Monday 24 October 2022

Three Diwali craft ideas for our autistic kids

Chinese Lanterns

It's Diwali!  This is a wonderful tradition originating in India, known to many as the festival of light.  But it’s not just about lights and legends –– Diwali is a time to have fun with friends and family! People exchange gifts and sweets, enjoy delicious feasts, watch firework displays and wear new clothes.  For us, it's a time to learn and we can celebrate with some fun Diwali themed activities. 

1.  Diwali Lanterns

Many homes will be lit with lanterns throughout the 5 days of Diwali. People celebrate it via symbolic diyas or kandils (colorful paper lanterns) as an integral part of Diwali decorations. So why not have a go. It's a great way of practising cutting skills. To make your own kandils Lantern you will need:
  • Coloured A4 paper - or colour your own if you like some extra pen control practice
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Things for sticking, eg glitter, paper etc
  • Battery tealight or tealight in tall glass (optional)
Help get ready for cutting by folding your coloured paper in half length ways and drawing on some guide marks.  You will need to cut a strip off the end of your paper to make the lantern handle later and then make short slits along the length of your paper.  Once you have drawn the lines you can get your kiddie to cut along the lines.    There's a great template on twinkl here. 

If your kiddie is finding the scissor action a bit difficult you might like to try Easigrip scissors like we have.  They help develop the closing technique and also spring open so no fingers get caught.  After it's been cut, open the paper back out and decorate it. We used stickers, feathers and lots of environmentally friendly glitter!  

Put the bowls of things around the table to encourage your kiddie to cross their midline while getting their decorations - crossing his mid-line was one of the things my eldest autistic son really struggled with.

After they are finished with their masterpiece stick the two short ends of your paper together to make the lantern shape and use the leftover strip from the beginning to make a handle.  Hang them outside, or door handles or like along some string.

If you are very careful, you can drop a tea light into a tall glass and place your lantern over the top for a real life lantern effect.  Using battery operated flameless tea lights also does the trick.

2. Firework paint splat activity  

Fireworks can go off during the celebration and this can sometimes be fun but a bit scary so we make it known by doing a craft. 

To make your own splat fireworks effect picture like above you will need:

  • Paint - various colours like fireworks and we've used paint with a sheen to be more effective. You can use fluorescent paint, metallic paint or our favourite pearlised paint.  Alternatively just add some glitter to regular kids paint.
  • Water
  • Glue and glitter - although we cheated and used glitter paint
  • Black or dark paper works great but it's fun on whatever colour you have
  • Sponge cut into a circular shapes or sponge balls - one for each colour
  • Bowls for your paints (and sponges)
Then it's simple, aprons on and sleeves up!

Add a coloured paint to each bowl and add a few drops of water, just to help it 'splat'.  If you are not in the habit of getting painty fingers then use sponge cut into circular shapes.  Get your kiddie to dab and splat the shapes onto the page.  

If it's all about mess in your place then see if you can get some sponge balls.   Have fun (outside probably) throwing paint coloured balls down onto or at your page. Careful - things will get messy!

For either way, put the bowls of paint around the table or outside to get the kids using their motor skills. Once a bit dry you can finish off with extra glue and glitter or metallic marker pens

3. Mindfulness or colour by number Rangoli

Rangoli is a popular Diwali tradition –– beautiful patterns made using colourful powders and flowers. People draw rangoli on the floor by the entrance of their homes to welcome the gods and bring good luck!  

You can either draw your own or print some out and then either let the kids colour freely or write numbers on parts and list colours on the side.  This helps with number recognition and pencil control which is a great skill to work on with our kids who can struggle in these areas. 

Have you got any great ideas for this half term week?

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