We all know the annual ritual of making Valentine’s Day cards with our children for all the kids in their class. For children with special needs, this process can be frustrating because of their motor skills delays. Writing is a challenge and writing in tiny spaces is nearly impossible. The pre-made cards you can buy at the store simply do not have enough space for small children to write. It’s very tempting to just do it for them and avoid the stress. Since writing is an important skill, however, it’s better to find a way to have them do it themselves. They are also much more proud of their cards if they have done it on their own.
Deborah and I sometimes made cards at home to solve this problem. Here is a template you can use ( Val Day Card Template ), or you can make up your own. It is easier if you have the lines to help them manage the size and shape of their letters. I suggest printing the template out on card stock because the thicker paper is easier to decorate and handle. You can also use regular paper, but markers will bleed through it and it is easy to tear. You can use a light pink paper if you prefer, although I show it done on white. Here’s how to fold the template into a Valentine’s Day card:
For very young children, you can use dash marks to pencil in the names. Then all they have to do is trace the letters. I have slideshows for children to follow either way. Just pick the correct slideshow for your child’s ability level.
It is probably wise to break up this activity and do it over the course of several days. If your child is in a class of 20 other kids, he simply can’t do all those cards at once. You want this to be fun. I recommend doing no more than 5 at a time. You can also change up the kinds of decorations you offer at each session so that it doesn’t become boring.
1. Enough printed out card templates for every child in the class (but don’t do them all at one time)
2. Pens, pencils or markers for writing and coloring
3. Stickers or other embellishments (foam shapes, plastic jewels, ribbon, and so forth)
4. Class roster with first names spelled clearly
Adult: Set up the supplies for your child on a tray and clear everything else out of the area to avoid distractions. If you are using the dashed lines so your child can trace the names, already have that done and just have those cards on the tray (leave out the class list). Pick which slideshow is appropriate for your child’s abilities from the two below. Have them click through the pictures to do the activity.
Child: Click on the pictures to see how to create your Valentine’s Day cards.
Slideshow 1, Child Using a Class List to Make Cards.
Slideshow 2, Child Using Cards with Dashed Lines to Trace the Names.
Have fun with Art for Special Needs Children: Homemade Valentine’s Day Cards!
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