Archives for posts with tag: DIY

Thanksgiving is coming up, and that means tons of extra time with your little ones. Even though holidays are a welcome treat, Thanksgiving can be stressful. Sometimes, it can be hard to balance your kids and kitchen duty, and there never seems to be enough time to get everything done! You can avoid a meltdown AND spend time with your kids by getting every, and I mean every, hand on deck.

Why not do some Thanksgiving crafts with your kids? It will not only give them something fun to do, but you can also kill two birds (pun intended) with one stone by giving them an activity that contributes to the feast. Who knows, maybe they’ll love it so much they’ll take off and do it on their own, leaving you to baste the turkey and bake all that delicious food.

For this constructive project, let’s get creative with the place settings for the big feast! You see, two birds: one stone. Have fun with your children on this one — it’s an activity suited for kids of all abilities.

Here’s what you’ll need for your DIY kids’ Thanksgiving crafts:

  • construction paper
  • poster paint
  • paintbrush or Q-tip
  • scissors
  • the great outdoors

Your final product!


1. Go Outside

That’s right. Throw on a sweater, get out of your kitchen, and enjoy the beauty in your back yard or go for a walk around the neighborhood. The purpose of this little adventure is to not only have a peaceful start to the big weekend, but to collect some interesting leaves with the kids. Take a moment to relax by spending a few minutes with the family and collect leaves in various shapes. Since these will be used for place cards, the leaves can be small.


2. Cut Up

Put on some festive music and get ready to get crafty. Gather the construction paper, and let the kids choose their favorite colors — be it the traditional orange and yellow palette or a fun one all their own — purple and all.

Now, take the scissors and cut the paper vertically down the middle.

Then, fold each piece in half, and cut along the fold.


Fold each piece down one more time to get the final shape of your placecard. Do several of them so you have a collection of plain placecards like this: 


3. Get Colorful

Grab your paint now, because it’s time to get colorful. 


Using a paint brush, Q-tip, or foam brush, paint one side of a leaf and press painted-side down onto the bottom half of a placecard. Press down on all sides.

Carefully remove. If it’s not a complete shape, dab some paint back the leaf and try again, remembering to press down. 


4. Final Touch

Once your placecard has dried — it won’t take long! — use a marker or  paintbrush to add a wee stem to the top of the leaf. You can also add a name to the front of the card now, or feel free to wait until the stem dries and add a name to the inside.


You can also use this project to make cute notecards for thank-you notes or Christmas cards. This size would make a perfect gift card, so if you plan to spend a day getting the home ready for the holidays, why not let the little ones pick up on this craft again to create amazing little tags for your pretty presents?

Do you have a crafty holiday tradition in your family? Drop by our Facebook page and tell us about it!


KatiaToday we are thrilled to share the experience of Katia Y. González, OTR/L with crafts! Katia is a recently graduated Occupational Therapist living in Puerto Rico. She started documenting the experiences and life lessons of her OT journey while taking her first courses as an OT student and continues now that she is a pediatric OT.

When I was a little girl, I used to spend a big part of my free time doing crafts. 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 3561_2that 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 Needs 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.

Katia's pictures 1   Katia's pictures 2

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.

Katia's pictures 3   Katia's pictures 4 cropped

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.

Katia's pictures 5 Katia's pictures 6 Katia's pictures 7

Applying the sand in the right place works on hand-eye coordination skills. If you put it in a bigger container, it requires more motor coordination to be able to pour it without dumping the whole amount at once.

Katia's pictures 8   Katia's pictures 9

The sand also provides an extra sensory input to this activity. It is important that children get the opportunity to play with different textures to help them develop tactile sensory modulation and discrimination. The boy in the picture below doesn’t like the feel of sand or other similar textures, but because the activity is engaging to him, he is able to compromise so he will be able to see the end product. This is one of the big reasons why crafts are so effective: they provide a great motivation that helps kids work in skills they usually don’t want to.

Katia's pictures 10   Katia's pictures 11

This activity requires to be done one spot at a time, which is great for working on tolerance and following instructions. It is important that the kids are also responsible for the cleanup, which is an independent life skill.

Here two of the end products:

Katia's pictures 12 cropped   Katia's pictures 13 cropped

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 activity.

Let me know if you have done something similar with your kids. You can also share crafts ideas in the comments below!

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