Beach/Ocean Theme 2015
This week’s beach theme emphasis family fun in the sun and getting outside during the summertime to enjoy family leisure activities. This can involve a lot of work for parents and children, and new experiences can bring about a number of challenges and anxiousness. Using simplified lists with large words and clear pictures as symbols, can help children begin to become more independent in caring for themselves, and gathering their own things.
We used a simplified list in the clinic with pictures that allowed children to find what they may need in the house and pack their belongings more independently. This fun activity can develop a child’s confidence, role, sense of purpose, participation, and self-care skills. Including the child in the process better orients them to the family routine, and the overall flow and transition of getting out of the house can run much smoother, if the children are set up to understand what to expect for the day.
To prepare our bodies and senses for the beach we use our imagination and symbolic play to make the beach fun. To introduce the sensations of the beach we played in a water table, danced to silly ocean songs, regulated with deep pressure massage with sunscreen, and played in a sand sensory bin to find hidden sea creatures. We also increased regulation and calmed our bodies by incorporating large movements such as swinging or rocking before participating in experiences that may cause anxiousness.
At home, parents can play sounds such as ocean waves, or put sunscreen on themselves to increase familiarity and exposure (auditory, touch, smell) with these sensory experiences.
Once at the beach, playing outside together as a family with beach balls or sand toys is a fun way to increase playful non-competitive, imagination and family interaction.
Playing this way with others also allows children to practice turn-taking and requesting based on personal needs, and allows children to have positive interactions with others. Introducing new vocabulary when opportunities for new words present themselves will help your child better express wants and needs.
To practice using our hands and building our fine motor skills, together we made a large ocean mural. We used markers, scissors, stickers, pencils etc. to decorate our ocean animals.
The best part is- that we made it together, and there were many animals in one big ocean. This not only allows us to be creative in arts & crafts, but to come together for a project. This is something you could also do at home. Our mural looked beautiful!