Both our kinder and Hop & Squeak groups went to the carnival this month. Activities such as attending a carnival, clown faces, puppets, and “Old McDonald had a Carnival” encouraged fine motor, sequencing, social participation, counting, problem solving, and turn taking. We focused on sequencing events such as buying tickets for carnival rides, standing in line, handing the ticket to the ride operator, going on the ride, and getting more tickets if you needed them. Carnival was our theme for three weeks leading up to an actual carnival on site later in the month.
To facilitate increased communication, the therapists had the children in the kinder groups be responsible for the materials (scissors, glue, crayons). The children would then have to ask their peers for things they needed to complete the fine motor activities of coloring in a carnival scene, parts of a clown, and puppets.
Both groups went Fishing. The Hop and squeak group went fishing for magnetized fish that they had to put back into their puzzle, while the Kinder group had to fish for the magnetized letters in their name and then write it on the white board. This activity required children to request a fishing pole, scan the environment to find their letter or their fish, plan how to get their magnetized pole to touch the magnetized fish, and then remove it from the end of the pole.
Another carnival activity that the groups participated in was a hippety hop race. They had to sit forward on a ball with a handle and jump forward. The motor planning required for this activity had them sustain a grip on the handle of the ball, push off with both of their legs with enough force to move forward. The first week we did this, many kids required guided movement (therapist helping to lift and move them, helping them to maintain grip), but by the second week most of the children were hopping independently with a few reminders to watch out for their friends as they were racing.
Next the groups went racing down the rollercoaster (zipline). They had to work on communicating (ready, set, go), checking to see if it was safe (no friends in the way), and counting out more than 1 ticket. Feed the Clown Bean Bag toss required the children to wait in line, take turns, count out bean bags, and they had to alter the way they threw the bean bag in order to get it in the clown’s mouth.
After this the groups took the carnival train back to the snack shack and explored various foods (i.e. apples, popcorn, cranberries, pretzels, almond butter, caramel, and rice crackers). The children had to request for the food item and tell the therapists where to put it on their placemat (i.e. on the nose, on top). Another week, the children made a merry-go-round with their food items. To make a merry-go- round snack use a sliced apple on the bottom, then a layer of almond butter, push animal crackers into the almond butter, and add an umbrella or cupcake paper in the middle for the top of the merry-go-round.