You may be familiar with the Simply Special Ed Fine Motor Centers. OT Blogger, Taylor, called them her number one must-have SSE resource! But did you know that there is a fall version of these fine motor centers!?
I love a good seasonal theme for my occupational therapy (OT) sessions! These centers are great for daily classroom practice. They can be implemented these with teachers, support staff or as independent or group work! I even share activities like these with parents who want fun ways to work on fine motor skills at home! Of course, I also use them during therapy sessions to work with students on fine motor goals!
Check out Alyssa’s blog for an overview on how to set up the fall fine motor centers, and then keep reading to learn more about how to implement [and adapt!] these centers from an OT’s perspective!
Which centers are unique to the fall set?
Students wrap yarn around the fall-themed shapes included. This is a great bilateral coordination [2 handed skill] activity! This skill is an important foundational motor skill that I discuss in my pre-writing blog series [check it out here!].
Try upgrading the task with hole punchers [also great for fine motor strength!] to have your students make their own lacing cards! With holes around the outside of the pictures, and a knot on the end of the string, the students can weave in and out to lace! This is a higher level skill! You can also use thicker string to make the activity easier. The thicker the string, the shorter the length of the task.
In this fine motor center, students stick 2 straws into 2 balls of play dough and stack rings onto the straws. I love that each fine motor center comes with differentiation suggestions! For example, with the “Stack It” center the following is suggested: Use toothpicks instead of straws to make it more difficult. Have students make a certain pattern of colors to incorporate pre-math skills.
From my OT-lens, I want to remind you to always have students open their own containers [like the play dough in this center] as it is another way to incorporate fine motor skills! Find more ideas on how to use play dough to build fine motor skills from an OT HERE.
This one is a favorite of my students’! Students tear colored paper and glue it to the fall shapes. Try different thickness of papers to increase/decrease the difficulty level. Construction paper [or even card stock!] would increase the fine motor demand! Students can rip larger pieces and crumple those pieces up (one handed uses more fine motor muscles!) before attaching them. Or, try ripping the paper into smaller pieces to increase the challenge! Work on school tool use by offering different types of glue!
How can I use Fall Fine Motor Centers during OT sessions?
I’m going to speak directly to OTs right now, but ALL school staff can implement these centers! Alyssa’s Blog lists tons of ideas! Due to high caseload numbers, I find myself running more and more group OT sessions. Sometimes it can be hard to make sure kiddos are getting the most “bang for their buck” when you are trying to manage several students with a variety of goals all at the same time. I love that the Fall Fine Motor Centers can be completed independently. This is possible because they are simple in nature and come with visual directions that student can follow!
We already had bins made with the original Fall Fine Motor Centers in my OT classroom as well as some of my self-contained classrooms, so I simply added in the fall version! No need for additional storage! I often have students in groups “rotate” between activities. When one student is independently working on the fine motor center, I can be directly instructing or progress monitoring their group partner. Then, switch!
For the Trace It! Center:
- Laminate the sheets and use with dry erase to make them easily reusable
- This might be easiest for young learners
- These don’t have to be laminated if you want to use crayons or pencils
- Highlight the line for an increased visual cue
- See my Pre-Writing Blog for suggestions on writing utensils!
- Have the student complete the task on a slant board to ensure they have good forearm stability and writing posture
I also use the Fall Fine Motor Centers as a fine motor/hand strength warm up! I like to switch between a bunch of activities throughout my sessions in order to keep the learners’ attention and to target a variety of skills! Fine Motor Centers are a great way to get kids engaged right off the bat while also building hand strength!
For the Stick It! Center:
- Peal the backing off the stickers to make them easier to see and peel!
- Change out the stickers and have a variety of sizes
- Use foam stickers where students have to peel off the back
- Incorporate multi-sensory learning and use scratch & sniff stickers!
I know you will love this resource the minute you start using it! Fine Motor Centers are great to have on hand for quick, easy, independent fine motor practice! You can find a list to shop all materials needed for each of the Fall Fine Motor Centers HERE! *affiliate links*