Hi readers! It goes without saying that the world is primarily tailored to those without disabilities. In this post I am going to offer my best advice for crafts and activities that can work well for special needs adults.
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There are many kinds of special needs from learning difficulties to physical disabilities. In my post I have attempted to be as mindful as possible about this wide array of special needs that individuals may have. Not every craft will be appropriate for everyone, but my hope is that there is something in here for most.
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This is a great go to for pretty much anyone with special needs. There are so many ways to enjoy painting and any skill level can participate.
All you need is some non-toxic acrylic paint and a canvas or paper to get started. You can even use fingers, toes, or body to paint! Aside from the messy aspect painting is achievable for many.
You can even paint rocks, wood, or leaves found in nature. The possibilities are quite endless.
Painting is a stimulating mental activity as well as a calming stress relief activity.
These are relatively easy to make and can be just as fun to make as they are to use. Even if someone is unable to physically help to make the bottles they can help select the ingredients for the awesome end result.
Sensory bottles are simple, entertaining, and can be very pretty. There are numerous ways to create them.
I like to take a high quality water bottle and remove the label. Then fill the bottle with water, glitter, and even poms or polymer clay pieces.
The sensory bottle provides visual stimulation as well as some interactive fun. I prefer to glue on the lid so that it cannot be easily removed or leak.
There are so many types of sensory bins you can make. Much like sensory bottles, sensory bins can be filled with items of different textures for some great tactile fun.
Common types of sensory bin fillers:
- Dry beans/rice
The idea of a sensory bin is to provide entertainment as well as sensory stimulation. While a sensory bottle is very visual a sensory bin can be used for touch.
You can make bins to feel with hands or even stand in with feet. This is definitely one of the best crafts for special needs adults due to how versatile of an activity it is.
Use the bin to hide prizes or other incentives as well.
Pinecone Bird Feeder
This is something that is perfect for adults and children alike. Pinecone bird feeders are easy and extremely fun because they provide more than just a simple craft.
All you have to do is collect a pine cone from outdoors and coat it with something like peanut butter.
You can also spread on the peanut butter with a plastic spoon or cutlery.
Dip it into birdseed and then hang it up outside using a string.
You will then start to see some feathered friends visiting your pinecone bird feeder more and more.
Pinecone bird feeders are great because they create a way to connect with nature and provide fun with bird watching.
Toilet Paper Roll Crafts
Toilet paper rolls are something that are easy to get an abundance of and they can be used for so many awesome projects.
Things you can make with toilet paper rolls:
- Rocket ship
- Pencil Holder
You can paint them or simply glue things to them. They are of course inexpensive and great for a budget.
Stained Glass Decor
This craft was suggested by Alex Jean who was kind enough to recommend it based on her experiences. She even provided step by step instructions which was very kind of her.
She gave me the following details.
“I used to work as a Respite worker for many years as well as overseeing and managing youth camp programs for children, youth and adults with special needs. One of my favourite crafts to do is to make stained glass window décor items!
This has a big range and can be adjusted based upon fine motor skills.
Materials: craft glue, tissue paper, parchment paper, pen, string, paintbrush 1.On parchment/wax paper draw a shape or several of what you’d like to make (ie. Star/Circle/Flower…etc).
Hand over hand assistance may be needed.
2. Cut Tissue paper into any shape and size of pieces, use as many colours as you’d like.
3. Put modge-podge, or craft glue and put that onto the parchment all over the shape you drew (use a paintbrush to spread the glue).
4. Put all pieces of tissue paper over the glue to cover the glued area completely
5. Once done, put glue over all the tissue pieces
6. Let it Dry for 24-48 hours
7. Cut the shape out and hang it with string!”
Thank you so much Alex Jean for the great suggestion!
Simply Alex Jean Lifestyle blog focuses on Organization, Health & Wellness and Lifestyle, as well as has Pinterest Management Services available.
Pipe Cleaner Crafts
Pipe cleaners are another one of those versatile craft materials that can be used for a wide array of projects.
You can make beaded ornaments, bracelets, flowers, and figures. The sky is kind of the limit with pipe cleaners.
They come in tons of colors and are relatively easy to manipulate even with unsteady hands.
Stress balls are simple to make and serve a purpose as well. Aside from being fun and easy they serve as a wonderful stress relieving device.
- A balloon. Preferably one that has a wider neck.
- Corn starch, flour, or sand.
- A small funnel.
How to make it:
Blow up the balloon slightly and pinch the end closed so that air does not escape.
Put the funnel in the end of the balloon. Release the end of the balloon and stick the funnel inside.
Slowly add in your corn starch, flour, or sand. I prefer corn starch as it is not going to be hard to clean up and is edible if accidentally consumed.
You can then draw on the balloon with paint marker if you like or simply leave it as is.
Fairy Light Glow Jars
Fairy light glow jars are a great craft for special needs adults because they only require a handful of materials and can be used as a nightlight or lamp afterwards.
A mason jar.
Colored fairy lights.
Mod podge & Food coloring (optional)
How to make it: Mix a bit of mod podge with a drop or two of food coloring. This will give the outside of the jar a nice sea glass appearance with transparent color.
Then, add the string of fairy lights to the inside of the jar (turned on or off) depending on if you are using it right away.
Your jar will glow and shine with beautiful colors from both the lights and the shine through the mod podge paint.
Cloud dough is very simple, it smells nice, and it is pleasant to touch.
This craft is fun and something I would consider one of the best crafts for special needs adults due to multiple sensory factors.
The feel of it is soft and pleasant and the aroma is gentle and calming. This could be a great project to help ease stress.
Baby lotion/bedtime baby lotion.
How to make it:
Add 1 cup of cornstarch and about 5 pumps of baby lotion together. Mix the two together until it becomes solid.
If it is too squishy you can add more corn starch. If it is too powdery you can add more lotion.
Then add 1 drop of food coloring to the cloud dough ball as you work it together.
(Hands may get a little color on them so you may want to assist with a rolling pin and folding the dough in until the color distributes.)
Seal in a baggie to store.
No Sew Pillow
No sew pillows are useful in a few ways. They provide a comfort and security as well as something that can be used as decor.
Most people feel a great sense of accomplishment from making something that is genuinely useful on a daily basis. That makes this a great craft for special needs adults.
Fleece fabric squares.
2 Hand towels.
How to make it:
Take two pieces of fleece fabric. Lay them over top of each other. Cut out a square from each corner.
Use scissors to cut strips all the way around. Try to make them even.
Add folded hand towels into the pillow. It will help it keep its form.
Tie the strips all the way around to finish the pillow.
There are lots of crafts suitable for special needs adults out there. I think the key is to figure out the strengths of an individual when selecting one.
I hope this list can be of a benefit and provide a good starting point to discover crafts that will work well.
If you’d like to check out some of my favorite craft supplies you can check out my Amazon recommendation list!
Thanks for reading and happy crafting!