The fast approaching holiday break can be stressful with therapists away, a school break and big changes in your child’s schedule making it difficult to maintain a routine. Why not use the time to expand general knowledge and play skills?
Try to maintain the schedule as much as you can by replacing therapy or school time with activities based on one particular theme. Take space travel and astronauts as an example and incorporate activities to address all developmental domains and have different “sessions” throughout the holiday vacation. Depending on the length of the vacation you might choose more than one theme.
I like to start by using short videos to introduce a play schema. This gets everyone excited about playing by becoming familiar with the specifics of the theme and making it “real”. You can find videos on the Difflearn YouTube Channel. Like this one showing a space shuttle lift off!
Next, you could use materials relating to the theme to work on building cognitive skills and expanding the general knowledge base about the topic needed for play.
Here are some ideas:
Parts of Whole – given a picture of an astronaut or space shuttle can the child identify parts both expressively and receptively? This becomes important when expanding the comments used during play. A couple of examples include, “Don’t forget your helmet” or “I think the rocket blasters are broken, let’s fix them!”
Wh Questions – after reading short passages of a book or informational page related to the theme present various Wh Questions for the child to answer. This improves comprehension and listening skills as well as providing more content for the space play. You would be surprised at how well a child can do given a new and motivating topic!
Other sessions can include coloring sheets related to the theme you have chosen. This provides an opportunity to work on task completion, graphomotor and fine motor skills. You can find countless coloring sheets with a simple search on the internet. Like the ones found here: coloring sheets.
Additionally, you can have an arts and crafts “session” and use up some of those holiday gift boxes and gift wrap tubes to make helmets or space shuttle controls.
Last, it’s time to play! Gather the whole family or some friends, line up chairs for the space shuttle and put on your gear. Watch as all the information shared during your “sessions” comes alive during play!
Happy Holidays to All!