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BellaOnline's Children with Special Needs Editor

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Spring Craft Ideas


Children with special needs often enjoy creating holiday crafts and making presents for friends or family when a little preparation work is done and help is readily available.

There is no time like holidays when it is more obvious that children with special needs are more like their mainstream peers than they are different. All children need extra consideration when holidays are at hand, especially if visitors or travel complicate the family's regular schedule.

Many books and magazine articles online have craft ideas for children of all ages, and most have been adapted for the special needs of mainstream children. Likewise, the small accommodations that are sometimes made for a child with a disability are appreciated by their neighbors, cousins, brothers and sisters.

Displaying a child's craft project and letting them overhear you admiring it and describing it to friends or family over the phone can be as gratifying as complimenting the child about it when it is first shown to you. There are at least five positive attributes to each project a child creates, and a different adjective to describe each one, including: 'fabulous,' 'wonderful,' 'beautiful,' 'great' and 'amazing.'

Well-designed crafts turn out beautifully, and can be simple enough for uncles with big hands or great aunts with failing eyesight to demonstrate. But it is not important for every craft project to result in items that can be displayed in museum gift shops.

The greatest benefit of creating art and putting together crafts is often the process of doing it. Just as we make wholesome meals and enjoy spending time around the table sharing food and drink, we can put together experiences for our children to introduce them to arts and crafts and let them know we appreciate their creativity and self expression.

Spring themes for art and craft projects for Spring and Easter include colorful hats, putting together or decorating baskets, folding and pasting paper flowers together, coloring or decorating eggs, making pastel chains out of colored construction paper, and drawing or pasting together animal babies like chicks, ducklings and bunnies.

Weaving mats or baskets from long strips of construction paper takes a bit of concentration and hand skill, and may be engrossing or frustrating, depending on the child. Slicing holes or stripes into a small paper bag so children can weave a color strip or two in and out may be quite pleasing and satisfying for the young artist.

Hats can be made from paper bags, felt, cereal boxes, foil, paper cups, construction paper cones, cloth, tissue paper, scarves, paper mache or other materials. Decorations can be elaborate, or the hat might be little more than a headband. Some children do not like to wear hats but love to build them, others are only in it for the parade.

Paper bags can also be cut down and used as animal baskets, with faces and ears on one end and tails on the other. Reinforce the bottom with light cardboard, construction paper folded in two, or the cut off top of the bag itself. Paper from document shredders has become popular as Easter basket grass in recent years. Some paper is more likely to cause paper cuts, so the softer the better for young hands.

Tissue paper flowers can be made by making an accordion fold in tissue paper, cutting the folded strip into the length that is wanted, and securing the center with a pipe cleaner folded in half.

When making pipe cleaner and egg carton flowers, always make sure the egg carton bits are free of raw egg, and choose non toxic paints for all projects. Pipe cleaners have sharp ends so folding them in half, with a bead or button in the middle, might make it easier for children to poke the 'stem' through the hole in the egg carton cup. A brick or planter box can be made of craft dough to stick the finished flower in.

There are all sorts of kits and dyes for hard boiled eggs, but the most simple and often quite satisfying for children can be a dozen mugs of different color dyes that each have one egg at a time dropped in.

Children can draw squiggly lines with regular crayons before sliding their egg into the mug, and often need only a simple metal wire holder to lift the egg out or check the progress of the dye job.

Putting a plastic tablecloth under an absorbent old tablecloth or sheet, and having plenty of paper towels to wipe up spills, will make the project more enjoyable when gravity tips mugs or grabs eggs unexpectedly. For some children, coloring eggs is a game rather than an art activity, their play being the art they practice.

Some children are happy to spend an hour on one egg, and others have half a dozen in mugs within the first two minutes. It's good to give each child three or four plain hard boiled eggs and their own empty egg carton to put the eggs in to dry, with a bowl of extra eggs for those who want more.

For health reasons, it's a good idea to teach children that dyed Easter eggs are works of art and should not be eaten, especially if they have not had proper refrigeration during the drying process, and when paints or decorations have been used or glued on. Some families still use the dyed eggs in hunts, and some are concealed so well in the yard or garden they are not discovered on the day they were hidden.

When using plastic eggs filled with candy, prize tickets or coins, some families color code eggs by age group or individual, so older or faster children gather colors that are better concealed. Children often enjoy hiding eggs for one another, and adults, throughout the day, just as a game.

When using plastic eggs filled with candy, prize tickets or coins, some families color code eggs by age group or individual, so older or faster children gather colors that are better concealed. Children often enjoy hiding eggs for one another, and adults, throughout the day, just as a game.

If at all possible, get in there and be creative alongside your children. You are their best role model for enjoying life.

Browse at your public library, local bookstore or online retailer for books about Easter Crafts for Children. Ordering books or other products from Amazon.com via links in articles will slightly benefit the Special Needs Children website. I appreciate your support!

See Terri Mauro's suggestions on Fifty Ways to Fill an Easter Egg
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Easter and Children with Disabilities
Holiday Play and Crafts
Holiday Party Planning for Advocacy Organizations
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Content copyright © 2014 by Pamela Wilson. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Pamela Wilson. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Pamela Wilson for details.

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