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Thanksgiving Treats Boost Sensory and Fine Motor Skills

I stumbled upon these fabulous turkey treat recipes and cannot wait to try them out. The combination of temperatures and textures make for a rich sensory experience. These are great recipes for sensory seekers who love to get their hands messy, and exciting enough to motivate sensory avoiders to get involved in the activity. The application of detailed turkey décor provides lots of opportunity to practice fine motor skills. Following instructions step-by-step gives children an opportunity to practice sequencing and organization.



Rice Krispie Treats: 1/4 cup butter 10 oz marshmallows 6 cups Rice Krispie cereal 1/2 cup peanut butter (omit if making classic flavor)

Turkey Decor: Candy corn Cashews (split in half, and then broken in two) Whoppers (or another round, brown candy) Black frosting Red licorice Extra peanut butter for “glue”

Method & sensory/fine motor benefits:

  1. Melt butter in a pan, add marshmallows and mix. Once melted, remove from flame and mix in cereal. Stirring the thick mixture of marshmallows and Rice Krispies provides proprioceptive input to the hands and arms and builds up strength.

  2. While still warm, form mixture into small balls. The warm temperature and varied textures provide tactile input to the hands. Proprioceptive and tactile input build sensory awareness of the hands to prepare them for fine motor activities. Luckily this recipe has a built in fine motor component that follows the sensory input (see step 3)!

  3. Using peanut butter as glue (marshmallow fluff is a peanut free alternative), tack on the candy corn (feathers), Whopper (head), beak (cashew), and little red waddle (licorice). Use black frosting to make the eyes. In this step you can elicit a pincer grasp (tip-to-tip) to pick up the candies. Stabilizing the turkey body with one hand while placing the candy with the other hand, and breaking the cashews in half promotes bilateral coordination.



Your children will be having so much fun making these that they will not know that they are"working" their muscles!


1 1/2 Oreos for body and stand

1 Reese’s peanut butter cup body

5 candy corn "feathers"; 1 candy corn beak

1 Whopper malted milk ball  or chocolate covered pretzel ball for head

Marshmallow Fluff for glue

Why we LOVE them (sensory & fine motor benefits):

  • Spreading the marshmallow fluff glue requires bilateral coordination (using the two hands together) and pressure modulation (pressing hard enough to spread the glue, but not so hard that the Oreo breaks).

  • Grasping candy corn promotes a fine pincer grasp. Sticking them into the fluff strengthens fingers and eye hand coordination.

  • Assembling the turkey builds fine motor control, visual spatial motor planning and sequencing skills.

Our Tip: Prepare a Visual Model!

Make a model turkey before making one with your child. To boost visual spatial and sequencing skills, help your child look at the turkey to decide how much of each candy is needed, analyze how the turkey was put together and figure out the best sequence for building the turkey. This strengthens visual perception skills, visual motor integration, and the planning, organizing and sequencing phases of executive function skills.

Submitted by Ariela Warburg OTR & Dr. Chaye Lamm Warburg, DPS, OTR/L, Director, POTS

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