Fall Pumpkin Cutting Activities

pumpkin cutting activities

If you’ve been following out Fall week, then you will love adding these Fall themed pumpkin cutting activities! I love these pumpkin scissor skill worksheets for cutting practice with a fun Fall theme. The pumpkin images have simple cutting lines, making them a great pumpkin activity for preschool, or any child that is working on early scissor skills.

Pumpkin Cutting Activities for Fall themed occupational therapy activities.

Fall Pumpkin Cutting Activity

Print out the pumpkin worksheets and then use them to work on scissor skills with kids. I wanted to create a simple shape (square) to hold the pumpkin shapes. This way, kids can work up to cutting the square as a “next step” in developing scissor skills after cutting strait lines, curved lines, and jagged lines.

This resource is a great read on cutting skills progression for kids.

Each pumpkin image includes a cutting line. You’ll find strait lines, diagonal lines, angled lines, jagged lines, and curved lines.

Kids can “cut the pumpkin” to slice through the pumpkin pictures!

The lines on each shape start at different sides, so kids can work on placement with their non-dominant hand.

Extend the Pumpkin Cutting Activities

There is more than one way to use these pumpkin shapes this Fall. Try these pumpkin cutting activities to address a variety of skills and abilities:

  • Start with the large pumpkin cutting pieces and work toward using the smaller pumpkins.
  • Color in the pumpkins to work on coloring skills, line awareness, and hand strength.
  • Trace the dotted line with a fingertip to work on finger isolation.
  • Trace the dotted line with a marker, crayon, or even a bottle of squeeze glue to work on line awareness and visual motor skills.
  • Cut out the pumpkin images. Cut the dotted lines. Then, these can be used as mini pumpkin puzzles to work on visual perceptual skills.
  • Place the separated pumpkin images around the room. Kids can complete gross motor actions like donkey kicks, balance beams, lunges, or hops to reach different pieces of the pumpkins. They can try to piece all of the pumpkins together.
  • After cutting the lines on the large shapes and the smaller pumpkins, then ask kids to work on cutting the square to work on turning the paper to cut around corners.
  • Use these worksheets as a pumpkin craft ideas for toddlers. If given the cut out pumpkin pieces (start with the strait lines and diagonal lines), toddlers can place the pumpkin halves together like a puzzle. Use glue to glue the pumpkin back together onto construction paper to make a pumpkin patch craft! This would be a great pumpkin craft for preschool, too.

Free Pumpkin Cutting Practice Worksheets

Want to grab these free pumpkin cutting practice sheets? Enter your email into the form below. Have fun this Fall!

Pumpkin Scissor Skills Worksheets

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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.

    For more pumpkin and Fall activities, check out these tools:

    1. Free Pumpkin Deep Breathing Exercise
    2. Halloween Occupational Therapy Activities
    3. Pumpkin Activity Kit
    4. Fall Fine Motor Activities
    5. Fall Fine Motor Kit

    Playground Balance Activities

    playground balance activities

    Today I have a fun activity for kids…playground balance activities! This virtual playground activity has various movement and coordination tasks that challenge kids to work on posture, position changes, coordination, core strength, and much more. While playing at the playground is the way to go to develop gross motor skills, sometimes getting outdoors is just not possible. That’s where this playground therapy slide deck comes in!

    Playground balance activities for sensory play and coordination when going to the playground isn't possible. Use these in a playground theme in therapy activities.

    Playground Balance Activities

    When you think about playing at the playground, you think climbing, stooping, sliding, and balancing, right? There are so many ways that playing on playground equipment is such a powerful way to develop gross motor skills, balance, coordination, and overall strength.

    But, sometimes it’s just not possible to get out to the playground. Things like weather can impact playground use. Other times, limitations in using public spaces impacts use of the playground in the school setting. And, for therapists running therapy sessions, sometimes you want to incorporate all of the fun of a playground setting in the therapy clinic!

    When you access this playground balance activity slide deck, you get to pretend you are at the playground no matter what setting you are in. Then, by following the commands on each slide, children can get all of the benefits of stooping, crawling, balancing, and changing postures.

    Each slide on this free slide deck asks kids to follow the visual cue. There are visuals for different playground task. Things like:

    • Balancing on one leg by monkey bars
    • Stooping to pick up a ball
    • Kicking a ball
    • Squatting to play in the sandbox
    • Climbing on playground equiptment
    • Throwing a ball
    • Climbing on a merry-go-round
    • Jumping rope
    • Reaching up for monkey bars.

    Playground theme therapy

    By going through the playground exercises, kids work on a variety of areas:

    • Bilateral coordination
    • Motor planning
    • Core strength
    • Stabiliyt
    • Position changes
    • Sequencing
    • Motor control
    • Graded positioning
    • Posture
    • Balance
    • Direction-following

    These skills impact daily functioning in kids! Why not use a playground theme to work on these skill areas?

    When kids follow the directions on each slide, they are also gaining whole-body movements and heavy work input that can be calming as a regulation tool.

    If creating a weekly therapy theme works for your plans, then this playground theme is one you’ll want to add to your line up of occupational therapy activities and PT activities. You can use these playground balance exercises in therapy sessions to incorporate a therapy theme.

    1. Try using these visual playground strategies in between other tasks in a therapy session. Work on handwriting, scissor skills, and other functional tasks. And then come back to the balance activity. Then do another task and come back to the balance activity.
    2. Kids can work through the slides and try to remember all of the movements.
    3. Call out a piece of playground equipment and the child can recall the specific balance exercise. This is a great way to work on working memory and attention to detail.
    4. Incorporate handwriting: Ask students to list out all of the playground equipment. Work on letter formation, legibility, spacing, and line use. Then they can go through the slides and do the balance exercises.
    5. Add these activities to a sensory diet that helps kids regulate sensory input. Our outdoor sensory diet cards are the perfect combination to a playground theme!

    Free Playground Balance Activities Slide Deck

    Want to access this free therapy resource? It’s just one of the many free slides here on the website. All you need to do is enter your email address into the form below. You’ll receive a PDF containing a link to a Google slide deck. Copy it onto your drive and you are good to go! Start playing on the playground no matter where you are!

    Playground Balance Activities

      We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at anytime.

      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.

      Scoop, Pour, Transfer Activities

      scooping, pouring, transferring activities

      Scooping and pouring.  Toddlers pour, and dump toys (or cereal, a cup of water, a bin of diapers…) as soon as they discover that they can. It’s a developmentally appropriate skill that happens as mobility develops.  When little ones pick up a bowl or cup and turn out the contents on the floor, it may be frustrating to a mama that’s just picked up all of the toys in the house for the third time, but it is such a great function that is the occupation of play.  

      Today, we’re exploring how scooping, pouring, and transferring materials benefits toddlers and preschoolers, in big ways. You can use this fun fine motor and visual perceptual motor activity with children at the toddler, preschooler, and school-aged levels to improve the precision of skills, practice math, and discover skills, all through scooping, pouring, and transferring small items.  

      Use these scooping, pouring, and transferring activities to help preschoolers, toddlers, and older kids develop skills.

      Scooping Activities for Toddlers

      There are so many benefits to scooping, pouring, and transferring materials. These scooping activities for toddlers are an easy way to help to build motor skills in toddlers and preschoolers, at just the right stage of development. It’s during the toddler years that children develop more motor control, stronger eye-hand coordination skills. They are starting to gain more control of their arms in a coordinated manner, especially when manipulating tools like scoops, spoons, cups, and bowls. It’s through play and the weight of sensory materials that the benefits of scooping, pouring, and transferring of materials builds motor control, more refined movements, and tolerance of a variety of sensory materials.

      But, you don’t need to stop at the toddler years. Manipulating tools and sensory materials to pour, scoop, and transfer is great for preschoolers, too!

      Ice is a great scooping activity for toddlers to work on coordination and fine motor skills.

      Benefits of Scooping, Pouring, and Transfering

      Fine Motor Benefits of Scooping and Pouring– By manipulating sensory materials, cups, scoops, and bowls, toddlers and preschoolers refine and build motor experience in fine motor skills. Areas of development include: pincer grasp, precise wrist movements, arch development, wrist extension, and separation of the wrist from the elbow. Development of these areas promotes a more distal motor control while using the proximal arm (shoulder and elbow) to stabilize and support the movements of the distal arm (wrist, hand, thumb, and fingers).

      This separation of the proximal stability from the distal mobility is a needed motor development for coloring with the hand and fingers instead of using the whole arm to move the crayon.

      Work on hand dominance and fine motor skills with scooping, pouring, and transferring activiites.

      You can show a child of this age how to dump the dry cereal from the scoop into a large tray.  Kids in the Toddler range would benefit from scooping and pouring using larger scoops or small cups.

       In order to scoop food when eating or scooping like in this play activity, kids need precision of very small wrist motions.  

      Moving the wrist from side to side is called radial deviation (moving the wrist towards the thumb side) and ulner deviation (moving the wrist towards the pinkie finger side).  

      In addition, slight wrist extension (the wrist slightly bent back in the direction of the back of the hand) is needed to accurately and efficiently scoop and pour.

      Simply holding the scoop is an activity for grasp development by refining the arches of the hands and intrinsic muscles.

      Other areas of fine motor development include

      Hand dominance with Scooping, pouring, transferring Hand dominance is an area that they can be working on, depending on their age. It takes experience, or muscle memory through activities to refine and establish a dominant hand or side of the body. By scooping, pouring kids can hold the container, bin, cups, or bowls with their non-dominant hand while scooping and pouring using a spoon, cup, or bowl with their dominant hand.

      As children establish a hand dominance, this refined motor coordination becomes easier to control. Toddlers can start with larger objects and larger scoops. Progressing to more fluid or smaller materials like smaller pellets, flour, or liquids can help preschoolers further refine coordination and manipulation of materials.

      Self-Awareness Benefits of Scooping and Pouring– Pouring and dumping is discovery and exploration of gravity, weight, muscle control, cause and effect, and self-awareness. Not only are toddlers discover what they can do by pouring, they are learning about their environment while working on so many skills.

      Motor Skills Benefits of Scooping and Pouring– Scooping small items is important in development and refinement of motions needed for managing utensils during self-feeding.  This is an important independence step in the Toddler range. The establishment of visual input and motor output results in eye-hand coordination skills.

      Also needed is the muscle memory or “experience” in pouring materials. You’ll see this in action when pouring a liquid or something that really “flows”. You don’t want to pick up a pitcher of milk and pour with speed. The liquid will splash out of the cup and onto the floor. It takes motor skill development and experience to know that pouring different materials, liquids, and containers take different amount of force, accuracy, and controlled movements. 

      Learning by Scooping and Pouring- Adding in learning objectives makes this play activity a bonus. You can add themed materials, counting cards, letter cards, or sensory bin cards. Add math and reading activities by counting or using sight words. Add sensory bin cards. the options are limitless when making pouring and scooping activities educational.

      Scoop and Pour for Bilateral Coordination Skills- When pouring and manipulating containers, a development of bilateral coordination skills occurs naturally. A weighted material is in one hand, while the non-dominant hand stabilizes. This transfers to bilateral coordination tasks such as holding the paper while coloring or writing, using two hands in clothing fasteners, cutting with scissors and holding the paper, and the very functional task of pouring materials in cooking!

      Mindfulness Benefits of Scooping and Pouring- There is a mindfulness component to sensory play too. Have you ever tried using a zen garden to rake or manipulate sand using a sand tray? If so, then you know the power of mindfully manipulating sensory materials. This mindfulness activity works with children too. Many children find a scooping and pouring activity fun and relaxing. Use the scooping and pouring activity as a heavy work activity that adds calming proprioceptive input with visual attention. Help kids to focus on the sensory material as it slowly pours from the hands or from a cup to another cup.

      If kids are moving too quickly or if they become overly excited with the sensory material, add slow movement, a calm environment, a set of “rules” before beginning the scooping and pouring activity, and a broom to clean up!

      Sensory Benefits of Scooping and Pouring Activities– By experimenting with pouring, scooping, and transferring materials, children gain sensory benefits. This occurs through the proprioceptive input from manipulating the materials, as well as tactile sensory input.

      I’ve found pouring and scooping activities to be very calming for children.  They love to watch the beads as they fill the scoop and watch them fall into the bowl as they pour.  Other children can become overly excited by the visual stimulation of scooping beads and soon the beads will scatter all over the table.  You can eliminate mess by doing this activity in a large bin like an under the bed storage bin.  

      Scooping and Pouring Activities

      This post contains affiliate links, but you can use items that you already have in your home.  We used plastic scoops found in food like cocoa powder, coffee, or iced tea mixes.  For the scooping, we used plastic beads that we already had, however, this activity will work with any small item such as rice, dry beans, field corn, pebbles, or sand.  Use what you’ve got on hand to make this activity free!

      Materials for this scooping and transferring activity include:

      • Recycled plastic scoops (We do love our recycled materials activities around here!)
      • Small Plastic beads OR other materials to pour and scoop (Toddler-aged kids can use dry cereal or edible items. See below.)

      This activity is very easy to set up.  

      1. Simple set out a bowl or tray of beads and scoops in different sizes.  
      2. Show your child how to scoop, transfer, and pour the beads into another bowl.
      3. Play!  

      Precautions for Pouring and Scooping Activities with Toddlers

      Just be sure to keep a close eye on your little one. Materials like dry cereal are great for starting out. However, if you try scooping activities with other materials like beads, toys, corn, dry beans, etc, it can be easy for them to forget they are scooping beads and not cereal!  

      As with any activity found on this blog, use your best judgement with your children.  This activity, while beneficial developmentally, is especially a choking hazard for young children.  Always stay within hands-reach of young children with a developmental activity like this one.

      If you are concerned with your child placing beads in their mouth, simply don’t do this one and put it on hold for a few weeks of months.  

      Development of Scooping and Pouring skills in Toddlers

      Note: Use edible materials for this activity with Toddlers.  Dry baby cereal or broken up finger foods (like Cheerios) are great.  For Toddlers, they will be focusing on simply scooping and pouring with accuracy.    

      Grasping pellets (bead-sized items) is a fine motor skill that typically develops around 11 months.  Children at that age can grasp small pellets with their thumb and the pad of their pointer finger, with their arm positioned off the table.  Holding a scoop with either the dominant or non-dominant hand typically develops around 13 months of age.  

      Toddlers will use an exaggerated elbow motion when they first begin an activity like this one and until those small wrist motions are developed.  

      At around 15 months, Toddlers will be able to scoop and pour from a small scooping tool, although as soon as 13 months, many children are able to complete this activity.  

      Managing a spoon during self-feeding happens around this age, as well, as children scoop food and bring it to their mouth.  It is messy, but they are able to get food to their mouth.

      Using a scoop to move beads or spoon to eat develops with more accuracy at 15-18 months.

      At around 12-13 months, children will begin to develop unilaterality in hand dominance.  They will begin to show a preferred hand that manipulates as the other, non-dominant hand assists in holding the bowl or tray.  

      (Other kids don’t define a hand dominance until later.  You can use this activity in the preschool years to work on hand dominance!) You will want to use a wide tray or large bowl for improved accuracy in both scooping and pouring.  Try using a spoon for scooping the cereal pellets, too.  

      Scooping, pouring, transferring beads and developing fine motor skills and hand dominance in Toddlers, Preschoolers, and school-aged kids. Plus learning ideas to use in scooping activities.  From an Occupational Therapist.

      Scooping and Pouring Preschool Activity

      In the preschool years, sensory bin play with a concentration on scooping, pouring, and transferring is very powerful. It’s at the preschool age that motor skills become more refined. The dominant hand becomes stronger in preparation of pencil grasp and handwriting. The muscles of the hands are used in coloring and cutting activities.

      Preschoolers can use scooping, pouring, and transferring activities for functional tasks and learning activities, but also development of motor skills needed for tool use like pencils, scissors, crayons, etc.

      Helping kids establish a hand dominance can be a pivotal moment for addressing fine motor skill development concerns. Kids can refine motor actions by using a preferred hand consistently.

      Preschool aged children can refine their scooping and pouring activity using beads.

      there are many benefits of scooping, pouring, and transferring. Include scooping activities for toddlers and preschool.

      Hand preference in Preschool

      While Toddlers begin to show a hand preference, a true hand dominance doesn’t typically develop until 2 to 3 1/2 years.  That is such a huge age range!  That is because while a toddler can show a hand preference, hand usage is experimented with during different activities throughout the Toddler and Preschool years.  

      There is typically variability in hand preference as toddlers and young preschoolers poke, pick up, throw, color, and play.  Another consideration is that often times, kids of this age are influenced in which hand they choose by position of toy, location of the adult or playmate, method materials are presented, and sitting position of the child.  True hand dominance may not be completely integrated in the child until around 8 or 9 years of age.   

      Knowing all of this, use this activity to practice and play while working on a hand preference.  If your child shows a preferred hand, set up the activity to work on scooping with the typically used hand.  If your kiddo uses their right hand most of they time in natural situations (You will want to watch how they do things on a normal day and in a variety of activities.), then set the bowl of beads on the left side of the child and the scoop on the right side.  

      When using pouring and scooping activities in preschool, try these strategies:

      • Show them how to scoop from left to right.  A set up like this one also encourages the left-to-right motion of reading and writing.
      • Use a variety of materials: dry beans, rice, beads, dry cereal, flour, sand, shaving cream, water, etc.
      • Use a variety of scoops: spoons, coops, small bowls, cups, pitchers, mixing cups, measuring cups, etc.
      Use beads, scoops, spoons, and bowls to work on scooping for toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergarten to develop fine motor skills.
      Scoop words for a multi-sensory learning activity that uses scooping and pouring in kindergarten.

      Kindergarten Scooping, Pouring, and Transferring Activities

      For children in kindergarten and older, scooping, pouring, and transferring activities are powerful as well! You can use this pouring and scooping activity in math, learning, and sensory play-based learning.  

      • Work on measurement
      • Work on reading, spelling, and letter awareness. This sight word scooping activity is a great multisensory reading activity for kindergarten.
      • Use scooping in math to add or subtract scoops
      • Count the number of scoops it takes to fill a container
      • Use letter or word cards in reading or handwriting activities
      • Work on prediction- Ask them to predict how many scoops it will take to fill different sized cups and bowls. They can count the number of scoops and see if their prediction was correct.  
      • Incorporate addition and subtraction as they move scoops of beads from one container to another.  
      • Address motor skill development- Scooping works on important skills like bilateral hand coordination, including using the non-dominant hand to assist as they would in holding the paper in writing, coloring, and cutting with scissors.
      Work on hand dominance, bilateral coordination, motor skills, and more by scooping, pouring, and transferring activities.

      Pouring, Scooping and Transferring Activities

      Try these various pouring scooping and transferring activities with each age range to develop specific skill areas depending on the individual child:

      Use a variety of materials for scooping besides beads to work on fine motor control and dexterity.  Other ideas include wet sand (heavier and great for coordination and strength) and a light material like foam pillow filler (for more coordination and dexterity).

      Water Sensory Bin Ideas– Use a bin and water, along with some scoops and other materials to work on motor skills, coordination, and refined movements. Scooping water takes precision and control, but it’s a great functional task for children.

      Scoop Nuts– Use seeds or nuts to scoop and work on scooping different sizes, different weights. This is a great activity for graded precision, sorting, and eye-hand coordination.

      Scoop Ice– This simple scooping and pouring activity uses just ice, water, and scoops. Children can work on eye-hand coordination skills to scoop up ice within a bin of water to work on controlled motor skills, utensil use, visual tracking, and more.

      Scoop, pour, and transfer dry corn– Grab some un-popped popcorn and some bins or spoons to transfer materials from one container to another. This simple scooping and pouring activity is easy to set up and works for all ages.

      More fine motor activities you will love

      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:

      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.

      Tear Paper for Fine Motor Skills

      Tear paper fine motor activity

      Did you know you can tear paper to improve fine motor skills using materials you already have in your home? I have an incredibly easy fine motor activity to share: tearing paper! When kids tear paper, they are developing fine motor skills like grasp, hand strength, eye-hand coordination, bilateral coordination, and more. So often, parents are looking for easy ways to help kids develop fine motor skills, and the very material that can improve all of these areas is found right in the home. Let’s break down tearing paper as an amazing fine motor activity for kids.

      Tear paper to build fine motor skills and to use in occupational therapy activities like improving coordination, visual motor skills, and more.

      Tear Paper for Fine Motor Skills

      Tearing paper a simple fine motor activity that requires only scrap paper and your hands. In fact, tearing paper actually helps children develop so many essential skills: hand strength, hand eye coordination, precision, refined movements, bilateral coordination…

      When a child tears a piece of paper, they improve hand strength and endurance in the small muscles in the hand.  These intrinsic muscles are important in so many fine motor skills, including those important to handwriting and coloring, managing buttons and zippers, manipulating pegs, and more.  

      When paper is torn, the hands assume a great tripod grasp which is effective and a mature grasp for writing and coloring.  The non-dominant hand is assisting in the tearing and encourages appropriate assistance for tasks like holding the paper while writing, and managing paper while cutting with scissors.  

      Just look at the skills kids develop with a tear paper activity:

      • Hand eye coordination
      • Bilateral coordination
      • Pinch strength
      • Arch development
      • Intrinsic hand strength
      • Separation of the sides of the hand
      • Open thumb web space
      • Shoulder and forearm stability
      • Precision and refined grasp
      • Proprioceptive input
      • Motor planning
      Tearing paper is an amazing fine motor activity for kids to build coordination and hand strength.

      Paper Tearing Activity

      In this paper tearing activity, we use recycled artwork to create Torn Paper Art that would look great on any gallery (or family dining room) wall!

      Tearing strips of paper is especially a great fine motor task.  To work those fine motor skills, start with some junk mail or recycled paper materials and practice tearing.

      Tear paper into strips- To tear a long sheet of paper, you need to grasp the paper with an effective, yet not too strong grasp.  Tear too fast, and the paper is torn diagonally and not into strips.

      Make slow tears in the paper- Tearing the paper slowly while focusing on strait torn lines really encourages a workout of those intrinsic muscles.  

      Tear different weights of paper- Paper comes in different thicknesses, or weights. Practicing tearing different thicknesses really hones in on precision skills. We tore an 9×11 piece of painted printer paper into long strips, lengthwise.  The thin paper isn’t too difficult to tear, but requires motor control. Thicker paper like cardstock or cardboard requires more strength to grip the paper. The thicker paper also requires a bit more strength to tear with accuracy and precision. Tearing paper that is thicker like cardstock, index cards, or construction paper adds heavy input through the hands. This proprioceptive input can be very calming and allow kids to regulate or focus while adding the sensory input they need.

      Tear paper into shapes– Use the paper to create simple shapes like a circle, square, etc. You can make this task easier by drawing pencil lines and ripping along the lines. This is a fantastic way to build motor planning skills. Or, work on visual perceptual skills and try ripping paper into shapes without a template.

      Vary the texture of the paper– You can add a sensory component and use different textures of paper. Try painted or colored paper. Try printed paper or a rough paper like last year’s paper calendar. Try ripping cardstock or textured crepe paper.

      Work on tearing paper fringes- Tearing into the edge of the page, and stopping at a certain point requires refined motor work. It’s easy to tear right across the page, but requires precision and coordination to stop tearing at a certain point. To grade this activity easier, try marking the stopping point with a pencil mark.

      tearing paper is a fine motor skills workout for kids.

      Types of paper to use in tearing paper activities

      There are many benefits to using different textures and types of paper. Let’s take a look at some of the possible types of paper. These are materials that you may already have in your home. Varying the paper type in torn paper activities can help to grade an activity, or make it easier or more difficult. These are great ways to vary the amount of fine motor strength and precision needed, thereby improving fine motor skills and visual motor skills.

      Types of paper to use in tearing paper activities:

      • Junk mail
      • Old phone books
      • Recycled newspapers
      • Magazines
      • Flyers from school or the community
      • Printer paper
      • Notebook paper
      • Cardboard
      • Recycled food boxes (cereal boxes, tissue boxes, etc.)
      • Paper bags
      • Tissue paper
      • Crepe paper
      • Toilet paper
      • Paper towels
      • Napkins
      • Paper plates
      • Recycled artwork
      • Used coloring books
      • Cardboard tubes (toilet paper tubes, paper towel rolls)
      • Old calendars
      This torn paper art is a paper tearing activity for kids that uses recycled artwork to build fine motor skills and motor control while tearing paper.

      Torn paper art  

      This ripped paper art is a craft that is so simple, yet such a fun way to create art while working on fine motor skills.  

      Tear paper into strips to work on fine motor skills with kids.

      You’ll need just a few materials for ripped paper art:

      • Paper (Any type or texture will do…old crafts, kids artwork, or paper that has been painted)
      • Glue
      • Paper to cardstock to use as a base
      • Your hands!

      We all have piles of kids’ artwork that is gorgeous…yet abundant.  You keep the ones that mean the most, but what do you do with those piles of painted paper, scribbled sheets, and crafty pages?  You sure can’t keep it all or your house will become covered in paper, paint, and glitter.  We used a great blue page to make our torn paper art.

      Making the torn paper art is very simple. It’s a process art activity that will look different no matter how many times you do the activity.

      How to create torn paper art:

      1. Select a variety of paper colors, materials, and textures.
      2. Tear a sheet into long strips.  This will become the sky of our artwork.
      3. Use white paper to create cloud shapes. Tear the paper into shapes.
      4. Use green cardstock or other material to create grass. Tear small strips into the paper but not through to the edge. Create a fringe with the paper.
      5. Glue the torn paper onto the base page in layers.
      6. Use your imagination and have fun!

      A few tips for creating torn paper art

      Have a variety of paper types, colors, and textures available. Some ideas include using junk mail, recycled artwork, cardstock, construction paper, printer paper, crepe paper, cardboard, cereal boxes, etc.

      Use your imagination. You can start with an idea to create or you can go with the flow of the art creation and start without an idea.

      If you have trouble coming up with an idea for your torn paper art, try some of these:

      • Create a torn paper landscape
      • Create an object from ripped paper textures
      • Make a torn paper abstract artwork
      • Copy real life objects and make representational art
      • Create a ripped paper still life
      • Use all one color of paper in different textures to make a monochromatic artwork
      • Make abstract portraits
      • Tear the paper into shapes to make geometric artwork
      • Explore art concepts such as size, shape, color, lines, form, space, texture
      • Explore multimedia: Incorporate printed paper, painted paper, glossy paper, cardboard in different textures, crayon colored paper, etc.
      Tear paper into strips of ripped paper to work on eye-hand coordination in an occupational therapy activity with recycled materials.
      Tearing paper builds fine motor skills and endurance in fine motor precision, making it a fine motor workout!
      Ripping paper is a fine motor activity for kids in occupational therapy or working on fine motor skills at home.

       More paper activities

      Tear and paste activity with blue paper and green cardstock to create a torn paper collage.

      We used one of the long strips of green cardstock to create grass by making small tears.  Be careful not to tear the whole way across the strip!  What a workout this is for those hand muscles.  

      Use recycled art like painted paper to create torn art collage while building fine motor skills in kids.

       Next glue the blue strips onto a background piece of paper.  Tear white scrap paper into cloud shapes.  They can be any shape, just like clouds in the sky!

      Tear paper to help kids strengthen fine motor skills.

       Grab a piece of yellow cardstock and create a sun.  This is another fabulous fine motor workout.  Tearing a circle-ish shape and creating small tears really works those muscles in the hands.

      Tearing paper activity for kids

       Glue the sun onto the sky and enjoy the art.  

      More paper activities that build skills:

      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:

      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.

      Baseball and Softball Activity

      baseball and softball activity

      Today I have a fun baseball and softball activity to add to your therapy toolbox. This interactive therapy slide deck goes really well with our other baseball activity (perfect for softball themed fun, too!); this baseball matching game.

      Fun baseball and softball activity is a free slide deck for therapy that addresses handwriting skills, with an interactive Connect 4 game.

      Baseball and softball activity

      This baseball and softball activity is a digital connect four game is a lot like our other more recent digital connect four game with a space thing.

      However this online connect four game has a baseball and softball theme that fits perfectly with the interest of many of the kids we work with.

      Kids that love baseball or softball will love this Connect 4 game that actually addresses therapy goal areas and functional tasks, such as handwriting, letter formation, number formation, eye-hand coordination, visual scanning, visual memory, working memory, visual attention, and more.

      Baseball & Softball Writing Activity

      When you use it in Google slides the game is interactive, allowing kids to move the baseball and softball game pieces to play Connect Four.

      This is just one of the many free slide decks available here on the site. Be sure to grab them all!

      Because users can select the baseball or the softball game pieces, and then move them to cover spaces and play traditional Connect 4 games.

      There is also a slide with letters on each space on the board. When players move their piece to cover that letter, they can write the letter focusing on letter formation. Expand the activity to ask kids to write a word that begins with that letter, or to write a sentence containing words that only begin with that letter. The game is very open-ended to meet the needs of all levels of students.

      You’ll also find a game board containing numbers. Use this to work on number formation. OR, incorporate gross motor movement, balance, coordination, motor planning, and ask kids to do that number of a specific task, like jumping jacks, hops, skips, etc.

      The online connect four game can be played with a therapist or another person and each participant can move the game pieces. Kids that love baseball or softball will love this virtual connect four game!

      All of these are fun ways to address letter and number formation with an interactive and engaging activity.

      Want to add this baseball themed activity or softball themed activity to your therapy Toolbox? Enter your email address into the form below to receive this interactive slide deck. It can be a great tool for a virtual therapy sessions teletherapy or face-to-face therapy activities. Consider even using this in-home or brain break activities in the classroom or at home.

      To receive this free interactive connect four game enter your email address into the form below and it will be delivered to your email address via PDF.

      FREE Baseball & Softball Digital Connect 4 Game

        We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at anytime.

        Also add our recent baseball emotions spot it matching game for your baseball theme in therapy.

        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.

        Eye-Hand Coordination Activity

        Eye hand coordination activity

        This eye hand coordination activity is an easy one to set up and can use the materials you have in your home. We used a flower ice cube tray and some craft materials, as well as a recycled scoop to work on eye-hand coordination skills, but the motor activity is very open ended. Let’s discuss hand eye coordination and a few ways to work on this skill area.

        Development of hand-eye coordination is an important place to begin.

        Our movements are guided by vision.  In order for our brains to coordinate a motor plan for a particular task, we need visual input for accuracy.  

        Eye hand coordination activity to help kids with refined motor coordination skills.

        Eye Hand Coordination Activity 

        Visual motor skills or eye-hand coordination impacts our dexterity and motor movements for so many tasks:  handwriting, scissor use, threading beads, reading a paragraph, throwing a ball, placing a cup on a shelf, coloring in lines, and pouring milk into a bowl are just a few skills that require coordination of the vision and hands.    

        If eye hand coordination skills are lacking, then these areas of function will be difficult to do with ease.  Learning, social interactions, and independence in tasks can be limited as a result.  That’s a pretty clear a reason to look at eye-hand coordination when there seem to be “bigger picture” problems. 

        What is eye-hand coordination and how does this skill impact "big picture" tasks like reading, writing, fine motor skills, and gross motor skills?  This easy, low-prep eye hand coordination activity can help.
         

        Scooping and Pouring and eye hand coordination

        This scooping activity is a simple way to work on the eye-hand coordination needed for coordinated movements of the hands in relation to visual input.  An activity as simple as scooping beads can help children (and adults addressing physical disabilities!) to improve their visual motor integration.  

        This post contains affiliate links.   We used  a HUGE bin of seed beads and a flower ice cube tray. This is a similar tray. It was a tray of 10 flowers, making it perfect for counting to ten with my toddler and preschooler and working on ten frame math facts with my kindergartner.    

        What is eye-hand coordination and how does this skill impact "big picture" tasks like reading, writing, fine motor skills, and gross motor skills?  This easy, low-prep eye hand coordination activity can help.

        I added a couple of small scoops to our beads.  These scoops came from dry laundry detergent and were the perfect size for scooping the beads into each flower.  

        Scooping and pouring the beads into each flower, one at a time works on eye hand coordination to make sure the beads fall into the flowers and not over the edge of the ice cube tray.  

        What is eye-hand coordination and how does this skill impact "big picture" tasks like reading, writing, fine motor skills, and gross motor skills?  This easy, low-prep eye hand coordination activity can help.

        How to improve eye hand coordination

        Scooping and pouring a material that “pours” is an eye hand coordination activity that helps to refine fine motor skills and motor planning. For children, setting up a scooping activity like the one described here can be graded to make the task more difficult, or easier. Different grades of scooping activities can be more difficult because there is less weight (pouring flour compared to sand) or more mobility ( scooping and pouring liquid compared higher viscosity of the materials.)

        In our scooping and pouring eye hand coordination activity, the beads are smaller and rounder, adding more of a challenge in coordinating the scoop and accuracy of pouring. To further grade this activity, different sizes of scoops can be used, and different sizes of containers to pour the material into.

        Make sure your child is scooping beads into one section of the ice tray at a time.  They need to intentionally fill one section while trying to keep the beads in that section.  If the beads are falling over the edge of the ice cube tray and into other sections, it’s not working on eye-hand coordination.   

        More eye hand coordination activities

        Looking for more creative ways to build eye hand coordination?

        Spring Fine Motor Kit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        Flower Visual Motor Therapy Slide Deck

        Flower visual motor exercises for therapy

        This week’s occupational therapy theme is flowers and so today, I have a free flower visual motor therapy slide deck for you. In this free Google slide deck, you’ll find various aspects of visual motor skill work. With the official start of Spring, flowers are starting to pop up all over, so if the daffodils, lilies, and tulips make you smile, these visual motor flower activities are sure to brighten your therapy session!

        Flower visual motor therapy exercises for therapy

        Flower visual motor therapy activities

        If you are looking for Spring occupational therapy activities to help kids develop skills, this flower visual motor slide deck is it. Add this virtual therapy activity to some hands on flower activities and you’ve got a therapy plan for the week. It’s a great way to make a weekly occupational therapy plan and use the same activities again and again all week, saving yourself time and planning hours. Simply adjust each activity to meet the needs of each child on your therapy caseload to work on their specific goals.

        Flower visual motor activities for occupational therapy teletherapy sessions with a free Google slide deck for therapy.

        As you know, visual processing breaks down into smaller components that all work together to allow us to take in visual information, process that input, and complete motor operations so we can complete functional tasks. Visual motor skills include eye-hand coordination, visual perception, and visual skills like tracing, convergence, and other skill areas. All of these aspects of visual processing are important parts of performing day to day occupations.

        That’s why I created this flower theme therapy slide deck that includes different vison exercises.

        In the slide deck, you’ll find pre-writing line activities that ask the user to trace along the forms using a movable flower icon. This eye-hand coordination task requires visual tracking, visual attention, and motor integration with visual input.

        Work on visual motor skills with this flower theme slide deck in occupational therapy.

        Also, the slide deck includes copying activities. Users can copy the simple and more complex flower forms as they challenge aspects of visual motor skills that are needed for handwriting and math tasks.

        There is a handwriting portion as well. Kids can trace the letters on the slide deck using the movable flower piece. This makes the slide deck interactive, as they can work on mouse work, use of a stylus, or finger isolation to trace the flower along the letter. Then, the slide asks them to write words or phrases so they can incorporate handwriting work.

        Then finally, the slide deck includes several visual perception activities. Kids can complete each slide, typing or writing out their responses as they work on skills like visual discrimination, form constancy, visual memory, figure-ground, etc. All of these visual perceptual skills play a role in visual motor tasks that we perform on a daily basis.

        Free Flower Therapy Slide Deck

        Want to add this free slide deck to your therapy toolbox? Use it in teletherapy sessions, home activities to work on visual motor skills and visual processing, and to make therapy planning easier!

        Enter your email address into the form below to add this slide deck to your Google drive account.

        NOTE- Due to an increase in security measures, many readers utilizing a work or school district email address have had difficulty accessing resources from the delivery email. Consider using a personal email address and forwarding the delivery email to your work account.

        Flower Visual Motor Activities Slide Deck!

          We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at anytime.

          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.

          Polar Bear Sensory Bin

          Use a polar bear sensory bin for occupational therapy interventions

          This polar bear sensory bin is an old one from The OT Toolbox site archives. This tactile sensory activity is a fun way to challenge sensory exploration with a variety of textures and materials. But more than that, this polar bear activity can be used in a therapy theme to address skills. The next part of the polar bear gross motor activity included a Our Polar Bear Sensory bin was cotton batting, tinsel, a stuffed polar bear, and a seal toy.  Little Guy glued some waxed paper to blue construction paper to make an ocean covered with ice.  We had a striped Christmas pencil for our “North Pole”. 

          Polar bear sensory bin

          Polar Bear Sensory Bin Materials

          There are many ways to set up this sensory bin. Use items you have in your home or therapy space. Use some of the materials listed below. You DO NOT need all of these items. The nice thing about creating a themed sensory bin is that you can use what you have on hand. Some ideas for the sensory bin include:

          • Container or bin
          • Teddy bear
          • Tinsel
          • Cotton balls
          • Cotton batting
          • Tissue paper
          • Rice
          • Dry beans
          • Blue or white construction paper
          • Tape
          • Wax paper
          • Clear cellophane
          • Aluminum foil
          • Arctic animal figures
          Make a polar bear sensory bin with figures, and sensory materials.

          Other materials that you may want to add to the polar bear sensory bin to encourage fine motor skills and coordination skills:

          • Tweezers to pick up and manipulate materials
          • Small bowls
          • Tongs
          • Spoons or scoops
          • Chopsticks
          • Pickle picker
          • Containers
          • Counting cards (try the winter themed ones in the Winter Fine Motor Kit)

          Fine Motor Skills in a Sensory Bin

          Using the materials and tools above, students can work on fine motor skills to manipulate and explore the items in the sensory bin. Some ways to work on fine motor skills include:

          Address in-hand manipulation by sorting items in the hands into containers or cups.

          Work on hand strength and arch development by moving items with tongs, tweezers, or pickle picker.

          Work on open thumb web space by pinching and pulling cotton balls.

          Work on finger isolation by moving materials and items around in the bin.

          Work on grasp and precision by picking up small items such as tinsel, mini-erasers, crumbled paper or tissue paper, etc.

          Use a Sensory Bin for Visual Perception

          This polar bear sensory bin can be used to address a variety of visual perceptual skills: visual discrimination, visual memory, visual attention, figure ground, and visual closure.

          Ask children to locate specific items by color or texture. They can also recall items that they found in the sensory bin. Ask kids to locate items that are partially hidden by other objects or sensory bin filler materials. These are all ways to work on visual perceptual skills with this polar bear sensory bin.

          Use a Sensory Bin for Eye-Hand Coordination

          A sensory bin like this polar bear theme can be used in so many ways to address eye-hand coordination:

          • Pouring materials
          • Scooping materials like beans or rice
          • Using tongs or tweezers to pick up and move items like mini erasers
          • Sorting sensory bin items into piles or containers
          • Picking up and exploring various sensory bin items

          Polar Bear Imagination Play

          My kids had fun just imagining stories for the items in the sensory bin. We used the stuffed bear as a polar bear and a seal figure who was trying to escape into the ocean…Imagination play!  

          Polar bear sensory bin with tinsel and arctic animal figures.

          Baby Girl did NOT like the texture or “feel” of the tinsel. It got stuck to her hands and she would try to pull it off…The seal is another story.  She carried that thing around all day 🙂  

          Kids of all ages can use the materials in the sensory bin to work on tactile sensory exploration, fine motor skills, and visual perception.

          Looking for more Polar Bear play ideas??  We had fun with our first Polar Bear Theme activities day!   We should have more ideas up tomorrow to go along with the Polar Bear theme. 

          You’ll also love all of the items in our Winter Fine Motor Kit. It’s loaded with coloring sheets, handwriting pages, puzzles, and crafts with a polar bear theme. There are sensory bin materials, polar bear finger puppets, lacing cards, and so much more.

          winter fine motor kit

          Click here to grab the Winter Fine Motor Kit.