You’ve made it through January and now Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. Here are some OT activities targeting a variety of motor, visual and cognitive skills for kids of all ages. They’re terrific boredom busters on a winter’s day – and with a little extra creativity, they can be adapted for other holidays and seasons throughout the year.
Hearts and Crafts
Chalk stencils and musical shakers are fun craft activities for children – and they double as a great way to work on skills development.
- Make chalk stencil heart collages. This activity focuses on bilateral coordination by requiring students to stabilize their paper with one hand while tracing with the other. It also challenges visual motor integration and pre-writing skills.
- Working with simple musical instruments is a great way to target fine motor skills, as kids put instruments together, and gross motor skills, as they play and move with them. Use of a musical shaker requires grasping, in-hand manipulation and strengthening. Once assembled, it provides countless possibilities for movement and auditory processing work.
Promote visual perceptual skills including tracking, discrimination, and figure-ground differentiation by having children use “I Spy” sheets to find targets in busy, competing backgrounds.
Hopscotch helps to improve posture, strength, endurance, motor control and coordination. It’s also excellent for incorporating cognitive skills and academic concepts. As an added bonus, it allows for practice of such social skills as taking turns. Hopscotch can be used with children as young as toddlers.
Valentine Sensory Bin
Fill a sensory bin with low-cost items that have a Valentine’s Day theme. These may include heart-shaped cookie cutters, sunglasses and doilies; red and pink buttons or ribbon, or dice with hearts on them. Have students pull items out of the bin one at a time to practice fine motor, visual perceptual, oral motor and other skills.
Hang Your Heart on the Line
Encourage fine motor development through the use of scissors and paper punches to make felt, foam or paper hearts, which children can then hang on a string using clothespins. For some variety, students can try hanging hearts upside down, numbering them, or alternating between red, pink and white hearts. Use standard wooden clothespins – or find some colored plastic ones to go with your hearts.
As you progress through the school year, keep your therapy sessions fresh and engaging, with the help of tips, advice and guidance from the Cobb Pediatric Therapy Services team. Read our related posts or contact us today to learn more enhancing your practice and your career.