Homemade cardboard puppet crafts for special needs students

Hands-on, no-fail craft projects work best for all children but especially those with special needs. Here are cardboard puppet crafts that are easy for kids and free to make using simple supplies and recycled materials. For homemade puppets, you will need:

4-6 brads (also called paper fasteners) per child
assortment of recycled cardboard scraps in many shapes and sizes.

You can use scraps from projects. There should be some plain geometric shapes and also some more complicated shapes. Each piece should be no larger than 6-8 inches across and no smaller than two inches. There should be long, thin shapes as well as broader shapes. Cut some inch-wide strips of cardboard and keep those separate.

You'll also need decorations: (these are all optional; use whatever you have available). Suggestions include wallpaper sample books, recycled bin paper scraps--gift wrapping paper scraps, tissue paper scraps, recycle bin construction paper scraps. recycled paper tubes, ribbon, crepe paper and yarn scraps, faux feathers and gems, glitter or glitter glue, markers, paint, silk flowers, pipe cleaners and buttons.

Procedure: Children will assemble a puppet from found scraps. Found means children must use recycled cardboard scraps as they are, no cutting or reshaping. The idea is to teach creativity using whatever is available. Puppets may represent people, animals, fantasy creatures, aliens or even non-living things like vehicles.

Lay out puppet pieces before assembling. Puppets should have at least two body parts, preferably 3-5. Cover or decorate each individual piece before assembling homemade puppets. Children should trace and cut paper or fabric to fit puppet pieces and glue paper on. They may paint or color puppet pieces. Feathers, gems, flowers or other embellishments should be attached after puppets are assembled.

Assemble puppets in this way: Attach moving parts--arms, tail, head, legs--with brads. Punch holes through the fixed and moving part of cardboard. Push fastener through and fold metal prongs back. Attach stationary parts with tape or stapler. Attach embellishments with stapler, glue or tape. Attach two recycled cardboard strips, sticks or rulers to use as handles to move the puppet. Children should work together in groups to create a story using incorporating each of their homemade puppets into the plot.

Snowflake patterns to print and cut for special education, OT, PT

Paper snowflakes make great educational tools for science and math lesson plans. Cutting paper snowflakes is also fun! Here are free printable snowflake patterns, templates and stencils. 

Snowflake cutting is a great activity for special needs kids. Children learn math skills by exploring symmetry, shapes and geometric patterns in six-sided snowflakes. Students explore art concepts by cutting snowflakes. They learn pattern, line, shape and design. Children learn about earth science by creating snowflake patterns that simulate ice crystal formations. Students improve motor skills by cutting paper snowflake patterns. They improve perceptual skills by folding paper to create the six-sided snowflake patterns.

Get free snowflake templates  here. Marcel's Kid Crafts has free printable snowflake patterns and paper snowflakes to print and color. Easy folding and cutting instructions printed on snowflake pattern. Use these patterns for ages 9 and up. First Palette has more free paper snowflake templates to print.

Paper Snowflakes has free printable snowflake stencils and templates. Directions are more complicated. You can find free printable snowflake games, puzzles and patterns on this site. These patterns work well for younger children or special needs children. They are easier and less frustrating.

While students are cutting their snowflake patterns, explain the water cycle. Here are free printable water cycle worksheets, plus snow and crystals lesson plans. Use the printable water cycle poster to teach the three states of matter, using steam, water and ice to demonstrate.

Read "Snowflake Bentley" by Jaqueline Briggs Martin. This beautifully illustrated Caldecott Medal winner, tells the story of Wilson 'Snowflake' Bentley, photographer who first captured snowflakes on film and showed their unique hexagonal patterns. For a great closure to your snowflakes lessons, serve fruit juice snowcones as a classroom treat!

Christmas holiday weight loss recipes for overweight kids, diet Thanksgiving food swaps to beat obesity

The holiday season is a hard time to be dieting with Halloween candy, Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas cookies, New Year's Eve desserts, etc. The drive to work at weight loss [VIDEO] goes out with the fall leaves. Overweight kids have an especially difficult time at #Holidays. But there's hope--this author lost over 100 pounds, through holiday binges, and promises that with food swaps and recipe tweaks you can stay the diet course and still enjoy the feasting.   Christmas holiday weight loss recipes: Low-fat diet Thanksgiving food swaps

Honey Boo Boo, 12, faces obesity as Mama June rocks weight loss, plastic surgery

How time flies. Reality TV child star Alana Thompson turned 12 on Aug. 28. It seems like only yesterday she was the darling of "Toddlers & Tiaras" and "Here Comes #Honey Boo Boo." But age, lifestyle choices and a terrible diet have not been kind to the beauty queen. Ironically, Mama June [VIDEO] is enjoying accolades for her #weight loss makeover. But it's happy birthday, obesity for Alana Thompson. Could TLC's "My 600-lb Life" help the tween in that respect.   Honey Boo Boo, 12, faces obesity as Mama June rocks weight loss, plastic surgery

Hands-on patriotic crafts for special needs kids: wheelchair or bike decorating for Labor Day, Memorial Day

Labor Day, Memorial Day and 4th of July meant one certain thing for us as children: decorating bikes and riding in the parade. Here's a patriotic themed bike decorating guide. Decorate your bicycle easy and cheap with recycled items. These hands-on no-fail activities work very well as lesson plans for special needs kids. Disabled children might decorate wheelchairs!

Materials (you don't need all of them if you're doing this on a budget). Save money and use recycled scraps whenever possible.

Recycled bin! (very important source for homemade decorations)
1 package of each of red, white and blue tissue paper (or scraps from Christmas wrapping supplies or recycling)
Metallic wrapping paper in patriotic colors (or scraps)
Christmas bows in red, blue, white, gold and silver.
1 roll each of red, white and blue crepe paper streamers (or pink and blue tissues)
several small American flags (here are free printable American flags. Color and attach to popsicle sticks or pencils)
silver, red, white, gold and/or blue curling holiday gift wrap ribbon
scrap wrapping paper, ribbon and bows in patriotic colors
fake flowers from craft bin
Mardi Gras or Christmas beads (red, white, blue, silver, gold)
blow out party noisemakers in patriotic colors
aluminum foil
Scotch tape
rubber bands, twist ties or cable ties
markers and recycled cardboard cereal box


Tape end of crepe paper streamers to top of bar of bike frame. Wrap streamer around the bar to cover it. Tape end securely. Repeat with all bike frame bars, handlebars and wheel covers. Weave streamers around the wheel spokes. Tape securely so nothing gets caught. Alternate red, white and blue. If you don't have streamers use any scrap paper, tissue paper, wrapping paper or foil. Be creative.
Stick bows and tissue paper roses in various spots. Keep packaged tissue paper folded. Cut three inch pieces (cutting through all layers). Gather at center with twist tie, yarn scrap or rubber band. Tie or cable tie to bike. Pull folds open, trim edges and fluff to make flowers. Make a row of along handlebars like a bouquet of patriotic flowers.
Curl ribbon by carefully pulling along blade of scissors. Tie bunches of curled ribbons to ends of handlebars. Tape bunches to bike seat and helmet. Cut beads apart and hang from basket. Avoid getting decorations caught in gears or chain.
Decorate sign "Happy Memorial Day" "Happy Fourth of July!" "Thank you, Veterans" "Happy Birthday America!" Attach to bike front. Tie flags crisscross to front of bike. Remember you are carrying the flag, so give it due respect. If its allowed, toss wrapped candies, pencils, rubber balls or toys from your basket. Or fill with flowers. Wear red and/or blue shirt, pants, socks, shoes, bandanna. Paint a flag tee-shirt. Blow your noisemaker as you ride.

'My 600-lb Life' Tracey Matthews' husband enables obesity, but not weight-loss

Reality television couple Josh and Anna Duggar are expecting their 5th baby but not everyone found it cause to rejoice. Josh Duggar was involved in a multilevel sex scandal that included pedophilia, cheating, cyber-adultery and pornography. The "19 Kids and Counting" parents Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar gushed over their new grandson who'll be born soon from all accounts. However others question the wisdom of having a baby in light of Josh's sex addiction admission. Even sisters Jill Duggar Dillard and Jessa Duggar Seewald have been quiet about the baby news.   'My 600-lb Life' Tracey Matthews' husband enables obesity, but not weight-loss

Kate Gosselin forced to give kids to Jon Gosselin but special needs son Colin Gosselin still MIA on 'Kate Plus 8'

Ex-reality television dad Jon Gosselin finally got to spend time with a few of his eight kids--but not without a fight with mom. After multiple child abuse charges, his estranged wife Kate Gosselin was court-ordered to surrender the children to their dad. But there's still no word on 12-year-old sextuplet Collin Gosselin. The boy was sent by his mother, sans his father's consent or knowledge, to a "special school" that turned out to be a mental hospital. Collin's still MIA in family pictures and on Gosselin's "Kate Plus 8" reality TV show.  What special needs does the boy have and what could he have done that was severe enough to warrant months of separation from family? All Kate says is that he tested her and is headstrong.  Special education experts question the Kate's wisdom in having him locked up at so young an age. Kate Gosselin forced to give kids to Jon Gosselin but son Colin still MIA on 'Kate Plus 8'

'My 600-lb Life' shocking one-ton twins Brandi and Kandi nearly die, prove killer obesity

"My 600-lb Life" season 5 may be the most gut-wrenching yet. TLC follows morbidly obese twins Brandi and Kandi who weigh nearly 1,200 pounds between them. The season teaser shows 575-lb Brandi screaming as her 604-lb sister Kandi nearly dies from obesity-related cardiac arrest and brain damage. Can the show's bariatric surgeon Dr, Younan Nowzaradan save these women with gastric bypass surgery before one-ton weight kills them? And updates from two familiar faces with massive weight loss, who've found their true beauty, give hope. 'My 600-lb Life' shocking one-ton twins Brandi and Kandi nearly die, prove killer obesity

Kate Gosselin excludes Collin Gosselin from birthday party and it's the worst thing she could have done for her special needs son

You've heard of kids being excluded from other children's birthday celebrations? Well, Kate Gosselin took it one step further--she didn't invite her son Collin #Gosselin to his own birthday party. The Nov. 29 episode of TLC show "Kate Plus 8" showed the sextuplets' lavish birthday bash minus one sextuplet (Collin) who's in some kind of behavior therapy. Mom says she's sorry for herself and Collin's siblings that he couldn't attend his party but says it's best for everyone. Kate Gosselin feels sad but justified excluding Collin Gosselin from his birthday party
Looking for Halloween printables to use with special needs kids? Count down the days to Trick or Treat with dozens of free printable Halloween activities, coloring pages and crafts from Making Friends.com. Print free craft projects for all sorts themes. Making Friends has a really holiday activities, coloring pages, cut and paste, paper dolls, Trick or treat wrappers, worksheets, Halloween puzzles and mazes. Print word searches, crossword puzzles and word games, perfect for Halloween language arts lessons. Print Halloween card games, flash cards, dioramas, masks and pumpkin carving patterns and stencils.
Here free printable Halloween lesson plans, worksheets, games, coloring pages, activities and puzzles. Use for Trick or Treat themed math, reading, writing, literature, science, language, social studies and crafts. All Free Printables has free Halloween crafts, greeting cards, party invitations, decorations, cut-outs, coloring pages, masks, party invitations, name tags, treat bags, pumpkin cut-outs, book marks, picture frames and lots more. Puzzlemaker lets you create templates for printable Halloween worksheets, puzzles, mazes, jigsaws, dot to dot, Soduku, crosswords and activities galore.

Print Activities is another mega site for all your school and family activity printing needs. Look for units, printable worksheets and lessons focused around Halloween and trick-or-treat. Disney Family offers a plethora of free printable Halloween Disney activities, crafts and coloring pages. Coolest Holiday Parties has free printable Halloween party supplies. You'll find cards, invitations, treat and punch bowl printables, banners, place cards, name tags, wall hangings for your party. 

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