Soap Shaving Bookmark Craft

soap shaving bookmarks

Today I wanted to share a fun kids craft that supports life skill development: using an iron and ironing board. To make the soap shavings, we also used a vegetable peeler, so this is a great way to incorporate fine motor skills into kitchen tasks needed for using kitchen items like the vegetable peeler. We also worked on a few different skills with this craft: cutting with scissors, fine motor skills, bilateral coordination, and executive functioning. Be sure to check out our music bookmark craft as well.

Make wax paper bookmarks using soap shavings to create soap shaving bookmarks.

Soap Shavings Bookmark Craft

Today we are incredibly excited to share this Soap Shavings Bookmark craft with you! 
 
Soap Shaving Bookmarks with peeled soap, part of the book, Pop! Squirt! Splash! book for kids with soap, water, and bubbles
 
 
 
Kids can get creative in their crafting using soap and a few materials from around the house.  We made these soap shaving bookmarks and had a blast creating!
Soap Shaving Bookmarks with peeled soap, part of the book, Pop! Squirt! Splash! book for kids with soap, water, and bubbles
 
This post contains affiliate links.
 


To make Soap Shaving Bookmarks:

You’ll need a few materials:

This soap craft is as beautiful as it is simple.  Kids will love to use a vegetable peeler on bars of soap to create soap shavings.  

Here are the steps to make this soap shaving bookmark craft:

  1. To make the bookmarks, lay a sheet of wax paper out on a hard surface like a cookie sheet or cutting board.  
Use a vegetable peeler to create soap shavings

Using a bar of soap to practice using a vegetable peeler is a great beginner step for kids learning to use kitchen tools, because the soap peels shavings much easier than an apple skin peels away from the apple.



2. Show your child how to grasp a bar of soap and using hand-over-hand guidance, help your child to slowly peel shavings from the bar of soap. Encourage them to peel away from their body for safety. 

This is important when teaching kids how to peel a potato or an apple, as well, so it’s great practice!


3. Peel long strips of soap and small shavings, mixing the colors of the different bars of soap on the wax paper.  Managing the vegetable peeler and the soap is a great way to encourage bilateral hand coordination (the use of two hands together in a coordinated manner).  


Children need bilateral hand coordination for functional skills like cutting with scissors, handwriting,  tying shoes, and managing clothing fasteners.  An activity like using a vegetable peeler on a soft bar of soap is a great way to work on using tow hands together effectively with a non-dominant assisting hand and a dominant hand with fluid and controlled motions.  


4. Arrange the soap peelings on the wax paper and place the second piece of wax paper on top.  

5. Carefully move the wax paper to an ironing board.  

6. Place a dishtowel over the wax paper and using an iron heated to medium, slowly press down.  The soap will slightly melt and flatten under the heat.  

7. Check often to see if the wax paper is adhering.  You can remove the dish towel and carefully heat the edges of the wax paper.  

8. Cut the wax paper into rectangular book marks.  

9. Punch a hole near the top of the book marks using the hole puncher.  

10. Tie a piece of ribbon in the hole.  This bookmark will smell great and would make a lovely gift!

Soap Shaving Bookmarks with peeled soap


*Note: This craft should be done under close supervision of an adult.  Be careful with the use of a vegetable peeler with small children.  For younger children, provide hand-over-hand assistance with the vegetable peeler.  Adults may want to complete the peeling portion of this soap craft.  Adults or responsible older children should manage the iron.  As always, use judgement when it comes to completing this and any activity with your kids.

Using the vegetable peeler and an iron to make our soap shaving bookmark makes working on IADLs fun and engaging. Life skills tasks like cooking is an essential Instrumental Activity of Daily Living that occupational therapy professionals address.

Soap Shaving Bookmarks with peeled soap, part of the book, Pop! Squirt! Splash! book for kids with soap, water, and bubbles

Alternate activities:

  1. Vary the scents and colors of your bookmarks with various soaps.
  2. Add a personal message or quote to the bookmarks.
  3. Add flower petals or scraps of paper to the soap shavings before ironing.
  4. Arrange the soap shavings in a mosaic or mandala pattern.

 

Use a vegetable peeler on a soap bar

Using a vegetable peeler to proactive the bilateral coordination and motor planning needed for peeling vegetables is a good way to grade down the activity because of the soft texture of the soap.

Colleen Beck, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

Raccoon Craft for Math and Fine Motor

racoon craft

We made this racoon craft many moons ago, when my oldest was in second grade. She’s now a sophomore in high school, and I have to say that those years went by like a flash. This post was originally written in October, 2015 and I’m just updating it now with some tips about how to use the racoon craft to support fine motor development. One thing is for certain; this fine motor math craft still remains as cute as it did all those years ago!

This is a clothespin activity that supports development of many areas of motor skills AND learning regrouping in math!

racoon craft

Racoon Craft

I love that this racoon craft supports fine motor skills. Not only by making the craft, but by playing with the racoon clothes pin, there are some big fine motor benefits. Plus, it’s a fine motor STEM activity that kids seem to love.

There are so many benefits to using the clothes pin as a fine motor tool in math (and in kids crafts)!

For example, when manipulating clothes pins, fine motor contributions include:

Similarly, the fine motor contributions that are needed for threading beads includes:

  • Arch development
  • In-hand manipulation
  • Eye-hand coordination
  • Open thumb web space
  • Tripod grasp/pincer grasp
  • Finger isolation
  • Thumb opposition
  • Wrist extension
  • Dexterity
  • Bilateral coordination

We made a video that shows how manipulating and pinching clothes pins promotes grasp development. Check it out here:

In the video, we show how to use the clothes pins to work on pinch strength and grip strength. You can use your racoon clothespin craft to do these things!

Regrouping Math Activity

Second grade.  They say it’s the old third grade in public schools.  My second grader is our oldest, so I’ve no previous school years to compare the class work or curriculum to.  We are plowing through the first few months of school though.  We are well into a routine with schedules, homework, and have only missed the bus once.  (This is our best year so far in that area!)  

While my second grader might be doing the stuff that third graders used to do, she is a trooper.  She works hard and she loves her teacher and her friends.  I mean, she even comes home from a long day of school and PLAYS school with her siblings.  While they have zero interest in regrouping addition problems, they are cooperative little students.

 
 Raccoon craft with a clothes pin for use in second grade math: this Regrouping Raccoon will help with regrouping double digit addition math problems!
 
 
 

Raccoon Craft

This Raccoon craft made the perfect tool to practice a math skill with my second grader: Regrouping Double Digit Addition Problems.  It was a fun craft to make alongside my daughter and turned out to be a pretty fun second grade craft, too!

Raccoon craft with a clothes pin for use in second grade math: this Regrouping Raccoon will help with regrouping double digit addition math problems!

 

What is Regrouping Double Digit Addition?

So, we actually did a regrouping activity last year when my little future teacher was in first grade.  That activity was about regrouping single digits in addition.  Now, a whole year later, we’re regrouping double digits and feel like big shots.  Ok, not really.  But it IS a whole other column of numbers that we are adding, here! 
 
Now, I’ve said it before.  I am not a teacher by trade.  In fact, I’m an Occupational Therapist.  So I don’t have a huge understanding of teaching techniques or educational standards and the like.  But, I do have the motivation that only a mom has when it comes to making homework fun, and easy.  I am so over pulling teeth to get homework done.  Let’s do a creative and playful activity to build on school-found skills and I’m good.  And really, when we pull in my OT-ness to the play and fun, it’s even better.  Fine motor skills, here we come!

Ok, ok back to what is regrouping question.  

Essentially, regrouping in math is borrowing or carrying a digit to aide in a math operation. In addition, digits from the ones column are added to the tens column to add single or double digits. 

My second grader is adding double digit numbers.  When the ones column of those double digits add up to more than 9, there is another tens to add to the tens column.  

Regrouping in Math Activity

Now, to practice regrouping double digit addition problems, you could do page after page of worksheets.  But if your kiddo is like mine (and any other kid out there), that will not go over well.  We made this sneaky little raccoon clothes pin craft to practice regrouping in math practice.
 
It’s a pretty easy craft that your second grader will love to try.  You’ll need just a few materials: (These are affiliate links.)

Raccoon craft with a clothes pin for use in second grade math: this Regrouping Raccoon will help with regrouping double digit addition math problems!
Raccoon craft with a clothes pin for use in second grade math: this Regrouping Raccoon will help with regrouping double digit addition math problems!
 
To make the racoon craft:
 
  1. Start by cutting a strip of newspaper to fit on the front of the clothes pin.  
  2. You’ll also want to cut a small circle for the raccoon’s head, and a tail-ish shape.  
  3. Glue the newspaper strip to the front of the clothes pin.  
  4. From the black cardstock, cut small strips to make the raccoon’s eye mask, tow triangle ears, and stripes for the tail.  
  5. Glue all of these paper pieces into place.  
  6. Add the googly eyes and draw on a cute little smile.  That raccoon is done and ready to help with regrouping. 


Regrouping Raccoon and Double Digit Addition

We decided that since raccoons are pretty sneaky and sometimes steal garbage from trash cans, that our Regrouping Raccoon would be the perfect buddy for stealing numbers from the ones column and placing them over in the tens column.  We practiced with a problem or two and added up the ones column.  If the total had 10 or more, than that sneaky little raccoon helped us move the ten over to the tens column.  Fun, right?
 
Now, grab a sheet of regrouping addition problems.  We used a homework page, but you could just write out problems on a piece of paper.  
 
As my daughter did the double digit math problems, I had her clip the raccoon onto the edge of the paper if it was a regrouping problem.  For the problems that did not require regrouping, we just left the raccoon in place.  

Raccoon craft with a clothes pin for use in second grade math: this Regrouping Raccoon will help with regrouping double digit addition math problems!
 
We ended up making a few more raccoon pinch clothes pins and had a family of raccoons!
 
Raccoon craft with a clothes pin for use in second grade math: this Regrouping Raccoon will help with regrouping double digit addition math problems!
 
 
 
 
 
More second grade activities you will love:
 
 
 
 
 
 
We have a few other resources that might help as well. These are free tools you can find on The OT Toolbox and all three include free downloads. These would go great with our racoon craft activity!
forest sensory path

Use the forest sensory path with our racoon craft to support self regulation needs.

shadow matching worksheet with forest animals theme

Add our forest animal visual discrimination worksheet to your therapy toolbox to work on visual scanning, visual form constancy, and other visual perceptual skills.

free forest animal worksheets

And, use our forest animal puzzles to work on scissor skills and visual motor skills.

I hope the racoon craft and all of the tips in this activity supports development! Have fun!

Colleen Beck, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

Cherry Blossom Tree Craft- Fine Motor Activity

Cherry blossom tree craft

This cherry blossom craft is one of my favorites this time of year because it’s a fine motor power tool that supports so many areas of development with a single craft. We made the tissue paper cherry blossom tree many years ago, and it’s still a favorite when it comes to one craft that supports many areas! This is just one of the fun Cherry blossom crafts here on the site that promote fine motor skills, strengthening, and precision in big ways. Let’s explain…

Cherry Blossom Craft

We made these Cherry blossom trees one day as a Spring occupational therapy activity for kids.  This was the perfect way to brighten up our dining room.  We had a bunch of paper snowflakes hanging on our window and decided we needed to pull those down and make a few fun spring crafts!  This Cherry Blossom Tree craft hit the mark!

Not only were our trees fun to make, they had a great fine motor component to them…and we love fine motor activities!

 

Cherry blossom tree craft

 
 This post contains affiliate links. 

 

Cherry Blossom Tree craft

We made this tissue paper cherry blossom craft using simple materials that we already had on hand:

  • Green construction paper
  • Pink tissue paper
  • Glue
  • Clothes pins
  • We also used scissors, a pencil, and a lid (to create the tree circle)

The craft is ideal because there are many skills that are addressed using these materials. We show them in the image at the top of this page, and they include:

  • Finger strength– needed to pinch the clothes pins as a trunk onto the tissue paper cherry blossom craft.
  • Open thumb web space– needed to tear and crumble the tissue paper
  • Scissor skills– necessary to cut the circles
  • Arch development– crumbling the paper into small bits requires refinement of the arches of the hand
  • Pincer grasp– to pick up and manipulate the small crumbled tissue aper pieces and to place them onto glue spots on the tree

There are other skills that are used as well: tripod grasp, gross grasp, bilateral coordination, intrinsic hand strength, etc.

 

Trace a lid to make circles for cherry blossom tree craft.
 
We started with green Construction Paper and a peanut butter jar lid.  I traced a bunch of circles (and Baby Girl had to try her hand at tracing, too!)
 
Holding the lid and tracing around it is a great way to incorporate bilateral coordination and crossing midline. This is a nice precursor to the task of cutting out each circle. 
 
To address scissor skills, consider using thicker paper or cardstock to make the cutting activity easier. Here are strategies for working on scissor skills and cutting accuracy.
 
Cut circles for a Cherry blossom tree

 

These were cut out and we were ready to get started on our trees.

Dots of glue for cherry blossom tree craft

I put a bunch of dots of glue on the circles.  Older kids could do this part.  Squeezing the glue bottle is a great fine motor strengthening exercise for little hands.

For kids that need help working on graded resistance and grasp when managing a bottle of glue, practicing glue spots onto different sizes of circles like in a glue exercise is a good way to help with this functional task. 

The Glue Spots worksheets in the Spring Fine Motor Kit is a good exercise for this activity.

Crumbling tissue paper is great for fine motor skills.
 
Next, Big Sister pulled small bits of pink tissue paper from a big old sheet. 
 
Tearing tissue paper is such a GREAT fine motor strengthening exercise for kiddos. 
 
Crumbling those little bits works the intrinsic muscles of the hands (the small muscles that are in the hand and make up arches of the palm.  Strength of these muscles is so important to endurance in handwriting and coloring, maintaining adequate pressure when coloring, holding the pencil accurately…the needs for defined arches of the hands could go on and on and on!
 
Crumbling tissue paper for crumbled paper art is a functional fine motor craft that kids can hang up and admire their hard work. You’ll find more Crumble Art crafts in the Spring Fine Motor Kit, including templates for 5 different crumble art crafts: flowers, mushroom, rainbow, and Easter egg crafts.
 
Pinching tissue paper works on hand strength and tripod grasp.
 
Pressing those little tissue paper crumbles into the glue required a tripod grasp.  And, we had a ton of glue spots…so this was a good long activity!
 
Tripod grasp is worked on with this cherry blossom tree craft.

 

Cover all of those glue spots!

Make Cherry Blossom tree crat to work on fine motor skills with clothes pins for trunks.

 

Once our tissue paper/glue was dry, we clipped on clothes pin “trunks” onto our trees.  Pinching those pins was another way to encourage hand strengthening.  We had a whole forest of Cherry Blossom trees and got them involved on our train table, with the Little People stuff, with little dinosaurs.  We played with these Cherry Blossom trees until they fell apart!

Be sure to check out this other cherry blossom fine motor math activity, where we used pink tissue paper to make cherry blossoms and worked on tripod grasp and eye hand coordination skills.

 

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 has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

Cherry Blossom Tree craft for kids with fine motor activity

Pipe Cleaner Bunny and Carrots

pipe cleaner bunny craft

These pipe cleaner bunny crafts are a fun Easter craft that supports fine motor skills. We LOVED making these and then using them over and over again!

With Easter being right around the corner, these pipe cleaner bunny crafts and pipe cleaner carrots are a great way to add fine motor skills to your Easter occupational therapy line up. These bunny cuties were easy to make and have been seen a lot in our play time recently.  This isn’t the first time that we’ve made Easter Bunny fine motor activity.

pipe cleaner bunny craft

Pipe Cleaner Bunny and Pipe Cleaner Carrots

So WHAT is a manipulative?? (Even spell check doesn’t know, so maybe we should explain…) These cute little bunny manipulatives can be used for so many fun activities: counting, patterning, sorting, arranging…so much learning can happen with little objects that kids can manipulate. 

We use these in Easter sensory bins and to develop a few fine motor skills, too!

You’ll also want to check out our other Bunny Activities:

Pipe Cleaner Bunny

So we love making fun kids crafts that double as a therapy tool. When you bend and fold pipe cleaners into shapes, you’re actually working on several skills:

I’ve caught baby Girl playing with these bunnies and carrots as she made them talk to each other.  What a great way to work on language and conversation!  Throw these bunnies and carrots into a sensory bin and you’ve got a sensory activity where the kids can explore textures and senses. 

There are SO many ways these manipulatives can be used in learning and play. 

How to make a Bunny with Pipe Cleaners

Here’s what we did to make the pipe cleaner bunnies…

First, you’ll want to gather your materials:

  • White pipe cleaners
  • Pink pony bead
 
 
 
Easter bunny and carrot craft for kids
 
 
Check out the directions to make the pipe cleaner bunny craft under each picture. We wanted to add a step-by-step visual.

Fold the pipe cleaner to make Bunny ears.
 
To start, I created a handful of Easter Bunnies using off-white pipe cleaners.  It’s not hard to do…
 
1. Bend the pipe cleaner to make two bunny ears.
 
Ben a pipe cleaner to form an Easter Bunny
 
2. Twist the pipe cleaner around and through the first “ear”, then through the second “ear”.  The second ear is not a complete loop, so the tail end of the pipe cleaner doesn’t really go through the ear. 
You’ll pinch the pipe cleaner so it stays put.  See the next picture.
 
How to make an Easter Bunny using a pipe cleaner
 
3. Pinch the “ears” in place and pull the long end strait down. 
4. Thread a pink bead onto the pipe cleaner for the bunny’s nose.
 
Use these pipe cleaner Easter bunnies and carrots for pretend play and counting activities
 
5. Wrap the long end of the pipe cleaner straight up and around your thumb. 
6. Repeat twice, making one loop to the right of the bead and one loop to the left of the bead. 
7. Pinch it so it stays in place.  You can kind of squash the bunny down to make it stay put.
 
counting, sorting, patterns with pipe cleaner Easter bunny and carrot manipulatives.
 

Pipe Cleaner Carrot

 
The pipe cleaner carrots are just a piece of an orange pipe cleaner bent into a carrot shape and a small piece of green pipe cleaner  twisted around to make a stem.  Super easy to make.
 
Make a handful of each and you’re ready for counting, patterns, sorting, adding, and subtracting…
 
How many ways can you think of to learn and play with these guys?
 
Pipe cleaner Easter Bunny and carrots for pretend play
 
Our bunnies have been found all over the house this last week.  The carrots made their way into the Little People house and eaten by the Lalaloopsy friends.  The bunny manipulatives have even been caught hanging out with a few Ninja Turtles! 
 
Let us know if you make these bunny and carrot manipulatives.  We would love to see how you’re learning and playing!
 

For more Easter fine motor activities, check out the Spring Fine Motor Kit.

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 has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

Oral Motor Exercises with a Cotton Ball Bunny

bunny craft

Working on oral motor exercises as a sensory processing strategy for self-regulation, or as an oral motor tool to address physical needs? Ok, so we made a cute little cotton ball bunny to use in an Easter sensory activity as a small world play area to work on fine motor skills with an Easter theme. However, using them in imagination play, but, there are so many oral motor benefits to using these little cotton ball bunnies, too.

It was so much fun with that little cotton ball bunny family that we turned it into a big old collection of bunnies! That’s not all…we used them in an oral motor exercise, with major self-regulation benefits. Here is a how to for this Easter craft for kids as well as a run-down on oral motor skill work with everyday items.

One thing I love about this is that we were blowing cotton balls with straws as a calming and regulating activity, but it was a lot of fun, too!

You’ll also want to check out our other Bunny Activities:

oral motor exercises with an easter theme using a cotton ball bunny craft

Oral Motor Exercises with an Easter Theme

Oral motor skills play a big part of feeding. In fact oral motor problems and feeding can impact food preferences as well as ability to eat certain food textures. There is a lot of information on oral motor skills on The OT Toolbox.

We’ve covered development of oral motor skills to the physical traits you may see with oral motor issues such as exaggerated jaw movements and issues that arise with stability bite patterns. Here is more information if you are wondering if feeding issues are related to oral motor skills or sensory concerns…or both.

Adding sensory work through the mouth in the form of proprioception is a powerful way to help kids recenter and gain input that is calming and regulating. That input “wakes up” the muscles of the mouth.

There is a mindfulness portion to this oral motor strategy, too. Taking deep breaths is so important in relaxation it brings awareness to your body. In this Easter oral motor activity, kids can blow through a straw to move the cotton ball bunnies while focusing on a static viewpoint at the end of the straw.

Did you know that blowing cotton balls with straws can do all of this??

Talk about centering and regulating! You can even ask the child to breathe in while you count to 5 and then breath out as they move the bunny with the power of their breath.

This oral motor exercise uses straws and cotton ball bunnies for an Easter themed

Oral Motor Exercises for Heavy work

To do this self regulation activity, it’s actually pretty simple.

  1. Line up a row of cotton ball bunnies on the table.
  2. Give the child a straw and ask them to blow into the straw to push the bunny toward a target.
  3. You can ask them to move a certain number of bunnies in a specific amount of time, or they can simply move all of the bunny family with their breath.
bunny craft

Oral Motor Exercise

I wanted to try a little Easter-themed game with Big Sister.  (She didn’t know that it was actually an oral motor exercise that supports development!)

I put the cotton ball bunnies out on the table, along with the grass and some straws.    She had to blow the bunnies into the grass using a straw. 

Scroll below for instructions on how to make the DIY grass matt to use in sensory play activities.

To make the oral motor exercise easier or harder:

  1. Try using different lengths of straws to change the breath power and amount of deep breathing they need to take.
  2. You can also pinch the straw to require more effort in the oral motor therapy idea.
  3. Try using different types of straws, too. Some ideas include using a large sports straw like we did in the pictures here, or a coffee stirrer straw.

The options are endless and can be means of grading this activity up or down to meet the specific needs of the child.

This is a fun exercise/game for kids with oral-motor problems including poor lip closure, stability of the jaw, or muscle development of the mouth, jaw, and tongue.  Blowing through a straw can also help with sensorimotor integration. 

Older kids who constantly put things into their mouth (pencils, clothing, fingers…) may be seeking oral input/sensorimotor input that their body needs.   

This game is a fun way to work on any of these areas.  Use fatter straws at first and work toward thinner straws for a graded exercise.  If this activity to too difficult for your child with oral-motor or sensorimotor needs, try a smaller item such as a feather or a crafting fuzz ball.  

You could also work on oral motor skills and the proprioceptive heavy work with this Egg Boat activity.

Oral motor exercises like these are beneficial to add heavy work input through the mouth and lips that is calming and regulating.

These oral motor exercises have an Easter theme anc can work on oral sensory needs for self-regulation or oral motor therapy.
Make this Easter fine motor activity using a cotton ball bunny craft. Kids will love to use this in an Easter play activity with preschoolers and toddlers

Fine Motor Skills Activity

These little Easter bunny crafts were perfect to in a fine motor skills activity, too. With a tray, a handful of river rocks, and a DIY crepe paper matt, we made an Easter-themed small world to work on fine motor skills with my littlest one.

My daughter, who was a toddler in these photos, loved to explore and play as she picked up and moved the cotton ball bunnies, the rocks, and small carrots.

Easter play ideas using a DIY sensory mat and cotton ball bunny crafts for kids to use in fine motor work.

To make the grass matt, we used a roll of green crepe paper. It was glued on one side to a sheet of construction paper. I asked my preschooler to snip into the edges of the top side of the crepe paper, so it made a fringed edge. This was a great scissor activity for her.

This Easter play activity turned out to be a fun fine motor activity for toddlers and a fine motor ideas for preschoolers, too! I think the quote from my preschooler was… “Wow, this is cool, Mom!”

This cotton ball bunny craft is so much fun for fine motor skill activities and oral motor skills work.

Easter Play IDEA

Play idea for toddlers- Baby Girl especially loved playing with the little bunnies in an Easter small world play set-up.  She would move the bunnies, stones, and carrots one at a time from the bowl to the grass…and then back again.

Play idea for preschoolers- Big Sister had fun using the bunnies for imagination play, making them go into their garden, lining up the rocks, and making the bunnies steal the carrots.  

Little Guy wanted nothing to do with any of this. I guess there were not any superheroes or bad guys involved.  Cute little bunnies are not his thing 🙂  

This Easter play idea is great for workingon fine motor skills with toddlers and preschoolers.

We are having a lot of fun with our little bunnies!

Make this cotton ball bunny craft to use in easter themed sensory play and fine motor skills activities

TO make the Cotton Ball Bunny Craft

Making this Easter bunny craft is super easy.

  1. We used a glue gun to make sure the pieces were securely attached for sensory play with my toddler. However, regular craft glue would work as well.
  2. You’ll need a cotton ball, white foam sheet, and a pink felt sheet.
  3. Cut out two large white ears and two smaller pieces for the inner ear.
  4. Use the craft glue to hold these pieces in place.
  5. Add gentle pressure to make sure all of the pieces are securely attached.

This bunny craft came together fairly quickly, so I was able to create a whole set of the bunnies.

Then, use them to play!

This Easter craft idea is great for fine motor activities for preschoolers and toddlers with an Easter theme.

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 has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

Easter Activities

It’s that time again!  Easter is around the corner and so you may be searching for a few Easter activities. These spring activities are ones that have a movement and play component so that kids build skills they need while celebrating the season. Below, you’ll find Easter ideas, Easter crafts, egg activities, songs, and bunny games are all themed on Easters, eggs, and bunnies. Things like our Easter scissor skills activity are just part of the fun. So if you’re planning a few fun activities for the kids this Easter, look no further.  We have got you covered on the bunny cuteness overload!

Easter Activities for Occupational Therapy

Sensory Input- Add sensory input for a functional sensory diet or self regulation needs using these sensory egg dying activities.

Scissor Skills– Use fake Easter grass to work on scissor skills.

Visual Perception/Fine Motor– Work on visual discrimination, bilateral coordination, and hand strength with this color matching egg hunt.

Oral Motor Skills/Proprioception– Build oral motor skills and add calming proprioceptive input through the mouth with this bunny race activity.

Oral Motor Skills/Fine Motor– Use plastic eggs to make boats that really float and are powered by breath, a great calming self-regulation activity. It’s a fun fine motor STEM activity, too.

Intrinsic Hand Strength– After dying eggs, use the extra egg cartons to build in-hand manipulation and precision in dexterity with this fine motor activity.

Open Thumb Web-Space/Eye-Hand Coordination– Build motor skills in the hands using egg dying tongs to sort and manipulate small objects.

Fine Motor Skills– Use pipe cleaners to make mini-bunnies and mini-carrots for fine motor manipulatives.

Shoe Tying– Or, use that egg carton to work on shoe tying.

Pre-Writing Lines– Grab some wikki stix and work on pre-writing lines and handwriting with an egg theme.

Easter activities, crafts, and games that build skills for occupational therapy sessions and goal areas.

Easter Crafts

These Easter craft ideas use everyday materials, so you can easily set these up for your therapy sessions.

Make bunnies and carrots from pipe cleaners for an Easter occupational therapy tool.

Make a set of these pipe cleaner Bunny and Carrots to use in fine motor activities, play, counting, and imagination play. 

Easter fine motor manipulative to help with fine motor skills in kids.

Try these cotton ball bunny craft manipulatives to use in play, fine motor activities and imagination play.

RELATED READ: Simple Spring Sensory

Easter Bunny Activities for Kids

This 5 Little Bunnies Finger Rhyme from Let’s Play Music is a great way to work on finger dexterity and coordination.

Bunny lacing activity to build fine motor skills

Easter Lacing Cards from Totschooling helps with bilateral coordination, eye-hand coordination, visual motor skills, and more. Here is more information on the benefits of lacing cards for kids

Easter activity with plastic easter eggs

Plastic Egg craft- Use plastic Easter eggs to make boats with a sensory benefit. It’s a calming sensory activity that kids will love.

Grab a handful of Easter eggs and use them to work on color identification in a color scavenger hunt.

Easter writing activity to help kids wrok on pre-writing lines and pencil control with an Easter egg theme.

Use this Easter egg writing activity to help kids work on pre-writing lines and pencil control, as well as coordination and visual motor skills.

Gross motor easter activity

Try this Bunny Hop ABC Game from Fantastic, Fun, and Learning to add gross motor skills, motor planning, and coordination skills in outdoor play.

Easter activity with coloring pages and dot to dot pages

Try these Bunny Coloring Pages from Kids Activities Blog for visual perception, visual motor skills, pencil control, and more.

Use this bunny activity to work on bilateral coordination, eye hand coordination and fine motor skills.

Grab a pair of Bunny Tongs from the dollar store for a fine motor Easter activity that builds scissor skills and eye-hand coordination. 

Bunny craft for kids at Easter time, using toilet paper tubes to make an Easter craft while building fine motor skills.

Make Toilet Paper Roll Bunnies like this Easter craft from Toddling in the Fast Lane for a fine motor workout with cute results.

Easy Easter Activities

Busy occupational therapy practitioners know that time is limited. So coming up with a few therapy activities that work with the whole caseload is key.

Here are some of my favorites:

  • Egg Decorating: Using stickers to decorate plastic Easter eggs. This activity supports fine motor precision, bilateral coordination, and hand-eye coordination.
  • Egg Transferring: Use spoons to transfer small eggs from one basket to another. This activity works on visual motor skills and grasp precision. This is a nice activity if helping kids to hold a spoon and fork when eating.
  • Easter Egg Cutting: Draw a simple oval on paper and ask kids to cut out the shape. This activity focuses on scissor manipulation and hand-eye coordination.
  • Paper Easter Baskets: Children can cut out and assemble paper baskets by weaving strips of paper.
  • Egg Hunt Obstacle Course: This one is one of my favorites! Hide plastic Easter eggs in different places in an occupational therapy obstacle course. You can really focus on different gross motor skills as kids move through the course and collect eggs. Then, ask them to go back through the course and re-hide the eggs to work on memory skills.
  • Matching Games: Use the egg matching cards in the Easter Egg Therapy Kit and have your students connect two sides of plastic eggs to match the colors on the cards. The kit has pre-colored cards or you can use the blank template to have kids color their own color mix ups.
  • Easter Sensory Bins: Fill sensory bins with items like Easter grass, plastic eggs, and small toys, allowing children to explore different textures and sensations.
  • Egg Shakers: Fill plastic eggs with dry beans or beads and tape the eggs shut. Children can create their own egg shakers using plastic eggs filled with various materials like rice or beans, which provides auditory and tactile feedback.
  • Planning an Easter Craft: Encourage children to plan and execute an Easter craft, which can help develop their organization, sequencing, and problem-solving skills.
  • Easter Cooking Activities: Following a cooking with kids recipe to make Easter-themed snacks can enhance planning, sequencing, and task initiation.
  • Easter-Themed Yoga: Incorporate yoga poses inspired by Easter themes (like bunny hops or egg stretches) to help children practice self-regulation and body awareness. We have activities like this in The OT Toolbox Membership.

One resource we love is our $5 therapy kit…the Plastic Egg Therapy Kit! It has 27 printable pages of activities with an Easter egg theme. In the kit, you’ll find fine motor activities, handwriting prompts, letter formation pages, pencil control sheets, plastic egg activities, matching cards, graphing activities, STEM fine motor task cards, and more. There are several pages of differentiated lines to meet a variety of needs. This therapy kit has everything done for you.

Get your copy of the Easter Egg Therapy Kit here.

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 has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

Rainbow Activities for Child Development

rainbow a

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!

One of our favorite ideas is a fruit loop rainbow craft, but you’ll love the others below, too.

We’ve also added a free printable therapy activity sheet with rainbow activities that can be used in planning therapy sessions. Scroll to the bottom of the blog post to grab this resource.

rainbow activities

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

Some of our favorite rainbow activities include colorful sensory bins, rainbow markers and crayons, and making rainbow crafts. The nice thing about using a rainbow theme in therapy is that you can use what you have on hand.

  • Sort paperclips or craft pom poms by color.
  • Pick a colored pencil out of a box and use it to write the name of the color.
  • Ask the students to name their favorite color and then use it as a rainbow writing prompt to write about things that are typically that color.
  • Cut colorful paper into strips and glue it to a cloud shape cut from paper.

There are so many easy ways to come up with rainbow ideas that build on skills. Let’s take a look at a few more ideas…

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

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.

Pipe Cleaner Rainbow Craft– An alternative to the rainbow bead bracelet is our pipe cleaner rainbow that we made many years ago. This activity was fun because we built a 3 dimensional rainbow…and then used it in our leprechaun trap!

To make the rainbow pipe cleaner, use colorful pipe cleaners and colorful beads. Ask your students to sort the beads into colors of the rainbow, and then match the beads to the same colored pipe cleaner. Bend the pipe cleaners into a rainbow arch. Then, push the ends of the pipe cleaners into a foam block.

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.

More ideas for supporting fine motor skills with a rainbow theme include:

Fruit Loop Rainbow Craft: One therapy tool that I love to use during the Spring months is Fruit Loop cereal rings. Why? It’s a great shape for little fingers to work on pincer grasp and eye hand coordination, but it’s also an inexpensive therapy tool, too.

  1. All you need to do is create a rainbow template on paper or cardstock.
  2. Ask your student to separate the cereal by color. This is a great color sorting activity.
  3. Next, show your student how to glue the cereal pieces onto the rainbow.

This activity encourages fine motor skills such as picking up small objects, hand-eye coordination, and color recognition. Here are more Fruit Loop Rainbow craft ideas.

Rainbow Writing: If you need an inexpensive therapy activity that uses items you already have, rainbow writing is it. Kids like to rainbow write, especially if you use motivating words or a different writing surface than they are used to.

  1. First, gather your materials. You’ll need a surface and colorful writing utensils (dry erase board and markers, sidewalk and chalk, paper taped to a window and crayons, fabric and markers, or just use paper and crayons).
  2. Show the students how to make a rainbow shape using one color. Ask them to draw a large arch.
  3. Next, use each color of the rainbow to draw right over the first arch.

You’ll end up with a colorful mess…but it’s a great activity for building skills!

This activity supports visual motor skills, pencil control, and crossing midline. If you use a dry erase board or a window, ask your students to use a spray bottle with water to erase the colors and then watch those colorful rainbow drips!

Color Rice for Sensory Bin: One sensory motor activity that I love is a good old fashioned sensory bin. Kids love a sensory bin, and as the OT practitioner, you can add or pull out a couple of items to meet specific needs, and then use the sensory bin with your caseload.

  1. Dye rice with different colors like we do in our rice sensory table blog post.
  2. Fill a large container with the colorful rice.
  3. Add tools and cups to scoop and pour. (Spoons, funnels, containers)

Of course, with any sensory bin, you would need to consider the safety of the child, and a color rice sensory bin would be no different. This activity works on motor planning, sensory touch, and motor skills.

Rainbow rice sensory bins can be used for other skill areas like handwriting by adding color words and asking kids to copy the word that they find in the sensory bin.

Rainbow Worksheets: The members in The OT Toolbox membership know that we have many rainbow worksheets that support a variety of skill areas. There are handwriting activities, coloring tasks, fine motor activities, scissor tasks, rainbow crafts, rainbow self regulation activities, rainbow sensory bin materials, and much more. Like all of the materials in The OT Toolbox membership, our rainbow worksheets support hands-on skill building through play.

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 developmental milestones and 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 breathing exercise

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.

Free Printable List of Rainbow Activities

One tool we have in The OT Toolbox membership club is therapy themes. Rainbow themed activities is one of them! We’ve put together a list of rainbow activities that can be used in therapy sessions to build skills and created a printable therapy lesson plan.

This resource is a hit with therapy providers because they can pull out the sheet and plan their week of therapy sessions with just a handful of activities. This printable is inside The Membership Club but you can grab a copy here as well. Enter your email address into the form below and we’ll send it to you.

Rainbow Lesson Plan for Therapy

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    Colleen Beck, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

    Snowy Farm Sensory Bin

    farm sensory bin

    Welcome to a winter wonderland on the farm! In today’s blog post, we’re diving into the magical world of sensory play with a snowy farm sensory bin. This delightful activity combines the charm of a farm theme with the sensory joys of winter, creating an engaging and therapeutic experience for children. This is one of our favorite winter sensory bins because you can focus on so many different underlying skills through play.

    Farm sensory bin

    Whether you’re a parent looking for creative winter activities or a therapist seeking effective tools for skill development, this farm sensory bin is tailored to captivate young minds while addressing various therapeutic areas. Read all about sensory bins in general as a therapy tool to support skill development.

    Farm Sensory Bin

    We love a great occupational therapy sensory activity because cold winter temps and less daylight hours mean you might not have a chance to get little ones outside as often as you might like. Plus, a farm sensory bin goes great with a Farm theme in preschool or in occupational therapy sessions.

    This farm sensory bin has a winter theme, but you could actually set up a farm sensory bin any time of year. In fact, we loved this play dough farm activity that goes along with a farm theme and supports fine motor skills as well as sensory input.

    The base of shredded paper sets the stage for a snowy landscape, providing a tactile experience that stimulates sensory exploration and fine motor skills.

    This winter-themed sensory bin features a collection of farm toys and mini figures, turning the snowy setting into a farm scene ready for imaginative play.

    Farm Animal Sensory Bin

    The farm animal sensory bin takes the excitement a step further, introducing miniature figures of beloved farm animals. As children dive into the bin, they engage in hands-on exploration, feeling the textures of the shredded paper, maneuvering the farm toys, and creating their own farm stories.

    This sensory-rich experience enhances tactile input, encouraging self-confidence as children express themselves through play.

    Farm Theme Sensory Bin Setup

    Setting up the farm theme sensory bin is a breeze:

    1. Begin with a large container filled with shredded paper to create a snowy base. You could also use other sensory bin base materials if you don’t have shredded paper on hand.
    2. Add farm toys such as barns, tractors, and mini figures of animals to bring the farm to life.
    3. Encourage creativity by incorporating small props like faux trees or fences. This simple yet effective setup provides a canvas for endless imaginative scenarios.

    Before this weekend, we’ve had a super cool spring.  With a handful of days where it snowed.  We are ready for outside play in short sleeves, running in the yard, and grass stained knees.

    But, we have been loving this fun play activity too 🙂

    We had a boat load of shredded paper from doing taxes recently.  It came in pretty handy for a small world snowy farm scene!

    We put some farm animals, the Little People barn, and of course, Little Guy’s construction vehicles.

    (how else can the farmer move allll that snow??)

    Little Guy went to farm-town with imagination stories and pretend play.

    Baby Girl loves to make the animal sounds and had a blast finding them in the shredded paper.

    Why This Farm Sensory Bin Helps Development


    Beyond simply playing in the sensory bin, this farm sensory bin serves as a therapeutic tool to foster development in various areas.

    You can target areas in:

    Fine motor skills are particularly important in early childhood development, as they lay the foundation for more complex tasks in the future. 

    Tactile discrimination, exploration, and sensory desensitization are effectively addressed with sensory bins as they are playful and present in a non-threatening way. The playful nature of sensory bins allows children to control their tactile experiences, fostering confidence in their interactions with materials and gradually increasing their comfort with different sensations. 

    The hands-on nature of the activity promotes fine motor skills as children manipulate the farm toys and engage with the sensory materials. Communication skills blossom as they create farm narratives, fostering language development.

    In addition, occupational therapy providers love sensory bins because they can offer a unique and enjoyable way to engage reluctant children who may initially be hesitant about engaging in the sensory elements of tactile defensiveness challenges.

    Tactile input and sensory exploration contribute to a holistic sensory experience, supporting overall sensory processing.

     

     
     
     
     
    My fun-loving Baby Girl instigated this little incident…
     
    she just couldn’t help herself 🙂
     
     
    What are we learning through play?

    Imagination Play

    Pretend Play

    Learning Animals

    Animal Sounds

    Visual Scanning

    Sensory Play

     

    Farm Sensory Bin Ideas

    You can pair this farm sensory bin with other therapy ideas, too. Use some of these tools and resources to support skills like gross motor skills, coordination, brain breaks, and more:

    • These Farm Brain Breaks can add movement and gross motor input to a child’s day and fit in great with a farm animal theme. Print off the cards and use them in the classroom or home.
    • These heavy work cards includes a set of 8 farm themed heavy work activities that can be used as a brain break or added proprioceptive input.
    • Free Farm Scissor Skills Packet
    • This barn craft is fun because kids can make a barn and use it in the farm animal sensory bin.
    • This Farm Fingerprint art activity supports visual closure, visual tracking, and visual scanning activity, too.
    • The Farm Therapy Kit has a bunch or activities to support sensory needs, handwriting, motor skills, dexterity, and more.

    Get your copy of the Farm Therapy Kit.

    Colleen Beck, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

    Penguin Activities for Kids

    Penguin activities

    Brrrr it is COLD out there! This is the perfect time of year to add a few penguin activities to a penguin theme or set of winter activities. Here, you’ll find penguin themed ideas for movement, play, cooking, learning, and crafting. Browse these ideas and add them to an occupational therapy intervention therapy plan or learning at home.

    The penguin activities for kids here will give you plenty of fun indoor play ideas.    When we went through the links this week to pick our features, we had to go with a penguin theme.  We’ve been doing a few penguin activities around here (and are so excited to share them with you!) after we got a handful of penguin books out from the library.  The features this week show songs, games, crafts, sensory play, books, and even snacks…all about PENGUINS!  

    Penguin activities for kids

    Penguin Activities

    Penguin I Spy Worksheet– (FREE) This printable activity targets visual perception, fine motor, handwriting, and more.

    Penguin Therapy Kit– A penguin-themed therapy kit designed to develop motor skills, self-regulation, handwriting, and scissor skills. Includes 99 pages of therapy activities to develop fine motor strength, dexterity, core strength, regulation, functional grasp, and endurance.

    FREE Penguin Fine Motor WorksheetThis printable activity can be used to target pencil control, tracing skills, visual motor skills, and fine motor skills. Attach it to a wall to work on strength and stability, or even cut along the lines to target scissor skills.

    FREE Penguin Gross Motor (Penguin Yoga)- Use these yoga positions to incorporate gross motor skills, coordination, motor planning, balance, heavy work input (proprioception), and changes in positioning (vestibular input). This is a free Google slide deck. Click here for the penguin yoga activities.

    Penguin Executive Functioning Activity (Make a Penguin Treat)- Cooking in the kitchen is a powerful way to develop fine motor skills and executive functioning skills. Try making these penguin snacks for a family treat.

    FREE Penguin Self-Regulation Activity– This penguin deep breathing activity can be a coping tool or a sensory strategy to help with self-regulation skills. Included is a free printable deep breathing worksheet.

    Penguins Emotions Game- This free penguin emotions therapy slide deck challenges kids to identify emotions based on facial expressions. It’s a great way to work on visual perception, too.

    Tactile Sensory Play– Use this Snow and Ice Penguin Small World activity from Stir the Wonder for penguin sensory fun. This Penguin Sensory Play from Fantastic Fun and Learning is another fun activity. Or, make a Winter Sensory Bin like this one from There’s Just One Mommy.  A Snow Dough Arctic Sensory Bin like this one from House of Burke is another fun idea.

    Auditory Processing Activity- Use this 5 Little Penguins Counting Songs from Let’s Play Music to work on listening, sounds, and auditory memory. 

    Tacky the Penguin Activities

    For Tacky the Penguin activity ideas, pair a book with any of the activities listed here. Or try this Fun With Tacky The Penguin idea from Learning is Messy

    Penguin Fine Motor Activities

    You can add fine motor skills with crafts and motor activities. This penguin craft only requires paper and glue. Use colored paper or use crayons to color your penguin. It’s a fine motor folding craft to work on hand strength and precision.

    Or, try this Penguin Math Activity to work on Scissor Skills– This counting/adding/subtracting fish activity builds eye-hand coordination too. Make and cut out fish from paper and catch them to feed the penguins.

    Another fine motor Penguin Craft is this Penguin Craft with Printable Pieces from ABC Creative Learning to add fine motor fun to a penguin theme.

    Use the fine motor activities, lacing cards, toothpick art, and crafts in the Penguin Therapy Kit. It’s a 100 page packet with all winter themes, and you’ll find penguins there!

    Click here for more information on the Penguin Therapy Kit.

    Penguin Themed Therapy Plan

    Want a printable sheet of therapy plans with a penguin theme? This printable sheet has activities designed to build skills. Enter your email address into the form below and we’ll send you the printable therapy activity sheet!

    This printable is also available inside The OT Toolbox membership. members can Log In to their account and get this printable, along with many other penguin activities on our Penguin Therapy Theme page.

    Penguin Activity Sheet

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      Colleen Beck, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.