Easy Art Projects for Kids
Kids love crafts! No matter their ability, children are wired to explore their surroundings, and having some lightly structured crafts to help guide their learning is essential to their development. Crafts for kids with motor disabilities are no different, really. They are a tool to help kids with different abilities express themselves creatively, build confidence, and strengthen their fine and gross motor skills.
An added benefit of designing crafts for kids with motor disabilities is that it will also help developmentally typical children learn and grow as well, while learning that others are different from them–and that it’s completely normal!
While art is beneficial for all children, choosing crafts for kids with motor disabilities may pose an extra challenge, but adapting to the needs of children with physical disabilities will make art accessible and fun, and promote self-esteem and confidence.
Our mission at CoachArt is to create a transformative arts and athletics community for kids impacted by childhood chronic illness. For parents, guardians, and caregivers who want to provide enriching crafts for children with physical conditions, we’ve compiled a list of resources along with these 10 Easy Crafts for Kids with Motor Disabilities.
In this project, kids create a tree together using different leaf cutouts, leaf stamps, and real foliage, which challenges kids to explore overlapping techniques and mixing colors and encourages working together as a group.
This cooperative art project by KinderART is a great way to facilitate a large group project that can be accomplished by children of all abilities, including kids with limited vision or motor skills.
Bonus Tip: Try using mixed media like real leaves to add extra sensory materials and variation. CoachArt created similar projects in our mixed media art club, where kids impacted by chronic illness used various materials including leaves and paint.
Slime, Play-Doh, and Foam can be wonderful crafts for kids with motor disabilities, as molding these soft materials can be easy and fun for a child with limited muscle control, and also engages multiple senses, particularly when scented Play-Doh is used.
DIY Playdoh Recipe
- 2 Cups of Flour.
- 2 Tbsp of Cooking Oil (any oil will work, coconut oil, vegetable oil, even olive oil)
- 1/2 Cup of Salt
- 2 Tbsp Cream of Tartar
- 1 1/2 Cup Boiling Water
- Gel Food Coloring (Optional)
Mix all the ingredients together except for the food coloring. Once the dough forms, create a small disc and drop food coloring as needing. Knead the dough until the food coloring turns it your desired color. Voila!
Much like Playdoh, clay is a good material to use for crafts for kids with motor disabilities. Free-form molding materials like clay are typically excellent for use in crafts for children with motor disabilities.
Clay pinch pots are created by forming the clay into a circle and then pinching the edges to create a pot-like circle. Let the clay dry, or if you have access to a kiln, fire it up for it to be used as a ring holder or small dish.
Clay and molding art projects can enhance creativity for children with differing abilities while allowing those with fine motor challenges to work with ease without the need for small art tools that may require a more precise grip.
Do-it-yourself rainbow crayon crafts for kids with motor disabilities provide children with fine motor practice with a larger-grip art tool. It’s also fun to create, fun to use, and allows for creative self-expression!
You’ll need a silicone mold – any will do, broken crayons (Crayola works best), water, and a microwave. Soak the broken crayons overnight in a bowl of water. The next day, discard the water and put the crayons in the mold, microwave on high for 3 minutes or until their melted together. Remove them and let them stand for ~30 minutes or until they solidify.
Large-grip rainbow crayons are easy to prepare from recycled or broken crayons and make for a fun, colorful drawing activity.
Tearing paper is a great fine motor activity for kids with all abilities!
Torn paper texture art can be achieved in so many different ways. Take any type of paper and tear it! Use glue or tape to stitch it onto another piece of paper. It’s a simple and easy art project that enhances fine motor skills.
According to The OT Toolbox, “Tearing paper requires strength and endurance of the small muscles in the hand. These intrinsic muscles are important in so many fine motor skills, including handwriting and coloring, managing buttons and zippers, manipulating pegs, and more. When paper is torn, the hands assume a great ‘tripod’ grasp, a mature grasp for writing and coloring. The non-dominant hand assists in the tearing and encourages appropriate assistance for tasks like holding paper while writing and managing paper while cutting with scissors.”
Paper-tearing art activities can be a great way for kids to get creative, especially if they aren’t comfortable with scissors.
Creating a vision board, or dream board is a fantastic activity for kids of all abilities and ages! It helps children to create goals, engage in self-discovery, and express their creativity. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways to suit a child’s comfort level and can be done as a dream book, or with a large poster board that can be positioned in a way that suits the child’s specific needs. A variety of materials can be used to aid children with motor disabilities.
Common Materials That Children Can Choose From:
- magazine cutouts/tear outs
- glue/glue sticks/adhesives
- poster boards
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES: CRAFTS FOR KIDS WITH MOTOR DISABILITIES:
Art Lessons for Children with Disabilities: Physical Disabilities In this resource from Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art and VSA (a program of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts), examples of adaptive art for children with physical disabilities are suggested.
Adaptive Art Tools Art teacher Catherine Petrino gives excellent ideas and examples for adaptive art tools for individuals with special needs.
CoachArt Special Needs Inclusion offers tips for communicating with special needs children and inclusion tips for kids with motor disabilities and other forms of chronic illness.
Adapting Art Experiences for Children with Physical Disabilities Bright Hub Education give excellent suggestions for adapting arts and crafts for kids with motor disabilities, including tips for positioning, mediums, and utensils.
Creative Art Activities for Children with Special Needs eXtension Alliance explains how to modify or adapt art activities in child care settings so that all children can participate.
TIPS FOR ART INCLUSION FOR CHILDREN WITH LIMITED USE OF HANDS OR ARMS:
- Modeling clay as a gripper for pens, pencils, crayons, and paintbrushes.
- Provide the option of table easels.
- Stabilize materials using tape, velcro, or non-skid backing.
- Fishing weights or drapery weights are placed on the ends of the tools.
- Paintbrushes, chalk, and crayons with rounded ends for children who are most comfortable with a fist grip.
- When it is difficult for students to use squeeze tubes, try sticky boards.
TIPS FOR ASSISTING IN ARTS AND CRAFTS FOR KIDS WITH MOTOR DISABILITIES:
- Allow the child to express their preferences and needs.
- Don’t assume a child requires help. Assist a child in creating art in a way that makes them feel comfortable.
- Use adaptive art tools as necessary or as preferred.
- Encourage a child’s efforts to be creative.
- Modify projects as needed as a child expresses their comfort level with the activity.
- Have fun! Art is about having fun; if you are having fun, the child you’re working with will be open to exploring their creativity.