Play It Forward Therapy

Christmas Clothespin Obstacle Course

Christmas Clothespins Obstacle Course

Did you know that the elves have been busy hanging up the stockings!  What will you find in each stocking?  Walk through and carefully step over the criss-crossed clothesline.  Can you collect all of the stockings and surprises?

This Christmas Clothespin Obstacle course helps kids to “slow down” this holiday season in order to move carefully through the yarn maze.  It requires motor planning and body awareness and focuses on fine motor skills and pinch strength to clip and unfasten the clothespins to release a surprise filled stocking.

The level of challenge can be modified for all skill levels.

To make it more challenging, place stockings above the child’s height to encourage overhead reaching and shoulder work. Make sure kids use their thumb, index and middle finger to pinch the clothespins. You can give the directions “You can only touch the yarn 3x ” to encourage going through the maze carefully, which is good for self-regulation. You can also vary the size and tension of the type of clothespin as well.

Smaller clothespins will require more dexterity but less strength, whereas larger clothespins are easier to grasp, but harder to squeeze open.

Create an “out of bounds” where the kids have to stay on the mat or must belly crawl to reach the lower stockings.  For additional practice, once the game is over, help the elves by setting up the stockings for the next child to get some additional repetitions in.

To simplify, make a dot or place a sticker on the end of the clothespin so kids know which end to pinch.  Allow small children to pull the stockings off, rather than pinching the clothespin to release.

This activity is excellent to work on motor planning skills. Motor planning is when you have an idea in mind and you can coordinate your body to do the action. You can also support children’s understanding of where their body is in space, incorporate directional concepts and improve their sense of right and left. For example, the child could practice following directions such as, “Reach for the stocking above you, below, to the left, to the right etc.” This helps reinforce body awareness and a better understanding of where their body is in space.

If you don’t have monkey bars in your living room 🙂 , use 4 chairs and thick yarn to criss-cross back and forth.  Cut out paper stockings on cardstock or use plastic snowflakes or ornaments to hang.  Maybe even use real clean socks!

Hide a real treat such as a mini candy cane or a toy inside one of the stockings as a reward for completing the obstacle course or save it to use as a reward at the end of the session.  Have fun!

Watch the video at the end of the post!

Christmas Clothespin Obstacle Course

You will need

  • Thick yarn
  • Mini stockings
  • Clothespins
  • Small items such as jingle bells, mini candy canes or other fun items for each stocking.

Recommendations:  You can find mini stockings at crafts stores, dollar stores and

You may also like Merry Matching Eraser Game