Friday, November 28, 2014

Let's Get Crafty!

I could spend hours looking at the craft section of any toy store.  Arts and crafts are a dream for occupational therapists because they can work on so many skills including fine motor, visual motor/perceptual/spatial and executive functioning skills.  What I love most, is that at the end of all their hard work, a child has something to show off.  Many of the gifts below are craft kits that can be done in one sitting or over time.  I have seen every single one of these gifts at local toy stores so be sure to check out your local stores before hitting up the internet...remember tomorrow is Small Business Saturday and these people work so hard and give so much to your community.  I know that I will be hitting up my toy stores this weekend when I begin my shopping.

Below, you will find just a sampling of the many craft kits and supplies you can get for your kids.  I know that last year was all about the Rainbow Loom (which is still an awesome gift) but there is so much more out there that will keep your kids creating for hours!

Orb Factory Sticky Mosaics-these craft kits have been on my list for years and years and each year, they come up with even more sets.  They now have sets for girls and boys, little kids and big kids.  There are bracelets, prince and princess crowns, treasure and jewelry boxes and SO much  more.  Each set comes with different colored square stickers and a guide for what color goes on what number on the empty mosaic grid.  These are great for working on improving fine motor and grasping skills, executive functioning skills such as organization, focus and attention and visual motor, perceptual and tracking skills.   Kids love that after a long time of hard work, they get a really cool piece of art to take with them.  This is a highly motivating craft kit that won't break the bank.
Boogie Board-my daughter was given this a couple of years ago and used it off and on.  Now that she is really into practicing writing letters and drawing pictures, this has come out again.  The Boogie Board is a thin and light weight LCD writing tablet...think Etch-A-Scetch...that kids can use for school or play.  With the push of a button, the screen clears and you can draw something new.  It comes with a stylus that attaches to the board so you don't lose it (It also works with your fingernail if you happen to lose it). Perfect for long car rides, while waiting between appointments, etc.. Great for working on improving graphomotor skills, creative thinking, grasping skills, bilateral coordination and visual motor/perceptual skills.
Foil Art Sets-Peaceable Kingdom has a ton of wonderful products but the Foil Art sets are probably one of my favorites of theirs.  They are inexpensive and can be used with kids of all ages.  There are sets where you can make your own stickers (great for younger children or kids with decreased attention span) and sets with larger pictures.  Each set comes with shiny colored foil that you use to decorate the stickers or pictures.  Peel off the top layer of the picture, choose a color and then use your finger to press the foil onto the sticky paper.  Great for working on bilateral coordination, eye-hand coordination, fine motor skills such as improving grasping skills and finger strength.
Loopdeloom Weaving Loom-so many of the kids I work with talk about wanting to learn how to knit but have a difficult time learning and get frustrated.  While the Loopdeloom is not a knitting kit, you can use it to make a lot of the same things that you would if you were knitting.  This weaving kit is made for older kids and great for working on improving eye-hand coordination, focus and attentional skills, executive functioning skills such as following directions, organization and sequencing and fine motor skills.
Project Kid-this craft book from Park Slope mother of two Amanda Kingloff has a ton of great
projects for your little ones.  It shows you how you can build fun and creative things from everyday products you might have in your home.  Take spaghetti boxes and turn them into skyscrapers, paper straws and cupcake liners and make a vase full of flowers or turn toilet paper tubes into a train.  You can teach your children about recycling while making some really cool crafts that you will all enjoy putting together.
Make Your Own Superhero Cape-who doesn't love to pretend they are a superhero?  This amazing kit comes with all of the necessary supplies, including tips to help you choose your design, to help your child's inner-superhero come to life!  I have seen this awesome kit at Hiho Batik in Park Slope and other local toy stores.  Great for working on encouraging creative skills.  Also great for working on improving fine motor skills, eye-hand coordination, organizational skills and focus and attention.
Goose Grease DIY Peg Dolls-Goose Great dolls are made right here in Brooklyn and while you can easily buy a set of these adorable wooden peg dolls or have a set custom made of your family!  My favorite thing is that you can also buy a pack of 4 dolls to make your own dolls the way you want to! These DIY kits come complete with wooden dolls, paint, paintbrushes and all the other necessary tools to make your very own dolls.  Great for working on fine motor skills, bilateral coordination, focus and attentional skills and eye-hand coordination.  Also great for working on improving creative thinking.
Make Your Own Monster-this adorable kit comes with all the necessary supplies to make your own monster.  Each kit is unique and comes with a pre-stitched monster, stuffing and felt pieces.  No sewing skills required!  Great for working on improving fine motor skills, bilateral coordination, organizational skills and improving focus and attention.
Usborne Big Colour By Numbers Book-all of the books by Usborne are wonderfully creative and motivate the kids I work with.  This color by number book has beautiful pictures and patterns for kids to color in.  I like that there are also pages with no numbers and just colored dots for a child to use as a guide.  Great for working on improving visual motor, visual perceptual and visual scanning skills, grasping skills, eye-hand coordination, focus/attentional skills and organizational skills.
Usborne The Big Book of Things to Find and Colour-another great activity book by Usborne.  This one is packed with tons of fun pictures.  Each page has directions for things to find and color in.  For example, there is a page filled with fairies and you have to find all the ones holding wands and color them in a certain color, find the one with wings and color them in, etc..  This highly motivating activity book works on improving visual motor and visual scanning skills, focus and attention, grasping skills and planning and organizational skills.
Lazoo-I adore all the coloring and activity books by Lazoo.  So many great ones to choose from that will motivate even the most unwilling kid to pick up a crayon and color. Incredible Stickers, HolesSquigglesLet's Color and Imagine That! stock my shelves at work and at home.  Each of the books has a unique quality to them but each of them helps to work on improving visual motor and visual perceptual skills, helps to encourage imagination and creative thinking, improves grasping and graphomotor skills as well as focus, attentional and organizational skills.
NPW Build your Own Kaleidoscope-this is a simple yet very fun craft kit you can pick up for your little one.  My 4 1/2 year old had one this summer and loved it and still plays with it.  This kaleidoscope kit comes with all the pieces necessary and takes just a short amount of time to assemble.  While it comes with beads that you can put in but you can also collect buttons, leaves or flowers to put in as well.  The tube can be decorated with stickers or markers which allows a child to be as creative as they want.  Kaleidoscopes are great for bilateral coordination, eye-hand coordination and sparking a child's imagination.
Klutz String Art Kit-looking for something fun for an older kid on your list this year?  This string art kit is perfect for those crafty kids.  They can create intricate designs and be super creative.  They can choose a pattern, pin the design and start looping the string around the pegs.  It comes with a custom pin-pushing tool that makes sure that pins are in correctly as well as lots of colored string, patterns and a book with detailed instructions.  Great for working on fine motor skills, improving eye-hand coordination, visual motor and visual perceptual skills and working on executive functioning skills such as focus, attention, following directions and organizational skills.

Do you have any other great art and craft kits that you recommend?  I have a lot of crafty kids on my gift list and am always looking for something fun and creative for them.  I am only a click away and love hearing from you all!

Happy Holidays!

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