AJ and I love doing art and craft and we usually do quite a bit in the lead up to Christmas. This year we thought we would share a few ideas which we hope will make Christmas activities a little more accessible for some.
BJ loves being a part of whatever AJ is doing so he usually participates in some element, even if he is just the recipient of the creations like the snow globe below. We are lucky to have very bonded siblings and AJ is always looking to include BJ and find things he can, and would like to do. Here are a few of her ideas and things they have worked on together.
BJ loves the idea of a snow globe but when he was younger he was given a store-bought globe, dropped it and of course it was ruined and he was disappointed. AJ decided to make a plastic, BJ proof version. This is a great way of making it relevant for the child receiving it and you could even do some of the process together depending on their ability.
We scoured the dollar stores for a suitable plastic, screw top jar, chose a photo, sized it and printed it on regular paper, we then used our trusty laminator to laminate the photo. AJ decided to get fancy and use some Christmas pick on the top of the jar to decorate. She then took our hot glue gun and used a generous amount in a line to secure the photo and Christmas pick behind it. She then filled the jar with water, added glitter and turned the lid upside down and inserted the photo into the jar. Make sure the lid is very tight so water doesn’t leak. Once we had tested it out and made sure it wasn’t going to leak, we added some tape to the lid so it couldn’t be opened.
The end result was a great little plastic personalised snow globe. This doesn’t have to have a Christmas theme, it could have any photo which would appeal to the person receiving it.
BJ is now a master at unwrapping gifts and works swiftly to get the paper off his presents. It took him a long time to get to this stage. One of our facebook friends Jessamyn sent a message with the idea of using material to wrap gifts so when ribbon is pulled the material falls away revealing the present. We did a slightly different version using red and green check tea towels These are cheap at $5 for a pack of 10 and can be reused. Wrapping the present like a pudding would be the best way for a child with limited hand function but AJ decided to wrap the presents more traditionally. It is still much easier than dealing with sticky tape and with the addition of a ribbon and sticker can still look festive. There are some lovely Christmas fabrics but they are pricey. Even one present that is easy to open would give a child a sense of accomplishment on Christmas morning. Thanks for the idea Jessamyn.
CHRISTMAS BON BONS/CRACKERS
We have always had home made Christmas bon bons/crackers. My Mum started the tradition by personalising each person’s bon bon every year. This is obviously quite a bit of work but it is a tradition I have continued. Making a bon bon is easy to do, the hardest part is finding things small enough to go inside. BJ loves the anticipation before the ‘snap’ and lines up to help all of us at Christmas. Over the years he has become an expert. To make the one pictured AJ used crepe paper which is easy to pull. We use old wrapping paper rolls and cut to size. The bon bon/cracker snaps are cheap to buy and available from craft stores. As we make them we put people’s names on the back so we know who gets what. BJ for example doesn’t eat chocolate and can’t do anything with the usual novelties that come out of the crackers so a hand made one is much more meaningful for him.
Everyone loves to feel they have contributed and we find cooking something is a great way for the kids to participate in the Christmas meal. BJ loves using the hand mixer and AJ likes putting all the ingredients together so they make a great team. A Christmas tree pavlova is their contribution this year and I know it will get them lots of compliments. AJ used a basic pavlova mix and doubled the recipe. We used the back of a cookie tray and covered it in aluminium foil and put the mixture out in the shape of a tree. It keeps its shape nicely during cooking and then AJ decorates it as she pleases (photo of decorated tree from a few years ago). We usually serve with a bowl of fresh fruit for people to add to the pavlova because decorated as a Christmas tree it is a bit short in the fruit department!
Some bells bought from a dollar store sealed in a jar is a great musical instrument. Putting the bells into the jar is a great hand function task as long as your child won’t put them in their mouth. As with all art and craft keep a close eye on your child to ensure they remain safe. We sealed the jar with some Christmas tape.
Don’t hate us for the noise. Shaking is a good hand function task after all.
Making your own play dough is cheap and easy to do. AJ made some recently to take to a friend’s house and themed it around Christmas. She was trying to think of ways that a child with special needs could participate in decorating and brought in extra elements that could just be placed on or around the tree. She thought that a parent could do the cookie cutter hand on hand with a child or make a large item for them to decorate. Small presents, bells and cut up tinsel sticks can all be used to decorate.
AJ finished off her tree with cloud dough (flour and baby oil) which she also made.
Here is the easy, no cook recipe AJ uses
WHAT YOU NEED
large mixing bowl
4 cups of plain flour
2 cups of salt
2 tablespoons of cream of tartar
Food colouring of choice
4 cups of boiling water
4 tablespoons of oil
Mix all ingredients (except the food colouring) together with a wooden spoon and then knead the dough until it is a good consistency and all dry ingredients are combined. Be careful kneading the dough as it retains the heat of the boiling water for quite some time. We split the plain dough into four lots and added different colours to each. Using gloves or a plastic zip lock plastic bag for kneading will ensure you don’t end up with coloured hands for days after.
If you are looking for more stay-at-home fun ideas head to the blog I did earlier this year in anticipation of the school holidays.
PLEASE NOTE ALL OF THESE ACTIVITIES SHOULD BE PLAYED UNDER STRICT SUPERVISION AND USE CAUTION IF YOUR CHILD PUTS THINGS INTO THEIR MOUTH.
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