Winter Archives | Play It Forward Therapy
Christmas Car Wash

Christmas Car Wash

Kids will absolutely LOVE this scooter board obstacle course or “Christmas Car Wash”.  Lie down on your tummy and propel yourself forward through the tunnels of tinsel!

Collect the gift bows to put on the presents waiting for you at the end of the car wash!

As you come across the a gift bow, pick it up, then push up your arms to place the bow under your chest.  This requires upper body and arm strength as well as weight shifting from one arm to the next, strengthening the shoulder girdle and core muscles (trunk, back and abdominals)

Your child will enjoy this motor planning challenge as he or she figures out how to move forward using their arms as well as sequencing multiple steps to collect the items as they propel through the car wash

Other ways to play

  • Crawl through the tunnel
  • Spread the tunnels farther apart for a longer car wash

Skills Addressed

  • Upper extremity weight bearing
  • Core strength
  • Motor planning
  • Sequencing
  • Tactile tolerance for light touch on the back while navigating through the tunnels

To increase the Challenge

  • Use the arms only to self-propel.
  • Lengthen or shorten the distance from start to finish.
  • Add 10+ objects to pick up (10 repetitions)

To Modify and Make It Easier

  • Shorten the distance.
  • Have fewer objects to pick up.
  • Allow the child to push with both hands and feet while lying on their tummy.  Or self-propel with hands while sitting in a kneeling/quadraped position.
  • Allow the child to crawl through the tunnels, notice if they are crawling using reciprocal movements.  Are they using reciprocal movements by alternating opposite arm and leg (this is what we want)?  Or are they crawling with the same side (right arm and right leg) at the same side to propel forward?



Note:  I recommend making 4 to 5 tunnels for a longer scooter board track.

For 1 Tunnel use 3/4″ PVC pipe and connectors

  • 3-  24″ long pieces of  PVC pipe
  • 2-  Elbow joint connectors (90 Degree)
  • 2- 3 way connectors
  • 4- 12″ long pieces of PVC pipe
  • 4- end caps
  • Optional: PVC glue
  • Garlands

Check out this Valentine Themed scooter board video for more winter holiday fun!

Candy Cane Fishing

Candy Cane Fishing

Candy Cane Fishing takes some patience, but in the end it’s worth it!  This Candy Cane Fishing activity encourages self-regulation because it requires moving slowly in order to succeed.  It’s a motivating and playful way to slow down and focus because in the end…comes a sweet reward!  This activity is also great practice for eye hand coordination, using two hands together and motor planning!

The level of challenge can be modified for all skill levels

To make it more challenging, place several candy canes in the container, close or far apart depending upon the level of challenge.  You can also adjust the level of difficulty by how your child is positioned and the length of the fishing line.  The longer the fishing line, the more difficult.  Or challenge your balance and stand on a bosu ball or balance board.

To simplify, use a shorter fishing line and allow kids to use two hands.  One hand to stabilize the fishing candy cane and the other hand to adjust the other candy cane to “hook” it on.

When it comes to motor planning, make sure there’s enough space around the container for the child to move around it to find the best spot to fish.  Motor planning is when you have an idea in mind and you can coordinate your body to do the action.

Candy Cane Fishing is a fun way to practice sustained attention, patience and frustration tolerance.  

To make it easier, place fewer candy canes in the container or orient them so they’re all facing in the same direction.  If your child is becoming frustrated, you can prompt them by asking, “Do you need help?”  or modeling by saying, “Help please” to encourage requesting assistance and imitation.  Watch the video at the end of the post!



Candy Cane Fishing

You will need

  • Regular sized Candy canes and Mini candy canes
  • Clear tape or clear packing tape
  • Ribbon
  • Dowel
  • Container
  • Food coloring
  • Rice
  • 2 Gallon Size Ziplock bags

Recommendations:  Organic and dye free candy canes such as Yum Earth brand or Spanglers.


  1. Color the rice:  Place 1 Cup of rice in the bag.  Add food coloring, close the bag and mix with your hands by squeezing and shaking the bag until the color is evenly distributed.  For 2 colors, use 2 different bags.  Let dry on a paper plate or on wax paper on a cookie tray for a few hours or overnight.
  2. Tape the candy canes to make them stronger.
  3. Pour the rice into a container and “plant” your candy canes!


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Merry Matching Eraser Game

Merry Matching Eraser Game

This Merry Matching Eraser Game is a sure way to enjoy some festive, fine motor fun!  This activity is a wonderful way to address not only fine motor coordination, but also sustained attention, visual perceptual skills and eye hand coordination.

The level of challenge can be modified for all skill levels.  To make it more challenging, use tongs or chopsticks to place the erasers on their match.  To simplify, place them on the paper first then have your child pick them up one at time to put into the container.

You can also adjust the level of difficulty by how your child is positioned, whether seated at the table, on the floor or lying on his/her stomach to strengthen neck, shoulders and upper back.

It’s easily portable to use at the clinic, school or on the road.

Other Ideas: Look for small flat erasers for other holidays such as Halloween pumpkins, Easter eggs, Emojis etc)..  You can bring them out every year to start your own traditions for holiday Eraser Matching Games!

Precautions:  Use your best judgement when using small items to avoid the risk of choking.




Merry Matching Eraser Game

You will need

  • A variety of small holiday erasers
  • Color copy machine
  • White cardstock 8.5 x 11″
  • Laminator with laminating sheets or clear contact paper
  • Small Tongs
  • Container to hold the erasers


  1.  Arrange the erasers on the copy machine glass.
  2.  Make a copy on the cardstock.
  3. Laminate or cover with clear contact paper.

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Hanukkah Cookies

Hanukkah Cookies


These miniature Menorah Cookies are a sure way to brighten your next Hanukkah celebration.  These edible Dreidels are a tasty spin-off from the traditional Hanukkah game and a fun way to improve fine motor skills.

If you’re looking for more savory than sweet, use your pincher fingers and fine motor skills to make a cheese and pretzel menorah.  Add a side of apple slices and oranges, and you’ll have a balanced snack to keep you fueled through the festivities!

Pro-Tip:  Use these activities to practice some handwriting over the holidays.  Write out the steps.  Have kids copy the recipe before assembling the snacks.  It’s excellent practice for sequencing and following multi-step directions.

For older children, have them make the snacks first, then write each step in sequential detail for how they made it. Encourage self-checking their work to make sure that others can read and understand what they wrote.  Either way it’s a novel way to get in some handwriting practice during the winter break.



Dreidel Treat


  • 1 large marshmallow
  • 1 pretzel stick
  • 1 Hershey chocolate kiss
  • White frosting
  • Sprinkles

Directions:  Watch the video below!

Menorah Cookie


1 sandwich cookie (Double Stuff Oreos work well)

  • Pretzel sticks
  • Candy melts
  • Orange food coloring
  • Vanilla frosting

 Cheese & Pretzel Stick Menorah


  • Babybel Cheese
  • Mini pretzel sticks
  • Cheddar cheese dip

Serve apple or orange slices on the side for a healthy snack


Christmas Clothespin Obstacle Course

Christmas Clothespin Obstacle Course

Did you know that the elves have been busy hanging up the stockings!  What will you find in each stocking?  Walk through and carefully step over the criss-crossed clothesline.  Can you collect all of the stockings and surprises?

This Christmas Clothespin Obstacle course helps kids to “slow down” this holiday season in order to move carefully through the yarn maze.  It requires motor planning and body awareness and focuses on fine motor skills and pinch strength to clip and unfasten the clothespins to release a surprise filled stocking.

The level of challenge can be modified for all skill levels

To make it more challenging, place stockings above the child’s height to encourage overhead reaching and shoulder work. Make sure kids use their thumb, index and middle finger to pinch the clothespins. You can give the directions “You can only touch the yarn 3x ” to encourage going through the maze carefully, which is good for self-regulation. You can also vary the size and tension of the type of clothespin as well.

Smaller clothespins will require more dexterity but less strength, whereas larger clothespins are easier to grasp, but harder to squeeze open.

Create an “out of bounds” where the kids have to stay on the mat or must belly crawl to reach the lower stockings.  For additional practice, once the game is over, help the elves by setting up the stockings for the next child to get some additional repetitions in.

To simplify, make a dot or place a sticker on the end of the clothespin so kids know which end to pinch.  Allow small children to pull the stockings off, rather than pinching the clothespin to release.

This activity is excellent to work on motor planning skills.  Motor planning is when you have an idea in mind and you can coordinate your body to do the action. You can also support children’s understanding of where their body is in space, incorporate directional concepts and improve their sense of right and left. For example, the child could practice following directions such as,  “Reach for the stocking above you, below, to the left, to the right etc.”  This helps reinforce body awareness and a better understanding of where their body is in space.

If you don’t have monkey bars in your living room 🙂 , use 4 chairs and thick yarn to criss-cross back and forth.  Cut out paper stockings on cardstock or use plastic snowflakes or ornaments to hang.  Maybe even use real clean socks!

Hide a real treat such as a mini candy cane or a toy inside one of the stockings as a reward for completing the obstacle course or save it to use as a reward at the end of the session.  Have fun!

Watch the video at the end of the post!



Christmas Clothespin Obstacle Course

You will need

  • Thick yarn
  • Mini stockings
  • Clothespins
  • Small items such as jingle bells, mini candy canes or other fun items for each stocking.

Recommendations:  You can find mini stockings at crafts stores, dollar stores and


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