The Frugal OT Series: Let It Snow!

January’s Dollar Tree Activity of the Month: Snowflakes

This craft is a classic, snowflakes made from craft sticks. They are super simple to make! All you need is 4 craft sticks. Using two craft sticks, make a cross and glue them together in the middle where they meet. Then make an oblique cross (an X) using the other two craft sticks. Glue them together where they meet. Done! The addition of a few Dollar Tree finds creates the perfect fine motor boost. Build fine motor strength and coordination by placing two mini clothespins on the ends of select craft sticks to make the dendrites of the snowflake. Ditch paintbrushes and create a greater fine motor demand by using a pump spray bottle to paint the snowflake. Add another element of design and motor challenge by using an eyedropper to apply glitter. Embellish with buttons, beads, or whatever you have handy. I used glass mosaic tiles. So many fine motor skills are addressed in this fun winter-themed activity. Perfect to do during therapy sessions, as a class, and/or at home. All the supplies can be gathered for pennies on the dollar at your local Dollar Tree.

Skills Addressed:

  • hand strengthening
  • hand separation
  • finger isolation
  • bilateral coordination
  • eye-hand coordination
  • spatial relations
  • pressure grading (how much force to apply)
  • grasping skills (pincer and 3-jaw chuck or tripod)
  • pre-writing skills (+ and x)

Dollar Tree Supplies Needed:

craft sticks

paint

glitter

mosaic tile

mini clothespins

Dollar Tree Fine Motor Boosters:

dropper bottles

pump spray bottles

Staples Needed:

glue

hot glue gun with close supervision (if preferred)

Snowflake Supply List

Dollar Tree Fine Motor Boosters
Staples Needed

How To Make the Snowflakes:

Frugal OT: Snowflakes

Present the child with a model to copy when assembling the craft sticks to make the snowflake.

  • Use two craft sticks to make a cross.
  • Glue the sticks together where they meet in the middle.
  • Use two more craft sticks to make an X.
  • Glue the sticks together where they meet. If using school glue, let the snowflake dry before continuing.
  • Apply two clothespins to the ends of select sticks to make the dendrites or branches.
Assembling Snowflakes

How to Offer the “Just Right” Challenge:

Grade Down (Make it Easier)

For younger or less skilled children:

  • If the child doesn’t have enough strength and coordination to handle the pump spray bottle, sponge paint the snowflake instead. Using a small sponge is also a great way to build fine motor skills. To make, simply cut a large sponge into small squares.
  • Apply glue.
  • Sprinkle with glitter.
  • Embellish with buttons, beads, or whatever you’d like! I used glass mosaics.

Grade Up (Make it Harder):

For older or more skilled children:

  • Put tempera paint in the pump spray bottle. Dilute with water. Place a mat under the snowflake and hold it upright (the bottle will not spray if not held in an upright position). Using the pump spray bottle, spray paint the snowflake. You may need to secure the snowflake to the mat using a clip or pin if the child is unable to do so while holding upright.
  • Apply glue.
  • Use the dropper to apply glitter where desired.
  • Embellish with whatever you choose, I used glass mosaics.
Offering the Just Right Challenge

Embellish

If you’d like to offer another element of challenge, have the child assemble the snowflake to match a model. Place several embellishments on the model to challenge visual scanning and tracking skills. Present the task as a fun game by saying, “Can you make your snowflake match mine?”

As always, have fun!

Disclaimer: 

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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