Child care providers often have children with special needs included in their programs. Art activities can be a valuable learning experience for many children with special needs, but the art activities given in a child care setting may need to be modified or adapted so that all children may participate in them.
Child care providers should also be aware that they may need to guide children with special needs when helping them with their art activities. Here are some ideas for modifying or adapting materials and activities to children with special needs.
Children with severe motor challenges may need physical help to create artwork. When helping a child in the art center be sure to let her take the lead. Give only the help necessary. Encourage children to try to do it themselves first. Ask a child what she wants to do, what materials she wants to use and what kind of help she needs. Check in as you help to make sure that you are helping her create what she wants.
Modifying and adapting your art center is an important way to include children with special needs in child care programs. Creating art is a worthwhile experience for all children and should be available to children with special needs as well as typically developing children. With simple modifications, you can ensure that all children can use their senses and creativity in the art center.
To learn more about working with children with special needs, check out the eXtension Alliance for Better Child Care section on Child Care for Children with Special Needs. Read more about making your art program successful in the Art in Child Care section. If you are looking for specific art activity ideas to use in your child care program, take a look at the Hands-on Activities Database.