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.

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