Columbus Day


IMG_6163In fourteen hundred and ninety-two Columbus sailed the ocean blue! October 13 was Columbus Day and we spent the week learning a little bit more about the famous explorer. Our sensory group explored a variety of boxes including some colorful ocean blue play dough. The fine motor group made some sparkly crowns and the language group played a Columbus Day game—-what fun! All our activities addressed the social studies access point associate a celebration with an event.




IMG_6024Our first box was filled with red, white, and green rice which are the colors of the Italian flag.

Italy is the country that Christopher Columbus comes from! There were 2 letter C’s—-for Christopher Columbus—– to find and a picture of Columbus hidden beneath the rice.

The social studies access point recognize a person in a story can be addressed in this activity.





IMG_6057Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of Spain helped fund the trip. This box had red and yellow rice—-the colors of the Spanish flag. As the students explored the rice there were some compasses to find and a picture of the royal couple at the bottom of the box. This bright colorful rice certainly invited exploration!

Recognize pictures or artifacts that relate to important people or events is an access point that can be addressed in this activity.






IMG_6363IMG_6389Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand used gold and jewels to help pay for voyage. We didn’t have any real gold but this box filled with gold mardi gras beads made a great stand in——bright, sparkly, and touchable 🙂 Our students loved wearing them or grabbing handfuls and shaking them. Total fun!

IMG_6220The science access point track the movement of objects that are pushed or pulled can be addressed here.


IMG_6446Discovery bottles are always a hit with our students and this one was pretty eye catching!

The colorful jewels looked so pretty floating around. A great way to track objects in motion—-a science access point.





IMG_6430Since our world is round we wanted to include a reference to that in our boxes. We put some beautiful ocean blue play dough in this box and added a circle cookie cutter.

Recognize a common object with a two-dimensional shape is a math access point. Since the play dough can be rolled into a ball the math access point recognize a common 3 dimensional object can also be addressed.





IMG_6107IMG_6182Columbus landed on the sandy shores of the Bahamas. We used some kinetic sand for our sandy shore and believe us when we say that this stuff is TOTALLY cool! It is kind of like this dry oobleck——adults and children were totally mesmerized.

The science access point track the movement of objects that are pushed or pulled can be addressed here.

We are SO getting more of this stuff 🙂




IMG_6194One of the things Columbus was hoping to find was a trade route for spices from the orient! To add a little “spice” to our oobleck we added some oregano flakes. So ok, oregano is technically an herb but it was what we had and it made the oobleck very aromatic 🙂

Recognize that pushing and pulling an object makes it move is a science access point that can be addressed here. The science access point recognize and respond to one type of sensory stimuli, in this case smell, can also be addressed.





IMG_6404We used Bath and Body Works ocean scented water—-it seemed appropriate! We also put in a small boat to float around in our little ocean.

Recognize water as a liquid is a science access point.







IMG_6227Our students really liked the scent of the matching lotion and loved feeling it massaged onto their hands, arms, necks, or even knees!

Recognize one or more external body parts is a science access point.








IMG_6263IMG_6276On Tuesday for our art project we made some cute little sailing ships! We started by asking the students to use communication symbols to choose a color for their ship sails. Then they used adaptive scissors to cut construction paper into rectangular shapes—–1 big and 1 little.

Recognize differences in size of objects is a math access point. The science access point recognize that the appearance of an object or material has changed is also addressed.



IMG_6301The sails were threaded (little slits were cut into the rectangles) onto a straw——with a little triangle flag already attached! Our students needed a little help with this part but it was a great activity for practicing pincer grasp and bilateral coordination skills.

We used some black and brown paper plates folded in half to make the boat. These plates were leftovers from other projects—-it was nice to use them up! The straw mast was slipped through a hole snipped into the middle of the plate and stapled into place.





IMG_6249IMG_6325Ta Da—-our little captains are ready to set sail!









Our Thursday art project was a pretty quick one—–the students made some fun paper crowns. We found this silver and gold bulletin board trim on the give-away table and knew it would be perfect for our project!

IMG_5980The adaptive scissors were pulled out again to snip a length of bulletin board trim.

Recognize that pushing and pulling a object—-in this case the scissors handle—-makes it move is a science access point.






IMG_5983Pincer grasp skills were practiced as the students added some glitter stickers as the “jewels” for the crowns. They really liked this part 🙂

The math access points indicate desire for more of an action or object and indicate desire for no more of an action or object are addressed here.






IMG_6467IMG_6458TA DA—–we have royalty in the classroom!





IMG_6345After reading about Columbus’ travels, we wanted to take one of our own!  We decided to play a Christopher Columbus game using a globe, a small laminated ship, and an All-Turn-It Spinner.

Each of our students took turns playing the game.  They used the All-Turn-It to see how many places they would move forward.  We only used numbers 1-3 on the spinner.  Once they landed on a number, they moved the ship that many places.  Of course, we all counted out loud how many places the ship moved.



IMG_6351IMG_6355While moving the ship, we talked about how the ships sailed on the water and showed our students the route Columbus used on his trek.







IMG_6349Our students had such a great time taking turns, counting, and moving the ship.  They are officially captains of their ship!


IMG_6014IMG_6377Wow we really learned a lot about Columbus this week, hope you join us again next week for more fun and learning—–Group by Group!





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