2019 Holiday Gift Guide-Crafty Kids!

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I think one of the things that I love most about being a pediatric occupational therapist is that I get to play and craft throughout my work day. I love having a job that I get to find products that are not only fun but ones that work on achieving occupational therapy related goals. Crafting with kids can be a fun and effective way of working on developing fine motor skills, increases dexterity, improves hand-eye coordination, boosts self-esteem, encourages self-expression, helps in developing social skills, encourages imagination and creativity, enhances decision making skills and works on developing flexibility.

Discovering new arts and craft activities and projects fills me with such satisfaction. Watching kids play with them and show off their completed projects is another awesome thing to witness. Completed art projects help children feel more confident and encourages them to try more challenging activities down the line.

Below, I have shared some of my favorite craft kits. You’ll see that there are a variety of sets intended for children of all ages.

Razzle Dazzle DIY Gem Art Kits-these are a new addition from Ooly and they are an awesome gift for older kids on your list this year. My 9 1/2 year old daughter and her friend spent so much time working on these during a playdate and they look awesome. There are 4 different sets to choose from (Llama, Unicorn, Fox and Lion) and come with all the supplies, including a picture frame to put it in once it is completed, you need. Kids use glue and a little pen to place the different size and colored gems onto the correct letter. This activity is great for working on SO many skills such as improving fine motor and grasping skills, improves visual motor and visual perceptual skills, visual tracking, visual attention, bilateral coordination, hand-eye coordination and executive functioning skills such as focus, attention, frustration tolerance and organizational skills.

Scratch and Scribble Art Kits– t-another fun little arts and crafts kit from from Ooly that work on developing fine motor, graphomotor skills and visual motor and perceptual skills. There are 8 different sets to choose from (dinosaurs, unicorns and dogs are just a few of them) based on your child’s interests. Each set comes with 6 scratch and scribble sheets, 4 with designs already on them and 2 blank ones for them to come up with their own designs. These are also great for on-the-go entertainment as they are small and lightweight enough to throw in a bag.

Klutz Make Your Own Puffy Stickers-this is another big hit with my daughter and some of my older clients at work. It’s funny how happy a sticker can make even older kids. This set comes with all of the materials to make 60 puffy stickers. There are many designs for them to color in but also comes with some that are already colored in. Using a special tool and following the easy to understand directions, kids will make their own stickers. Great for working on developing fine motor, grasping and manipulation skills, encourages graphomotor skills when you color the sticker in and great for executive functioning skills such as focus, attention, planning and organization.

Kid Made Modern Arts and Crafts Library-while some children really benefit from structured art projects with a definite beginning and end to it, others do much better with more open-ended and creative kind of activities. This amazing collection of art materials comes in a sturdy carrying case and features all kinds of materials (including glue and scissors)  that encourage creativity in children age 7 and up. Some of the fun materials you will find in the box are feathers, felt pieces, buttons, pom poms, beads, googly eyes and SO much more. This kit encourages children to use their imagination and be creative while also encouraging the development of fine motor, grasping and manipulation skills and improves executive functioning skills such as organization, planning a project and completing it.

My First Arts and Crafts Library-I love that Kid Made Modern realized that younger children would benefit from different kinds of materials and created another arts and crafts library that is better suited for 4-6 year olds. Just like the original Arts and Crafts Library, this kit offers children the opportunity to use a variety of art materials that encourages creativity. The pieces in this kit are a bit larger and easier for smaller hands to manipulate. Kids will use straws, stickers, buttons, pipe cleaners, beads and so many other materials to create. This kit encourages young artists to use their imagination while developing fine motor, grasping and manipulation skills.

Orb Factory Sticky Mosaics-these make my gift guide every year and for good reason, they are awesome! There are a variety of sets for both toddlers and big kids with themes ranging from unicorns and rainbows to dinosaurs and sports. Sticky Mosaics are great for working on a ton of developmental skills such as color and number recognition, improving fine motor, grasping and manipulation skills and works on a variety of visual skills such as visual tracking, visual attention, hand-eye coordination and visual motor skills. Kids gain confidence and self-esteem as they match the coordinating colored stickers with the number on the picture. When they are done, they have a piece of art they can display at home. Be sure to check out your local toy stores as they tend to have a large selection of these kits.

Klutz Clay Charms-Klutz has made making these cute little charms for a charm bracelet easy by providing simple step-by-step directions. Kids get to work on improving fine motor and manipulation skills, increase grasp strength, work on following visual directions and improve focus, attention, planning and organizational skills when making their charms. Each kit comes with a clay shaping tool, special glaze, 9 bright clay colors, the supplies needed to turn each clay creation into a charm bracelet, a charm bracelet, a display stand and a detailed instruction book.

Unicorn Smile Kit-my daughter never got into the whole slime thing (which I have always been grateful for), but I know it continues to be a big thing with a lot of kids. I love that this kit comes with everything you need, including a sturdy storage box, to make tons of different slime. The kit includes glue, unicorn beads, ink, different kinds of textured materials to put in the slime, slime containers, scents and so much more. It also comes with different slime recipes for your kids to try out. Making slime is great for working on improving fine motor and manipulation skills and works on executive functioning skills such as planning and organizing, task completion, following directions and focus and attention. The great thing about slime is that it can be used to help build grasp strength when they are playing with it.

Aaron’s Thinking Putty Mixed By Me Thinking Putty Kit-like
slime, I find putty to be another big hit amongst kids of all ages and I couldn’t be more excited about this kit from Crazy Aaron’s. Kids can create their very own color changing Thinking Putty in this newest addition to their line of Mixed by Me kits. Each kit comes with 5 tins of clear putty, three Chiller concentrates, three Thriller effect putties and a mat that has all the directions to make a heat sensitive Thinking Putty. The cool thing about this kit is that it comes with a variety of recipes for different ages. This kit is great for working on increasing grasp strength, improves fine motor, grasping and manipulation skills and encourages executive functioning skills such as focus, attention, motor planning, task completion and organizational skills.

Trading Card Kit-I discovered these DIY when my daughter became obsessed with making her own Pokeman cards. While she was making those, I thought about what a great activity it would be to have kids make their own trading cards during sessions. This awesome kit from Kid Made Modern comes with 36 blank trading cards, 12 gel pens, 3 foil bags (for those kids who love to open blind packs, this will be a huge hit) and a sticker sheet. There are so many fun things you can do that encourage creativity while working on developing fine motor, graphomotor and visual motor skills with this kit. Here are some ways to use these cards:
*have kids create a trading card with a picture of themselves on one side and all their important information on the other side
*have kids make their own superhero cards. Draw pictures of their superheroes on one side and then have them fill in important information about them on the other side
*if they have trading cards that they love to collect, have them make their own. Baseball cards, Pokeman Cards, etc. Encourage them to think about things that they love and make their own unique trading cards.

Rainbow Weaving Kit-Kid Made Modern has done it yet again with this fun weaving kit for kids 5 and up. As a child, I remember learning about weaving by making pot holders with those stretchy cotton bands and those plastic looms. I was introduced to this kit when shopping at Stoopher and Boots on the UWS last spring and they were a huge hit with my kids at work. Each kit comes with enough materials to make 4 projects. The frames have double sided tape on the edges so there is no glue necessary. Kids can choose their colors or you can encourage them to make a pattern for an added challenge. This is a great activity to work on improving fine motor and manipulation skills, improves hand-eye and bilateral coordination and works on improving executive functioning skills such as focus, attention, task completion, planning and organization.

Classic Friendship Bracelet Kit-this is another awesome craft kit for some of the older kids. I feel like the older I get, the more nostalgic I get about things from my childhood coming back. I have vivid memories of my collection of embroidery thread and all of the friendship bracelets I made. It makes me so happy that kids today still get enjoyment out of this activity. Not only is it amazing that we have physical ways to show how important friendship is, it is such a great activity to work on developing fine motor and manipulation skills, improves bilateral and hand-eye coordination and encourages executive functioning skills such as focus, attention, task completion, planning and organization. This kit from Purl Soho includes 5 spools of Chinese Knotting Cord, a safety pin and the pattern to make 9-18 friendship bracelets and comes in 6 different color schemes.

Olli Ella Playpa Coloring Rolls (Forest Coloring Roll, Fairytale Coloring Roll)-these came highly recommended to me by the owner of one of my favorite Park Slope toy stores, Norman and Jules and she has never steered me wrong. I’ve always been a fan of large coloring posters as they are great for kids to work on together and to be used as a bit of a long term group project. Kids can work on developing visual motor and visual perceptual skills, work on grasping skills and develop hand eye coordination and improve focus, attention and organizational skills. I love that you can hang these on the wall with the coordinating paper roller and then you add the benefit of being able to work on increasing upper extremity strength.

DIY Monster Kit-another great craft kit for children 8 and older. Using just a few simple materials, kids can create their very own monster. If you have kids who are interested in sewing and creating, this is a great gift for them. The kit includes a small cushion, two yes, a felt ball, an embroidery hook, needle and strands of acrylic and wool in a variety of colors. Kids work on developing fine motor, grasping and manipulation skills, improve planning, organization and task completion, work on bilateral coordination and hand-eye coordination. Additionally, this is a great craft kit for encouraging creativity and imagination and when they finish their monster, giving them increased confidence and self-esteem.

Tots Art Start-this is such a great starter art kit by Alex Jr. for toddlers who are still acquiring fine motor skills and working on the ability to focus and complete tasks presented to them. This kit comes with all the materials needed for 6 activities…shaped paper for decorating, shredded paper for adding to collages, doilies, colored tissue papers, triangle-shaped crayons (great for encouraging a proper grasp), stickers and two frames around peel and stick center areas. This art kit is great for working on developing fine motor, grasping and manipulation skills in toddlers, works on building focus, attention and task completion and encourages creativity and imagination using a variety of different materials and offers sensory exploration in toddlers which is essential for the development of a variety of skills.

Putting this list together was a lot of fun. Personally, I love doing crafts with my own daughter and was so happy to find some new craft kits that even she at 9 1/2 years enjoyed doing. So many kids prefer to spend time in front of some kind of screen but if you find the right art and craft project, you may be able to tear them away for a little while.

If you are looking for some other kinds of ideas when it comes to arts and crafts, don’t hesitate reaching out to me. If you have some favorite craft kits that have been a huge hit with your children, I would love to hear about them. I am only a click away and love hearing from you all.

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