Art should be fun and something that all children should be exposed to. This month we will be looking at some art activities and modifications that can be used. It is important to choose the adaptation that meets the need of the child, rather than disability category. We will provide a list of options that you may want to try.

Adapting paintbrushes:

Not all children are able to hold a regular sized paintbrush. There are many adaptations you can make to paintbrushes. You can shorten the handles by cutting them in half, add to their length by tapping sucker sticks to them, making them thicker and easier to grasp by adding a sponge to the handle and taping it down. You can use Velcro to make a strap to stick to the child’s hand or even attach a glove with a Velcro strap across the palm.

Using objects to paint with:

Not all painting needs to happen with a paintbrush. There are wonderful activities using paint and everyday objects.

  • Finger painting: Many children love using their fingers (or any body part) to paint with. Make sure you use non-toxic paint.
  • Potato stamps: Cut a potato in half and cut different shapes such as stars or hearts into each. The child can dip the potato into some paint and make prints.

You can use apples or carrots if you don’t have potatoes.

  • Sponge shapes: You can cut sponges into a variety of differing shapes and sizes, which the child can paint with or stamp.
  • Marble painting: This is a fun activity where you place paper carefully in the bottom of a bucket, dip marbles into differing colours and get the child tip the bucket, making the marbles make colourful lines on the paper.
  • Squeezy bottles: You can pour paint into squeezy bottles (such as tomato sauce bottles) and let the child squeeze out the paint onto the page.
  • Drinking Straw Blowing: Get the child to carefully suck up paint and blow it carefully on their page.

Other options include using their mouths or feet to paint by placing the paintbrush in their mouths or between their toes.

Paper:

Some children may require an easel to paint on, especially those using their mouths to paint. Others may need a non-slip surface so taping the edges of the page to the table, floor or easel is important to stop the page from moving as the child is painting.

Keeping things clean:

It is important to protect any assistive device that the child may use. You may want to cover electric chin controls for example in tape before hand. To make washing paint out of clothes and off surfaces easier, add a few drops of washing liquid to the paint when mixing.

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