The Ocean


This week our theme was The Ocean and we had so much fun learning about it in our various groups.

Sensory Group

IMG_9030We started with a box filled with blue basket grass, a shipwreck figure from a long ago aquarium, a piece of netting, sea shells, green chenille yarn that looked like seaweed, blue beads, pearls and a variety of sea life including a shark, dolphin, fish, lobster and a big spiky ball that looked just like a sea urchin.

This was a great box with interesting things to ย explore and discuss…..

…or just act silly with ๐Ÿ™‚

Reach and grasp skills are promoted as the students explore the boxes contents. In addition visual and tactile discrimination skills are promoted.

This box addresses the language access point of responding to new vocabulary that is introduced and taught directly.

This also addresses the science access point of recognizing a model of a real object.





IMG_9170The ocean has a sandy bottom just like our moon sand. We used our cookie cutters to make either the letter O for “ocean” or a starfish.

Since our moon sand is pretty dense, you have to push a little harder to make an impression—great for hand strengthening!

This box addresses the math access point of recognizing 2 dimensional shapes—a circle and a star.

Math access points can be addressed as the number of impressed shapes are counted.






IMG_9169Doesn’t this pink Floam look just like coral! This is the first time we used this material and everyone was pretty fascinated. It looks sticky but doesn’t FEEL sticky. Its pretty cool and can be molded or squished easily—lots of fun.

It is non-toxic but we made sure to watch for any exploratory “tasting” and made sure to re-direct any motions in that direction ๐Ÿ™‚

This is great material for promoting reach and grasp skills.

The science access point using senses to recognize objects is addressed as students touch and squeeze the “coral”.





IMG_9354Our discovery bottles were a lot of fun. The first one we have used before and it was filled with some colorful jewel like shells.

In addition to being pretty to look at, it ย could be rolled or shaken making a satisfying noise.

The science access point of applying a push to move an object is addressed here.









IMG_9067We made the second bottle by putting a little plastic submarine (found at the dollar store) and some Dawn detergent and water. When shaken the sub floated around and looked really cool!

When shaken to produce the foam, the science access point of recognizing an action as fast or slow is addressed.

When holding the bottle the sub can be tracked, again addressing the science access point of tracking moving objects.

Discovery bottles are so easy (and cheap, which you know WE love) to make and are endlessly fascinating—-we love them!






IMG_9144IMG_9178This pom pom yarn has a variety of blue shades—-just like the ocean. Our students loved this yarn and had so much fun touching, shaking and draping it.

In fact, some of them got just plain silly with it—-kids will be kids after all ๐Ÿ™‚

The yarn is touchable and soft, perfect for our students who might have tactile aversions.

It also addresses the science access point of tracking objects that are pushed or pulled.





IMG_9355We used Ocean scented products from Bath and Body Works—-with a name like that we HAD to use it! In our water we put 3 fish: 1 big one and 2 little ones. The little fish are also squirters so they made for lots of splashy fun.

The fish can be counted and since the fish are different sizes, the math access point of recognizing differences in the size of objects is also addressed.

The little fish squirt water when squeezed so they are great for increasing grip strength.

As you can imagine, there were lots of giggles with this activity ๐Ÿ™‚






IMG_9210The highlight of our group was an underwater tour—-or at least our version of one! We used packing tape to adhere strips of ย clear garbage bags, blue paper and paper whale silhouettes to an umbrella.

On the inside we hung curling ribbon, beads, and some fish.

It turned out really great—-we were actually quite proud of ourselves ๐Ÿ™‚

IMG_9371Lots of visually interesting things to look at as well as touch inside the umbrella BUT we added an extra auditory component—-

—-we taped whale and dolphin sounds (found on Sound Bible) onto our voice output device……….SO COOL!!!!!!

Did we mention how much fun our students had ๐Ÿ™‚










IMG_9082While the scent doesn’t exactly smell like the ocean, our Ocean lotion did have a very pleasant scent that all our students seem to like!

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

After our students have a chance to smell the scent we give them the opportunity to communicate their desire to have some lotion rubbed on their hands or arms. This addresses the language access point of adjusting body movement or nonverbal expression to communicate wants and needs.

What a lovely aroma to help us remember what we learned about the ocean today.







Fine Motor Group

IMG_9098On Tuesday we made some oysters (another great Pinterest idea).

We started by passing out and counting our circular paper plates.

After writing our names on the back we painted them purple (hmm—isn’t that Jeannie’s favorite color!)

Identifying objects by one observable property (in this case color) is a science access point.

Recognizing a common object with a 2 dimensional shape is a math access point.






IMG_9092We mixed a little glue in with our paint so our glitter would stick. You know how we love to add a little sparkle to our projects!

Asking the question “is that enough?” addresses the science access point of solving small quantities of objects or actions using language, such as enough, too much or more is a math access point—-

—-of course, with glitter the answer is always “MORE” ย ๐Ÿ™‚






IMG_9112After folding our plate in half we added a pretty white pom pom pearl.

Nice pincer grasp and eye hand coordination practice!

As the plate is folded in half it changes shape—-addressing the science access point of recognizing a change in an object.










IMG_9122IMG_9111Everyone was pretty tickled with their oyster—

……………………TA DA!!!!!!!!

Honestly, can our students be any more adorable ๐Ÿ™‚









IMG_9244On Thursday we gave our students a choice of three different fish shapes. Then we tore and crumpled pieces of tissue paper (recycled present paper).

The pieces were dipped in glue and applied to the fish.

Tearing and crumpling the paper again addresses the science access point of recognizing a change in an object.

Lots of fine motor skills addressed including eye hand coordination and pincer grasp.






IMG_9271They turned out so cute and colorful. Our students took turns glueing their fish onto our underwater scene.

We cut it out of an old cardboard box and painted it green earlier in the week.

This activity addresses eye hand coordination and spatial relations skills.









IMG_9281Doesn’t it look fantastic—or should we say FINtastic ๐Ÿ™‚













Language Group

IMG_9291We started by playing with a magnetic fishing puzzle. Our students used their communication boards to indicate that it was their turn.

As the various sea creatures were “caught” we wrote the names down on our sticky notes and put them onto the table—-giving the students the opportunity to address the language access point of responding to new vocabulary.

This is also a great activity to promote shoulder stability and eye hand coordination.










IMG_9297Then we played the “over” or “under” game. The students chose ย a strip of board maker symbols, indicating their choices using either gestures, body language or communication boards.

After using the adaptive scissors to cut off a square…











they told us whether it went “over” the water or “under” the water and glued it in the appropriate place on our picture.

IMG_9308We learned all sorts of new vocabulary, communicated choices, and responded to referent pictures used in routines—all sorts of language access points addressed today AND it was a lot of fun!

That wraps up another week. Join us again next week for more fun and learning, Group by Group ๐Ÿ™‚

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