Free printable paper Christmas crafts, games and toys

Are you playing elf to a kiddie Christmas party and need free Christmas crafts? Are you have a North Pole toy emergency of Santa-sized proportions? Then you need free printable Christmas paper crafts and toys. Then you need to visit The Toymaker right now! This website features free printable Christmas cut and paste crafts, toys, activities and more.  Free printable paper Christmas crafts, games and toys

Bad Santa rejects autistic child and her pitbull service dog

Apparently, Santa has lost his Christmas spirit. At least the Santa and elf helper at The Shops in Mission Viejo, Calif., have. Showing less yuletide cheer than the duo from "A Christmas Story," this North Pole team turned away a little autistic girl and her service dog Pup-cake. Santa suffers from pitbull phobia, it seems.  Here's more on special needs kids and service dogs. Article discusses and how Santa Claus impacts children's Bad Santa rejects autistic child and service dog


Free printable Thanksgiving crafts and autumn paper decorations

Special  needs kids require a lot of hands-on activities to prevent them from getting bored or lost by abstract concepts. Making crafts is a great special education activity. Kids learn cutting, pasting and assembling. They practice eye-hand coordination and fine motor skills. Here are free printable Thanksgiving holiday and fall seasonal decorations: placemats, banners, table decorations, napkin rings, centerpieces and party supplies.Free printable Thanksgiving decorations and autumn paper crafts - Grand Rapids Holidays |


Free Printable Geology Lesson Plans, Earth Science Rocks and Minerals Printables

Earth science is a fascinating subject. To help you teach it,in public school or homeschool, here are free printable geology lesson plans. Print charts, graphs and maps to explore geology, rocks and minerals and earth science. These hands-on lesson plans will be particularly helpful for special needs students.  Free Printable Geology Lesson Plans, Earth Science Rocks and Minerals Printables

Free Printable Alice in Wonderland Crafts to Explore Fantasy Genre with Special Needs Kids

In 2010, director Tim Burton gave us his vision of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland with Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter and Anne Hathaway and Helena Bonham-Carter as the White and Red Queen. In 2016, we get the sequel Alice in Wonderland: Through the Looking Glass (all actors will reprise their roles). Here are free printable crafts and activities from Disney's movie Alice in Wonderland.

I'm a special education certified teacher. And I would recommend using Alice in Wonderland with special needs (especially EI kids) to help them explore fantasy literature. Fantasy, as a genre, poses a dilemma with special needs kids in that some of the stories are pretty scary. Literature helps children process frightening concepts in safe ways.  Alice's adventures are a good foray into fantasy. Despite being small and shy, Alice, is able conquer terrifying beasts like the Jabberwocky. She befriends an assortment of misfits and outsmarts the intimidating Red Queen. Kids will identify with this apparently weak protagonist. Seeing her triumph over seemingly impossible odds encourages and empowers fearful children.  Read on for Free Printable Alice in Wonderland Crafts from Tim Burton Movies

Free Printable Paper Hats for Special Needs Crafts and Kids Halloween Costumes

When I was a kid, my grandfather, who was a newspaper press room foreman, showed me how to fold hats from newspaper. Can I remember now? No. But fortunately, there's internet. Here are free printable templates, patterns and activities for paper hats. Perfect for special needs students as making paper crafts practices fine motor skills, eye-hand coordination, following directions, scissors cutting skills. It's hand-on, easy and no-fail.  Free Printable Paper Hats for Kids Halloween Costumes - Bubblews

Adult Autism Perspective Understanding Autistic Head-Banging and Rocking

I began special education teacher training in 1982. I chose EI and CI because I wanted to teach autistic children. ASD (autism spectrum disorder as it's now called) wasn't an endorsement of its own yet.

Working with autistic children, I realized that as a child, I showed symptoms of mild autism. Let me clarify: children exhibit some autistic behavior as a normal part of development. It is the combination, severity and perseverance into older childhood, that marks a child autistic.

Two of the most unnerving, to those not familiar with autism, are rocking and head banging. I did both of those and it freaked some people out.  If less was known about autism when I was in college, it was virtually unheard of in the 1960s.

Let me try to explain what I remember of how I felt when I rocked and banged my head. Maybe this will help you get inside the head of your autistic child or student.

Rocking, bouncing and swinging motions soothe infants and lull them to sleep. Persons with autism need that sensory stimulation in older years, sometime throughout their lives. It's thought that these help autistic people "integrate" (organize, control) their sensory perceptions. This makes sense, especially if the child has auditory, vision or perceptual problems, dyslexia, balance issues, allergies, sinus or ear trouble that affect the Eustachian tubes (vestibular balance center).

I had all of those, plus sleep apnea. Many didn't get diagnosed till adulthood. So my self attempted to fix them in the only ways it knew. I'd rock endlessly in my little rocking chair. I'd bang my head and face against my pillow to get to sleep. In the car, I'd bounce my head against the seat. It was an automatic respose, done to sooth, not hurt.

At 10, I still banged (bounced) my head at night to settle racing thoughts. If I was unable to, I felt disoriented, dizzy, tense, crabby. I couldn't sleep. I believe that's why autistic children resort to dangerous self-stimulation: picking skin, pulling out hair. I remember it felt like an itch I couldn't scratch if I couldn't rock or bang my head. They seemed to reconnect loose wires and neurological gaps for me.

One of my sons exhibited head banging or bouncing behaviors. Even as a very small baby he'd bounce his head as he fell asleep. This pattern developed as soon as he was able to hold his head and neck erect. He never cried and was happy and placid. Like me, he didn't head bang when upset. Just sleepy. He'd do it wherever he was, car, couch, on someone's lap.

If you have a non-hurtful headbanger, like my son and I, my advice is to let it happen. So long as he's not hurting himself, he may just be self-soothing. Make sure baby has a firm but soft mattress and child, a pillow so they don't hurt themselves. I believe that correctomg non-hurtful rocking and head banging, may cause latent, more dangerous forms. Thwarted, children may head bang less-safe places.

If she continues as she gets older, tactfully remind her to do it the privacy of her home, so others don't ridicule. Sadly, though our society accepts inappropriate self-soothing, smoking and drinking, natural forms upset us.
My family never shamed me. They accepted it and trusted I'd outgrow it when I was ready. That's how we dealt with our son's head
. He outgrew it and so did I. For more on autism spectrum disorder (ADS) and autistic behavior, follow this blog and

Helping Special Needs Kids Cope with Bullying

Bullying is a sick cancer that is spreading in our competitive culture. It's not isolated to school playgrounds. It takes place everywhere: home, workplace, daycare, in school, out of school. Even churches and supposedly safe places aren't bully-free. Why? Because bullies bring their bullying behavior with them wherever they go. There are two kinds of bullying: physical and emotional. Physical poses an immediate, obvious threat. Emotional is more subtle, but equally dangerous because its harder to detect. And bullies hide in all shapes, sizes, genders, colors and behind all creeds and ideologies. Many don't look like bullies. So no one believe the bullied child. "Little Suzie wouldn't never do that! She's too sweet!" Unfortunately that subterfuge is how bullying continues. Are you bullied? Here are coping strategies. Do them in order.

Start by knowing your bully. Why is she picking on you? Does she single you out or is she mean to everyone? Usually, it has nothing to do with you. It's her problem. She's weak, scared, bullied at home, or hurting in some way. It's not your fault. You didn't cause it and you can't cure it. But you can...

1- Stay out of the bully's path. Don't hide. Just don't engage or attract attention purposely.

2-Ignore the bully. Look right through him as though he's not there. If he's intentionally bullying, it will fail to hit the mark.

3-If she tries to engage, continue to ignore. Walk right past her. Quietly get up and move. Ignore catcalls or whispered remarks. Refuse to let her start something.

4-If he talks to you, don't answer. He'll look like an idiot talking to himself and probably shut up.

5-If the bully questions don't answer. Just because someone asks you something doesn't mean you have to answer. Especially if you know he's just trying to goad you. Professional bullies bait with innocuous questions. If you answer, he's established contact and suddenly it goes from innocent to harassing. He's throwing a gauntlet. If you pick it up, the games begin.

6-If you cannot avoid her and she starts in, stare at her. Don't lower your eyes, show fear or say anything. With dogs this is a sign of dominance. It says, "I see you and I can take you." Walk (don't run) away ASAP.

7-If he gets physical defend yourself however you can. If he throws a weak punch that's just cowardly show of power. Call his bluff. Ignore and walk away. He might back down.

8-If you're a child, get help from an adult: caregiver, playground supervisor, teacher, principal, adult friend, police officer (if it's after school). School professionals are trained to deal with bullying. Tell your parents. You aren't being "chicken", you're being smart.

9-Or shout loudly and firmly "Stop." Don't cringe or scream.

10-If there's no help available, and the bully is hurting you, you've got two choices: fight or flight. If this is an ongoing situation flight will only feed it. Fighting back, although frowned upon, can sometimes stop it. Or you might take a beating. It's depends upon the bully. If he's on drugs, run away. Drugs, especially uppers, can make a person stronger.

11-NOTE: Thinking maybe you should just turn the other cheek, like the Bible says? If you followed the above steps, then you already tried that and it didn't work. Don't let yourself to be someone's punching bag.

12-If--AND ONLY IF-- you've done all of the above and a fight is unavoidable, fight back. If you're weaker or outnumbered, protect yourself however you can. Bite. Pull hair. Pinch under the arm in the soft flesh. Kick in the groin. This is no time for Queensbury Rules.  This isn't a fair fight so there are no rules. Surviving is what matters. But do get the heck out of there ASAP.

I know some of this advice sound contradictory. Bullying is complicated. Bullies are different. There's no one-size-fits-all solution. You have to deal with each situation individually. Trust yourself to know what to do when you need to.

4th of July Crafts for 4th of July--Decorate a Bike or Wheelchair!

 4th of July meant one certain thing for us as children: decorating our bikes and riding them in the local parade, or at least just riding them around the neighborhood. Bike decorating is an awesome craft for special needs kids--easy, hands-on, no-fail. And if you're disabled child happens to be wheelchair bound--decorate the wheelchair! He can supervise if he's not able to actually do it. He'll love bossing siblings around :) You can easily decorate any bicycle in a patriotic theme with this simply step-by-step guide. How to Decorate a Bike for a 4th of July Parade

Free Printable Vacation Bible School Activities Special Need Kids will Love

Summer brings all sorts of favorite family traditions and activities. One very popular summer activity is VBS, or Vacation Bible School. Almost every local church sponsers a week-long Vacation Bible School. And don't let the term 'school' intimidate you. Most vacation Bible School programs are fun-filled, interactive and activity based. Students spend a week making crafts, playing games, learning about religious concepts and making friends.  Free Printable Vacation Bible School Activities 

Free Father's Day Gifts, Printable Activities

Looking for low-cost Father's Day gifts? (Hint--third Sunday in June, don't forget!) Why not do something with dad instead of buy him something? Here are 26 free Father's Day activities from A-Z. Easy for all ages and ability levels. I've included free printable paper airplanes, greeting cards and dad-friendly crafts, too. Free Father's Day Gifts, Do-With-Dad Activities from A-Z

Low Cost Father's Day Shopping List to Teach Special Needs Kids Math Skills

Looking for math lessons that teach special education students life skills? Why not have kids make a shopping list, calculate a budget and go to a store to shop? This teaches communication,  money management, comparison, evaluation, real-world navigation and interaction skills. Holiday gift-giving is a great opportunity. Why not start with Father's Day? Here are 50 Father's Day Gifts Under $10.

Free Printable Travel Games, Activities, Puzzles Help Special Needs Students

Kids get bored on long trips, especially special needs children who have trouble in confined spaces, like car or plane travel. They may act up and that can make for a very long, tedious ride. That's why smart parents plan ahead to circumvent problems on car trips. Games make good boredom-busters and whining-stoppers. Here are free printable car games to stave off ennui and keep kids happily occupied on road trips.  Free Printable Children's Car Games, Activities, Puzzles

Free Printable Travel Games for Special Needs Children

"When are we going to get there, Mommy? Daddy, I'm bored!" Uh-oh. When kids start that, you know it's going to be a long car ride. Especially if you have a special needs child. ADD, autistic, Asperger children have a particularly difficult time on long care rides. Well, parents, sigh no more. I've got your boredom buster first aid kit right here--free printable travel games and puzzles for children. Make road trips fun with these car game printables.  Free Printable Travel Games and Puzzles for Kids

Use Free Printable Cartoon Coloring Pages to Teach Reading, Writing

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 opened May 2, 2014 in U.S. movie theaters. Special needs students, like all kids, typically love superheroes. You can use cartoons, TV and movies to teach concepts. Print off coloring pages of their favorite characters. Use the link provided to get Spider-Man, other DC and Marvel superheroes, Barbie, Disney, PBS, Looney Tunes and more. Print small versions that will fit on index cards. Have kids color and glue to index cards (craft plus learning game--sweet!)

Then brainstorm lists of associated words and write on your word wall. For Spider-Man, you might use: spider, arachnid, insect, bug, super, hero, fly, web, city, save, science, villain, spin, swing, octopus, mask, sky, night. (Don't laugh--I'm not up on Spiderman words!). Then have students write words on their flashcards. This helps them learn to read, write and spell in fun, hands-on ways. Extend lesson by having kids color full-size coloring pages, write Spiderman stories and collate into classroom books. For lower-functioning populations this might be a group project. Free Printable Spider-Man Coloring Pages

Kid-Friendly Cinco de Mayo Fiesta With Latino-Inspired Games, Crafts, Food

Cinco de Mayo celebrates the Mexican victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla. It's not a big thing in Mexico, but in the U.S., we love any excuse for a party, err, fiesta! Teach your special needs students the basics about this holiday--that's it's not the Mexican Independence Day (Sept 16), that it celebrates an important military triumph. Then, do hands-on crafts and games. Special education kids learn best through multisensory, interactive activities. Here's my ultimate Cinco de Mayo party planner with Spanish lesson plans, Mexican crafts and Latino music, food,

games and traditions. I've included free printable puzzles, recipes, vocabulary worksheets, flags, maps, 3D cut and paste crafts and gobs more!  Kid-Friendly Cinco de Mayo Fiesta With Latino-Inspired Games, Crafts, Food

Recycle Bin Arts and Crafts Activities for Earth Day

Earth Day is April 22. Why not celebrate with these recycle bin arts and crafts? Keep bored kids occupied on rainy spring days, too. Special needs kids struggle with attention and behavior problems more when they are bored. Here are anything-but-boring hands-on crafts with science, art, drama/theater connections. You'll need many kinds of recycled items: glass jars, plastic containers, Styrofoam pieces, metal cans, cardboard boxes in all sizes. Then mix in scissors, stapler, glue, markers, tape and children for environmentally friendly fun! Rainy Day Recycle Bin Activities for Kids

Free Printable Easter and Spring Crafts for Kids

Whether you celebrate secular Easter or just enjoy the eggs, bunnies and candy, the holiday is fun for young and old. Coming in spring, Easter celebrates new life and nature. For kids, it's a great time to explore science concepts of plant life, insects and baby animals. Here are free printable Easter crafts, coloring pages and activities for classroom, homeschool or just family fun.  Free Printable Easter Crafts, Activities, Decorations 

Free Printable Stations of the Cross Lenten Devotional Booklet to Color

Lent began on Ash Wednesday of the Catholic liturgical calendar and continues for 40 days up to Easter. We try to imitate Jesus with prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Help special needs children understand the Bible, Jesus and Christianity  better with a  free printable Stations of the Cross coloring book. Use this to guide prayers.

As a Catholic homeschooling family, we would draw images, one for each of the Station of the Cross. We hung them at different places in our home or yard to make our own Stations. The children would pray the Stations each Friday. The older children drew their own pictures,  but for younger children I used the Fr. Lovasik coloring book. Here is are several sets of free printable Stations of the Cross coloring pages. Print a booklet for CCD and religious education classes, Catholic school, homeschooling and family devotions.  Free Printable 'Stations of the Cross' Lenten Coloring Pages and Devotional Booklet

Michelle Obama Touts Vegetables, 30 Kid-Pleaser Veggie Recipes

Veggies are enjoying vogue thanks to First Lady Michelle Obama's vegetable dance, reports ABC News. Critics may fault-find, but children seem to like it. Mrs. Obama's "Let's Move'" campaign may be for kids, but who couldn't benefit from eating better, exercising more? In that spirit, here are 30 recipes to boost vegetables. These include food swaps, like those in Mens' Health "Eat This, Not That."  Michelle Obama Touts Vegetables, 30 Kid-Pleasing Veggie Recipes

Art Imitates Childhood: Hands-On, Creative Art Activities for Kids

 Kids need art like plants need sun. In fact, art imitates childhood, when it grows organically and isn't manufactured. I had a sad childhood experience with formula art. A teacher publicly criticized my piece for not fitting the mold.

Admittedly, I didn't follow directions. She specifically said start drawing in the middle of the page. And I drew a boat along the bottom. I completely forgot, being caught up in the joy of creating.

She was right and I was over-sensitive. But art is personal. If associated with failure, it suffers. As does all education. I began teaching in Montessori. Dr. Maria Montessori enjoins teachers to "follow the child," explains Metro Kids. That student-led approach served well teaching special needs, adults and homeschool, too. Art Imitates Childhood: Hands-On, Creative Kids' Art Activities

Imagination, Dress Up, Pretending Essential to Child Development

Writing about printable masks for Mardi Gras, I was particularly taken with the fierce dragon masks. I suspect children may be too. Masks both terrify and delight children, even the non-frightening ones. My oldest was petrified of clowns and costumed people as an infant (long before clown fear was a thing).

Why? Because a child's sense of object permanence is not fully developed. They don't realize that things hidden still remain. Even people. Children think people change when they put on costumes, that they become that thing or person.   Imagination, Dress Up, Pretending are Crucial to Child Development

Book Crafts, Printables, Snacks, Games, Activities from Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?

2014 is going to down as the Winter of Infamy. But don't worry, parents of bored kids, teacher-mama has more children's literature activities. Hands-on lesson plans with story, game, craft and snack. Today's is on "Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?" and appropriately for this arctic season-- "Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?" Both of these wonderful stories come courtesy of Bill Martin and Eric Carle. My oldest could read this entire books at three, thanks to the repetitive verse. Book Activities from Brown Bear, Brown Bear

Free Coloring Pages to Print for Children

One of the many things I like about blogging is sharing freebies. Today's free thang is printable coloring pages. I found a site with thousands of coloring pages on every kid subject--cartoons, Disney, vehicles, holidays, science, social studies, animals, Bible. Special needs teacher, print coloring books and use with students to help them focus during lessons. Or use for rewards. Good for perceptual skills: fine motor and eye-hand practice. Encourage children to talk together while they color, to build social and communication skills. Use as story starters. This is my favorite Disney princess, Sleeping Beauty (one the many free coloring pages). You might ask children to invent new adventures for her is she lived in modern time. Special needs kids need lots of opportunities for imaginative play. Free Coloring Pages to Print for Children

Behavior Modification Positive Reinforcement Works for Special Needs

I’ve been a certified special needs teacher since 1986. Special educators teach in different ways, using hands on and multisensory learning and individualized instruction. Discipline is different too. We used behavior modification. Despite its bad reputation, it’s actually very effective. It works well with young children, non-verbal and those who aren’t ready for cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or REBT (rational emotive behavior therapy). Actually behavior mod works for everyone, even fully functional adults.  Behavior Modification Positive Reinforcement Works Best for Special Needs

Bibliotherapy Book Pick--The Cat Who Went to Heaven

Literature can touch the most seemingly unreachable of children. Gentle stories and pictures are like balm for at-risk, emotionally impaired or hurting kids. I have always been an avid reader. As a child, I was most at home in a library. I especially liked books about cats. When I was 8, I discovered Elizabeth Coatsworth's classic "The Cat Who Went to Heaven." It's a simple tale, set in Japan. Its woodcut illustrations were, to me, charming, exotic and evocative. The story tells of a little cat, Good Fortune, so named because she has lucky markings and because she brings happiness to a poor painter.  Childrens Literature Book Pick--The Cat Who Went to Heaven

Printable Winter Crafts, Coloring for Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics

 Teacher Mama is here with printable winter-themed crafts for bored, snowbound kids. Get your students geared up for Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics with printable games, crafts and coloring pages. And make cool snowflakes and wintry crafts. First, clear a spot on the table. Or better yet set up a separate craft table. Bust out glue, scissors, markers, glitter, your nifty scrapbook edging scissors, stickers, pom poms, fake gems all your crafty goodies.Next, go to these websites  Printable Winter Crafts and Activities for Kids

Teach Communication Skills Writing Product Reviews and Business Letters

I've gotten freebies from writing product reviews. You can get free stuff from companies if you review companies. Granted they favor positive reviews. I won't write paid advertorials. That isn't genuine. The reviews I write are about products I have tried and liked. I might review a product negatively, to warn people away, but generally I share about good products that have met my rigorous standards. This is great writing practice for students, both in product review and business letter composition.  This builds communication and self-advocacy skills for special needs kids. Did You Know You Can Get Free Stuff Writing Reviews on Bubblews? 

Free Printable Board Games for Interactive Learning

Hands-on activities, like games, make content relevant, approachable and understandable for both general and special education students. Preschool kids particularly need multisensory learning activities. Happily, there are many free printable preschool games available online. Memory, bingo, matching, lotto games and more. Read on Free Printable Preschool Board Games, Learning Activities

Free Printable Activities for Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Martin Luther King Jr. the civil rights activist and minister who was martyred in the 1960's birthday is January 15. The United States remembers and celebrates his life and work on the third Monday in January. This is a civil holiday but schools celebrate in some way.
Perhaps you are not all that familiar with Martin Luther King Jr? Or maybe you are like me and were teaching before this day was a holiday, and would like to acquaint yourself with the man and the day? Or maybe you simply wish to become more educated about our history and our wonderfully diverse nation. Here are several websites to explore for free resources and materials for your home-school, classroom, religious or community group.  Websites with Free Printables and Resources for Martin Luther King Jr. Day

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