With winter quickly approaching, we understand that families need to find activities to fill their children's time. Crafts can be a great way to engage with children in a manner they find entertaining while also offering the opportunity for teachable moments. Below is a list of five activities that make indoor time seem like the most exciting option!
Underwater "I Spy" Alphabet Bottle
Designed for children learning the alphabet and in the early stages of letter recognition, an underwater "I Spy" alphabet bottle has the added bonus of tactile and visual stimuli. By
cutting up letters and placing them in a water bottle, the addition of sequins and other glittering objects make the teaching tool come off as a toy. The best part? Your child can
shake it and watch the cascading letters as many times as they please, as the underwater alphabet has the capability to be reused and offers children the option of expanding upon past knowledge with a familiar tool. Here are the full instructions.
Matching Shapes with Popsicle Sticks
Using pieces from home, this activity involves two-parts of fun. First, gather your popsicle sticks and paint or draw various shapes in different colors creating matching pairs. After you and your child put the paint away the main game can begin. Mix them up in order for your child to find the corresponding shapes and sharpen their skills of pattern recognition. This tactile activity allows children to learn new shapes and colors in an engaging manner that’s meant to be played over and over! Check out some examples.
Egg-Carton Seed Starts
Gardening has many positive effects, especially for children with a range of developmental delays or disabilities. The process of placing seeds in the dirt and caring for them as they grow provides an opportunity for motor skills to grow while relieving muscle tension. Accompanied by the natural qualities of the plants, the overall experience is meant to provide an atmosphere that avoids being too overstimulating while establishing an engaging routine.
A more long-term activity, children can watch their plants grow and benefit from the feeling of pride that comes from caring for a living thing. And if you feel your child is ready, feel free to explain some of the scientific processes at work. Photosynthesis is more fun when you can see the leaves grow!
Follow the link for a step-by-step guideline and discover some of the benefits of gardening for children with special needs here.
Help your children express and build upon their emotional vocabulary while they practice their motor skills and make beautiful works of art! Start talking about emotions and which ones they feel strongly about or experience on a day-to-day basis. Encourage your child to draw whatever they feel expresses the feeling and be as open as possible about what their art means to them. Beyond the guaranteed front-of-the-refrigerator quality of artwork, you can open an avenue to communicate with your child in a new way. Here are some more tips.
Build a Tree, Leaf by Leaf
This project allows for long-term creative growth with the option for including as many children as possible. Gather old paper grocery bags to construct the tree trunk and attach it to whatever wall space you see fit. Next, have your children draw the leaves for the tree. Make sure they don’t worry about the shapes they draw - they will be cut to look as leaf-like as you want them to!
As the tree grows you and your child can track the growth of their creative and motor skills. Better yet, if they have a friend over they can collaborate on making the tree grow together. Find an example here.
As the seasons transition try out some of these indoor activities. Share your favorites on Facebook using the hashtag #nwcenter - we love hearing from you!
Northwest Center is passionate about equal rights, anti-ableism, and full inclusion for people with disabilities. Thank you for reading.