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.  

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.

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

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!

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:

  • scissor skills
  • handwriting
  • visual scanning
  • visual discrimination skills

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.

Beautiful Oops Activity

folded paper animals

This “Beautiful Oops” activity is a preschool book craft focusing on fine motor skills with a concentration on awareness of differences, making mistakes, and not focusing on specific details, using a creative book activity based on the book, Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzberg. If you are looking for hands-on book related activities, this one is a big hit!

Beautiful Oops Activity

One part of social emotional development is the ability to “go with the flow”. Allowing ourselves to make mistakes and to adjust is a key part of maturity and a personality trait that can be difficult to teach unless given examples and practice. in this book activity, we read the book, Beautiful Oops! and created folded paper crafts using our mistakes.  

This book craft is part of a series of activities that help kids build social and emotional skills such as:

  • acceptance
  • friendship
  • empathy
  • understanding
  • and other important skills involved with social emotional development.

For more activities that help build these skills, check out the resource, Exploring Books Through Play: 50 Activities Based on Books About Friendship, Acceptance and Empathy.

Beautiful oops activity to make a folded paper giraffe craft

Beautiful Oops Craft

Beautiful Oops book by Barney Saltzberg

  This post contains affiliate links.  

What does Beautiful Oops teach?

Have you read the book, Beautiful Oops! by Barney Saltzberg?  This is a book that we completely fell in love with.  The creative process of art spills out over the pages as little (and big) “oops” messes, tears, and folds become art.  While we do many crafts that are focused on an end product, process art is something we love in many creative projects!

Beautiful Oops! is a process art guide book.   As we read the book, one of our favorite pages was the folded corner Oops that became a reason to celebrate with a cute penguin.  We decided to make folded paper animals and couldn’t stop creating!

Folded paper animal crafts for kids based on the book, Beautiful Oops


paper folding activity

To make our folded paper animals, we started with just a few materials. The best thing about this paper folding activity is that there was no “right way” to do the craft. Each paper fold was part of the process art! Just like in the book, Beautiful Oops, any fold, cut, tear, or pasted paper was part of the process to create something beautiful. When an “oops” happened when cutting the paper or folding the paper, it was just part of the fun!

Gather a bunch of materials to make the paper folding activity:

  • Paper- scrap paper, construction paper, cardstock…whatever you have on hand
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Scraps of materials

We started with a big pile of assorted cardstock, a few pair of scissors and some glue.  We started with a fold on the corner of the paper and let our imaginations go!

We cut…

…and cut some more…  

…and folded…

…and glued…

…and added details to our animal creatures.

Beautiful Oops folded paper animal crafts
Folded paper animal crafts based on the book, Beautiful Oops

  We made a feeeew animals.

Folding paper Crafts

Use this craft to build fine motor skills! When kids fold paper, they work on a variety of fine motor skills. Click each link to read more about these specific skills and how they impact function.

Fold paper to work on fine motor skills in the hands.
Monkey bookmark craft

  And then put our folded paper creatures to work holding pages in books!  

Paper bird bookmark craft
Penguin paper craft bookmark

  We had a blast with this book and can’t stop making our oops’ beautiful!   Looking for more activities and crafts based on Beautiful Oops!?  Try these from the Preschool Book Club:

Straw Blow Painting from Homegrown Friends

Painting on torn Newspaper from Buggy and Buddy

Circle and Holes Art from Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

Oops Painting from Mama. Papa. Bubba.

hands-on activities to explore social emotional development through children's books.

Love exploring books with hands-on play?  

Grab our NEW book, Exploring Books Through Play: 50 Activities based on Books About Friendship, Acceptance, and Empathy, that explores friendship, acceptance, and empathy through popular (and amazing) children’s books!  It’s 50 hands-on activities that use math, fine motor skills, movement, art, crafts, and creativity to support social emotional development.    

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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.

Travel Bar Soap Case Fine Motor Kit

Travel Bar Soap Case craft

I love this Dollar Store therapy idea because it develops so many skills, making the materials a great addition to any occupational therapy bag. If you are looking for a Dollar Store craft that builds several areas (and can be used with a variety of levels of your caseload), then this animal soap holder craft is a great one to try! If you’ve used a soap holder travel item in your travels in the past, then you may even have all of the items you need to make a mini fine motor kit! All you need is a plastic travel bar soap case and a few items to create a ton of fine motor skill-building!

travel bar soap case THerapy Kit

Looking for a fine motor craft idea that boosts all of the underlying skills kids need? This fine  motor craft is a soap holder animal and it adds opportunities for skills like fine motor strength, precision of fine motor skills, dexterity, coordination, visual motor skills, and many more therapy areas.

The best part is, after kids make this fun fine motor craft, they have a fine motor toolkit that can be used again and again to address the motor skills they need!

Let’s take a look at how to make a soap holder animal and use this fine motor craft idea to maximize the therapeutic benefits!

 

This fine motor craft for kids is a soap holder animal craft that helps work on to build fine motor skills, strength, bilateral coordination, and other areas that may be addressed in occupational therapy

 

Dollar Store Craft for Therapy

All you need is a colorful soap holder and a few other materials from the Dollar Store to create your own soap container craft.

Soap holder animals are great busy box kits which are made with simple materials and come in their own storage containers. They address creativity, visual perception, eye-hand coordination, bilateral coordination, problem solving and fine motor skills.

Being stored within themselves makes them easily portable allowing a therapist to toss one quickly into their therapy bag or cart.

Kids can make this soap holder animal fine motor craft to work on fine motor skills and other areas they need for holding a pencil and in handwriting.

Kids love soap holder animal crafts and therapists will find they make for a cool and engaging therapy activity. Soap holder busy box kits fit the bill for many pediatric therapists who travel from site to site.

They are a cheap and easy fine motor craft to transport, are easy to store, and are fun to create with an engaging focus on child skill development.

Therapists will find soap holder animal make for a great send home activity too! 

Make a soap holder busy bag into a fine motor craft by turning it into a soap holder animal while working on fine motor skills and visual motor skills.

Occupational Therapy Bag Item

Filling a plastic soap dish with small materials is great for the traveling occupational therapist, because you can add this mini container to your occupational therapy bag, and opening and closing the container is part of the therapy processes to further develop fine motor skills, bilateral coordination, and other areas.

Children love opening the boxes to see what’s inside and they are intrigued by what they are able to create with them. They love crafting animals and making them come to life. 

Soap holder busy box kits allow for children to expand on their skills while also enjoying the high level of creativity that can be achieved. 

With these soap holder creations, children experience an improved feeling of success and achievement having used their own skills to create something fun and entertaining.

Many skill areas are hidden within the process of this fun activity.  Just the developmental benefits of bead stringing alone would be enough to make the activity worth using!  Bead stringing activities can help improve overall fine motor, visual perception, visual motor and cognitive skills. Functionally, bead stringing can help a child improve their pencil grasp and control for drawing, writing and coloring as well as improve their ability to manipulate fasteners on clothing. 

This soap dish kit is actually a piece of pediatric therapy equipment you may not immediately think of when you think of occupational therapy toys, but it’s sure to be a big hit!

Use beads and a travel soap holder to make a fine motor craft that builds skills kids need.

Use the travel bar soap case craft to build skills

The skills and target areas addressed with soap holder animal crafts and use of these fun busy box kits include:

Bilateral coordination – The act of opening and closing the boxes, threading and un-threading the beads, and building legs or other appendages requires the child to use two hands together in a coordinated manner.

Pincer grasp and finger strength – Pinching small beads for placement and threading them requires a thumb to index finger pinch pattern and small muscle strength to manipulate and place the bead.

In-hand manipulation – Pinching small beads and turning them around within the fingers for placement requires coordination of the small hand and finger muscles working on shift and rotation movements.

Eye-hand coordination – Threading and un-threading beads and building legs or other appendages requires the child’s eyes and hands to work together.

Visual perception – Recalling the bead color pattern while searching for one specific bead color from a group of assorted beads requires visual memory, visual scanning and visual discrimination skills.

Executive functioning – Deciding what type of creature the child wants to make and organizing and planning their approach while also determining what kind of pattern they want to use and where to place the appendages requires organization, planning and problem-solving skills.

Use a travel bar soap case to make a fine motor kit for travel pediatric occupational therapy bags

Graded Fine Motor Craft Kids Love

Travel soap dish with lid are nice because you can fill the mini fine motor kit with any item that meets the needs of the child you are working with.

Soap holder busy box kits can easily be downgraded or upgraded by matching the type of materials used to the needs and abilities of the child or by modifying the approach and the necessary skills required to complete the activity.

A few considerations on adjusting this fine motor craft to meet the needs and skills of various children:

1. Consider the use of larger beads vs. smaller beads. Determine if the bead hole diameter is small enough or large enough to meet or challenge the child’s skills.

2. Use flexible string vs. pipe cleaners. (Be sure the string is flexible enough that the box lid can close once they are inserted and that beads do not easily fall off.)  Flexible string can provide a good challenge for some children.

3. Keep pipe cleaners full length or cut in half to make the activity more challenging for appendage placement, manipulation, and orientation.

4. Consider keeping the process simple by having the activity set-up for the child and then have them only string the beads.

5. Have the child simply string beads at random vs. following a color pattern.

6. Work on opening containers using the travel soap dish with lid.

Work on fine motor skills, bilateral coordination, precision grasp and more with this fine motor craft to make a soap holder animal.

How to Make a travel bar soap case craft

Now that you know the total benefits and a few ways to grade the activity, here is what you need to create your very own soap holder animal using a travel bar soap case.

First, gather your materials:

Amazon affiliate links included below.

Use a soap holder to make a fine motor craft into a soap holder animal craft that builds fine motor skills kids need.
  1. Place all of the materials in the travel bar soap case. It’s ready to go into your occupational therapy bag.
  2. When you are ready to use the travel bar soap case in therapy sessions, pull out the travel bar soap case filled with fine motor items. Kids can open the container and use the materials to thread beads or explore.
  3. Bend the pipe cleaners to make legs for a spider or wings for a butterfly. 
  4. Thread beads onto the pipe cleaners.
  5. Place the ends of the pipe cleaners onto the edge of the travel soap container and close the lid. 
  6. Decorate the top with googly eyes.

They never get old as they may never be the same creation twice!

Soap holder busy bead kits are easy to assemble for use as a therapy activity or home busy box. Take a short time to gather the materials and use it all year long to build a multitude of skills with children.

Amazon affiliate links are included in this post.

Let us know if you make this soap holder animal fine motor craft!

Regina Allen

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

Looking for more fun ways to develop fine motor skills? Grab one of our digital Fine Motor Kits!

Use these Fine Motor Kits for hands-on activity kits to develop fine motor skills, strength, dexterity, and manipulation. Kids LOVE these fine motor kits for the motivating activities. Therapists love them because it’s fresh, fun ways to work on pinch, grip, manipulation skills, and much more. Try some of these themed therapy kits:

Homemade Colored Sand

Color sand for sensory play

Have you ever thought about making colored sand? It is possible to color sand, easily, and get the kids involved in the process, too. Here, we are covering how to color sand as a sensory play material for the sandbox, for art, and for homemade colored sand fun!

We have been playing outside so much recently.  Our sandbox is right outside and the kids are in there daily. We added a little color to some of the sand this week and have been having fun with our colored sand!

Color sand for a sensory play experience with many therapy benefits.

Color Sand for Developing Skills

Kids love to color sand, and the process is a fun motor and sensory activity to support development of a variety of skill areas, too:

  • Eye-hand coordination to pour and scoop the sand
  • Bilateral coordination to pour sand into a bag or container
  • Gross motor skills, heavy work, proprioception, and motor planning skills to shake the containers of sand and paint
  • Executive functioning skills to mix and color the sand
  • Tactile sensory play to manipulate the mixed textures of dry sand and wet paint.
  • Fine motor skills to pinch the crumbled dry clumps of colored sand
using food coloring to make colored sand

How to Color Sand

We made a simple batch of colored sand very easily.  This simple recipe is a great activity for kids to make as a cognitive and direction-following activity. Read on for directions on how to make colored sand…

Big Sister helped me with this and we had fun while the little kids were napping.   So how did we make our colored sand?  

  1. Scoop a little sand into plastic baggies.
  2. Add around 10-15 drops of food coloring.
  3. Seal the baggie and shake it up. (great for some gross motor play!!)  
  4. Let the sand dry and have fun playing.  

We left our sand right in the open baggies and let it dry overnight.  If you wanted to play right away, you could spread the sand out on a tray and it would dry much sooner.

Color sand for sensory play
add food coloring to baggies of sand

Color Sand Activities

Once you have mixed a batch of colorful sand, you can use it in various sensory and motor activities.

Make Color Sand Pictures

So the next day, we spread the sand out on a tray and played!  She loves making pictures in the sand and telling stories (like Nina on Sprout!)  This was such a fun activity.  

Practice Writing Letters with Colored Sand

We spread out the sand onto a low tray and used it as a writing tray. My preschooler told me all kinds of stories, made words, and we practiced some lower case letter formation.

Big Sister is knows how to make most lowercase letters and can copy all of the letters.  This is a great activity for letter formation and practicing handwriting.  

Use Colored Sand for Pre-Writing Skills

For kids that are still working on diagonals, crossed lines, and shapes, a sand sensory writing tray is a great tool to work on pre-writing skills. The tactile feedback offers muscle memory for forming lines and shapes.

The sand adds a sensory aspect to letter formation. Using a large tray like this one adds whole arm movements which are perfect for the young child who is just learning letter formation.  I love the contrast that the white tray adds to the colored sand.  

We played for a long time with this (again during Little Kid nap time).

colored sand on tray for child to form letters

Of course, when you have bags of colored sand, you have to mix the colors together to see what happens 🙂  

Color sand for a sensory tray.

Grade the colored sand activity for therapy

How can you grade this activity for different aged children? There are many ways to color sand and use one batch with several ages. This is especially good for families with children at various ages. Consider the contamination aspect when using a batch of colored sand in the therapy setting.

  • Toddlers would love to explore the colors and sensation of the sand on their fingers.
  • Pre-writers can copy and trace shapes, zig-zag and intersecting lines
  • Early writers can trace upper case letters.
  • Older hand-writers can copy a word from a card positioned off to the side. 
  • Practice spelling words with school-aged kids.

    We saved our bags of colored sand and will be using them again.  Have you done any projects with colored sand? 

Finally, after playing with your homemade colored sand, use the opportunity to add this tactile sensory play experience to your toolbox of handwashing activities!

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.

Working on other fine motor skills through play? Grab one of our Fine Motor Kits to get started!

Use these Fine Motor Kits for hands-on activity kits to develop fine motor skills, strength, dexterity, and manipulation. Kids LOVE these fine motor kits for the motivating activities. Therapists love them because it’s fresh, fun ways to work on pinch, grip, manipulation skills, and much more. Try some of these themed therapy kits:

DIY Whisper Phone

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

DIY Whisper Phone

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

What is a Whisper Phone?

First, you may be wondering “What is a whisper phone“…read on to find out what exactly a whisper phone is and how they can be so beneficial to so many kids. 
 
Typically, a whisper phone is a tube shaped like a phone that can be held at the child’s ear and mouth. They can whisper sounds and words and clearly hear individual sounds without background noise. 
 
They are a great tool for kids with auditory needs AND kids without auditory processing issues. Whisper phones can be so helpful in teaching any child to recognize sounds of letters! Kids can use a whisper phone to hear themselves read, which helps them with comprehension and fluency through auditory feedback.
 
A whisper phone is a tool that can be so helpful for kids with auditory processing needs or other concerns that interfere with a child’s ability to focus on auditory input. These kids sometimes struggle with pulling out important information from auditory input. 
 
The whisper phone device can be used to address several areas of auditory needs. Auditory processing challenges can look like a variety of things:
  • Poor listening skills
  • Auditory attention challenges (distractions by sounds in a classroom or home)
  • Difficulty with language comprehension
  • Auditory sensory sensitivities
  • Other listening concerns
Using a whisper phone can help with skills like:
  • Auditory discrimination
  • Auditory sequencing
  • Auditory memory
  • Auditory figure-ground
Other times, a whisper phone is used in reading to help kids recognize sounds in words, including pronunciation, fluency, and reading comprehension. This can be helpful for kids without auditory processing needs too! 
 
Make a DIY whisper phone to address reading comprehension, letter sounds, and sensory processing needs.
 

How to use a Whisper Phone

Sometimes a whisper phone is used in the classroom setting during reading tasks. To use this auditory feedback device, it is quite simple:

  1. Hold one end of the whisper phone up to your ear. 
  2. Hold the other end of the device up to your mouth. 
  3. Whisper into the phone and listen for the sound waves to move through the device to directly to the ear. 

Some whisper phones require two hands like the one we created. Others can be held in one hand. These devices might be a U-shaped piece of tubing, or a few pieces of PVC pipe that are glued together. These types of whipser devices are nice for feedback during reading. 

To use the whisper device, ask the student to experiment with a variety of sound levels. They can whisper, talk, hum to see how sounds are transferred directly to their ears. 

As the student to read aloud into the device. Then ask them to read while there is background noise present. Let them experiment and see how loud they need to speak into the device to ensure auditory comprehension.

Here are more auditory processing activities that can help.
 
Make a DIY whisper phone to address reading comprehension, letter sounds, and sensory processing needs.
 

A whisper phone can be used in many ways:

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

 

How to make a DIY Whisper Phone

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

Auditory Feedback Phone (STEM Activity)

I love that this auditory feedback phone is a STEM activity that kids can create themselves as a STEM and fine motor activity. 

By making this auditory feedback device, kids are learning about science with the concept of the auditory processing system, the mathematics of sound waves, and engineering to create the technical ability to transport whisper sounds through the device the creates feedback in the way of sounds. 

 

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

Looking for more ways to address sensory needs? 

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

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

 

More ways to use a Whisper phone in auditory processing skills

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

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

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

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

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

Robin Craft Fine Motor Activity

Robin craft with egg cartons

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

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

Robin Craft with an Egg Carton

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

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

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

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


This post contains affiliate links.

Paint an egg carton to make a robin craft

Robin Craft Fine MOtor Activity

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

Time needed: 20 minutes.

How to make a robin craft with an egg carton

  1. Start with an egg carton.

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

  2. Paint the egg carton.

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

  3. Punch a hole in each egg carton compartment.

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

  4. Make paper beaks for the robin craft.

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

  5. Make pipe cleaner worms!

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

  6. Draw Eyes on the Egg carton robins.

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

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

Pipe Cleaner Worm Craft

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

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

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

Robin egg carton craft and fine motor activity for Spring.

  Make a bunch of worms; You will need them!  

Feed the robin egg carton craft

  Feed the Robins Craft

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

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

Fine motor activity with egg carton robins

This activity builds several fine motor skill areas:

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

 

Robin Math Activity

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

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

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

Use the Robin Craft to Build Skills Over and Over Again

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

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

 
 
 
 

Spring Fine Motor Kit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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