Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Summer Activities Kick Off

I don't know about your neck of the woods but here in Connecticut we have seen some pretty good summer weather despite it still not being officially summer. That in mind, I thought it would be a fun post to write up some fun ways to kick off to a good summer!
A few ideas and resources to get your summer mojo going:
1. Field day at school. Consult with the APE teacher or TVI and find out what activities are planned for your child. Review these activities with your child to give them a heads up on the activities. It is helpful if you can support this because depending on your APE or TVI's caseload, their frequency to help with this the day before is usually hard. Make sure you also think about sending in a hat for help with the bright sun. Other things that may be helpful are tactile maps (consult OM), guide wire, tethers, etc. for running or relay activities (consult APE) and visual modifications (consult TVI). Some visual mods are using red duct tape around a target to highlight it, making an identical game board so the child doesn't have to look far to see things, etc. Lastly, peer buddy support (consult classroom teacher). Instead of having the para assist in field day, use a peer buddy or buddies for support. It's OKAY for the paras to hang back and supervise.

2. has some activities for youngsters on Pinterest:

3. Family Fun website (which is a GEM! I love scouring their magazine and site for ideas, recipes, handouts---everything!!). I know it can be overwhelming when looking thru a site or magazine like this when you don't know how to do the modifications for out kiddos. No worries! I happily spent some time this fine not-quite-yet summer evening and scouted out some starter ideas:
I loved their backyard activities: Not all of them are totally doable but most of the forts & structure section are doable for our kids (and their sighted siblings). Just remember, make the mods based on your child's visual needs. It doesn't have to be a special ed project. Something else to keep in mind: Even if it is a little tough for our kids, that's still OKAY! When it (the project, fort, etc.) is on our kids own turf, it gives a bit more confidence to jump in and explore. Then you can invite neighborhood kids over.

Thought about making a sensory garden? 

Garden BedThat's a great idea for preschool through school age AND kids who are MIVI/DB. I had a garden plot when I was a DB teacher and we loved it! We planted all kinds of textured plants and herbs that had great smells (chocolate mint!). I did this in Vegas so if we can make this work there, you can make it work anywhere. I found a link on making a gardening bed on FF, You can also make smaller beds and make them by theme: a touch garden, smell garden, edible garden---ideas are endless.....

I liked this idea: It's a multitasking bench that is portable-

Multitasking Bench, Goal & Carrier
- The idea itself is just cool for typical kids but here's my ideas on how this could be a gem for our kids. First, you can add on things that is helpful for your child (think a built on finished basket), Next, add some texture or permanently attach some items that can fall off by string (the child trails the string to retrieve the item). Why is this a cool idea? Because sometimes our kids, especially those who are MIVI or ASD/VI need that permanent place that they know and when you summer vacay it in a new place, it may be hard to play. If they get to know their 'summer play table' then you can add on when in a new place and keep consistency. I will admit, this does look a bit bulky but I think with the right amount of flair and help from someone who can use tools, this idea has potential....

Water FUN!
First, let me plead with you to enroll your child in swim lessons! Swimming is an excellent sport/recreation & leisure activity for our kids (usually at any level so MIVI kids, too!). It's a lifelong activity that our kids can really thrive in. At Camp Abilities CT this year our goal is to teach every kid how to swim!! It can be a tad tough some times for parks and rec places to agree to swim lessons for our kids. This makes me frustrated! Fight smarter, not harder when this happens. Do your homework and get some materials to show that this is a doable sport and not a bigger liability for places. In fact, it gives me an idea! I am going to do some leg work for you and come up with how to teach blind kids to swim so you can use it as a resource. Sound good?

Here's some ideas for preschool fun with water:

Water Works
Just remember--these ideas are doable! You may just have to make the contrast stronger or put the pool in a more shaded area. Match textures instead of colors for our totally blind little ones!

Hopefully this is enough to get you started! Have you seen or did something that was cool for summer activities? Email me the details and I will be happy to share!

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