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Having Fun through Creativity

Craft activities for children with MDVI at home using a variety of materials.

Artwork of a child giving their Mother flowers on orange paper

Just like all of us, children with multiple disabilities and visual impairment (MDVI) enjoy craft activities. Craft activities provide an opportunity for self-expression and creativity. We all feel the great satisfaction of completing a craft project. Several of us turn to craft activities or painting if we want to relax or keep busy.

Similarly, many children with MDVI love participating in craft activities.  They often feel a sense of pride and accomplishment after completing a craft activity. It is a means for children to express their emotions and creativity.

As a result, participating in craft activities becomes therapeutic. There are several craft activities in which children with MDVI could be encouraged to participate:

Making Different Shapes Using Clay/Dough/Soil

Playing with dough or clay helps a child with MDVI to learn various concepts – like dry flour, wet dough, numbers, shapes, size, etc. He also learns to make choices to indicate what object/shape he wants to make from the dough – a round ball or a line. He can touch it, smell it, roll it and mould it; all great ways to encourage the child to use his hands and fingers for various activities.

different shapes of brown dough made from soil mixed with water
different shapes of pale dough made from wheat flour mixed with water

If parents and caregivers do not have plasticine clay, material easily available at home such as whole wheat flour, wheat flour or gram flour can also be used to make the dough with a child with MDVI.

Adding turmeric (Haldi) gives a nice bright colour to the dough, which might be attractive for the child.

Some children have a habit of putting their hand in the mouth. In such cases, using dough made with flour and turmeric is completely harmless.

Many children love rolling dough. You can use a rolling pin to make different lines and shapes while rolling out the dough. An advantage of using a rolling pin is that the child has to grasp the ends of the rolling pin and put pressure on the dough to roll it out and make it smooth. These are great ways to encourage the child to use his hands and for strengthening his hands and fingers.

Different Shapes of yellow dough made from mixing wheat flour with water and Turmeric (Haldi)

Soil could also be used with some children (taking care to remove any small stones or hard particles) to make different shapes such as making a ball and sometimes joining the shapes to make different objects.

Please Remember:

  • Encourage the child to create shapes/designs/patterns in a way that makes them feel comfortable. Initially, the child may just want to roll and explore the dough. It is important to give them the freedom to explore and create anything they wish to.
  • Some children may need assistance during the activity. It is important to provide support as required by the children with MDVI in the form of hand over hand, hand under hand assistance or support at the wrist.
  • Some children with MDVI may have a habit of putting their hands/fingers in the mouth, parents and caregivers could avoid using soil in such cases.
  • If the child loves colours, turmeric (Haldi) can be added in the whole wheat flour or all purpose flour.
  • Please remember to keep a clean cloth near the child when he does the activity.
  • Siblings could also be involved as a part of this activity.
  • Encourage the child to wash his hands after the activity.

 Activity Using Old Newspaper

Using an old newspaper for making a pom-pom through tearing paper is an amazing fine motor activity for kids! Craft activities involving paper-tearing can be done using hands/fingers or with scissors in the presence of an adult.

Pom-poms Made From Old Newspaper

Through this activity, the child learns various concepts as well like- colours, numbers (number of times the child has to tear the paper), textures (as different papers are used) and also learns to effectively use both his hands to tear paper which contributes to developing muscle strength of the hand and also helps to improve fine motor skills (using the small muscles of the hands and fingers).

Please Remember:

  • Tearing paper may not be an easy activity for children who have challenges using hands for picking up small things/manipulating objects/children with Cerebral Palsy. In such cases, parents or caregivers can provide hand over hand support or support at the wrist to the child with MDVI to tear the paper.
  • Parents or caregivers can use old newspapers/old magazines or any other colour paper available to make pom-poms.
  • Some children with low vision may not prefer glossy/shiny paper and it is best to avoid this as it may be challenging for the children to tear this type of paper.

Making Simple Cards (Using Thread, Leaves, Paper)

Card Using Colour Paper

Making different types of cards is a great way for the child to use different objects in his environment (leaves, paper, sand, shells, thread, etc.) to make cards that can be used for a variety of purposes.

Sometimes the child can make a card for a specific occasion like a birthday or festival and can give the card to his friends/siblings/family members, which is also a great way to encourage the child to understand different events and to socialize with other children and adults.

Some children may not like to touch glue with their hands. In such cases, the child could use an old brush for the glue. Keeping a soft cloth for the child to wipe his hands as required by the child while doing the activity will also be helpful.

Please Remember:

  • The child can select the materials he wants to use for making the card. He can select whether he wants to use leaves, pulses, and any other items.
  • Any material easily available at home can be used for making a card like leaves, colourful papers, threads, sketch pens, crayons, or water colours (if available at home).
  • If adhesive is not available at home or for children who put their hands in their mouth frequently, parents or caregivers can make an adhesive of whole wheat flour or can use cooked sticky rice.

Please Keep This In Mind While Doing Craft Activities With The Child:

  • Encourage the child to express their preferences and needs.
  • Encourage and support the child in creating art in a way which will be easy for the child and makes him feel comfortable.
  • It is all about having fun together! Art is about having fun and if parents and caregivers are having fun, the child will also enjoy the activity and will be open to expressing their creativity.

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