Autumn crafts are easy and fun to help children develop fine motor skills and improve their hand function. Using a variety of mediums to touch and explore can make crafting a great learning and sensory focus activity.

Autumn Craft Day

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This week I was inspired to doing some Autumn crafts. We did a total of 4 crafty things in one day. This was a day where we did not have any therapy, doctors, school or family commitments….SHOCKING…it’s like a blue moon! This is a Therapy Thursday post because we worked on colors this week (Big-C has Down Syndrome and is working on colors in his therapy and at his day care so we are trying to do this at home too, repetition works), fine motor skills, and sensory exploration.

D-Man was home from school, he spiked a fever and we kept him home. With both the boys home and both getting over what ever virus thingy they had, we were sort of housebound for the day. I decided this day should be Autumn crafts day! D-Man, Big-C and myself made leaf shaped sun catchers, hand print tree painting, and felt hands. I also made a craft just by myself the duct tape tissue box, that I posted about earlier.The supplies I needed are pictured above for all three crafts. These I have on hand at home, but if you don’t you can pick up most at a craft or fabric store.

$1 Craft Supplies at Dollar Tree!

Leaf Shaped Sun-Catchers:

Supplies needed for this Autumn craft are clear contact paper (I always buy the big roll, love this stuff) and colored tissue paper. I bought a large pack of this at Michael’s or Hobby Lobby in the past and it has lasted a long time. Much more economical then buying it in the gift aisle.

You need about a quarter sheet of each color we chose red, orange, and yellow. D-Man helped me to cut up the tissue paper into small pieces and Big-C helped by tearing the larger pieces into smaller ones. Both of these activities focus on fine motor skills, bilateral hand use and intrinsic hand strength for better fine motor control. We went on a quick ride/walk around the block to pick out a leaf that we thought would work well for our leaf shape.

image I drew the leaf shape on the back of the contact paper (non-sticky side) and then peeled off the paper. I then taped the clear contact paper to the boy’s craft table. Love this kids table it sits in the corner of our dinning room and gets used at least once a day. It also saves my dinning table for mom’s crafts:)imageThey placed the tissue paper on the contact paper however they pleased. D-Man was precise in his application. Big-C did more of a dump and crumple with a few pieces in his mouth for good measure. They were able to walk away and come back to it throughout the day.image




After they had sufficiently covered the paper, I grabbed another sheet of clear contact paper and placed it on top. I then cut out the leaves. Have areas where the two layers touch to hold in the tissue paper.image

image

Handprint Tree Painting:

Supplies you need are canvas, child’s hand/arm, paints, q-tips and paint brushes.

I let D-Man go mostly unsupervised during the leaf decorating part, but stopped him when it was about to just turn into a streaky mess. I love that we have some large globs of paint, streaks of paint and clustered collections of falling leaves. Big-C had more supervision and encouragement, he was little hesitant to stick his fingers into the paint. We used acrylic paint instead of kid safe fingerpaints. I would not suggest leaving the kiddos totally free when using these more permanent and potentially toxic paints.

To start, I traced D-Man’s hand and arm on the canvas. I tried to get him to do it, but he wasn’t sure what we were doing so was hesitant to try himself. image

We painted in the tree and grass and let it dry prior to the boys adding their artistic touches. image

Messy Play is Fun Play

I painted D-Man’s fingertips so he could press them onto the paper, he was a little hesitant of the paint at first. He got into it and shoved his fingertips into the globs of paint to place on the canvas. When he decided he was messy enough and we switched to q-tips. D-Man is not opposed to messy play, but appreciates a variety of ways to interact with different mediums. Having a variety of options assists kiddos who are opposed to getting messy the opportunity to have clean messes and be included in the crafty time.imageAgain we worked on the colors red, orange and yellow. It was great sensory experience of touching the paint and knowing how hard to press to get a good print. Using the q-tip helps with developing prehension (grasping with a pinch). Some alternatives could be using a cotton ball or using a clothespin to hold a cotton ball and dip it into paint. image




I love how it turned out Mr. P joined in the fun too and added his fingerprints. I couldn’t grab a picture of Big-C doing the painting while I was helping him. When I grow my extra arm I will be able to do so much more.

Felt Hand Prints:

Supplies for this final Autumn crafts activity include felt, scissors, 3 different sized (mom, older kiddo, younger kiddo), and freezer paper. This craft is great for Big-C for exploring textures and colors. D-Man also benefits by working on patterning activities.

We traced our hands on freezer paper to get a large (mom), medium (D-Man) and small (Big-C) sized prints. I cut out the hands from the freezer paper and then ironed them onto the felt. You need to place them shiny side down on the felt and then iron them very briefly until they stick. This makes cutting out felt shapes much easier. image

About half way through cutting out the hand prints the fingers were coming loose, totally annoying and much more difficult to cut out. If the freezer paper comes loose you can always re-iron (I use a low-medium setting without steam and hold the iron on for about 5-10 seconds). image

The Boys Loved the Hands

This by far was the craft that took the longest just because I had to do all the cutting. Once this activity was done I loved how it turned out.image

I clipped a stray piece of felt to our easel and let the boys just explore the hand shapes. I love working at an easel. Reaching up helps to develop shoulder stability for better fine motor control and wrist extension which improves hand dexterity. D-Man instantly noticed that he could do grouping and patterns.imageBig-C loved placing the hands up on the board. We were trying to get him to select specific colors from an array of 2-4 choices and he began to get it, but we will continue to practice. Repetition…repetition…repetition until he gets it.

D-Man showed me one more lesson that we could do. He started to move the hands and fingers to make different signs, “Look mom the green hand is saying yellow.”

imagetherapy thursday rocks autumn crafts

It was pretty much an occupational therapist and crafty mom happy day. I loved how all the projects turned out and that the boys were interested in them throughout the day. All the items I think look cute enough to use for decoration or keep up in the main part of the house to interact with.

Hopefully you enjoyed our fifth installment of Therapy Thursdays. Today we worked on:

  • learning color signs and words
  • developing better fine motor skills
  • enhancing our shoulder and wrist stability to aid us in fine motor control
  • improving our intrinsic hand strength (muscles inside the hand)
  • exploring different textures
  • experimenting with graded pressure (feeling how hard/soft you need to press onto a surface)

If you are interested in any of the other Therapy Thursday posts please follow the links: Fall Yard Work, Laundry Day, Helping With the Dishwasher, and Setting the Table.

Autumn crafts are easy and fun to help children develop fine motor skills and improve their hand function. Using a variety of mediums to touch and explore can make crafting a great learning and sensory focus activity.


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