Friday, 20 December 2013

Santa Claus is coming

It's the last day of programming before Christmas break and everyone is ready for a little time off, especially the wee ones. We set up a lot of fun Christmas craft centres for them to play at during the day to make the last day of STA in 2013 an extra fun one. In the Sun Room kids are creating snowmen, this afternoon we'll have a facilitated craft time to decorate some Christmas trees, but the Tree Room is my absolute favourite - Santa and his Reindeer!

The kids start by cutting out and gluing Santa and his sleight to a piece of paper. Next, they paint their hands brown (it's a little cleaner if they get some help on this step).

They make as many hand stamps as they can, fingers down and thumbs away from Santa. This kiddo has big hands so he could only fit on three.

White paint and finger pokes are added to make falling snow.

And with the finishing touches of eyes, antlers, reins, and a red pom pom nose Santa is on his way!

These kids are extra lucky today, some little elves set up a surprise to jump around in downstairs.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Gingerbread Men!

Our Kids Club craft this week is little paper gingerbread men. We've pre-cut all the shapes and provide the kiddos with glue, glitter, buttons, and googly eyes to create their own. It's been very interesting to see what they come up with based on the model that we've created. Some of them look surprised, others look very worried. This craft lets the kids practice their fine motor skills by picking up and placing buttons and googly eyes, they develop hand strength with the glue, and co-ordination skills with the glitter.

After craft, we've been taking advantage of the nice weather (especially after last week and the deep freeze, brrrrr!) and going for a winter walk to the mailbox where the kids each get to practice sending a letter to Santa. On the way they can pick up snow and make snow balls and even build a snowman!

Monday, 16 December 2013

O for Owl

Today, during "Letter Time" we focused on the letter "O". After singing an "O" song and talking about things that make the "O" sound (octopus, olive, ostrich, octagon, ect.) , we made a fun "O" craft. Each of the children made an owl using the letter "O" as the  body. After craft music played a game. The children imitated actions while walking around a circle to the sound of music and when the music stopped the children needed to stand "on" a circle mat. Emphasizing "O" for "on".

Friday, 13 December 2013

Candy Cane Ornaments

Our STA Christmas tree got a little sprucing up with some kid-made decorations from Kids Club this week. It was beautiful before but we think it looks even better now!

We took some old puzzles that were missing pieces and no fun to play with anymore and spray painted them red and white. Then we had the kids glue together all of the pieces in an alternating pattern. We finished them off with some green ribbon and a jingle bell and then hung them on the tree. With puzzle pieces being the symbol that represents Autism it's an extra nice Christmas-y touch to our decorations.

Not only are these incredibly cute, but they allowed us to practice lots of skills. The kids work on hand strength and control when applying the glue, they practice counting to make sure they have 5 white puzzle pieces and 4 red ones, they get to identify colours, and even recognize and imitate patterns. What an awesome craft to learn with!

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Christmas at STA

The consultants at STA have all gotten in the Christmas spirit and made upstairs a little more festive. Since it's a Wednesday with no kiddos we'll give you a peak at our offices all decked out for the holiday season.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Jam our Jiggles out

Everyone was looking forward to music class at STA this afternoon. Once every couple of months we have a music teacher come in to sing songs and play instruments with our kiddos and everyone loves it! Sadly, today we had to cancel because one of her peanuts is sick and she couldn't make it out. :(

It gets better though. We are fortunate enough to have some amazing Early Intervention Therapists to work with our kids and one of them, who happens to be a bit of a rock star in his life outside of STA, stepped up to lead a music class for our kids this afternoon! Hurray!

The kids got to pick out some instruments to play and rocked out to their Kids Club favourites like "Shake Your Sillies Out," "5 Green and Speckled Frogs," and "Wheels on the Bus."

Friday, 6 December 2013

Winter Obstacle Course

Our new obstacle course is set up downstairs for December and January. Unfortunately for this teacher, it's been enjoyed a little too much during the day and wasn't in the nicest photographing condition while we were playing this afternoon.

Our starting point has the kids jump from penguin to penguin in coloured hoops.

Next, they can walk or waddle across the penguins on the balance beam. Then roll a giant ball towards a snowman on the wall.

Next, they can reach really high and touch all the snow flakes on their way up some stairs and then jump into the Cloud 9 mat on the floor below.

Then they crawl through the barrel and try to throw some snow balls (balled up socks) at a snowman target and finish by gliding across the floor on scooters, our pretend sleds.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

O is for...

Our Letter Time/Animated Literacy letter of the week is O!

Today, some of the kids got to participate in a super fun circle time all about the letter O. We started by passing around small "o word" items. There was an ostrich, otter, octagon, octopus, olive, and upper and lower case letter Os.

Next, the kids made O Octopus crafts. These were great because we also got to sneak in a little practice counting to 8 to make sure there were enough legs.

Our final activity was a game of freeze dance. We modified the rules so that the kids could practice jumping ON to a circle mat.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Stockings hung by the chimney

In Kids Club this week we are creating stockings using white crayons and blue paint. The kiddos each start by decorating a white paper stocking with white crayon. Next, they dab their stocking with watered down blue pain (or blue water colour would work too), then they remove the excess pain with a paper towel and like magic the drawings appear. This craft allows our kids to practice gripping a pencil (in this case crayon), draw simple shapes and patterns, cope with having paint on their hands, practice putting on and taking off the paint shirts, and identifying or printing their names.

The most important step, of course, is to carefully hang the finished product on the mantel. Ours will be full with 30 little stockings by the end of the week.

Friday, 29 November 2013

Winter Wonderland

It's the most wonderful time of the year, and at STA we have embraced it whole-heartedly with our new theme! It's winter, the means snow, snow, more snow, and a little bit of Christmas cheer. We've filled our classrooms with everything the kids need to explore the holiday season.

It starts right when you walk in the door with our reception desk all dressed up as a cozy fire place. We have a pretty little Christmas tree and a mailbox set up for letters addressed to a very important person.

Our Tree Room has been decorated with ever more trees to turn it into a coniferous forest, we'll check back to see if any little hands have added decorations to the trees in a little while. Our colour theme this month is white and blue so our easel has been set up to allow the kids to explore those colours with paint.

The sensory table has been re-vamped with cotton balls, styrofoam packaging, and lots of snow flakes.

We have a present wrapping station with lots of paper, tape, scissors, and old shoe boxes for the kids to practice wrapping, and maybe even unwrapping, gifts.

In our imaginary play area the kiddos can choose some fun winter activities to try out. We have icy looking blocks that can be used to build an igloo, a few shovels and some imaginary snow to practice shoveling a sidewalk, and lots and lots of toboggans.

For even more imaginary play we've set up an elf work-shop with aprons, hats, and lots of tools across the hall in the Rainbow Room.

Our special homemade play-doh comes in blue and white for this theme. We've added silver and blue sparkles and some peppermint essential oils to give it an extra frosty sensory experience.

Our Sun Room has turned a little Frosty with a snowman makeover. There are snowballs hanging from the season in our reading nook that's been filled with lots of wintery themed books.

Our OTs came up with this super cute game of snowman bowling.

We even have a snowman themed felt board where the kids can build and then dress up and decorate their very own snowman.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Shopping and Learning

This is an outing week at STA. We try to take the kids on at least 2 outings a month to practice skills and activities and have some fun in a different environment. Sometimes our outings relate to a particular theme and other times we just work on exposure to activities that our families may do on evenings or weekends. This week we're going to the mall. We're visiting SouthCentre because it's close to us, has some great kid friendly stores, and has easily the best winter decorations (and a special visitor from the North).

Every group will do something a little different based on the skill set and coping skills of the kids but for the most part we try to target certain activities that the kids may have to do if they go shopping with Mom and Dad. We try on clothes (like the incredibly stylish hockey jersey above) and shoes in one of the department stores. In addition to all of the coping that goes along with trying on clothes this also gives the kiddos a chance to practice zipping up jackets, pulling on sweaters, tying shoes, and everything else that is needed for getting dressed.

While walking around the mall we encourage commenting on things to increase socialization skills. This Christmas tree sparked lots of "Wow! Look!" conversation. For the groups that are able to see Santa we can go stand right under the tree and practice playing the waiting game. Not all of our kids are able to wait in line and not all of them want to sit on the lap of a strange man, but for the ones that this activity is appropriate for it was very exciting.

One of the best part of SouthCentre's Christmas experience is that they have cause and effect toys on display in the waiting area. Lots of buttons and levers for the kids to push and pull while they wait.

We always make a visit to the happiest place in the mall and stop by the Disney Store. They have a wonderful colouring area set up for the kids and lots of interesting toys to look at. The biggest lesson that we learn at the mall is that there doesn't always need to be a toy purchased and our kids get to practice enjoying and then leaving the Disney Store without us having to spend a fortune on new toys.