Summer Vacation in Florida


 IMG_0004The school year is ending and we are all thinking about summer vacation again! Now our first post this year was about Florida vacations but there is SO much to do here that it’s totally worthy of a second post.  Hope you enjoy seeing all the fun things we did and maybe get inspired to visit our sunshine filled state on your summer vacation 🙂






IMG_9944We have miles of sand and surf in Florida so almost everyone goes to the beach at least once during summer vacation—-it’s like a law or something 🙂

Our little “beach” box was filled with moon sand. Moon sand is a little dense just like the sand on the shore—-perfect for molding into sandcastles or stamping impressions. We included some fun stampers with handles making them easy for our students to grip. With just a little push cute impressions of a little mermaid or a fish appeared.

The science access points recognize a change in an object and apply a push to move an object are addressed as concepts of changes in matter and force are explored.





IMG_9941For animal lovers the Jacksonville Zoo is a great place to visit. We put lots of animals in our zoo box including our favorite sound producing ones. A plush monkey had a curtain ring hot glued to his back making him especially easy for our students to pick up.

We also included the word “ZOO” and a little zoo keeper. Of course, the animals need something to eat so assorted play food could be found—-everyone got a kick out of the “steak”. It was part of a set of coasters found in Target’s dollar section.

As the buttons are pushed on the animals, the science access point apply a push to move an object is again addressed. Another science access point distinguish between a plant and an animal is also addressed.


 IMG_9749Sometimes it is nice to get out of the hot sun and hang out in a nice cool movie theater. We are excited to see the fun summer movies that are coming out. Of course, you would HAVE to have some popcorn! This box was filled with popcorn kernels which are so fun to push hands down into. Our students hunted for the letter S (for “summer”) —–there were 3 of them to find.

In addition to letter recognition, the math access point recognize when 1 or 2 items have been added to or removed from sets of objects to 3 can be addressed.





IMG_9925We went with Mickey Mouse colors for our Disney World box. There were soft red, yellow, black, and white pompoms—-3 of each color. For contrast we included some shiny beads which our students always enjoy. To add yet another math component there were 0 yellow beads, 1 strand of white beads, 2 strands of black beads, 3 strands of red beads to count!

Probably the favorite item was the little Minnie Mouse box—-it had a tiny mirror inside so our students could admire their reflections. They really are a super cute bunch of kids 🙂

The science access point identify objects by one observable property, such as color is also addressed.




IMG_9787Another fun theme park is Lego Land. We filled this box with what else—-LEGOS!  The students had a great time putting them together and pulling them apart, perfect for promoting bilateral coordination and hand strengthening!

In addition to discussing the colors of the blocks, they can be ordered by measurable attributes—-addressing the math access point recognize differences in size of objects.






IMG_9742IMG_9757Some people go camping on their summer vacation. We have lots of great places to park an RV or put up a tent and then roast some marshmallows.

Our shaving cream and cornstarch mixture has a texture just like marshmallows. A fabulous fun texture to smoosh around or practice writing letters.

Recognize that pushing and pulling an object makes it move is a science access point addressed in this activity.




IMG_9958Here in Tallahassee, Cascades Park is a great place to visit during our hot Florida summers. There are ducks to feed in the ponds and fun water fountains to splash around in.  Students had fun rinsing the shaving foam off their hands and playing with the ducks in our little “pond”.

The math access point associate quantities 1 and 2 with number names and the science access point recognize water as a liquid can both be addressed in this activity.





IMG_9999Wherever we go on summer vacation in Florida, sunscreen and sunglasses are a MUST! Bath and Bodyworks aruba coconut scented lotion reminded us of sunscreen and a perfect scent for this theme. It left our students smelling like they were ready for a day at the beach!









IMG_9795IMG_9876Of course our students always rock a pair of sunglasses——we do have the COOLEST kids after all 🙂 Recognize external body parts is the science access point addressed in this activity.








IMG_9834We did a 2 part art project this week. On Tuesday we painted with corn syrup. First we discussed the color blue and asked the students to show us blue with the communication symbols. Match objects by one observable property, such as color is the science access point addressed with this activity.

Then we mixed the blue food coloring into the corn syrup—-our students had a blast stirring them together and watching as the color appeared. The science access point recognize a change in an object is addressed.

We poured the mixture onto a rectangular piece of paper and let our students spread it around with a wide foam brush. Recognize that pushing or pulling an object makes it move is the science access point addressed here.

IMG_9855Then they put a cute picture of themselves onto the water. The students had posed in their bathing suits while laying on their nap mats—–they look just like they are on water floats, totally adorable!








IMG_0105IMG_0155On Thursday we finished our project. We tore some yellow paper and glued it to the bottom of the picture to make a sandy shore. Tearing the paper is another great activity for promoting bilateral coordination. One of our students who has physical impairment used switch operated scissors to cut his paper—–he really enjoyed making them stop and start!





IMG_0145The students then painted on some “surf” using a glue and shaving foam mixture and added either a starfish or some shells. Recognize a change in an object is again addressed here.







IMG_0125                                  Surfs up—-time for summer vacation in Florida!



IMG_0009 In order to go on vacation, you need to pack appropriately for it.  To reiterate what types of things we need to pack to go on a summer vacation, we brought out a plush sun.  We asked our students if the sun was HOT or COLD.  Our little smarties either verbalized that it was HOT or they gestured fanning themselves with their hands.

The science access points distinguish between hot and cold objects and recognize sources of heat are both addressed.





IMG_0023To start packing, we got out our suitcase. We practiced zipping and unzipping the suitcase to open it—-addressing the science access point recognize the change in motion of an object.







We had a bag full of different things that could potentially be packed when going on vacation; however, some of the things in the bag were not appropriate for a hot summer vacation.  Some of the things presented to our students were sunscreen, sunglasses, winter hat, short sleeved shirt, winter jacket, baseball cap, bathing suit, swim towel, long pants, long sleeved shirt, and shorts.

IMG_0050IMG_0030We went around to each of our students and asked, “would we want to bring this on our HOT summer vacation?”  They had to tell us YES or NO by pointing to a picture symbol, verbalizing, using a head nod/shake, or by eye gaze.  For the most part, our students knew what went with HOT weather and what did not.

Recognize clothing worn by humans in different weather is a science access point related to interdependence.

IMG_0067After each item, we asked our students to put it IN the suitcase.  Although the clothing items weren’t folded nicely, they made it IN!

The math access point recognize when an object has been added to or taken away from a situation is addressed in this fun part of the activity.






IMG_0043IMG_0073Time to grab our hats and put on our sunglasses——it is summer vacation in Florida!







Well this is our last theme based post for the school year! We have had a such great time and have been thrilled with all the growth we have seen with our students. We have a few “extra” posts that we have planned for the summer and are already planning some great themes for the next school year. IMG_0179We hope you all have a wonderful fun filled break and we will see you in September for more fun and learning——Group by Group!

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