Week 13—Kwanzaa and the Letter M


Kwanzaa was the theme for our Fine Motor and Sensory groups this week. Our Language group is on the letter M.

Sensory Group—Kwanzaa

Cara’s book helped us learn more about this special holiday and we used the voice output device to wish each other “Happy Kwanzaa”!

Our first box was filled with some of the symbols of Kwanzaa. First, we put in some straw for the woven mats that are used and often made from straw. We also added some plastic fruits and vegetables, some ribbon printed with fruit, a metal cup, red and green blocks, and a little happy family.

In addition to looking at the symbols, our students were able to explore the differing properties of the various materials (a  science access point).






Such lovely soft textures in our next box!

Red, black, and green pompoms—Kwanzaa colors.

We also added huge fat chenille stems (found at Joann Fabrics) in the same colors.

The differing shapes and colors but similar textures enabled us to discuss the concepts of same and different which are math access points.







In Cara’s book, we learned about the 7 candles of the Kinara. Since we are not allowed to bring candles to school, we used Wikki Stix (available from a variety of catalogs). It was interesting to watch the different reactions of our students.

Their waxy feel is a very interesting texture and they will also stick to themselves. We again used the colors of Kwanzaa which allowed for some sorting opportunities.








Grains are another symbol of Kwanzaa, and 

we couldn’t decide which we preferred so we used

both corn…..








and oatmeal for our scooping boxes. Our students had fun scooping (strengthening shoulder stability, eye hand coordination, wrist rotation) and finding the letter K—-for Kwanzaa!










We practiced prewriting strokes in applesauce

(one of the fruits of the harvest).










We rinsed our hands in pomegranate and apple scented water and then used similarly scented lotion. A delicious fruity scent to remind us of a happy Kwanzaa!










Fine Motor Group—Kwanzaa

We read Cara’s book to learn about Kwanzaa, our students especially enjoyed the pages discussing the different foods! Then we began our activity.

Joy printed the capital letter O at 48 point size on yellow paper. She then cut the paper in half and trimmed all but one side.

On the untrimmed side a green cutting line was drawn.









Our students used the adaptive scissors

to cut along the line.










Then we flipped the paper over and squeezed some glue along each end.

Squeezing the glue (as usual, we colored our own with food coloring to make it easier for our students to see) works on hand strengthening and eye hand coordination.








We put a toilet paper tube on one end

and rolled it to the other end.










Next, we tore pieces of tissue paper (a nice pre-scissor activity). They were crumpled into balls—or an approximation of a ball 🙂 These were then dipped into glue and affixed to our creation. Have you guessed what we are making?











Ta Da—a corn cob! A vegetable from our

Kwanzaa harvest 🙂










On Thursday, after reading “Happy Kwanzaa” again, we proceeded to make a woven mat which is one of the symbols of Kwanzaa.

We bought 2 vinyl placemats at the dollar store and cut each into 4 pieces to make mini mats. 3 slits were made down the length of the middle.

We found some fabric ribbon at a thrift store. There were a variety of fruits printed on it which went along with our Kwanzaa harvest theme. We pre-wove most of the ribbon and let our students finish pulling the strands through which they really enjoyed.

Grasping the ribbon helps work on pincer grasp skills and following the ribbon as it is pulled through addresses visual tracking. We also discussed the rectangle shape of the placemat and number of ribbons addressing math access points.





After we had finished weaving the ribbon

we trimmed the edges using our adaptive


We then used double stick tape to secure

the edges.







And here is our completed Kwanzaa mat, pretty cool!









Language Group—letter M

We started by Making a Magnet Motor Car. Inserting wheels into openings addresses eye hand coordination. Counting the wheels addresses math access points.









Start your Motor—-Make it go!                      

Pushing the car to friends encourages

social skills and is so much fun 🙂








Then we used tongs to pick up bananas to feed the Monkey.

Tongs are useful for working on graded motor control and eye hand coordination.










We had our students choose how many

bananas to pick up. This addresses math

skills in addition to practicing making

choices out of group of 3.

For our students with motor issues, we adapted a softie by hot gluing a shower curtain ring to its back and velcro to its mouth. We  added velcro to some of the bananas. It works really well!






Next we used Markers to color


We our so proud of this student,

who used to avoid handling all

writing utensils. Now look at

him 🙂






After coloring, our students cut out their Money and counted it to see how Much they had Made!

One of our students got quite creative and cut his in half to Make More—if only it could be that easy 🙂









We finished our session by playing Cara’s

sound game and looking at some of the

M words we found.

Please join us again next week with more fun Group by Group!

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