The holidays are upon us! Today, I wanted to share five fun and easy holiday themed fine motor and sensory activities that you may want to try with your students or even your own kids at home. Most of the activities use materials you likely already have at home, or can easily purchase.
1. Paper Garland
This classic activity is so simple yet so awesome! There are so many ways you can customize this to meet your student’s needs and address a variety of skills. As an OT, I would use this activity to work on cutting skills. You can have students work on cutting across the whole line or part of the line to create the pieces for the garland. Involving the student in taking the two ends of the paper and putting them together to make one of the circles is an awesome way to work on the important skill of using two hands together. And finally, using the stapler is a great way to work on hand and arm strength!
2. Puffy Paint Christmas Trees
I love a good puffy paint activity. Check out this post for directions on how to make a simple puffy paint using shaving cream and glue. For this activity, add a little green paint to get the color you want. Let kids spread the paint on paper, and then add beads and jewels as decor, finishing off with a trunk and a star on top. The glue in the paint should help the items naturally stick to the paper. You can set it up a few different ways. You can have a pretraced outline to work on keeping the paint in the lines, or you can cut the paper in a shape of a tree. I did this with my kids and it was so interesting – one of my kids was totally into the sensory experience of the paint, and the other was not. For kids who love the sensory experience, they may want to paint with their hands. They will probably push the paint down onto the paper as they spread it, so you might want to encourage lighter pressure or going over the top with some additional paint to ensure the tree is puffy. For kids who may not like the sensory experience, they can use utensils to spread the paint to avoid touching it. Be sure to use thick paper so it can handle the weight of the puffy paint!
3. Holiday Erasers and Tweezers
This is a great activity that uses items exclusively from the dollar store! You need seasonal erasers, tweezers and various containers. You can really do this for any holiday! I like to work on a variety of skills with this activity, including crossing midline and following directions. I may place the container in different locations to encourage crossing midline or the student shifting weight in different directions. I may ask him to pick up 3 at a time, or to only pick up certain characters or shapes. If you don’t have different containers, you can simply draw some circles or shapes on a piece of construction paper to give some structure.
4. Playdough and Cookie Cutters
This is such a fun and easy activity! There are so many ways to work on fine motor skills with this activity. You need playdough, a playdough roller, holiday cookie cutters, some beads or items to use for decorations, and a cookie tray. Have kids roll out the dough, use the cookie cutter to make their shapes and then push in little beads and decorations. For extra motor fun, you can have the child use the spatula to transfer the ‘cookies’ to a plate or another tray and then use two hands to carry that tray to another location.
5. Sandpaper Shapes and Cinnamon Sticks
This is a really unique activity that incorporates many different senses! Take some sandpaper and cut it into shapes. I tend to do a gingerbread shape, but you can do whatever you like! Have your student take cinnamon sticks and rub them on the paper. The cinnamon scent should transfer onto the shape. The texture of the sandpaper willl give some fun feedback while the student is rolling the cinnamon stick over it. This is a great activity to incorporate fine motor and sensory!
What are some of your favorite holiday sensory and fine motor activities to do with your students? Have fun!
This blog is for informational purposes only. Please contact your OT for specific recommendations. Please supervise children appropriately.