One of the things special needs parents, or any parent for that matter, struggle with every day is keeping their children busy. For my son, he’s calmer if he’s kept occupied and have varied things to do throughout the day. We noticed that when he gets bored inappropriate behavior starts poppin’ like daisies in spring time (it’s not as pretty as it sounds). That is the reason why I made it a point that he has a set of activity toys ‘almost’ identical to those that they use in the clinic. The keyword there is ‘almost’. Let’s face it activity toys are, sometimes, expensive and if you’re a mum working on a budget every cent counts. That’s why we have to be creative.
I like arts and crafts, I’m not talented but I make do. A toilet paper tube, colored paper or just just plain white paper, a set of crayons, glue and a pair of scissors could do miracles and could go a long way, if you ask me. Arts and crafts projects don’t need to be fancy. It just needs to be fun to engage your little ones. It builds up creativity, provide enough sensory input and it builds rapport with your child. Not to mention they’re time consuming. One minute you’re creating a simple horse, a cow, a dog and before you know it an hour or two have passed and you’ve built an entire farm with buildings and vehicles to match. Arts and crafts projects could be used instead of LEGOs, wooden blocks, kinetic sand and peg boards that we all know are a bit pricey. You just need a couple of materials (recycled if you like) and a little bit of imagination.
I’m not great with computers but I do know how to use MSWord to my advantage. I could make simple writing worksheets that I could print out and use as a writing activity. I could also search the internet for coloring pages or make one myself with basic shapes that MSWord offers. I-spy worksheets are also doable. If you have a computer and a printer at home, the possibilities are endless. Yes, we could buy coloring books and writing books at a cheap price but with 15-30 pages per book that would be used in a snap and sometimes the quality is not that good. Making your own worksheet ensures that it’s specially tailored for the abilities of your child because, as I’ve stated before, no one knows your child better than you do.
If you’re lost or don’t know where to start there are a lot of websites offering free printables that you could use as a pattern or just print out if you don’t have the time to play with the computer. Most of the time these websites are domains of parents, like us, who knows what our children needs and actually have a child who’ve tried and tested the activity. All in all, it’s foolproof.
The point I’m trying to make is if you have skills, albeit rusty, use it. It’s more rewarding that way.
Now, let’s have an argument…
If you are thinking of buying a laminating machine I am telling you now, stop it. Stop thinking and go get it. It would be one of the best investments you’re ever going to make. Seriously. An A4 sized laminating machine is perfect for using at home. It’s handy when you want to reuse activities because it makes it more durable. Stop worrying if you’re ever going to use it more than once because chances are you will use it again and again and again. It’s highly addictive. Trust me.