Valentine’s Day Occupational Therapy Activities

Here, you’ll find Valentine’s Day Occupational Therapy Activities that you can use this time of year to help kids develop skills. This is the time of year that red and pink hearts are everywhere, so why not use the theme of love and friendship in therapy interventions with fun Valentines day activities? Add these heart crafts, and love ideas to your therapy toolbox to work on things like fine motor skills, regulation, scissor skills, and more, all with a Valentine’s Day theme!

Use these valentine's day occupational therapy activities in therapy planning, classroom activites, and to work on skills like handwriting, fine motor skills, scissor skills and other developmental areas.

Valentine’s Day Occupational Therapy Activities

There are so many love and heart themed activities here on The OT Toolbox. Over the years, we’ve done a lot of fun activities that double as a skill building strategy. Check out these ideas and pick a few to add to your therapy line up and plans over the next few weeks. Some of these hear crafts and sensory ideas or games would make great additions to a Valentine’s Day party that builds skills, too!

Free Valentine’s Day Printables

We love to create multi-purpose free worksheets and printable activities that support development. Worksheets can get a bad rap, but we at The OT Toolbox attempt to create occupational therapy worksheets that focus on play as a function.

When we can use a printable founded in play, the user is performing a daily occupation that is important to them, and the play is both the tool and the skill that is being developed. That’s why these Valentine’s Day worksheets are so loveable!

Valentine’s Day Hat Craft– Print off this hat template and work on coloring skills, scissor skills, and executive functioning to build and create the Valentine craft.

Valentine Hole Punch Cards– These free pintables are perfect for occupational therapy Valentine parties. Use the printable activity to build skills in eye-hand coordination, hand strength, bilateral coordination, arch development, visual scanning, and more.

Heart Deep Breathing Exercise– Print off this heart poster and use it to develop skills in mindfulness, self-regulation, and even proprioception through the chest and upper body. It’s a very calming activity that can be a great addition to the sometimes chaos and unexpected situations in a classroom Valentine’s Day party. use it to support sensory needs at a Valentine’s Day party!

Valentine’s Day Activity Sheet– This printable tool is a great activity that can be used to develop many different skills depending on the needs of the individual. Use a single activity sheet to target: visual scanning, visual memory, visual peripheral skills, form constancy, fine motor skills, eye-hand coordination, dexterity, pencil control, motor planning, coloring and more.

Valentine Matching Alphabet Cards– Cut out these love letter cards and match uppercase to lowercase letters. These cards are used for cursive letters to build skills in letter recognition, visual discrimination, and more.

Valentines Fine Motor Worksheet– Print off this Valentine worksheet and build motor skills in many ways. have fine motor races with small objects like beads or mini erasers. Use tweezers to move items along the path. Work on pre-writing lines by using the paths on a vertical or diagonal. Work on a vertical plane to build core strength and shoulder stability. Use the sheets to practice letter formation by writing in the circles. There are so many ways to play and develop skills with a heart theme!

More Valentine’s Day Activities

That’s not all! Use the activity ideas below in planning OT sessions, or in Valentine’s day parties that also build skills.

One thing I love about holiday events this time of year is that kids are excited about Valentine’s Day activities. It’s fun, friendly, and full of kindness and empathy. However, there are so many ways to develop skills with the old-fashioned Valentine fun:

  • Cut out paper hearts- Cut hearts from cardstock or construction paper for more resistance
  • Fold paper hearts in half- This is great for bilateral coordination, hand strength, pinch strength, eye-hand coordination, motor planning, and visual perception.
  • Stick heart stickers on paper- Add small targets by drawing dots and placing the heart stickers on the dots. This is great for fine motor precision and eye-hand coordination. Place the paper on a vertical surface and further develop core strength and balance.
  • Write on Valentine’s Day cards- what a functional and fun way to work on handwriting and to teach kids to write their name.
  • Make a Valentine’s Day box- Don’t worry about the fancy Pinterest V-Day boxes! Some of those require way too much parent help. Help a child wrap the box in wrapping paper (anther great functional life skill!) and then cut out hearts or draw right on the box.
  • Make a Valentine’s Day snack– Work on executive functioning skills, direction following, fine motor skills, and more.

Valentine’s Day Therapy Slide Decks

Working virtually? Use a done-for-you therapy slide deck. These are therapist-created and designed to meet the needs of a variety of levels of users. Adjust the slides and therapy activities to meet your needs and the needs of the learners you are working with.

If you are needing occupational therapy teletherapy resources, check out the hands-on Valentine’s Day activities below. They are great for February parties and therapy at home activities for this time of year, too.

Valentine’s Day Sensory Activities

From sensory bottles, to discovery activities, to heart painting and more, these sensory play activities can be a fun way to help kids develop skills through the senses. How can you use these Valentine’s Day occupational therapy activities in sessions or at home?

Valentines day sensory bottle for self regulation and sensory processing or visual processing

Valentine’s Day Sensory Bottle– Use this sensory bottle activity as a way to build fine motor skills while kids help to create the sensory bottle and add materials. Then use it in self-regulation, sensory processing needs as a calm down bottle. Sensory bottles are fantastic to work on visual processing skills like visual discrimination, figure-ground, and other visual perceptual skills.

Olive You Thumbprint CraftFingerprint art is a great way to work on finger isolation, an essential fine motor skill that kids need to manipulate items and improve pencil grasp. Here is more information on how fingerprint art improves fine motor skills. Add this artwork to a card or Valentine’s Day craft for fine motor fun.

Valentines Day play dough to build fine motor skills

Valentine’s Day Play Dough Activity Use a recycled chocolates box in a play dough activity that builds skills like strengthening of the intrinsic muscles and arches of the hands. This is a fun Valentine’s Day activity that can be used in classroom parties or in the therapy room to build skills.

Bilateral coordination activity for valentines day

Bilateral Coordination Heart Sensory Tray Use sand, rice, or other sensory bin material to create a bilateral coordination and visual motor activity for kids. They can work on eye-hand coordination, motor planning, and other skills. The point of the activity is to establish direction and orientation relative to the child’s body.  The movement activity addresses hand-eye coordination in different visual fields, promotes spatial awareness and visual discrimination, addresses left and right awareness, improves peripheral vision, promotes body awareness and coordination with specialization of the hands and eyes, and works on gross motor movement skills.

Valentine’s Day Fine Motor Activities

Try these Valentine’s Day fine motor activities in your occupational therapy interventions or home programs. The activities here are fun ways to help kids develop hand strength, dexterity, precision, grasp development, and motor control.

Be sure to check out the Valentine’s Day Fine Motor Kit. In the 25 activity printable kit, you’ll fine hands-on activities to build fine motor skills. Activities include coloring and cutting cards, pencil control sheets, heart crafts, Valentine’s Day write the room activities, hole punching exercises, and so much more. Grab the Valentine’s Day Fine Motor Kit here.

Visual perception activity and heart maze for valentines day

DIY Heart Maze- Look out visual motor skills…this heart maze is one you can make and print off for your whole caseload. Adjust the use according to your kiddos. Children can place objects like paper hearts, mini erasers, etc. on the hearts in the maze to double down on fine motor work, or color in the hearts to work on pencil control. This maze is a visual processing powerhouse. Find more information on visual processing here.

Fine motor heart activity

Teeny Tiny Sprinkle Heart Activity– This is a fine motor activity that builds precision and dexterity in the hands. It’s a fine motor workout kids can use to build hand strength and endurance for fine motor tasks. Use it in math centers to work on one-to-one correspondence and counting or sorting.

Heart fine motor and eye hand coordination activity

Heart Eye-Hand Coordination Activity– Work on eye-hand coordination and fine motor skills tongs and heart s cut from cardboard. If you are like me, you have a ton of delivery boxes coming to the house. Use those boxes in a fine motor skills building activity. Write numbers or letters on the hearts to make it a sorting, math, or spelling activity.

heart keychain made with salt dough

Salt Dough Keychain– This is a fun heart craft that goes along with the children’s book, “The Kissing Hand”. Use it to help kids work on fine motor skills, and hand strengthening. This keychain craft makes a great Valentine’s Day gift idea too!

Valentines Day crafts

One Zillion Valentines Book and Craft– Pairing a book with therapy or when working on skills with kids is a fun way to open up conversation, problem solving, and strategizing to create a project or activity based on the book. This Valentine’s Day book for kids is just that. One Zillion Valentines is one children’s book that pairs nicely with a fine motor craft for kids.   Kids can work on fine motor skills, motor lanning, direction following, and executive functioning skills while folding and making paper airplanes, and the cotton clouds in this fun craft idea.

Valentines day handprint art

I Love Ewe Handprint Craft– Use a handprint art activity as a tactile sensory experience. Pair scissor skills, pencil control, direction following, and copying skills to work on various areas needed for handwriting and school tasks. Pls, this makes a great Valentine’s Day craft or addition to a card!

Valentines Day activities to build skills for kids
valentines day color sorting fine motor activity

Valentines Day Color Sorting Fine Motor Activity– Grab a couple of cookie cutters and some beads. This is a fine motor activity that kids can use to build skills like in-hand manipulation, separation of the sides of the hand, finger isolation, open thumb webspace, and more.

love bugs valentines day crafts

Love Bugs Crafts– Work on fine motor skills, scissor skills, direction-following, eye-hand coordination, bilateral coordination, and more with these cute bug crafts for kids.

valentines day sensory bin

Valentine’s Day Sensory Bin– There are so many benefits to using a sensory bin in building fine motor skills. Pour, scoop, and stir with the hands for a tactile sensory experience. Using a sensory bin can be a great way to work on visual perceptual skills like figure-ground, visual discrimination, and other essential visual processing areas. Find and ovate objects or add a learning component by writing sight words or math problems on hearts. This is an open-ended activity that can be used in so many ways.

valentines day books

I Love You Books for Kids– These Valentine’s Day books for kids are a fun way to combine books with crafts or love themed activities. Use them to work on copying words or sentences for handwriting practice. The options are limitless. What love and heart themed books would you add to this list?

Valentines day activities to build fine motor skills
heart play dough

Valentine’s Day Crayon Play Dough– Use play dough to work on so many areas: hand strength, arch development, separation of the sides of the hand, endurance, eye-hand coordination…But have you ever had trouble getting a a really vivid red play dough when using food coloring? The answer to the red play dough problem is using vivid crayons! Here is our crayon play dough recipe that gives you the brightest colors, perfect for using in Valentine’s Day play dough activities!

heart craft to work on fine motor skills like scissor skills

Heart Bookmark Craft– This is such a fun and easy Valentine’s Day craft to use when working on scissor skills with kids. The strait lines of the bookmark and curved lines of the heart make it a great activity for kids just working on the basics of scissor skills.

Valentines day craft for kids

Heart Butterfly Craft- Work on scissor skills, handwriting, and fine motor skills to make this fun card. The directions to make this Valentine’s Day craft are over here on a guest post we did for Hands On as We Grow. Use this fun craft with a group. It’s a great Valentine’s Day party idea!

Valentines Day craft for kids to work on fine motor skills and scissor skills

Valentine’s Day Tea Craft– This Valentine’s Day craft is a fun way to work on scissor skills, handwriting, and fine motor skills. Kids can make this craft as a gift for friends or parents and work on skill development, too.

More Valentines’ Day Activities

Try some of these other ideas:

Valentine’s Day Sensory Bin with Fine Motor Paper

Valentine’s Day Snacks for Kids

Valentine’s Day Goop Painting

Valentine’s Day Fine Motor Sparkle Craft

Crunchy (Sensory Diet!) Heart Tortilla Snack

Teach Buttoning with Heart Buttons

So, what are your favorite ways to work on skills with a holiday theme? Try some of these heart activities at Valentine’s Day parties, at home when making cards for loved ones, or in therapy planning! Have fun!

Want to add more Valentine’s Day activities and movement tools to your skill-building?

he Valentine’s Day Fine Motor Kit is here! This printable kit is 25 pages of hands-on activity sheets designed to build skills in pinch and grasp strength, endurance, eye-hand coordination, precision, dexterity, pencil control, handwriting, scissor skills, coloring, and more.

When you grab the Valentine’s Day Fine Motor Kit now, you’ll get a free BONUS activity: 1-10 clip cards so you can challenge hand strength and endurance with a counting eye-hand coordination activity.

Valentines Day 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.

Christmas Tree Activities

Christmas tree activities

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

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

Christmas Tree Activities

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

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

Christmas Tree Crafts

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

Make a bottle cap Christmas tree

Bottle Cap Christmas Tree craft-Save those bottle caps and make a Christmas tree. Help you kids paint and arrange the bottle caps into a Christmas tree. This is a great fine motor eye- hand activity for kids.

Fine motor Christmas tree craft
Clothes pin Christmas tree

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

Gift tag Christmas tree art
Christmas tree stamp art

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

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

Christmas tree made from egg cartons

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

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

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

Make a pine cone Christmas tree and build fine motor skills.

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

Christmas suncatcher craft
Christmas tree suncatcher

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

Make a pattern Christmas tree with beads

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

Christmas Tree Sensory Activities

Christmas tree sensory activity
Christmas tree sensory play

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

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

Fine motor Christmas card craft
Christmas tree card to build fine motor skills

This Christmas tree card kids can make is a fine motor skill activity that builds scissor skills, hand strength, eye-hand coordination, and more.

Christmas tree drink wrap

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

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

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

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

 

Christmas Activities Calendar

Christmas activities calendar

If you are looking for a few Christmas activities (or a holiday calendar to send home for the Christmas break), then this December occupational therapy calendar is for you! We pulled a few of our favorite Christmas occupational therapy activities and put them onto a printable holiday activities calendar so you can print and go!

You’ll also want to check out our 25 days of Christmas ideas because you can grab 25 printable OT ornaments…perfect for decorating the tree in a therapy clinic!

Christmas activities calendar

Christmas activities calendar

The Christmas season is a hectic and chaotic time.  With holiday parties, altered schedules, and never-ending to-do lists, Christmas can be overwhelming for adults and kids.  Children see and hear everything and the Christmas time stress is no exception. These Christmas occupational therapy activities can be used in the clinic, home, or in a home program during the holidays. Scroll on for some fun OT holiday activities the whole family will enjoy while targeting various needs!

Christmas Occupational Therapy Activities

Adding to the therapy plans, a few occupational therapy Christmas activities is as easy as adding a holiday themed therapy activity or a planning to use a Christmas item such as a stocking, wreath, or candy canes into therapy games.

Children with sensory or developmental needs and typically developing kids feel the sense of chaos this time of year. The overload of sensory input can be exhausting to children with difficulty in processing input from their environment.  I mean, it’s overwhelming for me, too! 


With all of the excitement of the season, it can be hard to keep to sensory integration strategies to help with coping in over stimulating situations. Sensory kiddos can also show over or under-responsiveness to new situations, too.  Imagine walking into a crowded holiday party with music, lights, a dancing crowd, scents of different and weird foods, and lots of overlapping voices.  


A child can easily become over excited or over protective as they attempt to protect themselves from this noisy, smell party!

OT Christmas activities

Christmas OT Activities for kids

Kids who are working on specific skill areas like fine motor or gross motor development can easily become distracted in the excitement of the season and allow practice areas and goals to slide just a bit.  I mean, there are a lot of fun things a kid can be doing…why would they want to work on their letter formation and handwriting??! Adding a few Christmas OT activities for kids to work on various needs can make the therapy “work” more fun and meaningful.


So, with the upcoming season of busy craziness, I wanted to put together this Occupational Therapy Christmas Calendar.

Celebrate the Christmas season with Occupational Therapy goal areas and calming strategies during this hectic season, allowing families to connect and focus on the true meaning of the season while working on developmental areas.

It’s a way for kids and families to connect and cope during this busy season through holiday festivities, while simultaneously working on many Occupational Therapy goal areas.  Work on fine motor skills while building that gingerbread house.  Calm down with proprioceptive input while snuggled up in a blanket with the family and a good Christmas book.  These are Christmas-y ideas that will keep your whole family connected this year.

This post contains affiliate links.

Occupational Therapy Christmas Activities

Celebrate the Christmas season with Occupational Therapy goal areas and calming strategies during this hectic season, allowing families to connect and focus on the true meaning of the season while working on developmental areas.



Add these ideas to your Advent calendar for a Very Occupational Therapy Christmas!


NOTE:  Many skill areas are addressed with each activity.  You might be working on specific areas like calming activities, or handwriting.  Try to adapt the activities below to fit your child’s needs.


The list below can be done in any order.  This is meant to be an easy way to fit Occupational Therapy practice areas into everyday Christmas fun.  

If a day is a little too hectic to fit in an activity, switch it around and do a different activity.  The most important message is to connect with your family and meet the needs of each member in fun and festive ways this Christmas!

Christmas OT activities

Christmas Calendar Ideas

Note that some of the calendar days are slightly different than on the printable Christmas activity calendar below.

Day 1 Make gingerbread salt dough to address fine motor, proprioceptive, and olfactory areas.  Cut out gingerbread men and make a garland…or just play with the dough! You can keep it in a covered dish or plastic bag to play again and again.


Day 2 Wrap up tight in a blanket and read Christmas stories for proprioceptive input.  A warm blanket is calming.  Wrap your child up like a burrito or full body proprioception.


Day 3 Write a letter to Santa.  Provide creative handwriting modifications for fun.


Day 4 Play outside and collect nature items.  Use them to make collage art or create a table-top sensory table.


Day 5 Carry boxes of donations for heavy work input. This time of year, many families donate to others.  Kids can carry boxes and bags for proprioceptive input while doing a good deed.


Day 6 Make snowballs and throw at targets.  If you don’t have snow where you live, make fake snow for sensory fun.  Be sure to take this activity outside! Throwing at a target is a great hand-eye coordination activity. Packing together snowballs requires bilateral hand coordination and proprioceptive information to determine how much pressure is needed. Don’t let that snowball smash in your hands by packing it together too hard!


Day 7 Have a family dance party to Christmas music. Be sure to swing, twirl, jump, and spin or loads of vestibular input.


Day 8 Work on fine motor skills and string cranberries and popcorn on thread with a needle. Managing a needle and thread is a fine motor skill similar to tool use.  Threading popcorn and cranberries works on tripod grasp, bilateral hand coordination, hand-eye coordination, visual scanning, visual tracking, patterning, and more.


Day 9 Carry shopping bags in both hands for bilateral coordination and proprioceptive input.  Not going shopping?  Fill shopping bags at home with cans from the cupboard.  Create an obstacle course to work on motor planning.


Day 10 Cut paper snow flakes to work on scissor skills.  Try cutting coffee filters, newspapers, cardstock, foam craft sheets. and tissue paper for lots of textures and line accuracy practice.


Day 11 Build a gingerbread house and work on fine motor skills. Encourage tip to tip pincer grasp by providing very small candies.  To amp it up a bit, add a pair of tweezers and have your child pinch with a tripod grasp.  Provide an icing bag to work on gross grasp, too.


Day 12 Play Christmas Charades for gross motor and vestibular input.  Encourage movement actions like Santa filling his bag, building a snowman, wrapping presents, and shopping.


Day 13 Encourage proprioceptive input by showing your kids how to build a Santa’s workshop with couch cushions and pillows.  Lifting heavy cushions is a great heavy work activity.  Once done, kids can calm down in their couch cushion workshop under blankets and pillows.  Add a few toys and pretend hammers from a toy tool set for pretend play and problem solving in this Santa’s workshop activity.


Day 14 Make scented potpourri with scents of the season.  Kids can work on scissor skills and fine motor skills by cutting evergreen stems, orange peels, and pulling bits of bark from evergreens.  The scents of this potpourri will fill the home and a fun way to explore the olfactory sense.


Day 15 Make a Christmas Tree Craft and work on fine motor skills, bilateral hand coordination, and strength. Kids will feel a sense of accomplishment when they see their tree decorating the house all season long.


Day 16 Provide a visual sensory activity by stringing a strand of Christmas lights in a surprising place like on the ceiling, along the tops of doorways, or under a dining room table.  Twinkly lights can be used in a calm-down area. Kids can help to string the lights and use bilateral hand coordination, executive functioning and motor planning to figure out where to place lights, hold up the strand, peel and tear tape, and stick it to the lights. 


Day 17 Work on visual scanning and other visual perceptual skills like figure ground by playing a Christmas version of “I Spy”.  Use the decorated Christmas tree as a decoration station: Ask your child to locate a specific colored ornament as they visually scan the tree.  For more fun, play the game while lying on the floor and looking up at the tree. 


Day 18 Make and drink hot cocoa.  The warm drink provides a temperature sensation that is different and new.  Add ice cubes and candy canes for more textural taste sensations. Following multiple step directions in a cooking with kids activity works on so many problem solving, math, and sensory skill areas.


Day 19 Use Christmas lights to create a DIY light table.  Use it for handwriting practice including line awareness, spatial awareness, letter formation, tracing, and drawing.  This is a visual activity that kids will love.


Day 20 Cook up goodies (or wrap pre-packaged treat!) and plan a good deed for neighbors.  Load up a wagon or sled and deliver the treats around the neighborhood.  Pulling a wagon or sled is a proprioceptive activity that can be calming and grounding.


Day 21 Improve hand strength with this fine motor Christmas Tree craft using a hole punch for proprioceptive input to the hands.  Decorate the house with the trees, or create a banner for the mantle.


Day 22 Work on gross motor skills by playing “Santa Says”.  Just like the game Simon Says, kids can copy and listen to directions and motor plan, actions.  Be sure to incorporate bilateral coordination and crossing midline for a brain break activity.  Use these Simon Says commands to get you started.


Day 23 Explore the sense of touch and scent with this Candy Cane Moon Dough sensory bin.  Work on fine motor skills and tool use by scooping and filling cups and cookie cutters.


Day 24 Wrapping presents is a powerhouse of developmental activities:  Measure paper to fit packages, Cut paper with scissors in a strait line, Fold paper, Tear and Cut tape, Stick tape along edges of paper.  Practice motor planning, problem solving, and executive functioning by crossing an item from your to-do list and wrapping a present or tow with your child.


Day 25 Celebrate Christmas Day with big Christmas bear hugs with family and friends. Hugs are great for proprioceptive input to the body. 


Enjoy the season with your family and make each and every moment count

Printable Christmas Activity Calendar

Want to print off a calendar of occupational therapy ideas to support parents? It’s a great way to send kids off to the holiday break with therapy ideas that support skill-building AND celebrate the season. You can grab a copy of this printable calendar by entering your email address into the form below.

The OT Toolbox Member’s Club members will also find this printable calendar inside the Member’s Club in the Therapist Tools section (Level 1 members) and in the Christmas Therapy Theme (Level 2 members).

FREE Christmas Activities Calendar

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    OT Christmas ACTIVITIES

    Extend the OT Christmas activities further by asking kids to write out the therapy schedule on Christmas modified paper to work on handwriting. This is a great holiday activity for the clinic while working on a variety of occupational therapy goals. Clients can then cross off items as they are completed. Grab a copy of this modified Christmas handwriting paper here and work on handwriting with bold lined paper, highlighted lined paper, and color coded paper…all with a Christmas theme!

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

    Christmas Crafts for Kids

    Christmas crafts for kids

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

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

    Christmas craft for kids


    Christmas Crafts for Kids

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

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


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

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

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

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

    Christmas Craft for Kids Supplies

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

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

    Some Christmas craft supplies you can have on hand include:

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

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

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

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

    Some Christmas crafting ideas include:

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

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

    Christmas Craft Ideas

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

    Our new hot chocolate craft uses a printable template that you can modify to meet the needs of each child on a therapy caseload (or at home or in the classroom!) Just print off the template and go. There are even visual step-by-step directions and a data collection form for this holiday craft.

    Bear Christmas ornament craft
    Bear Christmas ornament craft



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

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

    Christmas tree craft



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

    Fine motor Christmas tree craft
    Build a Christmas tree with clothespins

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

    Pinecone Christmas tree
    Pine cone Christmas tree

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

    Fine motor Christmas card craft
    Christmas card with tree




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

    Bottlecap Christmas tree craft
    Bottlecap Christmas tree craft




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

    Christmas tree fingerprint
    Christmas tree fingerprint craft



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

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




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

    Plastic lid ornament craft.
    Plastic lid ornament craft.

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

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



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

    Egg carton snowman craft
    Snowman egg carton craft

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

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




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

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


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

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



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

    Christmas tree suncatcher
    Christmas tree suncatcher craft



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




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


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

    Easy Christmas Crafts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    More Christmas Activities for Kids


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

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

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

    Christmas Crafts and Handwriting

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

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

    Bat Template Fine Motor Activity

    Bat stencil template

    This bat template is a fine motor activity, perfect for building motor skills with a Halloween twist. Use the bat printable as a stencil to cut out, trace, and then use in fine motor work. Add this to your Halloween occupational therapy activities!

    Bat Template

    Fall is here and that means it’s time to pull out the Halloween crafts! This bat Halloween craft is a favorite in our house, and it’s actually a fun way to celebrate Halloween with kids without spooky decorations.

    We also used this bat template in a Stellaluna activity that also challenged visual processing skills. Be sure to check that activity out for another way to use this printable bat stencil.

    The nice thing about using our bat template is that it becomes an open-ended Halloween craft idea is one that doesn’t need a lot of materials. In fact, it’s a simple craft idea that is big on the fine motor skill development! When kids make this bat craft, they will be boosting skills such as fine motor strength and dexterity in a big way.

    For more Halloween craft ideas, check out some of the ideas at the bottom of this post…it’s the perfect addition if you’re looking for Halloween crafts for toddlers or Halloween crafts for preschool parties.

    Related, check out these spider activities for more spooky but fun ideas.

    Printable bat stencil to use in fine motor crafts for Halloween


    Bat Template Craft

    We made this bat craft with a fun sensory twist.  And, since we have a certain second grader that is cursive handwriting obsessed, we decided to add a cursive handwriting twist to this activity.  This activity could work to help kids with letter formation of upper case letters, lowercase letters, or numbers too. The possibilities are endless. 

    We arranged the bat template so you can print out one bat printable page and then get 3 bats from the one page.

    Or, if you are using the bat templates with a group of kids like in a classroom Halloween party activity, you can easily cut the bat template page into three sections with one bat stencil for each child.

    This post contains affiliate links.

    Cut out bat template and trace onto black paper with yarn

    Bat Printable

    To make your bat craft, you’ll need just a few materials.

    Affiliate links are included.

    • Bat printable (get your copy below)
    • black cardstock 
    • black yarn 
    • Glue 
    • Scissors (THIS is my favorite brand and the ones that I always recommended as an Occupational Therapist!)
    • Pencil or marker

    This is a great Halloween craft for preschoolers because it’s a fantastic way to work on scissor skills with a Halloween activity.

    Make the Bat Template

    1. First print out the Pat printable onto printer paper.
    2. Cut out the bat templates on the page. Each template has three bats. Students can cut out the bat printable or the adult can do this as preparation work.
    3. Trace the bat template onto cardstock or black construction paper. This is another good task for students to do as tracing the bat template supports development of bilateral coordination skills, eye-hand coordination, crossing midline, and pencil control skills.  
    4. Cut out the bat template.

    Kids can cut out the shape using their Scissors for great scissor skill work.  The bat shape is a complex cutting shape and can be done by Elementary aged students.  

    Cutting the angled wings and curves can be difficult, but by using the cardstock, kids will get a bit fore proprioceptive feedback from the thicker resistance of the paper material.  

    To make the task easier, cut wings without the jagged lines or use thicker cutting lines when you draw the bat shape.  

    Decorate the Bat Cutout

    Once you have the bat, you’ll need to cut pieces of the black yarn.  Have your child cut long or short pieces, it doesn’t really matter what length they wish to cut for their bat’s texture.  

    1. Cut black yarn for the bat cutout.

    Cutting the yarn is a great material to practice appropriate scissor positioning and bilateral hand coordination.  

    If a child is holding the scissors on an angle, cutting the yarn will be more difficult.  (You may see them trying to “saw” at the yarn!) Encourage them to hold the scissors straight up and down and the blades of the scissors at a 90 degree angle to the yarn.  You can find more of our Scissor Skills activities.

    Child dipping black yarn into glue to stick to the bat printable

    2. Next, pour some glue into a shallow dish or plate.  Show your child how to drag the yarn through the glue and get it nice and saturated with the glue.  Use both hands to pinch and “scrape” off excess glue from the piece of yarn.  

    3. Next, drape the black yarn on the bat shape.  You can let your child get as creative as they wish with this part.  Some might like to outline the bat shape and others, just pile it up on the bat.  

    4. Let the glue and yarn harden and you’ll have a textured bat craft to use in Halloween decorations this Fall.  You will have to wait for the glue to dry, probably overnight.

    Use the Bat Printable in Handwriting Practice

    Occupational therapy practitioners know the value of using a single activity or material to develop a variety of skill areas. That is the case with this bat printable…use it to work on handwriting skills too!

    We used those saturated yarn pieces to build cursive letters, but you could build printed letters as well, using our letter construction method.

    This would be an excellent way to practice cursive letter formation in our Creative Cursive handwriting journal activity.

    Make letters with yarn and decorate the bat printable.

    Use this Bat Craft for kids to work on letter formation of any kind. It’s a creative writing activity that they will be sure to remember. Work on forming individual letters, spelling sight words, or making Halloween words.

    Bat template and letters made with black yarn.

    Use the Bat Printable in Learning

    This would work as a very fun…and very sensory…classroom Halloween party idea or learning activity for this time of year, while working on team work skills, and learning components.

    1. Split kids up into teams. Give each team a collection of cut black yarn and a bowl of glue.
    2. Write a spelling word, or a Halloween word on the board or hold up a sign with a Halloween word.
    3. Each team has to work together to use the cut yarn and glue to spell the Halloween word on a piece of paper or cardboard.
    4. Once a team has completed the word, they have to hold up their paper or cardboard. The first team to spell the word with the letters sticking wins! (Too much glue or not enough glue will make this a fun race for Halloween parties for kids of all ages.)
    Use black yarn to decorate the bat printable template and then write words with black yarn.

    Build printed letters with the glue yarn, too.  We had a lot of fun with this Halloween craft and it was a hit with all of my kids…from preschool on up to grade school.

    Check out some of these other Halloween activities and crafts:

    Free Bat Template

    Want a copy of this free bat template printable? Enter your email address into the form below to get a copy of this Halloween printable. This activity is also available inside The OT Toolbox Member’s Club under our Bat Therapy Theme. Members can log in and get the bat template there without entering an email address. Not a member yet? Join us today.

    Free Bat Stencil

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

      Classroom Halloween Party Ideas

      Classroom Halloween party ideas

      This collection of classroom Halloween party ideas are from an old blog post here on the website, but they are fun and engaging Halloween ideas for a school party. When it comes to party activities, as an occupational therapist, I always encourage sensory motor skills, movement games, and play-based games. Because of this, you’ll want to start with our resource on Halloween occupational therapy activities because there you’ll find activities and ideas based on development and play, perfect for adding to a spooky classroom party! Check out the Halloween activities for elementary students below, too.

      Classroom Halloween party ideas

      Classroom Halloween Party Ideas

      all is in the air and that means Halloween is coming!  Halloween parties happen in preschool, playdates, the library, and even farms.  What better way to bring the whole family together than with a kid-friendly Halloween party? We’ve got tips and ideas for a frugal and fun Halloween party that you can use to play a school or play date party.  

      We’re excited to plan our fun and frugal kid-friendly Halloween parties.  We put together a family-friendly ghost game and spider craft using feature products from the celebration that would be a hit at any Halloween party.  

      Start with pumpkin breathing exercises to warm up (and sneak in some education on sensory deep breathing at the same time!)

      Ghost Catch Game

      This Halloween game is great for elementary aged students, and a fun one for the whole classroom.

      Part of the ghost catch game is making the ghosts, so this can take up some time during the classroom Halloween party, but the fine motor benefits are great. Consider having a ghost-making station first. You’ll need just a few materials:

      • Boxes of tissues
      • Recycled paper
      • Rubber bands
      • Black marker

      To make the ghosts for the catch game, it’s actually very simple, but the fine motor skill development are high:

      1. Each student can have a small stack of recycled paper. Ask students to crumble up a ball of recycled paper. This is a great source for hand strengthening and gross grasp.
      2. Then, ask students to pull a facial tissue out of the box. This is an opportunity for eye-hand coordination and pinch strength as well as intrinsic muscle development of the arches of the hand.
      3. Show the students how to wrap the tissue around the recycled paper crumbled ball.
      4. Then, use a rubber band to secure the tissue around the crumbled paper. Allow part of the tissue to hang down like the trailing tail of a ghost. Providing the rubber band offers precision skills, pinch and grip strength as well as bilateral coordination skills.
      5. Finally, use a black marker to draw on a face.

      That’s it! Students can create 1 or more ghosts each. They can write their name on the ghost or they can create several for a ghost catch game.

      Other ideas include using tissue paper or coffee filters. If using a tissue paper cover to the ghost, you can create different colored ghosts. If using coffee filters, you can create smaller ghosts for more refined fine motor practice.

      How to play the ghost catch game:

      There are so many ways to play with these ghosts in a classroom Halloween party. You can make the game work for the space you have, and the specific elementary age. Some ideas include:

      • Break students into pairs. Each can play catch with a ghost by tossing the ghost back and forth. After each toss, the pair takes a step back and tosses the ghost again. If they drop the ghost, they are out. The pair that remains longest wins.
      • Students can take turns tossing their ghosts into a target. The student with the most ghosts in the target wins.
      • Use the ghosts like a bean bag game toward a target.
      • Play ghost cornhole- Play the classic cornhole game but use the ghost crafts.
      • Use these ghost milk cartons to play a ghost catch game.
      Use the ghost bean bags in catching games or tossing games in a school Halloween party.
      Play catch games with the DIY ghost beanbags.

      Classroom Halloween party Games

      Use the above ghosts in different Halloween games. These tag games are easily incorporated into a Halloween theme.

      Halloween I Spy- Kids love this real toy I Spy game, and you can use all of those old party favors that end up sitting around. Gather some Halloween items:

      • Halloween mini erasers
      • Plastic spider rings
      • Pencil toppers
      • Bat cut outs
      • Halloween stickers
      • Halloween candy
      • Plastic vampire fangs
      • Wind up toys

      Place the toys on a tray or in a bag and work on visual scanning, visual memory, visual attention, and even stereognosis if you blindfold the students first.

      Halloween Worksheets that Build Skills-

      1. It’s great to have some back-up ideas if kids plow through the Halloween activities very quickly. Use this printable Halloween color and find worksheet. It builds visual perceptual skills and is great for coloring, too.

      2. These Halloween pumpkin puzzles are fun too. Just print them off, cut out the squares and pass them out. Kids can color, cut, and build them onto a party bag or treat bag.

      3. Use the pumpkin deep breathing coloring page to work on fine motor skills, coloring skills, and use as a self-regulation tool.

      Classroom Halloween party crafts

      Some of our favorite Halloween crafts support the development of fine motor skills, executive functioning skills, scissor skills, and encourage sensory experiences in a spookily fun way.

      These are great ideas for the elementary aged Halloween party.

      Make bean bag ghosts for a school Halloween party and party game in the classroom.
      These tissue ghosts are like bean bags for classroom games at a Halloween party.

      Noodle Spider Craft

      This spider craft is just one of the many spider activities we have here on the website.

      Use dry elbow noodles to make a spider. This is a great one for building fine motor skills. Dye the pasta ahead of time or make the dying process part of the party experience . (Note that the pasta takes a while to dry. If you are dying the pasta during the Halloween classroom party, it make more sense to use washable black paint incase the colors get onto clothing or hands).

      How to dye pasta for a spider craft. Use dyed noodles for a spider craft for a Halloween school party.
      Make a noodle spider craft with students at a Halloween school party.

      To make this noodle spider craft, you’ll need just a few materials:

      • Elbow noodles
      • Closable plastic zip top bag
      • Black paint or black food coloring
      • Hand sanitizer

      If you are dying the pasta at home before the party, just take in the colored noodles. If you are coloring the noodles in the classroom, you’ll need the above items.

      Toco color the noodles black:

      1. Toss the elbow pasta in a plastic closable baggie with black food coloring or black paint and add a little squirt of hand sanitizer.  
      2. Spread the noodles out on newspaper to dry.  

      Also need:

      • Black paper
      • scissors
      • Glue
      • Marker

      Next, use the colored pasta to make the spider craft:

      1. Each student can pick out 8 pieces of pasta. This is a great exercise in pincer grasp and in-hand manipulation skills.
      2. Cut out a black circle from construction paper. About the size of a bottle cap is good.
      3. Glue the circle onto paper. Use squeeze glue to glue the dyed pasta to a paper around a black circle cut from construction paper.  

      What a cute craft to send home with the kids!  Keep in mind that once the pasta is used for a craft, it shouldn’t be eaten!

      Halloween Pasta Spider Craft
      Make a Halloween spider craft using colored pasta at a Halloween classroom party, especially good for Halloween school parties for older kids.

      Other Halloween crafts for a school party include:

      Make a ghost craft for sensory play This is a fun one for kids to make but also use in sensory bins or fine motor activities.

      Make a ghost craft with construction paper and hole punches. Glue them to tissue paper for spooky eyes. This is an easy way to work on scissor skills. Kids can also address skills such as bilateral coordination, hand strength with a simple Halloween craft that uses just paper, crayon, scissors, and a hole punch. Use these ghosts to decorate for Halloween and monitor scissor skills.

      Make a ghost craft with recycled materials. This is a fun Halloween party craft that can be a tool for working on dexterity, precision of grasp, in-hand manipulation, bilateral coordination, hand strength, and more! These ghosts would make a fun addition to the therapy clinic, OT doorway, or even a bulletin board decoration.

      Use the Halloween Therapy Kit or Pumpkin Fine Motor Kit! These kits are included inside The OT Toolbox Member’s Club, or grab them below.

      Pumpkin activity kit
      Pumpkin Fine Motor Kit

      Grab the Pumpkin Fine Motor Kit for more coloring, cutting, and eye-hand coordination activities with a Pumpkin theme! It includes:

      • 7 digital products that can be used any time of year- has a “pumpkins” theme
      • 5 pumpkin scissor skills cutting strips
      • Pumpkin scissor skills shapes- use in sensory bins, math, sorting, pattern activities
      • 2 pumpkin visual perception mazes with writing activity
      • Pumpkin “I Spy” sheet – color in the outline shapes to build pencil control and fine motor strength
      • Pumpkin Lacing cards – print, color, and hole punch to build bilateral coordination skills
      • 2 Pumpkin theme handwriting pages – single and double rule bold lined paper for handwriting practice

      Work on underlying fine motor and visual motor integration skills so you can help students excel in handwriting, learning, and motor skill development.

      You can grab this Pumpkin Fine Motor kit for just $6!

      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.

      How to Teach Spacing Between Words with a Clothespin

      spacing between words with a clothespin craft

      If you are working on spacing between words when writing, then this OT trick is for you. Many years ago, we created this blog post using a clothespin to teach spacing in handwriting. It’s a simple activity really, and one that kids love to use because they can make the clothespin spacing tool their own! Let’s teach spacing between words with a cute clothespin craft!

      Use a clothespin to teach handwriting as a spatial awareness tool.
      Use a clothespin to teach spacing between words.

      Teach spacing between words

      When it comes to legibility in handwriting, spacing between words makes all the! Addressing spatial awareness in handwriting can make a big difference in legibility fairly quickly given intervention, practice, awareness, and the tools to address spacing in written work.

      Using a visual and physical cue to teach spacing between words is very effective. This is especially true for young students who are beginning to write with more organizational requirements: lines, margins, smaller writing spaces, and faster writing speeds are some of these organizational needs in handwriting tasks.

      Let’s break those areas down to describe how each might impact letter formation and legibility of written work:

      • Line use- Line use progresses from kindergarten (where many students are exposed to writing letters and words on lines for the first time. This progresses to first grade with more writing requirements. Moving onto second grade may bring a smaller line space for written work. In third grade, writing lines may be smaller yet. In about fourth grade, many students move to a lined notebook. These pencil control and line use can impact legibility especially when handwriting lessons are rushed in the general curriculum of most schools. This blog post on line awareness is a great resource for written work requirements.
      • Margin use- One visual perception component to handwriting includes margin use in written work. This impacts legibility when writing on a sheet of paper or moving to the next line. Sometimes, margins creep over across the page as a student copies lists or words or writes sentences as in a journal. Spatial relations includes the visual perception aspect, particularly the visual processing skill of visual tracking, which includes following the pencil as in copying words. Visual attention and visual scanning are also involved. This blog post on margins in handwriting covers this area in more detail.
      • Writing in smaller spaces- Sizing in written work impacts legibility. When letters are written to large, the spacing can be crowded, leading to poor legibility. This can be especially the case when writing on worksheets or workbook pages with limited space availability. This blog post on spatial awareness is a good one to check out regarding sizing and space use.
      • Faster writing speeds- Writing sped impacts legibility because when a student writes quickly, sometimes the legibility of accurate letter formation is lost. When this is the case, adding a bit of space between words can impact overall legibility. As students progress, writing speed requirements increase. Consider the second grader that is required to copy their homework onto their notebook or homework planner. There is only so much time in the school day, so a limited chunk of time is given for this task. When a student struggles with pencil control, letter formation, motor planning, or any other contributing factor, this can really impact written work on a functional handwriting task that has dire consequences. When the student comes home for the day, they are unable to read their homework assignment. This same issue is true for older students. In middle school or high school, they are unable to copy notes in their class. This can lead to difficulty copying notes and studying. This resource covers writing speed in written work.

      We’ve shared several handwriting spacing tools here on The OT Toolbox, like a cute DIY space martian spacing tool and this pipe cleaner spacing tool.

      Sometimes a simple visual cue like this craft stick spacing tool and pointer stick can make a big difference in handwriting spatial awareness and handwriting legibility.

      Read on for another quick craft that kids can make and use to teach spacing between words…using a clothes pin for better spatial awareness in written work.

      Handwriting Spacing Between Words Tool

      This clothespin spacing tool is one that can be attached to a notebook or folder and used again and again…because any school-based OT knows that those spacing tools can get lost very easily!

      The best part of this handwriting spacing tool is that kids can make their own, while creating a unique tool that fits their personality!

      First, read more about how spacing tools work.

      Teach spacing between words with a clothespin for better legibility and spatial awareness in handwriting.

      Next, get all of your materials ready, because this handwriting spacing tool is a fun activity! In fact, school-based therapists can create a group activity in a classroom with random items found in a craft bin…while boosting those fine motor skills!

      To make a DIY spacing tool, you’ll need a clothes pin. The wooden type is perfect for painting and decorating, making a fine motor craft based on the child’s interests, favorite color, etc. When the child makes their own spacing tool, they are more likely to use it again and again.

      Using the clothes pin clip allows the spacing tool to be saved. (Better yet, the clip prevents another lost therapy item later found at the bottom of a backpack or in the midst of desk chaos!)

      Kids can make these clothespin spacing tools to learn spacing between words in handwriting for better legibility and neat written work, just clip to a notebook or folder!

      How to teach spacing between words with a clothespin:

      The clothes pin clip is perfect for attaching to notebooks, folders, or a pencil box on a desk. Students will always know where their spacing tool is…but how do they use it?

      Use a clothespin to teach spacing between words the same way you would use other spacing tools.

      Show students how to place the clothespin on the paper after the last letter of a word. They can keep the clothespin in place as they write the next word in a sentence. They physical and visual cue of moving and seeing the clothespin can make a lasting impact on spacing between words.

      Think about it this way: the messiest written work is easier to read when it has space between words. As readers, we tend to fill in missing blanks using our predictive reading skills. When words are spaced out, students will be better able to read back over notes, homework assignments, and other written work.

      Spacing is often times, the easiest way to make a big impact on handwriting legibility!

      For younger students, using the clip portion of the clothespin spacing tool can be achieved using strips of paper to practice handwriting. Simply cut regular double ruled paper into strips and clip the clothespin between each word as the child writes.

      Those strips can even be laminated and handwriting practiced with a dry erase marker.

      Using the clothespin spacing tool can make a big impact on written legibility!

      Use a clothespin craft to work on spacing between words.

      To make the ClothesPin Spacing Tool

      You’ll need some basic craft items (affiliate links are included below):

      Kids can make this clothespin craft in occupational therapy or school to teach spacing between words for better handwriting.
      Handwriting craft for occupational therapy
      1. Next, get the kids started on painting. Ask the child or group of kids to paint all sides of the clothes pins.
      2. On the wet paint, glitter and sparkling gems can be added.
      3. Let the paint dry and embellish with additional items including gems, stickers, puffy paint, or other items.
      Make a clothespin craft to work on spacing between words when writing.
      Paint clothespins and add gems or stickers for an occupational therapy handwriting craft.
      Use a clothespin craft to teach spacing between words for better legibility in handwriting.

      Looking for more ways to teach spacing between words? Try these ideas:

      Use a clothespin craft to teach spacing between words using a clip clothespin for better legibility and spatial awareness in handwriting.

       

      Visual Perception and spatial awareness in kids.  What is Spatial awareness and why do kids have trouble with spacing between letters and words, reversing letters, and all things vision.  Great tips here from an Occupational Therapist, including tips and tools to help kids with spacing in handwriting. Visual Spatial Relations activities for handwritingEasy accommodations for poor spatial awareness in handwriting.Try this line awareness and spatial awareness handwriting activity using puzzle pieces and crayons to work on handwriting in a fun and creative way that doesn't require writing.
       
       
      Looking for more ways to address spatial awareness? 
      The Handwriting Book is a comprehensive resource created by experienced pediatric OTs and PTs.

      The Handwriting Book covers everything you need to know about handwriting, guided by development and focused on function. This digital resource is is the ultimate resource for tips, strategies, suggestions, and information to support handwriting development in kids.

      The Handwriting Book breaks down the functional skill of handwriting into developmental areas. These include developmental progression of pre-writing strokes, fine motor skills, gross motor development, sensory considerations, and visual perceptual skills. Each section includes strategies and tips to improve these underlying areas.

      • Strategies to address letter and number formation and reversals
      • Ideas for combining handwriting and play
      • Activities to practice handwriting skills at home
      • Tips and strategies for the reluctant writer
      • Tips to improve pencil grip
      • Tips for sizing, spacing, and alignment with overall improved legibility

      Click here to grab your copy of The Handwriting Book 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.

      Fall Crafts for Kids

      Fall crafts for kids

      If there is one thing occupational therapists love, it’s crafts to develop skills, and these Fall crafts for kids are just that! These fall themed crafts support development of skills in all the best ways this Fall! Use the best of the season this time of year with Fall leaf crafts, Halloween crafts, ghost crafts, pumpkin crafts, and more in occupational therapy sessions, or to build skills at home!

      Fall crafts for kids

      Fall Crafts for Kids

      Some of our top picks for building skills are sorted out by theme. You’ll love these fall crafts that support development of skills in kids:

      • Autumn Art Activities– includes sensory painting, fingerprint art, painting leaves, corn husk painting, and more.
      • Fall Fine Motor Activities– Work on precision, pincer grasp, tripod grasp, hand strength, hand-eye coordination, and more with these fall themed activities that are perfect for OT sessions or therapy at home.
      • Fall Tree Crafts– This set of craft ideas include leaves and all the beautiful colors of the trees during this autumn season.
      • Halloween Occupational Therapy Activities– Pick the activities that meet the needs of your OT clients to support development of fine motor, gross motor, sensory motor, and visual motor skills.
      • Fall Occupational Therapy Activities– This mini e-book describes OT activities to support sensory and motor development this time of year.
      • Turkey Crafts for Kids– This time of year, turkeys, feathers, and Thanksgiving crafts are great ways to develop fine motor skills with a fun theme!
      • Thankful Turkey Templates– These free printables can be used in so many ways to work on scissor skills and fine motor skills. Includes a gratitude turkey cut out, too.
      • Print off this hot chocolate craft and target different skills. You can even make this into a pumpkin spice latte or a hot apple cider craft!

      Easy Fall Crafts Kids

      Let’s break down these fall craft ideas to help you find just the craft that supports the development of skills.

      Fall leaf craft

      Fall Leaf Sewing Craft– This Fall craft for older kids builds fine motor skills.

      This fall craft idea supports development of:

      • bilateral coordination
      • crossing midline
      • eye hand coordination
      • pincer grasp
      Fall craft with a gratitude garland

      Gratitude Leaf Garland– Cut out the paper leaves and write things you are thankful for this Fall.

      This fall craft supports development of:

      • scissor skills
      • crossing midline
      • hand strength
      • handwriting
      Cute pumpkin craft for fine motor skills

      This Fine Motor Pumpkin craft develops precision, pincer grasp, and tip to tip grasp.

      This fall pumpkin craft supports development of:

      • scissor skills
      • precision
      • dexterity
      • eye hand coordination

      Thanksgiving suncatcher craft

      Make this gratitude suncatcher craft for a window craft that brings color to the drab Fall weather.

      This autumn craft supports development of:

      • scissor skills
      • handwriting
      • working on a vertical plane
      • sensory motor input

      Pumpkin seed craft idea using dyed pumpkin seeds

      Dye pumpkin seeds and use them to make mosaics, suncatchers, and more.

      This pumpkin seed craft supports development of:

      • pincer grasp
      • eye-hand coordination
      • tactile play
      • sensory motor input

      Sunflower craft made from a cupcake liner

      This sunflower cupcake liner craft is a fun fine motor activity for fall. Add this to a sunflower theme for therapy this Fall!

      This fall craft supports development of:

      • pincer grasp
      • scissor skills
      • planning and prioritization
      • problem solving

      Harvest craft made with bottle caps

      These cute harvest bottle cap crafts are a great fine motor math activity for the Fall season.

      This fall and harvest craft supports development of:

      • executive functioning skills
      • scissor skills
      • planning and prioritization
      • problem solving

      scarecrow craft for a farm activities theme

      Use this scarecrow craft as a math activity for the Fall and to develop fine motor skills.

      This autumn scarecrow craft supports development of:

      • fine motor skills
      • scissor skills
      • planning and prioritization
      • problem solving

      School bus craft for Fall

      Fall means back-to-school and that’s where this school bus craft comes into play.

      This fall craft supports development of:

      • scissor skills
      • planning and prioritization
      • problem solving

      Cute racoon craft

      This cute racoon craft doubles as a fine motor activity and a fun hands-on math activity for kids.

      This craft supports development of:

      • scissor skills
      • graded precision
      • hand strength
      • problem solving

      Bat craft for fall

      Use this bat craft to work on scissor skills and handwriting!

      This bat craft supports development of:

      • scissor skills
      • handwriting
      • tactile sensory play

      Stellaluna craft

      Speaking of bat crafts, this Stellaluna craft is perfect for the Fall season.

      This Stellaluna craft supports development of:

      Pumpkin craft made with toilet paper tube.

      Recycled Paper Roll Pumpkin Stamp Art– Make stamps using a toilet paper roll and create pumpkin stamps

      This pumpkin craft supports development of:

      • tactile sensory play
      • pincer grasp
      • tripod grasp
      • hand grasp
      • graded grasp and release

      Pumpkin seed suncatcher craft

      Dyed Pumpkin Seed Sun catchers are perfect for pincer grasp with a Fall pumpkin seed theme.

      This craft supports development of:

      • tactile sensory play
      • pincer grasp
      • tripod grasp
      • eye-hand coordination
      • graded grasp and release

      Autumn craft idea for preschoolers-leaf placemat

      Make a Leaf Placemat Craft which is the perfect autumn craft ideas for preschoolers.

      This craft supports development of:

      • proprioceptive input
      • tactile sensory play
      • tactile sensory play
      • eye-hand coordination
      Turkey napkin ring craft

      Turkey Napkin and Silverware Ring craft– This is great for a harvest with kids.

      This craft supports development of:

      • precision skills
      • pincer grasp
      • arch development
      • eye-hand coordination
      Cardboard turkey craft that doubles as a juicebox cover and an oral sensory tool

      Turkey Juice box Cover– These are so cute for a kids Thanksgiving table.

      This craft supports development of:

      • precision skills
      • pincer grasp
      • eye-hand coordination
      • scissor skills
      Paper towel roll turkey craft

      Recycled Paper Roll Turkey Stamp Craft– Grab a recycled toilet paper roll and make these turkey stamps.

      This craft supports development of:

      • tactile sensory play
      • pincer grasp
      • eye-hand coordination
      • scissor skills
      • planning and prioritization
      Corn husk painting

      Corn husk art is a fun way to celebrate the season. This Corn Husk Stamping is a sensory art activity kids love.

      This craft supports development of:

      • tactile sensory play
      • pincer grasp
      • eye-hand coordination
      Ghost craft

      This ghost craft is a powerful fine motor activity for kids and develops scissor skills and hand strength.

      This craft supports development of:

      • scissor skills
      • hand strength
      • arch development
      • bilateral coordination
      Ghost craft made from bread ties

      Use bread ties to make mini ghosts from bread ties! They are so cute in a Fall sensory bin.

      This craft supports development of:

      • precision skills
      • sensory play
      • crossing midline
      • bilateral coordination
      Ghost craft made from milk cartons

      Use recycled milk cartons to make this Ghost Catch Craft and Game. It’s a great tool for gross motor skills, eye-hand coordination, and core strengthening and stability.

      This craft supports development of:

      • gross grasp
      • eye hand coordination
      • posture
      • upper body strength
      Pumpkins made from egg cartons

      These Egg Carton Pumpkins are always fun to make and to use in fall sensory bins!

      This craft supports development of:

      • precision
      • hand strength
      • tactile sensory play
      • hand strength
      Pumpkin emotional development activity

      Identifying and Expressing Emotions Pumpkin Craft is a great Fall craft for toddlers and preschoolers.

      This craft supports development of:

      • social emotional development
      • learning emotions
      • eye hand coordination
      • crossing midline
      • visual motor skills

      Baked cotton balls turned into apples

      Did you ever make baked cotton balls? These apple baked cotton balls are so much fun!

      This craft supports development of:

      • tactile sensory play
      • scissor skills
      • pincer grasp
      • tripod grasp
      • hand strength
      • following directions
      Apple stamps

      This apple stamp art is fun for kids and great for developing visual perceptual skills.

      This craft supports development of:

      • visual perceptual skills
      • hand grasp
      • eye-hand coordination
      • tactile sensory play
      Toilet paper tube apple art

      Recycled Paper Roll Apple Stamps are fun for a Fall apple theme.

      This craft supports development of:

      • tactile sensory play
      • eye-hand coordination
      • graded grasp and release
      • direction following
      Pumpkin activity kit
      Pumpkin Fine Motor Kit

      Grab the Pumpkin Fine Motor Kit for more coloring, cutting, and eye-hand coordination activities with a Pumpkin theme! It includes:

      • 7 digital products that can be used any time of year- has a “pumpkins” theme
      • 5 pumpkin scissor skills cutting strips
      • Pumpkin scissor skills shapes- use in sensory bins, math, sorting, pattern activities
      • 2 pumpkin visual perception mazes with writing activity
      • Pumpkin “I Spy” sheet – color in the outline shapes to build pencil control and fine motor strength
      • Pumpkin Lacing cards – print, color, and hole punch to build bilateral coordination skills
      • 2 Pumpkin theme handwriting pages – single and double rule bold lined paper for handwriting practice

      Work on underlying fine motor and visual motor integration skills so you can help students excel in handwriting, learning, and motor skill development.

      You can grab this Pumpkin Fine Motor kit for just $6!

      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.