Happy New Year everyone! We have officially made it out of 2020, and into the new year. I am back to share some more crafts and ideas that are winter themed! Similar to my last blog posts, these activities involve using items you may have laying around your house. Let’s jump right into the new year with new ideas!
7 Craft and Activity Ideas for Winter
In New Jersey, we have already seen our first snowstorm, which led to schools being closed for the day. The students were so excited for a snow day, and so was I. Being trapped in the house calls for the perfect opportunity to do some snowflake crafts. For this activity, take some Q-tips and create snowflakes! To make this task easier, you can draw the snowflake shape on the paper, and have your student or child glue down the Q-tips accordingly. Some Q-tips will need to be cut to match the size of the line you drew. To upgrade, have them make their own snowflake design! Another way to make this task easier or harder depends on the type of snowflakes you make! In my picture below, you can see I made two different types of snowflakes. One that used Q-tips cut in half, and the other required more work by cutting the Q-tips at various lengths.
Cutting Q-tips is a great way to work on bilateral coordination and fine motor skills as you need to stabilize the Q-tips with one hand, and cut with the other. It is a great way to build and develop hand/grip strength. The material of the Q-tips provides resistance causing you to apply more pressure when squeezing the scissors shut, which in return helps you grow and build strength.
Marble Painting has become one of my new favorite crafts to do both at home or in the classroom. It can also be done in two different ways. Below I provided you with two different alternatives for using a marble for a fun painting activity.
To make the Marble tree, I first started out by printing out a picture of a pine tree. I cut out and traced the tree a few times onto green construction paper. To add in some creativity, try drawing or making your own type of tree. Then, I glued those down onto the blue construction paper. Next, all you need is a box, some paint and a marble. I used an old shoebox, which worked great! I laid the green construction paper first, but if you prefer you could cut out the trees first and then lay them into the box; however I decided to cut them after the paint dried so the little trees would not move around in the box. This decision is up to you. Dip the marble into paint, drop it into the box on top of the paper, then shake the box! Shake and move the marble all around your paper leaving long streaks. When the paint runs out on the marble, dip it into more paint and repeat. Remove this paper, and add in blue construction paper to repeat the process.
Once all the papers are dry, I cut out the pine trees and glue them down onto the blue paper. Now a beautiful winter picture was created that looks like it is snowing!
Similar to the Winter Trees crafts, we are still going to be using paint and a marble. This activity could also be done using the box method; however I wanted to provide you with an alternative if you do not have a box laying around or are looking for less mess!
For this project, I printed out a cut out of mittens. Similarly, you can have your child or students trace their own hands on construction paper to create a mitten look! This time we are going to need paint, a marble, and a Ziplock bag. To begin this task, I placed the mitten paper inside the Ziplock bag. Now this next step can be done in two ways! Again, I wanted to make sure I provide you with options for what works best at home for you. The first is to dip the marble in paint, add to the bag, then shake the bag all around like the Winter Trees. The second way to not get your hands as messy is to add a little drop of paint right inside the bag already. Then using your hands and marbles move and shake it all around to cover the mittens. Lastly after the papers are all dried, cut them out and add a string to create two mittens. In the picture, I used a hole puncher to create a little hole to attach a string too.
Cupcake Pan Matching
Using a cupcake pan has been one of my go-to activities during my therapy sessions lately. There are so many ways I am able to modify or adapt this task. I am going to share with you my most recent one. For this activity, I used a cupcake pan, mini erasers, and painter's tape.
Any type of tape would work for this activity, but I Like to use one with colors as it provides more visual assistance. This activity focuses on matching and scanning. Therefore, I took 2 of a few types of mini erasers and placed them into separate openings within the cupcake pan. Cover and hide those by laying tape over the top. Next, I have my students roll a dice, and whatever number it lands on is how many pieces of tape he/she are allowed to remove. In this activity, I try to provide cues and prompts to make sure the correct piece of tape is removed. For example, one piece of tape cannot be removed if it is blocked by another overlapping piece. This requires a lot of sequencing and motor planning as the student looks for the other match to the mini eraser. When a piece of tape is removed, I also tell my students to roll it into a ball to promote bilateral coordination.
Another way to adapt this activity in a similar way with tape is to instead place multiple mini erasers in one cupcake spot. Once the container is free, have the child write down how many of each item was found. This adds in the writing component and number recognition to the task.
Fork Polar Bear
Forks are a fun alternative to using paint brushes or Q-Tips for paintings. Here I created a polar bear using a fork and it makes it look like the Polar Bear has fur! For this craft all I used some paint, construction paper, a fork, scissors, and markers. I cut out shapes from pieces of paper for the eyes, mouth, and eyes; however these could easily be drawn. Again, this allows the child or student to have some creativity. Ask questions like, “What kind of face do you want to add?” I like to incorporate working on emotions, such as is the polar bear happy or is he angry.
When completing a craft like this, I like to pair it with a book. For this activity during school, I paired it with either a polar bear or just a winter themed book. Starting with books allows for more communication and practicing language skills. As I read, I will ask lots of questions, such as what color are certain objects, or what kind of clothes a person or animal may be wearing. Then complete the craft. This starts putting together the learning and creativity piece together in a multi-step activity.
Why not make a tree for every season! In the last blog post for the fall, I had a fall tree using lots of oranges, yellow, and red. Now I have a winter tree covered in snow! I like providing my students with an outline, and then have them color them in to work on staying within the lines, but a print out of an empty tree works just as well! Instead of using a Q-tip for this craft, I used a clothespin! Use the clothespin as a stamp by dipping in the paint and then making dots all over the tree. Place some dots on the ground or in the sky so it looks like the snow is falling!
Alternatives would be to use a Q-Tip, attach a cotton ball to the clothespin, using only a cotton ball, or even using a LEGO. Those are all great alternatives to still work on grasp and hand strength through a fine motor painting task.
Cotton Ball Sensory Bin
The last activity to end this winter theme post is take some extra cotton balls or cotton swabs and turn them into a fake snow sensory bin. Fill the bin with different winter themed items to make it similar to a scavenger hunt. Provide them with a list of items they need to find within the bin. My favorite is to hide mini erasers within the bin. Then on a paper, write down whatever items you hide, such as polar bear, tree, penguin, etc. Then have them try to find those items in the bin. Mark an X or a check once they find it working on handwriting and pre-writing strokes! For some extra fine motor strengthening tips, provide your child some tongs or tweezers to pick up and locate the items.
Hope you enjoyed all of these activities! Try them out with your students or children.
For more occupational therapy crafts and activities check out my Instagram page @OT_Room.
I was compensated with a game in exchange for this post. All opinions expressed belong to me.
Hi! My name is Andrea. I am a pediatric occupational therapist from New Jersey. I currently work in a public school working with children of all ages. I have also worked in special needs preschool and outpatient pediatrics. I attended Seton Hall University for both my undergraduate and graduate degree. Let’s Go Pirates! I love working with children and sharing my ideas with others. I recently got engaged to my college sweetheart who is a Physical Therapist. When I am not working, I enjoy going to the beach, taking pictures, and creating projects with my cricut!
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