If you have a special needs child that you homeschool, there’s a good chance you’re often looking for new ideas for crafts to delight and entertain them while helping them develop skills. Of course it will depend on your child’s abilities/disabilities when it comes to what they can work on, but you should have a good feel for what both you and they will be comfortable with. Now that spring is here, I thought it might be fun to focus on some thematic activities.
Make a Tree
KinderArt has a great project idea in which your child can create (or take part in creating) a tree with different-colored and -shaped leaves. This can help your child get a feel for overlapping, mixing colors, and cooperation, and only takes just a few relatively simple materials. The site notes that the project can be adapted for a wide range of ages and abilities, making it a great craft candidate for your child. Even if your child has limited vision or motor skills, there’s a good chance they can participate with the level of assistance you think is necessary.
The project does involve cutting with scissors, but does not require staying inside the lines when coloring. Basically, you’ll get some leaf-cut-outs (KinderArt has some you can download), but I’d suggest going outside if possible, and collecting some real leaves to trace. The cut-outs/leaves are placed on paper and colored in, and then placed on the branches protruding from the trunk, which is made out of brown paper (paper bags can work wonderfully), and hung on the wall. The tree can be as large or small as you want it to be, but your child (possibly along with other members of the family) can decide where to place each leaf.
It’s as simple as that. The child will find fun in mixing colors and/or creating leaf patterns, and see what it’s like to put a tree together with overlapping leaves.
Make an Edible Mud Puddle
Children love mud puddles. They just can’t resist stomping in them or the urge to jump in and make a big splash. What if you told your child they could build their own mud puddle, and that it would also be made of yummy food that they could play with and eat? Admittedly, this isn’t the best craft for teaching your child not to play with their food, but perhaps if they have this outlet they won’t feel the need to do so with their dinner.
It’s cheap, it takes less than an hour, and it can help your child learn about using their five senses. This idea comes from MeaningfulMama, who says, “Tactile experiences are great for kids. Children learn through their senses. Tactile and kinesthetic learners are those kids who grow best through hands on experiences…The sense of touch is the first sense to develop completely. Kids learn their world through this important sense. Using to learn one’s hands is important for developing so many of the skills children will learn throughout their life.”
The ingredients are really up to you, but chocolate pudding and gummy worms are a good start. You can give your child a little shovel to dig around with, but let them get in there with their hands as well. If you want to go so far as to let them jump and stomp in it once they’re done using their sense of taste, just make sure you have the hose handy!
Make a Coffee Filter Flower
Well, we’ve covered filling the trees with leaves and creating mud puddles, but no list of spring-themed activities would be complete without some flowers. DLTK’s has a beautiful and colorful flower project that requires a coffee filter, a pipecleaner, some markers, and water. Just flatten a coffee filter on a plate, have your child color it or make a cool design with washable markers, and spray it a few times with a squirt bottle of water. Let it dry for five minutes, and then poke the pipecleaner through the middle, scrunch the filter around the end of the pipeclaner, and roll about an inch of the pipecleaner into a ball so the filter won’t fall off. Wrap a shorter piece of pipecleaner around the filter to better secure it, and you have a flower. You can even bend the pipecleaner in a shape so that it looks like there’s a leaf on the stem. Stick the flower in a vase if you like. The activity can give your child a way to express themselves with color and design, while giving them an understanding of simple crafting mechanics and the knowledge that art can be created using everyday household items.
It’s not always easy to come up with new activities that your children can both enjoy and learn from, but there’s a reason you’ve chosen to homeschool them rather than send them to a daycare center or other school. It’s important to keep in mind that there are always fun ways for your children to learn, and that they’re likely to absorb more when they’re enjoying themselves.