10 Things to Do With Yarn to Promote Developmental Skills!

If you’re looking for fun and easy activity ideas for kids, check out these 10 things to do with yarn to promote developmental skills!

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It can be hard to find inspiration for fresh, new ideas every day that will keep kids interested and engaged while also targeting specific skills.  We find that often, the most fun and effective treatment activities are the ones that use the simplest materials.

Today, we’re excited to share some of our favorite activities to try with one of the simplest pieces of “equipment” we can think of…

A piece of yarn!

Targeting Skills Using Yarn Scraps With Kids

These easy ideas will target the following skills, making them perfect for an occupational therapy session, physical therapy session, or speech therapy session!  And all you need is some scraps of yarn from your craft closet!

Visual Motor Integration

Coordination and Motor Planning

Bilateral Coordination


Midline Crossing


Dressing Skills

And more!

11 Things to Do With Yarn to Promote Developmental Skills

Have kids grab strands of yarn in their favorite colors and try some of these ideas…

1 || The Squiggle by Carole Lexa Schaefer

This book is so much fun!  Read it with kids and see if kids can follow the instructions to move their pieces of yarn on the floor to make the same shapes you see in the book: a dragon, a great wall, a tight rope, a firework, a cloud, a ripple on a pond, and the moon.

2 || Make a Shape and Copy it

Have kids create different shapes on the floor with their pieces of string and then copy the shapes onto paper!  This is great prewriting practice

3 || Jump Rope

Use the string as a jump rope! Slow the motion down by starting with the string behind the child’s back.  Holding an end in each hand, have them flip the string over their head to the front of their body. Repeat the motion back and forth.  Gradually move toward having the child step over the string when it’s in front of their body.  Finally, work up to timing their jump as they move the string.

4 || Yarn Craft Ideas

Try an easy yarn craft like our heart yarn maze. This cute yarn wrapping ornament is a great yarn project for promoting bilateral skills as kids practice wrapping yarn around a cardboard template.  Click here for the tutorial and try it with rainbow colored yarn for a bold and bright final product.  These ornaments make a great gift!  Try making pom-poms or garlands for some easy DIY decorations!

5 || Shoe Tying

Use your piece of yarn to help kids practice tying their shoes.  Have them sit on the floor with their legs straight out in front of them.  Loop the yarn around their legs so both ends are visible on top.  Practice going through the motions of shoe-tying.  Using a longer/bigger piece of string and practicing on the legs enlarges the task a bit so kids can see what they’re doing more easily.

6 || Upper and Lower Body Dressing

Tie a piece of yarn in a loop and have kids practice sitting on the floor and putting the loop around their feet, standing up and pulling it up to their waist (and reverse the movement).  Have them practice putting it over their heads and pulling it on like a shirt (and reverse the movement).  Tie smaller loops and have kids practice pulling them onto and off of their feet.

7 || Balance Beam

Have kids stretch their yarn out on the floor to create a balance beam.  Can they get across the yarn without falling off?  Create balance beams of different shapes to increase the challenge!

8 || Make it a Tail!

Have kids hold their pieces of yarn behind them like an animal’s tail!  Can they jump, gallop, or skip like different animals?

9 || Jumping Practice

Have kids create a circle on the floor with their yarn.  Can they jump into and out of the circle?  Stretch the yarn into a long line.  Can they jump over the line forwards and backwards?  Can they jump over it side to side like a skier?

10 || Throwing and Catching Practice

Have kids crumple their ball of yarn into a ball and squeeze it tight.  Count down from 10 and have them throw the ball into the air and catch it!

11 || Make Shapes in the Air

Demonstrate making different shapes and lines in the air with your piece of yarn (circles, horizontal lines, vertical lines, figure 8).  Have kids follow along to make the same shapes!

Other Activity Ideas With Simple Materials:

Can I Play Too

This fun set of activities requires only a few pairs of socks!  Kids will love acting out the different throwing and catching activities from the book by Mo Willems!  This one is great for virtual or in-person sessions.

50 Low Prep Teletherapy Activities for Kids

Check out these Teletherapy Activities for your next virtual therapy session!  This list is full of low-prep, low-maintenance ideas that will help you target all kinds of developmental skills with your clients.

Other Fun and Simple Activities for Kids

Pom-Pom Bags [FREE Printable!]

DIY Balloon Fidgets

Scarf Movement Activities for Kids

Simple Activities for Kids Using Pencils

Simple Activities for Kids Using Cardboard Boxes

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Claire Heffron is co-author at The Inspired Treehouse and a pediatric occupational therapist in a preschool/primary school setting. She began her career with a bachelor’s degree in magazine journalism but quickly changed course to pursue graduate studies in occupational therapy. She has been practicing therapy for 10 years in public and specialized preschool/primary school settings. She is a mom to three funny, noisy boys and relies on yoga, good food, and time outside to bring her back to center.

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