Category Archives: occupational therapy

Fine Motor Fun Activities For Christmas

Christmas is a hectic and chaotic time. With school holidays, parties and altered schedules Christmas can be overwhelming for adults and children. It can be hard to continue developing and improving specific skill areas, like fine motor or handwriting.

So, I have put together some Christmas-y activities to continue working on occupational therapy areas including fine motor skills whilst simultaneously having fun and connecting as a family. Here are some ideas:

Building a gingerbread house – This addresses fine motor, proprioceptive and olfactory areas. Cut out gingerbread men, encourage pincer grip with small lollies or just play with dough!

Making ginger bread house

Girl making a ginger bread house

Write a letter to Santa – practice letter formation, spacing and legibility.

Boy writing a letter to santa

Writing to Santa can be a great time to practice handwriting

Make a bead ornament. Work on fine motor skills and finger strength by threading beads onto pipecleaners. Threading beads works on a tripod grasp, bilateral hand coordination, hand-eye coordination, visual scanning, visual tracking, patterning, and more.

Pipe cleaner and bead Christmas decoration

Beads made into a Christmas tree shape

Cut snowflakes to work on scissor skills. Try using different textures for line accuracy practice.

snow flake creation

Children cutting snow flakes

Wrapping presents is an activity that requires a lot of fine motor precision.  Measure paper to fit packages, cut paper with scissors in a straight line, fold paper, tear and cut tape, stick tape along edges of paper.  This helps practice motor planning, problem solving, and executive functioning.

Getting all the presents wrapped

Wrapping presents can be a great fine motor activity

Baking Christmas cookies. Choose recipes where children can roll out and squish dough – good for bilateral coordination. Cut out shapes with cutters – good for spatial awareness and planning skills. Choose and measure ingredients – good for math skills, memory skills and following instructions.

Making special Christmas treats

Christmas Baking

Please contact Childworks, if you would like to learn more about how occupational therapy can help your child and their fine motor skills. Please call at 02 9098 1635 or make an enquiry at

Child’s Play

Play is a child’s work. It is what they need to do to explore their environment, to understand their own bodies and to experiment with ideas and objects. It is how they learn about themselves and their world.

When children play they experience now ways to solve problems and learn new skills needed to become a healthy adult.

Research suggests that children to engage in 15 minutes of play at recess are better behaved in the classroom and are more likely to learn than children who do not have recess. (Barros, Silver and Stein 2009.

Play does not come easily for all children. Some children have a physical, psychological or cognitive issue which limits their play in some areas. This is where occupational therapy can help.

How You Can Help Your Child to Play


During their first few months, babies enjoy colourful mobiles, rattle and other toys. They also enjoy vocal play such as singing and nursery rhymes or just talking. They may show their enjoyment by moving their arms and legs. Encourage you baby to participate in vocal play and engage with toys. You can encourage you baby to play in different positions, lying on their back, side or tummy.

Tummy time is generally encouraged to assist with child development. Some babies don’t enjoy playing on their tummies. You can help them by singing and presenting toys. If that doesn’t work, you can use an incline, even placing the baby on your chest, to encourage them in this position.

Tummy time

As babies learn to grasp and move on their own, they enjoy playing with mirrors, balls, squeezy toys, water toys, blocks and many things you don’t want them to play with. They may become attached to your car keys, your mobile phone or simply enjoy rummaging through handbags.

Avoid placing your child in an unsupported sitting position before they are ready. Babies can be placed in sitting and maintain the position for a few minutes before they are really ready to sit and there is no benefit in doing that. The important thing is that they can move in and out of sitting by themselves. They may not develop this skill until they are 6 months or older.

Safety is an issue when babies start to move around. Consider his or her environment and remove or control any dangers that may be present. Restraining a child prevents their play and removes opportunities to learn so try to remove risks rather than restrain the child.

Babies are still learning about their bodies and their preferred method of discovery is their mouth. Make sure that any toys they use, not to mention anything they could find to play with, is safe. Small items such as parts of a complex toy can easily become a choking hazard.


Toddlers learn fine motor skills by playing with toys and other items around the house. They love finger painting, play dough and construction toys such as Lego or Duplo. These toys help them to develop fine motor co-ordination.

As children learn to walk and run, they enjoy push toys, pull toys and games such as hide and seek, or climbing around in the playground.


Imitation and pretend play increases during the pre-school years. Children may use dress ups, puppets, dolls or toy cars. Children can sometimes be observed using sticks in imaginative play. At this time they improve all their previous skills. They become better at climbing playground equipment, better at puzzles, better at construction and better at drawing etc.

School Aged Children

Once at school play becomes an important way to get rid of some excess energy so that concentrating in class is easier. Friendships develop as children play and learn together.

Play can become more structured and can include team sports and organised games.

Play is always more fun with someone else and Mum or Dad are the most fun to play with.

You can encourage your child to play by:

  • Engaging in play with your child,
  • Have craft materials ready so the child can participate when he or she wants to,
  • Provide both structured and unstructured play, for example, joining a soccer team and playing in the garden with neighbours.
  • Just like recess, active play after school can help prepare you child for learning.

Don’t forget, play is fun. If it looses the fun factor, it is no longer play!





Occupational Therapy Week 25-31 Oct 2015

Welcome to occupational therapy week!

What is Occupational Therapy (OT)?

The World Federation of Occupational Therapists put out this definition in 2012.

Occupational therapy is a client-centred health profession concerned with promoting health and well being through occupation. The primary goal of occupational therapy is to enable people to participate in the activities of everyday life. Occupational therapists achieve this outcome by working with people and communities to enhance their ability to engage in the occupations they want to, need to, or are expected to do, or by modifying the occupation or the environment to better support their occupational engagement. 

What does that mean for my child?

An occupational therapist can help your child to do the things they need to do. We work closely with families and other health practitioners to identify barriers and also identify strengths. For example if a child has difficulty performing school work due to poor co-ordination, visual perception or poor ability to concentrate an OT may be of assistance. We also look at developmental activities such activities that improve a child’s independence. A child may have difficulty with dressing themselves. They may need cues to understand what step comes next, they may need a modified environment to reduce distractions, they may need modification of the activity such as something to help them manage zippers, they may need help to learn specific skills or they may need some other form of assistance.

If your child has difficulty with activities they need to do in their everyday lives, then occupational therapy may help.

How can I find out more about occupational therapy for my child?

Contact Robyne Cottee at Childworks to get information on how Occupational Therapy can help your child.

Is funding available for occupational therapy?

There are various Government funding options depending on your child’s issues and diagnosis. Private health funding may also apply. Please contact Childworks to discuss your options.