Color Sorting Activity

Color sorting activity

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

Fine Motor Color Sorting Activity with Straws

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

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

Color sorting activity with straws

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

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

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

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

  color sorting activity using straws

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

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

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

Kids love to work on fine motor skills through play!

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

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

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

Importance of Color sorting for toddlers and preschoolers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Color Sorting Activity with Straws

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

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

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

Looking for more fun ways to work on color sorting?

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

Cherry Blossom Tree Craft with fine motor work

Cherry blossom tree craft
 
We made these Cherry blossom trees one day as a Spring occupational therapy activity for kids.  This was the perfect way to brighten up our dining room.  We had a bunch of paper snowflakes hanging on our window and decided we needed to pull those down and make a few fun spring crafts!  This Cherry Blossom Tree craft hit the mark! This is just one of the fun Cherry blossom crafts here on the site that promote fine motor skills, strengthening, and precision in big ways.
 
Not only were our trees fun to make, they had a great fine motor component to them…and we love fine motor activities! 

Cherry blossom tree craft

 

 This post contains affiliate links. 

 

Cherry Blossom Tree craft

Trace a lid to make circles for cherry blossom tree craft.
 
We started with green Construction Paper and a peanut butter jar lid.  I traced a bunch of circles (and Baby Girl had to try her hand at tracing, too!)
 
Holding the lid and tracing around it is a great way to incorporate bilateral coordination and crossing midline. This is a nice precursor to the task of cutting out each circle. 
 
To address scissor skills, consider using thicker paper or cardstock to make the cutting activity easier. Here are strategies for working on scissor skills and cutting accuracy.
 
Cut circles for a Cherry blossom tree

These were cut out and we were ready to get started on our trees.

Dots of glue for cherry blossom tree craft

I put a bunch of dots of glue on the circles.  Older kids could do this part.  Squeezing the glue bottle is a great fine motor strengthening exercise for little hands.

For kids that need help working on graded resistance and grasp when managing a bottle of glue, practicing glue spots onto different sizes of circles like in a glue exercise is a good way to help with this functional task. 

The Glue Spots worksheets in the Spring Fine Motor Kit is a good exercise for this activity.

Crumbling tissue paper is great for fine motor skills.
 
Next, Big Sister pulled small bits of pink tissue paper from a big old sheet. 
 
Tearing tissue paper is such a GREAT fine motor strengthening exercise for kiddos. 
 
Crumbling those little bits works the intrinsic muscles of the hands (the small muscles that are in the hand and make up arches of the palm.  Strength of these muscles is so important to endurance in handwriting and coloring, maintaining adequate pressure when coloring, holding the pencil accurately…the needs for defined arches of the hands could go on and on and on!
 
Crumbling tissue paper for crumbled paper art is a functional fine motor craft that kids can hang up and admire their hard work. You’ll find more Crumble Art crafts in the Spring Fine Motor Kit, including templates for 5 different crumble art crafts: flowers, mushroom, rainbow, and Easter egg crafts.
 
Pinching tissue paper works on hand strength and tripod grasp.
 
Pressing those little tissue paper crumbles into the glue required a tripod grasp.  And, we had a ton of glue spots…so this was a good long activity!

Tripod grasp is worked on with this cherry blossom tree craft.

Cover all of those glue spots!

Make Cherry Blossom tree crat to work on fine motor skills with clothes pins for trunks.

Once our tissue paper/glue was dry, we clipped on clothes pin “trunks” onto our trees.  Pinching those pins was another way to encourage hand strengthening.  We had a whole forest of Cherry Blossom trees and got them involved on our train table, with the Little People stuff, with little dinosaurs.  We played with these Cherry Blossom trees until they fell apart!

Be sure to check out this other cherry blossom fine motor math activity, where we used pink tissue paper to make cherry blossoms and worked on tripod grasp and eye hand coordination skills.

 

Spring Fine Motor Kit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cherry Blossom Tree craft for kids with fine motor activity

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

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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.