Butterfly Life Cycle Crafts Activities

butterfly life cycle crafts and activities

Butterflies are on our brain right now.  We’re patiently waiting for the postman to drop off our batch of caterpillars that will be a part of our family for a little while as we watch their development through the butterfly life cycle.  Add these butterfly life cycle crafts and activities to your Spring occupational therapy activity themes and help kids develop the fine motor skills needed for function.

Butterfly life cycle crafts and activities for therapy sessions

The kids received a (and this is an affiliate link…) Live Butterfly Garden as a Christmas gift this year and we are SO excited to watch the butterfly life cycle.  We can’t wait to watch our new family members grow and develop and do a few butterfly life cycle activities as well!  (I can’t get over the cuteness of that Lego butterfly life cycle below!)

Butterfly Life Cycle Crafts

These crafts and activities are great to add to a life cycle of a butterfly lesson plan or to use in therapy planning in the clinic, classroom, or home. 

This butterfly cupcake liner craft is a fun way to work on scissor skills and direction following, as well as fine motor work.

Or, make a butterfly from a coffee filter and build hand strength and bilateral coordination skills.

Create a caterpillar craft using an egg carton and build hand strength and fine motor development.

This wooly bear caterpillar craft and handwriting activity helps kids with scissor skills, bilateral coordination, and includes a handwriting component.

 

Butterfly Life Cycle Activities

If you want to start with caterpillar and then move to butterfly activities, use this free bug and caterpillar slide deck to work on fine motor strength and development. The play dough and other fine motor tasks build hand strength in kids.

Recently, we released a new therapy slide deck to use in virtual therapy sessions that explores the butterfly life cycle. The butterfly therapy slide deck encourages gross motor skills, motor planning, and heavy work movement.

These heavy work cards include a page of butterfly life cycle activities that incorporate calming heavy work activities for motor planning and proprioceptive benefits.

This butterfly handwriting activity slide deck is another virtual therapy tool for using in teletherapy or even face to face sessions while working on letter formation and handwriting skills.

In the Spring Fine Motor Kit, you’ll find butterfly and caterpillar activities that are designed to build a variety of fine  motor manipulation, dexterity, and strengthening tasks.

 

 
Creative butterfly life cycle crafts and activities for kids

 

More Butterfly Life Cycle Crafts and Activities

 

Try these crafts that combine the full butterfly life cycle into crafts and activities: 

 

 

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.

Earth Day Activities

Earth Day activities

These Earth Day Activities are great for occupational therapy activities because they are full of fine motor work, bilateral coordination, motor planning, and sensory experiences. Plus, when kids create these Earth day crafts and play experiences, they are learning about recycling, cleaning up the Earth, and nature.

Earth day activities for occupational therapy

Earth Day Activities

Let’s get to the Earth Day fun!

  1. Make a recycled materials craft bin. Kids can gather recyclable materials from food containers, cardboard, artwork, and use them to make a DIY craft bin that is used for making more crafts and using in fine motor or sensory play activities. I love that the wax paper sleeves or egg cartons can be easily stored in cut cereal boxes. What a way to work on scissor skills with a variety of materials.

Here are more crafts and activities using recycled materials.

2. Use recycled materials to make a flower craft– Then, after that recycled materials craft bin is sorted, use the items to make a flower craft. Things like used egg cartons, cereal boxes, paper bags, can be cut and manipulated to craft and work on fine motor skills.

3. Head outside. There are so many benefits to playing and exploring the outdoors. And, kids can learn about the earth, too.

4. Read about recycling. These books about recycling are great to incorporate into therapy activities.

5. Incorporate recycled materials into learning concepts. Use these strategies to integrate therapy goals into the classroom with a recycling theme. You’ll find math, reading, science, and more ideas here.

This series on 31 days of learning using free materials will get you started on lots of ways to use recycled materials in classroom concepts.

6. Plant something- Explore this post on sensory gardens to find ways to incorporate sensory input in the outdoors.

 

I was surfing around on some other lovely blogs and trying to find some fun crafts that we could try.  Here are a few of our favorite ones we came across all geared towards children ages two through five.

 
 
 

 

Itsy Bitsy Learners
This is a fun activity for preschoolers using homemade textured paint.
 

 

Repeat Crafter Me
This Earth Day inspired felt counting book is such a great idea for toddlers.
 

 

Imprints From Tricia
What a fun idea- go on a nature hunt and create a Nature Book. Press plants, leaves, and flowers into paint and then write to describe the prints. It’s a great sensory based handwriting activity.
 
 
 
Laugh Paint Create 
Created some great recycled artwork with cardboard food boxes. Work on scissor skills, bilateral coordination, and more.

 

 

Teach Beside Me These adorable Rock faces will make anyone smile and make a beautiful addition to a garden.

 

 
All of these great posts have inspired us to go create something special out of recycled items or something Mother Earth has provided for us…we can’t wait to get our hands dirty!

 

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.

Cute Unicorn Craft for Fine Motor Scissor Skills

Unicorn craft

If you have a child that loves all things unicorns, then this unicorn craft is the way to go. It’s a craft that develops fine motor skills and scissor skills but has magical fun of unicorns! For more unicorn activities, try this Unicorn Yoga activity as well.

I love creating crafts for kids that serve a purpose.  There are a lot of anti-kids craft-ers out there, but as an Occupational Therapist, I am in the camp that kids crafts are GREAT for working on fine motor skills.  Direction following, task completion, fine motor work, and dexterity (among other goal areas) can all be addressed with a fun craft that kids will have fun making and be proud of! 

Unicorn craft for developing fine motor skills, eye hand coordination, scissor skills and other occupational therapy goal areas.

Unicorn Craft

(AND, the bonus to a purposeful craft is that it’s fun for the kids to make something that interests the child…whether it’s a specific animal, a favorite character, or a season…crafts build up a child with excitement and smiles.)


I do have to say, though that process-oriented arty creations are equally precious in child development and learning.  It’s all about balance! 


This super cute Unicorn craft is one that my kids loved making, and we worked on scissor skills and fine motor skills.  And they didn’t even know it!

 
Cute unicorn craft for kids that is great for fine motor skills and scissor skills.
 
 

How to make a Unicorn CraftFull disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

You’ll need these materials to make a Unicorn Craft:

  • White and Pink card stock
  • Paper
  • Pink card stock paper
  • Scissors (These are the brand I love best for kids and new scissor users.)
  • Hole punch
  • Yarn in different colors. We used pink, purple, white, and blue.
  • Small Googly eye
  • Glue
Cute unicorn craft for kids that is great for fine motor skills and scissor skills.

Directions to make this unicorn craft:

  1. First, you’ll need to cut the white card stock into several shapes: One large rectangle, three small rectangles, a square, and a triangle.  
  2. Cut the pink card stock into a wing shape.
  3. Cut the yarn into small pieces about 4 inches long.
  4. Once all of the shapes and yarn pieces are cut, glue the paper shapes together in a unicorn shape.  
  5. Use the hold punch to create holes along one of the small rectangles and on the corner of the large rectangle.
  6. Tie the yarn into the hole punch holes.  To do this, pinch the center of the yarn and push it into the hole.  Then, pull it halfway through the hole and slip the tail ends of the yarn into the loop.  Do this for the unicorn’s mane and tail.  
  7. Trim the unicorn’s hair and tail so the yarn is shorter and an even length.
Unicorn craft for kids to use in occupational therapy crafts.

Use this uncorn craft to build therapy skills

This unicorn craft is a great craft for occupational therapy sessions because it works on so many areas and skills:

  • Direction following and executive functioning skills
  • Visual motor skills (copying the shapes and placing them on the paper to make the unicorn)
  • Eye-hand coordination to cut along lines
  • Scissor skills and graded hand precision
  • Hand strength using a hole punch
  • Fine motor precision to thread string through the holes
  • Bilateral coordination to cut with scissors, use hole punch, and tying knots

Making this craft is a great way to work on and practice scissor skills including cutting multiple-angled shapes like rectangles, squares, and triangles.  I made an example of the unicorn craft and had my preschooler practice cutting on the lines.  

Cutting card stock is a great medium for younger kids because of the thicker paper and more resistance to the scissors during cutting.  This, along with a thick line like a crayon line provides an easier task for younger kids.  Thicker lines and paper provide a child with a graded down component to the craft and allow for more accuracy.  

Another way to make this activity easier or grade the craft is to provide help to a younger child who is completing this craft is to position the shape on the edge of the paper, so a rectangle would have only two cutting lines into the paper.  The child can then reposition the paper instead of cutting around a corner.

 

Kids can cut yarn in crafts to work on scissor skills.

Cutting the yarn is a great way to work on scissor skills: A child needs to hold the yarn with one hand and cut with the other, working on bilateral coordination skills.  A different medium like yarn or string is a fun way to encourage more scissor practice, including accuracy and precision of snips.

So, how can you encourage fine motor skills with this craft?  Simply by doing it!  It’s a powerhouse of fine motor work.  From cutting, snipping, hole punching, and threading the yarn through the holes, knotting the yarn, and gluing on the Googly eye: it’s a fine motor work out!

Use this unicorn craft in occupational therapy to work on a variety of goal areas with kids.
National Unicorn Day is April 9th.

National Unicorn Day is April 9th. Who knew?! If you have a kiddo that loves all things unicorns, it’s a great theme to use in therapy or in home activities to help kids develop fine motor skills, visual motor skills, motor planning, and all of the areas described above.



More easy and fun crafts for kids that you will love:

Scarecrow craft

Scarecrow Math Craft

 Germ Kids craft

Germ Craft

 Pirate Puppet

 Pirate Puppet

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.

Easter Activities

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

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

Easter Activities for Occupational Therapy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Easter Crafts

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

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

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

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

    RELATED READ: Simple Spring Sensory

Easter Bunny Activities for Kids

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

Bunny lacing activity to build fine motor skills

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

Easter activity with plastic easter eggs

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

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

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

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

Gross motor easter activity

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

Easter activity with coloring pages and dot to dot pages

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Cherry Blossom Tree Craft with fine motor work

Cherry blossom tree craft
 
We made these Cherry blossom trees one day as a Spring occupational therapy activity for kids.  This was the perfect way to brighten up our dining room.  We had a bunch of paper snowflakes hanging on our window and decided we needed to pull those down and make a few fun spring crafts!  This Cherry Blossom Tree craft hit the mark! This is just one of the fun Cherry blossom crafts here on the site that promote fine motor skills, strengthening, and precision in big ways.
 
Not only were our trees fun to make, they had a great fine motor component to them…and we love fine motor activities! 

Cherry blossom tree craft

 

 This post contains affiliate links. 

 

Cherry Blossom Tree craft

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

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

Dots of glue for cherry blossom tree craft

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

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

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

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

Tripod grasp is worked on with this cherry blossom tree craft.

Cover all of those glue spots!

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

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

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

 

Spring Fine Motor Kit

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

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

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

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

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

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

Colleen Beck, OTR/L 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.

Cherry Blossom Tree craft for kids with fine motor activity

Cherry Blossom Crafts

Cherry blossom crafts

Spring is finally upon us, and the flowers will be blooming soon – it’s the perfect time to introduce some springtime crafts! The ideas you’ll find here are Spring fine motor activities that help to develop hand strength and dexterity. Cherry Blossoms are one of the most famed blooms every year, and for good reason, too – they are gorgeous and short-lived. Cherry blossom trees only have flowers for about 14 days, and only for about a week of that time is when they are this beautiful:

Cherry blossom crafts kids can make to develop fine motor skills.

Cherry Blossom Crafts

Get yourself and your kiddos into the springtime spirit with any of these Cherry Blossom crafts, and add these ideas to your Spring occupational therapy interventions.

At the bottom of this post, you’ll also fine Cherry Blossom book ideas to incorporate into multisensory learning through play, so keep reading for story time ideas, too!

Cherry blossom crafts for kids that develop skills, use in occupational therapy interventions or at home to help kids develop motor skills.

Q-TIP CHERRY BLOSSOM CRAFT

First, we have to talk about q-tip art. Just look at the creations you can make with a simple bathroom staple:

  • This Handprint Tree from Glued to my Crafts will keep your little ones entertained for a while!
  • Or this Spring Tree from A Little Pinch of Perfect, using the q-tips as the tree branches – brilliant!

Why make art with a Q-Tip?

  • First of all – It’s fun and cheap!
  • Using objects in a way that is not their intended purpose teaches object fluidity, and encourages cognitive development through creative play.
  • Holding a tiny Q-tip stick strengthens fine motor skills and encourages the development of a tripod grasp which is a part of handwriting development

Tissue Paper CHERRY BLOSSOM Craft

Next on the list is tissue paper crafts, so simple yet so beautiful!

We have to have one in here for developing mathematical skills! This is the perfect craft that challenges logical thinking and memory but doesn’t feel like learning to your young student.

  • Cognition and fine motor skills can be developed using felt and a tree branch in this cherry-blossom-themed Tactile Math Activity.
Cherry blossom craft pattern craft for teaching patters
  • This Tissue Paper Tree from The Adventure Starts Here couldn’t be easier! You just need glue, tissue paper, and a printed (or drawn!) image of a tree. 
  • Or, glue some tissue paper on to a stick in this 3D Cherry Blossoms project, from Practically Functional. 
Cherry blossom craft to develop fine motor skills in kids

For even more fine motor development in a craft, check out these Fine Motor Cherry Blossoms

Why use tissue paper in crafts?

  • Ripping tissue paper strengthens the muscles of the fingers, hands, and arms.
  • Touching the crinkly and smooth textures of tissue paper provides a gentle sensory experience that is good for sensory seekers or avoiders.
    • Depending on the papers that you use, you can offer various sensory experiences – the textures, the sounds, the colors!

Why should I give my toddler a bottle of glue?

  • Squeezing a bottle of glue can take a lot of effort, which strengthens the muscles of the hands that are necessary for occupational skills like handwriting, zipping coats, etc.
  • Learning to control the pressure is a great way to teach fine motor planning skills.
    • Motor planning occurs before a voluntary movement happens, and when we are learning new physical skills, like squeezing a glue bottle, it requires some thinking beforehand to get it right.
    • The action-reaction that occurs with the amount of pressure from the squeeze (action) to the glue that is released (reaction) is a very tangible way to teach this skill. 

CHERRY BLOSSOM Fingerprint crafts

We can’t offer a craft without a finger painting option! Read on for why painting with your fingers is beneficial for your child’s development.

Why use fingers when we have a paintbrush?

  • The answer is that both are great tools to teach different skills!
  • Using fingers as a tool in artistic play provides great sensory feedback to the brain.
    • The textures of the paint, the feeling of the paper, the pressure to place the pain down, and the colors that they can experiment with all provide learning experiences for their growing mind.
  • Using a paintbrush is great, too!
    • The paintbrush provides another way to interact with the paint and paper while using their little hands in a prehensile pattern. Prehensile = grasp, and using any utensil develops their general grasping skills necessary for many occupational skills that are coming their way (handwriting, opening bottles/jars, buttoning, zipping, the list is endless!). 

Cherry blossom books

Add a book to the craft activity to add dialogue and communication opportunities to craft time, while facilitating problem solving, social emotional learning, and more.

I personally love the days when I am able to connect a craft with a story. It makes the simplest things feel so purposeful and well-thought-out – like you’ve won the parenting award for the day!

Here is a list of cherry blossom themed books to go along with your craft: (Amazon affiliate links included below.)

Pinkalicious: Cherry Blossom by Victoria Kann

Sakura’s Cherry Blossoms  by Robert Paul Weston and Misa Saburi

Cherry Blossom and Paper Planes by Jef Aerts and Sanne te Loo

Cherry Blossoms Say Spring (National Geographic Kids) by Jill Esbaum

Spring Blossoms by Carole Gerber and Leslie Evans

Sydney Thorson, OTR/L, is a new occupational therapist working in school-based therapy. Her
background is in Human Development and Family Studies, and she is passionate about
providing individualized and meaningful treatment for each child and their family. Sydney is also
a children’s author and illustrator and is always working on new and exciting projects.

Rainbow Activities for Child Development

Rainbow activities

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

Rainbow activities for child development and occupational therapy interventions

Rainbow Activities for Therapy

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

Rainbow Fine Motor Activities

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

rainbow pencil control activities

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

color mixing rainbow handwriting activity

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

Rainbow beads

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

teach prewriting lines to kids with a rainbow theme

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rainbow cups

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

Fine Motor Flip and Fill A-Z Letter Pages

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

Rainbow Visual Motor Activities

Visual Motor integration activity using a marker ladder activity

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

Copy a rainbow visual motor activity

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

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

Colors Pre-Writing Pencil Mazes

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

Rainbow Sensory Play

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

rainbow exercises deep breathing printable

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

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

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

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

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

rainbow xylophone

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

Rainbow Crafts to develop skills

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

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

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

Rainbow Snacks

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

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

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

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

Colors Handwriting Kit

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

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

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

 
 
 

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.

Leonardo the Terrible Monster Game About Being a Friend

Leonardo the Terrible Monster activity

You might know that we love to partner great children’s books with crafts and activities.  Today’s hands-on activity is a Leonardo the Terrible Monster activity and it’s one that uses an amazing monster book to help kids talk about the qualities of a friend. Add this to your list of friendship activities, or when working on social emotional skills.

By the way, be sure to check out all of our book activities.  It’s been fun creating book related activities! Today’s book is Leonardo the Terrible Monster by Mo Williams.  We created a monster craft and game where we talked about friendship.  

Leonardo the Terrible Monster craft and game to explore friendship with kids.  Talk about the qualities that makes a good friend with kids.  This book and activity is perfect for preschool and play dates!


(This post contains affiliate links.) 

Have you read the book, Leonardo, the Terrible Monster?  This is such a cool book, all about a Monster who is not so scary.  

In fact, Leonardo is terrible at being terrible.  Leonardo tries to find the most scare-able kid there is so that he can scare the tuna salad out of him.  Meet Sam.  Well, it turns out the Sam has had a bad day and is not in fact scared by Leonardo; he’s sad.  Leonardo and Sam become wonderful friends.  

This book is such a fun read with it’s big, fun font and simple illustrations.  It was easy to make a game based on Leonardo the Terrible Monster.  This game is all about what makes a friend.  We talked about qualities of a friend (and decided scaring our friends is not a good quality!)

Leonardo The Terrible Monster Book Craft and Game

We started by making a monster craft using coffee filters and fork painted fur.  For the Monster friend game, you can make a monster craft using any Monster craft, but this one was fun and easy!  You’ll need a few materials to make the coffee filter monsters:  

  • coffee filters
  • Plastic Forks
  • paint (this is my favorite brand!)
  • Paint Brush
  • Monster-ish decorations like pipe cleaners, googly eyes, yarn, or any crafting material
Leonardo the Terrible Monster craft and game to explore friendship with kids.  Talk about the qualities that makes a good friend with kids.  This book and activity is perfect for preschool and play dates!
Leonardo the Terrible Monster craft and game to explore friendship with kids.  Talk about the qualities that makes a good friend with kids.  This book and activity is perfect for preschool and play dates!

 

To make the coffee filter monsters, first flatten and paint the coffee filters.  

Add color and fur texture by pressing the back of the fork into paint and then pressing onto the coffee filter.  

Let the paint dry and then glue on details of the monsters.  It was fun to see how different each of our monsters looked.  

We then used these monster crafts in a friendship game.

Monster “What is a Friend” Game for Kids

Once your monster friends are dry, hang them on the wall for a game about friends!  

This color matching game was perfect for my preschooler (and her little sister who loves to do whatever her big sister does!)    

Talk about the colors and details of each monster on the wall.  

Discuss how each monster is different, but they all have feelings and might end up becoming a great friend. We talked about how friendship doesn’t have anything to do with appearances or visual qualities, but of the specific qualities of a friend, or how a person (or monster) acts like a friend to others.  

We talked about what exactly it means to be a friend.  

These are some of the concepts covered in our social emotional skills resource, Exploring Books Through Play: 50 Activities based on Books About Friendship, Acceptance, and Empathy, which offers multi-sensory activities while exploring friendship, acceptance, and empathy through popular (and amazing) children’s books.

Then, to play the monster game, we played a version of “I Spy”.  I said that I could see a monster who has blue fur.

My daughter would then go over and point to the monster that had blue fur and would name a quality of a friend that the monster might have. This extended the learning of friendship concepts further, and added movement, visual perceptual skills, color recognition, and more.

This is such a great movement and sensory-based preschool activity to learn about friendship skills! 

Leonardo the Terrible Monster craft and game to explore friendship with kids.  Talk about the qualities that makes a good friend with kids.  This book and activity is perfect for preschool and play dates!

Qualities of a Friend

(according to my kids):

It was fun to talk with my kids (later my 8 year old came over to see what the fun was about and joined us) as we discussed qualities of a friend.  Some of the things we came up with were:

  • A friend is someone who helps.
  • A friend cares about their friends.
  • A friend helps people at school.
  • A friend asks others to play with them.
  • A friend tells the truth.
  • A friend takes turns.
Leonardo the Terrible Monster craft and game to explore friendship with kids.  Talk about the qualities that makes a good friend with kids.  This book and activity is perfect for preschool and play dates!

  What qualities of a friend can you and your kids come up with?

Leonardo the Terrible Monster craft and game to explore friendship with kids.  Talk about the qualities that makes a good friend with kids.  This book and activity is perfect for preschool and play dates!

Stop by to see what the other bloggers in the Book Cub Play Dates series have created based on Leonardo, the Terrible Monster.  You’ll have all the details you need to create a book themed play date!   Monster Matching Busy Bag from Fun a Day Paint Chip Monsters from Craftulate Play Dough Monsters from Still Playing School

 
 

 

 
Stop by and see some of our favorite book related activities for kids:
 Big Red Barn puppets  
 
 
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.
 
 
 
 
 
You’ll also love these free friendship slide decks that are now on the site:
 
Writing about Friendship Slide Deck – writing prompts, writing letters to friends, and handwriting activities to develop friendship skills, all on a free interactive Google slide deck.
 
Personal Space Friendship Skills Slide Deck– Friendship involves allowing personal space, and body awareness and all of this is part of the social skill development that some kids struggle with. Use this free Google slide deck to work on body awareness and personal space.