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!

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!

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

    Victoria Wood, OTR/L 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.

    Valentines Cursive Alphabet Uppercase and Lowercase Activity

    Valentine uppercase and lowercase cursive activity

    This post includes a FREE download of the Valentine Cursive Alphabet Uppercase and Lowercase printable. Start here with understanding how to teach cursive…then check out this post on which cursive letters to teach first. Then use the free cursive letters printable at the bottom of this page to work on cursive letter writing with a Valentine’s Day theme! This is a great activity to incorporate into your Valentines Day occupational therapy activities.

    This cursive alphabet uppercase and lowercase activity has a Valentine's Day theme, but the cursive letter cards can be used any time to year to work on cursive handwriting.

    Cursive Alphabet Upper Case and Lower Case Activity

    Because of the importance of cursive writing, the OT Toolbox has included cursive alphabet worksheets in it’s “Toolbox”.  This uppercase and lowercase Valentines printable alphabet PDF is a great learning tool for beginning to recognize the letters.

    In recent years there has been a lot of back and forth opinions about the validity and necessity of writing cursive.  Some of the people creating school curricula feel this is an old language since it is not used in books any more, and most written expression is done on keyboards.  While there is the argument that people only need cursive for signing their signature, and it should be abolished, cursive is so much more important than just a signature on a page. This article from the New York Times debates reasons to reinstate cursive writing in schools:

    Students with learning differences such as dyslexia greatly benefit from learning cursive. Cursive letters such as “b and d” are different from manuscript, therefore easier to decipher. 

    Flowing letters connected together in cursive are often easier for young learners to write. There are fewer diagonals, a definite direction of the letters eliminating bottom to top formation, and not having to keep stopping and starting can be a very efficient form of written expression. This post on cursive letter families is helpful in breaking down letters into formation patterns.

    The first stage to learning something new is being able to identify before being able to reproduce it. These upper and lowercase cursive alphabet worksheets for kids or other learners, are a great addition to your cursive curriculum. The OT Toolbox archives has an informative post on teaching cursive writing.

    What better way to teach a new skill than to tie it to an adorable Valentine theme? Learners are more compliant when there is a motivating fun theme. While these uppercase and lowercase alphabet worksheets can be introduced around Valentine’s day, they are versatile enough to be used year round. YouTube has a great video highlighting the History (and importance) of Cursive Writing

    How can I use these cursive alphabet upper and lowercase letter printable cards?

    Incorporate this cursive letters printable into occupational therapy sessions to work on individualized goals no matter what level or skills the learner is working to address:

    • Ask learners to write the letters as they match them
    • Higher level learners can write down, or describe the directions to the game
    • Print these on colored paper for more visual appeal or contrast, color the pictures, or laminate the pages to make these more sturdy and reusable
    • Learners can explore other games they could make using these Valentine match cards (perhaps hiding the letters around the room and having learners run around collecting them, or creating a “memory” game out of these upper and lowercase writing cards)
    • Practice scissor skills by cutting these cards apart
    • Change the weight of the paper – heavier paper is easier to handle
    • Make these into tracing cards with or without laminating them.
    • Research and talk about the importance of cursive writing, and have a debate
    • Project onto a smartboard for a group task using a pointer to push the pieces together
    • Enlarge or shrink this task to change the degree of difficulty
    • Turn it into a gross motor task, sensory activity, following directions game, or combination of all of these
    • Use this task durng more than one session by adding cursive practice, letter recognition, copying from a model, or putting letters together to make words.

    Skilled OT Observations with this Cursive Activity

    When working on this Valentine upper and lowercase cursive matching activity, there are several observations that can be  made: 

    • Can your learner scan the pages to identify the correct letters?  Are they recognizing what they are matching or merely matching shapes? Can they match items that are related but not the same (form constancy)?
    • How many items can your learner correctly match?
    • Can your learner correctly hold and manipulate the scissors? How much assistance do they need to grip the scissors and cut on the lines?
    • Can your student continue to hold the scissors while trying to manipulate the paper?
    • How many times do you need to repeat the directions so your learner can follow them?
    • How many reminders does your learner need while doing this activity?
    • Can they stay on task during this upper and lowercase cursive matching task?

    As with this Cursive Alphabet Uppercase Lowercase Valentine Worksheet, or any of the worksheets and activities on the OT Toolbox, you can teach one or ten different skills while teaching them. Working on letter recognition? Skip the cutting and coloring section.  Focusing on visual perception? Don’t have students write the letters after matching the cards. Beginning cursive learners? Have a letter page example with all of the letters as a reference. 

    You may decide you are focusing your treatment on task completion or compliance with a non preferred task. Therefore your observations would lean more toward behaviors and reactions, than written expression.

    Make several observations while your learners are working on these cursive letter matching pages.  See how you might need to grade or modify the task for your next group of learners.  Decide what works, and what does not work using this set of cards. 

    Use the other Valentine’s printables available on the OT Toolbox to create an impressive lesson plan.  Here is an entire Valentine Fine Motor Kit! 

    Whether you are searching for Valentines Slide Decks, posts highlighting Valentines Day ideas, or anything you want to build into your lesson plan, type your ideas into the search bar and tons of activities, posts, free printables, and kits will be available to you. 

    Whenever you get the urge to jump on the bandwagon to eliminate cursive, just take a look at the handwritten notes from your grandmother, or other elderly people.  It is simply beautiful penmanship and should not be lost in favor of typing.

    Cursive – it’s more than just a signature!

    Free Upper Case and Lowercase Cursive Letters Printable

    Enter your email address below to download this free cursive alphabet Uppercase and Lowercase Valentines Worksheet

    FREE Valentine’s Day Cursive Letters Printable

      We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at anytime.

      Victoria Wood, OTR/L

      Victoria Wood

      Victoria Wood, OTR/L 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.

      Valentines Hole Punch cards

      Valentines Day hole punch cards

      Today’s post is highlighting a new activity, the Valentines Hole Punch Card. This is a great tool to add to your occupational therapy activities for February, while using a hand strengthening activity with a heart theme.

      There has long been a debate about the validity of Valentine’s day.  Some claim it to be a “Hallmark Holiday,” for the greeting card companies to make a quick buck.  I would venture a guess that women like it more than men.  Men tend to see any sort of shopping or gift giving as a chore, and this is just one more on the list.  Women see this as another opportunity to receive something special,  wrapped up in a tiny box.  I see it as a way to break up the long winter between New Years and Easter

      Valentine's Day Hole punch cards for using to strengthen hands with a heart theme.

      Why do children like Valentine’s day?  It is not writing out cards or focusing on letters, but candy of course!  Any opportunity to get candy is a welcomed treat for most young people. Now that we have established who is in favor, and who is opposed to this holiday, let’s focus on entertaining and celebrating with the children, since we KNOW they appreciate a good Valentine.

      Valentines activities hole punch CARD

      Since not many goals are accomplished purely from unwrapping and eating candy, there needs to be motivating ways to encourage learners to work on skills such as fine and visual motor, social function, and behavior.  Combining fun holidays with activities like the Valentines Letter Hole Punch Cards, into your lesson plan, is a great way to help reluctant learners agree to participate in non favored activities.  

      The OT Toolbox has a kit of VALENTINE’S DAY FINE MOTOR ACTIVITIES to add to your lesson plan. This is a print-and-go packet of resources designed to build fine motor strength and coordination.

      Ways to use and modify this valentines letter hole punch card task:

      • Use traditional and alternative types of hole punchers to build hand strength and dexterity, while matching the letters
      • Use crayons to mark the matching letters
      • Dot markers can be used to dot the correct letters.
      • Pages can be colored and cut out, glued onto larger sheets and decorated
      • Enlarge or shrink this page to change the level of difficulty
      • Change the type of paper, heavier weight is easier to handle, but may be harder to punch through
      • Colored paper might be more motivating, or provide better contrast
      • Project this onto a smart board to make it a touch task or have students follow along with the diagram
      • For learners who do not know their letters yet, this will be more of a shape matching task than letter recognition
      • Create a booklet of all the letter pages, tackling a couple each day
      • Make a Valentines lesson plan around each letter for the day including writing the letters, reading about letters, identifying items that start with each letter, and learning the letter sounds
      • Add a Valentine’s Day Handwriting Slide Deck to your plan to make it even more motivating for your learners

      What skills does this Valentine hole punch worksheet address?

      • Fine motor skills: manual dexterity to hold and used the hole punch, coloring and drawing if designing the activity for writing
      • Strength: core strength, hand and wrist stability. Using a hole punch improves the intrinsic hand muscles critical for writing and cutting skills
      • Bilateral coordination: using one hand for punching or cutting, while the “helper hand” supports the paper. Keep an eye one which hand is primarily used as the dominant side
      • Visual perception: figure ground to pick out the correct letters from the field of many. Scanning to correctly find all of the letters. Visual memory to remember what letters have been looked at already. Form constancy to recognize the letters in their different forms or sizes
      • Executive function/behavior/social skills: Following directions, attention to detail, turn taking, waiting, social skills, compliance, behavior, and work tolerance
      • Cutting on the line ( if you choose to add this step), within half inch of lines, in the direction of lines

      When working on this Valentine letter hole punch activity, there are several observations that can be  made: 

      • Can your learner scan the page to identify the correct letters?  Are they recognizing what they are matching or merely matching shapes?
      • How many items can your learner correctly match?
      • Can your learner correctly hold and manipulate the hole punch? How much assistance do they need to grip the puncher and punch the holes?
      • Can your student continue to hold the puncher while trying to manipulate the paper?
      • How many times do you need to repeat the directions so your learner can follow them?
      • How many reminders does your learner need while doing this activity?
      • What is your learner’s frustration tolerance when they make a mistake or cannot accurately do this task?
      • What types of modifications and adaptations were needed for your learner to be successful?
      • Is there any cheating or cutting corners going on? There always is.

      For more great learning opportunities, click on this: Valentine’s Fine Motor Skills post from 2021

      The best laid plans are multi-dimensional. The OT Toolbox has many options for varying your treatment plans, including fine and gross motor, social, coordination, strengthening, and sensory activities.

      The OT Toolbox has a Valentine’s day sensory BIN to add to your Valentine treatment ideas

      Free Valentine’s Day Hole Punch Cards

      Thankfully the OT Toolbox has you covered this month!  Today’s activity is no exception.  We are rolling out several Valentine related activities for preschool, kindergarten, and entry level learners.  While these are appropriate for young learners, they are also great for beginning or early level learners of all ages. Some learners as old as high school can benefit from this type of task if this is their fine motor or cognitive level. 

      This Valentine Hole Punch Card Activity Sheet is an excellent way to work on multiple skills at once, while creating a cute take home worksheet packet.  

      Enter your email address into the form below to access this Valentine’s Day hole punch card.

      FREE Valentine’s Day Hole Punch Cards

        We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at anytime.

        Now that Valentine’s Day is on the horizon, I am off to find some of that candy!

        YUM – Victoria Wood

        Victoria Wood

        Victoria Wood, OTR/L 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.

        *The term, “learner” is used throughout this post for readability, however this information is relevant for students, patients, clients, children of all ages, etc. The term “they” is used instead of he/she to be inclusive.

        Valentines Fine Motor Worksheet

        Valentines Day Fine Motor Worksheets

        Here is another fun Valentines Fine Motor Worksheet with a sweet treats theme. Add this resource to your Valentine’s Day occupational therapy activities for themed activities that build fine motor skills. This printable bundle is designed to work on in-hand manipulation.  What the heck is that?

        Valentines Day Fine Motor Worksheets for developing precision and in-hand manipulation skills

        Valentines Fine Motor Worksheet

        In the Valentine fine motor activity using the worksheet below, you can promote fine motor skill development, specifically regarding in-hand manipulation skills.

        In-hand manipulation is an essential skill for hand function.  Strengthening the muscles of the palm, or intrinsic muscles helps with basic functions such as picking up and releasing small objects such as coins one at a time. 

        This is how you are able to give something to someone without opening up your whole hand and dumping the contents.  We use these intrinsic muscles during finger isolation, pointing, cutting with scissors, writing, or touching each finger tip to tip to name a few. 

        Motivation, or lack of it, has been addressed several times in previous posts. Some learners are intrinsically motivated, doing their best work because it is important to them. Most people though are externally motivated.  They need some sort of reward, praise, or incentive in order to work (especially at a non preferred task).  While handing out rewards for each task completed is not sustainable, adding incentives is. 

        Worksheets found on the OT Toolbox add themes and pictures to incentivize your learners to complete the task more willingly. Our Valentine theme is no exception.

        Activities in our popular Valentine Fine Motor Kit include fine motor strips that can be used to develop skills in a fun and motivating way.

        Below, you can grab a set of Valentine Fine Motor Strips, whether it be for preschoolers, grade school, or any other entry level learner, are a great bundle of printable worksheets. 

        While this can have a Valentine theme, it can also be a stand alone activity or fit nicely into your in-hand manipulation treatment plan.

        How to use these Valentines fine motor printables:

        The classic method of using these Valentines Treats Printables is to have your learner pick up a designated number of small objects one at a time, transferring from the fingertips to the palm of the hand.  Then your learner will place the objects down on the diagram one at a time, reversing the process of transferring the objects from the palm to the fingertips before placing them on the page.

        What to watch for while using this valentines printable:

        • Is your learner using a raking or pincer grasp to pick up the objects?
        • Do not let your learner slide the objects off of the table
        • Items should be picked up with only ONE hand
        • Items should be dropped one at a time by transferring the objects to the fingertips, not just opening a finger or two to release the objects
        • While the above are considered “cheating”, they are more likely coping strategies for a learner who does not understand, or is unable to do the task correctly.  Modify the task as needed for success.
        • Count how many items your learner can hold without dropping any. Try and aim for ten items.
        • How many times do you need to repeat the directions so your student can follow them?
        • How many reminders does your student need while doing this activity?
        • What is your student’s frustration tolerance when they have to start over?
        • What compensation strategies is your learner using?
        • What is their behavior, social function, and executive skills  during this task? 

        What items can I use for the valentines day treats printable worksheet?

        The small objects for this Valentines Day Fine Motor Worksheet can be anything really. You can make the task easier or more difficult depending on the number and size of the objects. Keep a watchful eye on your learners while they are handling small objects. It is important that they learn to work with small objects, but be vigilant about items going into the mouth.  Here are some suggestions of items to use:

        • Coins
        • Buttons of different sizes
        • Pompoms of different sizes
        • Mini marshmallows
        • Small Legos
        • Cheerios or other small food items (this may help incentivize your learner even more!)
        • Bingo chips
        • Dice
        • Paperclips
        • Erasers
        • Any combination of items you have in your junk drawer

        What else can I do with this Valentines fine motor strips printable pack?

        • Use different size/number/type of objects to change the challenge
        • Use crayons/colored pencils/markers to color the paths or make marks along the way
        • Dot markers can be used to mark the items along the paths
        • Pages can be colored and cut out, glued onto larger sheets and decorated
        • Enlarge or shrink this page to change the level of difficulty
        • Change the type, color, or weight of paper.  Heavier weight is easier to handle, Colored paper might be more motivating, or provide better contrast
        • Make a lesson plan around in-hand manipulation, tasty treats, or  fine motor skills for the day/week
        • Laminate the page for reusability.  This activity can then be done with manipulatives or markers and wipes. 
        • An alternative to lamination is page protector sheets.  These are much more affordable and reusable depending on your current lesson plan. Create a themed binder of worksheets to use with all of your learners.

        Whether your lesson plan is preschool Valentine’s printables, worksheets for fine motor skills, coloring activities, Valentines Sensory Bins, printable Valentines hearts, in-hand manipulation, or a combination of all of these, have fun with them! Use the resources at the OT Toolbox to make a challenging task fun. 

        What if you had themed, NO-PREP activities designed to collect data and can help kids build essential fine motor skills?

        Take back your time and start the year off with a bang with these done-for-you fine motor plans to help kids form stronger hands with our Winter Fine Motor Kit. This print-and-go winter fine motor kit includes no-prep fine motor activities to help kids develop functional grasp, dexterity, strength, and endurance. Use fun, winter-themed, fine motor activities so you can help children develop strong fine motor skills in a digital world. 

        The Winter Fine Motor Kit includes reproducible activity pages include: pencil control strips, scissor skills strips, simple and complex cutting shapes, lacing cards, toothpick precision art, crumble hand strengthening crafts, memory cards, coloring activities, and so much more.

        If you regularly use the printables and activities like the Valentines Fine Motor Printables or Treat Worksheet bundle offered at the OT Toolbox, you might want to consider becoming a Member of the OT Toolbox.  Membership is a more efficient way to get all of your information and resources than entering your email address each time. Save hours of time with an organized collection of high quality, easy-prep occupational therapy resources right at your fingertips!

        In addition to free downloads like this Valentines Day Fine Motor Worksheet, the OT Toolbox also offers themed activities/posts to make treatment planning a breeze. One of them is this the Valentine’s Day Occupational Therapy Activity Post full of activities, crafts, sensory strategies, Valentines Play Dough, resources and products. Included in the OT Toolbox resources is a a great Valentines Day Fine Motor Kit, on special now!

        If you are a new therapist/parent/teacher, you could definitely use some resources!  If you are a seasoned therapist you could definitely use some NEW resources!!

        In preparation for this activity set, I will be scouring my junk drawers looking for miscellaneous objects to put this task to good use.  Does anyone even have coins anymore?

        Free Valentine Fine Motor Worksheet

        Enter your email address below to download this FREE Valentine Fine Motor Strip Worksheet Bundle!

        FREE Valentine’s Day Fine Motor Worksheet

          We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at anytime.

          Victoria Wood, OTR/L

          Victoria Wood

          Victoria Wood, OTR/L 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.

          *The term, “learner” is used throughout this post for readability, however this information is relevant for students, patients, clients, children of all ages and stages or whomever could benefit from these resources. The term “they” is used instead of he/she to be inclusive.

          Valentine’s day activity sheet

          valentine's day activity sheets

          In today’s free printable the Valentine’s Day Activity Sheet, all the Valentine stuff is certainly mixed up!  This set of Valentines pencil control scanning worksheets combines visual motor and visual perceptual skills in several different PDF forms to delight and entertain even the most picky learner! Add this resource to your Valentine’s Day occupational therapy activities.

          Valentine's Day activity sheets to work on visual perceptual skills

          Valentine’s Day Activity Sheet

          Add this hearts and roses worksheet to your therapy line-up. This is such a fun time of year to add creative resources like the Valentine activity sheet described below. It may even become a new Valentine tradition!

          Do you have any Valentine’s traditions? Maybe making handmade valentines, baking cookies, or going out to a favorite restaurant.  Sometimes traditions are purposeful, while other times they just happen. If something “works” one year, it tends to become a tradition whether you want it to or not.  There are expectations in motion, or maybe just lack of creativity.  Hey, she liked it last year, let me do it again for 25 years.

          For at least fifteen years I received a box of Russell St****rs chocolates for Valentine’s day.  I am not a fan of this kind of chocolate.  I probably faked enthusiasm the first year, thus starting a tradition.  In short, traditions are ok, but it is also awesome to mix things up a little!

          Before looking at the Valentine’s Day Activity Worksheets, we need to understand:

          What is visual perception and why is it important? 

          Visual perception is being able to look at something and make sense of it.  Items have to be “perceived” in the correct way for motor output, reading, following directions, self care, and just about everything we do. That jacket that is inside out?  It takes more than just fine motor skills to right it.  The eyes and brain need to “see” that the jacket is inside out, where the problem stems from, then use motor skills to correct it. 

          Check out this article from the Vision Learning Center about breaking down visual perceptual skills.

          While righting jackets and reading are not the most enticing tasks for developing visual perceptual skills, Valentine Printable Scanning Sheets are!

          Better yet, to avoid having to submit your email address each time, consider becoming a member of the OT Toolbox! Membership has it’s perks. As a member you will not only be able to find every single one of the free printables offered on The OT Toolbox, but you’ll:

          • Be able to download each of them with a single click (No more re-entering your email address and searching through folders!)
          • Receive early access to new printables and activities before they’re added to the website (You’ll find these in the What’s New section.)
          • Receive a 20% discount on all purchases made in the The OT Toolbox shop!

          Valentine’s Day Activity Sheet for Visual Perception

          This great bundle of free visual scanning/pencil control printables works on several different visual perceptual skills:

          • Visual memory – remembering what was seen long enough to find it somewhere else
          • Visual scanning – being able to look at all of the choices (either in random or sequential order)
          • Visual form constancy – looking at items that might be slightly different or in a different position and recognizing they are the same figure

          four more visual perceptual skills

          We use these to make sense of what is seen.  Can you think of examples of activities or everyday tasks that require these skills?

          • Visual figure ground – picking out items from competing backgrounds
          • Visual spatial relations – identify items in relation to other items. What is in front, next to, behind
          • Visual closure – making sense of an item when only given part of it, such as doing a puzzle
          • Visual discrimination – the ability to idenfity differences between objects which may be obvious or subtle

          When thinking about figure ground, picture looking for an item in the refrigerator.  This skill requires being able to perceive or “see” the item among a forest of other items.  Visual spatial relations may be looking at pictures to determine what is in the foreground and what is in the background, or how far something is.  There are a lot of pictures and games that trick the mind’s eye into thinking it is seeing something else.  The brain has to work extra hard to decipher these.

          In case you missed it, Colleen Beck posted a great article on visual perception:

          Some people have amazing visual perceptual skills, while others really struggle. I have mentioned before, there is a gender divide when it comes to visual perceptual skills.  Males were designed to hunt/gather/protect, therefore their eyes do not perceive subtle differences.  Do not despair!  These can be taught, or at least compensated for.  

          Knowing that visual perceptual skills can be a weakness for many, it is important to address these difficulties early, and train the brain to recognize the difference between objects, be able to find things, and solve puzzles.  Learners who struggle with anything, are going to be less likely to want to do something that is challenging.  Make it fun!  Get puzzles that have the theme your learner gravitates toward. The OT Toolbox has a great Valentines Day Fine Motor bundle to add to your theme. Use food or other motivating items to teach these skills.

          While I tend to discourage more electronic use than is already imposed on young minds, here are a couple of fun examples of online games that are motivating AND build visual perception from the Sensory Toolbox.

          As always, there are a dozen ways to adapt and modify these Valentines Day Activity Sheets to meet the needs of most of your learners.  

          This Valentine scanning pencil control worksheet is no exception:

          • Laminate the page for reusability. This saves on resources, and many learners love to write with markers!
          • Print in black and white or color for different levels of difficulty
          • Cut the shapes and make a matching game instead of using a writing tool to draw lines
          • Talk about the items, describe their characteristics, and give context clues to help your learner understand why certain pictures match
          • Copy some of these designs to add to the visual motor element
          • Try different writing utensils. This is not only motivating, but some learners work better with markers as they glide easier on paper. Did you know that golf sized pencils promote more of a tripod grasp than traditional long pencils? Try having your learner color with one inch crayons to enhance their grasp
          • Enlarge the task for beginning writers who need more writing space
          • Shrink the task for older learners who need to learn to write smaller
          • Velcro the back of the Valentine items, after laminating and cutting them,  to create a matching game
          • Have students write on a slant board, lie prone on the floor with the page in front to build shoulder stability, or supine with the page taped under the table
          • Project this page onto a smart board for students to come to the board and write in big lines
          • More or less prompting may be needed to grade activity to make it easier or harder
          • Make this part of a larger lesson plan including gross motor, sensory, social, executive function, or other fine motor skills
          • Don’t miss this great post on Valentine’s Day Activities, including Valentine’s Day Playdough, and a Valentine’s Day Shredded Paper Sensory Bin

          Besides visual perception and/or writing, what else is being addressed using this Valentine’s scanning, pencil control printable?

          • Fine motor – grasping pattern, wrist stability, intrinsic hand muscle development, pencil control
          • Bilateral coordination – hand dominance, using “helper hand”, crossing midline
          • Proprioception – pressure on paper, grip on writing tool
          • Strength – shoulder, elbow, wrist, hand, core, head control
          • Visual perception – scanning, figure ground, line placement, crossing midline, visual closure, seeing parts to whole
          • Executive function/behavior – following directions, attention, focus, sequencing, planning, task completion, frustration tolerance
          • Social function – working together in a group, problem solving, sharing materials and space, turn taking, talking about the activity

          It can be very frustrating if you have excellent visual perceptual skills and other people do not “see” the world as you do. Take comfort in the fact that these skills can be learned with a little bit of effort.  Until then, make sure the Ketchup is always on the same shelf, and the clothing is never inside out!

          Free Valentine’s Day Activity Sheet

          Just submit your email address to be able to download this FREE Valentine’s Day Activity Sheet.

          FREE Valentine’s Day Activity Sheets

            We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at anytime.

            Superior visual perceptual skills here! – Victoria Wood, OTR/L

            Victoria Wood

            Victoria Wood, OTR/L 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.

            **The term, “learner” is used throughout this post for readability, however this information is relevant for students, patients, clients, children of all ages and stages or whomever could benefit from these resources. The term “they” is used instead of he/she to be inclusive.

            Looking for more pencil control activities?  Look no further: