Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Some Crafts I Like to Do With Kids

I'm always on the lookout for craft activities to do with the children I treat, and I encourage parents to do them at home. I find that crafts are helpful in supporting so many of the goals I set for them. They encourage the child to tolerate and work through frustration and improve attention and concentration. Here are some of my favorites that are easily available online or in most large toy stores.

Fuse beads -- Perler beads, or fuse beads, encourage thumb and finger tip opposition, which is critical for writing and all fine motor control. It also requires and encourages patience and precision.

Potholders -- Weaving is a perceptual activity which encourages figure ground discrimination and requires the ability to self correct. The act of weaving is strengthening to the fingers. Make sure you use a metal loom. The plastic ones are too flimsy and frustrating.

Leather Lacing -- I remember lacing a purse and a pair of moccasins when I was in about fifth grade and wearing them proudly. Leather is grounding and soothing and although it is equally appropriate for both sexes, it is an especially good choice for boys, as leather supports masculinity. The action of sewing against resistance is strengthening to the muscles required for writing. Making sure that the stitches don't twist requires patience and coordination.

Critter Bead Animals -- I absolutely love this activity. Beading is wonderful for improving fine motor precision and bilateral coordination. Boys will do this without any complaint {as they would if required to string beads for necklaces} and the results are loved by everyone.

Wooden Models
-- I buy ones at Michael's for a dollar. They're not available online. They are easy to put together and boys from small to large love them. I encourage the children to paint them. I crack the brush so that it's quite tiny and they are forced to hold it between thumb and forefinger, encouraging tip to tip opposition. Michael's also sells wonderful wooden dinosaur puzzles that you crack out of a stencil and put together using a numbered guide.

Felt Sewing Kits: These are especially good for working on bilateral coordination. The kids love the finished product.


jane tomkiewicz said...

Hey Loren,
This is great. I'll bet lots of parents would love to see this - I hope they find it somehow - I put it out on twitter!
All best,

amyotr said...

Those are great ideas. I loving doing arts & crafts activities, both as an OT with my students, and also at home with my own kids. Recently I did a collaging activity with a kindergarten class and it was so interesting to see how some students chose themes to incorporate into their work, while others focused more on colors, textures, etc.
Great post Loren!

silvio soprani said...

Loren, my grandsons are 4 and 2. At what age would leather lacing be appropriate?
(Love this blog; so useful and interesting.)