Fun Holiday Activities

From baking cookies to opening presents, the holidays provide many opportunities to facilitate the development of skills needed to participate in school! Here is a simple list of activities to do with your child that are fun and skill promoting.

Baking and decorating cookies:

  • Measuring, pouring, mixing ingredients
  • Rolling dough flat with a rolling pin, rolling dough in between hands to make balls, rolling dough on the table to make ropes
  • Decorating cookies with frosting spread with a knife or squeezed out of a tube, and/or decorating with candies using fingers or tongs to pick them up (Above activities promote attention for following directions, sequencing, eye-hand coordination, motor coordination, motor planning, finger dexterity, and hand strengthening)

“Eye Spy” Holiday decorations:

  • Count the number of ornaments that have a similar trait (shape, color, object-angels, bells, etc)
  • Count the number of homes you see in your neighborhood that have lights and other front yard decorations
  • When you are at the store, count the number of times you see the words “Christmas,” “Holidays,” “Hanukkah,” etc.
  • Talk about the details of decorations when you are out (how many stars, angels, candy canes; did you see the snowman, star on the tree, etc)

(Above activities promote skills in the areas of visual scanning, visual focusing-making the eyes focus on near and distant objects, visual discrimination, working memory, and sustained attention)
Present wrapping and gathering:

  • Give 1-step commands to gather materials to wrap presents and wrap presents
  • Have child snip ribbon with scissors and/or tear paper, tape, etc
  • Sort presents by shape, color, weight, people receiving/giving gifts
  • Gather presents in a wagon or laundry basket and have child push/pull presents from one part of the room to another
  • Play Santa by having the child sort presents by collecting the presents that are theirs, and for others underneath the tree, mantle, etc
  • Guess presents in stocking by feeling them with hands while still in stocking with eyes closed, talk about what they are feeling (smooth, soft, corners, edges, different parts, etc)

(Above activities are good for heavy work-providing proprioceptive (body awareness) input, and promote skills in the areas of bilateral coordination, fine motor, sequencing, and tactile/stereognosis – using sense of touch as opposed to vision to guess presents)

If you have any questions about modifying any activities above to address your child’s abilities, please speak with your child’s therapist. And above all, don’t forget to spend some time outside enjoying the cool crisp weather this season brings! Draw happy faces on foggy windows, catch rain drops in your mouth, make snow angels (if you go to the snow), and breathe!

Fun Holiday Activities
Joy Cadelina, OTD, OTR/L

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