Winter Holidays and Letter N


This week our Fine Motor and Sensory Groups learned about Winter Holidays around the world. Our Language Group looked at words starting with the letter N.

Sensory Group—-Winter Holidays

IMG_3790Our first box was about Hanukkah. We put in a variety of blue and white items with different shapes and textures such as soft pom poms, curly ribbon, hard beads, shiny garland, and fuzzy chenille stems. Also included were some symbols of Hanukkah including stars and dreidels—so much fun to play the dreidel game at Hanukkah. There were also word cards with Hanukkah pictures such as a menorah and the word “Family”—-the most important part of all the holidays 🙂

This box addresses the science access point of identifying objects by one observable property. It addresses the social studies access points of associating an object with an event and associating a celebration with an event, such as a holiday.




IMG_3641Our blue and white rice box reminded us of the colors associated with both Hanukkah. We included the letter H and the number 8 because there are 8 candles on the menorah.

The colors, of course, remind us of cool winter colors…

and they are just so pretty!

Our rice boxes are always popular to scoop and sift through. As little fingers sift through the rice and find the letters and numbers they are building tactile discrimination skills.

The science access point of using senses (touch and vision) to recognize objects is addressed while searching for the letters and numbers in this box






IMG_3587Diwali is a winter holiday celebrated by Hindus and Bodhi is a winter holiday celebrated by Buddhists.  Like Hanukkah these holidays are also known as the Festivals of Lights. People decorate their homes with lights and candles.

Candles are also an important part of other winter holidays including Kwanza and  St. Lucia Day. Our wikki stix (also known as Bendaroos) make great stand ins for all those colorful candles.

Some of our students enjoyed watching spin around as they were held by staff, others enjoyed feeling their interesting textures or sorting them by color. As they are sorted, the science access points of identifying objects by one observable property and matching objects by one observable property such as color is addressed




IMG_3530We added cardomon spice to our cloud dough (7 cups of flour, 1 cup of oil—many of the recipes say baby oil but we use cooking oil). Cardomon is a spice often used in Indian cooking—-and food is important in all our holidays!

Cloud dough is wonderful stuff, soft and crumbly but still moldable—very cool! We did have one student who sampled it but quickly realized in wasn’t very appetizing :)……

but great for scooping!








IMG_3760Festivals of Light, including Diwali are often celebrated with fireworks! We turned off the overhead lights and turned on our battery operated ones.

We have used our battery operated lights before and our students always enjoy looking and playing with them. They have to be observed VERY closely, of course!

This activity helps address the science access point of recognizing sources of light.












IMG_3674Now for the sound part of the fireworks—-bubble wrap! Our students had such great time walking, running or jumping on the bubbles to make the popping sounds. Wheelchairs made it especially loud!

We think this is just a fabulous picture, doesn’t this look like so much fun 🙂

This activity addresses the science access point of identifying the effect that a push or pull has on an object.






IMG_3793IMG_3513Still on our food theme, we used some vanilla sugar scented foam soap to practice prewriting designs. Food is a big part of all the winter holidays and usually something nice and sweet is involved.

This foam soap was really fun and fluffy—our students didn’t know quite what to make of it at first but then dove in and had a great time!

The science access point of uses our senses to identify objects is again addressed in this activity.

We rinsed our hands in the vanilla scented water and then used the lotion leaving the group smelling just delicious 🙂




Fine Motor Group—-Winter Holidays

IMG_3560On Tuesday after reading Cara’s book we began our art project—-making crowns just like the ones worn on St. Lucia day which is celebrated in Sweden.

First we tore pieces of green paper to make leaves and glued them onto a strip of white paper (which of course we counted and identified the shape, addressing math access points).

Tearing the paper addressing bilateral skills and helps strengthen hand intrinsics. It also addresses the science access point of recognizing a change in an object.






IMG_3556Then we glued the paper pieces onto our white strip of paper.











IMG_3567After we finished gluing on our leaves we used the hole punch to make some red berry circles. Identifying the berries as circles addresses the math access point of recognizing a 2 dimensional shape.

Operating the punch helps strengthen hand intrinsics—if you use your hands, of course 🙂








IMG_3575Time to add some candles (pre-made by Jeannie’s staff). After the candles were glued onto the crown, we counted them. This addresses the math access point of recognizing quantities 1 to 3 using sets of objects.










IMG_3579Some  happy



all ready


St. Lucia Day






On Thursday we looked at the colorful lights in our sensory room. The students had a lot of fun clapping to make the lights go on and off.

IMG_3688This addresses the science access point of recognizing a change in an object.




IMG_3697Today we had a really fun art project. We started by letting our students choose either a white or blue craft foam snowflake.

Making a choice addresses the writing application access point of communicating a preference.

Then we decorated our snowflakes with glue and glitter. Squeezing the glue bottles helps strengthen hand intrinsics.

Holding the glitter addresses grasp skills, while shaking the container helps build co-contraction. Eye hand coordination is also addressed.








IMG_3706We finished by gluing the name of one of our winter holidays on each snowflake. The written words help build concepts of print and address the language access point of attending to familiar literary forms.












IMG_3712TA DA!

IMG_3718And here are all our lovely little snowflakes, they are going to look so cute and wintery outside Jeannie’s doorway.









Language Group—Letter N

IMG_3755First we played Cara’s sound game and listened for words that start with the letter N.

This addresses the language arts standard of responding to environmental sounds.






IMG_3724Then we used our Nose to smell some different scents. Some were Nice…..

others were Not 🙂

We used post-its with the words “nice” “not” and a happy or sad face to encourage our students to voice their opinion.

This addresses the language access point of communicating a preference.

This activity addresses the science access point of recognizing and responding to one type of sensory stimuli.





IMG_3753Next we made a Necklace out of pool Noodles!

We adapted this activity by taping the yarn to the table and wrapping tape around the tip to make it stiffer.

Counting the noodles addresses math access points and looking at the different colors addresses the science access point of identifying objects by one observable property.

The necklaces turned out pretty cute and looked great around our Necks!








IMG_3721We finished by pulling our puppy Near.

This activity addresses the science access points of recognizing that pushing or pulling an object makes it move and recognizing an action as fast or slow.











IMG_3759Here are some of the cool N words we found today!

Its been quite an exciting week for us. First we were mentioned in an article by Sunshine. Here is the link if you want to check it out

We had even more big news when we found out we won a mini grant to expand our activities into more classes.  Needless to say, we were pretty thrilled and are looking forward to using it to expand our groups to other classes.




IMG_3504Group by Group its going to be a lot of fun 🙂

2 responses »

  1. What exciting activities this week! I need to get some of these photos for the yearbook! You ladies are doing a fantastic job!

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