Our first two weeks of camp were a ROAR-ing success, and went off with a BANG, SMASH, KA-POW!
Our weekly themes were “animals” and “superheroes,” which we incorporated into activities designed to address a variety of social, language, sensory-motor goals.
Here’s a peek at some of the fun we had:
Morning Circle Time
This daily ritual creates a structured environment for campers to identify feelings, interact with peers, and practice predicting and turn-taking. They are encouraged to use Social Thinking™ and Zones of Regulation® visual supports and vocabulary, which we reinforce throughout the day. We’re excited to see that many campers are starting to use these strategies on their own!
Specific Social Thinking™ lessons included learning about “Thinking and Feeling.” Campers used “thought bubble” and “heart” visuals to express what they were thinking about and connect that to how it made them feel. They learned new vocabulary about emotions, and practiced guessing what other people might be feeling based on body language, facial expression, and tone of voice.
We also encouraged theme-related interactions amongst campers, like asking each other: “What is your favorite Superhero?” Or, “If you could have any super power, what would it be?” Campers practiced their attention, listening, and recalling skills when we asked them to remember how their friends answered questions.
This summer we introduced our new craft motto: ICT LOVES Mother Earth! Our daily crafts are created almost entirely from recyclable or reusable materials. Aside from encouraging campers to care for the environment, our daily crafts help them learn to follow directions, sequence events, improve fine motor skills, build exposure to new textures, and work collaboratively.
Animal-themed crafts included newsprint owls, animal finger puppets, and working together to create puppet theaters from repurposed shoe boxes.
Superhero-themed crafts included superhero cuffs made from cardboard paper towel rolls, and working together as a group to create a superhero city backdrop made from newsprint, cardboard, stickers, and paint.
Daily yoga is a camp favorite! It’s a fun way to help campers increase body awareness and understanding of calming strategies through songs, poses, and guided relaxation time.
Our occupational therapist-led daily movement activities focused on motor planning, sequencing, spatial awareness, strengthening core muscles, and teamwork.
Our campers loved pretending to move like different animals and navigating animal-themed obstacle courses.
During superhero week they practiced gross motor skills while completing obstacle courses, and worked as a team to build (and knock down!) a superhero house.
Our 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!
Campers explored uncooked beans in a variety of sizes and used various containers to “feed” our animal friends (made from recycled bottles). They also searched through beans and sand to find animal puzzle pieces, which they worked together to complete.
During superhero week campers explored different textures (beans, seeds, sand, ribbons) with their hands while searching for and rescuing our superhero figurines. They also worked on their problem solving and fine motor skills by using different tools (e.g. tongs) to set superhero figures free from ice trays covered with rubber bands.
All campers participate in a daily interactive listening group that helps them improve their ability to listen to and attend to auditory information, understand and follow directions of increasing complexity, attend to auditory stimuli in background noise, practice whole body listening skills, and wait their turn.
Campers participated in activities related to the “Polar Bear” and “Charlie’s Superhero Underpants” books, played Animal Sound Bingo, played the listening game “Marvel – I Can Do That,” and completed “Hearbuilders” tasks on the iPad.
Our new daily music sessions are a hit! At the end of each day campers from all age groups come together in the gym to sing together. They sing theme-related songs, take turns playing musical instruments, and practice their listening and waiting skills.
Most campers agreed their favorite songs were “Animal Boogie” and “We Are The Heroes.” We also sang a very special “Happy Birthday” to Ms Alex on Wednesday, which was followed by a big group hug!
Each Friday the campers participate in a special science lesson. They are encouraged to make predictions, follow directions, describe attributes, and practice self-control.
Campers learned about oxygenation by mixing hydrogen peroxide, dish soap, warm water, and yeast to create foamy “Elephant Toothpaste”. Then campers were going to learn about ice crystal formation and nucleation in our “Mr Freeze” water & ice experiment…instead they learned that sometimes science experiments don’t always go as planned! We didn’t get our ice crystals but we worked on being “flexible thinkers” and changed our plan from science to superhero paintings!
Each day campers have time to enjoy facilitated free play with their friends (including cars, superheroes, trains, Legos, dress up, etc.). This allows them to develop their play skills alongside and with their peers. 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.
Big thanks to our campers, therapists, and staff for an amazing start to summer camp! Stay tuned for updates all summer long.