One of the best ways I find to keep my students engaged throughout the year is to incorporate new and exciting activities around upcoming holidays. Creating a holiday theme creates student buy-in, promotes active participation, and gets students excited for therapy sessions!
The following activities will focus on promoting fine/visual motor skills and sensory play with students. Here are a few examples of Halloween-focused activities to address fine/visual motor skills and sensory play:
Torn Paper Halloween Art
This activity encourages students to work on mature grasp patterns, tool use, hand strengthening, bilateral coordination, visual motor skills, and more!
- What you will need
- Paper, markers, colored paper, scissors, glue
- Provide your student with a large Halloween picture (e.g., pumpkin, ghost, candy corn, etc.). Give access to a variety of colored papers. Encourage the student to tear the colored paper into small pieces and glue them onto the paper to create a spooky craft!
- Upgrade: To make the activity more challenging, provide a thicker paper to tear that requires more strength! You could also have the child draw their own picture to decorate for added challenge. Trade out a glue stick for a bottle of glue to incorporate more hand strengthening into the activity.
- Downgrade: To make the activity easier, use tissue paper to tear or crumple into small balls, which requires less strength. Provide a larger, more simple picture to create.
Halloween Sensory Creatures
This activity encourages your students to engage in tactile play while also encouraging fine motor skills such as hand strengthening, bilateral coordination, and tool use skills!
- What you will need
- Play-Doh, creature pieces (e.g., pipe cleaners, googly eyes, glitter, straws, buttons, beads, candy corn, string, etc.), scissors (optional)
- Provide your student with a tray full of creature pieces and Play-Doh colors! Encourage the student to pick a spooky creature (e.g., spider, monster, pumpkin, etc.) and begin forming the dough into the desired shape. Add in details such as legs, arms, and eyes to create their spooky design!
- Upgrade: To increase the challenge, provide a model and encourage your student to make their creature look just the same. You can also provide supplies that need to be modified (e.g., whole straws that need to be cut with scissors).
- Downgrade: To make this activity easier, provide your student with larger pieces to manipulate and build with.
Author: Stefhanie Rodriguez, MOT, OTR/L