Polar Bear Gross Motor Activities

polar bear gross motor activities

 We are continuing with our Polar Bear Theme with all kinds of play ideas.  Check out the polar bear gross motor activities listed here and challenge kids to move, and develop coordination, balance, direction changes, movement patterns, core strength, stability, and more. These polar bear activities go well with our polar bear gross motor virtual therapy slide deck, too, so you’ll want to check that out as well. Add gross motor play to your winter line-up!

polar bear gross motor activities

Polar Bear Gross Motor Activity

For this gross motor activity, you’ll need masking tape, some couch cushions, and other small items (cotton batting, polar bear figures, or other materials can be used).

Start by creating a path with the masking tape. We made a zig zag path across the room, but the options are limitless here.

The masking tape path is perfect for polar bear crawls, toe walking, walking backwards, and knee walking. 

indoor obstacle course ideas with masking tape obstacle course

Masking Tape Balance Beam Ideas

Once the masking tape is positioned on the floor, there are so many ways to use this in therapy in a classroom, hallway, clinic, or therapy at home activity.

I put a couple of pillows at the end to make a “snow pile” for the polar bears.  Your kids can jump or hop into the pillows, or use them as balance challenges.

We put some cotton batting along the path that the kids had to bend and stoop to grasp using one hand or the other. Then, they had to transport the “snow” to the other end of the path.

Polar bear gross motor obstacle course

A balance beam is so great for gross motor skills including coordination and balance.  You can start with normal toe to heel steps, and then increase the balance and coordination needed by asking your child to take bigger steps, side steps, backward steps, tip toe, go fast/slow.

Polar bear gross motor activity for therapy at home or in a clinic.

Kids can hold an object and transport it from one end of the path to the other. Ask them to hold the item in their hands, on their head, on their toes, or on their back as they bear walk. Objects can be large or small, heavy or light.

Use couch pillows as pretend ice blocks for the polar bears.

Use tongs and a small plastic ice cube to incorporate fine motor skills and eye-hand coordination skills. You can place buckets or bins along the path for obstacles to place the small objects in while challenging core strength, motor planning, and movement changes.

Add buckets or cones along the path for children to step over or hop over. If cones aren’t available, just use couch throw cushions as an obstacle.

Add a big duvet blanket or other large blanket at one end or both ends as a DIY crash pad for heavy work and proprioceptive input. Crawling into and under the heavy blanket offers heavy work, and that blanket makes a great “igloo” for your little polar bear.

Advance the motor planning and core development by asking kids to stand along the path as they try to catch/toss a ball, navigate turns, curves, hop…There is so much you can do with the masking tape balance beam!  Add more fine motor skill work by using paper snowflakes along the balance beam.

Challenge kids in a masking tape obstacle course with a polar bear theme.

Use a polar bear sensory bin along the path to challenge kids to transport items from one end of the path and to place them into the sensory bin. This is a fantastic occupational therapy or physical therapy intervention that challenges so many skills.

Use masking tape to make an obstacle course in the living room, with a polar bear theme or other animal walks.
 

 

For more polar bear gross motor activities, (and fine motor work), grab the Winter Fine Motor Kit, with 100 pages of done-for-you therapy activities, including polar bear themes. There are sensory bin materials, crafts, and activities designed to boost fine motor skills. These would be great additions to a polar bear gross motor theme in therapy sessions.

Grab it now before January 9th and you get a bonus of 3 fine motor slide deck activities.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE WINTER FINE MOTOR KIT.

winter fine motor 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.

Indoor Recess Ideas

indoor recess ideas

Looking for indoor recess ideas? Below, you’ll find winter indoor games and activities to add to the recess line up when it’s too cold to go outdoors for recess. We’ve tried to come up with indoor recess games for older kids AND indoor recess ideas for kindergarten and the younger grades. Some of these ideas work well with traditional indoor recess group activities, and others are better suited for socially distancing during indoor recess, while still allowing kids to move! All of the inside recess ideas can be used to add activity and movement when it’s raining or too cold for outdoor recess!

During the winter months, kids can have trouble staying active! These indoor recess ideas will help with adding movement, bilateral coordination, motor planning, and development through indoor games.



Indoor Recess Winter Activities for Kids

Here are more ways to get the kids moving this time of year:

MONDAY- INDOOR RECESS IDEAS

TUESDAY- 
WINTER BRAIN BREAK IDEAS

WEDNESDAY- 
WINTER BILATERAL COORDINATION ACTIVITIES

THURSDAY-
WINTER MINDFULNESS ACTIVITIES

FRIDAY- 
WINTER FINE MOTOR ACTIVITIES


Indoor Recess Ideas

This time of year can be a real struggle for kids. They’ve got a long school day, where it’s too cold to go outside for recess. Many are on screens during much of that day, especially if schooling is done virtually or at home with distance learning.

After school brings continued cold temps and an  followed by coming home to an early sunset. Not to mention, many kids have after-school activities scheduled. It’s no wonder that kids are less active than ever before.

Because of this, I wanted to share these indoor recess ideas that can be used to add activity, motor planning, visual motor skills, midline crossing, and general movement!

1. Turn on the music and have a Crossing Gross Motor March. Crossing Midline is a developmental ability that is important for so many gross motor tasks.  When a child has difficulty with crossing midline, they may demonstrate inefficiency with other areas like fine motor skills, bilateral coordination, hand dominance, self-care, reading, handwriting, and so many other areas. This can be done in a socially distanced format in a well-spaced out area such as a gym or hallway. And, for our virtual learners, this activity is fun for the whole family.


2. Add proprioceptive and vestibular input with an Indoor Skating activity! All you need for this activity is a pile of paper plates or old tissue boxes. If you have a carpeted area in the classroom, this can be a great way to identify a space for indoor ice skating during indoor recess. Add specific moves and have kids copy the ice skating moves to really incorporate motor planning and direction following.


3. Do the Hokey Pokey. Need some fresh ideas when it comes to the classic hokey pokey? Try playing “Snow-key Pokey” with a snowman theme. Just label the various body parts a snowman would have. For example: Snow cap, stick arms, boots, snow bottom, etc.


4. Animal Races- Gather a group of kids and have relay races in the hallway or gymnasium area. Kids can split into two teams and race against one another. Each child will need to come up with an animal walk as they race back to tag another person on their team. Some animal walk ideas include: donkey kicks, penguin waddles, bear walks, crab walks, frog jumps, elephant walks, snake slithers, etc.


5. Arctic Animal Yoga- Add animal walks with an artic theme. These would go perfectly with an animal theme and add the bonus of calming stretches. They are a great movement break during the day, use at circle time, morning meeting, free time or for use during stations. These cards are fun for use during physical education or in group/individual physical and occupational therapy. They are a great way to add simple movement into the day which we know is essential for learning and concentration. Use them with an arctic unit! These polar bear gross motor therapy activities can be used as a winter brain break or recess activity.


6. Freeze Dance- Turn on YouTube and dance to the music. When the music stops, everyone needs to FREEZE!


7. Charades- Ask each student to write on a slip of paper a character, animal, or object. Combine themes from the curriculum, favorite books, or movies. Students can act out the people or objects on the cards while the rest of the class guesses what the student is describing with movement.


8. Indoor Balance Beam- Try some of these indoor balance beams using everyday items or a roll of painters tape. There are so many benefits to using balance beams. It’s a fun way to break up indoor recess into centers, too.


9. Ribbon Wand Dance- Make a handful of DIY ribbon wands and sneak in some gross motor skills and movement by dancing to music.


10. Indoor Gross Motor Game- Get the whole class involved in gross motor play with jumping, hopping, and more with this Dinosaur Gross Motor Game uses mini dinosaur figures. Grab the free printable game spinner and activity here


11. Bean Bag Games- This group gross motor core strengthening activity is a fun way to get the whole class involved in a group game! Make it a winter theme with these snowflake bean bags.


12. Play the Four Corners Classroom Game Add movement and sneak in some auditory processing work with this fun game shared over on The Game Gal.


13. Who Am I Game- The kids can write down book and movie characters on a sticky note and stick it to their forehead. They can ask other students questions as they move around the room, trying to figure out who they “are”!

11. Winter Toothpick Art– Use the Winter Fine Motor Kit materials to get kids moving with the toothpick art activities. These can be used on cardboard or a carpeted area to help kids build fine motor strength and tripod grasp.

12. Winter Crumble Art- This is another fun fine motor activity for indoor recess. Use bits of tissue paper or crumbled up construction paper to create a winter picture. These sheets are in the Winter Fine Motor Kit, too.

I hope these ideas are helpful in creating opportunities for movement and activity during these indoor recess months at school! 

winter fine motor kit

The Winter Fine Motor Kit has materials to print-and-go, including arctic animal finger puppets to develop finger isolation, toothpick art activities with winter themes, crumble art pages, coloring and pencil control activities for building strength and endurance in the hands. All of these materials are included in a 100 page packet with winter themes: snowmen, mittens, snowflakes, penguins, polar bears, arctic animals, and more.

 

Add gross motor play and activities to the classroom with indoor recess ideas that get the kids moving.
 

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

Polar Bear Therapy Slide Deck

Polar bear therapy activities

This week, we’re all about the polar bears. You’re going to love this polar bear therapy slide deck, and actually, my kids are loving it, too! The polar bear gross motor activities go well with an arctic animal theme. We’ve been using the gross motor activities as a warm-up for the Winter Fine Motor Kit and all of the winter activities in that resource. You’ll want to grab this therapy slide deck to get your new year off to a great start and get the kids moving with whole-body movements.

Free gross motor therapy slide deck with a polar bear theme. Use in virtual therapy sessions or as a polar bear brain break.

Be sure to grab the free polar bear deep self-regulation activity. It’s a wintery breathing exercise that went up earlier today. You’ll find a bunch of other polar bear activities listed in that blog post, so that your therapy theme for the week is full of movement-based activities that help kids develop skills.

Included are some slides to incorporate propriocepetion and vestibular input as well.

Because incorporating gross motor skills in teletherapy is sometimes a challenge, this gross motor slide deck was designed for teletherapy in a way that instructs kids to copy various positions as they balance and strengthen their core. All of these skills can be addressed with this gross motor slide deck in teletherapy sessions:

  • Core strength
  • Stability
  • Balance and equilibrium skills
  • Coordination
  • Range of motion
  • Flexibility
  • Motor planning
  • Crossing midline
  • Movement patterns
  • Posture and postural control
  • Muscle tone
  • Proprioceptive input
  • Vestibular input

Polar Bear Resource: DON’T MISS IT:

Grab the Winter Fine Motor Kit, with 100 pages of done-for-you therapy activities, including polar bear themes. Grab it now before January 9th and you get a bonus of 3 fine motor slide deck activities.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE WINTER FINE MOTOR KIT.

winter fine motor kit

More therapy slide decks


Be sure to check out these other slide decks to use in OT teletherapy sessions, distance learning, or homeschooling:

Try this Alphabet Gross Motor Slide Deck.

Here is a Space Theme Therapy Slide Deck.

Here is a Strait Line Letters Slide Deck.

Try this self-awareness slide deck with an animal theme.

Kids love this football theme slide deck.

There are gross motor activities in this outer space slide deck, too.

Polar Bear Therapy Slide Deck

Use this polar bear theme therapy slide deck in virtual therapy sessions or as a brain break.

Be sure to make a copy of this slide deck and not change the url to indicate “edit” at the end. When you make a copy of the slide deck onto your Google drive, you will end up with your own version that you are free to adjust in order to meet your student’s needs. By changing the url to “edit”, you can potentially mess up the original version that many other therapists and The OT Toolbox users are given.

You can grab a copy of this Google slide deck and use it to work on specific skills.

Enter your email address below and you will receive a PDF containing a link to copy the slide deck onto your Google drive. Save that PDF file, because you can come back to it again and again and send it to the kids on your caseload (or classroom) so they can make their own copy on their Google drive.

Please use the copy of the slide deck and do not change the url.

FREE Polar Bear Gross Motor Therapy Activities!

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

    Indoor Winter Activities for Kids

    indoor winter activities

    Here you will find indoor winter activities for kids and indoor winter activities for families. These indoor activities are designed to help kids develop skills when it is too cold to go outside. We’ve used many of these occupational therapy activities when the weather is icy or frigid outside. Fun indoor winter activities can be essential to help kids get their energy out during winter days. This year, indoor therapy ideas may be needed to meet teletherapy needs, as well. Related: Add our Winter Fine Motor Kit to your daily toolbox, to help kids develop fine motor strength and dexterity with easy, no-prep activities.

    Indoor winter activities for kids and indoor activities for families to help kids develop skills.

    Indoor Winter Activities

    I’ve sorted these activities into areas so that you can find activities to meet therapy needs. Included below are indoor activities designed to boost fine motor skills, gross motor skills, visual motor skills, sensory input, regulation, and more.

    Winter Activities for Fine Motor Skills

    Here are a bunch of winter fine motor activities that we’ve shared in the past.

    Use these winter crafts to develop fine motor dexterity and strength.

    Here are winter bird crafts and activities.

    This icicle craft builds visual motor skills and scissor skills, too.

    Use these winter books to pair with a fine motor craft or activity based on the book.

    Make this snowman painting craft to build precision and dexterity.

    Cut mini snowflakes for a fine motor activity that builds hand strength and heavy work input.

    Play tic tac toe with miniature snowflakes. This is also a great sight word activity, too.

    This winter snowflake stamp art is a fun fine motor activity that looks great and the kids love.

    The Winter Fine Motor Kit has materials to print-and-go, including arctic animal finger puppets to develop finger isolation, toothpick art activities with winter themes, crumble art pages, coloring and pencil control activities for building strength and endurance in the hands. All of these materials are included in a 100 page packet with winter themes: snowmen, mittens, snowflakes, penguins, polar bears, arctic animals, and more.

    Indoor Winter Activities for Gross Motor Skills

    Here are winter-themed bilateral coordination activities to work on motor planning and coordination skills.

    Here are indoor recess activities to use during the winter months

    Use these winter brain break activities to add movement and gross motor work during the indoor months.

    Try this snowflake theme balance beam for indoor play, balance, coordination, and motor planning.

    Use this indoor snowball fight to work on eye-hand coordination skills.

    Winter Sensory Activities

    Try these snow and ice themed activities.

    Here is a snowflake themed proprioceptive activity that helps kids develop motor planning skills, coordination, and strengthening.

    This indoor snowball activity adds vestibular input as well as eye-hand coordination skills.

    Use a blanket to create a sensory winter themed heavy work activity.

    These winter mindfulness activities can help with self-regulation, awareness, and social emotional skills.

    Use these January occupational therapy calendars for vestibular and proprioceptive sensory input.

    Try these snowball theme activities to incorporate movement and learning during winter months.

    Here are winter science experiments that incorporate the senses and hands-on learning.

    winter fine motor kit

    Click here to access the Winter Fine Motor Kit and develop fine motor skills and dexterity with winter themes.


    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.

    Gingerbread Man Activities

    gingerbread man activities

    Looking for gingerbread man activities? We’ve got you covered. From gingerbread men to gingerbread houses to gingerbread cookies, it’s the theme of gingerbread for this festive season! Can you smell the ginger? Ah, it’s so cozy and the theme of gingerbread is so classic and fun! Browse an old blog post from The OT Toolbox to find gingerbread activities for kids by kids. Lots of fun ideas in that post as well as some new ideas in this post! You can also find a Cardboard Gingerbread House idea.

    Use these activities with our decorate a gingerbread house slide deck.

    Gingerbread man activities for kids

    GINGERBREAD MAN ACTIVITIES

    Included below are gingerbread man books that you can pair with hands-on activities. The gingerbread man ideas below build fine motor skills, gross motor skills, motor planning, direction-following, and sensory exploration. Let’s get started with the holiday activities!

    You can’t go the season without reading at least one gingerbread man book. So grab one or more of these gingerbread-related books and work on critical thinking and early literacy skills!

    GINGERBREAD MAN BOOKS

    Take a look at these gingerbread man books: (Amazon links included below.) These are great books to use along with therapeutic activities.


    The Gingerbread Man
    Gingerbread Baby
    Gingerbread Friends
    Gingerbread Christmas
    The Gingerbread Man Loose at School
    The Gingerbread Boy
    The Gingerbread Girl
    The Gingerbread Cowboy
    Gingerbread Mouse
    The Gingerbread Pirates

    This Gingerbread Man book activity from Fun-A-Day pairs well with these books.

    GINGERBREAD MAN CRAFTS

    Do you have visions of colorfully decorated gingerbread houses or some icing covered gingerbread men? Crafts are the supreme skill builder for kiddos and highly motivating.

    Crafts can work on scissor cutting, drawing, coloring, tool grasp, glue management, direction following, and sequencing. Now, let’s craft some gingerbread goodies.


    This fun gingerbread man stapling craft is a super fun way to build a gingerbread man while working on stapler use that incorporates strength, bilateral coordination, visual motor control, and precision handling.

    Craft a fun paper bag gingerbread house using office stickers galore! Stickers are an easy way to work on pincer grasp, bilateral coordination, spatial awareness with placement, and hand dominance.


    Craft a fun plate of gingerbread cookies using a paper plate and paper bag being sure to decorate with crayons. Don’t forget broken crayons color too and they can be better for kids to work on their tool grasp!


    Maybe a collage art gingerbread man is more what your kiddos would enjoy. Providing a tray of decorating goodies can give a child the opportunity for creativity and independence. But if you’re looking for more therapeutic benefits, you can incorporate body awareness and multiple fine motor skills.

    Provide a fun gingerbread man lacing craft that automatically incorporates fine motor precision, pincer grasp, motor planning, eye-hand coordination and bilateral hand use.

    Here is a baby gingerbread house from Pre-K Pages that works fine motor skills, too.

    Plus, they turn out super cute.

    Gingerbread Man Gross Motor

    Maybe you have the need for some energy consuming gingerbread movement! So many gingerbread books provide action words that can easily be utilized for movement exercises. Try substituting these actions with various movements you need your child to practice.

    Use these Gingerbread Man gross motor activities as a brain breaks for a physical break in the classroom, at home, or during a transition. Brain break movement activities can involve so many different body moves with a wonderfully festive theme!

    Here’s an activity that you can try called, Gingerbread Man Gross Motor Activity. It combines the simple idea of gross motor skills and literacy skills.

    You can also try these fun Gingerbread Man Gross Motor Dice printables to further incorporate movements related to the book. Read and move together!

    Try Gingerbread Passing to work on core strength, coordination, motor planning, and social skills. It’s a great team work activity or it can be simplified to have one child work on passing a gingerbread man from one place to another.

    Try this fun idea of some Gingerbread Hokey Pokey using a classic game with a gingerbread theme to work on body awareness and motor planning.

    Gingerbread Man Fine Motor

    Feeling the need to focus on fine motor or visual motor skills, maybe? How about drawing, handwriting or visual perception? Read on to find some great activity ideas.


    Here are some fun Gingerbread Letter Tracing Sheets or Gingerbread Prewriting Strips or Gingerbread Letter Tracing Strips to work on pencil control, letter formation and letter size.

    Need a low prep Gingerbread Man Cutting activity to work on bilateral hand skills and eye hand coordination along with scissor grasp? Try this fun idea! Maybe cardboard is too difficult for your kiddos to cut, so simply change to paper or even sandpaper for a fun approach.

    Maybe using scissors is not the skill level of your child so try a Gingerbread Pom-Pom Match activity and use tongs as a pre-scissor skill.

    How about a Gingerbread Man I-Spy activity that is perfect for visual scanning and discrimination? It’s a simple print and go for therapeutic fun!

    Do you have a child working on spoon use? Try this fun Feed the Gingerbread Man printable to set up a low prep scoop and pour activity or use tongs to feed the gingerbread man.

    Maybe simple Gingerbread Theme Play Dough Mats are all you are looking for to have kiddos work on fine motor hand skills.

    Gingerbread Sensory Activities

    This post started with a list and now it’s ending with a list! There are always children who need the sensory input or need to work on sensory tolerance provided by multiple sensory-related activities. Take a look at the list below and click on each item to read the details of how to create these varied sensory goodies all within the gingerbread theme!

    Gingerbread Salt Dough
    Gingerbread Play Dough
    Gingerbread Slime
    Gingerbread Rice
    Gingerbread Oobleck
    Gingerbread Cloud Dough
    Gingerbread Salt Tray
    Gingerbread Paint
    Gingerbread Sensory Bottles
    Gingerbread Sensory Bags

    Now, run, run, as fast you can…and prepare some fun gingerbread activities for the kiddos in your life as all of these activities are super skill builders for children at all levels of development! There’s something about this time of year and gingerbread.  The scent of ginger in the kitchen makes this time of year so warm and cozy!  

    Gingerbread Christmas activities for kids and by kids




    gingerbread activities for kids

    Christmas Handwriting Activities

    Writing out that Christmas wish list is a difficult task that brings out tears instead of holiday excitement.  I’ve got a solution for your kiddo with handwriting difficulties: a packet of modified paper for all of the Christmas handwriting tasks that come up each year.  Use this handwriting pack to help kids who struggle with handwriting to participate in holiday traditions while even working on and developing their handwriting skills!
    Working on handwriting with kids this Christmas season? Grab your copy of the Christmas Modified Handwriting Packet. It’s got three types of adapted paper that kids can use to write letters to Santa, Thank You notes, holiday bucket lists and much more…all while working on handwriting skills in a motivating and fun way! Read more about the adapted Christmas Paper here.   



    Peppermint Moon Dough Recipe

    Moon dough recipe is a peppermint dough recipe for Christmas sensory play.

    I have something fun to share today. This moon dough recipe is an old post here on The OT Toolbox, and one that we loved looking back at. Have you made your own moon dough?  This stuff is seriously messy and majorly fun!  We made our Peppermint Moon Dough recipe a little different than the usual moon dough recipe that is out there.  This moon dough recipe is very soft and fun even for moms to play with!  It’s a great companion to our peppermint play dough recipe from years ago, too.

    Moon dough recipe is a peppermint dough recipe for Christmas sensory play.


    Moon Dough Recipe

    We started with what we had on hand.  When it comes to kid-related messy play and making these sensory play activities, we love to use something that otherwise would be thrown away.  Likewise, waste in these activities is not something we are big fans of.  So, when ever possible, we’ll re-use sensory play materials for other activities and save things like dyed pasta and rice for future sensory activities.  

    Note: This post contains affiliate links.  

    This moon dough recipe used something that would otherwise be headed to the trash bin…I had some scented lotion that I had for a while… I really didn’t care for the scent.  That and some corns starch were all that were needed to make the base of our moon dough!  

    Moon Dough Ingredients

    There are only four ingredients in this easy moon dough recipe. You could even omit the food coloring and make this a 3 ingredient moon dough recipe!


    To make the consistency of moon dough, use a 4:1 ratio of corn starch to lotion.  This will make a nice and fluffy, but moldable moon dough. 

    We added a few drops of peppermint extract and some red food coloring.  We used the gel type of food coloring, but only because that is all we had on hand.  I’m sure liquid food coloring would work just as well, although with the added liquid of scent and food coloring, a little extra corn starch might be needed. 

    Also to note when making your moon dough recipe is that different brands of lotion may effect this recipe.  As you mix the ingredients together, you many need to use more or less corn starch depending on the consistency.

    Moon dough recipe that kids can make for a Christmas sensory activity. Make this candy cane scented sensory dough with kids.

    Half of the moon dough, I kept plain white and the other half got the red food coloring for a very candy cane look.   Add a few little bowls and spoons for scooping, and a couple of Candy Cane cookie cutters, and we were ready to play!

    Peppermint dough for Christmas sensory play with an easy moon dough recipe.

    We all got busy scooping, fluffing, and mixing.  This was such a fun sensory play experience (for mom, too!)  The lotion made this dough very soft and with the peppermint scent, you could no longer smell the lotion’s scent.

    Peppermint moon dough recipe that kids can use to scoop and pour for fine motor work.

    Baby Girl (age 2) especially loved to scoop the moon dough.  She used the spoons and filled one cup after another.  And what great fine motor skills this was for her!  She liked to mix the red and the white colors together, dump it all out, and start scooping again!  Here is information on the developmental benefits of scooping and pouring with toddlers.

    We played right on the hard wood floor of our dining room for an easy clean up.  Any stray moon dough bits were easy to broom right up.  

    Moon dough activity for kids to scoop and pour for a holiday sensory activity.

    Little Guy’s favorite part was making the candy cane molds.  We packed the moon dough into the cookie cutters and then pulled it up.  The moon dough would hold it’s shape of the candy cane.  There were a bunch of little moon dough candy canes before we finished!

    Candy cane moon dough is a sensory material that smells so fresh for holiday family fun.

        The scent of peppermint candy canes filled the room!  We had so much fun playing with this moon dough!   

    Christmas sensory dough with a 4 ingredient moon dough recipe.

    When we were finished playing, I poured all of the moon dough into a storage bad and saved it to make a new play activity.  We’ll be using it again, soon!

    Have you made moon dough? How about candy cane scented moon dough? 

    Looking for more fun candy cane scented sensory play? 

    More Christmas sensory ideas

    You’ll find more Christmas sensory activities here, but be sure to try some of these sensory dough materials this holiday season.

    Christmas modified paper

    Christmas Modified Paper Pack

    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.

    Fall Gross Motor Activities

    Fall gross motor activities

    Adding to the fun of autumn are these Fall gross motor activities. There is so much about this time of year that offers opportunities for heavy work activities and gross motor play, all using a Fall theme!

    Use these Fall activities for family fun or ways to offer different movement challenges. Many of these ideas use all that Autumn has to offer: cooler weather, piles of leaves, hay bales, pumpkins, and apples. Other gross motor ideas listed here are gross motor ideas that can be done indoors. Either way, they are perfect for gross motor preschool activities, gross motor activities for toddlers, and whole-body activities to help kids build core strength, balance, coordination, and endurance.

    Fall Gross Motor Activities

    Isn’t Fall the perfect time to get outside, enjoy the season and the crisp air while getting active?  There are so many great active and gross motor activities you and your family can do even with little prep or planning.  Jump in leaves, go on a nature walk, collect leaves and fall items…just get moving! 

    Fall gross motor activities

    Fall Activities

    Collect fall leaves with Leaf Identification Cards.

    Print off this free Fall Tic Tac Toe board. Try to fill the board by doing all of the fall activities.

    Talk a walk and enjoy nature. What do you see? Smell? Hear?

    Get active with a Ghost Catch Game.

    Go on a hunt with Halloween Scavenger Hunt

    Rake leaves as a family.

    Then, JUMP in the leaves!

    Spending time time indoors doesn’t mean there’s no room for gross motor activities. Creep and crawl like a spider with this Motor Planning Spider Web Maze.

    Explore apples and red while balancing a tree trunk with Learning Apples/Red.

    Sing and dance this season with Red and Yellow and Orange and Brown Songs for Autumn (and dance).

    Get those shoulder girdles activated with Easy Indoor Halloween Obstacle Course.

    For sensory input, try these Fall Vestibular Activities that will add movement.

    You’ll love the calming heavy work that these Fall Proprioception Activities offer.

     

     

     

    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.

    Halloween Math Activities

    Halloween math activities

    What if you could take the excitement and fun of Halloween and combine it with writing numbers, counting, and all things math? These Halloween math activities are a great way to use all that this time of year offers. We’ve shared Halloween occupational therapy activities before, but these ideas are designed to boost math through play! Spooky learning ideas, ghost math, pumpkin adding…there is a lot of fun to be had!  What a fun way to learn and play!  

    Halloween math activities to work on addition, subtraction, fact families, near doubles, and other math skills with a Halloween theme.

    Fine Motor Halloween Math

    There is much research telling us that fine motor skills predict math skills in kids, so why not add the fun of Halloween with fine motor activities? Studies show that motor skills are significantly related to their mathematical ability.

    Here are Halloween fine motor activities that double as math activities for counting, sorting, patterns, and more.

    Pumpkin Math

    In this fine motor pumpkin sticker activity, we made our own pumpkin stickers, and used them in a Halloween literacy activity. But, they are perfect pumpkins for math skills too. Use the small pumpkins to count, add, work on place value, and to sort into arrays for multiplication and division.

    This is a great Halloween math activity for pushing into the classroom or to use in home occupational therapy via OT teletherapy sessions. Kids will need only three materials:

    • Orange construction paper
    • Hole puncher
    • Pencil or marker

    Ask kids to use the hole punch to punch orange circles onto their desk surface. They can use their pencil or marker to add a small stem to each pumpkin. Then, it’s time to sort, count, add, subtract, and arrange into piles of ten.

    fine motor pumpkin stickers to count and build motor skills for math

    Ghost Counting

    This ghost craft is one of my favorite Halloween crafts here on the site. Save up a handful of bread ties and use them for math activities, sorting, counting, and adding/subtracting. The cute spooky manipulative is fun and not scary!

    You’ll need just one material for this, but you can add them to any sensory tray like we did, using dry black beans:

    • White bread ties

    Slide them onto pipe cleaners to count and sort by groups for counting and multiplying.

    ghost counting activity

    Spider Addition

    Use this spider math craft to work on adding, subtracting, and fact families. You’ll need just a couple of materials:

    • Black construction paper
    • Scissors
    • White chalk, crayon, or colored pencil

    Make the spider by following the directions in the spider math craft tutorial and then work on the math skills that your child needs to address. We used the creepy crawly craft to work on near doubles, but you could use this for any math facts!

    Spider math craft

    Scarecrow Place Value Activity

    This scarecrow math activity is one way to work on place value math, but you could use it to build skills in understanding any addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division skills. Work on fact families, or writing numbers in different forms on each strand of the scarecrow’s hair. The options are pretty limitless! Be sure to check out the scarecrow craft tutorial for this activity.

    There are a lot of fine motor skills happening with this Halloween craft, too!

    scarecrow craft for a farm activities theme

    More Halloween Learning Activities

    halloween learning activities for preschool and toddlers. Math, science, literacy activities with a fall or Halloween theme.

    Here are more Halloween learning ideas that build skills, including monster math, candy corn counting, fall math, and more!

    Pumpkin Hunt Math from Still Playing School
    Monster Math and Science from Artsy Momma
    Candy Corn Literacy Games from Growing Book By Book
    Pumpkin Name Game from Fantastic Fun and Learning
    Candy Corn Math from From ABCs to ACTs
    Fall Counting Activities from Preschool Inspirations
    Fall Tree Number Matching from Mom Inspired Life

    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.