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

    We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at anytime.

    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.

    Coffee Filter Butterfly Craft

    coffee filter butterfly craft for kids

    This coffee filter butterfly craft is a great fine motor and bilateral coordination activity for kids. If you are looking for butterfly life cycle crafts, this one is a great addition. Or, if you are seeking Spring OT activities, be sure to add this colorful fine motor butterfly craft to your list.

    Coffee filter butterfly craft to build fine motor skills in kids.

    Coffee Filter Butterfly Craft

    This coffee filter craft is a nice one to develop skills because it works on so many areas that are covered in therapy sessions:

    • Pinch and grip strength
    • Eye hand coordination
    • Bilateral coordination
    • Motor planning
    • Crossing midline
    • Precision and dexterity
    • Open-thumb web-space
    • Arch development
    • Separation of the sides of the hand
    • Finger isolation
    • Thumb IP joint flexion (great for pencil grasp!)

    How to make a coffee filter butterfly craft

    This was an easy set-up and fun craft we did one afternoon recently.  You’ll need the following materials:

    • Coffee filters
    • Water color paints/water
    • A straw
    • Clothes pin
    • Pipe cleaner
    • String (to make a banner)

    Directions: Use a paint brush to add a bit of water to the wells of a water color paint pallet. To really work on fine motor skills, use your thumb to drop water droplets into the paint tubs. Using the straw to drip water into the water colors can be a challenging fine motor task but one that really develops separation of the sides of the hands, thumb IP joint flexion, and motor planning skills. Read more about the thumb IP joint and thumb wrap grasp in pencil grip. This craft is a powerful way to work on this functional grasp skill!

    Make a coffee filter craft and build fine motor skills with kids using a straw to paint.

    Little Guy and Big Sister both loved dropping the water into the color wells.  Big Sister felt pretty good about showing her little brother how to drop the water into the color wells using her straw. 

    Use straws to paint with watercolors and work on fine motor skills with kids.

    This is a great activity to work on thumb isolation and control of the thumb during fine motor activities. 

    Next, dip the edges of the coffee filters into the colors so the water creeps onto the edges of the coffee filter.

    Other ways to add the color can use the straw end or the paint brush. This craft is nice because it can be adjusted for many different kids.

    When kids drip the color on with a paintbrush, or drop color with the straw, it’s fun to try different ways to color the filters and see the colors blend together.  

    Work on fine motor strength with clothes pins to make a butterfly coffee filter craft.

    Next, use clothes pins to pinch the middle of the coffee filter together in the middle. This is a great hand strengthening and eye-hand coordination task.

    Finally, add a pipe cleaner to the end of the clothes pin for the antenna of the coffee filter butterfly. Bend the pipe cleaner around the clothes pin and twist it up to make antenna.

    Coffee filter butterfly craft for building fine motor skills.

    If you like to create several butterflies in a variety of colors, you can clip them onto the string for an other bilateral coordination task.

    They look pretty!  Big Sister wanted to hang them on the ceiling of her room.  We strung the butterflies on yarn and taped them to her ceiling.  This would be a great way to display a whole client caseload of coffee filter butterflies and really show off those fine motor skills!

    Add this butterfly craft to a butterfly theme in therapy or home programing.

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

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

    Butterfly coffee filter craft

    Spring Fine Motor Kit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     

     

    Earth Day Activities

    Earth Day activities

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

    Earth day activities for occupational therapy

    Earth Day Activities

    Let’s get to the Earth Day fun!

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

    Here are more crafts and activities using recycled materials.

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

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

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

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

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

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

     

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

     
     
     

     

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

     

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

     

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

     

     

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

     

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

     

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

    Messy Eating

    Benefits of Messy eating for babies and toddlers

    Have you ever noticed that small children eat meals with recklessness? Bits of food covers the face, cheeks, hands, lap, floor, belly, and even hair. Part of it is learning to use utensils and manage food on the fork or spoon. But there’s more to messy eating too! Messy eating for a baby or toddler is actually a good thing, and completely normal part of child development. And, letting a small child get messy when they eat, and even playing with their food as they eat is OK!

    Messy eating in babies and toddlers has benefits to developing tactile sensory challenges and fine motor skills in young children.

    Messy eating

    I’m sure that your mother never told you it was okay to play with your food at the dinner table, but I’m here to tell you otherwise. Playing with food is not only okay, it is vital to development of self feeding skills and positive engagement with food. When young children play with their food they are engaging in a rich, exploratory sensory experience that helps them develop knowledge of texture, taste, smell, changing visual presentation of foods and oral motor development.

    When play with food is discouraged it can lead to picky eaters, oral motor delays and increased hesitancy with trying new foods later on.

    Eating with hands- Messy benefits

    When solid foods are introduced to baby, it is often a VERY messy ordeal. There is food on the chair, the bib, the floor, you…everywhere but the baby’s mouth. Often times, parents may feel discouraged or don’t like the mess that is the result, but it is OK. In fact, the messier the better.

    Exploring food textures with the hands provides tactile experience to the hands, palm, and individual fingers. Are foods sticky, chunky, goopy, or gooey? All of that exposure to the hands is filed away as exposure to textures.

    Picking up and manipulating foods offers fine motor benefits, too. Picking up and manipulating bits of food offers repetition in pincer grasp, graded precision, grasp and release, eye-hand coordination, bilateral coordination, crossing midline, and proprioceptive feedback. All of this is likely presented in a baby seat or high chair that offers support and stability through the trunk and core. When that support is offered to babies and toddlers, they can then work on the distal coordination and dexterity. At first, manipulation of food is very messy as those refined skills are developed, but it’s all “on-the-job training” with tasty benefits!

    Research shows that a child moves through a series of exploratory steps before successfully eating new foods. This process involves messy play from the hands, up the arms, onto the head and then into the mouth. The steps of this process cannot happen unless the child is encouraged to touch, examine and play with their food. In today’s culture of sterilization and cleanliness, this often counterintuitive to parents and a hard pattern to break.

    Promoting Play with Food

    Mealtimes can be rushed affairs, making it hard to play with food, but they are not the only times we engage with food throughout the day.

    Cooking and meal prep are two of the most common opportunities for play and engagement with food. These activities present perfect opportunities for parents to talk about color, size, shape, texture, smell and taste of the foods that are being prepared. Use of descriptive words,
    over exaggeration when talking about and tasting foods, along exploration opportunities develop a positive interest in foods.

    Babies can be involved in kitchen prep as they play with appropriate utensils and kitchen items like baby-safe bowls or pots. Toddlers enjoy being involved in the food preparations and can wash, prep, and even chop soft foods with toddler-safe kitchen tools.

    Explore these cooking with kids recipes to get small children involved in all the benefits of the kitchen.

    Here are more baby play ideas that promote development.

    Food Art

    Free play with foods like yogurt, jello and applesauce are also great opportunities to promote messy play and creativity. Utilize these foods for finger painting, or painting with other foods as the brushes. This activity challenges tactile and smell regulation, along with constant changes in
    the visual presentation of the food.

    Creativity with Food

    When presented with food for free play, or at the dinner table encourage their creativity–carrot sticks become cars or paint brushes, and raisins become ants on a log.

    The sillier the presentation, and more engaged the child becomes, the more likely they are to eat the foods you have presented to them. Especially, if these foods are new, or are non-preferred foods. High levels of over exaggeration also leads to increased positive experiences with foods, which in turn leads to happier eaters, and less stressful mealtimes
    down the road.

    Ideas like these flower snacks promote healthy eating and can prompt a child to explore new textures or tastes in a fun, themed creative food set-up.

    Messy Eating and Oral Motor Development

    Not only does play promote increased sensory regulation and positive engagement with foods, it also promotes oral motor skill development.
    Oral motor skill development is promoted when a variety of foods are presented and the mastered skills are challenged.

    Here is more information on oral motor problems and feeding issues that are often concerns for parents. The question of feeding concerns and picky eating being a sensory issue or oral motor motor concern comes up frequently.

    Foods that are long and stick like such as carrots, celery and bell peppers, promote integration of the gag reflex, along with development of the transverse tongue reflex that later supports tongue lateralization for bolus management.

    Foods such as peas, or grapes promote oral awareness and regulation for foods that “pop” when bitten, and abilities to manage multiple textures at one time.

    Messy Eating and Positive Mealtimes

    Whether you have a picky eater, or are just trying to make mealtimes fun, play is the way to go!

    Play with food is critical to development of oral motor skills and sensory regulation needed to support positive meal times. Through the use of creative play, exposure, and over exaggeration these milestones can be achieved.

    Bug Fine Motor Activities

    Bug fine motor activities slide deck'

    Today’s free therapy slide deck has a bug fine motor activities theme for creepy crawly fine motor fun. The bugs and insects activities in this virtual therapy slides will get those hands moving and building coordination, dexterity, and motor planning skills. Just in time for Spring bugs, this is just one of the many free slides we have on the site.

    Add these bug activities to your Spring occupational therapy activity ideas.

    Bug and insect fine motor activities for occupational therapy sessions.

    Bug Fine Motor Activities

    We recently released this bug emotions slide deck to help with social emotional skills, so if you are wanting to create a bug theme in therapy, today’s fine motor slide deck is the perfect addition.

    I created this slide deck with several different activities, designed to use in teletherapy or to guide a therapy session. (Use this slide deck as an outline for therapy services for face-to-face sessions, too!)

    Here are more teletherapy activities you’ll like.

    Bug Sign Language Activity

    The first fine motor task asks kids to use ASL to sign the letters to spell different bugs and insects names. Kids can copy the slide deck to find the letter they need to spell each bug or insect’s name.

    As they scan for the letters to spell ladybug, grasshopper, ant, or dragonfly, they are challenging their visual scanning and visual attention skills to look for each letter in the key.

    The sign language forms is a great way to build finger isolation skills, dexterity, and motor planning skills while learning ASL.

    Bug Play Dough Activity

    The next part of the slide deck asks kids to use play dough to copy the caterpillar designs. This also challenges visual motor skills, but asks kids to create small balls of play dough and then use them to make the caterpillars.

    Play dough builds intrinsic hand strength when children roll small balls of dough with their fingertips. This hand strengthening activity is a great one for building endurance, separation of the sides of the hand, and precision.

    You may want to take the hand strengthening further with our Roll and Write Play Dough Mats. There is a bug theme play dough mat included that would be a great addition to this bug theme slide deck!

    Bug Color and Cut Activity

    The next section of the slides includes a color and cut activity to help kids with functional fine motor skills. Kids can use materials they have in their home to create different ladybug images. This challenges direction following, visual motor skills, bilateral coordination, and eye-hand coordination.

    Bug Visual Motor Activity

    The next part of the slide deck asks kids to copy designs to work on visual motor skills. This is a good way to integrate the fine motor warm up from the previous slides into a handwriting activity. Copying forms like the insects and bugs on these slides challenge kids in the skills they need to copy letters and words without omitting parts.

    Bug Handwriting Activity

    The last part of the bug theme is a handwriting activity. Kids can copy the different bug and insect names. There is a Jamboard option for these slides so if you’re using the slides in virtual sessions, kids can write right on the screen.

    Free Bug Theme Slide Deck

    Want these bug fine motor activities in your therapy toolbox? Enter your email address into the form below and you’ll get a slide deck with all of the activities listed above, as well as a link to a Jamboard version.

    Bug Fine 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.

      Easter Activities

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

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

      Easter Activities for Occupational Therapy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Easter Crafts

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

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

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

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

          RELATED READ: Simple Spring Sensory

      Easter Bunny Activities for Kids

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

      Bunny lacing activity to build fine motor skills

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

      Easter activity with plastic easter eggs

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

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

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

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

      Gross motor easter activity

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

      Easter activity with coloring pages and dot to dot pages

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

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

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

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

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

      Spring Fine Motor Kit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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