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 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.
Superior visual perceptual skills here! – 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.
**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: