IMG_3266September 22 is Elephant Appreciation Day—–who knew! We decided that it would a great theme and an opportunity to learn more about elephants. Our sensory group explored boxes that related to places we would find elephants. The fine motor group stamped and painted elephants. In the language group we had an elephant dance party—–how fun is that!





IMG_3312IMG_3431There are 2 different kinds of elephants—-African and Asian. We decided to represent them with some cool and colorful discovery bottles. The African discovery bottle contained beads with the colors of the continent—-black, green, and red. There was also a little elephant bead to find floating around. The Asian discovery bottle was filled with colorful sequins like those that might decorate the headdresses the elephants might wear during a festival. There was another elephant to find in that bottle also.

IMG_3460                                   What a fun way to explore the science access point track objects in motion!


IMG_3134One of the coolest things about elephants are their TRUNKS. This box contained our grey Floam which has an interesting texture and is easily moldable into shapes—-such as an elephant’s trunk! Most of our students really enjoyed squeezing, rolling, pushing and pulling the floam but some of them did not like it at all. While we encourage exploration we try to always respect our students preferences.

Bilateral skills are addressed as students use their hands to roll the Floam into tubes. The science access point recognize that pushing and pulling an object makes it move is also addressed.



IMG_3314IMG_3237This box was total fun, it contained a voice output device that had elephant sounds recorded on it. We also included a small plush elephant and an elephant hat.  Our students had a blast with this box, such great opportunities for pretend play……and they looked SO CUTE in the hat 🙂

Recognize a model of a real object is a science access point addressed.



IMG_3213Here at home, one place to see elephants is the circus. Our circus box was filled with these colorful packing peanuts and a cute little circus elephant. We also put in a cup for filling and pouring——so much fun! This was also a great opportunity to practice fine motor skills such as pincer grasp.

Solving problems involving small quantities of objects using language such as enough, too much, or more is a math access point that can be addressed here.





IMG_3471IMG_3450Another place we might see elephants is at the zoo. Our zoo box was filled with some coarse sawdust—-kind of like the sawdust at the bottom of the circus tent. Since it was coarse rather than fine, it was easily brushed off hands. This was the first time we have used this and we were pretty happy with the way it turned out. Of course, we made sure to watch our students very carefully since this material is not edible.

This box allows the opportunity to address the science access point match animals that are the same since there was more than 1 elephant in the box.

IMG_3494We also put some sunglasses in the zoo box—–if you live in Florida you always need sunglasses for any outdoor activity! Our cool students always rock a pair of sunglasses!


IMG_3308We practiced making vertical and horizontal strokes—–the basic strokes of the letter E—-in our shaving foam. Messy play is always a hit with our students!

A super fun way to address the science access point apply a push to move an object.

IMG_3145The foam was rinsed off in Bath and Bodyworks Into the Wild scented water. Elephants are WILD animals so it sort of works 🙂  Since elephants like to eat fruit, we put in a fruity shaped sponge.

In this activity the science access point recognize water as a liquid is addressed.




IMG_3331We finished with some banana scented lotion from World Market. Bananas are another fruity snack that elephants enjoy. We left our students smelling totally yummy—–with the precaution to stay away from hungry elephants 🙂

Recognize one or more external body parts is the science access point addressed here.









IMG_3339On Tuesday for our art project we stamped elephants! We started by discussing the rectangular shape of our paper and asking our students to show us its color using the communication symbols.

Recognizing objects with 2 dimensional shapes is a math access point. Identifying objects by one observable property such as color is a science access point.




IMG_3350IMG_3377Then we had a lot of fun mixing black and white paint to make GREY paint—–recognize a change in an object is the science access point addressed here.

The grey paint was applied to an elephant stamp with a foam brush. An empty thread spool was hot glued onto the stamp to make it easier for our students to grasp. The students took turns stamping 3 elephants onto their papers.

The math access point associate quantities with number names is addressed here.


IMG_3399                                                                            TA DA—–elephants on parade!


On Thursday we made fun elephant masks!

IMG_3651We started by cutting paper plates in half using our switch operated electric scissors—-which are pretty darn cool 🙂 Of course we discussed the shape of the plate and the fact that we were going to cut 1 plate into 2 halves!

The math access points recognize a common object with a two-dimensional shape and distinguish half from whole using objects can be addressed in this activity.





IMG_3702After the ears were cut, Ms. Katie stapled the ears onto another paper plate (with eye holes already cut out) and the students began painting their elephants.  They really did an AWESOME job—–we were so PROUD!!!







IMG_3669Recognize a change in an object is a science access point addressed here.

Probably the coolest part of this art project was the trunk. We made it using some trash to treasure spiral notebook bindings—–are we creative or WHAT 🙂






IMG_3680IMG_3714Ta DA—–cue elephant trumpeting sounds!









IMG_3535IMG_3524We were up and moving again for our language group.  After reading the book, we put on some elephant music found when searching elephant kids songs on youtube.

Attending to oral presentations (ex. stories, songs, verbal messages) is a language access point.

IMG_3533We practiced following directions, such as STOMP YOUR FEET, SWING YOUR ARMS, HIT THE DRUM, and of course, DANCE!  Some of our students required a little bit of assistance swinging their arms like a trunk might swing on an elephant, but for the most part, they did really well!


IMG_3559We got drums out so we could be LOUD like elephants are loud.  Our students with visual impairments especially liked this part of the dance party!

Recognize and respond to common sounds is a science access point.

The students, AND teachers, had lots of fun at our elephant dance party!







IMG_3501Elephants were certainly appreciated around here this week 🙂 Hope you enjoyed seeing all our activities. Join us again next time for more fun and learning—–Group by Group!

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