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When you imagine the holidays and work what do you think of? Do you picture fun activities with your kids? Playing board games? Giving recommendations to their parents on good therapeutic gifts to get them? Hopefully. In December, I love to work on a lot of things, but my favorite is holiday crafts for my kids with autism!
I get really excited in December, and not because of the holidays, though I do love those. I mean I get professionally excited because the ideas for what to do during sessions are endless.
Arts and crafts are the best! I love them and often do them in my spare time. Going to the craft store fills me with joy, and I’ve been known to blow paychecks on art supplies.
But it’s hard to find time or reasons to work on arts and crafts in my sessions, despite their numerous benefits.
Arts and crafts are great for children with Autism because they work on fine motor skills, encourages creativity, teaches them colors, shapes, and can get them used to certain textures.
Additionally, if you do arts and crafts regularly with certain steps, it can improve executive functioning.
For more information on Autism and executive functioning check out this blog post!
There are endless arts and crafts you can do during the holidays and today I’m going to cover a few of my go tos.
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This one is by far the simplest, and great if your kids are learning to cut. Make sure to talk to their OT to get the right scissors.
For this holiday craft, you just need
- Construction Paper
- Scissors (adaptive)
- Stapler or tape
Draw a series of lines, horizontally across the paper, and have your students cut along the line. Put the two ends together and staple or tape them into a circle.
Repeat this step and get a new strip of paper. This time though, thread the strip through your first circle before stapling or taping the new strip into a circle. Repeat this to make your chain.
I like to coordinate colors. If your students celebrate Christmas, you can use red and green. Hanukkah is blue and white, and Kwanzaa is red, green, and black.
Talk to your student’s family to find out what color they prefer, and help them find a place to hang their beautiful work.
These are also super simple. Who didn’t grow up making snowflakes?
For this holiday craft, all your students with autism will need is
- Scissors (adaptive)
- Optional Decorating Supplies
- Glitter Glue
- Whatever else you can think of
Fold the paper in half horizontally. And have your students cut out triangles or half-circles along the line or edges. I
like to pre-draw the line for my kids with impulse control problems, so they have a clear goal in mind and don’t cut wildly.
For more tips on Autism and Impulse Control check out this post.
When your students are done cutting, go ahead and have them decorate it however they like, with whatever materials you have on hand. Feel free to hang them up in a place of pride.
You can also create some pretty cool masks with your kids on the autism spectrum.
All you need for this craft is,
- Paper Plates
- Popsicle sticks
- Scissors (adaptive)
Cut a triangle along the bottom of the paper plate to make a hole for the mouth. Make sure to pre-draw the line for your kiddos with impulse control problems.
Draw a face on the mask for whatever Holiday figure feels most appropriate. Some great ideas are Santa, Reindeer, Snowman, or a Penguin.
Color in the face with a marker. When you’re done glue a popsicle stick to the bottom, along with the mouth, so your kid can hold it up like a mascarade mask.
Then you can do a lot of pretend play games with your students, which is also wonderfully developmentally.
There are tons of other great crafts I didn’t mention here, but what’s important is that you pick something fun and motivating for your student with autism.
Capitalize on their holiday excitement and have fun!
If none of these work, you can also get some great holiday coloring pages, stamp sets, or check the internet for more ideas. There are a lot of great dedicated arts and craft blogs out there.
This is one of my favorites!
Whatever you do though, make sure it’s something you also enjoy and can share with your kiddo!
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