crafts Archives | Play It Forward Therapy
Mother’s Day Card

Mother’s Day Card

Cute cards to make moms smile…

Learn how to make this cute and cheerful Mother’s Day card!  Kids will love stamping on a bouquet of roses using a stamp made from celery stalk to create pretty rose petals.   Who knew that celery could be such a versatile veggie?!

Don’t have celery in your fridge?  No worries!  Don’t let that stop you from using these cute templates! Choose your favorite coloring crayons, markers, pencils or dot markers to create your Mother’s Day Card.

CLICK HERE for the FREE card templates

This card is the perfect occupational therapy activity to Celebrate Mother’s day while improving fine motor skills at the same time.  On top of being a thoughtful gesture…

Here’s how creating this card supports your child’s sensory-motor development:

Fine Motor Skills

  • Holding a paint brush works on important pre-writing and pencil grasp skills.
  • Coloring builds endurance in the small muscles of the hand
  • Folding the paper is good practice for using two hands together

Visual Motor Skills

  • Coloring in smaller items such as the butterflies challenges precision control, a precursor to handwriting legibility.
  • Handwriting practice inside of the card to write a special message to mom can be extra motivating.
  • Adapt it: Feel free to write on lined paper and taping it inside the card.  Or use a ruler to add your own lines.

Pro tip: It’s more difficult to write legibly in a blank space without having lines as guidelines.  Let the child pick their favorite highlighter color and draw the lines for them.   Tell them to make the letters sit on the line.

Sensory Skills

This activity challenges the tactile tolerance for those kids who have tactile sensitivity or who don’t like getting their hands wet or messy.  It allows them to participate in a painting activity and using a utensil, such as the paint brush, can make it more tolerable.  If your child beccomes distressed with hands messy, keep a paper towel nearby.

Social Emotional Skills

Making something or a gift for someone else requires is a thoughtful gesture that encourages kindness and thinking outside of yourself.  Giving the card to mom can be a positive social interaction and a wonderful opportunity to practice social skills.

Want the FREE printables to make your own?  CLICK HERE for the FREE card template

 

CLICK HERE to check out the entire “OT Activities for Kids” Play list on our YouTube Channel where you’ll get fun, (FREE) activity ideas to inspire your next therapy session or play date.

Spring Occupational Therapy Activities

Spring Occupational Therapy Activities

The Spring Collection…

Looking for simple, spring time occupational therapy activities? This video montage is a collection of our favorite OT Tested and Kid Approved activities that we use for treatment sessions at our clinic and school based practice. You can find most of the activity tutorials on this blog or on my YouTube channel.  CLICK HERE to subscribe to our Youtube Channel

CLICK HERE For FREE Cherry Blossom Craft

CLICK HERE for Earth Day Fine Motor Activities

CLICK HERE for Spring Time TheraPutty Excercise Video

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Learn how to create your own Bitmoji Room for in person or telehealth sessions.  Kids love the novelty and exploring the FREE online digital activities hidden under each item in the picture.  CLICK HERE

Easy, Earth Day OT Activities

Easy, Earth Day OT Activities

Step #1:  Buy yourself a cold, delicious drink.  Enjoy!

Step #2:  Reuse your Starbucks beverage cup (or any plastic cup with a lid) to create a playful, fine motor activity that I like to call, “Mr. Mouth!”

All you need is a plastic cup with a lid, scissors, a permanent marker and perhaps some glue and googly eyes (fun, but not a necessity).  You’re going to create a face by drawing on the lid and cutting a slit for the mouth.  Some cups already have a spout on the lid so this can also be the mouth.

Pro Tip: It’s helpful to outline the slit or spout with a black permanent marker to make it easier to see, especially support visual contrast and motor planning.

How to Play

Next, find some small items such as Q-Tips, cotton balls, coins, popsicle sticks or cut up straws to “feed Mr. Mouth”.  Kids always seem to be amused if you make a “nom, nom, nom” sound or say in a silly voice, “I’m still hungry” while pretending Mr. Mouth is eating the items.  It’s also a fun way to reinforce them to put more items into the slot.

Place items on both sides of the cup.  Does your child cross midline and use a preferred hand to put items into the slot?  Or do they use both hands equally?  Toddlers and preschool kids may use both hands if hand dominance is not yet established.  ** Note: Always use careful, adult supervision and be aware of any choking hazards when using small items.

Why this activity is beneficial

This activity addresses the following important fine motor, dexterity skills and pretend play skills.  Plus, reusing then recycling helps keep the earth healthy!

Two hand use:  Practice taking the lid on and off.  This is important practice for being able to open containers independently to get a snack for example. Notice whether your child can hold the cup with one hand while picking up the small items with the other hand.

Precision control: Use a pincer grasp to pick up items using only the thumb and index fingertip.

Crossing midline:  Lay out items in an arc or a rainbow shape with the cup in the center. Encourage your child to use one hand to pick up the items, reaching across to the other side of his/her body.  This supports “laterality” and establishing hand dominance.

Increase the challenge:  For older children, start with small items or coins in the palm of the hand.  Without using the help of the other hand, move the items from the palm of the hand to the fingertips to put the coins into the slot.  This is called palm to finger translation.

 

Pancake Puffy Paint

Pancake Puffy Paint

Here’s a simple recipe to make your own puffy paint with ingredients commonly found in your cupboard.  It’s called “Pancake” Puffy Paint because when you microwave it, your paint designs will puff up like a pancake.  Plus, when you mix the ingredients, it’s the consistency of pancake batter.

It’s just as fun as making pancakes, but don’t eat this paint… It’s better enjoyed as art!

 Here’s what you’ll need

  • 1 Cup of flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Cup of water
  • Food coloring
  •  Ziplock bags or
  • Plastic squeeze bottles
  • Other supplies: Scissors, Qtips, paint brushes or toothpicks.
  • Optional:  decorate with glitter or sprinkles

Directions

  1.  Mix the flour, baking soda and salt with a whisk.
  2.  Gradually add the water until it’s the consistency of pancake batter.
  3.  Pour the batter into a ziplock bag or directly into a plastic squeeze bottle.
  4.  Add the food coloring.
  5.  Cut the tip off the plastic bag.  It’s helpful to use a clothespin or baggie tie at the top of the bag.
  6.  Squeeze the paint onto a paper plate or heavy cardstock.
  7.  Microwave for 15-30 seconds and watch your paint puff up like a pancake!

Pro Tips

  • Mix until the batter is smooth with no lumps.
  • Microwave for 15-30 seconds depending upon the size of your design.
  • Be careful taking it out of the microwave because it will be warm.
  • Don’t touch it until it has cooled.
  • Experiment with using Qtips, toothpicks, spoons or paint brushes to work on fine motor skills and grasp.
  • Cut your designs out after they have cooled.
  • Do not eat.  Supervision at all times, especially when using the microwave.
  •  

Making Puff Paint addresses several skills that are important for a child’s sensory motor development.  Here’s a breakdown of the therapeutic benefits of this activity.

Bilateral hand coordination:  Using one hand to hold a utensil while the other hand stabilizes the bowl is excellent practice for efficient two hand use.

Hand strength:  Stirring the batter and squeezing the food coloring or plastic bottles improves grasp strength.  Using your “pincher” fingers  (thumb and index finger) to zip the bag closed or picking up small decorations helps develop precision control and eye hand coordination.

Sensory Processing:  This activity can be messy!  However, you can adjust the level of messiness if a child has tactile sensitivity or challenges tolerating wet, messy textures.   Set out different “tools” such as a paint brush, Q-tip or even a toothpick to create designs.  Creating art can be a calming and relaxing activity to support self-regulation.

Social skills:  Taking turns, waiting and practicing conversation skills during this activity is a great way to practice social skills.  Plus, giving your art work to others or making a project for someone else is a super way to teach children that sharing is caring!

VIDEO TUTORIAL

Check out these easy Gardening Activities while enjoying nature and improving sensory processing and fine motor skills.

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