Switch-Adapted Rainbow Art Activity
When a child hands you a piece of art they have made themself hanging it in their room or on the fridge is one of the perks of parenting! You get to show it off! But, if your child has limited cognitive abilities or limited range of motion these small moments in life may seem to pass you by and they don’t have to!
This past week I was working with some of my kiddos and I wanted them to be able to make something and take it home for their families. Switch activation is a huge part of this particular classroom and between the teachers and me, we use the Powerlink box ALL THE TIME! So much so that I truly believe families who have children near or around this level would benefit from the investment. Activating switches is typically a goal in a child’s IEP if it is beneficial for their independence so as a parent you would know if this is something that may allow your child to be more involved at home.
The way this works is they plug into the wall, a switch is plugged in along with whatever electronic you are using. This would be a hand mixer, radio, or in this case a hairdryer. You set the box to “direct” meaning the tool will be powered on only when the switch is pressed down continuously, or you can choose how many seconds it will be powered if the switch is pressed once. This setting will be determined by how long your child can press down.
rainbow art activity supplies
*TIP* (soaking the crayons in warm water makes this easier)
switched adapted rainbow art
Each child was given a canvas with a rainbow of crayons hot glued to the top. The powering box was set up and positioned for each child depending on their individual range of motion. I held the hairdryer and gave them verbal prompting to press the switch. Once they heard it turn on it was all smiles but I also blew it towards them initially to allow them that sensory input and help understand the cause and effect of “I pressed the switch then I felt the air and heard the noise” this helps build that understanding and improve their independence in activating switches in general.
Moving the hairdryer back and forth towards the crayons melted them down the canvas creating a visually stimulating picture but the wax also made it textured for our friends who may be low-vision.
Another fun adaptation would be using scented crayons to incorporate the sense of smell as well.
This technique was great for an everyday art project but I also used this same method during fall except we used a pumpkin instead of a canvas, glow in the dark crayons gives it a little spooky feel and this allowed my kiddos to participate in a fun tradition when carving a pumpkin may have not been the best choice. It’s all about inclusion!
Now I understand that Powerlink boxes seem to be a little expensive so let me give some other ways they can be used almost daily.
Same set up as the art project except actually drying their hair with the hairdryer, you maneuver the dryer and they provide the power, now they are working on self-care.
Having the Powerlink in the kitchen allows them to help with cooking and baking, using a hand mixer or a stand mixer.
Hook up a radio to the Powerlink and have family dance parties, your child is now the in-house DJ controlling the power to the radio!
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These may seem like very simple things but to families who have a child with limited abilities, these small things can entirely change the mood of the house. Limited abilities do not mean they have to sit around and do nothing, it means you get the opportunity to be extra involved, and hanging that first piece of artwork up knowing they made it will bring so much joy!
If you make some fun art with your kiddo post it and tag us!
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