilet paper stamps as shown below. Then, once they dried, my kids cut out the Christmas trees and we turned them into holiday tags!

You’ll need just a few materials to make this tag craft.

This post contains affiliate links.  

To make your gift tags, you’ll need a few supplies:

When children make these Christmas tree name tags, they are also building fine motor skills.

Cute Christmas tree gift tags kids can make after making toilet paper roll Christmas tree stamp art.

Christmas Tree Name Tags

Toilet paper roll Christmas tree stamp art for kids

To start out, bend your paper tube into a triangle shape.  Dip it into a plate of green poster paint. Stamp this onto the paper in rows.

Christmas tree art activity for kids

Next, use the cotton swabs to stamp red paint onto the Christmas trees.  You can dab ornaments onto the trees or paint garland with the red paint.  …or color the whole tree red, like Little Guy did.  It’s creative expression, here!

This is a great way to work on tripod grasp with the cotton swab. It’s also an exercise in separation of the sides of the hand, and eye-hand coordination.

Cut the cotton swab into a smaller piece to really work on hand strength and tripod grasp.

We used the brown paint to paint little trunks on each tree.  This part of the craft is a great way to sneak in some fine motor skills.  Work on pre-handwriting skills with the cotton swab by encouraging a tripod grasp, neutral or extended wrist, and pinkie and ring fingers tucked up into the palm for support.  This is a fun way to encourage an appropriate grasp on writing utensils.

Christmas tree gift tags craft for kids

Make Christmas tree name tags using the tree stamps.

  Next allow the Christmas tree stamps to dry overnight or for several hours.  Admire the cuteness.  

Christmas tree gift tags craft for kids

  Cut tag shapes from the crafting paper.  Punch a hole at the top and strengthen it with hole reinforcement stickers.  Cut the Christmas trees from the white paper with a little edge.  Glue onto tags. I threaded the tags onto ribbon with help from Big Sister.  This part is a little difficult for younger kids, but older children can assist.  

We used a variety of ribbon types to package up our gifts.  The Gift tags made the presents!

Christmas tree name tags that kids can make for holiday gift giving

  Let us know if you make these gift tags, or Christmas Tree stamps this season.  We would love to see them!  

More Christmas Crafts for Kids

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 Suncatcher Craft

Christmas suncatcher craft

This Christmas Suncatcher craft has been something we’ve been thinking about for a while.  This Christmas craft for kids is a fun one to add to your holiday line-up. With the sun streaming in through the dining room window, it’s the perfect place for sun catchers.  And this Christmas themed craft is the perfect addition to our big dining room window.  We went a little crazy with the sequins on this craft.  Our Christmas suncatcher craft is very sparkly, and just right for the season!   Big Sister loved making this project and the fine motor work involved was just right for her age.   

Christmas suncatcher is a great fine motor Christmas activity for kids. They can make the Christmas tree sun catcher and hang it in the window.

Christmas Tree Sun Catcher

This Christmas fine motor activity is a fun craft for working on specific fine motor skills such as pincer grasp, in-hand manipulation, and precision, including distal mobility. While we used sequins for our Christmas tree suncatcher, you could use practically any crafting material, from tissue paper, to foam stickers, to pressed flowers or pine needles. Use your imagination and make it an open-ended craft for the kids.

Kids can make this Christmas suncatcher craft with paper and sequins.

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This craft started with some major Sequins, and two triangles cut from green Construction Paper.

Make a Christmas suncatcher craft with kids.
Such a cute Christmas suncatcher craft for kids.

How pretty are these sequins?? LOVE the colors and sparkles in this Christmas craft!

Love this Christmas suncatcher craft for a Christmas tree craft that kids can make.

  I cut two triangles of  Clear Contact Paper, just slightly smaller than the green triangles.  Big Sister started placing the sequins on the contact paper.

Work on fine motor skills with kids with this Christmas tree suncatcher craft.

This was such a great fine motor activity for that Neat Pincer Grasp.  To pick up the sequins from the table surface and place them onto the contact paper requires tip to tip grasp of the index finger and thumb.  All of those sequins was a great workout!  She did a ton of them, but we ended up sprinkling even more sequins on to the contact paper to give our sun catcher a REALLY sparkly look.

Cute Christmas craft for kids that makes a beautiful suncatcher craft.

   Next came Big Sister’s favorite part.  Do all Kindergarteners love tape as much as she does?  This girl loooooooves tape!  We stuck the two pieces of contact paper together to sandwich the sequins in the middle.  Then we taped the contact paper onto on of the green triangles.  

Kid craft for Christmas activities that builds fine motor skills.

A little glue held the top triangle in place and our sun catcher was complete!  Let us know if you do this craft.  We love to see our projects come to life with your kids! 

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.

Build a Christmas Tree Craft and Fine Motor Skills

Fine motor Christmas tree craft

Looking for a fun fine motor activity that doubles as a holiday activity? This Christmas Tree Craft is a creative way to work on fine motor skills like hand strength, fine motor dexterity, along with eye-hand coordination, bilateral coordination, and other skills, using a Christmas craft. This is a Christmas activity for kids that you will want to pull out year after year as a holiday decoration that kids can use as a Christmas themed busy bag. Add this Christmas tree activity to your therapy toolbox because you can use it again and again all season long!

Christmas Tree Craft

Make this Christmas tree craft to help kids work on fine motor skills this Christmas season with a Christmas busy bag activity for building fine motor skills, it's perfect for adding to your therapy toolbox too!



Clothespins are a fantastic tool for helping kiddos develop the fine motor skills necessary for daily tool manipulation and other fine motor tasks. Squeezing open and placing clothespins can help strengthen the small finger muscles of the thumb, index, and middle fingers, develop the arches of the hand, while also improving eye-hand coordination.  All of which are essential for successful prewriting, handwriting, scissor use, and fastener manipulation. 

Christmas Fine Motor Activity



Use this crafty Christmas tree to work on essential fine motor skills with kiddos in a fun and festive way this holiday season. It’s a great activity to pull out of the therapy bag and add to the Christmas crafts for kids line-up this holiday season.


When choosing clothespins for kiddos to use, be sure to use clothespins with the best resistance level for the child so as to provide the just right challenge and not be too difficult for the child to squeeze or be too easy.  Here is more information on using clothespins to work on fine motor skills.


Also, when having a child squeeze open the clothespins, be sure to have them use their skill fingers which are the thumb, index, and middle fingers as these are the fingers that are utilized the most for skilled manipulation such as writing with a pencil, cutting with scissors, and using other school tools. Read more about separation of the sides of the hand.


But before you can begin using the tree, you have to create it!  


Here’s what you’ll need to make this Christmas Tree Craft:


Amazon affiliate links are included below.


1 paint stir stick
12 clothespins
green paint
brown paint
• paintbrush 
shape stickers (or whatever you decide to use to adhere to the clothespins, which could be pom-poms, buttons, gems, etc.)


If you do not use shape stickers, you will need tacky glue or a hot glue gun to adhere decorative objects to each clothespin 


If you prefer not to paint, you can simply use green and brown markers to color the paint stir stick and clothespins or you could apply green and brown tape. 

Christmas Tree Craft Directions

Below are the steps to make the activity as I have. By the way, kiddos love doing this part too and there are so many skills that can be addressed while creating this crafty clothespin Christmas tree!


1. Paint the paint stir stick with green paint on the front and back side for approximately ¾ the length and let dry.
2. Paint your paint stick with brown paint on the front and back side for approximately ¼ the length and let dry.
3. Paint each of your clothespins with green paint on the front and back side and let dry.
4. Apply shape stickers to clothespins (and yes, the gems I used came with sticker backs). 
5. Apply star shape stickers to the top of the paint stick on both the front and back sides.
6. Have fun using this crafty creation to work on fine motor skills by having children squeeze open and place the clothespin branches to create the tree placing 6 branches on each side.


Now enjoy creating and utilizing this fun, festive Christmas tree with kiddos this holiday season! Merry Christmas! 

Christmas Handwriting

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!

In the packet are:

  • THREE types of modified paper: Bold lined paper, Color-coded paper (with Christmas colors), and Highlighted Paper
  • FIVE different Christmas and Winter themed borders
  • TWO different sized lined of each type of paper: Narrow Rule for older kids and Wide Rule for younger kids

That’s 30 different sheets of modified paper all with a Christmas theme. There is a detailed explanation of reasoning behind each type of paper.  This will help explain how to use each modified paper and the reasons why each type might be the style of adapted paper to use for particular handwriting concerns.

Want the packet? Grab it now in time for Christmas planning.

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. 

Regina Allen

Regina Parsons-Allen is a school-based certified occupational therapy assistant. She has a pediatrics practice area of emphasis from the NBCOT. She graduated from the OTA program at Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute in Hudson, North Carolina with an A.A.S degree in occupational therapy assistant. She has been practicing occupational therapy in the same school district for 20 years. She loves her children, husband, OT, working with children and teaching Sunday school. She is passionate about engaging, empowering, and enabling children to reach their maximum potential in ALL of their occupations as well assuring them that God loves them!

Christmas Sensory Activities

Whew, what a week this has been! We’ve been talking all about Christmas Activities for Kids here on The OT Toolbox and today ends the week of Christmas activities in this series. We’ve talked about all the ways to make this holiday season special while working on underlying skill areas and incorporating occupational therapy goals. Today, it’s all about Christmas Sensory Activities that can be used in the classroom, clinic, or home programs over the holiday break. Use these Christmas play ideas in sensory diets, to create sensory bin ideas or sensory bottles!


Use these Christmas sensory activities to promote development, play, learning, and fun this holiday season while working on occupational therapy activities.

 

Christmas Sensory activities

If you’ve missed any of the blog posts this week, you might want to catch up on all of the ideas! You can check out all of the Christmas Activities for Kids here on our main Christmas page. 


Some of the ideas we’ve covered are Christmas activities for preschoolers, Christmas activities for toddlers, Christmas crafts for kids, and Christmas party ideas. All of these activities have a therapy mindset where they encourage movement, play, and motor development with a Christmas theme!


With the upcoming holiday season, kids can be all over the place when it comes to excitement for holiday events. Try incorporating some of the Christmas sensory activities listed below to encourage sensory play with a learning twist.

Christmas activities for kids

First, you’ll want to check out a previous post here on The OT Toolbox where we shared sensory processing activities and sensory experiences perfect for the month of December.
 
Try this scented peppermint sorting activity to work on fine motor skills and eye-hand coordination. Add motor skills like finger isolation to count the peppermints or use tongs to move the peppermints and strengthen the hands.
 
Mix up a batch of candy cane moon dough for sensory play with a fresh scent! Moon dough can be used as a writing tray to practice letter and number formation or to work on eye-hand coordination  in scooping and pouring. 
 
Have you ever let the kids play with cooked pasta as a sensory play experience? It’s a tactile challenge for some! This noodle sensory activity can boost fine motor skills. Try cutting them to sneak in some scissor work, too.
 
We shared this Christmas tree sensory experience the other day on our Christmas activities for preschoolers post, but it’s worth mentioning again. There’s a reason why: manipulating wet pieces of foam is a fantastic tactile sensory experience that doubles as a fine motor activity, too. 
 
For a sensory recipe, try this scented playdough for creating miniature snowmen. Add a few manipulatives to make it a fine motor powerhouse. This is an OLD post here on the website. Beware, the pictures are small and dark!! That doesn’t stop the play dough from being fun though! Add this activity to your holiday lineup.
 
Another sensory recipe is this DIY snow recipe, perfect for play and fine motor work. This would make a great addition to a home program for the holiday break!
 
Add a few colored ice cubes and scoops, spoons, and ladles to a big bowl for eye-hand coordination and fine motor precision with a Christmas theme. Kids love water play and this Christmas water activity is no different!
 
This easy Christmas sensory bin can be a go-to activity for settling holiday excitement in the days leading up to Christmas. Use materials you have in your home to work on fine motor skills, eye-hand coordination, crossing midline, and more through sensory play.
 
Getting the kids into the kitchen is a great way to work on so many skills with kids! Direction following, executive functioning skills, motor skills, strengthening, and more are developed through cooking with kids. Make a batch of this Gingerbread Salt Dough for sensory play and ornament-making. These ornaments are still on our tree years later! Check out the pictures on this OLD blog post. This takes me back to those busy days as a mom of toddlers and preschools! Tears!
 
Colder weather doesn’t mean outdoor play needs to stop. Take a sensory potpourri hike outside with the kids and explore nature by creating a potpourri. Add bits and pieces such as various pine needles, pine cones, and add in orange peels or cinnamon sticks. Kids can cut pine needles with scissors and add them to the scented collection. 
 
For many more Christmas sensory activities, check out this round up of activities from all over the internet.
 
Need another scented DIY play dough recipe? This one is a peppermint scented play dough, perfect for rolling, needing, and strengthening those hands!
 
 

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