Parents of children with celiac disease or gluten intolerance face unique challenges on a daily basis. In addition to helping a child maintain a gluten free diet, many parents have to monitor exactly what may end up in a youngster's mouth. On occasion this may include items that are not, strictly speaking, food.
One of the more prominent challenges for parents of toddlers and preschoolers presents itself at craft time. In a society that revels in macaroni painting and play dough time, gluten is a very real hazard. Many times crayons or glue can contain ingredients that are unsafe. These simple crafts are great gluten free alternatives for you and your little one to enjoy.
Create a Felt Board
Felt boards are a fun and reusable craft that can be customized for any time of the year. At Christmas create a large felt tree that can be decorated with smaller felt ornaments. In the spring your child can enjoy planting their own flower garden in felt. In the fall create a tree that has many colored leaves of different shapes You can also write the name of things you are thankful for on the leaves for your tree as a festive, and seasonal sight word exercise.
Make Pipe Cleaner Friends
Pipe cleaners are a great tool for parents to use with young children. They are easily manipulated and present a fun sensory experience. By curling them around pencils you can create springs that can serve as a body to elaborate on. Make pipe cleaner dachshunds, people, or horses easily and without any specialized tools. For more detailed ideas look for the Klutz books "Twirly Qs" or "Twisted Critters". You can also find many ideas on craft sites such as Piterest.
Make your own Bubbles
Bubbles are a fun family activity that have excited many young children for generations. While you can often make decent bubbles with dish soap and your fingers, giant bubbles lead to giant giggles. The website http://bubbleblowers.com has a lovely list of home made bubble solutions, many calling for any generic dish soap. Brands such as Biokleen and Dawn have reported being gluten free.
Make Button Jewelry
Not all preschool jewelry needs to be made of pasta. Brightly colored buttons come in many fun shapes and sizes. These can easily be strung onto yarn or embroidery floss for an extra pop of color. Does your child want some long beads as well? Cut up some colorful drink straws to use as spacers and extra beads.
Paint a Picture
Although many brands of finger paints and traditional paints use wheat as a thickener, Crayola is proud to say their paint is gluten free. Crayola is a brand widely available and can be found in many convenience stores and super centers.