Toys to Improve Scissors Skills

scissor skills toys

Today we are talking all about the very best toys to improve scissor skills. When kids are learning to cut with scissors, developing scissor skills precision through actual use of scissors to cut various grades of paper is the primary goal and means. But, did you consider different toys that support scissor skill development? These occupational therapy toys specifically develop the skills needed to snip paper, cut, and manipulate scissors to cut!

Amazon affiliate links are included in this blog post. As an Amazon Influencer, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Scissor skills toys to help kids use scissors.

Scissor Skills Toys

When working as an Occupational Therapist in the schools, one of my favorite skills to work on with kids was scissor skills. I loved working on the fine motor strength to open and shut scissors repeatedly in order to cut a shape with endurance, the eye-hand coordination needed in order to manage the scissors along lines, and the bilateral hand coordination needed to manage the paper and the scissors.  

There are a lot of little steps needed for each of these components of cutting a shape.  A child can become very frustrated with the task of cutting with scissors if just one of these areas are difficult.  I love that many scissor tasks can be graded according to skill, age, or ability when it comes to snipping.  And I love doing activities with my kids to work on hand strength needed for using scissors or working on visual motor skills  needed for cutting shapes with scissors.  

When it’s time to look for toys or holidays or birthdays, sometimes parents want a gift that is purposeful for independence or developmental skills like toys to help kids with getting dressed or toys to help with pencil grasp.  This one is all about our favorite toys to help with Scissor Skills!  

The scissor skills toys listed below will support development of scissor use no matter what type of scissors are used; The recommended toys for scissor use support development of the underlying skills needed for scissor use.

Toys and ideas to work on scissor skills in kids.  These are great gift ideas for preschoolers and Toddlers.

Toys to Help Kids work on Scissor Skills:

Scissor sets can help kids work on the developmentally appropriate levels of using scissors: snipping, cutting strait lines, then curved lines and angled lines. Finally simple shapes and complex shapes are covered as the child works their way through the books.  

Affiliate links are included below.

Ready, Set, Cut! (affiliate link) from Alex Toys for scissor practice on curved and spiraled lines to create eight crafts.

Preschool Practice Scissor Skills (affiliate link) book for ages 3-5 with 32 pages of scissor readiness skills for kids.  

The Melissa & Doug Scissor Skills Activity Pad (affiliate link) with 20 pages of scissor skill mazes, activities, and art.  This book includes a pair of scissors.

Hand strength for scissor tasks

Toys that develop hand strength, separation of the sides of the hand, and the endurance needed to manipulate scissors in order to cut through paper can be developed with the use of fun with scoop toys and tong toys:

Learning Resources Handy Scoopers (affiliate link) are beyond cool for scissor readiness and strengthening.  These scooping tools are great for using the muscles of the hands needed in scissor motions.  The opening and closing motions needed for scissor manipulation can be tiring for some children.  Practice scooping up crafting poms, cotton balls, tiny erasers, water beads, play dough, and more with these fun tools. Cutting playdough builds so many skills, so this is a fun way to make the development even more fun.

  We used bunny tongs in scissor play to work on hand strength.  These bunny tongs aren’t on Amazon right now, but we did find other egg tongs (affiliate link) that will work on hand strength.  You can also use play dough to improve scissor skills.

Something really neat are these dough scissors (affiliate link) for cutting clay and play dough.  These are great for strengthening the muscles of the hands.

Tong Toys to work on Eye Hand Coordination

Cutting with scissors requires precision in eye hand coordination skills. The ability to open and close scissors is a coordinated skill. This is one that develops through practice. These tong games are great for developing hand-eye coordination in scissor skill work:

How cute is this Barbecue Party Game (affiliate link) that comes with barbeque tongs (great for grasping play!)  

Equally as cute and equally great for hand endurance is the PlayMonster Stacktopus (affiliate link) which requires repetitive open/shut motions of the hand using octopus tentacles that slip onto the fingers and thumb. These open/shut motions mirror tongs or that of the movement of scissors…and it’s a great pre-curser for scissor skills!  

Jumbo sized Tongs (affiliate link) would make a great stocking stuffer and are big time fun for grasping erasers, crafting poms, dice, and small items of all kinds.

Fun Scissors Gift Ideas for Kids: 

These would be fun stocking stuffer ideas while using tools and toys for scissor skills!

Zig Zag Cool Cuts scissors (affiliate link) from Alex Toys cut zig zags and wavy edges.  These scissors make snipping fun.  A fun blade can make scissor practice fun for kids of all ages.  Throw this together with a pack of colored paper for an easy gift idea.  

Cardstock is thicker and can provide more resistance for new scissor users.  This increased resistance will slow snipping paper speed and allow for more accuracy when cutting lines of shapes.

Loop scissors (affiliate link) are great for children with weakness in extending the thumb, or coordination difficulties.  The loop of the scissors opens automatically and the ease of opening the blades can allow for improved line awareness in cutting if the child does not need to focus on the physical task of opening and closing the scissor blades.

Spring Assist scissors (affiliate link) are great for a child with hand weakness or fine motor difficulties.  The blades open with a spring assist and are great for beginner scissor users.

My First Scissors (affiliate link) don’t have loops for little fingers to manage.  These snips are great for small children to use in the whole palm.  There is a spring mechanism to open the blades.

Ways to work on scissor skill line accuracy:

These materials make great gifts and are tools to help kids with scissor skill accuracy when cutting lines and shapes. Each material offers different textures or grades of resistance. Add some of these toy ideas to a gift bag for a child working on scissor skills through play.

Sometimes a child can manage the hand strength, and visual motor skills needed to manage scissors (open and shut with controlled movements) and hold the paper with an assisting hand while holding the scissors with an appropriate grasp.  The difficulty lies in their visual motor skills.  

Eye-hand coordination difficulties can make cutting along a line difficult.  Slower snipping with the scissors will allow for improved accuracy.  Providing a child with thicker paper can make cutting accuracy easier as increased resistance allows for slower snips.  

We love practicing cutting skills with foam crafting sheets for line awareness. Foam crafting sheets (affiliate link) make a great stocking stuffer.  Going down the line of greatest to least resistance in scissor skills (and making scissor accuracy more difficult) would be cardstock(affiliate link), then construction paper (affiliate link), printer paper(affiliate link), then thinner paper or materials like tissue paper (affiliate link).  

bilateral hand coordination for scissor skills

We’ve covered specific toys for bilateral coordination skills in the past and those toys would be great for kids that need to improve scissor skills. When working to use both hands together in a coordinated manner to hold the paper with one hand and manage scissors with the other, bilateral integration is a must.

Bilateral hand coordination is needed to hold the paper (and rotate the page when curves and angles are happening) and to manage the scissors with the dominant hand.  These nuts and bolts (affiliate link) are a fun way to work on bilateral hand coordination and strength of the hand.

Have fun shopping for fun scissor games and activities for your little one!

Check out these other great occupational therapy toy ideas:

  1. Fine Motor Toys 
  2. Gross Motor Toys 
  3. Pencil Grasp Toys 
  4. Toys for Reluctant Writers 
  5. Toys for Spatial Awareness 
  6. Toys for Visual Tracking 
  7. Toys for Sensory Play 
  8. Bilateral Coordination Toys 
  9. Games for Executive Functioning Skills 
  10. Toys and Tools to Improve Visual Perception
  11. Toys to Help with Scissors Skills 
  12. Toys for Attention and Focus 

Printable List of Toys for SCISSOR SKILLS

Want a printable copy of our therapist-recommended toys to support scissor skills?

As therapy professionals, we LOVE to recommend therapy toys that build skills! This toy list is done for you so you don’t need to recreate the wheel.

Your therapy caseload will love these SCISSOR SKILLS toy recommendations. (There’s space on this handout for you to write in your own toy suggestions, to meet the client’s individual needs, too!)

Enter your email address into the form below. The OT Toolbox Member’s Club Members can access this handout inside the dashboard, under Educational Handouts. Just be sure to log into your account, first!


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    Colleen Beck, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to

    Christmas Tree Hole Punch Activity

    Christmas tree hole punch

    This hole punch Christmas tree craft was originally published 11-19-2015 and was updated 11-8-2023.

    This Christmas Tree Hole Punch activity is an OLD fine motor activity on our site, but it’s one you’ll want to add to your Christmas occupational therapy activity line up. Why? Because the simple Christmas tree activity is easy to set up and builds many skills all at once: fine motor, bilateral coordination, eye-hand coordination, hand strength, and much more are all developed with one fun activity. All of this skill-building makes it a Christmas craft for kids that is a must this time of year!

    Christmas tree hole punch fine motor activity

    Christmas Tree Hole Punch for Therapy

    This Christmas Tree Fine Motor Activity is a Christmas themed busy bag that will hopefully help some of that hectic holiday craze that happens this time of year.  Give the kiddos this proprioception powerhouse punching activity and be assured that the kids will be learning, getting out a little holiday wiggles, and you, Mama, can cross off an item from that post-it note.  

    Or grab a cup of coffee and just relax for a second.  Both are equally important.

    Check out these Christmas Fine Motor Activities for more creative ways to work on fine motor skills and address development of skills this Christmas season. 

    This activity will help your child with:

    Christmas Tree hole punch activity

    Affiliate links are included in this blog post.

    Christmas Tree Hole Punch

    This activity is perfect for an Occupational Therapist‘s treatment bag in the days leading up to Christmas.  Kids get a little bit excited (right?) and the wiggles and giggles may end up leading to sensory overload.  A proprioception activity like punching holes is perfect to provide heavy work input to the hands and add calming input.  

    Using a hole punch provides a gross hand grasp strengthening work to the hands.  This activity is perfect for a Christmas themed warm-up activity before handwriting this season.

    A busy bag is intended to keep little hands busy, while learning, exploring, and getting stronger through fine motor play!  And, what does a mom need on occasion for little ones, but busy activities for quiet time.


    Christmas tree hole punch and punching holes each each tree

    Materials Needed for a Christmas Tree Hole Punch

    This Christmas Tree activity is easy to put together.  We used just a few items:

    Amazon affiliate links:

    How to make the Hole Punch Christmas Tree

    To make the Christmas tree counting busy bag:

    1. Cut the Green Cardstock into tree shapes.  
    2. Add trunks with the Brown Cardstock.  Glue these in place at the base of each triangle.  
    3. Use the black marker to write a number on each tree trunk.
    4. Next, show your child how to name the number on the Christmas tree and then to punch the corresponding number of holes into the branches of the tree.

    Christmas Tree Busy Bag Counting and proprioception activity


    hole punch Christmas tree

    Christmas Hole Punch Activity

    Enjoy this time as your kiddo counts, hole punches, and works on so many skills.  And rest assured that they will be doing a productive activity…and not adding more to that to-do list!

    As mentioned above, this Christmas hole punch task covers a variety of skills, but we should go into more detail on the hand strengthening component when using a hole punch to create holes in each Christmas tree.

    Squeezing a hole puncher challenges a grasp pattern with an open thumb web space to strengthen grip strength.

    Finger strength is developed by squeezing a hole puncher. Plus, when the hole punch is held, wrist stability is needed to hold the hole punch in an optimal position to squeeze it completely.

    Then, when you have the holes punched in the trees, you can use them to create a hole punch Christmas tree craft!

    Colleen Beck, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to

    Looking for done-for you therapy activities this holiday season?

    This print-and-go Christmas Therapy Kit includes no-prep, fine motor, gross motor, self-regulation, visual perceptual activities…and much more… to help kids develop functional grasp, dexterity, strength, and endurance. Use fun, Christmas-themed, motor activities so you can help children develop the skills they need.

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

    Hot Chocolate Craft

    Hot chocolate craft

    One of the best ways to be an efficient therapist is to find activities that combine multiple skills at once and this printable hot chocolate craft does just that! Building crafts in occupational therapy is a tool that combines critical skills of coloring, cutting, and gluing that ends with a (sometimes) recognizable product. While it is “easy enough” to hand draw circles and squares for students to practice coloring and cutting skills, why not challenge learners to go one step further? This post not only introduces a great new printable, but offers ways to use and adapt it.

    Hot chocolate craft

    BUILD A HOT Chocolate CRAFT

    The older I get, the more I hate winter, especially cold weather.  Introducing hot cocoa into my diet this time of year helps make this season more bearable.  For those of you who do not love coffee, with all of its variations and super special flavors, cocoa is a great winter substitute to hit the spot. 

    I am not sure if children share the same fondness for this wonderful drink, but they certainly love the marshmallows, sprinkles, and whip cream that decorate the top!

    Motivating learners to work hard is difficult. It takes an engaging assignment that is meaningful to them to produce a willing crowd. 

    That’s where this winter craft comes in!

    This build a hot chocolate craft has a cup that is reminiscent of a very popular drink store. 

    Won’t it be fun to see how your learners decorate this cup, given what they know about popular culture?  My cup might not have a lid, but be overflowing with marshmallows and chocolate chips!

    Color Cut and Glue Crafts in Therapy

    You can use this printable hot chocolate craft template and modify the activity to meet a variety of needs in therapy sessions.

    Modify the Hot chocolate craft download:

    • Lowest level learners may need the pieces cut for them ahead of time, so they can practice color and paste. Alternatively hand this out and see what is created!
    • Middle level learners can cut, color, and paste the craft, working on basic level skills and following directions
    • Higher level learners can decorate their cup, add details, or try and copy a coffee shop logo onto their cup.  
    • Add a writing or story telling prompt to go with this.  Something as simple as, “what do you think this is” or “what would be the best drink to put in your cup”
    • Make this part of a larger lesson plan including gross motor, sensory, social, executive function, or other fine motor skills
    • Gross motor – run across the room collecting pieces to add to the build a hot cocoa craft.  Gather pompoms by squatting and bending to retrieve them.
    • Sensory – touching all of the elements of hot cocoa. Describing it in detail. Talk about how it feels, smells, and tastes, or what emotions it might evoke.
    • Executive function – hand the papers out with very limited instruction. Record how well your learners can follow instructions and make the picture look exactly like the example
    • Social skills – sharing resources promotes social function. Talking about a themed lesson plan builds social skills
    • Branch out – add a cooking activity, field trip, movie, or a book to make this build a hot cocoa craft multi-level. This snowman activity pack is full of fun activities
    • Check out these Winter Snow Day activities for more fun
    • Vary the paper. Cardstock might be more challenging to cut through, but it is sturdier to work with
    • Use different writing tools for different effects and skills.  Watercolor, paint, dot markers, chalk, glitter glue, crayons, and markers are some of the options
    • More or less prompting may be needed to grade the activity to make it easier or harder
    • Use a bottle of squeeze glue for sensory input from touching the wet glue, as well as fine motor strengthening from squeezing the bottle
    • Learners can explore other games they could make using this activity 
    • Write a report about hot cocoa, different variations, the history of hot cocoa, jor different celebrations or activities that go with this hot beverage
    • Have students write on a slant board, lying prone on the floor with the page in front to build shoulder stability, or supine with the page taped under the table
    • Add glitter!  Glitter makes everything wonderful

    Make clinical observations using the hot chocolate craft

    When you use this printable color, cut, and glue craft in therapy sessions, you can make several clinical observations using this single printable.

    Collect Data- This printable has a top portion with areas for data collection. The printable includes space to document the amount of support, modifications, verbal cues, and accuracy for coloring, cutting, and glueing aspects of the craft building process.

    Set up the craft at the level needed for the individual user. Then, make observations for collecting data on goal areas:

    • There could be 1,000 observations to be made during any one activity.  The key is to know what you are looking for and measuring.  Coloring skills, executive function, fine motor strength, following directions, attention/focus, self regulation, scissor skills, grip strength, and bilateral coordination, are just a few
    • Watch your students closely as they do their task.  Sometimes teachers and other providers sit back while learners complete their activities.  This reveals an end product, but gives no clues how they got there.  What skills were lacking to make this look nothing like the model? 
    • The “how” is very important as skills get progressively harder. Some learners can get by with poor grasping, strength, or coordination skills while learning to snip with scissors or scribble with a crayon, however, intricate coloring and cutting requires a more mature grasping pattern, executive function, and overall attention to details
    • Observe which skills are holding the learner back, which need more direct practice, and what compensatory strategies you see struggling learners use
    • Need more scissor skills practice?  Check out this color, cut, paste workbook!
    • Here is an Animal Cut and Paste pack.

    More Winter cut and paste crafts you might like include:

    1. Build a Snowman printable
    2. Paper Icicle Craft  
    3. Snow Globe Letter Match 

    Free Hot Chocolate Craft Printable

    All this talk about cocoa has me craving some.  I’ll take mine extra hot, dark chocolate with whipped cream.  Throw in a piece of cake, a chilly day, and a great book, and you have the makings of a wonderful afternoon.  

    Don’t forget to put your email in the box to receive your free worksheet!

    • Level 2 members can access all winter themed activities in one place in our Winter Therapy Theme.
    • Level 1 members can access this resource in our Scissor Skills area along with other free downloads on this site.

    Hot Chocolate Craft Printable

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      Victoria Wood, OTR/L is a contributor to The OT Toolbox and has been providing Occupational Therapy treatment in pediatrics for more than 25 years. She has practiced in hospital settings (inpatient, outpatient, NICU, PICU), school systems, and outpatient clinics in several states. She has treated hundreds of children with various sensory processing dysfunction in the areas of behavior, gross/fine motor skills, social skills and self-care. Ms. Wood has also been a featured speaker at seminars, webinars, and school staff development training. She is the author of Seeing your Home and Community with Sensory Eyes.

      Snipping Paper

      snipping paper

      For young children, snipping paper with scissors is a challenge! Today we are covering this first stage of using scissors so you can teach preschoolers, kindergarteners, and older kids how to snip paper, even if they have never touched a pair of scissors before.

      Using scissors is a part of every classroom and many times we see kids come into the school environment having never used scissors. But did you know that according to the Peabody Developmental Motor Scales, snipping paper with scissors should be mastered around 25-26 months?  (Read about other fine motor milestones.)

      Interestingly, when researching articles for this blog, I discovered a plethora of different information.  Occupational Therapists and their blogs indicate cutting around two years of age.  “Mama” blogs are all over the place from age 3-8 to start giving kids scissors. 

      When should kids begin to snip paper? We’ll get into that below. But first, let’s define what it means to “snip paper”.

      Snipping paper

      What is snipping paper?

      Snipping paper is the first stage of cutting with scissors and refers to the single open and shut motion of cutting into a page. When children learn to cut with scissors, they will open the scissors away from the paper and cut into the paper. There is no forward progression of the scissors across the page. 

      You’ll see in this resource on scissor skills activities how this progression occurs.

      When young children first snip paper with a pair of scissors, they may snip into the paper along the length of the paper. 

      Snipping paper is an important stage of learning motor control and bilateral coordination skills used to cut more complex shapes. It’s a fine motor activity all kids must learn at one point.

      Snipping is seen when paper strips are cut into squares or the edge of a piece of paper is snipped into a fringe. 

      To progress beyond snipping, the scissor user needs to progress to more refined fine motor skills, including graded scissor use so they can open and close the scissors while using a forward motion across the page. Additionally, there is a graded “hold” on the scissors as the hand closes but does not completely close the scissor blades. This concept is covered in our resource on difficulty cutting with scissors.

      Whether snipping or progressing from this stage, practice is the essential piece of the puzzle. Let’s go over a few cutting tricks to support this development.

      When Snipping Paper isn’t introduced at home

      The issue with this is that children arrive at kindergarten and are handed a pair of scissors. IF the educator has time in their busy curriculum to teach their students how to use scissors, they have many skills to cover:

      • How to properly hold the scissors with a safe and efficient grip
      • How to grasp the paper with the assisting hand
      • How to hold  the paper while moving the scissors around the shape
      • How to open the scissors to snip paper without pushing through the page
      • How to then grade the opening and shutting of the scissors to stop at a stopping point
      • How to turn the page while managing proper upper body positioning
      • How to cut along lines of various shapes,
      • and all of this WHILE using safe use of the scissors

      To complete this list in the busy classroom, WITH a group of 30 new scissor users…there MIGHT be enough time left in the school year to finish out the remainder of the school year to use those snipping skills to actually cut out crafts, spelling worksheets, and multi-step activities. 

      Therein is the problem that we typically see: the children without exposure to scissor use at home have trouble with the visual and motor aspect of using scissors once they get to the classroom setting.

      Over the years when assessing young children, at least two thirds fail this task due to “lack of exposure” or never handling scissors.  The reasons I am given are often a nervous parent/caregiver/teacher/grandparent. 

      This can be expected given the fact that you are about to hand a sharp object to a toddler, however, if a child never experiences a task, they will never master it.

      I am in no way advocating giving a two year old unsupervised access to large scissors.  Or a three year old for that matter. What I AM advocating or suggesting, is working with toddlers 20-24 months on beginning scissor skills including snipping paper. 

      When are kids ready for Snipping Paper

      To give you an idea of the timeline for scissor skills: 

      • 25-26 months snipping with scissors
      • 37-38 months cutting paper in half (not on any line)
      • 41-42 months cutting a five inch line within half inch of a straight line
      • 49-50 months cutting a circle within ¼ inch of the curved lines (first of the simple shapes)
      • 53-54 months cutting a square within ¼ inch of the lines, including around the corners (the second of the simple shapes)

      After this a child would move toward more complex shapes, smaller shapes, thinner lines, with increased accuracy.

      As you can see, there is a span of 11-12 months between snipping with scissors and cutting across a piece of paper in a straight line.  This is a considerable amount of time to practice and work on fine motor development including scissor skills.

      If you, or the caregiver are timid about offering scissors for cutting practice, there are several different scissor options from blunt playdough scissors, to scissors that only cut paper, to tiny toddler scissors that can be used before handing over “real” scissors.  

      Supervision when snipping paper

      As with any activity, supervision is the key. As a seasoned occupational therapist, I myself have developed ninja reflexes when working with young children.  I can thwart danger in a microsecond. This is the type of supervision to develop with a two year old.  

      Another note on supervision.  Once showing this child how to use scissors, be sure to put ALL scissors out of reach of your curious toddler. 

      I can not tell you the number of times I have had an irate caregiver call me upset that I taught their toddler to cut with scissors, only to find they snipped the dog, their own hair, all the books, the couch, and whatever was not nailed down.  

      As with everything else hazardous, if you do not trust your child to follow instructions, remove them out of harm’s way.

      How to Teach Kids scissor Snipping

      On to the fun stuff! Here are some tips to teach kids how to use scissors in snipping paper. This is the first step of cutting with scissors and often time the most challenging aspect for parents.

      1. Start with exploration of scissors. Let the child try and figure out what these do first.  Do they touch the paper with them?  Open and close their pair? Hold them with two hands? Read more about sensory touch as a strategy to support this level of the scissor use process.
      2. Grasp the scissors. Move on to teaching the child how to correctly hold their pair of scissors with an appropriate grip. Start with this resource on how to hold scissors. The OT Toolbox has several great resources for scissor skills and selecting types of scissors:

      Correct scissor positioning will include grasping the handles in a specific way. The thumb in the small hole and the third, fourth, and maybe fifth fingers in the larger loop.  Pointer finger stays out of the scissors.  It is there to “lead the way”.

      The supporting hand will hold the paper or whatever object the child is cutting with their thumb upward.  Remember “thumbs up”,  for helper hand.  It will take a lot of practice for your youngest learners to master this position, so start early.

      3. Practice with scissors. Practice building the intrinsic hand muscles to prepare for cutting skills by using tongs, picking up tiny objects, working on dressing and fasteners, playing with putty and dough, fine motor exploration, or doing puzzles. Try this cutting with scissors program.

      Just kidding, that wasn’t all that much fun.  That was the Pre-Fun. The following snipping activities can be used by pediatric occupational therapists to work on functional task of cutting with scissors.

      cutting activities for preschoolers

      Snipping paper is often a huge accomplishment in the preschool years. Work on scissor skills development with these snipping activities.

      These activities can be an extra challenge that supports development of bilateral coordination and eye-hand coordination, leading to skill development. 

      Beginner snipping activities

      This stage involves practice when cutting different objects

      • Snipping items into thousands of tiny pieces seems far more motivating than cutting snips into a single piece of paper
      • Play Dough (or other homemade dough) is a good start with blunt scissors.  The dough is easier to grab than a flimsy piece of paper.  
      • Make a play dough snake, sausages or worms of dough and encourage snipping through it.
      • Use these toys to support scissor skills
      • Cut junk mail
      • Set out a tray of index cards. Cut a fringe around the edge of the cards
      • Work on placement and positioning of the elbows.
      • Place stickers on the edge of a piece of paper. Snip beside the stickers but not over them.
      • Tear paper into pieces to work on hand strength and wrist stability needed to snip with scissors.
      • Use a marker to create lines along a paper strip. Cut along the marker lines to create small pieces of paper
      • Straws provide another option for beginning snipping as they are easy to hold
      • Snipping note cards into shreds is handy
      • Snipping through strips of cardstock to create confetti, very motivating and fun
      • This (Amazon affiliate link) PlayDough BarberShop toy is excellent motivator for anyone working on scissor skills 
      • Cutting real food such as french fries, pizza, soft pretzels, pancakes makes the activity more relevant for a young learner

      Second stage snipping

      This stage of snipping with scissors will involve lighter weight paper and objects for cutting. These are more flimsy but sometimes easier to cut for a learner with weak hands

      • Snipping through magazines (here is where you have to be careful of curious toddlers who will cut through all of your favorite magazines and books). Supervise, supervise.
      • Snipping construction paper or regular weight color paper
      • Opening packages by snipping with scissors
      • Creating crafts and collages by gluing little pieces of objects onto paper. Drippy glue is a great way to add a sensory experience to this activity
      • Snip stiff ribbon
      • Snip yarn
      • Cut paper towel rolls at the edge. Add a bit of fun by drawing a face on the paper towel roll and cut down the length to make hair
      • Snipping worksheets are available online everywhere, including the Scissor Skills Home program which covers all stages of scissor use.
      • Try cutting green strips of paper to make grass fringe or a hula skirt
      • Cutting coupons is functional and good practice
      • The Scissor Skills Printable Pack offers printable tools for snipping skills and beyond

      A note about Scissors: 

      There are many types of scissors that can be used with different needs and using a different type may support development of snipping skills depending on the skill and need being targeted.

      • Small toddler scissors are just right for tiny hands. 
      • Self opening or loop scissors are another way to make cutting easier for those learning to cut, or lacking the intrinsic hand muscles to open and close scissors.  
      • Did you know left handed people cut in a clockwise direction while their right handed friends cut counter-clockwise?  This allows the helper hand to support the paper adequately while cutting.
      • See this article on developing scissor skills grasp.

      For more cut, paste and color activities, check out this Animal Alphabet workbook!

      Keep watching the OT Toolbox for upcoming cutting PDF and creative worksheets, cut and paste pages, and themed lesson plans.

      Remember to supervise your young learners with scissors.  I don’t want any calls about who now has a new haircut or owes the library $534.00 because of chopped up books!

      The Scissor Skills Book breaks the functional skill of cutting with scissors into several developmental areas including: developmental progression of scissor use, fine motor skill involvement, gross motor development, sensory considerations and -visual perceptual skills

      Each section of The Scissor Skills Book includes strategies and tips to improve these underlying areas:

      • Help for kids who struggle with cutting accurately
      • Creative tips to keep things interesting for kids who lose interest easily
      • Quick, practical strategies that can be put into action today!
      • Ideas for kids who cut too fast or too slow
      • Support for kids who can’t grasp scissors efficiently
      • Strategies for right-handed and left-handed children

      Victoria Wood, OTR/L is a contributor to The OT Toolbox and has been providing Occupational Therapy treatment in pediatrics for more than 25 years. She has practiced in hospital settings (inpatient, outpatient, NICU, PICU), school systems, and outpatient clinics in several states. She has treated hundreds of children with various sensory processing dysfunction in the areas of behavior, gross/fine motor skills, social skills and self-care. Ms. Wood has also been a featured speaker at seminars, webinars, and school staff development training. She is the author of Seeing your Home and Community with Sensory Eyes.

      Bat Template Fine Motor Activity

      Bat stencil template

      This bat template is a fine motor activity, perfect for building motor skills with a Halloween twist. Use the bat printable as a stencil to cut out, trace, and then use in fine motor work. Add this to your Halloween occupational therapy activities!

      Bat Template

      Fall is here and that means it’s time to pull out the Halloween crafts! This bat Halloween craft is a favorite in our house, and it’s actually a fun way to celebrate Halloween with kids without spooky decorations.

      We also used this bat template in a Stellaluna activity that also challenged visual processing skills. Be sure to check that activity out for another way to use this printable bat stencil.

      The nice thing about using our bat template is that it becomes an open-ended Halloween craft idea is one that doesn’t need a lot of materials. In fact, it’s a simple craft idea that is big on the fine motor skill development! When kids make this bat craft, they will be boosting skills such as fine motor strength and dexterity in a big way.

      For more Halloween craft ideas, check out some of the ideas at the bottom of this post…it’s the perfect addition if you’re looking for Halloween crafts for toddlers or Halloween crafts for preschool parties.

      Related, check out these spider activities for more spooky but fun ideas.

      Printable bat stencil to use in fine motor crafts for Halloween

      Bat Template Craft

      We made this bat craft with a fun sensory twist.  And, since we have a certain second grader that is cursive handwriting obsessed, we decided to add a cursive handwriting twist to this activity.  This activity could work to help kids with letter formation of upper case letters, lowercase letters, or numbers too. The possibilities are endless. 

      We arranged the bat template so you can print out one bat printable page and then get 3 bats from the one page.

      Or, if you are using the bat templates with a group of kids like in a classroom Halloween party activity, you can easily cut the bat template page into three sections with one bat stencil for each child.

      This post contains affiliate links.

      Cut out bat template and trace onto black paper with yarn

      Bat Printable

      To make your bat craft, you’ll need just a few materials.

      Amazon Affiliate links are included.

      • Bat printable (get your copy below)
      • black cardstock 
      • black yarn 
      • Glue 
      • Scissors (THIS is my favorite brand and the ones that I always recommended as an Occupational Therapist!)
      • Pencil or marker

      This is a great Halloween craft for preschoolers because it’s a fantastic way to work on scissor skills with a Halloween activity.

      Make the Bat Template

      1. First print out the Pat printable onto printer paper.
      2. Cut out the bat templates on the page. Each template has three bats. Students can cut out the bat printable or the adult can do this as preparation work.
      3. Trace the bat template onto cardstock or black construction paper. This is another good task for students to do as tracing the bat template supports development of bilateral coordination skills, eye-hand coordination, crossing midline, and pencil control skills.  
      4. Cut out the bat template.

      Kids can cut out the shape using their Scissors for great scissor skill work.  The bat shape is a complex cutting shape and can be done by Elementary aged students.  

      Cutting the angled wings and curves can be difficult, but by using the cardstock, kids will get a bit fore proprioceptive feedback from the thicker resistance of the paper material.  

      To make the task easier, cut wings without the jagged lines or use thicker cutting lines when you draw the bat shape.  

      Decorate the Bat Cutout

      Once you have the bat, you’ll need to cut pieces of the black yarn.  Have your child cut long or short pieces, it doesn’t really matter what length they wish to cut for their bat’s texture.  

      1. Cut black yarn for the bat cutout.

      Cutting the yarn is a great material to practice appropriate scissor positioning and bilateral hand coordination.  

      If a child is holding the scissors on an angle, cutting the yarn will be more difficult.  (You may see them trying to “saw” at the yarn!) Encourage them to hold the scissors straight up and down and the blades of the scissors at a 90 degree angle to the yarn.  You can find more of our Scissor Skills activities.

      Child dipping black yarn into glue to stick to the bat printable

      2. Next, pour some glue into a shallow dish or plate.  Show your child how to drag the yarn through the glue and get it nice and saturated with the glue.  Use both hands to pinch and “scrape” off excess glue from the piece of yarn.  

      3. Next, drape the black yarn on the bat shape.  You can let your child get as creative as they wish with this part.  Some might like to outline the bat shape and others, just pile it up on the bat.  

      4. Let the glue and yarn harden and you’ll have a textured bat craft to use in Halloween decorations this Fall.  You will have to wait for the glue to dry, probably overnight.

      Use the Bat Printable in Handwriting Practice

      Occupational therapy practitioners know the value of using a single activity or material to develop a variety of skill areas. That is the case with this bat printable…use it to work on handwriting skills too!

      We used those saturated yarn pieces to build cursive letters, but you could build printed letters as well, using our letter construction method.

      This would be an excellent way to practice cursive letter formation in our Creative Cursive handwriting journal activity.

      Make letters with yarn and decorate the bat printable.

      Use this Bat Craft for kids to work on letter formation of any kind. It’s a creative writing activity that they will be sure to remember. Work on forming individual letters, spelling sight words, or making Halloween words.

      Bat template and letters made with black yarn.

      Use the Bat Printable in Learning

      This would work as a very fun…and very sensory…classroom Halloween party idea or learning activity for this time of year, while working on team work skills, and learning components.

      1. Split kids up into teams. Give each team a collection of cut black yarn and a bowl of glue.
      2. Write a spelling word, or a Halloween word on the board or hold up a sign with a Halloween word.
      3. Each team has to work together to use the cut yarn and glue to spell the Halloween word on a piece of paper or cardboard.
      4. Once a team has completed the word, they have to hold up their paper or cardboard. The first team to spell the word with the letters sticking wins! (Too much glue or not enough glue will make this a fun race for Halloween parties for kids of all ages.)
      Use black yarn to decorate the bat printable template and then write words with black yarn.

      Build printed letters with the glue yarn, too.  We had a lot of fun with this Halloween craft and it was a hit with all of my kids…from preschool on up to grade school.

      Check out some of these other Halloween activities and crafts:

      Free Bat Template

      Want a copy of this free bat template printable? Enter your email address into the form below to get a copy of this Halloween printable. This activity is also available inside The OT Toolbox Member’s Club under our Bat Therapy Theme. Members can log in and get the bat template there without entering an email address. Not a member yet? Join us today.

      Free Bat Stencil

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        Colleen Beck, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to

        Doubles and Near Doubles

        doubles and near doubles craft

        If you have a second grader, than you may be familiar with doubles and near doubles. This form of math facts with doubles numbers (adding two numbers that are the same) and near doubles (adding two numbers that are almost the same), can help kids quickly learn math facts with a brain trick. We created a spider activity that was a fun way to practice doubles and near doubles!

        Adding Doubles and Near Doubles in Second Grade Math up to 20, with a hands-on math, spider theme.

        What are Doubles and Near Doubles?

        We explained this a bit, but let’s expand on these math definitions.

        You might be thinking, “What!?” I have to admit, adding near doubles is a concept that I learned along with my oldest when she went through second grade.

        What is Doubles and Near Doubles in Second grade math?  

        Doubles are the addends that are exactly the same.  These are addition facts that second graders need to know to add within 20.

        Near Doubles are those addends that are almost a double fact. So, 4+5 is very close to 4+4.  Students can easily recall that the double fact for 4+4=8 and by adding one more, they quickly know that 4+5=9.  These are math fact tools that can help second graders add within 20.

        Doubles Math Facts

        Doubles math facts include:

        • 0+0=0
        • 1+1=2
        • 2=2+4
        • 3+3=6
        • 4+4=8
        • 5+5=10
        • 6+6=12
        • 7+7=14
        • 8+8=16
        • 9+9=18
        • 10+10=20

        Near Doubles Facts

        Near doubles facts depend on the doubles that the numbers are near.

        • 0+0=0
          • 1+0=1
          • 0+1=1
        • 1+1=2
          • 2+1=3
          • 1+2=3
          • 0+1=1
          • 1+0=1
        • 2+2=4
          • 3+2=5
          • 2+3=5
          • 1+2=3
          • 2+1=3
        • 3+3=6
          • 4+3=7
          • 3+4=7
          • 2+3=5
          • 3+2=5
        • 4+4=8
          • 5+4=9
          • 4+5=9
          • 3+4=7
          • 4+3=7
        • 5+5=10
          • 6+5=11
          • 5+6=11
          • 4+5=9
          • 5+4=9
        • 6+6=12
          • 7+6=13
          • 6+7=13
          • 5+6=11
          • 6+5=11
        • 7+7=14
          • 8+7=15
          • 7+8=15
          • 6+7=13
          • 7+6=13
        • 8+8=16
          • 9+8=17
          • 8+9=17
          • 7+8=15
          • 8+7=15
        • 9+9=18
          • 10+9=19
          • 9+10=19
          • 8+9=17
          • 9+8=17
        • 10+10=20
          • 11+10=21
          • 10+11=21
          • 9+10=19
          • 10+9=19

        You can see how learning just a handful of doubles facts builds a bigger repertoire of math facts. This is a particularly good path strategy for learning tricky addition facts that kids often struggle with, especially with adding the higher 6’s, 7’s, 8’s, and 9’s.

        Adding Doubles and Near Doubles 

        Adding doubles is a math fact memorization technique.  It is easier for kids to remember that 2+2=4, 6+6=12, 7+7=14, 9+9=18, etc.  

        Kids can first memorize the doubles facts. Once they’ve got those addition facts down pat, recognizing that the near doubles facts are just one off from the double makes learning a whole new set of numbers easy.

        For example:

        First the student would memorize the near double of 6+6=12.

        Then, when that becomes a math fact they know by sight, they can look at the math problem 6+5 and recognize that the addend 5 is just one less than the doubles fact for 6. They can know the number sense that the problem 6+5 is one less than 6+6 and easily identify the answer of 11.

        Similarly, if the student is presented with the near doubles problem of 6+7, they can recognize that the addend 7 is one more than the doubles fact for 6. They can identify by number sense that the answer for 6+7 is one more than 6+6 and that the answer is 13.

        Near doubles assist students with adding one more or one less than the doubles facts.

        By this, we mean that once a student knows the doubles fact of 6+6=12, they then also know:

        • 6+5=11
        • 5+6=11
        • 6+7=13
        • 7+6=13

        You can see how the doubles and near doubles concept builds number sense and allows students to become much more fluent and efficient at math problems.

        Doubles and Near Doubles Activity

        We made this near doubles activity to help with second grade math concepts, specifically in adding Doubles and adding Near Doubles., using a fun spider craft. The OT in me loves that it works on quite a few fine motor skills and scissor skills too!

        I wanted to create a hands-on math activity using the doubles and Near Doubles addition facts with a spider theme.  

        It’s an easy and quick activity to set up, that will help second graders realize how to quickly figure out more addition facts quite easily.  This is a math skill appropriate for Common Core Standards CCSS 2.0A.1 and CCSS 2.0A.2.  You can see those Common Core standards here.

        To make your Near Doubles Spider Activity

        Cut out paper strips to write doubles and near doubles addition facts.

        You’ll need just a few materials for this doubles and near doubles practice activity:

        • Black construction paper
        • White colored pencil
        • Scissors
        • Glue
        • Googly eyes

        To make this doubles and near doubles craft, complete these steps:

        1. Cut out 8 strips of black construction paper.  These will become the spider’s legs.
        2. Using a white colored pencil, write out doubles facts on one side of the black paper strips. You’ll need to write the following doubles facts on the paper strips:
          • 2+2=__
          • 3+3=__
          • 4+4=__
          • 5+5=__
          • 6+6=__
          • 7+7=__
          • 8+8=__
          • 9+9=__
        3. On the other side of each spider leg paper strip, write with your white colored pencil:
          • 2+3=__
          • 3+4=__
          • 4+5=__
          • 5+6=__
          • 6+7=__
          • 7+8=__
          • 8+9=__
          • 9+8=__
        4. Cut out a circle out of the black paper for the head.
        5. Glue googly eyes onto the spider’s head.  
        6. Glue the legs to the spider head so the Doubles are all on one side and the Near Doubles are all on the other side.  

        Kids can flip the legs over to see how closely the doubles are to the Near Doubles and how knowing the Doubles facts can quickly help them figure out the Near Double facts.

        You can make multiple versions of these numbers, using the commutative property of addition

        Spider craft to work on doubles and near doubles facts.

        Adding Doubles and Near Doubles in Second Grade Math up to 20, with a hands-on math, spider theme.

        More Hands-On Math Activities you will love:

         Commutative Property of Addition  How to Add with Regrouping  Use play dough in math  Bottle caps in first grade math

        Colleen Beck, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to

        How to Use Graph Paper

        graph paper uses

        Do you know how to use graph paper to meet specific OT goal areas? We can use grid paper in occupational therapy sessions to develop many goal areas. Did you ever see a student using graphed paper in occupational therapy and wonder about the pre-gridded paper purpose in supporting goals? Not only is graph paper a type of adapted paper for some, it can be a tool too! There are so many different reasons to use this type of paper to support specific handwriting or visual perception needs. Here we are discussing using graph paper and why this type of therapy tool can be helpful.

        Graph paper uses in occupational therapy for handwriting and other areas.

        Graph Paper Purpose in OT

        Graph paper comes in many sizes!  Specific activities can be easily graded in difficulty just by making it easier when boxes are large and of course more challenging as boxes become smaller in size. 

        Graph paper can be used as a tool to support many areas of development:

        How to Use Graph Paper

        Try these paper activities in occupational therapy sessions or at home. Here are ideas on using graph paper to meet specific goal areas in OT or at home:

        Graph Paper for Visual Perception

        Tasks like forming letters the correct size, using margins, aligning lists or columns are all visual perceptual areas of handwriting. You can use grid paper to support these needs.

        Graph paper is great to use for math problems! Simply place one number in each box and line them up so numbers are easily read and there’s a spot for each number in your answer. Your math work just might be easier to do and it will for sure be easier to read.

        Graph paper for visual motor skills

        Related to the visual perception aspect is the contribution of motor skills. In order to copy shapes, copy and write words, recreate graphs, plot lines, etc. one needs visual motor skills.

        Graph paper can be used to address visual motor skills with these activities:

        • Create a plot diagram. Use a ruler to connect lines.
        • Copy shapes and designs using the grid blocks on the paper.
        • Form block letters with or without a model.
        • Cut shapes and trace the shape using the graph paper template.
        • Create symmetry drawings by folding the graph paper in half.
        • Create pencil control exercises to work on precision with pencil use.

        I love to use graph paper for imitating drawings. I will draw an odd shape or maybe even a specific item and ask a student to copy my drawing by counting and using the boxes to replicate my shape. Students can also draw their own shape and try to “stump” the therapist or other player.

        If the adult/other player is creative, s/he can label the boxes with letters and numbers across the top and side edges (kind of like a BINGO board) and the student is asked to fill in box A-1, or C-3, etc. to create a picture that will mysteriously become visible at the end. The one helping here must do a little homework on their own first to make sure the colored in boxes will actually create a picture.

        Draw shapes

        The student can also be instructed (verbally or with written cues) to draw shapes, lines, letters, etc. in certain boxes or at the intersection of certain lines (e.g. put a yellow circle in box A-1, or draw a tree at line F-7 or similar). 

        This helps to follow written instructions, draw a specific shape, and locate the correct space on the graph paper.  Be creative and make it fun!

        Graph paper Letter Size Activity-

        Finally, it would be an injustice to graph paper if I didn’t mention the use it can play in creating letter boxes for a box and dot handwriting task.  Your student may already be familiar with this through OT sessions. 

        Graph lines can be used to outline the space in which a letter sits, using one single box for lower case letters.  Upper case letters and lower case tall letters: (t, d, f, h, k, l, b) will need to include the box ON TOP to make it a one wide by a 2 tall defined space. 

        Lower case letters that are descending below the line, or tail letters (q, y, p, g, j) must include the box BELOW, making it also a one wide by 2 space, but the box on bottom goes below the line on which the letters are written. 

        Missing letter activities-

        Making up a “key” of words, or a game, have the student place the letters in the proper defined word space that has letter boxes outlined or maybe even just the word outlined.  This may be a fun way to practice spelling words. 

        Cutting activity-

        If nothing else, you can always use graph paper to practice cutting on the lines, creating a colored picture, making paper air planes, or crumpling into a ball to play a game.  Graph paper is one style of cutting paper with a graded resistance we talk about in our scissor skills crash course.

        I’m sure your student can think of many non-traditional things to do with it on his/her own!

        If you don’t have graph paper on hand, below are resources I have found which may be helpful.

        More handwriting tips

        The Handwriting Book is a comprehensive resource created by experienced pediatric OTs and PTs.

        The Handwriting Book covers everything you need to know about handwriting, guided by development and focused on function. This digital resource is is the ultimate resource for tips, strategies, suggestions, and information to support handwriting development in kids.

        The Handwriting Book breaks down the functional skill of handwriting into developmental areas. These include developmental progression of pre-writing strokes, fine motor skills, gross motor development, sensory considerations, and visual perceptual skills. Each section includes strategies and tips to improve these underlying areas.

        • Strategies to address letter and number formation and reversals
        • Ideas for combining handwriting and play
        • Activities to practice handwriting skills at home
        • Tips and strategies for the reluctant writer
        • Tips to improve pencil grip
        • Tips for sizing, spacing, and alignment with overall improved legibility

        Click here to grab your copy of The Handwriting Book today.

        Colleen Beck, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to

        Robin Craft Fine Motor Activity

        Robin craft with egg cartons

        This robin craft is a fun activity for Spring that develops fine motor skills, bilateral coordination, eye-hand coordination, and precision skills. This is the perfect addition to the occupational therapist’s Spring fine motor activities and a great tool for kids to make that they also use to work on skills in occupational therapy. Plus, the worm activity is just fun for kids! Use this egg carton craft to work on so many fine motor skills

        This egg carton robin craft is a fine motor activity kids can make.

        Robin Craft with an Egg Carton

        Spring and Robins go hand in hand.  We made this Robin craft as a Spring Fine Motor activity one day and the kids were giddy with excitement to play!      

        Robin craft for counting worms is a fine motor activity busy bag

        This robin craft is a busy bag type of activity will keep the kids busy and little fingers moving as they count worms to feed the Spring robins.  

        This egg carton family of robins was fun to make with the kids and even more fun to watch them play.

        This post contains affiliate links.

        Paint an egg carton to make a robin craft

        Robin Craft Fine MOtor Activity

          This Spring craft for occupational therapy actually uses a recycled cardboard egg carton. There are many ways to use recycled materials in crafts and activities that develop skills. This is just one fun idea.

        Time needed: 20 minutes

        How to make a robin craft with an egg carton

        1. Start with an egg carton.

          We used a cardboard carton so the paint would stick. You’ll need a clean and dry egg carton. Cut off the lid off the egg carton. You’ll want to keep the egg sections for this robin craft.

        2. Paint the egg carton.

          Paint a red belly on each egg compartment.  Paint the sides and back of each robin with brown paint. You can paint the whole egg section or you can leave a space at the top to add a number, depending on if you are making a family of robins, or each student is making a single robin.Paint egg cartons to make a robin craft

        3. Punch a hole in each egg carton compartment.

          Use a hole punch to punch a hole towards the top of the robin. This will be the beak of the robin, and where students will “feed” pipe cleaner worms to feed the birds. Little Guy (age 5) got a big kick with this part.  He wasn’t able to squeeze the hole puncher to make the holes, but he really liked watching!  

        4. Make paper beaks for the robin craft.

          Cut small triangles from yellow cardstock.  Drag the wide end of the triangles in glue and press into the holes.  These will be the beaks for the robins.  Let the glue dry.  Punch holes in egg cartons and make paper beaks for a robin craft

        5. Make pipe cleaner worms!

          Cut brown pipe cleaners into small sections. The worms can be as small as an inch or two or much longer. Show the student how to bend the pipe cleaner slightly to create wiggly worms. This is a simple worm craft of it’s own! This is also a great bilateral coordination and scissor skill activity for Spring. Kids love making pipe cleaner worms!Cut brown pipe cleaners to make worms for a robin craft

        6. Draw Eyes on the Egg carton robins.

          Use a permanent marker to make two small dots for eyes for the robins. You can also add a number on the top of each robin.  Now it’s time to count and play!  Robin craft made from egg cartons

           Now it’s time to play and feed the robins!

        Pipe Cleaner Worm Craft

        Three is just something about those pipe cleaner worms. Kids love making them and using them to feed the robins. Let’s take a look at skills that are being developed with this fine motor task.

        Little Guy enjoyed cutting pipe cleaners and bending them into little bendy worms. Cutting and bending the pipe cleaners is a bilateral coordination task that requires using both sides of the body with different motor plans and degrees of strengthening. This task is a great one for building motor plans and focusing on graded strength.

        Cutting the pipe cleaners is a scissor skills task that requires and develops hand strength. What a great hand strengthening activity this is!  Squeezing the scissors requires a lot of hand strength to snip the pipe cleaners.  

        Robin egg carton craft and fine motor activity for Spring.

          Make a bunch of worms; You will need them!  

        Feed the robin egg carton craft

          Feed the Robins Craft

        If you draw numbers on the top of each robin, you can feed each bird the correct number of worms. But, if you are working with a whole caseload or class of students, collecting many egg cartons can be difficult. You could always use just one egg carton section for each student so they have their own individual bird craft to make and feed.

        In that case, skip adding a number to the top of the egg carton. Users can roll a dice and feed the bird that number of pipe cleaner worms.

        Fine motor activity with egg carton robins

        This activity builds several fine motor skill areas:

        • Eye-hand coordination
        • Bilateral coordination
        • Separation of the sides of the hand
        • Pincer grasp to pick up the pipe cleaner
        • Tripod grasp, or a refined tip to tip grasp to thread the pipe cleaner into the bird
        • In-hand manipulation- Pick up several pipe cleaners at once and hold them in the palm of the hand. Then, feed one worm pipe cleaner at a time to “feed the robin”!


        Robin Math Activity

        To expand on the eye-hand coordination skill work, and to make this a great multisensory learning activity, use this as a one-to-one correspondence task for preschoolers. Young children can count the number of pipe cleaner worms, match the number to the works, and build pre-writing skills through play.

        Little Sister (age 3.5) counted out the number of worms for each bird (She needed help with one-to-one correspondence).  She was able to press the worms into the robin mouths using a tripod grasp.  

        It was fun to watch her play and count for a long time.  I overheard a little dramatic play happening as she talked to the robins and pretended they were a family eating their lunch.    

        Use the Robin Craft to Build Skills Over and Over Again

        This egg carton robin was a tool we made once and then used over and over again, making it a great fine motor activity for the occupational therapy toolbox.

        Use it in a robin sensory bin! Add the pipe cleaner worms to a sensory bin and kids can find the worms and then feed them into the robin. There are so many ways to build skills with this one craft.


        Spring Fine Motor Kit

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

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

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

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

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

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

        Colleen Beck, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to

        Heart Crafts That Build Skills

        heart crafts to support fine motor skill development

        Let’s face it, the heart candy and chocolates are already in the stores and children are already anticipating the consumption of all the sweet treats they are going get.  Some children have even begun to plan their Valentine’s gifts and handouts for their friends and family.  Add these heart crafts to your Valentine’s Day occupational therapy activities!

        One of our newest heart crafts is this free Valentine’s Day Hat Template. Kids can color, cut, and assemble the heart hat in OT sessions, in the classroom, or at home. This printable heart hat makes a great craft during February, but it doubles as a skill-builder: Use it to work on fine motor skills, hand strength, scissor skills, eye-hand coordination, executive functioning skills, and more.

        heart crafts to support fine motor skill development

        Heart Crafts for Occupational Therapy

        Whether it is a pink, red, or purple heart, OT practitioners simply love crafts that incorporate a variety of skills and give the flexibility for each step to be modified, so as to upgrade or downgrade as needed, to allow all children to engage in the craft making process while achieving some level of success.

        You’ll find heart craft creations that range from easy to more complex, making them accessible by younger or novice learners that have fewer hand skills, or more advanced learners that need more skill advancement and require increased time to complete. 

        There are numerous enjoyable heart craft ideas in this post. If you need something sweet to jazz up your therapy session, classroom, or at-home theme, this post is right where you need to be. Read on and get ideas that don’t include tasty sweets, but do include all the sweetness of the Valentines holiday!

        Wearable Heart Crafts:

        These fun, festive heart crafts can include wearable jewelry, ornaments, or provide a source of Valentine’s Day gifts. They will encourage separation of the two sides of the hand, in-hand manipulation, precision grasp, and arch development, making them purposeful and productive.

        Paper Crafts: 

        These paper crafts include folding, painting, cutting, pasting, weaving, and writing.

        All of these actions will help your learner of most any age and skill level to work on bilateral hand use, eye-hand coordination, scissor grasp, hand dominance, delicate touch, grasp patterns, and visual motor skills. 

        Foam Crafts:

        These foam crafts are not only cute, but they help learners develop skills such as proper scissor grasp, cutting skills, rotational manipulation, sequencing, and precision skills.

        Once complete, some provide a functional use in the end – a bookmark!

        Cardboard Heart Crafts:

        Cardboard is a material that develops hand strength, pincer grasp, bilateral coordination, hand dominance, stability, and eye-hand coordination. Some of the crafts listed will provide opportunity for lacing, wrapping, poking, cutting, and tearing, all of which give hand skill development a real challenge.

        These fun cardboard crafts will allow focus on a variety of skills while being highly engaging and rewarding.

        Food inspired Heart Crafts:

        While these food inspired heart crafts, do use food as a medium, these festive food crafts will include only decorations and a few ideas for a way to feed the birds.

        Learners will work on building precision grasp, gross grasp, bilateral coordination, and eye hand coordination skills. 

        Tin Foil Crafts:

        These tin foil crafts are unique in appearance, but also help build maker grasp, fine motor control, and tool pressure. If the child tears off their own piece of foil from the roll and wraps the foil themselves, they will also be working on bilateral coordination and touch pressure.

        Older or more advanced learners can be presented with the opportunity to use a glue gun (always use caution with these as even the cold glue guns get hot at the tip). Learners can display their own creativity with these crafts. 

        heart and Valentine themed fine motor page to use in crumble art crafts
        The Valentine’s Day Fine Motor Kit is loaded with activities and craft ideas that promote fine motor skills. Grab your copy today!

        Printable Heart Crafts

        In The Valentine’s Day Kit offered by the OT Toolbox, you will find printable heart activities and craft materials. Just download, print, and start building skills. This pack is a great tool for developing a variety of fine motor skills for Valentine’s day or all year round!

        We hope you enjoyed all of the crafts included in this round-up of ideas and that you have found exactly what you are looking for to help the learners in your life enjoy Valentines day and celebrate the LOVE of this season!  

        Regina Allen

        Regina Parsons-Allen is a school-based certified occupational therapy assistant. She has a pediatrics practice area of emphasis from the NBCOT. She graduated from the OTA program at Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute in Hudson, North Carolina with an A.A.S degree in occupational therapy assistant. She has been practicing occupational therapy in the same school district for 20 years. She loves her children, husband, OT, working with children and teaching Sunday school. She is passionate about engaging, empowering, and enabling children to reach their maximum potential in ALL of their occupations as well assuring them that God loves them!