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#1 Play Dough

Combining the two senses, smell and touch, makes this one of my favourite activities for all ages! Play dough is therapeutic. Add essential oils and it further enhances the therapeutic attributes. It's a wonderful task to develop fine motor skills and a wonderful addition to literacy and numeracy lessons.    


Essential Oil Play Dough Recipe

You will need:

  • 1 cup plain flour

  • 1/2 cup salt

  • 2 tablespoons cream of tartar

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

  • 1 cup water

  • 10-12 drops essential oil

  • Natural food dye (store bought is ok!)


  1. Sift together flour, salt and cream of tartar. Add to pot and add water and oil. Turn stovetop on medium heat and stir constantly with a wooden spoon.

  2. Add essential oil while stirring. When dough becomes a ball, remove from heat and add food colouring to match the essential oil. Remove dough from saucepan. Knead until colour is consistent throughout.

Note: Play dough can last up to 2 weeks. Refrigerate when not using. 


#2 Hammering

This tap-tap game is becoming harder and harder to find! It activity develops a number of skills, primarily fine motor skills. Hammering the parts to the cork board requires hand-eye coordination, imagination and spatial awareness. Additionally, it helps to improve motor planning where together, the student and educator can organise the steps to create a design. 

#3 Scissor cutting

Scissor cutting is an activity that supports pre writing and hand-strengthening skills. It improves hand-eye co-ordination and the ability to coordinate both sides of the body. It is therapeutic in nature and supports the development of the vision system.

Fun scissor skill activity pad
Fun scissor skill activity pad

Scissor grip
Scissor grip

Cutting straws
Cutting straws

Fun scissor skill activity pad
Fun scissor skill activity pad

Threading beads onto straws
Lacing toys
Fanta Colour peg boards

#4 Threading and beads

These activities aim to develop hand-eye co-ordination and concentration skills. Threading and bead activities require both sides of our brain to work. This is what we call crossing the midline which is important for developing fine motor skills. It also  prepares the brain for more complex skills like reading. 

#5 Painting

Not only is painting therapeutic but it also supports the development of the pincer grip that is important for writing. It important to explore with different brushes, especially in the pre writing stage, as it helps to develop the sensory system. Painting also promotes colour recognition and the important visual spatial skill.  

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