Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Have a Snow Ball Fight!!!

I know some people have real snow on the ground and are able to send the kids outside to have a real snow ball fight, but others do not have snow right now.  So, have an indoor snow ball fight!  Have the kids rip paper and crumble it into "snow balls".  Then have them throw these balls at each other!  It's a fun and safe snow ball fight.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Hand print Reindeer

Here's a cute idea for a holiday craft.  Trace your child's hand (or have them trace their own) then have your child, if able, cut it out.  Next, have your child draw a heart and a circle and cut them out.  Glue on the parts and have your child draw, or glue on, the eyes and mouth and they have a cute reindeer!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Edible Christmas Tree

Make an edible Christmas Tree- it's simple.  Cover an ice cream cone with green icing (add green food color to white icing) and turn upside down.  Have your child use a butter knife to spread the icing.  Then have your child put assorted candy onto the "tree" as ornaments.  The biggest challenge of this project is keeping your child from eating the candy before the tree is decorated!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Make a Candy Cane

Need more tree decorations?  Have your kids make candy canes.  All you need is a pipe cleaner and red and white beads.  Bunch up one end to prevent the beads from falling off, then have your child string the beads in a red-white-red-white pattern.  When they are done, fold down the top of the pipe cleaner and form it into a "U". 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Candy Nativity

Try this for a twist on the gingerbread house!
Make a stable:
Break a graham cracker in half, then use a serrated knife to cut off one edge on each one at an angle.  Use icing to make these stand up on a paper plate.  Then use a full graham cracker to make the rooftop.  Crush frosted mini-wheats around to look like snowy hay!

Make the nativity figures:
Each figure is made with a tootsie roll, gumdrop, and a piece of fruit roll-up... use icing to put the gumdrop head onto the tootsie roll.  Then use a strip of fruit roll up to drape over the head and wrap around the tootsie roll body.  Use a mini candy cane to turn one of your people into a shepherd!

Make a marshmallow sheep:
Poke 5 holes in a large marshmallow, one on the side for the head and four for legs.  Cut a piece of black licorice into 5 pieces and poke them into the holes in the marshmallow.

Other stable animals:
Use icing to make other stable animals standing around using animal crackers.

Set this up and wait for baby Jesus to be born!  Parents, try using a small gingerbread cookie as baby Jesus, place him in the stable on Christmas eve for a special night.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Santa Picture

Here is an easy, but cute, craft to have your kids make.  Find a picture of Santa, have them color in the picture and then glue cotton balls for the beard. For increased fine motor benefit, have them pull the cotton balls apart before gluing them onto the picture.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Alphabet Bus

Here's another gift idea- an alphabet bus.  These buses are fun for the kids as well as provide educational benefits.  The children isolate their fingers to push the alphabet letters.  These buses usually have songs and say the letters as your child pushes them, thereby teaching your child his/her letters.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Fidgety Kids Part 2

Here's some more ideas to help your child focus through homework sessions:
Chew gum, or fruit snacks, i.e. one per row of math problems correct...
Wear wrist and/or ankle weights to help ground them...
Wrap a stretchy exercise band around the front chair legs so the child can bounce his heels against it, or slide his feet between the bands and try to swing his legs - this one's great for those who crave deep pressure...
Break up your session with movement, i.e. one run up and down the stairs after X amount of work, or try somersaults, push ups, or jumping jacks...
Attach a finger puppet to the end of the pencil and tell the child to take him for a ride...
Allow the child to stand at an easel instead of sitting for some of the homework...
Send them on an errand in between assignments, i.e. put away laundry, walk the dog, help unload the dishwasher... something that will increase feeling of self-worth while feeding the need to move...
Encourage your child by providing leading questions, ones that help teach the concept but don't provide the exact answer... this can improve a child's self-esteem and view of homework in general if they achieve success themselves.

Stay tuned for more ideas in a future post!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Social Story for Nap Time

Here's an example of the use of a social story for a child I see in the HeadStart environment (I removed the pictures for privacy).  He is wiggly at best and disruptive at worst during naptime.  The thing is, he really NEEDS the sleep!  We are going to try this intervention next week sometimes it can be helpful to use a story like this to prep the child before a change.  This idea has worked in the past for other kids!  Also, try noise canceling headphones, a weighted blanket under the direction of an OT, or placing the child's cot under a classroom table with a sheet draped over to give him a feeling of enclosure.  Simple words and clear pictures help the child understand exactly what's going to happen and what's expected of him.  Happy napping!

This is Nap Time
Miss Chelsea is bringing me a tunnel and sleeping bag for nap time on Wednesday.
(picture of tunnel)
When I do not stay on my mat during nap time my friends cannot sleep.
Then they are very tired.
(picture of tired child)

Everyone needs to rest during nap time so everyone can be ready to play, even me!(picture of children resting on their mats)
First I will get ready for nap time by giving myself five bear hugs.
(picture of child hugging self)
Then I will crawl into the tunnel and lay down inside the sleeping bag.
(picture of child getting in sleeping bag)
I will let Miss Barb or Miss Kelly zip me up in the sleeping bag.
Then I will rest quietly.  No more talking.  No more singing.  No more moving around.
(picture of boy with resting on elbows with hand over his mouth)

I can look through the tunnel windows quietly.  I can close my eyes and remember something that was fun.  I can be as still as a statue and as quiet as a mouse.
I might even fall asleep.
That’s OK because Miss Kelly and Miss Barb will let me know when it’s time to get up.
(picture of classroom clock)
Then I can roll up the sleeping bag until the next nap time.
(picture of rolled up sleeping bag)
Everyone is happy because everyone got some rest, even me!
(picture of 5 smiling kids)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Make an Ornament

Here is a way to let your kids personalize your Christmas tree- make their own ornaments.  It's simple, and fun. All you need is apple sauce and cinnamon.  Use equal parts of each and have your child stir them together.  It should become a thick paste, so you may need to add more cinnamon to thicken it if it is too thin.  Once you have a paste, give your child a ball and have him/her flatten it with their hand and use cookie cutters to form the ornaments.  Then, use a pencil to make a hole to hang the ornaments.  (It is important that you put the hole in the ornament before it hardens)  Let the ornament dry and it is ready to go!  Remember to turn them over every day so the edges don't curl too badly.  Try watering down glue and painting it over the ornament, then sprinkle on some glitter.  You could even tinge the watery-glue with food coloring!