This post is about a learning activity I did with my son, Charlie, but it’s also about working with special needs kids in general and how sometimes you might have to look at something differently to get the desired result. I wanted to share this activity with you all because it involved some problem solving, but in the end it was completely worth it. Working and teaching a special needs child can have it’s challenges, but when you can it right, you’re on top of the world.
For this activity we used:
- A piece of poster board or card stock
- colored dot stickers (Available on the stationery aisle almost anywhere)
For this activity, I wanted to do something with a rainbow and colors. After spotting some “dot stickers” on the stationery aisle, I knew exactly what I wanted to do.
I drew a rainbow with a black marker on half a sheet of poster board. I then used those markers to color it myself–my son hates markers. Did spend a lot of time on it–just enough to make it very clear where each color should be.
We then took out the stickers and began places the stickers in the matching section of rainbow.
We started off guiding Charlie through the motions, waiting for him to start initiating some himself, but we weren’t getting a whole lot out of him. Then my husband remembered that Charlie has gotten very interested in other people’s hands–he likes to touch them, move them around, etc. So we switched things up. My husband held the sticker and asked Charlie where he should put it. Charlie immediately grabbed my husband’s hand and moved it to the correct place.
He did this nine times in a row–until it was clear to both of us that he had no trouble understanding matching. We were so excited to see that he not only understood the activity, but that he was pretty good at it too!
Working with a special needs child sometimes forces you to think outside of your comfort zone–consider different ways. Would it be great if my son could do this activity with no help from his parents? Of course, but in the mean time I want to keep stimulating his brain until his body catches up.
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Katy is a mom of one who loves art, mystery novels, and anything involving peanut butter–she blogs about raising her little miracle at Bird on the Street.
Allie did a color matching activity very similar to this one over a year ago, but I recently this variation at a daycare when I went to pick up my friend’s child. I had to make it as the perfect multi-level learning activity for my home.
All you will need are clothespins, paint, marker, scissors, and posterboard.
I traced an upside down large mixing bowl to get my big circle. Then I sectioned it into 8 pieces, but you can do as many as you like. I painted each section a different color.
As I painted the sections I made sure that I painted a clothespin for each color as well. You will see two of each in the photo because I made two sets (and then had to make a third).
I wrote the names of each color in the section. I also wrote the names of each color on the clothespins.
I gave the kids the circles with the clothespins already attached to the appropriate sections. I asked them to pull off all of the clothespins and put them in a pile. They loved pulling them off, maybe a little too much.
Then I told them to match the clothespins to the colors on the wheel. I demonstrated one match up to really show them, too. After all I was dealing with 2 two year olds. My daughter started right at it.
This activity is great for matching, learning colors, and motor skills. Our foster child has trouble doing the pincher hold, so this activity was more for him to work on motor skills and hand-eye coordination (not so much on color matching). Oh, and it is working. He is getting better every time we play this activity. Eve his therapists have noticed a big difference. We will get the color matching down, one day.
My daughter is learning to match and get more familiar with her colors. But it doesn’t hurt to build those motor skills, either.
This activity is requested constantly at my house. The littler ones have so much fun playing with it that I had to make one for my four year old son, too. I am hoping we will have our colors down as sight words. We should as much as we play this.
So there you have it, an activity that can be done by different ages and developmental stages (including special needs). Here is my daughter so proud of her completion. I know that you can’t tell from the picture, but she is very happy and proud.
Today’s sensory matching game is fun for all kids, but is really good for those with low vision or sensory issues. My son, Charlie, had an instructor who came to the house and she had a similar game, but I figured I could make one and save myself a little money.
To do this activity, you will need twelve small cups and six items with distinctive textures. To make my cups, I cut up an egg carton, but it could be done all sorts of ways. I got my textured items at the dollar store–I especially looked for things like the sponge because it had a different texture on each side.
So first I cut up my egg carton to make twelve individual cups.
Have your child try to match cups that have the same texture. Younger kids can check themselves easily by looking at the two cups to see if they look the same. Challenge older kids to match up the textures with their eyes closed. Even I had fun trying that!
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Katy is a mom of one who loves art, mystery novels, and anything involving peanut butter–she blogs about raising her little miracle at Bird on the Street.
I tried to keep characters, TV and movies away from my son for as long as I could. That lasted about a year, now he recognizes most characters even ones he’s never seen anywhere but the store like Spider man . Seeing all the merchandise in the store is tempting for kids and the last thing I need in my house is another plastic toy that offers few learning opportunities, so instead I made this. I spent one dollar on these Toy Story stickers and we have been having fun playing and learning since. It’s a great compromise.
- Gather your materials. You will need some character stickers ( 2 sheets of matching), some card stock, scissors or a paper cutter, and some family members to play.
- Start by cutting your card stock into squares.
- Pop the stickers on
- Make sure the stickers on on the same colors, I made it a little tricky for my 3 year old by having multiple characters , but used different colored card stock to help act as a hint.
- Gather some grandparents to play with your child !
This was one of the games we took with us on our road trip to the beach, it’s small, packs easily and fits into our Travel Craft Box !
I use what I have to teach my son and for this game I used tea bags. I love tea and these bags were so colorful that they were the perfect available manipulative. Have you ever seen how expensive math manipulatives are? You can use legos for this, fun colorful cut outs or even marbles ( provided your child is past the “I’ll pop that in my mouth” stage).
- Gather your materials. We are using 5 different colors of tea bag packages, berry cartons ( 5) a bowl to hold all of the tea bags to start with and I made number cards 2-6 for the berry cartons.
- Start by talking about how some of the tea bags match and how you have to group the matching ones together.
- Count the matching tea bags.
- Find the correct carton with the number . And pop them in !
- Keep going! If your child is frustrated by too many steps, scale it back. Simply group the colors. Ditch the numbers and matching them up, if they are still game after that count the piles. The next time you play see if they are ready to take it to the next level and match the counted number with the written number in the carton. If not don’t push. Make this fun, they will get there when they are ready. In the mean time even if all they do is match up colors they are still practicing math skills, matching and color recognition so do not stress.
- For really reluctant mathematicians try using something they love like matchbox cars, Polly pockets, legos… be creative and you will be shocked at how receptive they may be.
Need more math activities? What about math books?