Earth Day Ideas to Encourage Fine Motor, Gross Motor and Coordination Skills

1. Earth Day Crafts: Create collages out of recycled materials. The children can cut up recycled cardboard or magazines to create a collage. Perhaps think of a theme such as healthy foods or exercise. Maybe write the child’s name in large bubble letters and glue on the recycled pictures.

2. Earth Day Challenge: Who can create the tallest recycled tower? See how many recycled boxes or containers you can stack before it falls over. Depending upon where you place the boxes, this activity encourages the child to squat down, reach high, motor plan and more.

3. Earth Day Signs: Create signs with the children reminding them of energy conservation. Example#1: Turn Lights Off when you leave a room – cut out pictures of light bulbs from magazines to glue to sign. Or cut out circles from white scrap paper to be light bulbs. Example #2: Turn off water when brushing teeth. Try using a toothbrush to paint with for the tooth brushing sign.

4. Recycle Carnival: Create carnival games out of recycled materials. For example, recycled, clean yogurt cups stack well for a target. Newspapers rolled up can hit objects for eye hand coordination practice. Put newspaper rolls on floor to jump over.

5. Practice energy conservation: Discuss how energy can be conserved by walking to school or stores. Practice different forms of transportation – walking, jogging, running, bike riding and scooter riding. Discuss which one required the most energy.  Practice deep breathing.

6. Protect the earth’s animals: Act out movements of endangered species such as elephants, gorillas, wolves, and tigers or any animal.  Check out Roll, Move and Cover Animal Actions.

7. Milk Scoop Jugs: Most everyone knows how to make a milk scoop jug. Just cut off the bottom of a gallon milk container leaving the handle intact. Get a tin foil ball. Throw and catch it in the plastic container. Put colored tape on it to protect any sharp edges.

8. Clean Up Stroll: Take a walk outdoors, wear gloves and clean up any trash.

9. Plant a Sensory Garden: Plant a small garden outside the school with fragrant and calming plants. If you do not have space outdoors, plant something indoors in a pot (i.e. lavender).

10. Lacing Cards: Make lacing cards out of recycled materials such as Styrofoam trays, cardboard strips or lace milk jug caps. Want some fun themed lacing cards to place on the Styrofoam trays or cardboard?

11. Have an art contest: Have the children create projects or an art exhibit with an environmental theme.

12. Terrariums: Create your own terrarium. Use the bottom of a 2 liter bottle for a small terrarium or an aluminum tray for a larger one. Go outdoors and scoop dirt into container. Now add grass, moss and rocks.

13. Recycling OT Blog: Need more ideas about using recycled items in your therapy practice? Check out the Recycling OT Blog written by Barbara Smith MS, OTR.