This easy art activity ticks all the right boxes...easy to set up, simple equipment, able to meet individual goals easily, builds teamwork skills, and so much fun! Give this easy art activity a go with a group of special needs students with goals to build hand function, cooperation and teamwork.
The Teamwork Train
This easy art activity is quick to prepare, and you can increase or decrease the complexity to suit individual student goals and learning needs. For this activity you will need:
- A range of bright-colored paints
- Squares of cardboard (such as from a cereal box cut into quarters)
- Pipe cleaners and tape to join the train together
- Paint trays or pots
- Rollers, brushes, sponges or whatever other 'getting the paint on the cardboard' method is going to work for your students!
- Art smocks or aprons for everyone - this can get a bit messy at times!
Teamwork activities for a special education setting can be challenging to find, but teamwork skills are oh, so important for managing in the school and adult worlds! Practicing teamwork activities can help students with special needs in workplaces, community settings, personal relationships and in relationships with friends and acquaintances.
Special Education Teaching Tips for Making a Teamwork Train
To complete this activity, here are the special education teaching tips you will need to consider:
Look at factors that will assist your students to be in the best position to engage with the task fully - table height, wheelchair height, tray height, position of assistants and aids so they can provide the best help when needed, position of paint pots, ability to communicate and make choices, etc.!
- Think about the time of day for doing the activity - some students are more able to do hand function tasks in the morning when fatigue may be less of an issue.
- Involve students fully in the planning and decision-making stages - this can be done quite easily if needed, with prompt questions such as which way will we put the train on the wall, what colors will we use, where would you like to sit at the table?
- Don't use cardboard that is too heavy or it will be hard to display on the wall as it may fall off - not a problem if you have a bulletin board and you can pin it up, but an issue if you need to tape it or Blue Tack it to the wall)
Teamwork Train Activity - The Steps
To make the train itself:
Give each student their own square (or squares) of cardboard and access to paints and brushes or rollers. Provide assistance to decorate the squares according to each student's own designs and choices. Encourage students to discuss their plans with each other and compliment each other on their choices - but never try to change the way someone else is doing their design as it is their own choice that counts.
Join the squares together with pipe cleaners and put tape on the backs (you may need to poke a small hole in either side of the squares).
As one of your teamwork activities, encourage the group to make choices about the design of the train engine - add round shapes for wheels and any other shapes you desire.
Display the train on the wall - this is one of those great teamwork activities that can grow over time simply by adding more carriages - you may find it eventually stretches right around the classroom!