Kids Crafts and DIYs

It's a Friday which means I am blogging while watching Family Guy with my brother. (I live the life!) However, I am enjoying my small break from work. I love my job with a passion but a two day break is much needed. 

If you have been reading a bit, you would know I work with special needs kids, most of which are Autistic. With these kids, I do fun activities to assist with learning colors, shapes, etc. as well as improving fine and gross motor skills. I often realize that doing the same thing day after day not only bores my kids but also bores me. Because of this I have decided to turn to Pinterest to find some interesting new ways to keep my children interested in learning.

I am so excited to share these activities with you all!

Mr. Tennis Ball - Fine Motor
This activity has quickly become a favorite with my children ranging in ages 4 to 16. It improves fine motor skills when children must press on the sides to get the "mouth" to open. I make this a task completion activity by telling my children to "feed" Mr. Tennis Ball a certain number of marbles. 
This is one of the simplest DIYs to complete. All that you need is a tennis ball, (I had many dead ones left over from my tennis days) a knife, and a marker. To make it, simply cut a slit for the mouth and draw on eyes. 

Marble Pegs - Fine Motor

Another simple task that improves fine motor skills is this marble on peg activity. I provide my child with marbles and he must balance them all on the pegs without making any previously placed marbles fall off. An alternative to this activity could be to remove the pegs and have a child replace them in the holes. 
To make this DIY, you will need golf tees and a Styrofoam block. All you do is simply line the pegs up in a row. 

Mr. HedgeHog - Fine Motor, Color Coding

This is my favorite DIY I have done with my children! (Remember those painted toothpicks from Mr. Tennis Ball!?) While this requires a bit of set up, the kids really love it so it is worth it. You need Poly Beads, Playdoh, and painted toothpicks. To make this, for Playdoh into the shape of a hedgehog. Begin to place Poly Beads in the back portion in a random (or not?) color arrangement. Once this is done, allow your child to place toothpicks of matching colors into the corresponding Poly Bead. This works the fine motor skills through gripping the toothpicks and placing them in a small destination and also works on color coding. (obviously)

Melt Ice - Fine Motor

Another task that is excellent for fine motor skills is this "Melting Ice Mini Game" (as one of my kids calls it) My co-worker actually found this idea and brought it to use with one of her students, and I just had to steal the idea. To begin you chose a reward for the child (we let our child keep the reward if they free it) and place it in a balloon. Then fill the balloon with water and place it in the freezer. Once it is frozen, remove it and place it in a bowl (or on the sidewalk) and cut away the balloon. Fill up a cup of warm water (add food color if wanted) and allow a child to use a medicine dropper to transfer the warm water to the ice. It can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour for the child to melt the ice, but so far all the kids I have done this with love it. 

Reward Token Board - Behavior

I can not take credit for this DIY because my boss came up with it, but I did put it together! A co-worker and I run a "group" twice a week with three young boys. Sometimes having boys together can get rowdy so we had to come up with a plan to implement with out group. Therefore, this token board came to be. In group we get a Token Break after every three tasks. The Token Break can be between 0 & 15 minutes for each child according to the number of tokens they earn. Each token is worth 5 minutes and they are earned by completing tasks with minimal marks. (usually no more than 5 tallys) This Token Board works because the kids always have a visual reminder to do their work right because they honestly want to earn their break. 

Can you tell I am studying to be an Occupational Therapist?

I hope you enjoyed these ideas! If you use an of them, let me know how it goes! 


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