DIY Whisper Phone

DIY whisper phone
One of our more popular posts here on The OT Toolbox is our post on classroom sensory strategies. For kids who struggle with attention challenges, general sensory processing needs, auditory processing, self-regulation, or other needs, a whisper phone can be a power tool when it comes to reading or processing auditory information. Below, you’ll find information on how to make a DIY whisper phone for only $3 and how a whisper phone helps kids of all ages! Plus, we’re sharing where we got this awesome idea to make a whisper phone that kids will love! For more sensory play ideas, stick around!!
 
Affiliate links are included in this post. 
 
Make a DIY whisper phone to address reading comprehension, letter sounds, and sensory processing needs.
 

DIY Whisper Phone

When it comes to therapy tools and equipment, finding the best deals is ideal. But even better is when you can make your own therapy tools at a fraction of the cost and still benefit from the therapeutic benefits. This DIY whisper phone is just the example. In fact, a whisper phone on Amazon costs more than $6 so when you are shopping to fill the needs of a classroom or caseload, the DIY version can be a fun alternative. 
Auditory processing activities may include whisper and volume of voice, including using a whisper phone in therapy.
 

What is a Whisper Phone

First, you may be wondering “What is a whisper phone“…read on to find out what exactly a whisper phone is and how they can be so beneficial to so many kids. 
 
Typically, a whisper phone is a tube shaped like a phone that can be held at the child’s ear and mouth. They can whisper sounds and words and clearly hear individual sounds without background noise. 
 
They are a great tool for kids with auditory needs AND kids without auditory processing issues. Whisper phones can be so helpful in teaching any child to recognize sounds of letters! Kids can use a whisper phone to hear themselves read, which helps them with comprehension and fluency through auditory feedback.
 
A whisper phone is a tool that can be so helpful for kids with auditory processing needs or other concerns that interfere with a child’s ability to focus on auditory input. These kids sometimes struggle with pulling out important information from auditory input. 
 
Other times, a whisper phone is used in reading to help kids recognize sounds in words, including pronunciation, fluency, and reading comprehension. This can be helpful for kids without auditory processing needs too! 
 
Make a DIY whisper phone to address reading comprehension, letter sounds, and sensory processing needs.
 

How to use a Whisper Phone to help with Auditory Processing

Auditory processing challenges can look like a variety of things:
  • Poor listening skills
  • Difficulty with language comprehension
  • Auditory sensory sensitivities
  • Other listening concerns
 
Using a whisper phone can help with skills like:
  • Auditory discrimination
  • Auditory sequencing
  • Auditory memory
  • Auditory figure-ground

 

Here are more auditory processing activities that can help.
 
Make a DIY whisper phone to address reading comprehension, letter sounds, and sensory processing needs.
 
A whisper phone can be used in many ways:
Sound out letters to help kids recognize the sounds associated with each letter. This is SO important in kids whom we later see in therapy who can not associate letter formation and struggle with handwriting and formation!
 
  1. Sound out words to identify parts of words.
  2. Auditory feedback when reading.
  3. Provide a calming sensory diet activity.
  4. Improve self-confidence with reading skills.
  5. Discriminate between sounds and background noise.
  6. Identify tone and volume of speech.
  7. So much more!
 
Make a DIY whisper phone to address reading comprehension, letter sounds, and sensory processing needs.

How to make a DIY Whisper Phone

We were inspired to make a DIY whisper phone when we saw a fun activity in the new STEAM Learn and Play Book. This whisper phone is not the traditional hand-held style, but more like the traditional can phones from the therapist’s childhood! 
 
We made a whisper phone that can be used with two children and is a fun way to address the needs described above. 
 
To make a DIY whisper phone, you’ll need just three items. We gathered these items at our Dollar store, making the DIY whisper phone a great deal! 
  • Two small funnels
  • One tube
To make the DIY whisper phone, just connect the funnels to a tube. The bendy tube that we used was long enough to reach between two friends. 
 
If the tube doesn’t fit exactly, use a bit of tape to hold the tube in place. 
 
Then, play and learn! 
 
Make a DIY whisper phone to address reading comprehension, letter sounds, and sensory processing needs.
 
This whisper phone is so easy to make that kids can make it themselves. In fact, it would be a great group activity for a small group in a camp setting. 
 

STEAM Play & Learn Book

We got the idea to make a whisper phone from the new STEAM Play & Learn book written by Ana at Babble Dabble Do. What a fun book this is for hands-on activities that kids will WANT to do while learning and playing. 
 
Each page is full of colorful activities that teach.
 
 
 
 
There are so many fun ways to explore science, technology, engineering, art, and math with this book. For parents or teachers looking for a complement to a specific curriculum, this book is it. Kid can explore so many areas while learning through hands-on play.
 
The OT in my LOVES the tactile experiences shared in this book! Check out some of the ideas below:
 
 
 

Looking for more ways to address sensory needs? 

You will love our Printable Sensory Diet Cards that cover so many areas! There are activities and ideas to address auditory processing needs, plus every other sensory system. Grab our Sensory Diet Cards for a complete packet of sensory activities. You’ll find 24 pages of 345 sensory diet activities including:

  • Calming and alerting movement activities
  • Heavy work fine motor activities for pre-writing needs or fidgeting needs
  • Sensory activities
  • Sensory support cards
These sensory diet cards can be used in the home, classroom, or clinic. They are available now for $9.99 on The OT Toolbox shop
Use printable sensory diet cards to encouraging sensory input through play
 
 
Fall Leaf themed auditory processing activities for sensory needs in kids.Auditory processing dominoes made with bells are perfect for a color matching activity, and can be graded to meet the auditory needs of all ages.Auditory processing sensory ideas for backyard summer sensory play, perfect for sensory diet ideas for kids.Baby Sensory bottles using recycled spice jars
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

More ways to use a Whisper phone in auditory processing skills

Many of the activities in the Auditory Processing Kit can be used with a DIY whisper phone or a commercial version.

The Auditory Processing Kit is a tool to support learners by building skills in listening comprehension, auditory processing needs, and much more. The tools offer support to learners with hyper-responsive or hypo-responsive auditory systems. Therapists love the hands-on activities to support learning and active listening through play and handwriting tasks.

  • Listening Comprehension
  • Fine Motor Listening Skills
  • How to Improve Listening Skills Poster
  • Clap It Out Syllables Orthographic Activities
  • Beginning Sounds Letter Activity
  • Rhyming Words Activity
  • Activity Listening Activity
  • Hearing Skills Activity
  • Auditory Memory Strategies
  • What Does Active Listening Look Like?
  • Whole Body Listening Activity
  • Whole Body Listening Poster
  • Listening and Motor Skills Game
  • 2 Step Direction Cards
  • How to Support Hyper-Responsiveness of the Auditory Sense (handout and info sheet)
  • How to Support Hypo-responsiveness of the Auditory Sense (handout and info sheet)
  • Auditory Processing Tools Cards
  • Auditory Processing Speed -2 Digit Numbers
  • Auditory Processing Speed -3 Digit Numbers
  • Auditory Processing Speed -4 Digit Numbers

Use the handouts and posters to teach about the auditory system and auditory sensitivities, with strategies to support individualized needs. Get your copy of the Auditory Processing Kit today.

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.

Robin Craft Fine Motor Activity

Robin craft with egg cartons

This robin craft is a fun activity for Spring that develops fine motor skills, bilateral coordination, eye-hand coordination, and precision skills. This is the perfect addition to the occupational therapist’s Spring fine motor activities and a great tool for kids to make that they also use to work on skills in occupational therapy. Plus, the worm activity is just fun for kids! Use this egg carton craft to work on so many fine motor skills

This egg carton robin craft is a fine motor activity kids can make.

Robin Craft with an Egg Carton

Spring and Robins go hand in hand.  We made this Robin craft as a Spring Fine Motor activity one day and the kids were giddy with excitement to play!      

Robin craft for counting worms is a fine motor activity busy bag

This robin craft is a busy bag type of activity will keep the kids busy and little fingers moving as they count worms to feed the Spring robins.  

This egg carton family of robins was fun to make with the kids and even more fun to watch them play.


This post contains affiliate links.

Paint an egg carton to make a robin craft

Robin Craft Fine MOtor Activity

  This Spring craft for occupational therapy actually uses a recycled cardboard egg carton. There are many ways to use recycled materials in crafts and activities that develop skills. This is just one fun idea.

Time needed: 20 minutes.

How to make a robin craft with an egg carton

  1. Start with an egg carton.

    We used a cardboard carton so the paint would stick. You’ll need a clean and dry egg carton. Cut off the lid off the egg carton. You’ll want to keep the egg sections for this robin craft.

  2. Paint the egg carton.

    Paint a red belly on each egg compartment.  Paint the sides and back of each robin with brown paint. You can paint the whole egg section or you can leave a space at the top to add a number, depending on if you are making a family of robins, or each student is making a single robin.Paint egg cartons to make a robin craft

  3. Punch a hole in each egg carton compartment.

    Use a hole punch to punch a hole towards the top of the robin. This will be the beak of the robin, and where students will “feed” pipe cleaner worms to feed the birds. Little Guy (age 5) got a big kick with this part.  He wasn’t able to squeeze the hole puncher to make the holes, but he really liked watching!  

  4. Make paper beaks for the robin craft.

    Cut small triangles from yellow cardstock.  Drag the wide end of the triangles in glue and press into the holes.  These will be the beaks for the robins.  Let the glue dry.  Punch holes in egg cartons and make paper beaks for a robin craft

  5. Make pipe cleaner worms!

    Cut brown pipe cleaners into small sections. The worms can be as small as an inch or two or much longer. Show the student how to bend the pipe cleaner slightly to create wiggly worms. This is a simple worm craft of it’s own! This is also a great bilateral coordination and scissor skill activity for Spring. Kids love making pipe cleaner worms!Cut brown pipe cleaners to make worms for a robin craft

  6. Draw Eyes on the Egg carton robins.

    Use a permanent marker to make two small dots for eyes for the robins. You can also add a number on the top of each robin.  Now it’s time to count and play!  Robin craft made from egg cartons

   Now it’s time to play and feed the robins!

Pipe Cleaner Worm Craft

Three is just something about those pipe cleaner worms. Kids love making them and using them to feed the robins. Let’s take a look at skills that are being developed with this fine motor task.

Little Guy enjoyed cutting pipe cleaners and bending them into little bendy worms. Cutting and bending the pipe cleaners is a bilateral coordination task that requires using both sides of the body with different motor plans and degrees of strengthening. This task is a great one for building motor plans and focusing on graded strength.

Cutting the pipe cleaners is a scissor skills task that requires and develops hand strength. What a great hand strengthening activity this is!  Squeezing the scissors requires a lot of hand strength to snip the pipe cleaners.  

Robin egg carton craft and fine motor activity for Spring.

  Make a bunch of worms; You will need them!  

Feed the robin egg carton craft

  Feed the Robins Craft

If you draw numbers on the top of each robin, you can feed each bird the correct number of worms. But, if you are working with a whole caseload or class of students, collecting many egg cartons can be difficult. You could always use just one egg carton section for each student so they have their own individual bird craft to make and feed.

In that case, skip adding a number to the top of the egg carton. Users can roll a dice and feed the bird that number of pipe cleaner worms.

Fine motor activity with egg carton robins

This activity builds several fine motor skill areas:

  • Eye-hand coordination
  • Bilateral coordination
  • Separation of the sides of the hand
  • Pincer grasp to pick up the pipe cleaner
  • Tripod grasp, or a refined tip to tip grasp to thread the pipe cleaner into the bird
  • In-hand manipulation- Pick up several pipe cleaners at once and hold them in the palm of the hand. Then, feed one worm pipe cleaner at a time to “feed the robin”!

 

Robin Math Activity

To expand on the eye-hand coordination skill work, and to make this a great multisensory learning activity, use this as a one-to-one correspondence task for preschoolers. Young children can count the number of pipe cleaner worms, match the number to the works, and build pre-writing skills through play.

Little Sister (age 3.5) counted out the number of worms for each bird (She needed help with one-to-one correspondence).  She was able to press the worms into the robin mouths using a tripod grasp.  

It was fun to watch her play and count for a long time.  I overheard a little dramatic play happening as she talked to the robins and pretended they were a family eating their lunch.    

Use the Robin Craft to Build Skills Over and Over Again

This egg carton robin was a tool we made once and then used over and over again, making it a great fine motor activity for the occupational therapy toolbox.

Use it in a robin sensory bin! Add the pipe cleaner worms to a sensory bin and kids can find the worms and then feed them into the robin. There are so many ways to build skills with this one craft.

 
 
 
 

Spring Fine Motor Kit

Score Fine Motor Tools and resources and help kids build the skills they need to thrive!

Developing hand strength, dexterity, dexterity, precision skills, and eye-hand coordination skills that kids need for holding and writing with a pencil, coloring, and manipulating small objects in every day task doesn’t need to be difficult. The Spring Fine Motor Kit includes 100 pages of fine motor activities, worksheets, crafts, and more:

Spring fine motor kit set of printable fine motor skills worksheets for kids.
  • Lacing cards
  • Sensory bin cards
  • Hole punch activities
  • Pencil control worksheets
  • Play dough mats
  • Write the Room cards
  • Modified paper
  • Sticker activities
  • MUCH MORE

Click here to add this resource set to your therapy toolbox.

Spring Fine Motor Kit
Spring Fine Motor Kit: TONS of resources and tools to build stronger hands.

Grab your copy of the Spring Fine Motor Kit and build coordination, strength, and endurance in fun and creative activities. Click here to add this resource set to your therapy toolbox.

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.

Flower Crafts for Kids

Flower crafts

Flower crafts are a great occupational therapy tool to develop fine motor skills, visual motor skills, executive functioning skills, and other child development areas. Here, you’ll find creative ways to support skills through craft ideas. Add these ideas to your Spring occupational therapy activities or your Spring crafts.

Flower crafts to use in occupational therapy or in the preschool classroom or home to help kids develop fine motor skills.

Flower Crafts for Occupational Therapy

I love these flower crafts to help develop fine motor skills. By tearing paper, cutting different textures, and using glue bottles children develop hand strength, coordination, and dexterity.

Spring is in the air.  And depending on where you live, lots of heat or lots of rain!  Let’s celebrate the beginning of May with flowers.  These are our favorite flower crafts that we have done, and you may have missed.  We’ve added some of our favorite flower crafts for kids from around the web, too.  Click around and check out a few new blogs and find lots of flowery fun for the kids!

Start with some of these flower crafts to support the development of scissor skills, eye-hand coordination, and precision:

  • Cupcake Liner Flowers– Snip the cupcake liners and develop scissor skills.
  • Foam Flower Craft– Use materials from the dollar store to work on eye-hand coordination and finger isolation.
  • Cupcake Liner Sunflower Craft– Work on precision, pincer grasp, in hand manipulation, and separation of the sides of the hand with this sunflower craft.
  • Gift Bow Stamp Art- Use a gift bow to make fun flowers. This is a great heavy work and process art activity for sensory input and eye-hand coordination skills.
  • Paper Clip Flowers and Play Dough– This fine motor strengthening activity uses flowers made from paper clips for a great hand strengthening activity.
  • Pipe Cleaner Flower– This flower craft is a great fine motor activity for kids, but also works as a DIY zipper pull to help children become more functional with self care.

Kids will also love making these flower snacks, too, for a full flower theme in therapy or at home!


Flower crafts for kids to make
 

Flower crafts for kids

Cherry Blossom craft– This flower craft uses clothes pins and crumbled tissue paper. It’s a great fine motor activity for developing hand strength.
 
You’ll find other Cherry blossom crafts here.
 
Stamped art flower- Cut various textures and grades of paper to work on fine motor skills with this stamped flower craft.
 
 
Recycled artwork spring flower craftThis flower craft uses recycled materials so kids can cut different textures.
 
Feather flower craft-This flower craft supports the development of sensory challenges. Include various textures and sticky fingers by gluing feathers and painting.

Stamped flower craft from Happy Hooligans 
 
Tissue Paper flower bouquet from Home Grown Friends
 
 
Magazine roses– Use recycled magazines and straws to make these magazine roses. When kids roll the magazine paper, they are building bilateral coordination skills, and hand strength.
Nature Hunt Flower craft- This tulip craft uses real flowers plus crafting materials but offers children a chance to get outside for much-needed sensory and calming input in nature.

Paper Plate Daffodils from Here Come the Girls

Marbled Coffee Filter Flower from Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

 
Egg carton tulip craftThis Springtime tulip craft has many textures and kids can use the idea to make a process art flower craft!
 
Textured tissue paper flower from Buggy and Buddy
 
 
 
Popsicle Stick Craft Tulips from All Done Monkey
 
Mother’s Day Flower crafts– You’ll find more flower crafts in this Mother’s Day craft list. Plus, use the ideas in this post in your own Mother’s Day crafting!
 

This flower craft uses items from the recycle bin. Add it to some other recycled crafts for Earth Day fun while building skills.

What is your favorite flower?  Have you made a craft with that flower?  

A few more Flower Crafts and Activities

More flower themed crafts and activities can be found in our Spring Fine Motor Kit! Designed to build fine motor strength, dexterity, endurance, and manipulation of tools like crayons, markers, glue bottles, and scissors, the Spring Fine Motor Kit has you covered with flower tissue paper crafts, flower push pin activities, and writing flower names to develop handwriting skills.

Read more about the Spring 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.

Rainbow Activities for Child Development

Rainbow activities

Here, you will find rainbow activities that are powerful and effective activities to help with child development. I’ve strived to pull together rainbow sensory activities, crafts, fine motor activities, visual motor activities, and movement ideas. Scroll through the various rainbow theme ideas to promote skills for all ages. These are great additions to your Spring occupational therapy activities!

Rainbow activities for kids to use in occupational therapy sessions to develop skills like fine motor skills, sensory processing, and executive functioning skills.

These are developmental activities to add to your occupational therapy interventions.

Rainbow Activities for Therapy

Each rainbow therapy activity below is designed to promote multiple aspects of child development. These are powerful motor activities for developing areas that help kids with functional tasks, coordination, movement, and learning.

Rainbow activities for child development and occupational therapy interventions

Rainbow Fine Motor Activities

A rainbow therapy theme is great during the Spring months.

This time of year, rainbows are the way to go for building fine motor skills. Try some of these activities to work on fine motor strength, coordination, hand eye coordination, motor planning. You’ll see improvements in pencil control, dexterity, precision, in-hand manipulation, and fine motor skill work.

rainbow pencil control activities

Rainbow pencil control activities– All you need is some colored pencils and paper to work on pencil control, visual motor skills, and hand strengthening.

color mixing rainbow handwriting activity

Rainbow Color Mixing Handwriting Activity– Grab a pack of markers. Kids can work on color mixing and letter formation, letter size, spacing, and handwriting legibility.

Rainbow beads

Rainbow bead bracelets– Use beads and pipe cleaners to make a set of rainbow beads and develop pincer grip, in-hand manipulation skills, bilateral coordination, open thumb web space, arch development, and eye-hand coordination skills.

teach prewriting lines to kids with a rainbow theme

Rainbow PreWriting Lines Activity– This free therapy slide deck is a fine motor and gross motor activity to help kids with pre-writing skills. Kids can work on finger isolation, eye-hand coordination, visual motor skills, and more.

Pot of Gold Coins– Cover cardboard circles or washers with foil to make gold coins. If you can grab some gold wrapping paper or tissue paper, use it to wrap the circles while kids develop bilateral coordination, precision, hand strength, and motor skills.

In this blog post, you’ll also see how to tie scraps of fabric to create a rainbow. This is a fun bilateral coordination activity that builds hand eye coordination skills as well.

Rainbow Play Dough Fine Motor Activity – Use this hand strengthening activity to work on finger isolation, in-hand manipulation, dexterity, and arch development. Here is a rainbow play dough recipe.

Rainbow Bottle Activity– All you need is an empty water bottle and colorful craft pom poms to work on finger isolation, in-hand manipulation, bilateral coordination, hand eye coordination, and dexterity. This is a great rainbow activity for preschoolers or toddlers.

Rainbow Fine Motor Sort– All you need is an ice tray and colorful craft pom poms to work on in-hand manipulation skills, sorting, precision, dexterity, and finger isolation.

Rainbow Scoop and Sort– A simple rainbow sensory bin can include beads, yarn, or any colorful materials and a handful of cotton balls. Add a kitchen utensil or scoops, tongs, or other tools to scoop, manipulate, and work on coordination, and fine motor skill development.

Rainbow Fine Motor Work on the Window– Kids can cut foam sheets into strips to work on scissor skills. Then, stick these to a window or even a shower wall to work on precision, wrist extension, wrist stability, shoulder strength and stability, core strength, and the coordination skills needed for fine motor tasks like pencil control and dexterity.

Rainbow cups

Rainbow Cups– Make a set of these colorful cups and work on bilateral coordination, eye-hand coordination, core strength, motor planning, and more.

Fine Motor Flip and Fill A-Z Letter Pages

Rainbow Flip and Fill Fine Motor Activity– Kids can use these alphabet worksheets to fill the upper case or lowercase letters and develop fine motor skills like in-hand manipulation, eye-hand coordination, precision, open thumb web space, and more, with these color activities in the Colors Handwriting pack and bonus pages.

Rainbow Visual Motor Activities

Visual Motor integration activity using a marker ladder activity

Rainbow Ladder– Use this rainbow visual motor activity to work on visual scanning, visual tracking, visual figure ground, form constancy, visual discrimination, and other visual motor skills needed for handwriting and reading. We used this in a cursive handwriting activity, but you could use the same concept in teaching upper and lowercase letter identification, number writing, sight words, or other multi-sensory learning strategies.

Copy a rainbow visual motor activity

Rainbow Drawing Visual Motor Activities– Use this occupational therapy teletherapy slide deck to encourage kids to copy rainbow drawing forms and build pencil control, visual perceptual skills with simple and complex drawing skills.

Emotion Matching Game– Use this rainbow matching game to teach emotions and social emotional skills. It’s a powerful way to work on visual perceptual skills too, including visual scanning, eye-hand coordination, visual discrimination, and other visual motor skills.

Colors Pre-Writing Pencil Mazes

Rainbow Colors Pre-writing Lines Mazes– These mazes are great for developing pencil control, eye-hand coordination skills, fine motor dexterity, and visual motor skills.

Rainbow Sensory Play

When kids participate in sensory play experiences, they develop tactile sensory exposure and can explore tactile experiences. Use these activities to learn colors, and learn through play! Try these multisensory learning activities to teach colors, and develop sensory exploration through play.

rainbow exercises deep breathing printable

Rainbow Deep Breathing Exercise– Use this rainbow deep breathing exercise as a calming self regulation activity to help with coping strategies and mindfulness.

Rainbow Sensory Bottle– In this rainbow sensory bottle, we used friendship thread to incorporate all the colors of the rainbow, but making a calming sensory bottle can use any materials you have on hand. Use the sensory bottle as a calming sensory tool.

Rainbow Playdough– When kids play with play dough, they gain proprioceptive input through their hands and fingers. This heavy work input is a powerful resistive activity that “wakes up” the hands but also can be calming.

Rainbow Sensory Bins– Making rainbow sensory bins are easy but there are big benefits. Kids can use sensory bins as a tactile sensory experience, but with fine motor benefits like tool use, scooping sorting, fine motor precision, dexterity, manipulation skills, coordination, and so much more. Add sight words and high-frequency words, or math manipulatives to use these rainbow sensory bins in multi-sensory learning opportunities.

Gold Coin Sensory Bin– Use a sensory bin base and add some ribbons and the yellow pieces from a Connect 4 game for a sensory bin.

rainbow xylophone

Rainbow Xylophone– Kids can explore sound, STEAM concepts, and motor skills in this auditory processing activity.

Rainbow Crafts to develop skills

These rainbow crafts are powerful ways to work on fine motor skills, manipulation of tools, dexterity, strength, motor planning skills, handwriting, and more.

Rainbow binoculars craft– Kids can make this rainbow binoculars craft and work on scissor skills, bilateral coordination motor planning, and precision. Then, use this rainbow craft to encourage visual scanning, visual perceptual skills, and more. Can you use this in a color scavenger hunt?

Egg carton rainbows– Use a recycled egg carton and kids can paint in this process art activity that develops grasp, precision, eye-hand coordination, and sensory experiences.

Rainbow Snacks

When children are active in the kitchen, they develop so many fine motor skills, executive functioning skills. The kitchen is a prime location for developing working memory, attention, direction following, as well as offering learning opportunities, as well. Fine motor skills in the kitchen are just some of the benefits of cooking with kids!

Try these rainbow recipes that kids can make and are a perfect addition to a rainbow theme.

Rainbow Snacks– These rainbow snack cups are perfect snacks for preschool. When kids help to make them, they can work on cutting foods, sorting, visual scanning, and fine motor skills, too!

Color Snack– Pair kitchen activities with a popular children’s book to explore colors and developing skills in the kitchen with kids.

Colors Handwriting Kit

Rainbow Handwriting Kit– This resource pack includes handwriting sheets, write the room cards, color worksheets, visual motor activities, and so much more. The handwriting kit includes:

  • Write the Room, Color Names: Lowercase Letters
  • Write the Room, Color Names: Uppercase Letters
  • Write the Room, Color Names: Cursive Writing
  • Copy/Draw/Color/Cut Color Worksheets
  • Colors Roll & Write Page
  • Color Names Letter Size Puzzle Pages
  • Flip and Fill A-Z Letter Pages
  • Colors Pre-Writing Lines Pencil Control Mazes
  • This handwriting kit now includes a bonus pack of pencil control worksheets, 1-10 fine motor clip cards, visual discrimination maze for directionality, handwriting sheets, and working memory/direction following sheet! Valued at $5, this bonus kit triples the goal areas you can work on in each therapy session or home program.

Click here to get your copy of the Colors Handwriting Kit.

More Rainbow Ideas

For more rainbow crafts and ideas to support development of skills, check out the Spring themed activities in our Spring Crafts library. There are fun ways to use a paper plate to create a rainbow while working on scissor skills…and just so many other Spring tools for supporting the development of kids of all ages.

 
 
 

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.

Snowflake Activities

snowflake activities

Who doesn’t love snowflake activities? Here, you will find all of the snowflake activities we have shared on the OT Toolbox, linked in one place. When working on creating a classroom or therapy session using a snowflake theme, you can pop right to this post and find everything snowflake related. From snowflake games and crafts, to sensory motor activities, and fine motor fun. You’ll find gross and visual motor activities too! Simply add any of these ideas to a winter snowflake treatment plan, and you’ve got interventions and fun for the whole season, with winter occupational therapy plans! 

Whether it is a wintery day or just chilly outside, add these snowflake lesson plans. Learners of all ages will be able to get out some energy, while developing important skills. 

Snowflake activities for occupational therapy during winter months.

Snowflake Activities

If you are looking for a fun snowflake game, or maybe some snowflake art, these skill-based wintery ideas from the OT Toolbox will have you covered! 

Marbled Milk Paper Towel Snowflakes | By creating these snowflakes, there is a little science and art involved (check out STEM learning) while learners swirl a toothpick around in the food coloring and milk. Children will work on light touch as they swirl the toothpick, and pick up/drape the snowflakes to dry. This is a fun craft that is beautiful to display! 

Winter Snowflake Stamp Art | Make winter snowflakes using pipe cleaners (chenille stems) creating art that is wintery, beautiful, and unique! Stamp art promotes fine motor skills as learners work on a functional grasp, separation of the two sides of the hand, arch development, and an open web space. A creative winter painting idea that has a sensory component, too! 

Craft Pom Pom Snowflake Line Awareness Craft | This snowflake activity is a great one for preschoolers or novice learners, as it promotes a variety of grasp patterns when manipulating the pom-pom balls. It is a fun craft that uses pom-poms placed on the outline of a snowflake to create a colorful design that can be hung at home, or given to family/friends. The learner works on placing the pom-poms directly on the line, they are working on line awareness, which is important for drawing and handwriting. 

Snowflake Party | Have a fun snowflake party with children while creating several snowflakes using a variety of materials, working on a variety of skills. A few of these ideas include snowflake sensory play, snowflake art and crafts, and snowflake snack food. Check out the post to see what we did at our party. It was FUN!

DIY Snowflake Stampers | Use different foam stickers to create these fun stampers for art projects. 

Kindergarten Sight Words with Winter Tic Tac Toe | The adult can either make the tic tac toe board, or work with the learner and make it together.  Either way, when using the board, the learner will be working on visual perceptual skills that are needed for forming and writing letters. 

Gross Motor Snowflake Activities

Snowflake balance beams, catching snowflakes, and throwing or dancing with snowflakes are great gross motor snowflake activities to add to occupational therapy sessions during the winter months. Try these wintery activities:

Snowflake Balance Winter Gross Motor Indoor Play Therapy Idea | Learners will benefit from the vestibular input this activity provides as they play. The use of balance beams challenges the vestibular system. Work on balance and motor planning while using their visual skills to scan the balance beam, tracking the snowflake line they need to walk along. 

Super Simple Snowflake Frisbee Indoor Play  | This basic activity creation uses paper/Styrofoam plates, tape, and a paper snowflake. This activity provides vestibular input as learners perform slight head movements as they throw the frisbee to their partner. Frisbee also promotes upper extremity coordination to grasp/hold/release the frisbee, flex/extend their wrists, cross midline, and use good postural control. 

Proprioception Winter Activity Throwing Snowflakes | Are you working on scissor skills? If so, try this paper snowflake activity that goes along well with this winter theme. You can make them the typical way with copy or cardstock paper, or try using cupcake liners instead! This helps to boost hand strength, and provide proprioceptive input with the end reward of a pretty, colorful snowflake! 

This collection of snowflake themed activities will provide enough activities for your classroom, therapy sessions, or at-home programming to use all season long. They provide a range of skill development with a bunch of craftiness all your learners will enjoy! 

more great Winter resources!

Add our Winter Fine Motor Kit from the OT Toolbox to your wintery treatment plan to help learners develop their fine motor strength and endurance, grasp, and dexterity skills while engaging in these easy, no-prep activities. Just print and go! 

Check out the OT Toolbox Snowman Therapy Activity Kit to your cold weather lesson planning to help children work on core strengthening, motor planning, hand skills, visual motor skills while also getting some sensory input too! Just download, print, and go!

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!

*The term, “learner” is used throughout this post for consistency, however this information is relevant for students, patients, clients, children of all ages and stages or whomever could benefit from these resources. The term “they” is used instead of he/she to be inclusive.

Heart Crafts That Build Skills

heart crafts to support fine motor skill development

Let’s face it, the heart candy and chocolates are already in the stores and children are already anticipating the consumption of all the sweet treats they are going get.  Some children have even begun to plan their Valentine’s gifts and handouts for their friends and family.  Add these heart crafts to your Valentine’s Day occupational therapy activities!

One of our newest heart crafts is this free Valentine’s Day Hat Template. Kids can color, cut, and assemble the heart hat in OT sessions, in the classroom, or at home. This printable heart hat makes a great craft during February, but it doubles as a skill-builder: Use it to work on fine motor skills, hand strength, scissor skills, eye-hand coordination, executive functioning skills, and more.

heart crafts to support fine motor skill development

Heart Crafts for Occupational Therapy

Whether it is a pink, red, or purple heart, OT practitioners simply love crafts that incorporate a variety of skills and give the flexibility for each step to be modified, so as to upgrade or downgrade as needed, to allow all children to engage in the craft making process while achieving some level of success.

You’ll find heart craft creations that range from easy to more complex, making them accessible by younger or novice learners that have fewer hand skills, or more advanced learners that need more skill advancement and require increased time to complete. 

There are numerous enjoyable heart craft ideas in this post. If you need something sweet to jazz up your therapy session, classroom, or at-home theme, this post is right where you need to be. Read on and get ideas that don’t include tasty sweets, but do include all the sweetness of the Valentines holiday!

Wearable Heart Crafts:

These fun, festive heart crafts can include wearable jewelry, ornaments, or provide a source of Valentine’s Day gifts. They will encourage separation of the two sides of the hand, in-hand manipulation, precision grasp, and arch development, making them purposeful and productive.

Paper Crafts: 

These paper crafts include folding, painting, cutting, pasting, weaving, and writing.

All of these actions will help your learner of most any age and skill level to work on bilateral hand use, eye-hand coordination, scissor grasp, hand dominance, delicate touch, grasp patterns, and visual motor skills. 

Foam Crafts:

These foam crafts are not only cute, but they help learners develop skills such as proper scissor grasp, cutting skills, rotational manipulation, sequencing, and precision skills.

Once complete, some provide a functional use in the end – a bookmark!

Cardboard Heart Crafts:

Cardboard is a material that develops hand strength, pincer grasp, bilateral coordination, hand dominance, stability, and eye-hand coordination. Some of the crafts listed will provide opportunity for lacing, wrapping, poking, cutting, and tearing, all of which give hand skill development a real challenge.

These fun cardboard crafts will allow focus on a variety of skills while being highly engaging and rewarding.

Food inspired Heart Crafts:

While these food inspired heart crafts, do use food as a medium, these festive food crafts will include only decorations and a few ideas for a way to feed the birds.

Learners will work on building precision grasp, gross grasp, bilateral coordination, and eye hand coordination skills. 

Tin Foil Crafts:

These tin foil crafts are unique in appearance, but also help build maker grasp, fine motor control, and tool pressure. If the child tears off their own piece of foil from the roll and wraps the foil themselves, they will also be working on bilateral coordination and touch pressure.

Older or more advanced learners can be presented with the opportunity to use a glue gun (always use caution with these as even the cold glue guns get hot at the tip). Learners can display their own creativity with these crafts. 

heart and Valentine themed fine motor page to use in crumble art crafts
The Valentine’s Day Fine Motor Kit is loaded with activities and craft ideas that promote fine motor skills. Grab your copy today!

Printable Heart Crafts

In The Valentine’s Day Kit offered by the OT Toolbox, you will find printable heart activities and craft materials. Just download, print, and start building skills. This pack is a great tool for developing a variety of fine motor skills for Valentine’s day or all year round!

We hope you enjoyed all of the crafts included in this round-up of ideas and that you have found exactly what you are looking for to help the learners in your life enjoy Valentines day and celebrate the LOVE of this season!  

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!

Valentine’s Day Hat Craft

Valentines day hat craft

Ready for a fun valentines day hat craft? This paper craft is a great color, cut, and glue craft for kids that builds fine motor skills, coloring skills, and tool uses! Print off enough for your whole caseload or classroom because this printable party hat is great for a Valentine’s Day party activity or to use in the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day. Add this paper hat craft to your toolbox of occupational therapy activities for Valentine’s day!

Valentines day hat craft

valentine hat craft

This Valentine’s day hat (I like to think of it as a crown), is an excellent catalyst not only for working on visual motor skills, but giving learners a chance to get much desired positive attention.  Of course not all people want attention, some shy away from being noticed.  That is a much deeper issue and can be addressed in another post. 

Today we are celebrating Valentine’s Day and feeling special.

What is it about hats and crowns that make children feel so special?  For that matter, adults who wear a crown feel mighty fine also!  Just look at the royal family.  I would gladly don a crown daily to be a princess or queen.

For children, it seems the added attention and smiles brought on by a lovely crown is all the draw they need.  Without going into the psychology of attention, extrinsic motivation, or whatever children are lacking, it is nice to be noticed for something positive.

While this is a Valentines day hat/crown activity, it could easily be about so much more. When asked what their favorite holiday is, most people love Christmas. Probably for the sheer joy and magnitude of it all.  For myself, my birthday ranks number one.  In my daily life I am  a therapist, mother, wife, chef, dog mom, daughter, friend, and all around giver.  But one day a year, it is all about me.  It is not about being showered with gifts,  but just a little special attention and notice for one day a year.

Valentine’s day can feel the same for many.  One day a year, to feel special by your “person”, can rejuvenate stagnant relationships.  Even though Valentine’s day is another obligation of sorts, it is just the motivation some people need to express their feelings to a loved one. While there are true givers who express gratitude and love on a daily basis, there are others who need a little nudge now and again.

Kennedy Worth wrote a blog for the Seattle Times about why she loves Valentine’s Day. And, Alex Alvarez came up with 17 reasons to love valentines day!

My favorites are:

  • Valentine’s day is a great excuse to douse everything in sparkles!
  • You can eat an entire heart shaped pizza because you are worth it.
  • Buy yourself some chocolates
  • Love isn’t always easy, so it’s nice to have a day dedicated to the fun, sweet, lovely parts of love.

Valentine’s day is more than romantic love.  It is the love for anyone, including your dog!

Show your love for the younger learners by making this adorable Valentine’s crown.  

Now, to the serious side of treatment planning; the why, what, and how of using this, or any other activity you choose to share with your learners.  

Why Use this Valentine’s Day Hat Craft in OT?

There are many reasons why this printable hat craft are a perfect tool to support skill development:

  • It’s fun, that is number one.  Fun things are motivating
  • It can put a smile on other people’s faces
  • It can make the wearer feel special
  • Kinesthetic awareness – This means learning by doing.
  • Hand strength and dexterity – staying inside the lines builds hand muscles and develops muscle control. 
  • Visual motor skills –Combining what is seen visually and what is written motorically.  This takes coordination to be able to translate information from visual input to motor output. Coloring, drawing, counting, cutting, and tracing are some visual motor skills.
  • Visual Perception – Developing figure ground to see where the borders to each item are, scanning to find all items to color, and visual closure to understand this flat paper will create something.
  • Strength – Core strength needed for sitting, shoulder/elbow/wrist stability, finger strength, and head control all play their role in writing.
  • Bilateral Coordination – Be sure your learner uses their helper hand for stabilizing the paper while using their dominant hand for writing.
  • Social/Executive Function – Following directions, turn taking, task completion, orienting to details, neatness, multi-tasking, attending to task, and impulse control can be addressed

Extend the Activity using this Paper Hat Printable

Print off a few copies and get ready to build skills! This printable party hat can be used in so many ways:

  • Laminate the page. This can be useful for reusability, if using wipe of markers, or sturdiness when coloring first.
  • Different colored paper may make it more or less challenging for your learner
  • Cardstock will be easier to handle than copier paper
  • Enlarging the font may be necessary to beginning writing students who need bigger space to write and color.
  • Create another page with all of the alphabet letters for copying or reference
  • Make changes to the type of writing utensil, paper used, or level of difficulty
  • Bingo markers are a fun tool for younger learners who can not color yet
  • Have students write on a slant board, lying prone on the floor with the page in front to build shoulder stability, or supine with the page taped under the table
  • More or less prompting may be needed depending on the level of the task and learner
  • Make this part of a larger lesson plan including gross motor, sensory, social, executive function, or other fine motor skills
  • GLITTER!  Don’t forget that everything is better with glitter!

The printable hat template is great to use as a valentine hats for preschoolers, but also older learners, too. So many skill areas can be covered with this one activity.

How? How do I document or write about this session or activity?

  • Determine what goals and skills you are addressing. Are you looking strictly at visual motor skills?  Or something else entirely such as executive function and behavior?
  • Focus your observations on the skills you are addressing.  It is alright to address one or ten skills at once, just be sure to watch for those skills during the activity.  This can take practice to watch everything all at once. Newer clinicians often videotape sessions to go back and review clinical observations they may have missed.
  • Use data to back up your documentation. Avoid or limit phrases such as min assist, fair, good, some, many, etc.  They are vague and do not contain the numbers and data critical to proficient documentation.  Instead use percentage of area colored, number of trials, number of errors, exact sizing, how many errors outside of the lines, number of reversals, number of prompts, minutes of attention.  You get the idea.
  • This type of documentation may feel foreign at first if this is not what you are used to, however insurance and governing agencies are becoming more strict on accurate documentation.

If you are a frequent reader of my posts, you may notice some patterns to my writing, or recurring lists.  This is done for two reasons.  One, so this post stands alone and does not need to be part of a larger workbook; and  two, this may be your first glimpse at the OT Toolbox, and you will be looking for information you can use right away.

If you are totally jazzed about Valentine’s Day, the OT Toolbox has a cool fine motor bundle for you! The Valentine’s Day Fine Motor Kit has resource and activities to support handwriting, scissor skills, fine motor development, coloring, and much more.

I encourage you to scroll through the archives if you are looking for a certain theme, skill, goal, or just to read my witty prose.  There are several contributing writers on the OT Toolbox with a wealth of knowledge to share.  Stick around a while and browse…..

Don’t be shy, make yourself a crown to don proudly with your young learners. If you can not have fun at work, then it is just work.  Don’t forget the glitter!

Free valentine paper hat craft

FREE Valentine’s Day Hat Craft

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    Designing my crown now…

    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.

    Olympics Activities for therapy

    Olympics activities for therapy

    Ready to get your little athletes moving in therapy with some Olympics activities for therapy goals? Here, you’ll find fun Olympic crafts, games, and ideas to support development through play. Start my making an  Olympic Rings craft to develop fine motor skills, and then move onto gross motor ideas, medal activities, and more!

    Fun Olympics activities for occupational therapy sessions.

    Olympic Activities for Therapy

     I’ve tried to sort the Olympics activities below into skill area, so if you are looking for ideas to promote fine motor skills, check out the craft ideas. If you need gross motor activities, check out the Olympic games ideas. All of these ideas can be great for ceremony in your own therapy clinic! These are great to add to lesson plans this time of year.

    Olympic activities for therapy to develop skills.


    Fine Motor Olympic Crafts for Kids

    Are you looking for a few fun ideas for the kids to celebrate the Olympic Games?

    • Try making gold, silver, and bronze play dough with crayons for a bold color and smooth, glittery texture to the metallic play dough that will last for the length of the Olympic games.  Be sure to store the play dough in a plastic bag and you will be able to create play dough medals for weeks.
    • You could make an Olympic torch, olive leaf crown, and read a few Olympic books like Teach Beside Me did: Greek Olympics Lesson.  
    •  Cut foil to make medals. Use a craft stick to write names or numbers right onto the foil to work on pencil pressure.
    • Use foil to wrap around a plastic lid or cardboard circle.
    • Draw a soccer field on a large piece of paper. Use clothes pins to move a cotton ball or craft pom pom to different points on the field. Or, use a straw to blow the craft pom pom across the field to work on oral motor skills.
    • Or, you could make an Olympic Flag Craft using construction paper and a paper tube.

    Olympic Art for Kids

    If Olympic Art is more your style, use paints, stamps, or craft materials to make rings. 

    • Use a tissue box to make ice skates.
    • Use a toilet paper tube or paper towel tube to make an Olympic torch (just add tissue paper for the flame). This is a great tool to use in an obstacle course too!
    • Make a discus using a paper plate. Staple two plates together around the edges.
    • Create Olympic rings by tracing a cup, cookie cutter, paper bowl and creating the rings.
    • Stamp rings using a paper towel tube. 

    We love this Olympic Rings Art. made from a re-purposed canvas from Happy Hooligans.   


    Gross Motor Olympic Games for therapy

    The Olympics are a great theme to use in therapy sessions. Try these movement activities for gross motor skills, coordination, balance, endurance, and sensory input:

    • Crawling along an obstacle course
    • Balance beam activities
    • Indoor ice skating
    • Animal walks
    • Relay races
    • Create a paper plate discus and throw it at a target (a hula hoop works well)
    • Wheelbarrow walks
    • Throw a pool noodle like a javelin throw
    • Use balls or bean bags in a shot put activity
    • Use a scooter board and pretend it’s a bobsled or skies
    • Bounce a ball around a cone
    • Sled or ski down a therapy wedge
    • Use buckets or cones to create relay races
    • Create hurdles using pool noodles for jumping over and crawling under

    If getting active is on your agenda, KCEdventures shows us how to plan your own Olympic celebration for kids.

    Olympic Handwriting Activity

    Ask your therapy attendees to write a list of Olympic sports. Work on handwriting skills such as letter formation, margin use, line awareness, and legibility.

    • You can also follow the highlights reel online and keep track of the number of medals accumulated by each country, or write down the top countries according to medal count.
    • To work on number formation, use graph paper as a medal tracker. This is a motivating activity for learners!
    • Another fun therapy activity to use during the Olympics is to create a large venn diagram on paper, a wall chalkboard, or dry erase board. The learners can write out the similarities and differences between the Winter Games and the Summer Games. This handwriting task focuses on organizational skills, spatial awareness, and margin use.

    Write a list of winter sports being played during the Winter Olympic Games:

    • Bobsled
    • Skiing
    • Figure skating
    • Speed skating
    • Snowboarding
    • Ice hockey
    • Curling
    • Luge
    • Skeleton

    Olympic Visual Motor Activities

    Support visual motor skills by asking kids to copy the Olympic rings. Include colors to engage visual perceptual skills. 


    Olympic Food for Kids

    Getting the kids involved in a cooking activity is a great executive functioning activity. Try these Olympic themed foods:
    Make these rainbow snacks using colors of the Olympic rings.
    These Olympic foods for Kids has some great ideas.

     
     
     
     
    Olympic activities for kids including Olympic themed snacks, crafts, activities, and learning. This is great for summer or winter Olympics.

     

    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.