Summer is coming! In May 2017, our Hop and Squeak group spent a few weeks at “PTC Beach,” enjoying some fun in the sun with sea creatures, sand, seaweed, and all.
During Circle Time with the kids and their parents, we read a book titled “Under the Water” to boost excitement for the ocean theme. We also sang a song called “Slippery Fish,” which involved learning the sequence of a fish “food chain.” Circle Time is a great opportunity to acquaint the children to the day’s activities, improve awareness of peers and names, improve social recognition, and encourage participation and regulation within a group.
Over the few weeks we put together multiple sensory activities that particularly facilitated tactile exploration and input into this system. The kids got to make their own aquariums, adding sand, water, sponges, shells, and plastic sea creatures. We also had wet and dry texture stations, including a water table and bins of kinetic sand and regular sand, in which the goal was to find various hidden creatures, incorporating a visual challenge. The children also got to make “pet” jellyfish, using water bottles with plastic bags, water, and food dye. An awesome tool for tactile and visual input and regulation!
We involved an array of movement activities into our beach theme, including bending down to pick up sea creatures while walking across a 4-inch foam balance beam, balloon play, magnetic “fishing” in kinetic sand and throwing fish into “nets,” and an obstacle course using the scooterboard and Roller Racer to “swim” and catch sea creatures along the way. The fishing activity promoted sensorimotor development while the other activities targeted balance, postural control, strength, range of motion, and motor planning. Additionally, these activities incorporated turn-taking and waiting, imaginative play and teamwork, visual scanning, and receptive language when following directions. The kids had a blast!
Crafting was another fun aspect of our ocean theme. The kids made fish out of paper plates and colored paper, and they each got to decorate a scale with glitter and add it to our “Rainbow Fish.” A collaborative team effort! We also created an ocean mural and hid pictures of sea creatures in plastic eggs for the kids to find and match with the creature on the mural then tape it on. All good practice of fine motor skills, tool use, creativity, and asking for assistance.
For snack, we offered goldfish, seaweed, grapes, pretzel sticks, and strawberries. The kids had a chance to play with the food and relate it to the ocean theme. Snack time seeks to increase food repertoire & tolerance of various textures. It also provides opportunity to practice tool use, sharing with peers, verbal requests, and social interaction.
Ideas for home:
- Sing the slippery fish song!
- Create a fort out of cushions and pillows and “jump into the ocean”
- Create your own obstacle course and homemade sea creatures
- Practice “surfing” using a homemade balance board/Indo board
- Decorate a mural with an “underwater world” theme
- Go to the beach to look for shells and play with sand!
- Make your own “aquarium” at home in a small plastic bin with sand, water, shells, etc.
- Read books about the ocean
- Rainbow Fish
- Plunky Goes Fishing