Pick the Toothpick

Put a piece of styrofoam sheet or block on the floor or on a slanted surface and have the child push the toothpicks into the styrofoam.

If the styrofoam is on the floor have the child lay prone and weight bear on the elbows.

Give the child a shape, a letter, or a pattern to trace over in order to develop visual-motor skills.

Feed Me

In this activity, imagination and creativity are key components.

Begin by drawing the face of a child, a character (clown, robot, princess, etc.), or an animal that the child likes on the shoe box’s cover. Then, cut out the mouth of your figure so that it looks like the figure is opening its mouth. Make sure the opening is big enough so that the child is able to place the small objects through the opening.

Place the cotton balls (see additional ideas for objects below) on the table in front of the child or in a shallow bowl.

Give the tongs to the child and instruct her to hold it with her thumb, pointer, and middle fingers only, while tucking the pinkie and ring fingers into the palm of her hand. Then, ask the child to use the tongs to pick up one object at a time and feed the figure by placing the object into the figure’s open mouth.

This is where creativity comes into play as you can use the child’s imagination to decide what kind of food the cotton balls represent.

If you chose to draw an animal, you can have the cotton balls be the type of food this specific animal eats (i.e. monkey = bananas, dog = bones, bunny = carrots, etc.)

Based on the child’s developmental skills, you can have her draw the figure (can be a very simple figure) and cut the mouth opening independently.

Additional ideas for small objects (depending on the child’s age and abilities): pasta, beads (large and small), beans, cotton swabs, marbles, and Lego

Make a Puzzle

Hand the child a xeroxed page of a holiday design (with multiple items to color) or draw a picture on the paper/construction paper.

Use the ruler to draw horizontal and vertical lines for the child to cut (number of pieces depends on the child’s age and skills).

You can also draw curved or wiggly lines depending on your child’s cutting abilities.

Have the child follow directions based on skill level.

Start with simple directions and progress to harder instructions if appropriate.

Once all items are colored, have the child cut across the lines.

Once cut, the child should reassemble the puzzle.

Place the pieces in a ziplock bag to take home if desired.

Acorn Stamper

Acorn Stamp

Draw an acorn on the construction paper (see images for example) or you can let the child trace an acorn stencil to promote fine motor control and visual-motor skills.

Let the child cut the acorn shape using scissors.

Using a piece of small sponge instruct the child to pinch it and dip it into the paint then stamp and paint the bottom part of the acorn cut out. You can also use q-tips or cotton balls to paint.

Encourage the child to fill in the entire bottom part of the acorn.

Have the child spread glue on the top part of the acorn.

Provide the child with a few dry leaves. Instruct the child to crumble the leaves inside the palm of his hand and then spread them on the glue. This will promote finger strength and finger translation.

You may also use beans to cover the top area of the acorn.

Fruit Building

Fruit Building

Cut the fruit to bite size pieces and put them on a plate or in a container.

Provide the child with toothpicks (you can use different color and size toothpicks, wooden toothpicks, or plastic toothpicks).

Let the child poke the toothpicks into the fruit pieces and promote him/her to create a structure using his/her imagination and creativity.

When the structure is complete, encourage the child to “take it apart” by eating the fruit.

Stamp it up

Ask the child to hold the stamp with his/her thumb, index finger, and middle finger.

You may want to set the stamp pad on the opposite side to the hand holding the stamp so that it encourages the child to reach over his/her midline.

To promote the development of visual motor skills have the child stamp between two vertical lines, horizontal lines, or around a circle.

To encourage wrist extension and stabilization place the stamping paper on an inclined surface.

Ice Painting

Put a small amount of paint on a sheet of construction paper.

Let the child hold an ice cube using the thumb, index finger, and middle finger only.

Have the child move the ice cube over the paint and spread it on the paper.

You may also use powder paint for this activity.

You can use the Colored Ice Cubes activity to make the ice cubes for this activity.

Fun Jar

Use a large, empty, and clean jar for this activity.

Provide the child with pipe cleaners and/or straws and instruct him to insert the items through the holes on the jar’s lid.

You can ask the child to sort the items by color or size before placing them in the jar.

If using a jar that has holes and a small opening on the lid, you can use additional items to place through the opening, such as pom-poms, buttons, large beads, coins, etc.

The child can use tongs or tweezers to catch the items before dropping them through the large opening.

If you cannot find a spice jar, you can use a regular container and poke holes in the lid, using a hole-puncher or cut holes with scissors.

Crossing Colors

Draw two (2) vertical lines about three (3) feet apart.

Instruct the child to stand in between the vertical lines. Suggestion: use a small piece of tape to mark an area on the floor that the child has to stay in (see pictures for an example).

Provide the child with a variety of chalk color or dry erase markers.

Instruct the child to draw a curved line from one vertical line to the other while maintaining position standing on the floor.

Note: if the child is rotating or pivoting his pelvis or trunk area, hold the child gently around the waist to inhibit the movement and reinforce crossing midline.

You can also have the child draw diagonal lines from one vertical line to the other making an ‘X’ shape.