It’s hard to believe the holidays have come and gone! Our holiday season was extra special, thanks to the children who participated in our winter camp (and all the therapists and staff who ran the show).
We incorporated a “winter” theme into activities designed to target a variety of social, emotional, language and sensory goals.
For the first time, we included daily music classes into camp, and our campers loved it! Singing songs together encouraged social interaction (high-fives, greeting friends, etc.), following directions, and expressing language. Many thanks to Ms. Julia, who is graduating from the University of Florida with a Music and Psychology degree, for leading our campers in song.
We take the line “a moving child is a learning child” to heart, making sure our campers have plenty of opportunities to move their bodies each day. Our OTs led campers through imaginative movement activities, including snowball bowling, avalanche mountain climbing, and a snow parachute game. Group obstacle courses targeted sequencing, turn-taking, following directions, cooperation and gross-motor skills.
Our campers had lots of sensory play, including pretend-playing with animals in a variety of textures (sand, water beads, “snow,” etc.). Campers also explored new textures and cooperated with peers while creating snow men, making car tracks, and helping penguins get through the” ice” during shaving cream play.
Crafts like hand-print snowflakes, cotton ball snowmen, polar bear masks, hand-print mittens and snow-covered pine-cones were an opportunity for campers to practice sequencing, following directions and fine-motor skills. In addition to individual projects, group crafts like coloring and decorating a winter wonderland mural helped campers learn to cooperate by sharing space, materials and ideas.
We are beyond pleased with the ongoing positive results of teaching yoga (or in the case of winter camp: SNOWGA) to our campers. They learned to flow through winter-themed poses, pretending to be snow dogs, polar bears, snowy trees and more. We closed out every yoga with “Hibernation Relaxation,” which helped to calm and regulate minds and bodies.
Morning Circle Time
A staple of camp, circle time provides a structured environment for campers to identify how they’re feeling, ask and answer questions with peers, make predictions, wait their turn, and practice social skills. We encouraged campers to use the “Zones of Regulation” visual to think about how they and their peers were feeling. Circle time is especially great for helping campers improve their ability to interpret and use non-verbal language.
Every day our campers looked forward to winter-themed interactive stories like “The Gingerbread Man” or “Frosty the Snow Man,” with custom visuals that kept them engaged and participating. Interactive stories (especially when read repeatedly) help children build vocabulary, sequence parts of a story, answer simple WH questions, follow simple directions, expand language, attend to a task and take turns, learn matching, and follow social routines.
Be sure to check back for information on our upcoming Spring and Summer Camps. Wishing you a very Happy New Year!