If you’ve been around the blog long, you know that I am a sucker for a good seasonal activity! What better seasonal activity than something with candy canes?! I love candy canes because they aren’t holiday-specific and can be used all winter long. If your district limits use of religious holiday themes, or if you are stuck regarding what to do for those “winter months” after all the holidays, then candy canes should be a go-to! I love to run groups in some of my classrooms with this theme. As the occupational therapist (OT), I tend to lean towards the activities that highlight fine motor skills. Here are few suggestions:
1) Winter Fine Motor Centers
Don’t have time to create your own fine motor activities, but still want something cute and seasonal? No worries! The Winter Fine Motor Centers are perfect; especially for a candy cane theme! The 11 centers include the following [that can be adapted to ALL be candy cane themed if they aren’t already!]:
– Trace It: Trace the line [use red & white]
– Punch It: Punch holes [punch red & white paper to then glue over a template]
– Wrap It: Wrap yarn around shapes
– Cut It: Cut the line
– Poke It: Paint dots with Q-tips
– Dot It: Dot circles with a bingo dauber
– Staple It: Staple the line
– Tear It: Tear and glue paper to shapes [pictured above]
– Stick It: Stick stickers on the line [make the lines curved like a candy cane!]
– Tong It: Tong pom poms onto shapes
– Clip It: Add paper clips to shapes [alternating red & white on a candy cane cardboard cut out!]
There is also always the classic beads on a pipe cleaner activity to make your own candy cane. Use the above ideas to get yourself started, and then run with it!
2) Candy Cane “Olympics”
Get creative with how to use candy canes as tools in “minute to win it” type games! The friendly competition is always motivating for students! These activities are quick and easy and target great fine motor skills. Here are a few ideas to get the wheels turning:
- Use one candy cane to pick up others and see how many you can scoop up or tape two together to make a whole chain in true “barrel of monkeys” style
- Use candy canes to pick up items and transport from one end of the room to the other balancing like an egg race
- Use candy canes as paint brushes and play Pictionary-style games
- See how many pieces you can break a candy cane into before the time runs out
- Play golf, shuffleboard or baseball with marshmallows
3) December Cut and Paste Fine Motor Sheets
The December Cut & Paste Fine Motor Sheets are an easy no prep way to work on some candy cane fine motor skills. With lots of other pictures, and a variety of different versions [color/B&W, highlighted lines, etc.], this activity is great for any learner! Scissor skills can also be targeted within this theme by cutting construction paper into small squares and gluing into a candy cane shape. More intricate scissor skills can be elicited by cutting out the full candy cane shape. My students help host/run a “holiday bazaar” each year, and many of the crafts they make incorporate cutting. I usually run a card making station where students make holiday cards to sell which is great for fine motor skills.
4) Masking Tape Crafts
Masking tape crafts are a great way to work on fine motor strength and bilateral coordination skills. Students need to use their “pincher fingers” moving in opposite directions in order to rip the tape which can be very challenging for some. Crafts like this can be easily adapted for different holidays. For example, my students love making masking tape mummies for Halloween!
For my older students, I love to use visual recipes to target fine motor skills. See exactly how in my blog on how to improve fine motor skills using visual recipes that looks at a fall seasonal recipe. In sticking with the candy cane theme, this FREE Hot Chocolate Visual Recipe is a GREAT way to target fine motor skills. Who doesn’t love a candy cane in their hot chocolate?!
Looking for more fine motor ideas? Check out some of my other blogs: