My grandmother and aunt loved them, so they will always include me and my little sister in their projects. For Christmas, my parents and other family members used to get us all kinds of craft kits. Back then they were just fun activities, but now than I’m an Occupational Therapist, I realize how many important life skills I was learning through those projects.
Crafts help kids develop fine-motor and eye-hand coordination skills as well as tolerance, problem solving and learning to follow instructions. They are also a good opportunity to bond with your child and to work on communication and social skills (such as sharing). Even though today kids seem more interested in electronic devices, I’ve noticed in my practice that most kids still love arts and crafts. It’s up to us to provide them with opportunities to participate in such activities.
A couple of weeks ago I received this Sand Art craft kit from Special Need Essentials to try it out with my kids. It’s a fun craft that can be adapted to kids with different skills.
I used this kit with patients from 4-18 years old. It consists of gradually peeling small pieces of paper from a sticky surface and then applying colored sand to fill the space and form the picture. While doing this activity, we worked on fine-motor skills such as pinch grasp for peeling the papers (a task that was difficult to most of my patients). You can adapt it by starting to peel one corner and letting the kids do the rest.
Cutting the tubes (or similar things such as straws) is a great way to introduce scissors skills to little ones. That’s because they are easier to manage than paper and also help to strengthen the small hand muscles.
We also worked on developing a tripod grasp (like the one used in writing) while holding the sand tubes. The following little fella had trouble at first, but with some OT help he did much better.
This activity requires to be done one spot at a time, which is great for working on tolerance and following instructions. It's important that the kids are also responsible for the cleanup, which is an independent living skill.
Below two of the end products:
You can make the activity easier by peeling the paper yourself and letting the child just fill the spaces with sand or by peeling larger amounts of paper at once to decrease the steps and time in finishing the task. Let me know if you have done something similar with your kids. You can also share crafts ideas in the comments below!"