Weaving Projects for Kids

weaving projects for kids

Recently, I was looking into new ways to challenge fine motor skills for my clients – especially ones that did not require purchasing new materials. I wanted something that could challenge scissors use, problem solving, sequencing, attention, and could be used in prep for ADL skills, like buttoning. Then, it came to me: weaving!

Weaving projects for kids including simple weaving and complex weaving activities to work on fine motor skills.

Weaving Projects for Kids

Weaving projects and craft are so simple, yet so effective – even the clients that I thought would be frustrated by this old-school craft were super proud of their work. Weaving is something you can do in many different ways, typically dependent on skill level and desired outcomes.

Since we are talking about buttoning skills, I am offering two different options: an advanced one for the kiddos that are almost ready to button independently, and a
beginner version for those who are not quite ready to button yet. I hope you adapt these crafts as needed to meet the “just-right” challenge!

Related: Feathers and Burlap Weaving activity that builds bilateral coordination, eye-hand coordination, pinch, grip, and dexterity.

Complex Weaving Instructions

  1. With two pieces of paper of different colors, cut strips of any thickness or length you’d like – just make sure you have an even number. The thinner and longer you cut them, the bigger the challenge. I like to use two different colors to make the task easier to understand and add visual interest.
  2. Cut holes for threading. Half of your strips (or all of one color) need holes for threading. Have your kiddos figure out how big the cuts need to be in order to fit the other strips of paper through.
  3. Fold the paper in order to cut two holes, side by side, throughout the strip of
    paper. This will be where you weave the other strips of paper through.
  4. Begin Weaving.
  5. Weave the remaining strips of paper (the ones without the holes) into the paper
    with the holes, making a basket-weave pattern.
  6. Here is where those buttoning skills come into play! The practice of moving the
    strip of paper through one hole and up and over through the next hole mimics the actions of buttoning and unbuttoning.

If you are creating a specific craft, here is where you can make the weaved pattern into your kids’ desired shape! If you are unsure what you could offer, see the examples below.

  1. Draw the desired object on top of the weaved pattern OR use simple print out to guide the scissors.
  2. Cut the object out.
  3. Add extra paper or decorative objects with glue to seal the edges if you’d like!

Does this sound a bit too challenging for one of your kids? You can lower the difficulty in a few different ways, but below is one idea that is particularly useful if your child demonstrates difficulty with visual motor or perception skills that are required for buttoning.

Simple Weaving Instructions

  1. With two pieces of paper of different colors:
    a. Cut multiple, 1-inch thick straight lines to the edge of one piece of paper, leaving about an inch uncut on one edge to “hold” all the strips together.
    b. Cut 1-inch strips of the other piece of paper.
  2. Simply overlap the loose strips of paper onto the other cut paper, every other to make a checkerboard pattern.
  3. Maybe add a gluing or stapling component to challenge them in a different way!

Weaving Projects for kids

I know that it’s so much easier to motivate kids to complete a craft or activity if it is related to a season, holiday, or something that they are personally interested in. That’s one reason why I love weaving crafts – they are so simple at their base, that they can truly be used for anything!

Fall Weaving Crafts- Plaid shirts, apple baskets, spider webs, or hay bales.
Winter Weaving Crafts- Sweaters, holiday gifts, Christmas Stockings, or candy canes
Spring Weaving Crafts- Easter baskets, Spring dresses, umbrellas, or raincoats
Summer Weaving Crafts- Picnic blankets, picnic baskets, or beach towels.

Or for the sporty kiddos in your life, make basketball hoops, soccer goals, tennis rackets, or hockey goalie helmets! The possibilities with weaving projects really are endless.

Here are some additional weaving and buttoning crafts to get the ball rolling!

More Fine Motor ideas to build skills:

Working on building skills this summer? The Summer OT Bundle is for you!

Summer occupational therapy activities bundle

Work on fine motor skills, visual perception, visual motor skills, sensory tolerance, handwriting, scissor skills, and much more so that kids can accomplish self-care tasks, learn, and grow through play all summer long.

This bundle is perfect for the pediatric occupational therapist who needs resources and tools to use in summer therapy sessions, home programs, or extended school year therapy plans.

This bundle is perfect for parents, grandparents, and caregivers looking to provide developmental fine motor activities designed to help kids build skills.

  • Send kids back to school in the Fall without worrying about the “Summer Slide”.
  • Use these materials to work on areas like hand strength, fine motor development, scissor skills, handwriting, pencil control, pencil grasp, sensory play experiences, and much more. Just pull out the pages or activities you need for your child, and develop skills through play!

The Summer OT Bundle includes 19 resources that you can print and use over and over again:

Helping children develop and achieve functional skills this summer was never so easy (or fun!)

Be sure to grab the Summer OT Bundle, a HUGE resource of therapy tools and activities for all things building skills this summer.

Grab the Summer OT Bundle here.

Sydney Rearick, OTS, is an occupational therapy graduate student at Concordia University Wisconsin. Her background is in Human Development and Family Studies, and she is passionate about meeting your family’s needs. After working as a nanny for the last decade, Sydney is prepared to handle just about anything an infant, toddler, or child could throw at her. She is also a newly established children’s author and illustrator and is always working on new and exciting projects.

How to Teach Coloring Skills

How to teach coloring skills to kids

Today I have another exciting resource…all about how to teach coloring skills to kids. So often, children do not have the exposure to crayons and paper that is needed for development of fine motor skills or visual motor skills. Teaching coloring skills is just not something parents think about in many cases! Let’s break down coloring skills by age and address specific tips to teach coloring to children.

Tips for how to teach coloring skills to kids based on child development.

Coloring is such an important part of childhood and growing up. There are many benefits to coloring as a tool for building skills. Coloring develops hand strength, visual perceptual skills, and precision of grasp. It’s the first time many of us express creativity and produce something we are proud of. It boosts confidence, develops understanding of cause and effect, and increases attention spans.

Coloring is also an important stage of child development, too.

Did you know that drawing is also an integral part of many early childhood skills like pre-writing development, fine motor skills, and spatial reasoning?

Let’s go into age-appropriate specifics on how to teach coloring skills at each age and stage, from babies, to toddlers, to preschool, to Pre-K, to elementary aged children.

How to teach coloring skills

Coloring can be hard for kids. Many times, you see kids that refuse to color. Other times you come across kids that prefer markers over crayons. There are reasons for these difficulties, that make sense developmentally. Let’s take a look at the reasons why kids hate to color.

  • Coloring is HARD!
  • It hurts the child’s hands to color
  • Coloring makes the child’s hands tired
  • Child prefers markers over crayons
  • Coloring in the lines is hard
  • It’s hard to finish a coloring page

All of these reasons why kids hate to color are related…and many times, it comes back to a need for developing hand strength and underlying skills.

Coloring is hard for kids for many reasons. Here are underlying skills needed for coloring.

Skills needed for coloring

There are several areas, or underlying skills that play an important role in coloring:

  • Arch development (for endurance to color in the object)
  • Hand strength to move the crayon against a resistive surface
  • Pinch and grip
  • Precision to move the crayon with the fingers instead of the whole arm/wrist
  • Line awareness/visual perceptual skills
  • Eye-hand coordination
  • Pencil grasp (to hold the crayon)
  • Previous experience with fine motor activities/fine motor skill development

Fine motor skills and coloring- In order to hold a crayon, children need to develop fine motor skills. In order to color in a shape, hand strength is needed. In order to color within the lines, visual motor skills are needed. In order to color a whole shape or figure, distal mobility is needed.

Activities to develop these skills include fine motor play, beading, tweezer use, working on a vertical surface can develop these skills.

Line awareness and coloring– Another aspect of coloring is the line awareness to color within the lines. And, before a child can form letters with ease and fluency, they need to achieve pre-writing lines such as strait lines, squares, triangles, X and diagonals. This resource on line awareness can be a great starting point on this visual perceptual skills needed to color within the lines. Also try these tips to work on line awareness needed for coloring.

Pencil grasp and coloring– In order to teach coloring skills, it is important to progress through the stages listed below, whether at age level or not. Just like the underlying skills needed for pencil grasp development or handwriting, the basic levels need to be achieved. Before a child can hold a pencil with a functional grasp, they need to progress through more primitive grasp patterns such as a pincer grasp, palmer supinate grasp, digital pronate grasp, and quadrupod or static tripod grasp.

All of these underlying skills play an important role in how to teach coloring skills to kids!

How to teach coloring skills at each age depends on child development. These tips for teaching kids to color can help.

Coloring Skills By Age

In this post we will break down the coloring skills you can expect a child to do dependent on age. You will see that we break them down into age ranges – for good reason, too. Every child will develop different skills and different times. Generally, though, there is a developmental path that the majority of children will follow.

If you believe that your child is lagging behind in these skills, talk to your child’s health care team and let them know what you see in your child. They will direct you towards occupational therapy if it is right for your family! 

Coloring Skills at BIRTH – 6 MONTHS

Not much coloring going on in this time frame, as you may imagine! Instead, your little one is prepping those little fingers to hold and manipulate objects, that will one day lead to purposeful scribbling

I always recommend allowing your child to explore coloring as soon as they are able to hold a crayon in their hand and sit up safely in a high chair. Be sure to stay with your baby the whole time you are offering coloring opportunities, as they will likely put their crayons in their mouth. 

Support the development of Coloring Skills during infancy:

Babies under six months will typically grasp a small object in the middle or pinky-side of their palm. This grasp pattern is strengthening the building blocks for more refined grasps down the road. Tummy time is a great tool for lengthening the ulnar side of the hand for strengthening so that endurance in fine motor tasks is achievable at older ages. Tummy time also supports arch development even at this young age.

While most parents of new babies will not be thinking of coloring, these activities support the development of MANY motor and cognitive skills, and not just coloring!

Coloring Skills before 1 year

From 6 months to 12 months, babies are certainly not coloring. However, they ARE developing motor and visual skills needed for holding and marking with a crayon in the later years.

Grasping patterns grow a lot during this time! Your baby will start to use their thumbs a little bit more while stacking blocks, be able to pick up their Cheerios with only their thumb and pointer finger (pincer grasp), and can point to objects with one finger. By 12 months old, we should see a pincer grasp while holding small objects. This grasp prepares little fingers for sustained coloring!

Support the development of Coloring Skills during In babies:

Around a year old, your little one may show more interest in scribbling. They will likely make large marks across the paper (and hopefully not the walls!) by using their whole arm to move their crayon. As they develop, you will see that those big movements will get smaller and smaller as fine motor skills are refined.  

Grasp: On a coloring utensil, they will use a gross grasp that looks like a fist. 

Resources and information on how to teach toddlers to color.

Coloring Skills for Toddlers

The toddler years, for from 12 months to 2 years, is a great window to introduce coloring. It’s during this age that toddlers show interest in coloring and develop skills needed for motor development. This is a great time to explore how to teach coloring skills at an impressionable age!

During the 12 month to two year range, toddlers are building proficiency in coloring skills…and this is a great time to teach coloring!

In this time frame, your toddler will begin to recognize colors and shapes in their environment, and may purposefully choose colors while they are scribbling on paper. They will start to hold their crayon or marker a little more gently, with their pinky down towards the paper, and all fingers wrapped around. 

Teach Toddlers to Color:

During the toddler years, exposure is key! You can present many activities and coloring opportunities to color with crayons. Different types of crayons and coloring activities are great exposure, too. Here are tips to teach toddlers to color:

  • Offer just one crayon at first. Offering too many options can overwhelm the young child.
  • Try different crayon types. There are different crayon molds that are great for toddlers including egg shaped crayons, rock shaped crayons, or even bath crayons.
  • Try coloring materials that require less hand strength or resistance, to make a mark. Kwik Stick tempera paints are a great option.
  • Show toddlers how to color. Color alongside young children for an opportunity to connect with the child and interact. Toddlers love to mimic others and can learn a lot by watching their parent color alongside them.
  • Offer toddler-friendly coloring pages. A big coloring book with many details can overwhelm a child. Try a printed page with simple shapes in smaller sizes.
  • Don’t expect perfection. Just putting crayons to the page is a great learning experience that builds hand strength, eye-hand coordination, and coloring experience.
  • Expect whole-arm movements. Toddlers color with their shoulder and elbow movements, or the proximal movements and won’t color with precise movements of the fingers until an older age. This is normal and to be expected. Coloring for toddlers looks like scribbling and that’s OK!
  • Encourage coloring and mark-making with coloring games and toys. This post has games and toys for coloring that Toddlers will love.
  • Work on fine motor hand skills through games involving tweezers, games on the floor, gross motor play, and whole body play activities.
  • Encourage play with age-appropriate puzzles and blocks.

Your child may start to show more interest in coloring just like you do, trying to copy your marks and paying closer attention to where they are placing their pen to paper. They should be able to copy a vertical line by around age two – this is a key marker for pre-writing skills. Usually around this time they also choose a preferred hand dominance while coloring! 

The typical grasp pattern used by toddlers is the Palmar supinate grasp. This is a normal part of development. 

Tips and strategies to teach preschoolers to color. Includes information for younger preschoolers and Pre-K.

Coloring Skills for Preschool (2-3 years)

The early preschool years, or 2- 3 years of age are a prime range for developing beginning coloring skills.

Your young preschool child will start to shift their fingers towards the paper while they hold their coloring utensil by age three. Some children hold their pencil towards the top near the eraser during this stage of development. They should naturally work their fingers down the utensil, closer to the paper, as they get used to this new grasp. 

Use these strategies to teach young preschoolers to color:

During the 2-3 year period, you can expect your child to start drawing meaningful images. They will point to a drawing that may look like nothing to you, but then they will tell you that it’s their dog! By age three, your child should be able to do the next pre-writing task: copy a horizontal line and a circle. 

Teach Preschoolers to Color (2-3 years old):

For young preschoolers, continued exposure to coloring is necessary. So often, young children skip the needed PLAY that builds fine and gross motor skills. With more and more young children playing primarily on screens versus free play, independent play, and creative fine motor play that builds the necessary hand strength, mobility, dexterity needed for precision, endurance, and progression through typical grasp patterns. Children at the preschool stages need fine motor play, much less screen time exposure, and play experiences.

Another pet peeve of pediatric occupational therapists is the tendency to hand a young child a pencil or pen during the preschool years.

  • Continue with the suggestions listed above for the baby stage.
  • Use a variety of crayon types and sizes: regular crayons, finger crayons, egg-shaped crayons, rock crayons, jumbo crayons, bath crayons,
  • Don’t be afraid to use broken crayons. Sounds strange, right? Sometimes a whole crayon is too big for small hands. A broken crayon can be the “just right” size and can be used as a strengthening tool for fine motor skills as well.
  • Don’t expect perfection. Crayon lines will go over the border of the coloring area and that’s ok!
  • Offer small coloring spaces with wider borders.
  • Provide simple shapes for coloring opportunities.
  • Offer physical boundaries if needed: Use wikki sticks around the coloring area, use your hands to create a small coloring space.
  • Color small areas on an easel to engage the core as a stabilizer, work against gravity, to place the wrist into extension, to pull the fingers into a tripod type of grasp for dexterity.
  • Continue easel work and play with lite brite, painting on easels, sticking and peeling tape to the wall, sticking foam pieces to a wet easel surface.
  • Play with foam sheets on a window. Try this rainbow play activity where preschoolers can stick foam sheets to a wet window. Encourage use of a spray bottle to wet the window and then wipe with a towel to clean up any drips. (It’s a great way to teach colors to preschoolers, too!)
  • Draw with chalk on a vertical chalk board or on a driveway/side walk.
  • Try window paints.
  • Try coloring materials that require less hand strength or resistance, to make a mark. Kwik Stick tempera paints are a great option.
  • Show toddlers how to color. Color alongside young children for an opportunity to connect with the child and interact. Toddlers love to mimic others and can learn a lot by watching their parent color alongside them.

The typical grasp pattern used by young preschool children in the 2-3 year age range is the Digital pronate grasp. Use of this grasp pattern is a typical stage of grasp development.

Coloring Skills in Preschool (4-5 years)

During the later preschool years, at four and five years of age, preschoolers are developing more refined coloring skills as their motor and visual develop integrate.

Around age four is when you can start to see recognizable images appear more regularly in your child’s artwork. Four-year-olds will usually draw people with two, three, or four body parts. For example, the person may have a circle for a head, a rectangle for the body, and two circles for feet.

By the time they are five, they will likely be drawing people with six or more body parts! You will see their drawings becoming more and more life-like, by adding details like fingers, eye color, and buttons on clothing. 

By age four, we expect a child to be able to copy a cross – a very tricky visual motor skill! Around age five, we would expect a child to be able to copy a square and color inside the lines fairly well. 

Teach Preschoolers to Color (4-5 years old):

For older preschoolers, especially those in Pre-K, it can be common to see preschools and pre-K classrooms where young children are expected to write letters, write their name, or trace letters. This is potentially damaging for the young child and not recommended by pediatric occupational therapists. This premature exposure to writing with pencils, tracing letters, and writing letters isn’t based on child development of motor skills.

It will result in forming letters incorrectly and establishing poor motor plans for letters. It will result in poor pencil grasps that are difficult to change. It will result in forming letters from the bottom or in “chunks”. It is a detriment to children, especially because there is little time in the kindergarten classroom for working on letter formation, pencil grasp instruction beyond the regular curriculum. So changing motor plans and muscle memory that has been poorly established is detrimental for the young child.

What preschool and Pre-K children at 4 and 5 years of age need is play and the opportunity to develop and refine fine motor skills, hand strength, eye-hand coordination, visual motor skills. These skills are strengthened through play.

Try these strategies to teach older preschoolers/Pre-K children to color:

  • Use all of the strategies previously listed above.
  • Encourage coloring with interest-based coloring pages (run a Google search for coloring pages, i.e. “unicorn coloring pages”, “superhero coloring pages”, etc. You can generally find free printable coloring pages in most themes.)
  • Show off art work! Create a space in the home or clinic where coloring projects can be displayed. This is a great motivator for many children.
  • Encourage smaller coloring areas to improve eye-hand coordination with line use. A smaller coloring space enables children to use their fingers to move the crayon rather than the wrist, elbow, or shoulder.
  • Use a smaller or broken crayon to promote a developmentally appropriate quadripod or static tripod grasp.
  • Use simple shapes with curved lines like circles and ovals to promote smooth coloring lines with minimal direction changes and angles to the coloring picture.
  • If children are complaining of tired hands or tend to switch crayon colors a lot, it can be a sign of weakness in the hands. To strengthen the hands, encourage play with tweezers, tongs, spray bottles, pinch and grip activities, LEGO blocks, play dough, beading activities, peg boards, etc.
  • If you have a box of crayons with a crayon sharpener on the back, encourage the child to use it to sharpen crayons. The built-in sharpener is great for not only sharpening dull crayons, but also as a hand strengthening device!

The typical grasp pattern in preschool years for 4-5 year olds is the quadrupod or static tripod grasp. Use of either of these grasps is part of typical grasp development.  

Information and tools to teach elementary kids to color.

Coloring Skills at 5-6 years old

Somewhere between ages five and six, we would expect a child to be able to copy multiple shapes, including the ones they would have mastered in the past (i.e. vertical, horizontal, and crossed lines).

Around age five we would like to see what is called a dynamic tripod grasp when a child is writing or coloring. They should have their pencil between their pointer finger and thumb, with the middle finger supporting and the ring and pinky fingers tucked away into the palm. This grasp is “dynamic” if the fingers can move separately from the palm and wrist, allowing for good control of the writing utensil. This growing strength and control is why we see handwriting and coloring skills develop!

By age six, they should be able to copy more complex shapes, like triangles and rhombuses. You could expect them to independently draw some of the more simple shapes as well, like circles and squares. 

The dynamic tripod grasp is the most advanced pencil grasp and should continue throughout their life. Typically, whatever grasp a child has habituated by age 6 is the grasp they will likely continue to have. 

Teach kids to color at 5-6 years:

Try these strategies to teach children aged 5-6 years old children to color:

  • Use all of the strategies listed above under preschool, older preschool, etc.
  • Color using a variety of surfaces and mediums.
  • Color using squeeze paints to work on hand strength.
  • If hand strength is a challenge and the 5-6 year old complains of hand fatigue, try a less resistive coloring tool such as twist crayons.
  • Work on coloring larger areas for longer periods of time.
  • Use raised line borders if needed, including Wikki Stix or dry glue to border the coloring area.
  • Try a 3 crayon challenge.
  • Highlight the line with a marker.  A bright color can be a visual cue of where to write.  Letters should rest on the line.  You can start with a nice thick and brightly colored highlighter like this one and move to a thinner pen like these ones. Sometimes the visual cue of that bright line is enough to keep letters placed correctly.
  • Another strategy to work on line awareness in coloring is to add bolder coloring shape lines with more contrast by darkening the borders with a black marker. Simply outline the shape with a black marker for a visual prompt.
  • For kids that show a great deal of difficulty with coloring in a given space, use a stencil made from a thing cardboard like a recycled cereal box.  Cut out a rectangle and place it over the given writing space.  This will help to remove distractions of the rest of the page and proved a designated space to color within.
  • Use glue to trace along the outside border of the coloring space. Let the glue dry and then use that tactile border as a physical prompt for coloring lines.

The typical grasp pattern for 5-6 year olds is a tripod/dynamic tripod grasp.

Coloring Skills at SIX YEARS OLD AND BEYOND

Older children can sometimes struggle with coloring and see their peers who seem to have little trouble at all. This can be a stab at their confidence and self-esteem. For older children, coloring often-times is a “sometimes” task in the classroom, so there are limited opportunities for a hands-on fine motor task. Still older students use primarily colored pencils to color in the classroom. Coloring with colored pencils requires even more hand strength, precision, and mobility with the pencil, so this can be a challenge.

Try these strategies for teaching older kids coloring skills:

  • To teach coloring skills to older children, use all of the methods mentioned under each age level above.
  • Your elementary-aged child will continue to develop fine motor skills for writing and coloring, as well as manipulating other craft media like clay, papier mache, etc. Creating things with their hands will not only strengthen their muscles but will also benefit their social development, self-esteem, and problem solving skills.
  • Work on coloring with a variety of crayon types, markers, or paint pens.
  • Use a variety of coloring surfaces.
  • If crayon pressure or colored pencil pressure is a problem, try these strategies to address pressure on the writing utensil.
  • Use a coloring journal or a drawing journal.
  • Use interest-based coloring books or coloring pages.

A final note on teaching coloring skills

If wondering exactly how to teach coloring skills to children at various ages is something you are looking for developmentally appropriate strategies, this comprehensive resource is for you. Coloring is a child occupation needed for learning, interactive play, and creative play.

Encourage your kids at all stages of development to explore their creativity and the fine motor, visual motor, cognitive and socioemotional skills will follow. 

References

Dosman, C. F., Andrews, D., & Goulden, K. J. (2012). Evidence-based milestone ages as a framework for developmental surveillance. Paediatrics & Child Health,17(10), 561–568. https://doi.org/10.1093/pch/17.10.561

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. (n.d.). Milestone moments: Learn the signs. Act early. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/pdf/parents_pdfs/milestonemomentseng508.pdf 

How to Teach Coloring Skills is a collaborative article by Colleen Beck, OTR/L and Sydney Rearick, OTS.

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.

Sydney Rearick, OTS, is an occupational therapy graduate student at Concordia University Wisconsin. Her background is in Human Development and Family Studies, and she is passionate about meeting your family’s needs. After working as a nanny for the last decade, Sydney is prepared to handle just about anything an infant, toddler, or child could throw at her. She is also a newly established children’s author and illustrator and is always working on new and exciting projects.

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.

Suncatcher Crafts (that Build Skills)

Suncatcher crafts for kids

Looking for Summer activities that kids can do in therapy or at home while building fine motor skills? These suncatcher crafts are designed to do just that. I’ve put together a few sun catcher activities that kids can do this summer to work on dexterity and precision…and brighten up any room! Use these DIY suncatcher activities in occupational therapy interventions or therapy at home and let’s get those fine motor skills working!

Suncatcher crafts that kids can use to build fine motor skills.

These are just one of the many occupational therapy crafts for kids that we have here on the site. Use these suncatcher crafts to build essential skills needed for writing, pencil grasp, functioning, and play!

Suncatcher Crafts Kids will Love

This time of year (and all year long, really) suncatchers make a fun craft for kids to make.  They brighten up a room by bringing light and color in.  We had to look around the webs for more gorgeous suncatcher crafts and found some beautiful crafts for Summer fun.  These suncatchers are not only pretty, they use some different materials to catch the sun’s rays and fill your room with color.

Gorgeous Suncatcher crafts for kids

Sun catcher Crafts for Kids

This Faux Stained Glass Suncatcher from Buggy and Buddy is a great way to incorporate ruler skills, bilateral coordination, visual tracking, and other visual perceptual skills into a DIY suncatcher craft. Children can then color in the faux stained glass to work on line awareness and pencil control skills. What a great suncatcher activity for therapy!

This gratitude craft doubles as a Flower Suncatcher. Kids can work on scissor skills, bilateral coordination, motor planning, and even social emotional development. Involve the practice of empathy and mindfulness in kids as they focus on things and people they are thankful for when making this creative suncatcher craft.

This Rainbow Suncatcher from Fireflies and Mudpies is a great fine motor workout. Kids can thread beads onto pipe cleaners and build arch development, pincer grasp, tripod grasp, bilateral coordination, and eye-hand coordination skills. Then melt this DIY rainbow sun catcher into the most colorful window decoration.

This Button and Glue Suncatcher can be a fine motor workout as kids improve pinch, precision, eye-hand coordination, in-hand manipulation, separation of the sides of the hand. It’s a fun craft to use the materials you have in your home but also build fine motor skills!

This Crayon Shaving Suncatchers from Red Ted Art is a powerful fine motor activity. It works on separation of the sides of the hand, tripod grasp, and eye-hand coordination skills. Throw in cutting with scissors and you’ve got a scissor skills craft, too! Then, use those left-over crayon shavings to work on finger isolation like we did in this crayon shaving sensory bag.

These Oil Suncatchers from Meaningful Mama addresses a variety of skills: bilateral coordination, scissor skills, pencil control (using multisensory processes with a cotton swab and oil as the writing medium). What a fun way to work on fine motor skills that results in a beautiful sun catcher craft!

This Christmas Tree Suncatcher craft can be used for any theme or holiday. Use the same premise of picking up small sequins for a neat pincer grasp activity that builds arch strength, precision, and opposition of the fingers.

These Tissue Paper Heart Suncatchers from Fireflies and Mudpies can be a creative way to work on scissor skills. Cutting tissue paper is a challenge for kids because of the thin nature of the paper. But, it’s a great way to work on refinement of fine motor skills. Then add the bilateral coordination, motor planning, and visual figure-ground skill work and you’ve got a therapy craft that will be a hit! Here are more fine motor activities with tissue paper that can be used in OT interventions.

This Nature Collage Suncatchers from Hands on as We Grow can be a fun way to work on eye-hand coordination, grasp development, and visual figure ground skills with kids.

These Salt Dough Suncatchers from Homegrown Friends are a gorgeous sun catcher craft that can add heavy work through the hands, followed by pinch and dexterity grasp work.

Need more ways to build fine motor skills through play?

Grab the Summer Fine Motor Kit to work on precision, dexterity, grasp development, and much more!

Working on building skills this summer? The Summer OT Bundle is for you!

Summer occupational therapy activities bundle

Work on fine motor skills, visual perception, visual motor skills, sensory tolerance, handwriting, scissor skills, and much more so that kids can accomplish self-care tasks, learn, and grow through play all summer long.

This bundle is perfect for the pediatric occupational therapist who needs resources and tools to use in summer therapy sessions, home programs, or extended school year therapy plans.

This bundle is perfect for parents, grandparents, and caregivers looking to provide developmental fine motor activities designed to help kids build skills.

  • Send kids back to school in the Fall without worrying about the “Summer Slide”.
  • Use these materials to work on areas like hand strength, fine motor development, scissor skills, handwriting, pencil control, pencil grasp, sensory play experiences, and much more. Just pull out the pages or activities you need for your child, and develop skills through play!

The Summer OT Bundle includes 19 resources that you can print and use over and over again:

Helping children develop and achieve functional skills this summer was never so easy (or fun!)

Be sure to grab the Summer OT Bundle, a HUGE resource of therapy tools and activities for all things building skills this summer.

Grab the Summer OT Bundle here.

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.

Tangram Activities

Tangram activities

These tangram activities are designed to develop visual perceptual skills, visual motor skills, and fine motor skills in kids. Tangrams make a great addition to any occupational therapy treatment bag!

Tangram Activities

Tangram activities for occupational therapy interventions

Tangrams are a great tool for learning and development.  The colorful shapes are perfect for building images and working on math skills such as shape identification and patterning.  

Tangrams are also an easy way to incorporate visual perceptual skills, fine motor skills, and visual motor integration into play.  

Development of visual perceptual skills is essential for tasks like reading, writing, math, movement, self-care, and many other functional tasks. These tangram activities are perfect to improve visual perception in a playful way.  You can use tangrams to address visual perception in many more ways, including ideas to help with handwriting.


Try DIY Sponge Tangrams for another version of these activities.

And check out these cardboard tangrams for developing visual motor integration skills.

How to use tangrams to improve visual perception skills needed for reading, writing, and functional skills.

This post contains affiliate links. 


Visual perception allows us to take in visual information, process it, and use it to interpret information from our environment.  There are many parts of visual perception, but today, I’ve got three visual perceptual skills that can be developed using tangrams.  

How to use tangrams to improve visual perception skills needed for reading, writing, and functional skills.

 

Visual Percepetion and Tangrams

1. Visual Discrimination allows us to determine similarities and differences based on color, shape, etch. This skill allows us to know that a 6 and a 9 are different and that a p and a q are not the same letter. 

Use tangrams to work on visual discrimination:

  • Place tangram shapes on a piece of paper.  Ask the child to locate all of the triangles, all of the squares, etc. 
  • Ask the child to find shapes that are the same even if they are different sizes.  This tangram set has several different sizes of triangles, making it a great tool for form constancy. 
  • Use two different shapes to discuss what makes the shapes similar and different.

2. Visual Memory allows us to retain visual information.  We need visual memory in order to copy written work.

Use tangrams to work on visual memory:

Use the tangrams for a hands-on game of “Simon”.  Place shapes on a piece of paper, taking turns to add one new shape at a time.  Each player should recall the previous round before adding a new tangram shape.

Place several tangram shapes on a piece of paper.  Allow the child to stare at the shapes for a period of time.  Then, cover the shapes with a second piece of paper.  Ask the child to recall the shapes that they saw.

3. Form Constancy is the ability to recognize shapes and forms no matter what position they are in. 
 

Use tangrams to work on form constancy:

  • Use tangrams to build form constancy by positioning shapes in different positions.  Ask the child to locate all of the squares, quadrilaterals, etc. 
  • Position shapes on one side of a piece of paper.  On the other side of the paper, position shapes that can be combined to make the shape on the first side of the paper.  Ask the child to match up the two sides.
  • Position shapes along one side of a piece of paper.  Position matching shapes along the right side of the paper, with the shapes slightly rotated.  Ask the child to match up the shapes.   
How to use tangrams to improve visual perception skills needed for reading, writing, and functional skills.
 
How to use tangrams to improve visual perception skills needed for reading, writing, and functional skills.
 
 
 

Looking for more ways to build visual perceptual skills?  Try these:

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.

Ice Cream Writing Activities

ice cream writing activities

Today I have a fun ice cream writing activity that gets kids excited about writing ice cream words and everything fun and motivating about ice cream. If your kids are anything like mine they love ice cream and the toppings ice cream cones sprinkles and the jingle of the ice cream truck.

Ice Cream Writing Activity for kids

Ice Cream Writing

In this ice cream writing activity kids can work on the skills they need for legible handwriting including letter formation sizing spacing and copying skills and the fine motor skills needed for a functional pencil grasp.

All of this happens in an interactive in a free Google slide that you can use in teletherapy face-to-face therapy home programs or in the classroom for with an ice cream theme.

This ice cream writing activity begins with a several ice cream themed words including:

  • ice cream truck
  • chocolate syrup
  • ice cream scoop
  • cone
  • sprinkles
  • spoon
  • bowl

Ice Cream Writing Skills

Kids can copy the words from the slide deck and work on letter formation, sizing, spacing, and legibility.

You could expand the activity to ask kids to write the words in alphabetical order and address some visual perceptual skills such as visual scanning visual memory visual attention and visual discrimination and others.

Then the slides continue with a visual perceptual exercise that takes away one of the items on the previous slide.

This activity is much like one a hands-on “what’s missing” activity where you lay out several minute items on a table and then ask children to remember what they see in front of them and then after a few seconds you take away one of the items and ask them what’s missing.

“What’s Missing” games are such a great way to work on visual attention and visual memory skills. These skills are so needed for copying materials writing reading and recalling letter formation as well as hand writing rules like using spaces between words in pencil grasp rules.

The slides continue with several of these “what’s missing” activities with the ice cream theme where kids can write out the specific ice cream terms that are missing on each slide in further work on handwriting skills.

Write Ice Cream Words in ABC Order

The next ice cream handwriting activity asks kids to write in alphabetical order, several ice cream words scattered on ice cream cones.

Kids can work on copying those in order and work on the visual memory skills and visual perceptual skills needed for putting words into alphabetical order.

Ice Cream Sign Language Activity

The next several slides include several American Sign Language handwriting activities to spell out ice cream words.

There is an American Sign Language key on each slide so that kids can visually scan to copy the hand formations to spell out the words.

They will love using sign language to spell out ice cream words like sprinkles, scoop, ice cream, bowl, and spoon.

The benefits of asking children to use sign language to spell words is that if they do not know the sign language hand formations, that they need to visually attend to on the screen, using visual memory and visual attention skills to copy the formation.

However using sign language also develops working memory to recall and use the same letters in spelling. American sign language activities and spelling also benefits kids to work on fine motor skills such as:

  • finger isolation
  • separation of the sides of the hand
  • open thumb web space
  • arch development
  • dexterity

Ice Cream Writing Prompts

The last activity on this ice cream writing task is a open ended handwriting task which asks students to create sentences using the ice cream words.

You can expand this activity to meet the needs of various levels of children by asking them to copy more sentences or less sentences you can make the sentences very concrete and give them a specific sentence to write that contains the words or you can leave it open ended and ask students to write a silly sentence or a story using the words on the slide.

Use the ice cream writing prompts to meet the needs of your students!

You will also enjoy the other ice cream activities that we have here on the website including:

Would you like to add the slide deck to your therapy Toolbox? Enter your email address into the form below to access this ice cream writing activity.

FREE Ice Cream Writing Activity

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    Working on building skills this summer? The Summer OT Bundle is for you!

    Summer occupational therapy activities bundle

    Work on fine motor skills, visual perception, visual motor skills, sensory tolerance, handwriting, scissor skills, and much more so that kids can accomplish self-care tasks, learn, and grow through play all summer long.

    This bundle is perfect for the pediatric occupational therapist who needs resources and tools to use in summer therapy sessions, home programs, or extended school year therapy plans.

    This bundle is perfect for parents, grandparents, and caregivers looking to provide developmental fine motor activities designed to help kids build skills.

    • Send kids back to school in the Fall without worrying about the “Summer Slide”.
    • Use these materials to work on areas like hand strength, fine motor development, scissor skills, handwriting, pencil control, pencil grasp, sensory play experiences, and much more. Just pull out the pages or activities you need for your child, and develop skills through play!

    The Summer OT Bundle includes 19 resources that you can print and use over and over again:

    Helping children develop and achieve functional skills this summer was never so easy (or fun!)

    Be sure to grab the Summer OT Bundle, a HUGE resource of therapy tools and activities for all things building skills this summer.

    Grab the Summer OT Bundle here.

    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.

    Color Sorting Activity

    Color sorting activity

    This color sorting activity is a powerful fine motor activity and a super easy way to learn and play for toddlers and preschoolers.  We’ve done plenty of activities to work on fine motor skills in kids.  This straw activity is the type that is a huge hit in our house…it’s cheap, easy, and fun!  (a bonus for kids and mom!)  A handful of straws and a few recycled grated cheese container are all that are needed for tripod grasp, scissor skills, color naming, and sorting.  SO much learning is happening with color sorting activities. Read on…  

    Fine Motor Color Sorting Activity with Straws

    This color sorting activity is great for toddlers and preschools because it helps to develop many of the fine motor skills that they need for function.

    I had Baby Girl (age 2 and a half) do this activity and she LOVED it.  Now, many toddlers are exploring textures of small objects with their mouths.  If you have a little one who puts things in their mouth during play, this may not be the activity for you.  That’s ok.  If it doesn’t work right now, put it away and pull it out in a few months. 

    Color sorting activity with straws

    Always keep a close eye on your little ones during fine motor play and use your judgment with activities that work best for your child.  Many school teachers read our blog and definitely, if there are rules about choking hazards in your classroom, don’t do this one with the 2 or 3 year olds. 

    You can adjust this color sorting activity to use other materials besides straws, too. Try using whole straws, pipe cleaners, colored craft sticks, or other objects that are safe for larger groups of Toddlers.  

    There are so many fun ways to play and learn with our Occupational Therapy Activities for Toddlers post.

    Kids can work on scissor skills by cutting straws into small pieces.

      color sorting activity using straws

    We started out with a handful of colored straws.  These are a dollar store purchase and we only used a few of the hundred or so in the pack…starting out cheap…this activity is going well so far!  

    Cutting the straws is a neat way to explore the “open-shut” motion of the scissors to cut the straw pieces.  Baby Girl liked the effect of cutting straws.  Flying straw bits= hilarious!  

    If you’re not up for chasing bits and pieces of straws around the room or would rather not dodge flying straw pieces as they are cut, do this in a bin or bag.  Much easier on the eyes 😉  

    Kids love to work on fine motor skills through play!

     Once our straws were cut into little pieces and ready for playing, I pulled out a few recycled grated cheese containers.  (Recycled container= free…activity going well still!)   We started with just one container out on the table and Baby Girl dropped the straw pieces into the holes. 

    Here are more ways to use recycled materials in occupational therapy activities.

    Toddlers and preschoolers can work on their tripod grasp by using small pieces of straws and a recycled grated cheese container.

    Importance of Color sorting for toddlers and preschoolers

    Color sorting activities are a great way to help toddlers and preschoolers develop skills for reading, learning, and math.

    Sorting activities develop visual perceptual skills as children use visual discrimination to notice differences between objects.

    By repeating the task with multiple repetitions, kids develop skills in visual attention and visual memory. These visual processing skills are necessary for reading and math tasks.

    The ability to recall differences in objects builds working memory too, ask kids remember where specific colors go or the place where they should sort them.

    These sorting skills come into play in more advanced learning tasks as they classify objects, numbers, letters, etc.

    And, when children sort items by color, they are building What a great fine motor task this was for little hands!  Sorting straws into a container with small holes, like our activity, requires a tripod grasp to insert the straws into the small holes of the grated cheese container.   

    These grated cheese containers are awesome for fine motor play with small objects!

    Sorting items like cut up straws helps preschoolers and toddlers develop skills such as:

    • Fine motor skills (needed for pencil grasp, scissor use, turning pages, etc.)
    • Hand strength (needed for endurance in coloring, cutting, etc.)
    • Visual discrimination (needed to determine differences in letters, shapes, and numbers)
    • Visual attention
    • Visual discrimination
    • Visual perceptual skills
    • Left Right discrimination (needed for handwriting, fine motor tasks)
    • Counting
    • Patterning
    • Classification skills

    Preschoolers can get a lot of learning (colors, patterns, sorting, counting) from this activity too.  Have them count as they put the pieces in, do a pattern with the colored straws, sort from smallest to biggest pieces and put them in the container in order…the possibilities are endless!

    Cut straw into small pieces and provide three recycled containers to sort and work on fine motor skills with kids.

    Color Sorting Activity with Straws

    Once she got a little tired of the activity, I let it sit out on the table for a while with two  more containers added.  I started dropping in colored straw pieces into the containers and sorted them by color. 

    Use colored straws to sort and work on fine motor skills with recycled containers.

    Baby Girl picked right up on that and got into the activity again.  This lasted for a long time.  We kept this out all day and she even wanted to invite her cousin over to play with us.  So we did!  This was a hit with the toddlers and Little Guy when he came home from preschool.  Easy, cheap, and fun.  I’ll take it!

    Looking for more fun ways to work on color sorting?

    You’ll find more activities to build hand strength, coordination, and dexterity in this resource on Fine Motor Skills.

    Spring Worksheets for Fine Motor Skills and Handwriting

    Spring worksheets

    How would you like some free Spring worksheets? Today, I have a fun freebie that I’m excited to get into the hands of little ones. Here’s why: These Spring worksheets are a powerhouse in building fine motor skills. Kids can use play dough to build the fine motor strength they need to hold and write with a pencil, color, and complete fine motor activities all with more dexterity, precision, and endurance!

    Spring worksheets to help kids with fine motor skills, handwriting, and letter formation.

    Spring Worksheets

    These printable worksheets are great for using in school based occupational therapy sessions, because you can cover a variety of OT goal areas:

    • Fine motor skills
    • Eye-hand coordination
    • Handwriting
    • Letter formation
    • Letter spacing
    • Letter size
    • Coloring

    Spring Worksheets for Fine Motor Skills

    Here’s how these Spring printable pages work: Kids can first roll a die (Great for in-hand manipulation, arch development, and separation of the sides of the hand!)

    Then, they can use play dough to create that same number of balls of play dough. Be sure to ask kids to use just the fingertips for this part of the activiyt. Using the fingertips to roll balls of play dough is a powerful strengthening activity.

    Using the finger tips and thumb of one hand at a time to roll a play dough ball is an intrinsic muscle workout that builds the muscles of the thenar eminence, hypothenar eminence, the interossei, and the lumbricals. All of these muscle groups make up the intrinsic hand muscles which are those located within the hands.  

    We talked about this more in a post on building intrinsic hand strength using play dough.

    Read about more fine motor activities using play dough here.

    Spring worksheets for Handwriting

    After working out the hands and getting them warmed-up for writing, the page asks kids to then write on the lines. I’ve left the writing portion open-ended so that kids can write words, letters, numbers, or sentences, based on their level, skills, and age.

    The Spring themed worksheets come with a flower style and a fun snail activity page. But, each printable sheet is available in three different writing lines styles:

    • Double ruled lines
    • Single ruled lines
    • Double ruled lines with a highlighted bottom space

    Print off these worksheets, slide them into a page protector sheet and start building those fine motor skills!

    Free Spring Worksheet Set

    Want to add this set of worksheets to your therapy toolbox? Enter your email address into the form below to access. NOTE- Due to changes in security levels, users have reported trouble accessing free resources when using a school district or organization email address. Consider using a personal email address.

    FREE Spring Worksheets for Fine Motor and Handwriting

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      For more play dough activities and fine motor worksheets, grab the Spring Fine Motor Kit:

      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.

      Evaporation Experiment

      Evaporation experiment

      This evaporation experiment uses recycled materials to explore evaporation. Kids can use the recycled materials projects as a science science experiment to explore how evaporation works with different sized containers.

      Evaporation experiment for kids. This is a great fine motor activity, too!

      Evaporation Experiment

      This was SUCH a fun way to explore science with my kids.  We talked about water evaporation while engineering a few different water containers and working in a bit of math, too.  Getting outside to play is something we do everyday, so this outdoor STEM activity was a perfect way to bring a little bit of learning outdoors on a sunny day.

      Evaporation experiment using recycled materials

      Evaporation Experiment with Recycled Materials

      Use bottle caps and recycled materials in an evaporation experiment for kids.

      To complete this science experiment, we used all items from our recycle bin.  You’ll need a few items to do this evaporation experiment at home:

      • Lids from various containers. (We used lids of various sizes to explore how fast water would based on container size. Some lids you’ll want are deep lids, bottle caps, and low lids like one from a play dough canister.) If you have a recycled materials craft bin started, just pull from there.
      • Other recycled materials to see if we could adjust the lids that were alike.
      • Tape (This was the only non-recycled material that we used in this science experiment.)
      • Eye-dropper, small spoon, or a straw to drop water into the cups and containers.
      Use these recycled materials in an evaporation experiment with preschoolers.

      Evaporation Activity for Kids

      To set up this evaporation experiment, we worked on a bit of fine motor skills and visual perceptual skills. First we expored each container, lid, and cup to determine which was biggest, smallest, and which we thought would hold more water.

      This is a great evaporation activity for preschoolers!

      Determining the containers by size allows preschoolers to explore visual perceptual skills and size concepts.

      Next, you’ll need to add the same amount of water to each cup or container. There are several ways you can do this: by using an eye dropper, small spoon (like a teaspoon), or the end of a straw. We used a dropper to fill each lid with the same amount of water. Each lid had 10 ml of water.  

      You can use the end of a straw to drop water drops into the cups. When you use the straw, kids are working on so many fine motor skills. We talked about how to do this (and why using a straw to drop water into the cups) is such an awesome way to build precision and dexterity in this butterfly painting craft.

      My preschooler had fun scooping water into the lids and counted the measurements.


      We then noticed how we had four containers that were all the same size.  The other lids were various sizes.  

      To the four lids of the same size, we modified the containers slightly to see how the top would affect rate of evaporation.  We covered one with foil.  Another was covered with plastic wrap and poked with small holes. The third was covered with mesh. The fourth container was left open to the air.


      Related: You could take this evaporation experiment further and use ice cubes that then melt and evaporate. Here is information on the motor benefits of scooping ice. The ice cubes would then have to melt to a liquid and then go through the process of evaporating to a gas state.

      Evaporation Experiment Predictions

      I asked my kids from which lid they thought water would evaporate more quickly.  


      My preschooler said she thought the smallest lid (the bottle cap) would evaporate first because it was the smallest lid.  She thought the play dough lid’s water would evaporate slowest because it was the biggest lid.  She hypothesized that of the four containers that were the same size, the open container would evaporate first and the covered container would evaporate last. 


      I thought her answers were interesting and clearly following Piaget’s conservation theory.  In this case, she thought the bottle cap appeared to have more water because it was filled to the brim, where the large and low play dough lid was only slightly covered with water.

      Recycled materials water evaporation STEM Science experiment

      My older kiddos had different answers:  They thought the play dough lid would evaporate first because it had less “deepness” (or depth).  We decided that the sun would shine and evaporate this lid’s water first.

      They agreed with my preschooler when they said they thought the uncovered lid would evaporate before the covered lid. 

      Recycled materials water evaporation STEM Science experiment

      While we made good hypotheses with this experiment, we ran into a bit of bad weather luck following our outdoor science.  Our sunny day turned into several days of rain and gloomy skies.  We’re still waiting for our water to evaporate and will update this post when we have some results!

       Outdoor STEM ideas

      This post is part of the 31 Days of Outdoor STEM Activities series.  Stop by and see all of the ideas shared.

      Recycled materials water evaporation STEM Science experiment


      You will love these STEM activities that we’ve shared:
      Recycled materials Fulcrum and Lever
      Lemon STEM science experiment ideas
      Tinker Toys STEM Pulley

      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.