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Topic: Gifts for the mentally challenged  (Read 7245 times)
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« on: December 07, 2005 04:10:58 PM »

My friend does a peer care program with mentally challenged teenagers and she thought of the idea of getting me to help out with some easy crafts to do. I've searched the sites and have found everything too difficult to complete. I want a few simple gift ideas that aren't going to frustrate them or get easily discouraged.

So I'm asking for some simple gift ideas that they themselves can make.

Any ideas are greatly welcomed. Thanks!

« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2005 07:37:33 PM »

You could do a project using felt. I made buttons once with flower felt glued to the top, and they were very easy. If you think the buttons are a bad idea, maybe magnets. You could have pre-cut felt pieces, glue, and things to glue the felt to (magnets, cheap picture frames, votive holders, christmas ornaments). You could also supply glitter to jazz up the projects. My aunt is mentally challenged and she crochets blankets- you could maybe have someone instruct people that wanted to learn, how to crochet. Just a few ideas.

« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2005 09:01:01 PM »

I think marble magnets would be great, or some picture frames with embellishments glued on?  even some kind of collage type things done over grout (i'm thinking frames and boxes) would be cool.  Depending on dexterity, some people might need help with little pieces, but most gluing projects are pretty adaptable.  Some people may need help with the circle punches and bead tweezers might be helpful for picking things up  People might want to cut out magazine photos or use small round stickers instead of drawing.  We got some great round stickers at both walmart and target for magnet projects.   Maybe someone could spray paint some altoids boxes and bring them in to hold the magnets and they could glue on embellishments of some sort....oooh, decoupage with mod podge??

I used to work with DD kids, and you're right, you don't want to get something the instructor will end up doing, but rather something they can do themselves.   


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« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2005 09:10:21 PM »

A lot of my family worked with ARC, and when I was little I used to go do crafts with the clients. I was little but I remember doing crafts that were age appropriate for me. Anyway I would use this website I have done a lot of the crafts on here with my kids and some with my friends. They're just fun.
Hope this helps.

« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2005 09:12:00 PM »

That's a great program.  I work with kids a lot, but I have very little experience with mentally challenged peers... Anyway, I'm not sure how much time you have to work on the projects, but I have a few ideas.

There are these great craft kits at Michael's.  I was working on it with a bunch of kids, and it was just as much fun for me and my peers as the kids.  It was mostly foam stuff... I think there were photo frame ornaments, little snowmen or penguins, and something else I can't remember right now.

Gingerbread houses are also lots of fun, though gingerbread is a pain to make.  Graham crackers work just as well.  Just get some frosting, sprinkles, and colorful candies and construct away!

Oh, and you can also make snowflakes.  Get some coffee filters, fold, and cut randomly.  It's great because you don't know what you'll get until you open it up... and everyone always gets so excited to see that a few random cuts made a pretty snowflake Smiley

Best of luck!
« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2005 05:48:56 AM »

They have some really cute things at this site


and some of them are pretty easy but look so adorable.


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« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2005 10:26:51 AM »

Gifts in a  Jar mixes. They can make samples and give the sample along with the jar. Cooking is so fun and they'll have a good time decorating the jars and making the sample presentations look pretty.

Photo pencil holder. Take pictures. Print them out and decoupage it onto a can with some pretty paper.

They can also do beaded gifts - bracelets, necklaces or key chains. Use the big pony beads.

What about bookmarks? Or framing some other art that they've done?  If you take a big sheet of paper, some string and some paint - dip the string into paint and swirl it around the paper. You get really cool patterns and designs. That can be framed, made into bookmarks or used to decorate other things.

A cardboard box can be decorated with foam, feathers, paint, sparkles and old cd's to make a cd holder for someone.

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« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2005 10:39:18 AM »

Those are all great ideas. What about glass marble picture frames? Fabric painted tshirts, pillow cases, or tea towels? Painted flower pots? Mosaic stepping stones?  Soap? Ornaments are good too. I love the in a jar gifts, they can share with their families. Items that can be gifts or useful/practical items are great because they are still age appropriate but not too difficult. For some crafts you can do some of the prep work ahead so they can do more of the assembly, and not have too many complicated steps. In a group you're likely to have a variety of ability levels and challenges, so some folks will need more/different types of assistance.  Good luck and have fun!

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« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2005 12:55:21 PM »

There are these great craft kits at Michael's.  I was working on it with a bunch of kids, and it was just as much fun for me and my peers as the kids.  It was mostly foam stuff... I think there were photo frame ornaments, little snowmen or penguins, and something else I can't remember right now.

I got some kits at target, too....one was little glass frames, glue and jewels to decorate with.  it was relatively cheap (they're marked down right now!!!) but you could easily pirate the idea with your own frames.


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« Reply #9 on: December 08, 2005 01:34:27 PM »

Thanks so much everyone, I still haven't decided yet but I have a lot to choose from now. Thanks again!

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