Fall is here and Halloween is upon us! Crafts enable children to be creative and gain a sense of achievement, while also working on important speech, language, and motor skills. Craft activities are also a great time for family bonding and conversation. Please see below for ideas on how to incorporate skills learned in therapy within the home environment using this Paper Jack O’ Lantern craft. Sure, it can be a little messy, but please don’t be discouraged. I have no claim to fame in craftiness and thoroughly enjoyed making paper jack o’ lanterns with my clients this week! 😊
Paper Jack O’ Lantern craft
- Paper plate
- Orange, green, brown, and black paper (or tissue paper)
- School glue
- Writing utensil
- Cut up orange paper into squares
- Pour glue onto plate
- Cover plate with orange paper, until completely covered. Let it dry.
- Draw child’s hand onto green paper. Cut out with scissors.
- Draw pumpkin stem onto brown paper. Cut out with scissors.
- Staple both stem and hand cut outs onto top of paper plate.
- Draw and cut Jack O’ Lantern expressions from black paper. Either glue or cut out features to pumpkin or keep them separately to change expressions.
Skills to reinforce during craft:
- Speech sounds: Choose target sounds/words appropriate for the craft and produce the words at whatever level your child is on the articulation hierarchy (isolation, syllable, word, phrase, sentence, structured conversation). For example, the target sound “K” can be targeted for the word “cut” following this hierarchy: “K” (isolation), “kuh, kah, kaw, koo, keh, kee, ki” (syllable), “cut” (word), “Cut hand” (phrase), “I will cut the paper” (sentence), and targeting self-monitoring skills (a child’s ability to recognize and self-correct the error) within structured conversation.
- Following directions: Print directions (simplify as needed, including replacing words with simple pictures) and have your child follow directions. Offer guidance and help only as needed. It is important to allow a child the chance to attempt a skill independently. This builds self-esteem and frustration tolerance.
- Emotions: Use the jack o’ lantern expressions to create, label, and discuss certain emotions. For example, make a spooky face and relate the word spooky to synonyms like scary, mysterious, frightening, terrifying, etc. Discuss an instance that would be spooky.
- “WH” questions: Ask who, what, where, when, why, and how questions related to Halloween, pumpkins, crafting, fall season, etc. Examples include; What are you going to dress up as for Halloween? When do you go trick-or-treating? Who do you go trick-or-treating with? Where do you go trick-or-treating? What is your favorite Halloween candy? Who rides on a broom? Where do bats live? Who gives you candy? What do we call a carved pumpkin? When do bats sleep? What do spiders make? Who says boo?
- Basic concepts: Incorporate quantitative (number), qualitative (descriptive), temporal (time), and spatial (location) concepts. This includes time (late, early), quantities (more, less), sequences (first, then), shapes (round, square), size (big, little), textures (rough, smooth), spatial positions (on top, under), colors (orange, black), etc.
- Motor skills: Cut, draw, and glue. Cutting helps build hand strength and visual-motor skills. Gluing helps develop hand strength and finger isolation by squeezing glue. Drawing helps build connections between what is seen and what is done, as well as hand-eye coordination.
Elena Freeman, M.Ed., CCC-SLP