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.