Week 15—Christmas and Letter O


Christmas was the theme for our Sensory and Fine Motor groups. Our Language group’s theme was the letter O.

Sensory Group—Christmas

We finished our holiday unit by learning about Christmas this week starting with Cara’s book.  We have our props and sensory boxes ready, so let the merry making begin 🙂

We let our students wear finger puppets while we read our book.Finger puppets are so fun and great for working on finger individuation. For other students, they are helpful for calling attention to and increasing visual regard for their hands.









After finishing the story, we turned off the lights so we could turn on our battery operated ones! Our students were entranced and loved looking (addressing visual functions) and touching them.

In addition, they were able to strengthen finger intrinsic skills turning them on/off.

We found these lights at Target.








When we finally turned the lights back on we opened our first sensory box in which we placed a variety of items related to our theme. We had large jingle bells, some green garland, fat chenille stems, pompoms, mardi gras beads, and yarn in the colors of red and green. We also put in a little doll Christmas sweater, snowman ornament, felt Santa and Christmas cut outs, a tiny stocking, package bows and some assorted theme related toys.

Whew! What a lot to explore and discuss the different properties of!








We cut our candy cane, reindeer and star (all symbols of Christmas) shapes in our gingerbread scented playdough. Some of our students needed reminders that the playdough was “not to eat”. We generally know which of them have a tendency to want to sample things and so make sure to redirect them when needed.

Playdough is great for working on hand strengthening when squishing and squeezing. When pinching small pieces or rolling between fingers, you address finger individuation skills.







Garland is everywhere at Christmas, so we had to have some to explore! Its soft, shiny and easy to grasp. Its also visually very appealing to our students.

They had so much fun holding and shaking it, or—

having it draped around them 🙂








We looked for the letter C hidden among

the red and green beans (Christmas

colors). Also an opportunity to practice

scooping and pouring skills.









We practiced pre writing patterns in oobleck, which we scented with peppermint extract to remind us of candy canes.

Peppermint aroma has been associated with increased attention and alertness

We also added some red and green glitter for visual interest and to encourage tracking.

We finished by rinsing our hands in gingerbread scented warm water and rubbed on some of the  lotion to help us think about Christmas the rest of the day 🙂





Fine Motor Group—Christmas

On Tuesday we began by reading Cara’s “Merry Christmas” book and had lots of fun with the finger puppets. Then we made a reindeer!

We started by passing (counting as we did so, of course) out one large floor puzzle piece for each student and painting it brown.

Painting is a fun way to gain practice grasping and using writing utensils.

On an additional note, putting paint shirts on and off helps work on dressing skills—got to fit those ADL’s in where we can!







Then we passed out 2 slightly smaller floor

puzzlepieces to each student. This time we

counted by 2’s as we passed them out—

math access points!

These pieces were painted black.









We then glued the antlers to the head, added 2 googlie eyes and 1 red pom pom nose—working on math access points and pincer grasp skills!











And here he is—-Rudolph the red

nosed reindeer!











On Thursday after reading Cara’s book again, we made some snowflake ornaments. Thanks to Alice W. for this great idea!

We started with a snowflake made from puzzle pieces that had been pre-glued together. These were regular size puzzle pieces.

The reason for our puzzle mania this week?  Well, they were FREE —-and we LOVE free!











We painted them with a mixture of white

paint and a little glue.









Then we sprinkled them with fake snow while the paint was still wet. Jeannie put the snow it a sugar shaker to make it easier for our students.

You could put the snow in a bowl and have your students pick it up and sprinkle using their fingers to work on translation movements.









Look at this lovely little flurry of snowflakes!

Just so sparkly and pretty. They are going to look lovely hanging on a tree or window.










The Language Group—Letter O

First we took Orange beads Out Of the bowl and strung them Onto Orange string!

This activity addresses bilateral coordination and pincer grasp skills.









Our students with more significant physical differences used  plastic tubing and larger beads.










Next we pulled apart Our stretchy tubes and joined the ends to make an O.

The tubes help work on upper extremity strengthening (pulling apart) and eye hand coordination (joining the ends).









Then we took a paper plate (from which Joy had precut a little section) and began making an Owl.

Our students chose which color markers they wanted to use—-they didn’t have to choose Orange 🙂









After they had finished coloring the plate they cut the Orange wings. Some of our students practiced cutting straight lines with the adaptive tabletop scissors.







Other students practiced cutting curved lines with

either an adaptive or regular scissors.









The wings were then glued On to the plate. Then we added 2 eyes and 1 beak (math access points) and made sure to put them in the right Order—the beak goes under the eyes (directionality concepts).

We taped a loop of Orange yarn to the back.









Ta Da—Our Orange winged Owl













We finished the session with Cara’s sound game and looking at all the O words we found this week—Oh so much fun.

Wow, what a week! Well its about time for Winter Break so we will not be doing any more groups until the new year.  We have some great stuff planned so please join us again in 2012 for more fun Group by Group.

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