Learning life skills are essential for all special needs children to learn in order for them to be able to function well in society, beat the current statistics, and hold a job during adulthood. The term “life skill” encompasses a huge variety of skills that are necessary in order to function in day to day life. The category “life skills” is broad, ranging from getting dressed and brushing your teeth, to balancing a checkbook and doing laundry, therefore, there are endless possibilities for crafting as a means to learn these lessons. For example, fine motor skills are a basic necessity and are greatly improved through crafting.
Fine Motor SkillsHave children paint with black paint or use a large black marker to draw an outline on a big piece of white paper. Have them then draw more lines and shapes within their original outline. Then give the children scissors and a pile of colored paper. Allow them to cut many shapes from the paper in all sizes. Then have them glue the shapes inside their outline. Once they are finished, they will have created their own mosaic or stained glass window. The project involves a great deal of cutting which is good for their hand eye coordination as well as their fine motor skills.
Another quick project that is good for those fine motor skills and coordination is beadwork. If you go to your local craft or bead store and find a nice variety of medium sized beads, you can give the children each a piece of string or twine and a bowl full of beads and help them to string a bracelet or necklace together. Again, this helps with coordination and makes a nice gift for mom. Be careful though; you don’t want the beads to go from hands to mouth!
Hands-On StudyingSome children with special needs have the ability to retain information better when they are exposed to the information through hands on activities. A great way to get children involved and help them to have fun while studying geography is to create a topographical map. Begin with an outline of the region you are studying. Create borders with marker to distinguish the different regions. Discuss what those borders symbolize with the children and talk about what each region is and how they differ from one another. Now comes the fun part. Use salt dough to help the children create each region. Let them get in there and get dirty making mountains and valleys. After the dough has had time to dry, let the kids paint the regions. The finished product is one that everyone can be proud of and learn from.
The needs that these children have regarding learning the social behaviors and skills necessary to function and be able to take responsible care of themselves are many, and crafts are gravely important in helping implement these lessons. Whatever the activity may be, it probably will help them in some way. For example, just by creating their own art, children are learning confidence, what any person needs to learn, so that they will know they can do it.