The Frugal OT Series: Holiday Bonus Activity

Fine Motor Mementos

Who doesn’t love a sweet homemade holiday memento, made by the precious little ones in your life? I know I absolutely adore taking the ornaments made by my kids out of the box every Christmas. Instant memories are recaptured and experienced again as I examine each one. I love reminiscing about the time when they gave it to me or the time spent making it together. I fondly decorate my tree with the love each ornament represents. Holiday trees feel especially meaningful when adorned by homemade ornaments. Children love making gifts for their family and feel super proud when they see their contribution hanging on the tree.

The memento presented in this post can be fun for younger and older children. I often feel like older kids are forgotten during the holiday season. You no longer see the cute little crafts coming home in their backpacks. But they still like making festive crafts, just like the littles do. This charming holiday ornament appeals to all ages. Numerous fine motor skills are addressed, both simple and complex, making it an appropriate fine motor feat many. Perfect to do during therapy sessions, as a class, and/or at home with your little one. And of course, all the supplies can be gathered for pennies on the dollar at your local Dollar Tree.

Skills Addressed:

  • bilateral coordination
  • visual tracking
  • hand strengthening
  • in-hand manipulation (shift)
  • eye-hand coordination
  • hand separation
  • spatial relations
  • grasping skills (pincer and 3-jaw chuck or tripod)

Dollar Tree Supplies Needed:

Staples Needed:

  • craft sticks
  • yarn
  • star beads
  • pom-poms
  • scissors
  • glue
Fine Motor Momento Supplies Needed
Fine Motor Memento Staples Needed
Fine Motor Momentos

How To Make the Memento:

Fine Motor Mementos
  • Glue three craft sticks together to make a triangle (tip: do beforehand to allow to dry. This is an excellent pre-activity to do with preschoolers who are working on prewriting strokes/drawing triangles).
  • Wrap yarn around a single craft stick and put it aside. Tie the yarn to the stick to get started. Glue the end of the yarn to secure. This will serve as the base of the tree later.
  • Tie a piece of yarn to the top of the triangle. This will be used to hang the ornament on the tree.
  • Tie yarn to one of the craft sticks on the inside of the triangle. Slide it to the very top. Now start wrapping the yarn around the triangle until you reach the bottom. Secure the end of the yarn with glue.
  • Glue the star to the top and decorate the tree with pom poms.
  • Glue the yarn-wrapped craft stick made earlier to the base of the tree.
  • Have the child write their name and the year on a craft stick and glue it to the base of the tree on the back.

Grade Down (Make it Easier)

Adult sets up the yarn on the triangle. The child begins by wrapping the yarn around the triangle.

Grade Up (Make it Harder):

Work on building visual perceptual and visual-motor integration skills by having the child make their tree to match a model.

Build In-hand manipulation skills

Translation is the ability to move objects from the palm of one’s hand to the fingertips and from the fingertips to the palm. By ages 6 to 7, children are typically able to manipulate and secure multiple small objects within their hands. Practice this skill with the pom-poms. Using one hand, have the child pick up one pom-pom at a time and move it from fingertips to palm. Try collecting 5 and then place them onto the tree.  

As always, have fun!


The Fun Strokes blog is designed for educational and informational use only for teachers, therapists, and parents. It is not intended as medical advice or therapeutic treatment that would be provided in an individualized treatment plan. If you suspect a child has delays, please consult an occupational therapist.

Published by Linda Craig Dennis

Pediatric Occupational Therapist, Author and Creator of Fun Strokes Pre-writing Program

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