It’s often what parents dread most during the holiday season – how to keep those little busy bodies busy while they’re home from school. But don’t fret, our Occupational Therapists at Woman’s Center for Wellness have some creative and inexpensive ways to help keep kids entertained in-between all the hustle and bustle of this holiday season.
- Decorating Christmas cookies or building a gingerbread house: These activities promote fine motor skills when placing the candy; strengthen little hands when squeezing the icing bag; visual/spatial skills when planning and building the house; and sensory play as you explore the sticky, messy textures.
- Build an “igloo” fort out of sheets and pillows: Working on this together facilitates motor planning (when crawling in and out), visual/spatial skills and pretend play. The igloo can also serve as a quiet place for kids to regroup if they’re a little overwhelmed with the chaos of extra holiday guests.
- Make snowflakes: This activity can be adapted for all ages! Younger children can work on folding the paper, coloring or drawing designs on the snowflake, and snipping paper with scissors. Older children with more mature cutting skills can compete to see who can make the most intricate details.
- Set up a Santa’s workshop: Wrapping presents is a great way to let kids help with holiday tasks while also promoting developmental skills. When you think of the components of wrapping a present (measuring, folding, pulling tape, cutting and tying bows) it seems like an obvious way to encourage independence. Your child will be especially excited to watch someone unwrap their present!
- Go on a holiday scavenger hunt: This is a creative way to get kids outside and moving while also challenging their motor and visual skills. See if they can find a candy cane hidden in the tree, an elf laying in the grass, or even a reindeer up on the roof. On your mark, get set, GO!
- Decorate the family Christmas tree together: Not only is this an appealing activity for both adults and children, it is a great way to work on motor skills such as balance and reaching. Put on some Christmas tunes and get to decorating!
- Decorate an ornament for the Christmas tree: Make a cute and inexpensive decoration for your tree while encouraging basic fine motor skills.
- Make and build a snowman with pretend snow: Just because we live in Louisiana doesn’t mean we can’t experience the great joy of snow. Have your little ones practice imitating shapes and letters, and have older children write their spelling words or build a snowman!
Recipe for Snow Dough: 2 cups corn starch, 1/3 to 1/2 of a cup vegetable oil, 3-4 tablespoons silver glitter. Combine and mix thoroughly.
This recipe does not create a huge amount of snow dough, just enough to cover the base of a washing up bowl by about 2 inches. If you want more for a larger scale sensory tub, then increase the quantities accordingly.