Week 5 of summer camp was a home run, and week 6 was one to treasure! Our “Sports” and “Pirates” themes kept campers engaged and motivated to continue practicing language, social, emotional, and sensory-motor skills.
Here’s a recap of some of the fun we had:
Morning Circle Time
During this daily, structured ritual, we encourage campers to use Zones of Regulation® and Social Thinking™ visual supports and vocabulary to strengthen their emotional regulation and social communication skills. During sports week, campers asked each other “Social Wonder” questions, like What is your favorite sport? and Have you ever been to a sports game? Pirate week questions included: Would you like to be a pirate? Why or why not?
Campers are getting better and better at listening, paying attention, and remembering how their friends answered questions. Our Social Thinking™ lessons were:
- “Whole Body Listening” – In order to truly hear and understand a message, we need to keep our bodies still, look at the person who is talking to us, and think with both our brain and our heart.
- “Expected and Unexpected Behavior” – Campers were prompted to figure out the “expected behavior” based on their environment and the rest of the group. They learned that when we use “expected behavior,” other people have “comfortable thoughts” about us. Likewise, when we use “unexpected behavior,” people can have “uncomfortable” or “wacky” thoughts about us.
We are thrilled to see campers carrying over Social Thinking™ skills throughout the camp day!
We continue to use recyclable and reusable materials for our daily crafts, which give campers an opportunity to practice following directions, sequencing, collaborating, and using fine motor skills. During sports week we made cardboard tube pompoms, and plastic bottle bowling pins that we used for a team bowling game. Pirate-themed crafts included paper towel roll telescopes and cork pirate ships. Campers used their ships during sensory water play, and their telescopes came in handy during a pirate treasure hunt!
Yoga songs, poses, and guided relaxations continue to help campers increase body awareness and learn how to calm their minds and bodies. Campers used creative sports and pirate poses, and pretended to be sailing on a ship during the relaxation portion of the class.
Daily movement activities, led by our occupational therapists, help campers practice motor planning, sequencing, spatial awareness, strengthening core muscles, and teamwork. Sports week movement activities included balloon baseball, kicking a soccer ball into a goal, and using a voice level meter to tell their friends how loud they would like them to cheer. Campers were also encouraged to work in pairs, which facilitates team-building and sharing. During pirate week, they overcame various movement obstacles, finding pieces of treasure for their team’s treasure boxes!
Sensory activities are a chance for campers to explore different sounds and textures, improve fine motor skills, share materials and space, work together, and follow through with clean up. Sensory activities included looking for buried treasure in sand, using shaving cream to “swab the deck” of our pirate ship, and molding a plank out of clay.
Formal interactive listening activities help campers improve listening skills, including understanding and following directions of increasing complexity, attending to auditory stimuli in background noise, using whole body listening, and waiting their turn. Listening activities including the books “Let’s Play” and “Pirates Love Underpants,” the games “Hot Potato” and “Pop Up Pirate,” and Hearbuilders tasks on the iPad.
The addition of music sessions with Ms. Julia has been a game changer for our campers! We’ve been amazed by all of the sensory, language, and social-emotional benefits of everyone coming together to sing, dance, and take turns playing musical instruments.
Everyone looks forward to our Friday science experiments! Science is a great way to practice making predictions, following directions, describing attributes, and practicing self-control. Our experiments these past two weeks were inflating a balloon by placing on a bottle filled with a mixture of vinegar and baking soda, and learning how soap works by using cotton swabs soaked in dish soap to break down the fats in colored whole milk.
During facilitated free play, campers practice social communication skills while playing with a variety of toys alongside and with their peers. Therapists help when needed, encouraging campers to use expressive language, share, combine ideas, and work together to set up and clean up.
We can’t thank our therapists and staff enough for their planning and dedication, and our campers for showing up each day ready to have fun and learn.