Travel Bar Soap Case Fine Motor Kit

Travel Bar Soap Case craft

I love this Dollar Store therapy idea because it develops so many skills, making the materials a great addition to any occupational therapy bag. If you are looking for a Dollar Store craft that builds several areas (and can be used with a variety of levels of your caseload), then this animal soap holder craft is a great one to try! If you’ve used a soap holder travel item in your travels in the past, then you may even have all of the items you need to make a mini fine motor kit! Plus, it’s a great addition to a list of spider activities if you are using this idea around a theme.

All you need is a plastic travel bar soap case and a few items to create a ton of fine motor skill-building!

travel bar soap case THerapy Kit

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

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

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



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




Dollar Store Craft for Therapy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Occupational Therapy Bag Item

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Use the travel bar soap case craft to build skills

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Graded Fine Motor Craft Kids Love

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to Make a travel bar soap case craft

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

First, gather your materials:

Amazon affiliate links included below.

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

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

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

Amazon affiliate links are included in this post.

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

Regina Allen

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

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

Working on fine motor skills, visual perception, visual motor skills, sensory tolerance, handwriting, or scissor skills? Our Fine Motor Kits cover all of these areas and more.

Check out the seasonal Fine Motor Kits that kids love:

Or, grab one of our themed Fine Motor Kits to target skills with fun themes:

Want access to all of these kits…and more being added each month? Join The OT Toolbox Member’s Club!

Valentines Cursive Alphabet Uppercase and Lowercase Activity

Valentine uppercase and lowercase cursive activity

This post includes a FREE download of the Valentine Cursive Alphabet Uppercase and Lowercase printable. Start here with understanding how to teach cursive…then check out this post on which cursive letters to teach first. Then use the free cursive letters printable at the bottom of this page to work on cursive letter writing with a Valentine’s Day theme! This is a great activity to incorporate into your Valentines Day occupational therapy activities.

Another great free resource is our printable Valentine’s Day cards and our newest printable, Valentines Day I Spy. Add both along with the Cursive letter activity below for a whole theme of skill development.

This cursive alphabet uppercase and lowercase activity has a Valentine's Day theme, but the cursive letter cards can be used any time to year to work on cursive handwriting.

Cursive Alphabet Upper Case and Lower Case Activity

Because of the importance of cursive writing, the OT Toolbox has included cursive alphabet worksheets in it’s “Toolbox”.  This uppercase and lowercase Valentines printable alphabet PDF is a great learning tool for beginning to recognize the letters.

In recent years there has been a lot of back and forth opinions about the validity and necessity of writing cursive.  Some of the people creating school curricula feel this is an old language since it is not used in books any more, and most written expression is done on keyboards.  While there is the argument that people only need cursive for signing their signature, and it should be abolished, cursive is so much more important than just a signature on a page. This article from the New York Times debates reasons to reinstate cursive writing in schools:

Students with learning differences such as dyslexia greatly benefit from learning cursive. Cursive letters such as “b and d” are different from manuscript, therefore easier to decipher. 

Flowing letters connected together in cursive are often easier for young learners to write. There are fewer diagonals, a definite direction of the letters eliminating bottom to top formation, and not having to keep stopping and starting can be a very efficient form of written expression. This post on cursive letter families is helpful in breaking down letters into formation patterns.

The first stage to learning something new is being able to identify before being able to reproduce it. These upper and lowercase cursive alphabet worksheets for kids or other learners, are a great addition to your cursive curriculum. The OT Toolbox archives has an informative post on teaching cursive writing.

What better way to teach a new skill than to tie it to an adorable Valentine theme? Learners are more compliant when there is a motivating fun theme. While these uppercase and lowercase alphabet worksheets can be introduced around Valentine’s day, they are versatile enough to be used year round. YouTube has a great video highlighting the History (and importance) of Cursive Writing

How can I use these cursive alphabet upper and lowercase letter printable cards?

Incorporate this cursive letters printable into occupational therapy sessions to work on individualized goals no matter what level or skills the learner is working to address:

  • Ask learners to write the letters as they match them
  • Higher level learners can write down, or describe the directions to the game
  • Print these on colored paper for more visual appeal or contrast, color the pictures, or laminate the pages to make these more sturdy and reusable
  • Learners can explore other games they could make using these Valentine match cards (perhaps hiding the letters around the room and having learners run around collecting them, or creating a “memory” game out of these upper and lowercase writing cards)
  • Practice scissor skills by cutting these cards apart
  • Change the weight of the paper – heavier paper is easier to handle
  • Make these into tracing cards with or without laminating them.
  • Research and talk about the importance of cursive writing, and have a debate
  • Project onto a smartboard for a group task using a pointer to push the pieces together
  • Enlarge or shrink this task to change the degree of difficulty
  • Turn it into a gross motor task, sensory activity, following directions game, or combination of all of these
  • Use this task during more than one session by adding cursive practice, letter recognition, copying from a model, or putting letters together to make words.

Skilled OT Observations with this Cursive Activity

When working on this Valentine upper and lowercase cursive matching activity, there are several observations that can be  made: 

  • Can your learner scan the pages to identify the correct letters?  Are they recognizing what they are matching or merely matching shapes? Can they match items that are related but not the same (form constancy)?
  • How many items can your learner correctly match?
  • Can your learner correctly hold and manipulate the scissors? How much assistance do they need to grip the scissors and cut on the lines?
  • Can your student continue to hold the scissors while trying to manipulate the paper?
  • How many times do you need to repeat the directions so your learner can follow them?
  • How many reminders does your learner need while doing this activity?
  • Can they stay on task during this upper and lowercase cursive matching task?

As with this Cursive Alphabet Uppercase Lowercase Valentine Worksheet, or any of the worksheets and activities on the OT Toolbox, you can teach one or ten different skills while teaching them. Working on letter recognition? Skip the cutting and coloring section.  Focusing on visual perception? Don’t have students write the letters after matching the cards. Beginning cursive learners? Have a letter page example with all of the letters as a reference. 

You may decide you are focusing your treatment on task completion or compliance with a non preferred task. Therefore your observations would lean more toward behaviors and reactions, than written expression.

Make several observations while your learners are working on these cursive letter matching pages.  See how you might need to grade or modify the task for your next group of learners.  Decide what works, and what does not work using this set of cards. 

Use the other Valentine’s printables available on the OT Toolbox to create an impressive lesson plan.  Here is an entire Valentine Fine Motor Kit! 

Whether you are searching for Valentines Slide Decks, posts highlighting Valentines Day ideas, or anything you want to build into your lesson plan, type your ideas into the search bar and tons of activities, posts, free printables, and kits will be available to you. 

Whenever you get the urge to jump on the bandwagon to eliminate cursive, just take a look at the handwritten notes from your grandmother, or other elderly people.  It is simply beautiful penmanship and should not be lost in favor of typing.

Cursive – it’s more than just a signature!

Free Upper Case and Lowercase Cursive Letters Printable

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FREE Valentine’s Day Cursive Letters Printable

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    Victoria Wood, OTR/L

    Victoria Wood, OTR/L is a contributor to The OT Toolbox and has been providing Occupational Therapy treatment in pediatrics for more than 25 years. She has practiced in hospital settings (inpatient, outpatient, NICU, PICU), school systems, and outpatient clinics in several states. She has treated hundreds of children with various sensory processing dysfunction in the areas of behavior, gross/fine motor skills, social skills and self-care. Ms. Wood has also been a featured speaker at seminars, webinars, and school staff development training. She is the author of Seeing your Home and Community with Sensory Eyes.