To say that the last year or so been unique would be an understatement. As an Occupational Therapist in a Public School, I had to quickly adapt and switch from in person learning to virtual learning. For parents, teaching their own children from home became a challenge. Being able to use household items to create new crafts and projects has been my “go-to” during therapy sessions.
Keep reading below for some new activities to try at home once the school year ends!
This is a very cool and interesting craft, which allows a secret message to appear onto the paper towel once submerged in water. First, you will need three items. A paper towel, which will be folded in half, a permanent marker, and a container of water. Take the paper towel and fold it in half like a “hamburger roll.” On the top of the paper towel, draw your favorite picture or design using the sharpie. For example, I traced a sailboat on my paper towel. The next step is to open the paper towel, and draw a secret message or color in the outlined design. On mine, I colored in the sailboat, drew a yellow sun, and some ocean waves. Close the paper towel so just the outline of the sailboat is showing. Lastly, place the paper towel in the container of water so the paper towel is submerged fully. Your secret message and the colors of the sailboat will bleed through. This activity can be done with all different designs and secret messages.
Paper Plate Caterpillar
Paper plates still remain the easiest and best way to target and work on a lot of skills in one activity. One that I found to be a big success during teletherapy sessions was creating caterpillars. Creating a caterpillar and pairing it with a story was a big hit, as well as being an educational activity for the students. To create a caterpillar, all you need is watercolor paint, paper plate, scissors, and some construction paper. Practice drawing a horizontal or vertical line across the plate. Then cut along that line to make two halves. This is a perfect opportunity to have your child practice their cutting skills. Cutting along a paper plate is great for hand strength as paper plates are much thicker than regular construction paper. Next, cut out the remaining plain white oval piece to separate the white bumpy pieces from the plain section. The bumpy section is what is going to create the body for the caterpillar! Using the watercolor paint, paint over all over the bumps to create a unique design. This is your child’s chance to be creative! The last step while the paint is drying is to practice drawing and cutting out prewriting shapes like a circle to make a face. For an extra bonus, add antenna by creating a square and more circles!
Going to the beach is one of my favorite activities to do individually or as a family. Sometimes I just do not want to sit in beach traffic; therefore, you can create your own beach/sand at home. Take graham crackers or Cheerios and place them into a Ziploc bag. Have your child help mash and break apart all the pieces. Once all mashed up, it creates a sand like texture for a sensory experience that is also edible! Hide a variety of items or mini erasers into the sand mixture for your child to try to find. Add a few drops of water to make it wet to try to create sand castles! Practice scooping and pouring the sand which targets those important life skills!
Take the beach to the next level, by practicing making letters and shapes within the sand. Place a visual model in front of your child, and have them try to imitate that shape or letter within the sand. This can be done to practice finger isolation using your pointer finger. Your child can also hold the end of a pencil, and try to create the letters/shapes that way to further work on grasp on writing tools. To make it even harder, have them practice writing sight words.
Marshmallows are perfect for a yummy summer snack, but are also great for painting! Print out your favorite summer picture/coloring page. For my students, I chose a picture of the sun! This activity can be done in two different ways! For those younger children, work on pinching the marshmallow using a pincer grasp and use the marshmallow as a stamp to paint in your picture. For the older children working on refining their grasp to a tripod grasp, place a stick or Q-tip within the marshmallow. Now, continue painting all around the picture with the marshmallow on the Q-tip. Both are great options to work on further developing grip strength, as well as hand strength instead of just using markers or a paint brush.
For more occupational therapy crafts and activities check out my Instagram page @OT_Room.
I received a game in exchange for this blog 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!
A note from ThinkFun
At ThinkFun, we love it when learning and fun collide. It’s why we do what we do. Every game, puzzle and brainteaser we create is aimed at igniting a spark in a young mind. Still curious? Check us out on the web, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube or Instagram.