For many children, summer vacation is here or is fast approaching. Summer is a great opportunity to work on different skills with your special needs children.
Use regular activities to help children without them knowing it is an educational activity. Below are some ideas for improving planning, organization, motor and social skills.
1. Grocery shopping is a great way to work on planning, organization and motor skills.
- Decide what groceries you need.
- Write or type a grocery list.
- Tick off groceries as you place them in the shopping cart.
- Feel fruits and vegetable for freshness.
- Plan how to pack the groceries.
- Put groceries away when you get home.
2. Use a trip to the beach to work on motor skills.
A trip to the beach presents lots of learning opportunities. Ask children to plan your trip including:
- When to go.
- Which beach to go to.
- Who to bring.
- How to get there.
- What to bring including beach gear, drinks and snacks.
- Items to buy for the trip.
At the beach, swimming, building sand castles and playing in the sand helps their motor skills.
3. Running errands teaches life and social skills.
Trips to your bank or local post office offer more learning opportunities. For older children and teenagers, these visits are a chance to teach life skills. Help them conduct transactions and interact with staff at the bank and post office.
Give children the chance to practice social skills by greeting staff and watching your conversations. When you finish your errands, talk with your children about the people they met including their impressions of each person.
4. Cooking and baking let children use a variety of skills including planning, organizing, motor and life skills.
Involve your children by asking them to:
- Gather ingredients for a recipe.
- Measure ingredients.
- Mix ingredients.
- Chop ingredients.
- Break eggs.
- Peel potatoes and vegetables.
- Grease and/or line pans.
- Knead dough.
- Set oven temperature.
- Put ingredients away.
- Clean up.
5. By helping with the laundry, children use their motor and organizational skills.
Doing laundry is an essential task for children to learn. Have children:
- Separate lights and darks.
- Find and read laundry instructions.
- Measure detergent and fabric softener.
- Choose the settings on the washer and dryer.
- Load and unload the washer and dryer.
- Hang clothes on clothesline.
- Fold clothes.
Deciding which tasks to give children depends on several factors including their age, maturity level and ability. In addition, some tasks are unsuitable for children with sensory issues or for safety reasons.
To lower stress, take time to give children detailed instructions about each task. If you bring children to run errands, tell them what to expect before you get there. Finally, remember to praise children for their help.