The Frugal OT Series: It’s O-FISHally Summer!

June’s Dollar Tree Activity of the Month: It’s O-FISHally Summer

Summer is finally here! Kids have worked hard all school year and it is time for a much-needed break. These pool noodle fish are a fun way to welcome summer vacation and all the excitement that comes along with it. This craft will evoke thoughts of trips to the beach, ocean life and all the fun summer brings. A great way to embrace summer vacation while working on fine motor skills. 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:

  • bilateral coordination
  • eye-hand coordination
  • fine motor strengthening
  • fine motor control 
  • grasping skills 
  • cutting skills
  • visual-motor integration skills
  • visual perceptual skills
  • executive functioning skills (focus attention, remember multi-step directions, initiate and follow through with the task)
It’s O-FISHally Summer!

Dollar Tree Supplies Needed:

googly eyes

pipe cleaners

pool noodle (cut into 1″ discs)

construction paper

Staples Needed:

scissors

school glue

pencil

markers/crayons

Dollar Tree Supplies Needed
Staples Needed

How To Make the “It’s O-FISHally Summer” Craft:

It is always helpful to present the child with a model so that they can see what you expect them to do.

I recommend cutting the pool noodles ahead of time and setting them aside.

Instructions:

Jellyfish

  • To prep for this activity, the adult needs to cut the pool noodle into 1″-1.5″ discs. Set aside. One disc makes (2) jellyfish and (1) common fish. Prepare as many as you need.
  • To make the jellyfish, have the child cut the disc in half.
  • Cut (2) pipe cleaners into 3 equal parts (about 4″ each).
  • Bend the pipe cleaner as preferred to mimic tentacles.
  • Poke the ends of the pipe cleaner into the bottom or flat side of the pool noodle.
  • Glue (2) googly eyes onto the front of the pool noodle.

Common Fish

  • To prep for this activity, the adult needs to cut the pool noodle into 1′-1.5′ discs. Set aside. One disc makes (1) fish. Prepare as many as you need.
  • Make the mouth by cutting the pipe cleaner into a piece that is approximately 3″ long.
  • Push each end into the side of the pool noodle, and bend in the middle.
  • To make the tail, cut the pipe cleaner into a piece that is approximately 8″ long. Poke the ends into the pool noodle, and bend as you’d like to simulate a tail.
  • Optional: Make a fin by cutting the pipe cleaner into a piece that is approximately 3″ long. Poke both ends into the top of the pool noodle and bend it to simulate a fin.
  • Glue a googly eye on the side of the pool noodle, above the mouth.

Ocean Mat

  • Using blue construction paper, markers, and/or crayons, draw the ocean floor as you see fit. Have fun with it!
  • Glue the fish onto the mat.

Done!

How To Make the “It’s O-FISHally Summer Craft:

How To Make the “It’s O-FISHally Summer Craft

How To Offer the “Just Right” Challenge:

Grade Down (Make it Easier)

For younger or less skilled children:

  • Outline the images that represent the bottom of the ocean. Have the child trace over the lines and fill in using markers and/or crayons. If the child needs to work on improving their grasp, be sure to use short (broken) crayons.
  • Some children may not have adequate strength to cut the pool noodle and/or pipe cleaners, if so, prep the materials for them.
  • If the child is unable to copy the title, have them trace it.
Grade Up (Make it Harder):
  • Draw more elaborate images to represent the bottom of the ocean.
  • Add more embellishments to the common fish, such as a fin on the top and a pectoral fin on the side.
  • Add more tentacles to the jellyfish.
Happy Mother’s Day

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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