Play It Forward Therapy

Easy Strawberry Jam

Easy Strawberry Jam by Jessica McMurdie

July 1, 2021

Have you ever tasted a juicy, red ripe strawberry or eaten a plump raspberry that’s deliciously sweet and perfectly tart? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to enjoy the taste of summer berries all year round?

If the thought of making jam seems complicated. Check out this super easy, kid friendly strawberry jam recipe. Trust me … It’s “berry” easy!

Here’s what you’ll need:


– 2 mixing bowls
– Large Spoon
– Whisk
– Measuring Cups
– Knife
– Jam jars with lids (Ball or Kerr brand)


– 1 box of Sure Jell Less Sugar Pectin or Regular Pectin (Note: I prefer to use the Sure-Jell Less Sugar Pectin recipe)
– Fresh berries of choice (Quantities vary according to the specific berry recipe)
– Sugar
– Water

How does making jam support your child’s sensory and motor development?

Making jam addresses a variety of developmental skills from fine motor coordination, sensory exploration, feeding and practicing higher level executive functioning skills such as organization, sequencing, sustained attention and following directions.

Making homemade jam is a truly a sensory-motor experience and here’s how it helps…

Fine Motor Skills

  • Picking the berries is excellent practice for precision grasp. Plus, the more you pick, the more practice you get!
  • Pinching off the stems also requires some pinch strength and using both hands.

Utensil Use

  • Cutting the fruit helps kids practice utensil use. Slicing a berry is softer and much easier than cutting through a piece of meat. It’s a good place to start if your child is new to cutting


  • Mashing the berries using a potato masher requires the strength and endurance of your entire upper arm. Who knew that berry mashing builds up strength?!
  • Scooping and pouring ingredients such as sugar from a measuring cup into a bowl is great for eye hand coordination.

Strength and Endurance

  • Strength is also required to twist the jam jar lids off and on, which is an important skill for the lids on water bottle or other twist off containers.
  • Preparing jam has many opportunities to support a tactile sensory experience when it comes to interacting with different wet, soft and sticky textures. If you’re child doesn’t like to get their hands messy, using utensils or having them “clean up” to put things ingredients away is a strategy for getting them to touch the ingredients without having to eat them.
  • Mashing the berries requires body awareness and the ability to adjust how hard you mash them as well as providing proprioceptive input (deep pressure input into the joints and muscles of the arms).

Social Skills

  • This kitchen activity is great for working together and provides many opportunities for taking turns and waiting.
  • Freezer jam makes a lovely gift to share with family and friends. A jar of jam is always well received and a nice way for kids to share something they’ve made that others will enjoy.
  • Modifications and Substitutions:  If strawberries, aren’t your jam, you can also use any berry you like. I’ve made blackberry and blueberry jam too and used this jam in fresh fruit pies too.


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