This winter crossword puzzle is a therapy tool designed to work on visual perception, handwriting, visual attention, and so much more! Just print off the winter crossword and use it to develop so many skills all season long. Today’s post is all about winter words.
This free Winter Crossword Puzzle is a great addition to the blustery winter season. Upon first glance at the title; “Winter Crossword”, you might be thinking this is too difficult for your young learners, or too narrow a focus for a treatment session. Wait until you see THIS Winter Crossword packet!
Also be sure to grab our new tall and short worksheet which not only supports visual motor skills, but incorporates the cold thermometers of winter!
As a related resource for the wintery season is our Winter Fine Motor Kit for winter coloring, cut and paste, sensory boxes, and fine motor fun to get through this blustery season.
winter crossword puzzle
We love creating resources that expand on many areas of skill development, and this winter worksheet is no different. What starts out looking like a regular winter crossword puzzle, is full of writing, coloring, visual perception, motor planning, bilateral coordination, strength, executive function, and more.
This Winter Crossword Puzzle is not just for occupational therapists, parents, or teachers to use. Parents, educators, and speech pathologists will love teaching their learners the words that match these winter pictures, talking about what they mean, as well as practicing writing skills.
I posted the other day in one of the winter blogs, about the narrow focus of children who have been raised in warmer temperatures. My learners did not know anything about ice skating, igloos, eating icicles, maple syrup snow, sledding, or snowshoes. Thanks to the movie Frozen, they knew about snowballs and snowmen!
You can add this winter crossword to a collection of winter themed therapy tools:
- These winter sensory stations address self-regulation and mindfulness
- Arctic Animals Word Search
- Polar Bear Theme Deep Breathing Exercise
- 100 Snowballs worksheet
- Penguin Theme Deep Breathing Exercise
- Build a Snowman craft
- Things to do in the snow worksheet
- Winter Mindfulness Activities
This Winter Crossword is a great jumping off point, leading to much discussion and learning about winter. It is also a multidimensional task that can be adapted and modified to meet the needs of each of your learners.
How can I modify this winter crossword puzzle?
The possibilities are endless, however, here are a few ideas:
- Laminate the Winter Themed Crossword Puzzle page to make it reusable. This is efficient, environmentally friendly, and motivating for learners who love to write with markers. NOTE: Not all learners love reusable pages. Some learners feel it is important to be able to save their work and take it home.
- Project it onto a smart board to make it a group task or work on large letters and shoulder stability.
- Enlarge the task for beginning writers who need more writing space.
- Shrink the task for older learners who need to learn to write smaller.
- 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?
- Use different colored paper for more or less visual contrast.
- Have learners write a sentence using each word clue.
- Draw pictures of these items.
- Use all or part of this task. It can be simply a winter crossword, a writing page, a coloring worksheet, or a design copy task.
Use a Crossword to develop skills
Check out the skill set developed by implementing this Winter Crossword Free printable:
- Fine motor skills: manual dexterity to hold and used a writing tool, coloring and drawing, pencil grasp, writing and copying from a model. You’ll find more winter fine motor activities here.
- Strength: core strength, hand and wrist stability, finger control
- Bilateral coordination: using one hand for writing and coloring, while the “helper hand” supports the paper. Keep an eye one which hand is primarily used as the dominant side. The OT Toolbox has a great post highlighting several winter bilateral coordination activities.
- Visual perception: Scanning to correctly fit all of the letters in their designated boxes. Visual memory is needed to remember what letters need to go in each box. Figure ground is used to determine where the letters belong in the boxes, or how to copy the shapes.
- Executive function/behavior/social skills: Following directions, attention to detail, turn taking, waiting, social skills, compliance, behavior, and work tolerance
- Sustained attention: Work on focus for a short period of time by setting a target to find the answer to one crossword question by setting a timer or working until the question is filled in. This is one way to work on mindful thought, or paying attention to what you’re thinking about while working on tasks. More winter mindfulness activities can be found here.
- Dexterity: Coloring inside the lines within the small shapes
- Handwriting: letter formation, sizing, spacing, directionality, line placement, and proportion of letters are all important factors. Check out this number tracing worksheet in case you missed it.
handwriting and crosswords
Each teacher, therapist, and school system seem to have a different method of teaching and working on handwriting. Some systems focus on getting the words on the paper no matter how the letters are formed.
They emphasize free writing to embrace the written expression. Other systems focus on spelling, with little regard to letter formation. Some teachers do so much copying of words, their learners don’t rely on memory and kinesthetic awareness to write the letters.
Each system has its drawbacks and merits. NOTE: Once a grasping or letter formation pattern has been used for a long time, it is VERY DIFFICULT to get these patterns changed.
My theory is to start correct letter formation and good habits while the learners are first learning to write, rather than trying to remediate later.
Using a crossword activity like this winter crossword worksheet is a great tool for addressing letter formation because the letters can be formed inside a small area.
If you just need a breather, the OT Toolbox has a great post on Winter Brain Breaks.
Free Winter Crossword Puzzle
Want to add a copy of this winter crossword worksheet to your therapy toolbox? Enter your email address into the form below. Or, if you are a Member’s Club member, you can access this resource in our Winter Therapy Theme (Level 2) or our freebie dashboard under Handwriting Tools (Level 1 & 2).
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.
NOTE*The term, “learner” is used throughout this post for inclusivity. This information is relevant for students, patients, clients, preschoolers, kids/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.