Categories
Fine Motor Activities Sensory Activities

4 Really Cool Art Projects to do with Kids of ALL Skill Levels

Miss Mancy Summer classes at the Social Mind Center have been doing great! The kids are really enjoying everything they are getting their hands on! I wanted to share with you some of the most popular Art projects we did. I like that they can accommodate various skill levels.

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1- Cool Self-portraits!

You Will Need:

  • Large white paper
  • Pencil and eraser
  • Black Sharpie marker
  • Water colors

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This is a really fun group project. Children get to work together on each others projects! (Great social skills building activity!)

I start by pairing up 2 students together.

Place a large piece of paper on the table in front of each child.

Have the children take turns using a PENCIL to trace each others hands towards the top half of the paper. (Works on tracing skills)

You can then put the paper on the floor and have them trace each others feet (with shoes on) at the bottom half of the page.

I like to then use a black marker and go over the traces to make sure they look ok and have children erase the pencil marks. (Erasing is a great way to strengthen little fingers and teach graded finger control, you have to erase firmly but gently otherwise you can tear or crumple paper)

Each child then adds a face and body to the hands/feet.

I like to have children use watercolors to paint their drawings.  Kids LOOOOVE the final product!!!!

2- Pollock-inspired Drip Painting!

You Will Need:

  • Large black construction paper
  • Acrylic Paints
  • Paintbrush

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Based on Jackson Pollock’s unique style of drip painting, the kids explored paint in a whole new, liberating way!

This is a wonderful sensory activity. It does get messy so be ready!

Do this activity outdoors.

Place black or white pieces of paper on the  ground.

Provide kids with acrilyc paints (water them down a little to syrup consistency if needed)

Give each child a paint brush that they dip in the paint and splash away!!!! Let the fun begin!

By framing these paintings, they make such a great art piece to expose!

I love this activity because it’s great for children with tactile sensitivities (those that don’t like to get dirty) and there’s no right or wrong. No “rules” to follow so this is great for all levels.

We have an Art Exposition at Social Mind Center where all children get a chance to expose their work of art. The Pollock Paintings allow children with lower skills to participate in these Expos.

3- Cloud Painting!

You Will Need:

  • White paper
  • Shaving cream
  • Food coloring
  • Paintbrush (or any thin stick)
  • Wide popsicle stick

This is a wonderful multi-step sensory activity for kids of all abilities.

Begin by having children spread shaving cream on the table (keep enough thickness)

Squeeze drops of food coloring across the shaving cream.

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Use a paintbrush or stick to drag the food coloring across the shaving cream (do not mix all colors together they will become a brown uniform color, we want to see the separation of colors)

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Place a white sheet of paper over the shaving cream and press sown firmly

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Use the side of a wide popsicle stick to remove by scraping all shaving cream from the paper.

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This creates your final product! A beautiful rainbow colored paper!

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Note: we used a second piece of paper across the shaving cream a second time and it created a similar but lighter masterpiece!

4- Modern Mosaics

You Will Need:

  • Black construction paper and another two of contrasting color
  • Washi tape of various colors
  • Glue and scissors

This is a great activity to teach cutting skills especially to little ones. The idea here is to cut without following any lines so this makes it easy at various levels.

Begin with a blank piece of black construction paper.

Have children stick tape of various colors to cover the black paper.

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Children then cut this into small pieces (to resemble broken glass)

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Here we decided to stick the mosaic pieces on each child’s first letter of their name.

I drew the letter (in reverse) on the back of a piece of blue construction paper and roughly cut around the letter, leaving a 1 inch edge.

Flip over the paper (the letter will be on the back of the construction paper) and ask children to glue pieces of mosaics to cover the entire cut out.

Once dry, flip the paper over and now cut out the letter on the lines. When you flip back, you will have a perfect letter with clean edges.

We stuck the letters on a different color construction paper and added a border with washi tape.

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So easy and so pretty!

Categories
Fine Motor Activities

CUTTING- Everything you need to know!

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1- Begin with good scissors. i.e the blade is not too long, scissors are easy to open. Use Left-handed scissors for left- handed children (the blade opens up on the opposite side). Personally I like Fiskars with the round thumb opening and oval (wider) opening for other fingers.

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2- Position fingers correctly. This means make sure children use a thumbs up approach when cutting. Most children do not pay attention to the positioning of scissors…teach it! I show them the different sized holes and I tell them that the thumb goes in the small opening and other fingers in the larger opening. Teach it, teach it, teach it!!!

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Correct finger positioning

 

3- While cutting, make sure children keep the thumb up (ie the wrist is supinated, never pronated), their arm close to the body and the wrist in neutral (never flexed).

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Incorrect finger positioning 

 

4- Begin with resistive mediums such as playdoh, straws, card stock then graduate to thinner paper.

5- Always start with Prep activities to cutting. Here are some that I use: I like putty for strengthening and finger awareness. I also use tools that mimic the open/ close motion of scissors or mimic the cause and effect of squeezing a tool to get an outcome ex: hole puncher, spray bottle, clothespins, tweezers, egg holder, grabber.

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6- For beginners I  highlight a thick line where they have to cut.

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7-  If a child has a hard time cutting during art project and I want him to still be part of the art project, I use a highlighter to draw a square or circle frame around the picture.

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8- Teach cutting in the following order: snip, cut across paper, cut on a straight line, zig zag, curve. For shapes I like to teach square, triangle, circle then complex shape.

9- I like to verbally cue children with a little song as they cut…I’ll say open and close open and close and stop, now turn, open and close etc…I will also remind them to stay on the road!!!

10-  Kids can become so focused on the “open and close” motion that they don’t always realize where the scissor is cutting… so I teach it! Are you on the road?

 

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Are you on the road? “No!”
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Are you on the road? “Yes!”…so we cut

11- If the paper is too large, cut around it, to make it easier for children to manipulate.

Categories
Fine Motor Activities

Cutting Snow Shapes

You Will Need:

  • Winter Stamps
  • Construction Paper
  • Markers and Scissors
  • Textured (foam) stickers

The Activity:

Here’s another great way to teach little ones how to cut. I use white construction paper and draw basic shapes such as square, triangle etc…

I like cutting along the shape when im teaching cutting as it helps children cut on the lines more easily. i.e I drew a blue square and before asking my child to cut it out, I cut around it in the shape of a square.

I then ask children to peel and stick foam snowflake stickers on each corner. (This is a great way to work on pincer strength and fine motor skills)

Children then use winter themed stamps (i used snowflakes) and stamp along the line.

I then cue the children as follows:

“Cut across the snowflake” and “Turn when you get to a sticker”.

Here, we cut out a square and kept the scraps. We then used the shapes that we cut out, along with the scraps to form a person by sticking pieces on construction paper.

I draw a box at the top of the page and ask children to name their figure. (Little added handwriting practice)

They then use snowflake stamps to make a snowing scene.

 

Categories
Fine Motor Activities

Triangle Holiday Tree

You will need

  • 2 different colored green construction paper
  • Colored ompoms
  • Foam stickers, glitter
  • White glue

The Activity

This is a great way to work on cutting triangles.

Draw different size triangles on the paper. You will need two of each shade.

Ask your child to cut all 4 triangles and stick them together in the shape of a Christmas tree.


Use stickers, pompon and other peel and stick items to decorate the tree. Stickers are a wonderful way for your children to work on pincer strength!


This is a great activity for many skill levels!