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A Fun Christmas Card Art Project for Special Needs Students

written by: Anne Vize • edited by: Elizabeth Wistrom • updated: 11/26/2012

Stuck for some Christmas card craft ideas to try with your physically or mentally handicapped students? This fun art activity lets students create their own Christmas card art to give to someone special. They can personalize the message to paste inside the card to suit their own needs and skills.

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    What You Need

    Sample Christmas Card It's time to let your Christmas card ideas run free with this simple project that can be readily adapted to suit the abilities and physical needs of a wide range of students across many age groups. You will need the following materials for your Christmas card art project:

    • paste
    • scissors (safety, board mounted or regular, depending on the fine motor skills of your students)
    • a range of colored paper off cuts
    • a range of other small items for decoration (tin foil pieces, ribbon strips etc)
    • a bright colored page for the card itself
    • access to a computer to type the message for inside the card
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    What to Do

    The steps to create the card are very simple - it is a great task to use as a vehicle for developing lots of skills in areas such as choice making, design, color knowledge and patterns because of its simplicity.

    1. Fold the paper in half and explain that the decoration will go on the front of the card.

    2. Assist students to plan a design or pattern for the front, either by laying out their materials or doing a rough sketch.

    3. Paste the decoration onto the card.

    4. Write a message for the inside of the card using the computer. You may wish to provide some samples from pre-made cards.

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    Boosting Language and Communication Skills

    For some students, the ability to use functional language is limited. They may benefit from being given access to digital photos of the items available in this art project, to encourage them to make choices about colors, textures and design. Photos can also help with showing the order of a project, and for indicating how long it will be until the task is completed--great for students who tire easily, or lack concentration skills.

    The photos below show how some simple digital photos can be used to show students a visual image of the stage of the task they are up to, or to allow them to choose what items they want to use next.

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    scissorspastebrushes
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    Physical Disabilities

    To adapt this task for students with physical disabilities, you may need to:

    • use board-mounted scissors
    • add a hand grip to the paint brushes
    • put the paste into a stable, open-topped container and use a brush rather than the paste brush shown above
    • provide physical assistance to tear or cut the paper for the front of the card
    • use a head pointer or speech recognition program such as Dragon Naturally Speaking to type text for the message inside the card
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    Intellectual Disabilities

    To adapt this Christmas card art task for students with an intellectual disability, you may need to:

    • reduce the number and complexity of your instructions
    • provide a visual as well as auditory cue (for example, "Watch how I tear the paper here.")
    • repeat instructions as needed
    • be a role model for the task
    • invite another student to assist with the task as a peer tutor
    • limit the number of choices of color, design and patterns you provide
    • offer literacy assistance to create the message for the inside of the card

    To extend your repertoire of Christmas cards crafts ideas, why not try packing all the materials and a tip sheet into a plastic pocket or sleeve and filing it in a shared art supplies cupboard in your school? Ask other teachers in your area to do the same so you can easily share your Christmas crafts ideas next year, without the hassle!