Monday, March 21, 2016

Springing into Spring!

Living in New York City and working with kids, I happen to have a real mix of kids who celebrate different holidays.  Since I grew up in a home that celebrates Easter, I happen to have more ideas on how to incorporate Easter themed activities into my sessions with the kids who also celebrate.  As I have lived here longer, I have had to come up with ways to make all my activities work for all kids.  If you read my blog regularly, you know that I love the holidays and how they allow for some creativity and change in my routine during my sessions.  Not only is it good for me to have new things to do, it's really good for the kids I work with.  They are so motivated by a totally new activity and makes them work harder during our sessions. Additionally, they love being able to do things that they can take home and share with their parents, siblings, friends, etc..

Here are a few of the things I will be pulling out this week.  For some kids, the activities will be Easter related and for others, it will be to celebrate the arrival of Spring.

Eggercise Hunt-one of the kids I work with has a thing for plastic eggs.  When he does a great job with something that is especially challenging for him, his mother rewards him with a surprise egg.  When looking in the stores this week, I saw the plastic eggs and was trying to think of a way to use them in my sessions.  After a little while, I decided that I would have a bit of an egg hunt with them at the gym.  I have 12 eggs and in each egg I have an activity hidden inside: 12 fine motor activities and 12 gross motor activities.  I have a feeling that the kids will have so much fun looking for the hidden eggs that they won't even realize that they are working.

Pompom Art-one of the things my kids love the most is when they get to take something home to share with their parents.  I try and do things that can be done quickly in the beginning of a session and hopefully be dried in time for them to take it home with them.  If not dried, I always take a picture of the child with their project and send it to their parents and then they can take it home with them the next time.  This week, I will be letting kids choose between an Easter egg or a spring flower picture that they get to paint with pompoms.  I like to have the kids paint with the pompom attached to a clothespin so they can have more control of what they are doing.  It is also a great way to work on encouraging an appropriate grasp on a writing instrument.  This activity is also great for working on improving eye-hand coordination, visual motor and visual perceptual skills.  I like to use washable paint or ink pads for this activity as the colors tend to pop more and obviously, they clean off of little fingers, clothes and tables easily!

Cupcake Liner Flowers-this is something I have seen done a bunch of times but haven't really tried until now.  Using large muffin or cupcake liners, you can have kids practice cutting and coloring.  I like to give the kids I work with broken crayons to color with as it encourages a more appropriate writing grasp.  You can also find little stickers to decorate the flower with which is a great way to work on improving grasping skills.  If you want to add a challenge, get coffee filters and have your kids color them and then cut out the petals. It means coloring a larger surface and having to practice cutting a little more. Once colored and cut, you can add a stem using a pipe cleaner.

Fingerprint Art-nothing says spring to me more than flowers, chicks and bunnies.  Many of the kids I work with don't have the skills to draw these things so I have to find ways to simplify it for them.  I've always been a fan of Ed a matter of fact, I wrote about one of his newer books Gumdrops, a few weeks ago. Using fingerprints and drawing a few simple lines, kids can have more success with drawing.  If you celebrate Easter, you can make bunnies and chicks all over a piece of paper and make a card saying "Hoppy Easter".  If you don't celebrate, you can have the kids make a spring themed card using all the same animals.  One of the nice things about this particular craft is that it can be finished quickly so it can be taken home that same day.  For my older kids, I have them fill out the card so they can practice writing at the same time.

With  many of the kids I work with on vacation this week, parents are looking for things to do with their kids to keep them busy.  All of the activities I have suggested are easy to complete at home with a bunch of friends or with siblings.  If you happen to be near a Target this week, you should check out their bargain would be surprised by you can find for a steal.  I picked up a few really cute spring stamps that will be a big hit with the kids this week.

Do you have any fun crafts or activities that you do with your kids?  Ones that don't require a lot of supplies or take too much time to complete?  I would love to hear from you if you have anything I should add to my sessions this week.  I am always a click away and love hearing from each of you!

Happy Spring!

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