Crafts in The Classroom

In the same way that craft projects can be used to work on specific skills with an individual, class art projects can be designed to address the needs of the group. A challenge, especially in younger grades, is using the same art project with a class full of kids who are at different developmental levels. Think about what skills or concepts you want to be presented to the class. Is the theme of the project going to address a concept such as letters, colors, numbers, etc. Or is the goal to work on specific skills such as cutting. The tricky part is to figure out how students will respond to the project and what steps can be taken to modify the project for certain individuals so that the entire class can participate at the same time.

Ways to Modify Class Art Projects for Specific Students:
  • Provide written or visual instructions for the individual
  • Precut all or part of the project or provide the student with adaptive scissors.
  • Limit the number of choices for materials for students who have difficulty making choices.
  • Provide only the materials needed for each step for students who have difficulty with organization.

Ways to Make an Art Project More Therapeutic:

By their nature, there is already a therapeutic value to most art projects. Many require fine motor skills including writing, cutting, and other educational tool use. Art projects can also challenge a student’s mental and cognitive processing. So, simply doing an art project can help students work on a lot of skills. If you’re looking for some more creative ways to incorporate specific skills, try some of these suggestions.

  • Painting with clothespins and cotton balls
    • Have students use a pinch grip to open clothespins to pick up cotton balls and dip them in paint.
    • Using clothespins helps to develop and strengthen a pinch grip needed for writing and other fine motor activities.
  • Finger paints
    • Although it’s messy, finger painting can provide a great sensory experience.
    • Also try adding things to the paint such as sand or rice to create different textures.
    • Or, paint on different grades of sandpaper.
    • For students who are resistant to touching the paint, try using plastic gloves or put the paint inside a ziplock bag and let them “paint” in the bag.
  • Bean letters/pictures
    • Draw simple line drawings or write large letters on a piece of paper. Using bottle glue, trace the lines.
    • Pick up uncooked beans or other small objects and glue the objects onto the lines.
    • If you want to make it really hard, pick up objects like small pom-poms using clothespins or tweezers
    • Picking up the small objects helps to work on a pinch grip. Squeeze bottle glue helps to develop finger strength.
  • Hole punch projects
    • Use a single hole puncher to punch around a picture or along a line.
    • The single hole puncher helps to develop finger and hand strength
  • Clay projects
    • Use air dry or bake clay to make make crafts
    • Work on rolling the dough into a snake using two hands or a pancake using a rolling pin.
    • Roll small balls between the fingers and thumb
    • Make the dough into shapes or letters