Thursday, 27 February 2014

Dinosaur Day

Some last minute cancellations and schedule changes left me with a whole afternoon free today! I decided to use that time and have some fun with the kids so we did a giant dinosaur circle time. It was great because we're still talking about the letter "D" and our kids love dinosaurs. There were 11 kiddos that came for it, that's double what we usually have in a circle. Lots of kids means lots of different levels for group learning skills so I did what I could to make it work for everyone. It was a little hectic but lots of fun.
We started by looking at a toy dinosaur and talking about the colours that it was painted. Green and orange were the consensus. We practiced stomping our feet like dinosaurs and then read a book about what might happen if the dinosaurs came back, aptly titled If the Dinosaurs Came Back by Bernard Most. We finished up by stomping our feet all the way back to the craft table and making some D - dinosaurs.

Monday, 24 February 2014

D is for...

Dog, Dalmation, and Duck duck goose!

If you haven't guessed it yet, we're learning all about the letter D for the next two weeks. The kids had a delightful time doing this Dalmation craft.

After craft we took a few minutes to play with some toys and then went downstairs to the small gym for a game of Duck duck goose.

We've recently started using this new visual to help our kiddos out with participating in the game. Each "duck" visual has Velcro on both sides so it can be flipped over to show the kids how many are left before "goose." It took a little bit of learning but the kids are really starting to get the hang of it and enjoy playing.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Olympics - STA style

The Olympics have been going on for the last week and a half and we've been having a lot of fun in the offices keeping track of medals and scores. We even enjoyed a very exciting lunch break today to watch our Canadian girls win hockey gold. Most of what is going on is a little over the heads of our kids or just not of interest but today we took some time to share the excitement with them.

After being inspired by Jennifer Jones as she led her team to a gold medal this morning I decided we would do a little curling in the gym, STA style. So, for Kids Club I found a red circle and surrounded it with 8 blue circles. The kiddos each took a turn throwing bean bags, trying to get the closest to the red circle in the middle. It was a lot of fun and let them work on hand eye coordination, over hand and under hand throwing, balance, and following directions. They were really good at it too! We may just have some future Olympians on our hands.

This afternoon we made some Olympic flags. Each kiddo got a white sheet of paper to decorate with the rings. They were shown a model of what the rings looked like and then were set free to create their own interpretation. We mad the rings using paper cups that were dipped upside down in each colour of paint. Some of the kids did pretty close replications of my model while others were a little more abstract.



 Go Canada!



Wednesday, 19 February 2014

License Plates

License plates can be endlessly interesting to the kids in our program. We have a lot of little ones that like to look at, read, and talk about letters and numbers, so how great is it that they are on the back of every car?! When this becomes more of an obsession than interest we try to steer them away by talking about things like the colour of the car, whether the car is moving or not, how many wheels there are, etc. The point of this all being that cars are interesting, they provide lots of different directions of learning or conversation, and license plates can be fun.

SO, in our transportation themed craft wall this month we've had a cute license plate craft for the kids to put together.

We have a license plate pre-made for each kid and the letters of their names printed out. The kiddos are responsible for organizing the letters in their name and gluing them on in order. For some of them this is really easy and only takes a couple of minutes but for a lot it is really great practice with letter identification, spelling their name, applying proper spacing, and working on their gluing skills. For me it was good practice in drawing, tracing, scanning, enlarging, and cutting to get all those license plates done - and a really good indicator that I need to work on my computer skills as I suspect it could have been a lot easier not done by hand. Just goes to show that it's not only the kids that get to learn here...

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Be mine, Valentine

Due to our programming schedule we had to bump Valentine's Day up a few spots on the calendar. There will be no kiddos in for the rest of week thanks to some professional development time so we had a party this afternoon. Because, why not?
During the last couple of weeks most of the kids had some time to make a Valentine's bag that they hung up on their hooks in our central area. Today, they were all full with all kinds of goodies and cards. We were really blown away by the effort that some parents put into this. What was even cooler though, was to see how many of the kids wrote their own names on the cards for their friends. Great work!
Our party started with a circle time, we read storied and sang songs. It was also red day today so circle was a great opportunity to talk about all the red clothes that people were wearing. After circle we went down to the gym for some group games. We played Duck, Duck, Goose and What Time is it Mr. Wolf.

Next, and this was probably a favourite, the kids got to decorate some pink cupcakes. We used a gluten free mix so we could accommodate as many diets as we could. The kids got to spread pink or white icing on their cupcake and then decorate using sprinkles, cinnamon hearts, and sweet hearts.

Once the cupcakes were devoured the kids moved on to some individual activities in the classrooms. We had a few different heart themed crafts out as well as a valentine and homemade play-doh station.

Monday, 10 February 2014


We're getting all prepped and ready to go for our Valentine's Day party tomorrow. Lot's of pink and red and hearts everywhere.
So let's go in a completely different direction and talk about green slime.

 It's always a blast to do science experiments with the kids, especially when it turns into something as cool as slime. The kiddo that made this loved to hold it up and watch it stretch and ooze. For him, it was thrilling.

To make your own slime all you need is white glue, borax, and warm water. Start by mixing one cup of warm water (hot from the tap, no need to boil it) with half a cup of white glue. If you want your slime to have colour you can add as much food colouring as you'd like once the glue and water are mixed. Then add 1 Tbsp of Borax and continue stirring. You should see a lumpy mass forming in the water, this is your slime. All you need to do next is drain the water and have lots of fun stretching and shaping your new creation.


Friday, 7 February 2014

A is for Alligator

We have a new letter of the week, weeks really because it takes uswo weeks to allow for some level of retention and repetition (two important R words in the world of teaching Autism). We are now focusing on letter A - Awesome! It really couldn't have come sooner, X allows for some cute crafts but it is really difficult to come up with words that start with X and even harder to explain that it sometimes sounds like Z.

Yesterday, A was for Alligator and the kids made this really cute A shaped craft. This particular one came with some very sad, and very adorable crocodile (which is kind of like an Alligator, no?) tears because he didn't have time to put the bottom teeth on before going home. As a side note to the craft, it's refreshing to have moments like this at STA, ones where the kids are genuinely sad (or happy, excited, angry, whatever) about something that it's appropriate to feel that way about. This little guy just needed some friendly re-assurance and he was ok again. It gave us all a little opportunity to reflect on how far these kids have all come since September. They're truly amazing.

But I digress, the craft let's the kids work on counting when we look at how many teeth are on the top and bottom, not all were even. They can do some colour and shape recognition and requesting of supplies from their peers - we never seem to have enough glue to go around.

We've also - finally - got our SMART board working again. Sometimes I question how smart it really is...? Yesterday we left a letter game open on it where the kids can select a letter, learn a little bit about upper case and lower case as well as sounds, and then watch a cool video. A was by far the most popular letter and had the kiddos sorting apples with big As and little As and then watching an astronaut dance around on the moon.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Tire Tracks Art

We're chugging along with our transportation theme and the kids don't seem to be bored of it yet. Our Kids Club craft for the week is really exciting for a few of the kids because we get to break rules and make a mess again, and that's always the most fun.

We're making tire track art!

We start by driving some toy cars through colourful paint - you have to make sure all the tires get nice and covered in it.

Then we "drive" on the paper and see what kinds of patterns the different cars make.

Sometimes it's just fun to make a mess in the middle and drive through that too!

And the final product is this colourful masterpiece! Amazing!