OT Approved Halloween Activities
The holidays always provide great ways to introduce new activities your child won’t even recognize as OT homework. Here are a few activities that can easily be adapted to help your child meet his OT goals:
1. Carving pumpkins:
What better way to work on sensory processing and hand strengthening than carving a pumpkin? Allowing your child to scoop out the pumpkin goo is a great way to work on decreasing tactile defensiveness (sensitivity to touch) and improve overall toleration to a variety of sensory input. If touching the pumpkin guts is too much for your child, you can modify the activity by having your child touch the pumpkin insides with gloves, or asking her to grab only the seeds from the pumpkin guts. Grabbing the seeds with salad tongs or tweezers is another iteration of pumpkin carving that can strengthen the muscles of the hand for carryover with handwriting and other fine motor tasks.
2. Making a construction paper spider:
The true therapeutic aspect of this craft is in the making of the spider legs. Folding the paper back and forth to create the accordion legs requires and facilitates a child’s ability to use both hands together (bilateral coordination) as well as fine motor precision.
3. Spider web obstacle course:
Now that you’ve made your spider, it’s time for the spider web! In a hallway, tape one continuous string of yarn at various angles across the length of the hallway. Instruct the child try to go from one end of the hallway to the other without touching the yarn. This activity will help develop and facilitate your child’s postural stability, balance, spatial awareness and motor planning. If this activity is not enough of a challenge, have your child complete various “levels” of the game while holding a bean bag in his neck or under her arm, etc.
4. Make a straw skeleton:
Using black paper with a head drawn in, glue straws cut at various lengths to form a skeleton. This is a great way to work on spatial awareness and visual perceptual skills. Depending on your child’s developmental level, you can either offer a black piece of paper with cut up straws and allow your child to independently create the skeleton, or you can provide a sample your child can replicate.
5. Monster slime:
This is another great activity for sensory input. Simply combine 1/4 cup of liquid starch with 1/4 cup of white glue in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix 1 tablespoon of water with 1 tablespoon of washable paint. Combine the 2 solutions and mix until the slime forms, sometimes it is helpful to knead the slime. Add small objects into the slime for your child to retrieve and it can also be a great activity for hand strengthening.