Tropical Island Vacation

Island Vacation Theme August 2015

Both our Kinder and Hop & Squeak groups took a vacation to an island this week. Island activities, such as, Which way to the Island? and Island Picnic, encouraged participants’ fine motor, sequencing, social participation, free play, self-care and sensory skills. This week we focused on cooperative group play and working as a team.

In order to facilitate increased communication, therapists used a playful technique called keeper of the treasure, where therapists were “keepers of the treasure” (objects or tools the children need). Kids had to communicate to get the desired item.

Hop & Squeakers started off with a Palm Tree Puzzle, in which they matched shapes to a template, then glued the pieces on and decorated them with letter stickers. This activity required kids to follow directions and request tools while sustaining attention. Kinders created their own Chicka Chicka Boom Palm Trees by tearing up tissue paper and gluing it on a template, while staying within the lines. This craft allowed Kinders to work on fine motor dexterity, manipulation and strength, as well as expressing needs and asking for assistance.

Kinders also packed a suitcase in a relay race, in which each child had a picture of one item they had to retrieve and pack in the group suitcase. Packing the suitcase involved turn-taking and waiting, introduction of new vocabulary words, and teamwork.

Next, Hop & Squeakers played Which way to the island? They hopped on stepping stone letters, walked across a balance beam bridge, swung from “trees,” got a hand from their friends (rope pull on scooter board), and explored animals and colors on the “sea mat.” Which way to the island? encouraged early literacy, articulation of letters, peer play, and pretend play.

The Kinders worked as a team in an Island Obstacle Course  – retrieving letters without falling in the “water,” attempting different ways to get to the “island” (hold hands, build a boat) with therapists providing obstacles as “big waves.” Island Obstacle Course encouraged non-competitive play skills, safety and body/spatial awareness, and recognition of letters.

Snack time was an Island Picnic with pineapple “suns,” yogurt “sails,” “sand,” or “clouds,” and pretzel and seaweed “palm trees.” The picnic helped kids to increase food tolerance and variety and expanded on pretend play.

Try these activities at home:

– Parents can encourage communication by becoming “keeper of the treasure.” Instead of having all of your child’s favorite toys and snacks within reach; put them just out of reach, but still within eyesight. This creates an environment in which they must communicate to get the desired item.

– Crafts! Crafts build kids’ fine motor skills by using a variety of materials to cut, glue, and touch when making a craft. Using different materials provides sensory rich experiences. Sharing materials with family members allows kids to work on turn-taking and requesting based on personal needs, and allows children to have positive interactions with family. Display the art as a family to build your child’s confidence.


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