It’s hard to believe we’re halfway through summer! During Week 3 we had an ocean of fun with our “Under the Sea” theme, and during “Outer Space” week we had a blast! All while targeting a variety of social, language, and sensory-motor goals.
Morning Circle Time
This time provides a structured environment for campers to identify how they are feeling, ask and answer questions of their peers, make predictions, wait their turn, and practice their social skills. We encourage campers to use “Social Thinking” visual supports and vocabulary, and we see many of them carrying over some of these skills into less-structured activities.
During weeks 3 and 4 campers asked each other questions such as: What is your favorite planet?, Do you like astronauts?, What is your favorite sea creature?, and Have you ever been in the ocean? They also practiced their attention, listening, and recalling skills by remembering what their friends’ answers were. We used visual supports when needed to help our youngest campers.
Campers learned about “Group Plan” and “Body in the Group”. They learned to recognize when they were part of the group, and some basic social rules that apply in order to be a successful group member. They used inferencing skills to help determine the “Group Plan,” and learned the social benefits of following the plan.
Campers also learned about “Thinking with your eyes”. They learned that if they attend to the faces of others and follow their eye gaze, they can make a “smart guess” as to what that person might be thinking. It is a great way to get our children to learn to use and interpret non-verbal communication.
We continued using recyclable or reusable materials for our daily craft projects, which included bubble wrap/condiment cap jellyfish, plastic bottle/tissue paper rainbow fish, water bottle rockets, bottle-top aliens, and a collaborative outer space backdrop made from cardboard and newsprint planets. We love crafts for teaching following directions, sequencing events, improving fine motor skills, building exposure to new textures, and working collaboratively.
During Sea and Space Yoga, campers were encouraged to imagine floating through the sea and outer space during a visualization and relaxation exercise. Yoga continues to help campers increase body awareness and calming strategies.
Our little fisher-boys and girls navigated an ocean obstacle course, where they stopped to collect pincers (clothespins) for crabs, which helped strengthen their fine motor skills. We encouraged them to cheer for their friends and also occasionally work together in teams to navigate the sea. During space week, our little astronauts pulled their partners on a (scooter board) space ship to the moon, walked on a variety of surfaces as they explored other planets, and threw planets (balloons) through the black hole (a ring hung from the ceiling).
We’re very grateful for our amazing occupational therapists, who coordinate these daily movement activities that target motor planning, sequencing, spatial awareness, strengthening core muscles, and teamwork.
Sensory activities included playing with colorful “fish eggs” (water beads) and a variety of shells, as well as making space aliens out of play doh and hunting for planets in sand. Daily sensory activities give campers a chance to explore different sounds and textures, improve fine motor skills, share materials and space, work together, and follow through with clean up!
All campers participate in a formal interactive listening group activity each day, which helps improve listening skills such as understanding and following directions of increasing complexity, attending to auditory stimuli in background noise, practicing whole body listening, and waiting their turn. Weeks 3 and 4 included activities related to the books “Finding Nemo” and “Pete The Cat – Out of this World”. They played a listening game called “Feed the Crocodile”, as well as one using our Marble (“Planet”) Run. Lastly, they completed Hearbuilders tasks on the iPad.
Daily music continues to be a camp favorite! We sing theme-related songs (“Let’s go Swimming” and “5-4-3-2-1 Blast Off – Another Rocket Ship Run!”), during which campers can greet each other with waves, high fives, and hugs. We also take turns playing musical instruments, and practice listening and waiting skills.
Science is always a big hit! Campers are encouraged to make predictions, follow directions, describe attributes, and practice self-control. Campers explored the concept of how salt can melt ice by attempting to pick up cubes of ice using salted yarn. They also enjoyed combining water, baking soda, dish soap, vinegar, and washable paint to create a foaming space volcano!
Each day the campers have some time to enjoy some facilitated free play with their friends. This provides an opportunity for them to develop their play skills alongside and with their peers. Our therapists facilitate this play in a variety of ways including encouraging campers to use expressive language, share, combine ideas to play together, share close space, and work together to set up and clean up.
Stay tuned for more updates as summer rolls on!