Hanging Leaves on a Tree – a fine motor game

Fine Motor Activity for Fall - Leaves on a Tree - Moms Have Questions Too

What is a fun fine motor game that will be fun for Halloween and for Thanksgiving?

So, I wanted to do a fun activity/craft with my kids. And I wanted something with a Halloween theme because Halloween is just a few days away. But, I also wanted something I could leave up past Halloween and that my kids could keep playing with after Halloween. Does it really matter if I keep a Halloween decoration up past Halloween, or that my kids keep playing a Halloween themed fine motor game past Halloween? No, it really doesn’t, but I’m kind of weird about holidays. So, I came up with a game that has a fun Halloween twist, but that can easily be played after Halloween. Score!

Fall Leaves and Ghosts on a Tree Fine Motor Activity - Moms Have Questions Too

To play this Fall fine motor game here are a few things you’ll need:

Start by making several slits in the empty paper towel tube that are big enough for a popsicle stick to fit through. Basically you want it to look like tree branches coming out of a tree trunk.

 Fall Leaves on Tree Activity - Cut a hole in the paper towel roll - Moms Have Questions Too

Once you have enough slits for however many branches you want, put the popsicle sticks into the slits so that you have a nice “tree” with empty branches.

Fall Leaves on Tree Activity - Put popsicle sticks in holes - Moms Have Questions Too

Next, cut small slits in the leaves. Make sure the slits are big enough that the leaf will fit onto a popsicle stick.

Fall Leaves on Tree Fine Motor Activity - Cut a slit in the leaves - Moms Have Questions Too

Place Leaves on Popsicle Stick Tree - Moms Have Questions Too

If you want to play this game with a Halloween twist, cut out a bunch of ghost shapes from white felt and draw a face on with permanent marker. Cut a slit in each ghost so that it can fit on a popsicle stick.

 Make Felt Ghosts for a fun Halloween tree activity - Moms Have Questions Too

Cut slit in ghost for ghost tree activity - Moms Have Questions Too

To set up the game, put the paper towel tube into some playdough so that it will stand up and stay in place. Put the leaves (and the ghosts if you made them) in a bowl. Now get your kids and tell them that they will be putting leaves on this bare “tree.” Let your kids put leaves and ghosts on the tree. My kids really liked the ghosts and though it was cool that the ghosts looked like they were flying in the air. Smiley Man starting making ghost noises while he put the ghosts on. Little Bear thought that was pretty fun so he started too. :)

Haning Ghosts and Leaves on Popsicle Stick Tree - Fine Motor Activity - Moms Have Questions Too

Ghosts and Leaves on a Tree - Moms Have Questions Too

Once Halloween is over, I plan to take all of the ghosts off of the tree, and keep only 28 leaves on the tree. I’ll do a short mini lesson on November 1st about how leaves fall off trees in the fall, then I’ll tell my kids that each day they can take one leaf off of the “tree” and when there are no leaves left, it will be Thanksgiving! How’s that for a double duty activity?

Placing Leaves on a Popsicle Stick Tree - Fine Motor Activity - Moms Have Questions Too

Fine Motor Activity for Fall - Leaves on a Tree - Moms Have Questions Too

This activity is great because it has a fun Halloween twist, it really gets kids to practice fine motor skills as they put the leaves onto the popsicle sticks, plus it will end up being a countdown to Thanksgiving! My kids loved the Halloween twist for this activity and I know they will love the Thanksgiving countdown.

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  1. GREAT idea! Thanks for sharing!
    I always save the wooden chopsticks when we eat asian style – so I may substitute them instead.
    After Thanksgiving break, I think I’ll make the sticks green (food coloring, water – would also work for the popsicle sticks, but use brown) and make a Christmas tree. Then they can make and add ornaments. Great classroom decoration idea. Recycle for valentine (hearts, flowers – great cutting activity) and St. Pat’s day (cloverleaves), Easter (eggs, of course; maybe a bunny), May tree (flowers, flip flops, checkered flags).
    One of my preK teachers shared the idea of using large rolls from wrapping paper, lamination film, etc.

    1. I love your idea to use wooden chopsticks! I’ll have to try your dying trick next time I want to dye some wood. I also love your Christmas idea with the ornaments. I may try that one myself. ;)

  2. oops! sent too soon –
    the larger rolls would then make a floor tree – so it adds standing/squatting/reaching – postural adjustments. I’m an OT, so always looking for ways to ‘grade’ the activity. This ‘tree’ could be a classroom fixture, changing the decorations every month. I LOVE it.
    (Sept/apples; January/snowflakes and icycles)

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