“ My house isn’t messy. It’s custom designed by a 3yr. Old.”
Awww messy play, don’t ya just love it. Here’s a funny story for you all. One time our neighbors little girl came over to make chocolate brownies with my daughter. I used to have craft parties, baking parties and even pool parties at my house for the neighbor kids and my children’s friends.
I let everyone have fun being messy and creative. As long as they cleaned up and were respectful then they could be as creative as possible. No throwing glitter or squeezing out bottles of paint onto my pretty quilts and comforters in my bedrooms though. This sadly was done by my little sister’s youngest child when at the age of 5/6 he snuck off and found my paints and squeezed them all over a pretty daybed I had made up in the guest room. My nephew is not on the spectrum, just a neurotypical child who thought it would be fun to pour paints all over my bed. It was washable paint so I was able to save the quilt.
In my home all the kids we invited could have fun and be as creative as possible, as long as they were respectful of our home .I had worked with special needs kids so I was very lenient in that rule with it came to behaviors that couldn’t be helped. I was told years ago by a respected Autism mentor that Autism is a reason but not an excuse. All children can be taught some degree of manners with repetition, patient and loving instruction. We would sing the clean up song to help with some children. We all cleaned up afterwards together singing this cute little tune…
Clean up, clean up
Clean up, clean up
Everybody do their share.
Anyway, one time our neighbors little girl came over to bake with my daughter. They had so much fun mixing bowls of chocolate and licking their fingers and those bowls. This was before the nasty old Red Monster showed up in our world to take all the fun away, before masks and well…you all know.
When our neighbor came over to pick up her daughter she looked down at her little girl in shock. She was so shocked she said very loudly “ Lisa, you are filthy” (I changed the name) and Lisa just giggled. She was covered in chocolate smears on her shirt, her face, and her hands. She washed up the best she could before she was allowed into the car with her mom . Her mom was not a crunchy mom like me. My daughter calls me a hippy nerd instead of crunchy mom though.
My daughter’s childhood friend loved stopping by because in our home we had play doh, and her favorite…paint. In her home she would get into a lot of trouble if she made messes, this is what she told us. Her home was beautiful though, like a museum. I loved her home but I always felt awkward in it. Standing there in that beautiful home, I stood out like a sore thumb. Everything was so shiny and clean and always so perfect. I felt like I didn’t match the surroundings. I was also afraid I was going to break something if not careful…I know strange but that’s me.
At my daughter’s friend’s home there was beautiful art hanging on their walls. In our home we have some paintings from family in Italy and art that I have done. There is a huge mosaic I did of my husband’s salt tank when we first started dating and drawings that our children have done over the years, all in frames. It was nothing like my daughter’s friends home. I love my home though, it is filled with those things that bring my family and I joy.
All these years I always worried about others seeing my messy home and it turns out that for one little girl she would love the freedom of that messiness more then the beauty of a perfect home. Here I was worried what company would think when they stopped in to visit and it would take a child to show me what a mistake that was, Because she saw something different. It takes that innocence and truthfulness of a child to show us all what really matters in the big picture of things.
Messy play is so important for children, all children. Even playing outside in the mud is fun. My kids loved that. I remember having hours of fun making mud pies as a kid myself. After wards they can have fun in the bath cleaning up.
For children with ASD, messy play helps desensitize those sensory issues they may have. Every ASD child is different and only their parents will know their child the best. You will know those things that your children will tolerate.
ASD children can be hyper sensitive to certain textures. When they are very little it helps to introduce them to all kinds of textures so they can slowly get used to these things as they grow.
Messy play can be anything like…
This next project is very easy to do. Just take some scrap paper and shred it, then throw it all in a bowl of water and let it soak for awhile. Have your child tear scrap papers and spread them out in a bowl of water. Some children will love tearing the pages while in the water.
After it has soaked some then blend it up into mushy texture.
Get all your supplies ready to add some color to your paper.
Have your children spread this paper mixture onto a screen. We picked up large window screens at a habitat for humanity building store and use the screens for drying food and in the case, drying hand made paper. Then have them squeeze drops from the different colors of food coloring onto it. When it dries it will look so pretty.
After your paper has dried, cover with water downed glue or Mod podge. This will help hold your recycled paper together when you cut it into shapes. You will have to do this if you use old receipts like I did. I think there is plastic in store receipts. This makes binding hard, and that is where glue helps out .
Once dry, start cutting out shapes for your mobile. I used a bird template but you can do a mobile with all types of animals shapes, even flowers and butterflies would be really pretty.
With the extra paper I traced out heart shapes to use for wings then glued them onto my birds.
I also used paint pens to add more detail to the design of the birds. Hand made paper made from store receipts once dry is like writing on hard plastic. It was the weirdest thing, The paint pens worked great. They were a gift from my July birthday.
I also outlined the birds and their wings in yarn.
I even added some tassels.
Using food coloring on paper is a fun way to mix up colors without so much mess.
Glue a long strand of fishing line or string to the centers of birds to hang up from. You can add beads or pom poms and feathers. The more creative you are the prettier the project turns out.
Remember to try to include everyone, all levels of skills. If you have to help your child with some of the steps that is okay, just have them do what they can. This way they will have something pretty to hang up and be proud of. Building confidence is always a good thing.
I was cleaning out an old drawer of receipts the other day and thought I could turn those receipts into a fun paper project for you all. It has been awhile sense I did a ASD project.
Think about all that we throw away when we can instead use it to make something pretty. You don’t have to make a hanging mobile, you can make gift tags, a pretty frame to add to a wall, garden picks, and even Christmas ornaments. Happy crafting everyone.
Extra tips when working with ASD children
ASD children usually are super sensitive to certain textures and these things can cause discomfort for them. Some ASD kids are non verbal so they can’t tell us when something hurts or is bothering them. This will lead to melt downs or what some in the world label as“Spoiled Tantrums”, a judgement from strangers.
It is so heartbreaking for both parent and child when melt downs and behavioral issues come up with any special needs child, to only have strangers sneer and glare at what they believe is just a misbehaving child.This is probably why some people with special needs children tend to keep their child home most of the time. It is just so hard to deal with any issues that may come up out in that big old scary world. I can’t even imagine what it is like now that everyone is wearing masks. Everything has changed and everyone has changed. ASD children get comfort from structure and what they know, changes can be devastating to them. The whole world changed in one month, think about that.
If you ever see a child acting up in the world remember that there are reasons behind that, please don’t hate or judge. All children even non ASD children have melt downs and tantrums. They are little human beings trying to get a grasp on how our world works, that can be so overwhelming. They will surely test us, won’t they?
When working with ASD on messy play activities always have a small plastic bowl of water for them to dip their hands in and a towel next to it. If your child gets distracted by water play easily and it takes away from the project you are working on with them, then have wet wipes out instead. If wet wipes are hard to find right now with the pandemic, make your own using paper towels. Again, you know what your child’s triggers are and how to best get around those obsessions that distract children who have ASD.
Picture schedules of daily activities help transition your child throughout the day. This always helped tremendously when I was setting up my home for lessons and outside help coming into our home for therapy sessions. That is a whole post all on it’s own. Hope some of my tips from the past help out. Remember the best advice is to have love, kindness and lots of patients when teaching any child any skill. Have fun everyone.
I am off for the month of August. Thank you so much for stopping by for a visit, for your likes and comments as well. God bless you all from all of us at Our Little Red House.
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