Hello Summer

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Well it has certainly been a different end to the school year! This will be our last post until we start back again in the fall. In anticipation of some free time with school over, our OT, PT, and SLP have come up with some activities for you to do at home since our students are Too Cool for School 🙂

 

 

We don’t have a central theme this time, it is simply all about FUN—-enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

SENSORY

Our students always enjoy messy play with shaving cream but we recently found a way to make it even more fun—–add some jello powder! Just sprinkle some on top of the shaving cream and it becomes this cool substance—still shaving cream but more durable and moldable!

You really need to try it!

 

 

 

Another fun activity is making your own Discovery Bottle. There are lots of YouTube videos out there but the general instructions are pretty easy. You need any empty plastic bottle that has been well cleaned. Add a generous amount of clear glue, mineral oil, or baby oil. Add glitter and if you want—a few small beads or toys. Fill with water AND—this is important—-securely GLUE the lid closed!!! Now it is time to SHAKE, SHAKE, SHAKE.

At school, any time we shake something we sing along to that old KC and The Sunshine band song—always turns it into a fun time 🙂

Your child will have a blast but be sure to supervise carefully 🙂

 

 

 

 

GROSS MOTOR

Just as this 4th 9 weeks has been different, summer will be different too with the Summer Olympic Games being postponed.  So, what if you had your own Summer Olympic Games with your family?

You could divide into teams or compete as individuals.  Have each person or team come up with a team name or represent a country (you could even include some social studies by doing research about different countries, but it is summer so that is up to you).

 

Then choose your games or activities.  There have been a lot of activities listed in previous posts that you could use or you can look online for others.  Maybe even let each participant/team choose one or two activities, so you have a variety.  Modify the activities as needed, so everyone can participate.

Finally, hold your Olympic Games.  They could be held inside, outside, or a combination of the two.  They could be held in one day, over a week’s time, or throughout the entire summer if you did one or two activities a week.  If you do the later, you could “hold practices” to practice the skill to prepare for the “big day” much like an athlete would practice their sport.

It would also be fun to have family members that live outside of your home watch to cheer you on using FaceTime, Zoom, Teams, etc.

 

Lastly, come up with a way to keep points or score until the end of your Olympic Games.  And of course, at the end of the games, have an award ceremony to recognize everyone’s achievements and to celebrate a job well done.  Everyone will be a winner because you created, competed, and celebrated together.

Have a safe and wonderful summer!

 

 

 

 

 

FINE MOTOR

Two fun projects for you—one quick and easy, the other will take a little more time.

If you don’t have balls handy for your Olympic Game—-you can make your own!

Grab a piece paper, fold it in half, and crumple it up into a ball (this is a great activity for building hand strength and working on bilateral coordination). Have your child squeeze it really hard to make it as compact as possible. They can knock, drop, kick, or throw to make a goal/score a point!

Make ENOUGH paper balls to almost fill a plastic shopping bag. Tie the bag closed and VOILA—instant beach ball 🙂

 

Another activity to do with your child is to make a Summer Scrapbook! I did this with my children when they were little and it made such great memories. It is also a great way to practice writing and cutting skills. Here are a few suggestions for pages:

Stamp your child’s HAND and FOOTPRINT on a page on the first day of summer break. Then do the same at the end of summer.

Draw a self PORTRAIT and a picture of the SUN.

Pick favorite MOVIE, BOOK, TOY, TV, VIDEO GAME, PLACE, SONG etc. and have your child draw a picture about it. If your child needs to practice writing have them write a sentence as well.

 

 

 

Gather old magazines and have your child tear or cut pieces of their favorite COLOR and glue down to make a collage.

Of course, take lots of PICTURES and add them to the scrapbook!

 

 

 

 

LANGUAGE

We’ve had some summertime beach thoughts lately, so this week I’m including 2 different recipes that can hopefully quench your thirst for the sandy beach.

Here is the first recipe: Let’s Make Sonic Ocean Water  This is a recipe that copies the Sonic ocean water drink.  We made this with our students in 2018 so we included some pictures on each of the pages of them putting together the recipe.

 

 

 

Here is the second recipe: Let’s Make A Beach In A Cup  We made this recipe in 2017 with our students so again, we have pictures of them carrying out the steps of the recipe.

 

 

 

 

 

While making these recipes, make sure to use your child’s communication system if they have one in place.  We always emphasize core vocabulary words like PUT, TURN, HELP, WANT, MORE, AGAIN, and ALL DONE.  Talk about how the ingredients feel: wet/dry, hot/cold, hard/soft.  Talk about the taste of the recipes: good/bad, sweet/sour, like/don’t like.  Talk about how the ingredients look when they are mixed together–how they can change from a liquid (milk and pudding mix) to a solid (pudding when it has set).

What’s most important is to have fun, be together, and always keep modeling and using language for your child/student.  Repetition is KEY so repeat, repeat, repeat!

 

 

 

LITERACY

Books based on some familiar stories are always a hit—here are a few of our favorites!

We recommend this book from October 2015: Let’s Go To Neverland!

We also recommend this one from March 2019: Who Are The Characters In Aladdin

Finally, one more from December 2015: Who Will We Meet in Arendelle

 

Thank you all for following along with us this year. Please join us again in the fall for more fun and learning—-Group by Group!

 

 

 

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Family Game Night

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This week we are playing games! Our OT, PT, and SLP have come up with a variety of things to do. So break out the board games, gather everyone up, and have a fun family game night!

 

 

 

 

 

 

SENSORY

Here are two fun sensory based versions of games to play with your kids!

We often put a hidden picture at the bottom of our sensory boxes. The students have to push the contents of the box to see the picture. You can easily adapt this to an I-Spy game at home using magazine or old calendar pictures. Look for a picture with lots of different things to find and tape it to the bottom of your container (cookie sheet, roasting pan, casserole dish, storage box etc) and then add sand, rice, or oatmeal. See how many details they can “spy” as they move the contents around.

 

One of my favorite games to play with my students is What’s in Ned’s Head. Students reach into “Ned’s Head” and try to identify an object before they pull it out OR pull the object out and match it to a picture. You could make your own variation of the game and play Bingo by putting a variety of toys in a drawstring bag. Pick toys with different textures, shapes, sizes ex. balls, hand fidgets, cars, action figures etc. Make simple Bingo boards with names of the different objects. Have your child act as the “caller” and pull out one object at a time.

 

 

 

 

GROSS MOTOR

Over the past few weeks, I have talked about a lot of different games you could play with your kids to incorporate gross motor skills, so this week I thought a fun activity would be to make your own board game and incorporate various gross motor activities into it.  This could be done indoors or outdoors using a variety of materials that you have at home, as well as, for students with different ability levels.

Use painters tape, chalk, paper plates, construction paper, large boxes, etc. to make a path for your child to follow.  Make lines straight, curvy, or zig zag for your child to walk, jump, or crawl on.  A hop scotch path could be fun to incorporate into your path too.

Incorporate challenges for them along the way using pool noodles to step over or walk on (if they are cut in half), cones to weave through, streamers to crawl under/step over, hula hoops to step through or walk around, couch cushions to walk on to challenge their balance.  You could incorporate different textures to such a bubble wrap, sand paper, carpet, tile, grass, sand, etc. and play bare footed for extra fun.

You could incorporate a targeting game that they have to master before they can continue to move along the path.  For example, a ring/bean bag/ball toss to a basket/bucket/box.  You could also include targeting skills focusing on kicking a ball into a box/basket/between 2 cones, throwing a ball to a target on the wall, or rolling a ball to a target (think bowling).

You could also incorporate a movement activity along the path.  For example, jumping jacks, wall pushups, etc.  Also, use various ways to move along the path (for example, bear crawl, frog jump, etc.).

Use a dice, number cards from a deck or cards, numbered strips of paper in a cup/bag to draw from to determine how many spaces to move forward (if you want to work on numbers).  You could also work on colors or letters if you wanted to instead of numbers using colored pieces of paper or alphabet cards, as long as, colors or letters are incorporated into your path/game board.

Use the above ideas, ideas from previous posts, or create your own ideas to make your own floor or outdoor area board game.  The most important thing is to get everyone involved and have fun!  Have a good week.

 

 

 

FINE MOTOR

We are lucky enough to have things like an All Turn It spinner to adapt games at school, but there are still ways to simply adapt things at home.

Here are some ways to adapt board games for easier access:

 

Put dice into small snack containers. Let your child throw the container or knock it off their tray when it is their turn to roll.

Use a section of a pool noodle with a slit on the top to hold playing cards.

If picking up small cards (ex. Candy Land) is difficult, tape colored paper to match game pieces to the sides of a small box. Let your child throw or drop the container—the color on top is their card.

Limit the amount or which cards are used, for example with Memory use fewer cards or in Uno remove all the reverse/skip/etc cards to simplify the game to simple color matching.

Tape a small photo of your child to their playing piece to make it easily identifiable.

To exchange a small playing piece for a larger one that is easier to grasp, you can use an empty medicine bottle or spice jar. Adding some coins or play dough inside will make it more stable.

 

 

 

 

LANGUAGE

Here is a fun and engaging game that your child and you can play while working on the common core words GO and STOP.  Here are the symbols that you can use: Red Light Green Light

You can take turns being the person in control of the “light”.  Hold up the symbol for GO and for STOP whenever you are saying the words.  You can also use the color symbols.  It’s always fun to be able to control things that are happening so your kiddos should have a good time controlling the movement of people 🙂

For this game, you can either use either a Memory board game or these pictures: Memory game

Turn all the cards over face down and take turns choosing 2 cards at a time.  Talk about if they look the SAME or if they look DIFFERENT.

 

 

 

 

 

 

LITERACY

We suggest this book from November 2018: Let’s Play Candy Land

We also suggest this book from September 2016: what-video-game-should-we-play

 

Join us again next time for more fun and home learning—-Group by Group!

 

 

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Numbers

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We are taking a mathematical turn this week with a unit all about numbers—-enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

SENSORY

Time to break out the messy play again—but this time with shaving foam! Place a generous amount of foam on a tray, cookie sheet, or if you are feeling especially adventurous—-on the kitchen table 🙂

 

 

Have your child use their fingers to practice writing numbers in the foam.

 

 

 

 

GROSS MOTOR

This week use dice or playing cards to determine how many of an activity your child does.  For example, roll a dice or pull a card from the deck to see how many jumping jacks, wall pushups, or frog jumps your child does.  Or to determine how many seconds they can stand on one leg or how many times to catch and throw a ball without dropping it.  I have some oversized playing cards and light up large dice that I like to use at school, but you could us regular playing cards or dice, Uno cards that have numbers, put number magnets or strips or paper with numbers written on them in a cup/bag and draw one, or make your own dice out of a cube shaped box if you want to.  Make up your own rules and use activities that your child enjoys.  The fun part is letting the dice or cards decide how many you do.

Online, I found an activity where you tape various pieces of paper on a wall (choose the wall and ball carefully, so that the paint doesn’t get messed up and nothing gets broken) with numbers on them and have the child throw a ball to the requested number.  You could have them draw the number out of a cup as mentioned above and throw the ball to the matching number or call the number out to them verbally.  This could be done in standing, standing on a pillow for a challenge, in tall kneeling or 1/2 kneeling, in bench sitting, supported sitting, or while sitting in a wheelchair.  It could also be done by touching, reaching, or looking at a number to identify or match the number.

Also, you could make number lines out of tape, paper plates, or chalk and have your child move to a requested number.  You could also incorporate addition and subtraction, by having them start on one number and take steps forward and backward and see where they land.  You could also have them crawl while pushing a toy car to a requested number or “numbered parking spot” if they are non-ambulatory.

 

Hopscotch is also a fun game with numbers.  Make a path out of chalk or tape, either a traditional path or create one of your own.  You can play by traditional rules or make up your own.  You could incorporate different movements in the game such as side stepping, walking backwards, bear walking.  Be creative and have fun.

Have a great week!

 

 

 

 

FINE MOTOR

A scavenger hunt is perfect for a numbers themed activity! Below is a list of items to find around the house.

After you count the item, there is a visual motor activity included with each to target a wide variety of skills.

Happy Hunting!!

 

1—backpack: practice opening/closing the zipper.

2—shoes: practice tying shoe laces.

3—pillows: identify the shapes.

4—spoons: scoop water or rice and pour from one spoon to another.

5—toy cars: drive the cars along straight, curved, and zig zag roads.

6—coins: hold out your hand palm down at chin level, stack the coins on your hand.

7—stuffed animals: sort from biggest to smallest.

8—books: stack the books, and then read one of course 🙂

9—crayons: use each color to draw a picture.

10—socks: match the pairs.

 

 

 

LANGUAGE

Because a lot of our students are motivated by food, our language group typically consists of recipes to make.  This week, though, I have a few different things you can do with counting while cooking:

  • Count ingredients one by one. Start with a small number (1-3) and help your child count the number of pieces of food, using a finger to point to each piece. Children often don’t realize that each piece only gets counted once, or they try to count too quickly and skip numbers. Help them to keep track by moving the already counted pieces into a new pile.
  • Count the total number of ingredients. Help your child count the pieces of food and then say how many pieces there are all together. After they finish counting, ask, “How many?” Move up to larger numbers as they get more comfortable with counting.
  • Guess which pile has more ingredients. Make two small piles of food and ask your child to show/tell you which one has MORE in it. Count the number of pieces in each pile to see if they are correct. You can then talk about the pile that has LESS in it.

Here are numbers 1-10 along with cards with dots and animals to count and match to the number.  The number cards can be used as visuals during your cooking activities or you can also use them to help your child count the objects and match them to the number. Here’s the link: Numbers 1-10

 

 

 

LITERACY

We suggest this book from April 2015: I Can Count to 10

 

 

Join us again next time for more fun and home learning—-Group by Group!

 

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Let’s Go On A Picnic

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The weather is pretty nice outside right now and perfect for picnicking—-in your back yard, porch, or on your living room floor 🙂

Enjoy the activities our OT, PT, and SLP have come up with for you this week!

 

 

 

 

SENSORY

This week our focus is on tactile (TOUCH) input. For this activity you need sunscreen (if you are going outside) or plain lotion (if staying inside). If you are using scented lotion, be sure you let your child SMELL the lotion.

Rather than a quick slather, gently massage the lotion on to your child’s arms, legs, etc. concentrating on each body part as you go.  Go slowly and talk about the body part you are applying the lotion to—perhaps even make up a little song to go with it!

 

 

GROSS MOTOR

Whether you have your picnic inside or outside include some games.  There are many kinds of games you can play.  I looked online and found lots.  There are games for inside and outside.  There are games that include water (for a hot day) and items that you have around the house.

Play some sort of a game where you have to throw an object to a target.  Games like horseshoes, washers, corn hole, ring toss, or bowling.  Use what you have from home to play your game.  You could use bean bags, foam balls, swim rings, laundry baskets, boxes, cones, recycled plastic bottles, etc.  If you want to challenge your child’s balance have them stand on a pillow while throwing objects to the target.  If you are outside, you could use water balloons and buckets.  These could all be played while sitting or standing.  You could also play by having your child reach to place an object in a container while they are seated in their wheelchair or chair.  Move the target up high, down low, to the side, forward, etc. to place the object in/on the target (bucket, box, cone, etc.).  Have them cross midline and use both hands.

Also, include a game that requires running.   Games such as relay races (there are many online that include water balloons and sponges if it is a hot day), freeze tag, red light green light, hide and seek, or kick ball.  If your child is in a wheelchair and they can self propel their chair, have them push their chair to play the game.  If they are unable to push their chair, have a sibling be their partner and move them as the game requires.

Try a game that involves gross motor movements such as sack races, hopscotch, and obstacle courses.  Make your own hopscotch path using sidewalk chalk or hula hoops.  You can also use sidewalk chalk, hula hoops, pool noodles, cones, etc. to make an obstacle course for your child to move through.

Maybe, end the day with a scavenger hunt to find a hidden sweet treat.  Have fun and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

FINE MOTOR

Have fun blowing bubbles! If you are doing this inside, you probably want to have a towel handy to wipe up spills. As the bubbles drift into the air, encourage your child to follow them with their eyes. Ask them to catch them by waving their arms, clapping the bubbles between their hands, poking them with a finger, or even isolating the index finger and thumb to “pinch” the bubbles.

Hold the bubble container and ask your child to dip the wand in to work on eye hand coordination. If you are really brave, let your child hold the container——make sure to have that towel handy 🙂

Blowing bubbles is a simple but oh so much fun activity—-enjoy!

 

 

 

 

LANGUAGE

The weather is so beautiful right now and PERFECT for a picnic!  Here’s an activity you can do inside or outside: What Should We Bring To The Picnic

Talk with your child about the different things that they might want to eat at a picnic.  There are picture supports in the link above.  You can use the picture symbols of food that are in the link or you can cut food out from magazines.

Since you won’t be too far from home while on your picnic, here’s a little recipe that doesn’t require many ingredients and will be yummy to have when it’s hot outside.  Take a look at the recipe to see our students putting this treat together from 2018 🙂  Here’s a link to the recipe: Lets Make Strawberry Sorbet

 

 

 

 

 

LITERACY

We suggest this book from January 2015: The Little Brown Owl Makes a Healthy Snack

And this book from this book from October 2013: Who Did Alice See

 

 

Join us next time for more fun and home learning—-Group by Group!

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