Looking for some Christmas Crafts for little hands that develop fine motor skills and more? You’ve come to the right place.
At Jones Therapy Services, the occupational therapists put a lot of thought into the crafts we create with our children. When we select a craft we’re looking for ways to target specific occupational therapy goals. Sometimes that’s improving scissor skills, or developing a mature pencil grasp, or learning to tolerate a variety of textures- to name a few. Here the process is what matters and the skills practiced as one completes each step of the craft.
Tis the season for creating - so we’ve compiled a list of six Christmas crafts that are not only fun to make, but are chock-full of therapeutic benefits. Each craft lists skills your child will be addressing as they have fun creating. Try one of these at home with your little ones to celebrate the season as they work on developing their skills.
I make Cinnamon Applesauce Ornaments each year with my children! It just wouldn't be Christmas without the wonderful smell and it provides a healthy does of skill development. Measuring and mixing dough provides great olfactory and proprioceptive sensory input while working on life skills. Kneading dough provides a great fine motor workout for the tiny muscles of the hands and lots of tactile input. And then, rolling, pounding and cutting out dough gives children great bilateral hand work, as well as works on finger strength, force control, fine motor manipulation, and visual motor skills.
View the tutorial at I The Kitchen is My Playground I
You can add-on to this craft by decorating your ornament with cloves or buttons for more fine motor fun from Lovely Little Kitchen.
Making these icicle ornaments out of beads and pipe cleaners is a fun way to work on fine motor skills, left and right bilateral coordination, eye-hand coordination, planning and sequencing skills, as well as an opportunity for older children to explore patterns.
View the tutorial at I Happy Hooligans I
Cut and Fold Christmas Tree
This Cut and Fold Christmas Tree craft is a great one for working on scissor skills, as well as, fine motor manipulation, left and right bilateral coordination, eye-hand coordination, and grasping skills. The tutorial has a great template for kids to work on “cutting on the line.”
View the tutorial at I Your Kids OT I
Puffy Paint Snowman
Crafting with puffy paint is a great sensory experience. You can let the children dive in with fingers or give the more cautious artists a paint brush to create with to develop their grasp. Cutting out the nose, eyes and buttons works on scissor skills and placing them on the snowman addresses body awareness.
View the tutorial at I Growing a Jeweled Rose I
Fingerprint Christmas Lights
Fingerprint painting is a fun way to work on tactile tolerance and finger isolation. If your little one won't touch the wet paint try using ink pads, which are less aversive, or you can give them a wine cork to stamp the lights. Drawing the string for the lights is a great pre-writing exercise while working on pencil grasp and left and right bilateral coordination!
View the tutorial at I Crafty Morning I
Suncatcher Gingerbread Man
This adorable suncatcher craft works on scissor skills to cut out tissue paper squares, or if your child is younger, ripping tissue paper is a great precursor to using scissors. The contact paper adds a great tactile sticky element and placing the buttons, eyes and yarn hair develops fine motor skills and body awareness.
View the tutorial at I Teaching 2 and 3 year olds I
I hope you find these crafts fun and a special way to connect with your child.
If your child has difficulty with fine motor or play skills typical for his or her age, consider talking with your pediatrician about having a consultation with an occupational therapist. Have a wonderful holiday season!
Wishing you a very merry crafty Christmas!
Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant
Jones Therapy Services