Valentine’s Day Hat Craft

Valentines day hat craft

Ready for a fun valentines day hat craft? This paper craft is a great color, cut, and glue craft for kids that builds fine motor skills, coloring skills, and tool uses! Print off enough for your whole caseload or classroom because this printable party hat is great for a Valentine’s Day party activity or to use in the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day. Add this paper hat craft to your toolbox of occupational therapy activities for Valentine’s day!

You’ll also want to grab these printable Valentine’s Day cards, too!

Valentines day hat craft

valentine hat craft

This Valentine’s day hat (I like to think of it as a crown), is an excellent catalyst not only for working on visual motor skills, but giving learners a chance to get much desired positive attention.  Of course not all people want attention, some shy away from being noticed.  That is a much deeper issue and can be addressed in another post. 

Today we are celebrating Valentine’s Day and feeling special.

What is it about hats and crowns that make children feel so special?  For that matter, adults who wear a crown feel mighty fine also!  Just look at the royal family.  I would gladly don a crown daily to be a princess or queen.

For children, it seems the added attention and smiles brought on by a lovely crown is all the draw they need.  Without going into the psychology of attention, extrinsic motivation, or whatever children are lacking, it is nice to be noticed for something positive.

While this is a Valentines day hat/crown activity, it could easily be about so much more. When asked what their favorite holiday is, most people love Christmas. Probably for the sheer joy and magnitude of it all.  For myself, my birthday ranks number one.  In my daily life I am  a therapist, mother, wife, chef, dog mom, daughter, friend, and all around giver.  But one day a year, it is all about me.  It is not about being showered with gifts,  but just a little special attention and notice for one day a year.

Valentine’s day can feel the same for many.  One day a year, to feel special by your “person”, can rejuvenate stagnant relationships.  Even though Valentine’s day is another obligation of sorts, it is just the motivation some people need to express their feelings to a loved one. While there are true givers who express gratitude and love on a daily basis, there are others who need a little nudge now and again.

Kennedy Worth wrote a blog for the Seattle Times about why she loves Valentine’s Day. And, Alex Alvarez came up with 17 reasons to love valentines day!

My favorites are:

  • Valentine’s day is a great excuse to douse everything in sparkles!
  • You can eat an entire heart shaped pizza because you are worth it.
  • Buy yourself some chocolates
  • Love isn’t always easy, so it’s nice to have a day dedicated to the fun, sweet, lovely parts of love.

Valentine’s day is more than romantic love.  It is the love for anyone, including your dog!

Show your love for the younger learners by making this adorable Valentine’s crown.  

Now, to the serious side of treatment planning; the why, what, and how of using this, or any other activity you choose to share with your learners.  

Why Use this Valentine’s Day Hat Craft in OT?

There are many reasons why this printable hat craft are a perfect tool to support skill development:

  • It’s fun, that is number one.  Fun things are motivating
  • It can put a smile on other people’s faces
  • It can make the wearer feel special
  • Kinesthetic awareness – This means learning by doing.
  • Hand strength and dexterity – staying inside the lines builds hand muscles and develops muscle control. 
  • Visual motor skills –Combining what is seen visually and what is written motorically.  This takes coordination to be able to translate information from visual input to motor output. Coloring, drawing, counting, cutting, and tracing are some visual motor skills.
  • Visual Perception – Developing figure ground to see where the borders to each item are, scanning to find all items to color, and visual closure to understand this flat paper will create something.
  • Strength – Core strength needed for sitting, shoulder/elbow/wrist stability, finger strength, and head control all play their role in writing.
  • Bilateral Coordination – Be sure your learner uses their helper hand for stabilizing the paper while using their dominant hand for writing.
  • Social/Executive Function – Following directions, turn taking, task completion, orienting to details, neatness, multi-tasking, attending to task, and impulse control can be addressed

Extend the Activity using this Paper Hat Printable

Print off a few copies and get ready to build skills! This printable party hat can be used in so many ways:

  • Laminate the page. This can be useful for reusability, if using wipe of markers, or sturdiness when coloring first.
  • Different colored paper may make it more or less challenging for your learner
  • Cardstock will be easier to handle than copier paper
  • Enlarging the font may be necessary to beginning writing students who need bigger space to write and color.
  • Create another page with all of the alphabet letters for copying or reference
  • Make changes to the type of writing utensil, paper used, or level of difficulty
  • Bingo markers are a fun tool for younger learners who can not color yet
  • 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
  • More or less prompting may be needed depending on the level of the task and learner
  • Make this part of a larger lesson plan including gross motor, sensory, social, executive function, or other fine motor skills
  • GLITTER!  Don’t forget that everything is better with glitter!

The printable hat template is great to use as a valentine hats for preschoolers, but also older learners, too. So many skill areas can be covered with this one activity.

How? How do I document or write about this session or activity?

  • Determine what goals and skills you are addressing. Are you looking strictly at visual motor skills?  Or something else entirely such as executive function and behavior?
  • Focus your observations on the skills you are addressing.  It is alright to address one or ten skills at once, just be sure to watch for those skills during the activity.  This can take practice to watch everything all at once. Newer clinicians often videotape sessions to go back and review clinical observations they may have missed.
  • Use data to back up your documentation. Avoid or limit phrases such as min assist, fair, good, some, many, etc.  They are vague and do not contain the numbers and data critical to proficient documentation.  Instead use percentage of area colored, number of trials, number of errors, exact sizing, how many errors outside of the lines, number of reversals, number of prompts, minutes of attention.  You get the idea.
  • This type of documentation may feel foreign at first if this is not what you are used to, however insurance and governing agencies are becoming more strict on accurate documentation.

If you are a frequent reader of my posts, you may notice some patterns to my writing, or recurring lists.  This is done for two reasons.  One, so this post stands alone and does not need to be part of a larger workbook; and  two, this may be your first glimpse at the OT Toolbox, and you will be looking for information you can use right away.

If you are totally jazzed about Valentine’s Day, the OT Toolbox has a cool fine motor bundle for you! The Valentine’s Day Fine Motor Kit has resource and activities to support handwriting, scissor skills, fine motor development, coloring, and much more.

I encourage you to scroll through the archives if you are looking for a certain theme, skill, goal, or just to read my witty prose.  There are several contributing writers on the OT Toolbox with a wealth of knowledge to share.  Stick around a while and browse…..

Don’t be shy, make yourself a crown to don proudly with your young learners. If you can not have fun at work, then it is just work.  Don’t forget the glitter!

Free valentine paper hat craft

FREE Valentine’s Day Hat Craft

    We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at anytime.

    Designing my crown now…

    Victoria Wood, OTR/L

    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.

    Icicle Winter Scissor Skills Activity

    Paper icicle craft

    This paper icicle craft is a fun one for wintertime occupational therapy activities. If you are working on Scissor skills, cutting icicles into paper is a great fine motor task that builds eye-hand coordination, crossing midline, and visual motor skills to cut basic shapes. Be sure to add this paper icicle template for more tools for your winter occupational therapy toolbox.

    Take fine motor work a step further by grabbing our new winter crossword puzzle to incorporate a whole winter theme.

    Paper icicle craft that helps kids develop scissor skills, a great preschool craft for winter.

    Paper Icicle Craft

    Do you have a little one who is just learning to master scissors?  Scissor Skills for children who have never picked up a pair of scissors before can be very daunting.  Frustrations can build and the next thing you know, your little sweetheart is spiking the scissors across the table!  

    Kids learn all things at different paces.  Every developmental milestone and functional activity are achieved at different paces. 

    Scissor use is no different.  Kids as young as two can start to snip paper (and probably with an awkward-two handed grasp on the scissors!)  And as their fine motor skills develop, will achieve more and more accuracy with scissor use.   

    This winter themed Icicle cutting activity is a great beginner project for new scissor users.  The strait cuts, bold lines, and even paper type are good modifications for a new little scissor-hands!  

    Icicle Craft Beginner Scissor Skills Activity

    Winter Icicle Craft

    Preschoolers are just beginning to gain more control over scissors.  Preschool activities like this icicle craft at the way to go when it comes to building motor skills.

    Strait lines are the perfect way to gain confidence when they are learning to cut…and ensure that they’ll want to pick up the scissors and try another craft again soon!  We started out with nice strait lines on these icicles.  Little Guy could cut the whole way across the page without needing to rotate the page to cut a curve or angle.

    Draw icicles on paper to work on cutting with scissors. Great for winter occupational therapy activities.


    Note: This post contains affiliate links.

    How to Modify this Icicle Craft

    The smallest icicle could have been a harder task for him to cut, if he turned the whole page around like he started out doing. 

    We used a few different strategies to scaffold this paper icicle craft:

    • Cut through the page instead of turning around corners
    • Adjust the paper weight to a thicker resistance
    • Thicker cutting lines
    • Trials with thinner lines to carryover the task with practice
    • Verbal and visual cues

    I prompted him to start one line from the edge of the paper and then instead of rotating the whole page (which would have probably given him a big chopped off icicle point), I showed him how to start the other side from the edge as well.  He was much more accurate with the lines and wanted to keep going!

    We had two different types of paper for our icicles.  The first set was drawn on a sheet of white cardstock

    Cutting from this thicker paper is a great beginning step for new scissor users and a modification often used for kids with fine motor difficulties. 

    The thicker paper requires slower snips and allows for more accuracy.  I also drew the icicles on the cardstock with nice thick lines.  This gave Little Guy more room to cut within the lines and allowed for less line deviation. 

    The second set of icicles were drawn with thinner lines on printer paper.  After practicing on the first set, he was game to cut more  icicles.  The thinner paper and lines requires more control of the scissors and better line awareness, and bilateral hand coordination.

    Work on preschool scissor skills using aa paper icicle craft.

      This looked like so much fun, that even Big Sister wanted to get in on the icicle-making action!

     
     
    Paper icicle craft for the window
     
    We hung our icicles in the window to match the icy conditions outside.
     
    Looking for more ways to practice beginning cutting? Check out this guide to scissor skills.

    More paper crafts for winter

    You’ll love these other cut and paste crafts for winter. Use them in winter fine motor ideas for occupational therapy activities

    • Winter crafts using paper and a variety of textures for sensory play, motor planning, and motor skills.
    • Paper Icicle Craft is an actual printable template that you can print off and use to work on the scissor skills we covered in this post. It’s a great way to make an icicle craft.
    • Build a Snowman Craft– Work on scissor skills and fine motor strength to build a paper snowman
    • Use these paper snowflake ideas from our list of snow and ice ideas.
    • Use activities in our Winter Fine Motor Kit.
    • Use the printable ideas in the Penguin Fine Motor Kit for building scissor skills and hand strength.
    • Incorporate snowman crafts and scissor activities using our latest Snowman Therapy Kit.

    Done-for-you motor tasks to help kids form stronger bodies that are ready to learn.

    Use fun, themed, fine motor activities so you can help children develop fine and gross motor skills in a digital world.

    Themed NO-PREP printable pages include tasks to address fine motor skills such as:

    • Endurance Activities
    • Dexterity Activities
    • Graded Precision Activities
    • Pinch and Grip Strength Activities
    • Arch Development Activities
    • Finger Isolation Activities
    • Separation of the Sides of the Hand Activities
    • Open Thumb Web-Space Activities
    • Wrist Extension
    • Bilateral Coordination Activities
    • Eye-Hand Coordination Activities
    • Crossing Midline Activities

    Click here to read more about the Winter Fine Motor Kit.

    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 contact@theottoolbox.com.

    Paper Icicle Template for Scissor Skills

    paper Icicle craft template

    Looking for quick winter craft that builds skills? This paper icicle template is an icicle craft that kids will love! Use it to hang and decorate a window alongside some paper snowflakes for a wintery scene. Inspired by our icicle activity, this template is easy to use for visual motor skill development. Whether you are working on scissor skills or just want an activity to keep the kids busy, this icicle craft is the way to go!

    Paper icicle craft template

    Paper icicle template

    Ice Ice Baby!

    If you live where it is cold, winter seems here to stay. If you live in one of these frozen territories by choice, fate, obligation, finances, or bad luck, you might as well make the most of it.  Use this cold and blustery weather to create another winter themed lesson plan. Let’s talk icicles!

    When working with kids, it can be fun to pull out some interesting facts. These make great talking points, but for the students working on handwriting, they can spark a writing prompt idea too.

    Icicles can grow at the rate of .39 inches (1 cm)  per minute.  Once the base is formed, each water droplet drips to the bottom of the cone where it freezes. Icicles can be lovely to look at, or be dangerous.  From a homeowner perspective, the icicle can form because of a blockage in the gutter preventing water runoff. Did you see that scene in National Lampoon’s Christmas where the icicle rockets off the roof into the neighbor’s house?  Funny/not funny. 

    The icicle gurus have created and entire Atlas cataloging icicles, saving images, and gathering all of the fun facts surrounding them:

    Lucky for you, the OT Toolbox has designed a safe alternative to live icicles falling off of a building impaling someone or something. How about this icicle craft activity printable template for creating a multitude of fantastic activities for learners of all ages?

    Add this paper icicle activity to your line up of winter occupational therapy crafts.

    While there are endless possibilities for using this icicle template, the best one of course is GLITTER!!  This project screams for glitter.  Who doesn’t love glitter? (custodians, that’s who).  

    Beyond just using fabulous glitter, there are many skills that can be engaged using this icicle template:

    • Scissor skills: this can be graded up or down depending on the level of your learners.
    • Small toddler scissors are just right for tiny hands. 
    • Thicker lines are easier to cut on than thinner ones
    • Larger shapes are easier than their smaller counterparts
    • Stiff paper is easier for cutting and holding than regular copy paper
    • 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.
    •  Kinesthetic awareness – This means learning by doing.
    •  Hand strength and dexterity – staying on the lines builds hand muscles and develops muscle control. 
    • Coloring and decorating: can incorporate copying from a model, creating an original design, following a pattern, creating a sensory experience, accuracy, neatness, and following directions
    • Visual motor skills –Combining what is seen visually and what is written motorically.  This takes coordination to be able to translate information from visual input to motor output. Coloring, drawing, counting, cutting, and tracing are some visual motor skills.
    •  Visual Perception – Developing figure ground to see where the lines are for drawing and/or cutting.  Many young learners do not notice the black line as a border for cutting and coloring. Try highlighting this in different colors to help it stand out from the background.
    • Strength – Core strength needed for sitting, shoulder/elbow/wrist stability, finger strength, and head control all play their role in visual motor tasks.
    • Bilateral Coordination – Be sure your learner uses their helper hand for stabilizing the paper while using their dominant hand for writing/coloring/cutting.
    • Social/Executive Function – Following directions, turn taking, task completion, orienting to details, neatness, multi-tasking, attending to task, and impulse control can be addressed using this paper icicle template

    The beauty of being able to modify and adapt this and all activities, is they can be made appropriate for many levels of learners from basic to more advanced. You do not have to reinvent the wheel for every learner on your caseload.  With its adaptability, you can quickly make changes if your learner is functioning at a different level than you expected. This is critical as many treatment plans do not go as expected.

    Other ideas for modifying this icicle template craft printable:

    • Cut the items out ahead of time for younger learners who are focusing on coloring and gluing
    • Laminate a few triangles to use as tracing patterns. Tracing around an object builds bilateral coordination.
    • Create patterns for your learners to follow
    • String together to make an icicle garland, working on lacing/hole punching/sequencing, and following directions
    • Make into a matching activity once several icicles are made.  They can be matched by size, color, or design
    • Pin onto a bulletin board or wall to work on coloring on a vertical surface. 
    • Work on the floor while learners are lying in prone
    • Add a gross motor element of having to find all of the triangles and bring them to the table
    • Make this a social activity by having learners share materials
    • Add large pom poms or scrunched up paper on the top of the icicles for a 3d effect
    • Add glitter and sparkles to the icicles for added sparkle and sensory experience
    • Paint the icicles with brushes, water colors, or finger paints
    • Drippy wet glue is preferred as it will stick better.  The added benefit is the sensory input from white glue, as well as the fine motor strengthening from squeezing the bottle
    • The possibilities are virtually endless

    When documenting any of these activities, the activity does not matter as much as the skills being addressed.  Therefore the focus of documenting this icicle template craft will be on the skills such as cutting, coloring, executive function, behavior, strength, etc. rather than giving a lot of specifics about the craft itself.

    Clinical observations during the icicle printable craft:

    • How well does your learner sit at the table?  Are they stable, wiggly, do they fall or get out of the chair?
    • Does your learner use both hands for creating this icicle craft? Do they have a dominant and a helper hand, or switch back and forth?
    • How close to the line does your learner cut?
    • How much physical and verbal assistance does your learner need?
    • What is their grasping pattern on the scissors, crayons, markers?
    • What is their sensory response to glue, glitter, noise in the room, visual distractions?
    • What social and executive skills is your learner using and lacking? Cooperation, turn taking, following directions, attention to detail?
    • What behavior reactions are you noticing? Crying, poor frustration tolerance, seeking, avoiding behaviors?

    In order to be well rounded in any treatment plans, it will be important to use more than one task to measure objectives and goals.  Here is a great article on fine motor skills written by Colleen Beck, that includes background information on fine motor skills, activities, and resources.

    Free Paper Icicle Template

    Free Paper Icicle Craft Template

      We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at anytime.

      It is no secret, I am not a fan of winter, however I do remember the wonder of looking up at the icicles formed on buildings, street signs, and monuments. I remember munching on an icicle or two as if it was a candy cane.  We did not worry about acid rain, runoff, and other germs back in the 70s. Try and take a moment, slow down, and breathe in the wonder of nature.

      I ate dirty icicles!

      Victoria Wood, OTR/L

      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.

      Forest Animals Worksheets for Skills

      free forest animal worksheets

      In this blog post, you can grab a fee set of forest animals worksheets for building skills in several fine motor and visual motor areas. Develop cutting, coloring, and visual perceptual skills all in one task! The forest animal activities include bear, fox, and even a forest mushroom to work on scissor skills, coloring, and visual perception.

      Free forest animal worksheets to address coloring, scissor skills, and visual perception with a woodland animal theme.

      Forest Animals Worksheets for Therapy

      Children have the attention span roughly equal to their age x 3-4 minutes. According to this site, a five year old can hold his/her attention for about 15 minutes before wanting to change tasks.

      As a practicing therapist, working with non-typical students, I find this is a stretch. In my experience, children can attend for about ONE minute for every year they age. This being said, finding activities that build multiple skills at once, such as cutting and coloring in one task is key. 

      The free download below, is just such an activity. When kids complete the forest animals coloring and cutting pages, they develop many skill areas:

      • Hand strength (coloring and cutting)
      • Scissor skills
      • Bilateral coordination
      • Pencil control
      • Line awareness
      • Spatial awareness
      • Visual perceptual skills
      • Attention
      • Visual memory

      With electronics taking over classrooms, it is especially important to take time to work on building foundation skills such as cutting, coloring, pasting, and visual perception using hands-on activities such as these Scissor Skills Puzzles.

      Too many young children do not have the right fine motor skill development, creating maladaptive pencil grasp, poor handwriting, or inability to manipulate fasteners. 

      It is often difficult to motivate children to work on cutting and coloring. Because it is a challenging task with many opportunities for failure, it is often avoided by children. Math, while presenting many challenges itself, is predictable and steady, thus a more preferred task for those who struggle with visual motor development.

      Free Forest Animals Worksheets

      The Forest Friends Scissor Skills Puzzles are great worksheets to build fine motor skills such as cutting and coloring, while also developing visual perceptual skills. 

      You will find ways to make tasks such as Forest Friends Scissor Skills Puzzles engaging, interesting, and motivating to each individual learner. A few colored markers, some glitter, and a theme your child enjoys, can make the difference between a positive and negative task.

      These worksheets can be adapted and modified to meet the needs of several types of learners. Consider these ideas to grade this activity: 

      Change the Scissors to address various skill areas: 

      ● Change the scissor size or tool: 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 for more ways to develop cutting skills using this free download.

      Change the Paper to address various skill areas:

      ● lightweight paper is much more difficult to stabilize than heavy weight construction or cardstock paper. 

      ● Colored paper may be easier or more difficult for children to work with because of color contrasts. 

      ● The page can be laminated first, using wipe off markers to color in the design. This is a great way to make this page reusable. Cutting the pieces before coloring it may be necessary. Although this takes away the cutting task, it may be a great adaptation for children who are not able to cut yet. 

      Use various Writing utensils with these forest animal worksheets:

      ● There are endless possibilities for coloring. Markers, crayons, colored pencils, paints, watercolor, chalk, or dry erase pens all provide different input, and require different levels of fine motor skill to manipulate. 

      ● Small one inch crayons are excellent for developing those tiny hand muscles. 

      ● Chalk, with its grainy texture, provides sensory feedback and can be a positive (or negative) experience 

      ● Markers glide easily, requiring less precision and grip strength ● Change writing utensils to appeal to different students and improve their level of motivation. 

      Use the Forest animal worksheets to address Visual perception: 

      ● Puzzles are a great way to work on visual perception.

      ● Figure ground, parts to whole, and visual closure are important to academic development. 

      ● Many adults are unable to complete puzzles or find missing objects because they can not perceive parts to a whole. They only see the forest, not the individual trees. 

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

      To improve cutting skills, this scissor skills workbook is also available.

      With children’s limited attention span, and increasing demands on therapy time, an all in one activity that develops cutting, coloring and visual perceptual skills at the same time is an efficient and fun way to build the fine motor foundation.

      Download the free forest animals worksheets

      To use these forest animal color and cut puzzles, enter your email address into the form below. Start working on fine motor and visual perceptual skills in man different ways!

      Free Forest Animals Worksheets

        We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at anytime.

        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.

        Fall Pumpkin Cutting Activities

        pumpkin cutting activities

        If you’ve been following along with our Fall fine motor activities, then you will love adding these Fall pumpkin cutting activities! I love these pumpkin scissor skill worksheets for cutting practice with a fun Fall theme. The pumpkin images have simple cutting lines, making them a great pumpkin activity for preschool, or any child that is working on early scissor skills. Also check out our pumpkin activities for ways to extend this activity in therapy sessions.

        Pumpkin Cutting Activities for Fall themed occupational therapy activities.

        Get a copy of these pumpkin printables by entering your email address into the form at the bottom of this blog post.

        Fall Pumpkin Cutting Activity

        Print out the pumpkin worksheets and then use them to work on scissor skills with kids. I wanted to create a simple shape (square) to hold the pumpkin shapes. This way, kids can work up to cutting the square as a “next step” in developing scissor skills after cutting strait lines, curved lines, and jagged lines.

        This resource is a great read on cutting skills progression for kids.

        • Each pumpkin image includes a cutting line. You’ll find strait lines, diagonal lines, angled lines, jagged lines, and curved lines.
        • Kids can “cut the pumpkin” to slice through the pumpkin pictures!
        • The lines on each shape start at different sides, so kids can work on placement with their non-dominant hand.

        Extend the Pumpkin Cutting Activities

        There is more than one way to use these pumpkin shapes this Fall. Try these pumpkin cutting activities to address a variety of skills and abilities:

        • Start with the large pumpkin cutting pieces and work toward using the smaller pumpkins.
        • Color in the pumpkins to work on coloring skills, line awareness, and hand strength.
        • Trace the dotted line with a fingertip to work on finger isolation.
        • Trace the dotted line with a marker, crayon, or even a bottle of squeeze glue to work on line awareness and visual motor skills.
        • Cut out the pumpkin images. Cut the dotted lines. Then, these can be used as mini pumpkin puzzles to work on visual perceptual skills.
        • Place the separated pumpkin images around the room. Kids can complete gross motor actions like donkey kicks, balance beams, lunges, or hops to reach different pieces of the pumpkins. They can try to piece all of the pumpkins together.
        • After cutting the lines on the large shapes and the smaller pumpkins, then ask kids to work on cutting the square to work on turning the paper to cut around corners.
        • Use these worksheets as a pumpkin craft ideas for toddlers. If given the cut out pumpkin pieces (start with the strait lines and diagonal lines), toddlers can place the pumpkin halves together like a puzzle. Use glue to glue the pumpkin back together onto construction paper to make a pumpkin patch craft! This would be a great pumpkin craft for preschool, too.

        Free Pumpkin Cutting Practice Worksheets

        Want to grab these free pumpkin cutting practice sheets? Enter your email into the form below. Have fun this Fall!

        Pumpkin Scissor Skills Worksheets

          We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at anytime.

          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 contact@theottoolbox.com.

          For more pumpkin and Fall activities, check out these tools:

          1. Free Pumpkin Deep Breathing Exercise
          2. Halloween Occupational Therapy Activities
          3. Pumpkin Activity Kit
          4. Fall Fine Motor Activities
          5. Fall Fine Motor Kit

          Cupcake Liner Butterfly

          cupcake liner butterfly

          This cupcake liner butterfly is a scissor skills craft to build fine motor skills and scissor skills. Use this cupcake liner craft in therapy with a butterfly theme or in Spring occupational therapy activities. Spring is here (whether the weather agrees or not!) and this butterfly craft is a fun way to celebrate!  With how easy this cupcake liner butterfly craft is, we’ll be sure to make a few batches of these all summer long.

          Cupcake liner butterfly craft for kids

          How to make a Cupcake Liner Butterfly

          You’ll need a few materials for this craft: 

          Butterfly craft made with cupcake liners!

            This post contains affiliate links.  

          Related Read: Use this scented scissor skills activity to help kids learn graded scissor use in a fun way! 

          Use cupcake liners to help with scissor skills with kids.

          To make the butterfly craft, follow these directions:

          1. Cut the cupcake liners like the picture above.  Kids can work on their scissor skills by cutting a material like a cupcake liner.  It’s a lighter weight material than regular paper and a great way to address line accuracy and scissor control.
          Make a cupcake liner butterfly to work on scissor skills with kids.

          2. Cut butterfly bodies from the black cardstock.  

          3. Trim the butterfly wings to curved “C” shapes.   

          Cupcake liner butterfly craft for spring!

          4. Build the butterflies!  We loved mixing up the colors for this bright and cheery Spring craft.  

          Moving the pieces of the butterflies to build the insects is a challenge in visual motor skills.

          More butterfly activities for therapy

          More Cupcake Liner crafts

          Try these cupcake liner crafts to help kids develop precision and coordination in scissor skills using cupcake liners.  

           
           
           

          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 contact@theottoolbox.com.

          Salt Truck Craft

          salt truck craft

          We live in an area with cold winters and lots of snow.  With the wintery weather comes ice, salt, and snow plows.  We’ve been watching many salt trucks rumble down our road, scattering salt and plowing snow.  My kids love to see the salt truck come and every time the see one when we’re out and about, they shout, “SNOW PLOW” from the back of the minivan.  We had to make an Easy Shapes Salt Truck craft to join our other truck crafts.

          Salt truck craft is perfect for kids that love vehicles, and working on early scissor skills.

          Other trucks and cars crafts that work on scissor skills with simple geomteric shapes include:

          Big Rig Craft

          Backhoe Craft

          Firetruck Craft

          School Bus Craft

          Craft for Scissor Skills

          If working on scissor skills is a must, then this salt truck craft is the way to go. Kiddos that love all things trucks and vehicles will love it for the vehicle theme, but as a therapist, I see the geometric shapes, making it perfect for working on early scissor skills.


          Salt Truck Craft

            This post contains affiliate links.

           

          To make the craft, you’ll need just a few materials:

          • Scissors
          • Yellow paper
          • Red paper
          • Black paper
          • White paper
          • Green paper
          • Glue

          Other colors of paper can certainly be used! These are the colors we used, and I’ll describe the shapes you need for this truck craft here so you can use the salt truck as a template.

          About paper type- Different types of paper provides different amounts of feedback for young scissor users. We love crafting with card stock or thicker paper, because it’s easy to hold with the assisting hand and the paper doesn’t easily bend or move when cutting through it with scissors. Cardstock paper is great for younger kids or those just learning to snip and cut with smooth lines as well as just starting with turning the scissors around a corner of simple shapes..  Its brightly colors make great crafting material and the thickness is perfect for new scissor users. You can find more information on types of paper for scissor skill development in our scissor skills crash course.

          You’ll need to draw the following shapes:

          • Yellow Rectangle- for the body of the truck
          • Yellow Square- for the cab of the truck
          • White Smaller Square- for the window of the truck
          • Large Green triangle- for the truck’s Salt bed
          • Long Green rectangle- for the top of the salt truck’s bed
          • 2 Black larger circles- for the wheels
          • 2 Smaller white circles- for inside the wheels
          • Red Half Circle- for the plow
          • Small Red Square- for the plow attachment

          Draw the shapes onto the paper and then start cutting. Cut shapes as pictured above to build the salt truck craft.    

          Snow Plow Puzzle

          Constructing this snow plow puzzle is part of the fun! Kids can work on visual memory by building the truck from memory or by looking at an example picture and then back to their project.

          You can build the salt truck with them and then deconstruct the truck.  Ask your child to recreate the truck from memory, using their mind’s eye to recall the placement of the shapes.  This memory is visual memory and an important skill for copying work when handwriting.  

          There are other visual perceptual skills at work, too.

          Looking for specific pieces that are placed on the table surface is a challenge in visual scanning, visual discrimination, figure-ground, and form constancy.

          Remembering the position of the shapes is part of visual discrimination, a skill needed when children need to remember subtle differences in a picture or written work.  Difficulty with visual discrimination will be apparent when a child has difficulty discerning between b, d, p, or q.

          Kids love salt trucks and snow plows!  Make an easy shapes truck craft to work on visual memory and visual discrimination.

          Early scissor skills fine motor

          For more ways to work on scissor skills, along with all of the fine motor skills needed for scissor use and handwriting, try the Winter Fine Motor Kit. It’s loaded with cutting activities, lacing cards, coloring, clip activities, fine motor art, and fun ways to help children develop pre-writing hand strength, dexterity, and motor skills.

          Use the fine motor activities, lacing cards, toothpick art, and crafts in the Winter Fine Motor Kit. It’s a 100 page packet with all winter themes, and you’ll find penguins there!

          winter fine motor kit

          Click here for more information on the Winter Fine Motor Kit.

           
          More easy shapes Truck Crafts you may like:
           
          firetruck craftBig rig truck craftDigger truck craftSchool bus craft
           
                       Fire Truck craft | Big Rig craft Digger craft | School Bus 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 contact@theottoolbox.com.

          Pumpkin Craft to Build Fine Motor SKills

          pumpkin craft that builds fine motor skills.

          This pumpkin craft is a fun way to build fine motor skills and to use recycled materials at the same time. This cute pumpkin craft was actually designed, created, and photographed by my daughters! I love to see them doing what they love: creating homemade crafts while fostering occupational balance and helping others build skills by sharing such a fun Fall craft.

          Pumpkin craft that helps kids build fine motor skills, using recycled bottle caps.

          Pumpkin Fine Motor Activity

          By making this mini pumpkin craft, kids can build many fine motor skills. It’s a pumpkin fine motor activity without the goopy mess of pumpkin guts and seeds!

          This is a great Halloween occupational therapy activity to add to your toolbox…Just by making this Halloween craft, kids can build dexterity, refined grasp, and precision. Let’s break down how this craft builds fine motor skills:

          Precision– The pumpkin craft is a miniature pumpkin, just sized right for a bottle cap. Working on a small scale, kids can work on precision of grasp as they pick up and manipulate the materials.

          Pincer grasp- In fact, that tip to tip grasp that uses the pads of the pointer finger and they thumb, pincer grasp is used. This refined grasp is needed to pick up the googly eyes, pinch and place tape, maneuver the pipe cleaner piece.

          Neat pincer grasp– When that pincer grasp requires even more precision and the tips of the pointer finger and the thumb bend at the last joint, a neat pincer grasp is used. This grasp is needed to pick up very small items such as a mini-jack-o-lantern eyes and cutouts.

          Separation of the sides of the hand– Manipulating tape, picking up small items, and cutting with scissors fosters the fine motor skill of separation of the sides of the hand. This skill is essential for a functional pencil grasp.

          Bilateral coordination– Pulling and ripping tape is a great bilateral coordination task. Kids can use coordinated use of both hands throughout this pumpkin craft activity. Working on a small scale in a craft like this one pulls concentrated near-point work at the midline, making it a nice pre-cursor activity to refine skills needed for reading, writing, and other tasks requiring fine motor coordination skills.

          Gross grasp– Hand strength is built through the power side of the hand, or the ulnar side. When the power side is strengthened through gross grasp activities like squeezing a glue bottle, kids can gain more stability in the hand as they complete fine motor tasks. Squeezing the glue bottle in a small space requires a refined grasp, so glue is stopped when appropriate and there isn’t a giant pool of glue all over the table. This ability to squeeze a glue bottle in a small spot with accuracy isn’t easy for some kiddos! Here is more information on gross grasp.

          Scissor skills– This fine motor Halloween activity has very small scissor work, making it a nice way to work on precision and graded scissor skills.

          Work on fine motor skills with kids using this fine motor pumpkin craft.

          Let’s make a Cute Pumpkin Craft for Kids!

          Craft supplies to make a pumpkin craft with kids.

          First step is to gather all of your materials. Your materials for this pumpkin craft are: (Amazon affiliate links included below)

          How to make a pumpkin craft

          Let’s get started with making this cutie mini pumpkin craft.

          Cut green and brown pipe cleaners to make the pumpkin craft.
          1. First, cut the pipe cleaners to a length of about one inch. Put the pipe cleaners on the edge of one bottlecap. When you have it in a good spot add orange tape on the sides so it will stick.
          Use recycled bottle caps to make a pumpkin craft with kids.

          2. Place the second bottle cap on the edge of the first bottle cap so the rims are touching and sandwiching the pipe cleaners. Add a strip of orange tape around the outside of both bottle caps for a 3D pumpkin craft!

          3. Cut a small piece of the green pipe cleaner and bend it into a leaf shape.

          4. Then cut out your black construction paper to make a small jack-o-lantern face.

          Use orange washi tape to make a mini pumpkin craft.

          5. Next, glue the small construction paper pieces in the position you would like it to be on one of the bottle caps.

           Have fun building fine motor skills with this mini pumpkin craft!

          Cute mini pumpkin craft using recycled bottle caps.

          More Halloween Crafts you will love

          Pumpkin Thumbprint craft
          Bat craft for halloween
          Pumpkin stamp craft
          Pumpkin activity kit
          Pumpkin Fine Motor Kit

          Grab the Pumpkin Fine Motor Kit for more coloring, cutting, and eye-hand coordination activities with a Pumpkin theme! It includes:

          • 7 digital products that can be used any time of year- has a “pumpkins” theme
          • 5 pumpkin scissor skills cutting strips
          • Pumpkin scissor skills shapes- use in sensory bins, math, sorting, pattern activities
          • 2 pumpkin visual perception mazes with writing activity
          • Pumpkin “I Spy” sheet – color in the outline shapes to build pencil control and fine motor strength
          • Pumpkin Lacing cards – print, color, and hole punch to build bilateral coordination skills
          • 2 Pumpkin theme handwriting pages – single and double rule bold lined paper for handwriting practice

          Work on underlying fine motor and visual motor integration skills so you can help students excel in handwriting, learning, and motor skill development.

          You can grab this Pumpkin Fine Motor kit for just $6!

          Tiny Pumpkin Crafts

          We loved making this mini pumpkin craft for building precision and neat pincer grasp. By cutting the mini pumpkin faces from paper, you really work on refined motor skills.

          You can expand this activity by pairing it with our pumpkin emotions activity. Ask the child/student to identify emotions and then make that pumpkin face with the tiny pumpkins.

          Or, include more self-regulation concepts by using the tiny pumpkins along with our free pumpkin deep breathing exercise. Trace the deep breathing arrows with the tiny pumpkins! You can even discuss how small changes (and mini pumpkins!) make a big difference.

          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 contact@theottoolbox.com.

          Cutting with Scissors Program

          Tips to teach kids to hold scissors

          Teaching kids to cut with scissors depends a lot on the type of scissors that are used. Ask any pediatric occupational therapist, and you will find recommendations for kid-friendly scissors that actually allow kids to cut paper. You know…the training scissors to introduce kids to scissor skills…the ones that don’t just tear through paper.

          Choosing the best scissors for kids

          When it comes to finding the best scissors for kids, there is a lot more to it than you might think. Cutting scissors need to fit the child’s hand and feel comfortable. They need to be safe and allow the child to learn to manipulate the scissors while cutting paper (and nothing else). They need to have molded handles that are easy to hold in the correct position. And they need to grow with the child so they can progress from cutting snips to shapes and multi-angled forms.

          Teaching kids to cut with scissors is a progress. There are tips that can help along the way and there are strategies that can help a child succeed.

          Having scissors and a strategy can help!

          Why is teaching scissor skills important? Teaching kids to cut with scissors helps with fine motor skills and more.

          Why is cutting with scissors important?

          When we teach kids the correct way to hold scissors, kids find so much more success in cutting shapes. You probably have seen the child that holds scissors sideways on the paper. They open and close the scissor blades but nothing happens.

          Maybe you’ve seen the child that pushes the scissors through the paper. They tear and rip the page instead of cutting along the lines.

          You might recall the child that holds the scissors with their elbow out and up in the air so they are cutting in toward their body instead of out and along the lines.

          All of these positioning tactics lead to poor scissor skills and a frustrated kiddo.

          Importance of Scissor Skills

          When we show kids how to properly hold scissors we set them up for success. When we hand scissors that properly fit the child, we are providing the tools for accuracy.

          Teaching kids to hold the scissors correctly allows them to position correctly so they can cut along the lines and feel success as they cut shapes.

          When kids open and close the scissor blades, they gain precision of fine motor skills. And, those same fine motor skills allow the child to gain accuracy in cutting more complex shapes and forms.

          Cutting with scissors builds bilateral coordination skills so they can use both hands together in a coordinated manner.

          Cutting along lines offers a way to gain accuracy and precision in eye-hand coordination skills.

          Not only are kids gaining developmental motor skills, they are completing a functional task, too. Teaching kids the proper way to hold scissors allows them to open and close the blades to cut along the lines with accuracy. They can snip the paper rather than tear. They can progress in scissor skill development from showing an interest in cutting with scissors to cutting complex shapes.

          So how to teach kids the right positioning for cutting with scissors?

          use these tips to teach kids to hold scissors

          Positioning for scissor skills

          First in addressing positioning for scissor skills is sitting posture. Make sure the child is seated at a desk or table with their feet flat on the floor and arms at a functional position. Using a table that is too high puts the elbows and shoulders into too much flexion.

          Tuck the elbows into the sides. Many times, we see new scissor users holding their elbows way out to the sides as they attempt to bring the scissor work closer to their face and body. Actually, having the child tuck their elbows into their side offers more support so they can work on refining those fine motor skills.

          Make sure the scissors are positioned on the hand correctly. Kids often times, place their thumb in the small loop of the scissor handles and push all of their other fingers into the larger hole. If possible, ensure that the thumb is in the smaller loop and the middle finger is placed in the larger loop with the ring ginger and pinkie finger tucked into the palm for support.

          If that positioning isn’t possible, allow the child to use their middle, ring, and pinkie fingers in the larger loop.

          Be sure that the scissors are positioned perpendicular to the paper. When the scissors tilt sideways due to upper body positioning, the paper tends to tear rather than cut.

          All of these tips, and much more are available in The Scissor Skills Book, created by an occupational therapist and physical therapist team that covers all things development and motor skills needed for cutting with scissors.

          Scissor Skills Curriculum

          So, if working on scissor skills, positioning, and building scissor accuracy is something you are working on with kids, then you are going to love this item!

          This scissor book offers step by step strategies to support development of scissor skills. It’s a therapist’s look at scissor skills curriculum using a developmental approach to help with positioning the scissors so kids can cut along lin