Rainbow Sort Color Activity

rainbow sort fine motor activity

This rainbow sort activity is a fine motor skills idea to help kids sort colors while developing dexterity and precision and learning colors. By sorting the colors of the rainbow into small containers, a rainbow fine motor activity is a colorful way to help kids develop fine motor skills. Add this idea to your rainbow theme in therapy interventions, or home activities for developing motor skills.

Rainbow sort activity for fine motor skills in kids
Rainbow sort activity to help kids develop fine motor skills with a rainbow theme

 

Rainbow Sort

We have been on a rainbow kick recently and have a ton of rainbow projects going on right now.  This color sorting activity was a fun one that the big kids and my toddler really got into. 

This rainbow sort activity is easy to set up. All you need is colorful craft pom poms and an ice tray or two. The ice trays are the perfect size for the crafting pom poms.

 

Rainbow sort activity for kids to develop fine motor skills
 
Kids can sort the colors of the rainbow to work on fine motor skills

 

Preschool Rainbow Activities

 
This color sorting activity is great for toddlers to develop fine motor skills in the preschool and toddler years. Baby Girl (17 months) got right in there.
 
In the preschool years, fine motor skills are a precursor for handwriting and pencil grasp. This pre-writing activity is perfect for preschool aged children. 
 
Add this rainbow fine motor activity to the preschool classroom or home by adding tongs, tweezers, or scoops to help kids develop the precision, motor coordination, and eye-hand coordination skills kids need at the preschool age. 
 
Plus, this rainbow sort activity is a great way to teach preschoolers colors, too.
 
To work on pre-writing skills in other ways, try this rainbow prewriting activity available on a free slide deck. 
 
Tongs are a powerful fine motor tool to use in occupational therapy activities that develop fine motor skills. To elevate this fine motor activity, ask kids to make their own craft stick tongs to manipulate these colorful craft poms. Preschool children can sort the colors using different colored tongs that are easy to make.
 
Rainbow sorting fine motor activity for preschool
 She is ALWAYS watching the big kids and copies everything!
 
Look at that concentration.  And that cute little baby belly!   

 

Rainbow activity for fine motor skills in toddlers
 
I can’t stand the cuteness!
 
Toddler fine motor skills

 

Rainbow sort color learning activity for kids

 

Rainbow fine motor skills activity
 
 
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.

Activities for Teaching Colors

teaching colors

There are so many ways to include multisensory play in teaching colors to children. Here, you’ll find hands-on, creative ways to teach colors of the rainbow using play that helps kids develop skills, move, and grow. Use these color activities in preschool or to teach toddlers colors. It’s a fun way to develop visual discrimination skills in young children.

Multisensory activities to teach colors to toddlers, preschoolers, kindergarteners.

I’m including color activities for kindergarten and school-aged children, as well, because this color themes can be used in therapy activities or to help kids develop handwriting, or visual motor skills in the older grades. There is a lot of fun, hands-on activities listed here that help children learn colors and explore through play!

Activities to teach colors to toddlers

Teaching Colors to Toddlers

Toddler play and development is all about the hands-on exploration of the world. We have a lot of toddler activities designed to develop motor skills and learning here on the website that you’ll want to check out.

To teach colors to toddlers, it’s all about making things fun. These toddler activities will get you started with hands-on development activities.

So many color activities in the toddler years involve sorting colors, identifying colors, and pointing out colors. All of these activities lay the building blocks for visual discrimination that kids will use in reading and writing down the road.

Try these activities for teaching colors to toddlers:

Toddler Color Sorting with Toys– This activity uses toys and items that are found around the home, making the color identification part of every day life. You can use items that the child uses and sees every day.

Teach Color Sorting Activity– This simple color sorting activity is great for families that have a preschooler and a toddler. The preschooler can cut foam sheets and work on scissor skills and then both the preschooler and toddler can sort the paper scraps by color. This is a nice activity that allows siblings to work together to learn concepts and grow skills together.

Color Sort Busy Bag– Toddlers love to drop items into containers, and put things into buckets, bins, and bags…and then take them back out again. It’s all part of the learning process! This color sorting busy bag gives toddlers colored craft sticks or dyed lollipop sticks and has them sort by color. It’s a great activity for developing fine motor skills and coordination, too.

Cup Sorting for Toddlers– This color sorting activity uses items in the home, like plastic toddler cups! There is just something about toddlers playing in the kitchen with baby-safe items…and this one builds pre-literacy and pre-math skills that they will use long down the road…through play!

Talk about colors– Pointing out colors during play, conversation, in reading books, and going for walks…there are so many ways to teach colors to babies and toddlers through everyday conversation. It’s as simple as saying, “look at that blue flower” to add descriptive terms to kids.

Color with painting– Incorporate all of the colors of the rainbow in multisensory activities from a young age. These art play activities incorporates colors into play and learning through art with toddlers.

Teach colors with a ball pit– Use ball pit balls in a baby pool. You can bring a baby pool indoors as a baby ball pit to teach colors.

Teaching colors to preschoolers with multisensory learning activities

Teaching Colors in Preschool

In the preschool stage, learning occurs through play! These color learning activities are designed to promote learning through hands-on exploration, because those are the ways that learning “sticks”…when hands are busy and developing motor skills that they will later need for holding and writing with a pencil. Let’s look at some ways to teach colors in the preschool years:

Teaching Shapes and Colors with Rainbow Rocks by Fun-A-Day- This activity is fun because it uses the heavy weight of rocks to teach colors and shapes. But, kids are also strengthening their hands and gaining motor feedback about objects as they explore colors and other discriminating factors like weight and size.

Color and shape sorting– This preschool color sorting activity gives kids fine motor experiences with wikki stix. Ask preschoolers to copy the shapes, too for extra fine motor skill building and visual motor integration.

Fine Motor Color Sort– Grab an old spice container or cheese container, and some straws. This color sorting activity lays the groundwork for fine motor skill development and math skills. Kids can count the straws as they drop into the container and work on sorting colors while developing open thumb web space, separation of the sides of the hand and arch strength.

Color Matching Water Bin– This color learning activity is a sensory motor activity that also teaches letters. It’s perfect for preschool and kindergarten or even older grades as kids are immersed in multi- sensory learning with letters and pre-reading skills.

Clothespin Color Match– Children will love this fine motor activity that builds hand strength in a big way.

Bear Sees Colors Book and Activity– We used a snack to explore colors with a beloved preschool book. This is multisensory learning at its finest.

Gross Motor Color Games– There are many ways to explore and teach colors using games. Try some of these to add movement and play into learning colors at the preschool level:

  • Color I Spy- Call out a color and kids can run to touch something that is that color. Add variations of movement by asking kids to skip, hop, leap, crawl, or bear walk to touch the colors.
  • Color Simon Says- Call out directions based on clothing colors that kids are wearing. Add as many variations of movement and auditory challenges. This is a great activity for building working memory skills in preschoolers.
  • Color Tag- Kids can play tag and when they tag another player, they need to say a color for that person to go to. Another variation is having the players who are tagged run to a color that the tagger calls out.
Teaching colors to kindergarten children with multisensory learning activities.

Teach Colors in Kindergarten and older grades

Once children are school-aged, teaching colors doesn’t end. In the school years, children explore color mixing, learning about primary colors, and more. Look at all of these color experiences that kids learn during the school years:

  • Spelling color names
  • Learning Primary Colors
  • Learning secondary colors
  • Color mixing
  • Color theory
  • Color wheel
  • Complimentary colors

Try some of these color activities for older children:

Color I Spy free therapy slide deck- This color themed scavenger hunt will get kids up and moving, using the items they have in their home as they work on visual perceptual skills, handwriting, and more. Kids can visually scan around their home to match the colors on the slide deck. Then, there is a handwriting component. This is a great slide deck for anyone working on handwriting skills with kids, virtually.

Color Exercises– Use gross motor exercises and stretches as well as fine motor exercises to get kids moving while working on SO many skill areas: bilateral coordination, motor planning, strengthening, core strength, precision, dexterity, visual motor skills…

Rainbow Deep Breathing Exercise– This free printable PDF is super popular. There’s a reason why: kids love the deep breathing activity and We love the mindfulness, coping skills, calming, and regulation benefits. Great for all ages.

Rainbow Binoculars Craft– Kids can use paper towel tubes in a craft that helps them look for and identify colors. Use these rainbow binoculars in visual scanning, visual discrimination, visual figure-ground, and other perceptual skills.

Colored pencils activities All you need is a couple of colored pencils (or substitute with a regular pencil if that’s all you’ve got on hand) to work on pencil control, line awareness, pencil pressure, and letter formation.

Benefits of coloring with crayons Just grab a box of crayons and build so many fine motor and visual motor skills.

Make crayon play dough– Explore colors with heavy work input through the hands and arms using all the colors of the rainbow. This crayon play dough recipe is a popular sensory recipe here on the website.

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.

Valentines Day Busy Bag

Fine motor activity using cookie cutters

Busy Bag Activities are a great way to learn and play during quiet time or down time.  There’s a lot of learning that happens during activities with kids.  We put together this Valentine’s Day busy bag activity as a way to practice fine motor skills and color sorting.  It’s another Valentines Day occupational therapy activity that builds essential skills.

Valentine's Day busy bag with fine motor heart activity using cookie cutters and beads.

Heart Busy Bag Activity

This sorting heart busy bag is a powerful way to improve in-hand manipulation skills.   In-hand manipulation  is a fine motor dexterity skill needed for tasks like managing clothing fasteners, using a pencil when writing, manipulating items like coins or beads, and more.

Valentine's Day busy bag color sorting activity with beads for fine motor work and color identification.

Valentine’s Day Busy Bag Activity

This post contains affiliate links.

Work on fine motor skills with this Valentine's Day fine motor activity

We started with a big bin of  beads and a few heart cookie cutters.  I showed Little Sister (age 3) how to sort the beads by color into the hearts.  She had a blast examining each bead and saying “Oh, this one looks pinkish!  Oh this one looks purple-ish!”  

Valentine's Day busy bag and fine motor activity for skills like in-hand manipulation.
Use heart shaped cookie cutters and beads to work on fine motor skills.
Work on fine motor skills with a Valentine's Day fine motor activity


Fine Motor Valentine’s Day Activity

Manipulating the beads in the big bin to grab certain colors works on some great fine motor skills.  You need to pick up the beads with a pincer grasp (tips of the pointer finger and thumb) with fine dexterity.  

Once she grasped a bead, Little Sister would “squirrel away” the colors into the palm of the hand.  This transfer of beads from the tips of the fingers into the palm of the hand is in-hand manipulation(fingers to palm translation).  

Manipulating small items like beads in this way works on the muscles of the hands and is a great way to work on pre-handwriting or handwriting skills.  A child needs strength of the intrinsic muscles (the muscles within the hand) to manipulate the pencil and maintain endurance for writing and coloring.

Work on fine motor skills with this heart Valentine's Day occupational therapy activity.

More Fine Motor Heart Activities

The Valentine’s Day Fine Motor Kit is here! This printable kit is 25 pages of hands-on activity sheets designed to build skills in pinch and grasp strength, endurance, eye-hand coordination, precision, dexterity, pencil control, handwriting, scissor skills, coloring, and more.

When you grab the Valentine’s Day Fine Motor Kit now, you’ll get a free BONUS activity: 1-10 clip cards so you can challenge hand strength and endurance with a counting eye-hand coordination activity.

Click here to grab your copy of the Valentine’s Day Fine Motor Kit.

Valentines Day fine motor kit
15 Must-Try Valentine Busy Bags

Find even more amazing Valentine busy bags

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT:

Arrow Addition Matching Game // Mama.Papa.Bubba.

Felt Heart Garden // Powerful Mothering

LEGO Valentine’s Day Puzzle // Lemon Lime Adventures

Letter Match Memory Game // The Educators’ Spin On It

Printable Valentine’s Day Mix and Match Puzzles // Itsy Bitsy Fun

Printable Conversation Heart Number Book // Playdough to Plato

Conversation Heart Color Match // Preschool Inspirations

Valentine’s Day Math Busy Bag // Still Playing School

3 Low Prep Busy Bags // Lalymom

Plant Heart Garden // Best Toys 4 Toddlers

Tic Tac Toe // Frogs Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

Valentine’s Day Number Matching // Coffee Cups and Crayons  

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.

Work on Tripod Grasp (and Pencil Grasp) with Everyday Items

tripod grasp using household items

Did you know you can work on tripod grasp using everyday items found around the home? There are so many ways to improve pencil grasp and the fine motor skills needed for strong hands using materials like cardboard boxes, straws, and other household items. Here, you’ll find fun ways to improve tripod grasp with the items you already have in your home.

Work on tripod grasp using everyday items found around the home.

It’s the everyday items that help a household to run that are seen by children and experimented with in playful ways.    

“How fast can I push this basket across the carpet?”   

“Can I stab this spoon into the dirt of that potted plant?”   

Kids experiment through play and while they are antagonizing the Spider Plant in the corner, they are learning so much. They are building and developing skills that they need for handwriting, buttoning, and cutting with scissors.  

Sometimes it’s the everyday household objects that are so much more fun than toys!  

Today’s tips use everyday items to work on a fine motor skill that kids need for handwriting: tripod grasp!   Recently, I shared with you a series of 31 Days of Occupational Therapy.  It was a fun series, and I loved sharing tips using free or mostly free items. Today, I’ve got an activity that almost made the series, but I just ran out of days. This tripod grasp activity is a fun one in our house .

Work on tripod grasp using everyday household items. Tips from an Occupational Therapist.

Tripod Grasp with Straws

  This post contains affiliate links.   This tripod grasp activity was one that we put together one day while cleaning out a cupboard.  I shared it over on Instagram recently.  

This Peg Board with 1000 Pegs is one that I’ve had in my OT treatment bag for 20+ years.  It’s one of my favorite treatment tools for working on so many areas.  Push small pegs into the holes to work on in-hand manipulation, tripod grasp, and pincer grip. Copy designs with pegs and work on hand-eye coordination, visual scanning, visual perceptual skills, form constancy, and more. Turn it over and use the back as a mini geoboard with string small loops. Tilt it on a slant and work on an extended surface.  This little pegboard has been used by tons of kids working on so many skills.  It really is one of my all-time favorite OT activities.   

I love that I now get to share this pegboard with my own kids.     

Work on tripod grasp using everyday household items. Tips from an Occupational Therapist.

 We pulled out a handful of straws from a box of juice drinks.  These straws were left over from a party where we didn’t use the straws.  You could save small straws like this from juice drinks and wash them out.     I showed my daughter how to push the straws into the peg holes and she took over, arranging the straws over and over again.  We then used cut up pieces of straws and threaded them onto the straw pegs.   


Work on tripod grasp with straws

Using a material like straws to develop fine motor strength and dexterity is just one way to work on tripod grasp with everyday items.

Cut a straw into small pieces and thread them onto the juice straws.  Picking up the small straw “beads” and threading them onto the juice straws is a great way to work on tripod grasp.  

Using the thumb, index finger, and middle finger to pick up small items uses a tripod grasp.  This efficient grasp is needed to hold a pencil effectively while handwriting.  The small straw pieces require an open thumb web space and defined arches of the hands.  What a fine motor workout this is!  


Improve tripod grasp with everyday household items

 Ok, so say you don’t have juice box straws to use in a pegboard.  You can use a variety of other household items in a similar way to work on a tripod grasp.

  • Push toothpicks into a spice container.
  • Thread beads onto dry spaghetti poked into play dough.  (Work on color matching with this one, too!)
  • Thread cereal onto string.
  • Push acorns into play dough.
  • Drop dry beans into small containers.
  • Press sticks into play dough.
  • Position washers onto screws.
  • Paint with small squares of cut up kitchen sponges.
  • Press push pins into a bulletin board or recycled containers.
  • Push golf tees into a shoe box.
  • Press game pieces into play dough.
  • Use tweezers to place small balls of tissue paper into a container.
  • Push small pieces of pipe cleaners into a cardboard box.

Work on tripod grasp using everyday household items. Tips from an Occupational Therapist.

   

These are some of my favorite every day items to work on tripod grasp.  You might find them in a junk drawer or in a closet somewhere.  Use them to work on a tripod grasp and efficient handwriting:  

These Colorful golf tees are bright and colorful, and perfect for pressing into stryofoam or thing cardboard. 


Straws can be cut into small pieces and used as beads. Thread them onto pipe cleaners, string, or other straws. 


Screws, nuts, and bolts are a great way to work on tripod grasp and other fine motor skills like in-hand manipulation and rotation. 


Cotton swabs make a great writing utensil. Work on tripod grasp while painting with them.


Use Push Pins to work on tripod grasp like we did here. Watch the pointy end with younger kids! 


Use a Kitchen sponge to work on a tripod grasp by cutting the sponge into small squares. Squeeze water to fill a container, or use them to paint.

More tripod grasp activities you will love:


 
 
free pencil grasp challenge

JOIN THE PENCIL GRASP CHALLENGE!

Want to know how to fix a problem with pencil grasps? Need help knowing where to start when it comes to immature pencil grasps or a child hating to write because their hand hurts? The Pencil Grasp Challenge in open for you! In this free, 5 day email series, you’ll gain information, resources, specific activities designed to promote a functional, efficient pencil grasp.

The pencil grasp challenge is a free, 5 day mini course and challenge. During the course of five days, I’ll be teaching everything you need to know about the skills that make up a functional pencil grasp. You’ll learn what’s going on behind the inefficient and just plain terrible pencil grasps you see everyday in the classroom, clinic, or home. Along with loads of information, you’ll gain quick, daily activities that you can do today with a kiddo you know and love. These are easy activities that use items you probably already have in your home right now.

Besides learning and gaining a handful (pun intended) of fun ideas to make quick wins in pencil grasp work, you’ll gain:

  • 5 days of information related to pencil grasp, so you know how to help kids fix an immature pencil grasp.
  • Specific activities designed to build a functional pencil grasp.
  • Free printable handouts that you can use to share with your team or with a parent/fellow teachers.
  • You’ll get access to printable challenge sheets, and a few other fun surprises.
  • And, possibly the best of all, you’ll get access to a secret challengers Facebook group, where you can share wins, chat about all things pencil grasp, and join a community of other therapists, parents and teachers working on pencil grasp issues.

Click here to join the Pencil Grasp Challenge.

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.

Welcome to the Pencil Grasp Challenge!

Use these pencil grasp activities to help build the fine motor skills kids need for handwritng

I am SO excited about this challenge. What is the Pencil Grasp Challenge? Well, if you know a child who struggles with pencil grasp, holds the pencil with a tight or inefficient grip, uses all of their fingers to hold a pencil , or writes with an awkward grasp, the Pencil Grasp Challenge is for you!

Let me tell you a little more about the challenge.

PENCIL GRASP CHALLENGE

The pencil grasp challenge for kids

If you already signed up, be sure to check your email, because I have some surprises there for you and access to our private community.

If you haven’t sighted up yet, but want to, find the link to join us below.

What is the Pencil Grasp Challenge?

Pencil grasp challenge activities to help pencil grasp problems

The pencil grasp challenge is a free, 5 day mini course and challenge. During the course of five days, I’ll be teaching everything you need to know about the skills that make us a functional pencil grasp. You’ll learn what’s going on behind the inefficient and just plain terrible pencil grasps you see everyday in the classroom, clinic, or home. Along with loads of information, you’ll gain quick, daily activities that you can do today with a kiddo you know and love These are easy activities that use items you probably already have in your home right now.

Besides learning and gaining a handful (pun intended) of fun ideas to make quick wins in pencil grasp work, you’ll gain free printable handouts that you can use to share with your team or with a parent/fellow teacher. You’ll get access to printable challenge sheets, and a few other fun surprises. And, possibly the best of all, you’ll get access to a secret challengers Facebook group, where you can share wins, chat about all things pencil grasp, and join a community of other therapists, parents and teachers working on pencil grasp issues. This is going to be fun!

Pencil grasp challenge and activities for a better pencil grasp

If you haven’t already, be sure to sign up now, because we’re gearing up for a fun week in the pencil grasp Facebook group.

Click here to sign up for the Pencil Grasp Challenge, if you haven’t already.

More about the challenge

This challenge has been on my mind (and on my laptop) for almost TWO YEARS. Crazy, right? You know how life gets in the way of really big and world-changing projects, right? Well, here’s how it started. I have A LOT of handwriting and fine motor activities here on The OT Toolbox website. A lot of those activities are perfect for developing a functional and efficient pencil grasp. I had an idea to create a challenge of fine motor activities to boost the skills kids need for strong and efficient hands, so they can hold and manipulate a pencil without difficulty. I started using #pencilgraspchallenge hashtag on my Instagram posts for those activities, with the intention to start this challenge with all of you.

In fact, go ahead and check out #pencilgraspchallenge on Instagram…you’ll find loads of fun fine motor activities designed specifically to build the skills needed for a better pencil grasp.

Use these pencil grasp activities to  help build the fine motor skills kids need for handwritng

Want to join us in helping kids achieve a better, functional pencil grasp that works for them? This is going to be fun!

Click here to join The Pencil Grasp Challenge!

Join the pencil grasp challenge series to build fine motor skills in kids
Pencil activities to help kids write with a functional grasp

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.

Hole Reinforcement Stickers Snowman Craft

 You know we like to use materials that are on hand to help kids develop fine motor skills. This snowman craft uses hole reinforcement stickers to make a cute craft that works on fine motor skills. We do a TON of Fine Motor activities here! This Fine Motor Snowman art craft was just the thing to work on a little fine motor dexterity while keeping with our wintery freezing theme!  We worked on tip to tip grasp, bilateral hand coordination, and intrinsic muscle strength, while creating our snowmen.  Read all about it below!  

Cute fine motor snowman craft using hole reinforcement stickers.

Craft with hole reinforcement stickers

This post contains affiliate links.

Use hole reinforcement stickers to help kids develop fine motor skills with this cute snowman craft.

We started with a sheet of Hole Reinforcement Stickers.  These were fun to pull from the sheet and stick onto our blue Construction Paper.

Kids can use hole reinforcement stickers to make a snowman craft and strengthen fine motor skills.

Pulling the reinforcement stickers from the sheet required bilateral hand coordination to manage the page and pull the sticker off with the other hand.  Managing two hands together in a coordinated manner is bilateral hand coordination.  This skill is very important for self care tasks such as buttoning and zippering clothing, tying shoes, and handwriting.

We placed the stickers into a snowman by placing one sticker above the others.  It was starting to look like a snowman party!

Pincer grasp development by peeling and placing small stickers.

Pinching the small stickers from the sheet required precise fine motor dexterity.  Using a tip-to-tip grasp to peel the sticker from the sheet was necessary because the stickers were so small.  A tip-to-tip grasp occurs when the ends of the pointer finger and thumb are used to pick up very small items.  Think about picking up a needle from a table surface.  This can be a very difficult and advanced fine motor skill for some!

Paint hole reinforcement stickers to make a snowan.

  Once our snowman were placed on the paper, we painted them with blue paint

Fine motor craft for kids.

 While the paint was still wet, we sprinkled clear glitter on our snowmen.  This is the same technique used in our homemade glitter glue craft.

Picking up the glitter and sprinkling activates the small muscles of the hands~ the intrinsic muscles.  These are the muscles that allow for strength in the arches of the hands and are very important for endurance in coloring and writing with a pencil.  The glitter stuck on the paint and made very sparkly snowmen!


To finish the project, peel the reinforcement stickers away and you’ll find a snowman.  Be sure to peel away the reinforcement labels away while the paint is still wet, otherwise it will be difficult to pull them away.   

Want more ways to boost fine motor skills with a snowman theme or winter theme? The Winter Fine Motor Kit is on sale now!

This print-and-go winter fine motor kit includes no-prep fine motor activities to help kids develop functional grasp, dexterity, strength, and endurance. Use fun, winter-themed, fine motor activities so you can help children develop strong fine motor skills in a digital world.

More than ever, kids need the tools to help them build essential fine motor skills so they develop strong and dexterous hands so they can learn, hold & write with a pencil, and play.

This 100 page no-prep packet includes everything you need to guide fine motor skills in face-to-face AND virtual learning. Includes winter themed activities for hand strength, pinch and grip, dexterity, eye-hand coordination, bilateral coordination, endurance, finger isolation, and more. 

Click here to grab 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.

The Many Benefits of Coloring with Crayons

Fine motor skills with coloring

There are many benefits of coloring with crayons in occupational therapy interventions. Coloring with crayons is a fine motor skill that builds other skills. Did you know that the act of coloring with a crayon can help children develop fine motor strength, dexterity, grasp, and endurance in their hands? And, coloring skills develop by more coloring. Here’s the thing: occupational therapists use crayons to help children develop fine motor skills, but they also work on the development of coloring skills as a functional task that is part of play, and typical child development. Let’s talk about all of the coloring skills that occupational therapy addresses with a simple box of crayons.

Benefits of coloring in child development

You know that smell, right? It’s kind of waxy and flaky (if that’s a smell…) and so distinctive! If you open a box of crayons that have the little marks of each crayon inside the cardboard box, it has an even stronger smell.  Crayons smell like childhood! This post on coloring skills is part of my 31 Days of Occupational Therapy series, where each day is a creative activity using OT treatment materials that are free or almost free.  

Fine Motor Skills with Crayons

Crayons are something that most homes have in a pencil box, in an old tin, or in a drawer somewhere.  Did you know those childhood memory sticks (aka Crayons) can be used in SO many skill areas?  

Consider fine and gross motor strength, tool use, sensory processing, pencil grasp, line awareness, hand-eye coordination, dexterity, endurance, self-confidence, creativity, task completion, and learning objectives like color identification, and color matching.  Crayons develop the very skills needed for pencil grasp and carryover of that pencil grasp. Whew!  No wonder crayons get worn down to nubs with all of those areas that they are working on!  



Coloring is a fine motor skill and it helps kids develop other areas.

Benefits of Coloring for Children

There are so many developmental benefits to coloring! It’s more than creating a colorful preschool work of art.

Related Read: Read about how we worked on carryover of pencil grasp and strengthened fine motor skills and so many other areas with our 3 Crayon Challenge activity.

There are so many benefits to coloring for kids: hand strength, visual motor skills, visual perception, tool use, creativity, endurance, creativity, self-confidence, task completion, and learning objectives!  Tips from an Occupational Therapist for working on coloring and handwriting in school and at home.

Coloring with crayons Improves Tool Use


Coloring with crayons improves a child’s ability to manipulate tools such as pencils, scissors, utensils, grooming and hygiene tools, and other functional tools with ease. By developing coloring skills, kids have a natural opportunity to explore a writing utensil in a way that is fun and creative.  

They can use different colors by placing crayons back into the box with a coordinated manner.  To further develop tool use with children, offer a crayon pencil sharpener, a small bin or zippered pouch that needs opening or closing, and a variety of crayon sizes and shapes. All of these can extend fine motor skills with more practice in tool use as well as dexterity.

Coloring with Crayons improves Bilateral Coordination

Bilateral Coordination is a fine motor skill needed for so many tasks. Using both hands together in a coordinated manner is a skill needed for handwriting, scissor use, and many functional tasks.  When coloring, a child needs to hold the paper as they color.  Using the assisting, non-dominant hand as a stabilizer allows a child to build strength and dexterity in their dominant hand.  This skill will carry over to writing tasks, and makes coloring a great activity for kids who are switching hands in activities.

Coloring with Crayons Improves Endurance


Building on the fine motor skill areas, coloring can deepen a child’s endurance in completing writing tasks.  

Many times, kids will complain of hand fatigue while coloring.  They can build muscle endurance by coloring with the small muscles of their hands and allow for greater endurance when writing, too. To help a child develop hand strength, use coloring!

You can help kids improve hand strength with this simple coloring exercise: Instruct a child how to color in small circles to work on the strength and endurance of the intrinsic muscles.  Ask them to fill in the complete circle. To extend the activity, create more circles. This exercise can be extended further by working on a vertical surface such as an easel or by taping the page to a wall. This develops proximal stability at the shoulder girdle as well as core strength, allowing for postural stability in written work.

If a child needs to work on this area, you can show the student how to color on a slanted surface like a slanted table surface or elevated surface. Here is an easy way to create a DIY slant board.

Broken Crayons help with hand strength! 

Fine motor skills with coloring

Coloring develops Tripod Grasp


Coloring is a fine motor strengthening tool that many Occupational Therapists recommend and use in treatment sessions.  Coloring is a resistive task that provides the small muscles in the hand to work the waxy crayon onto coloring sheets.  When a child holds a crayon, they are working on the strength of the intrinsic muscles of the hand.  

Using broken crayons requires more work and is a greater strengthening task for kids who need to work on their tripod grasp. For more strengthening, encourage your child to color more resistive surfaces such as construction paper, cardboard, or even sand paper. 


Coloring offers sensory input


Coloring with a crayon can be an opportunity to add heavy work through the hands. This sensory feedback is proprioceptive input that “wakes up” the muscles of the hands and can be calming input.

Unlike a marker, children can color lightly or very dark by exerting more pressure.  The proprioceptive system comes into play when a child attempts to vary the amount of pressure they are exerting through the crayon.

Coloring with markers just doesn’t provide that resistive feedback that coloring with a waxy crayon does. Markers are smooth and don’t give kids the sensory input that help with learning letters.  For a fun twist on letter formation activities, grab a box of crayons!  

To help kids write with heavier or lighter pencil pressure when writing, encourage children to shade and combine colors by being aware of how lightly or darkly they are coloring.  There is also that crayon scent that children are aware of, either consciously or unconsciously.  If you recall the scent of crayons from your childhood, then you know what I’m talking about here!

Coloring Skills Develop Spatial Awareness


Coloring skill development progresses as children gain experience in coloring. By developing coloring skills, kids can improve visual perceptual skills. Spatial awareness is an aspect of perceptual skills.

Visual perception is so important to many functional skills in handwriting: awareness of the body’s position as it moves through space, line awareness, using margins on a page, and writing within a given space.  Coloring is a great tool in working on these areas as children color within lines and given spaces.  

But sometimes, kids have trouble staying in the lines or coloring in areas without leaving large spaces uncolored.  Verbal prompts, highlighted lines, bold lines, thick coloring lines, and physical prompts like raised lines can improve spatial awareness in coloring.

There are so many benefits to coloring for kids: hand strength, visual motor skills, visual perception, tool use, creativity, endurance, creativity, self-confidence, task completion, and learning objectives!  Tips from an Occupational Therapist for working on coloring and handwriting in school and at home.

Coloring Skills and Eye Hand Coordination

One reason that coloring in occupational therapy sessions is so well-used as an intervention strategy is the development of eye-hand coordination skills. There are benefits of coloring with crayons when it comes to coordinating vision and motor skills. When writing or coloring, children must coordinate their physical movements with information received from their visual system.  

Controlled movements are essential for handwriting, letter formation, and neatness in handwriting.  Coloring helps with practicing coordination of the visual input with physical movements of the hands in very small spaces or large areas.

Providing smaller areas of coloring require more controlled movements and dexterity.  For difficulties in this area, consider adding boundaries to coloring areas, with darkened and thicker lines or raised boundaries like using Wikki Stix around the coloring area.

Coloring Benefits Creativity and Self-Confidence


Another of the benefits of coloring with crayons involves self-confidence. Coloring inspires creativity in kids.  A blank piece of paper and a box of crayons can inspire stories and pictures.  Being creative allows a child to build their self-confidence in other areas, especially handwriting and pencil tasks. If you’ve ever received a coloring masterpiece from a child, then you know the pure delight they have when giving a creation they have made.  That boost of self-confidence will entice them to complete other paper/pencil tasks.

Coloring helps with Color Identification and Color Matching


Crayons are color!  Kids can be encouraged to practice color identification with the bright and vivid colors in a crayon box.  Use a color by number activity to work on color matching skills.

These visual discrimination skills, visual scanning, visual attention, and visual memory needed to identify and match colors are part of the visual perceptual skills we talked about above. All of these are needed skills for reading, writing, math, and other higher level cognitive skills.

Coloring with crayons in occupational therapy helps kids develop fine motor skills

Coloring in occupational therapy teletherapy

All you need to develop the skills listed above is a simple box of crayons. This makes coloring a powerful tool in occupational therapy teletherapy, because many homes have crayons available.

Working on fine motor skills in teletherapy can be difficult because so many of an occupational therapist’s favorite fine motor tools might not be available. This is where using crayons to work on a variety of skills can be so powerful.

Try some of these teletherapy activities using crayons:

So, now you know the many benefits of coloring with crayons.  How can you use crayons in developmental and functional tasks?  Let’s explore crayons for various ages and stages.

Toys and tools for kids who love to color and ways to incorporate coloring into kids daily lives to work on so many functional skills like fine motor, grasp, visual perceptual.

Toys for Coloring Skills

Here are some creative learning and play ideas that kids will love.  Some of these are more pricey than just a box of crayons, but your crayon fan will enjoy using these toys and games and won’t even realize they are working on so many skills!

(We’re including affiliate links.)   One of our favorite books is The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Dewalt. This is a book for crayon fans! We grab this book from the library anytime we see it, and it’s got a great message, too. Kids will be inspired to color after reading this book about crayons. 

 It’s no secret that crayons are a fine motor powerhouse when it comes to developing that tripod grasp! You can use larger crayons for smaller kids or children who need to work on other grasps, like a lateral key grasp, or children who need to work on thumb adduction in functional tasks like scissoring. These ALEX Jr. Tots First Crayons are just the thing to try! 

 Work on more fine motor skills, like finger isolation when using Finger Crayons.

Kids can get creative and explore sensory play while using crayons in the bathtub. 


 These Bath Time Crayons are on my list to try!

Do you remember rubbing crayons over fashion design kits as a kid? There is a reason to do this play activity with kids! 


This Fashion Design Activity Kit provides proprioceptive input and strength to little hands in a fun and creative way. 


 With 152 colors, this Crayola Ultimate Crayon Case will give your kiddo a color for every creative whim. This looks so inviting! 


 There is a coloring book out there for everyone! Even adults can get in on the coloring fun with creative coloring like this Art Nouveau Animal Designs Coloring Book . Color alongside your child for calming and relaxing art time. 


 I love the large size and big pictures of the Melissa & Doug Jumbo Coloring Pads. They are perfect for the youngest colorers. 


For more creative fun, try Dry Erase Crayons right on a dry erase surface. This is a great way to practice spelling words on a resistive surface. 


Little artists will love to create their own t-shirt designs using Fabric Crayons
. This is a fun way to work on fine motor strength and bilateral coordination. Holding down that cotton t-shirt is a bilateral coordination workout!

There are so many benefits to coloring for kids: hand strength, visual motor skills, visual perception, tool use, creativity, endurance, creativity, self-confidence, task completion, and learning objectives!  Tips from an Occupational Therapist for working on coloring and handwriting in school and at home.

Colors Handwriting Kit

Working on handwriting skills in occupational therapy sessions?

Need to help your child with handwriting legibility, letter formation, spacing, and sizing in written work?

Working on handwriting in the classroom and need a fun colors of the rainbow theme for motivating handwriting tasks?

The Colors Handwriting Kit has you covered!

In the 60 page printable kit, you’ll find handwriting worksheets, fine motor activity pages for A-Z, colors “write the room” cards for uppercase letters, lowercase letters, and cursive letters. This kit has evertyhing you need for helpiing kindergarten-2nd grade students with handwriting skills.

Click here to access the Colors Handwriting Kit.

Colors Handwriting Kit
Colors Handwriting Kit for working on handwriting with a colors theme.

More Crayon activities

Metallic Crayon Dough

Shades of red crayon play dough 

Harold and the Purple Crayon play dough 

Rainbow Crayon Play Dough

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.

Tearing Paper Awesome Fine Motor Activity

Tearing paper activity for kids

So often, parents are looking for easy ways to help kids develop fine motor skills. Tearing paper is an amazing fine motor activity for kids.  It’s a simple fine motor activity that requires only scrap paper and your hands. In fact, tearing paper actually helps children develop so many essential skills: hand strength, hand eye coordination, precision, refined movements, bilateral coordination…

Tearing paper is an amazing fine motor activity for kids to build coordination and hand strength.

Tearing Paper

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

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

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

  • Hand eye coordination
  • Bilateral coordination
  • Pinch strength
  • Intrinsic hand strength
  • Separation of the sides of the hand
  • Shoulder and forearm stability
  • Precision and refined grasp
  • Proprioceptive input
  • Motor planning
tearing paper is a fine motor skills workout for kids.

Paper Tearing Activity

We use recycled artwork to create this Torn Paper texture art that would look great on any gallery (or family dining room) wall!

Paper tearing activity for kids uses recycled artwork to build fine motor skills and motor control while tearing paper.

Torn paper art work using recycled art:

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

Fine motor art craft for working on intrinsic muscle skills and tripod grasp with kids while using all of that recycled artwork, too!

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

For this paper tearing activity, first tear a sheet into long strips.  This will become the sky of our artwork.

Use kids artwork to create a paper tearing activity that builds fine motor skills.
Tearing paper builds fine motor skills and endurance in fine motor precision, making it a fine motor workout!

Torn paper Collage

Tearing strips of paper is especially a great fine motor task.  

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

Tearing the paper slowly while focusing on strait torn lines really encourages a workout of those intrinsic muscles.  We tore an 9×11 piece of painted printer paper into long strips, lengthwise.  The thin paper isn’t too difficult to tear, but requires motor control.

This is a fantastic way to build motor planning skills.

Tear paper in a torn paper collage artwork for kids. Tearing strips of green paper to build motor skills.

 Vary the texture of the paper and add green cardstock.  The thicker paper requires a bit more strength. Tearing paper that is thicker like cardstock, index cards, or construction paper adds heavy input through the hands. This propriocpetive input can be very calming and allow kids to regulate or focus while adding the sensory input they need.

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

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

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

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

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

Tear a piece of paper to help kids strengthen fine motor skills.

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

Tearing paper activity for kids

 Glue the sun onto the sky and enjoy the art.  

More paper activities that build skills:

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.