So, it’s the last week of school. Students are, for the most part, all geared up for the summer, while still confined to the school building. I knew that I wanted to make my last therapy sessions with the children on my caseload engaging, exciting, and motivating, while building on skills necessary to reinforce. While rummaging through my supplies, I came across a tent. Aha! I thought. I’ll set up an indoor camping experience! And so far, the kids are loving it. I am definitely replicating this with my own three kids once I’m off for the summer.
Part One-Making ‘Smores’ (Obviously Without a fire, and I had no Microwave):
1. I had each child break a graham cracker along the line, in half. This builds on fine motor coordination/dexterity, bilateral coordination, as well as visual motor/perceptual skills (not to mention body control!)
2. I then gave each child a row of a chocolate bar, asking them to break it into thirds; again, working on the above skill components.
3. Next, I provided each child with a spoon, and had them scoop out one large dollop of marshmallow fluff onto their tray. This works on the above areas as well, and truly focuses on strength and bilateral coordination, as the child has to stabilize the container while scooping the resistant mixture out of the jar.
This activity had a delicious sensory element-between the chocolate and the marshmallow fluff, it was a fun and natural way to get kids to habituate to tactile stimuli on their own terms and in a motivational way.
We ended our sessions in a set-up tent with forest-noise playing in the background, a lit-up fishlight as the ‘lake’, and glowing stars in the background to mimic the evening sky. Kids excitedly whispered silly ‘scary’ stories to one another, the speaker holding a flashlight under their chin. They were sitting on an actual unrolled sleeping bag, with lots of pillows of different sizes to offer a cozy and relaxing sensory retreat as the session concluded.
Doing this send-off activity made me re-think therapeutic activities (and some academic ones, as well!) within the context of the school setting; imaginative play is so powerful, and brings out so much of what we are already seeking to work on.
If we would only set the stage, when needed, and utilize the natural world, when available, I truly think that we would all see the unique creativity and talent of each child we come across.
Have a wonderful week, and a great summer!