Summer activities

Summer is finally here and for some of us it is a time for relaxing, traveling, down time and fun.  For me it has been an interruption of services, therapies and a pause on the progress my kid was making on her goals.  It took me a while to figure out that I could work with my kids on other activities, expand their vocabulary and world by exposing them to activities that we could do together over summer break.

What is happening in Town?

This idea I got from several of the support groups I belonged to. Leave it to the moms that had older kids to share with you what they had learned.

  1. Check with your local community center – our town has Sunday concerts, movies in the park, back to school activities, and even programs for youth and adults with developmental disabilities.
  2. Local library programs – There are any number of programs always going on to promote our kids learning and love of books.
  3. Sports programs – Here I checked out the American Red Cross swimming programs. I wanted to make sure my girls had the basics of swimming and being near water. Safety first just in case we went to the beach, a pool or any other water activity.
  4. Kids classes – I had my girls in dance classes to ensure we met other children and worked on gross motor skills (Physical therapy)
  5. Check out a museum and learn about your town
  6. Do you have a Zoo? A planetarium? What about an art gallery? You may be surprised how many things kids can learn and pick up just by visiting these places.
  7. Concerts and plays also give children the opportunity to learn about the arts.
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At a concert at ASU Gammage Theater

Crafts

Depending on your child’s age you can find many projects or activities that require little or no money and can still help you develop some of their skills. The internet is full of great crafts ideas.  We loved making T-shirts, bead projects, painting, and sidewalk chalk drawings.  Crafts are great to work on hand-eye coordination and small motor skills (Occupational therapy)

Don’t forget to check your local community centers or craft centers (Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, etc) for classes designed especially for kids.

Another source of crafts were our occupational therapists, they have great ideas to help you keep up the skills that your child has been working on in school.

Food and cooking

Summer is also a great time to work of things the kids can do for themselves. Have you worked on food? How about trying different types of sandwiches? Have your kids helped you make a salad? We love cookiIMG_1939-1ng outdoors so we love doing hotdogs on a stick and s’mores.  Take advantage of the seasonal fruits and make a pie or popsicle, let the kids pick what they want to try next.

How about baking? When following recipes especially there are numbers and measurements involved, these are great when working on math skills. Especially if your kid is like mine and says they hate math but like to eat.

Gardening

I love to teach children how to plant and grow things; I find it gives them a sense of connection with the earth. How about growIMG_1571ing plants? You could chose to plant from seeds, or buy plants at your local garden center and make something together.  Have you checked with you local garden center? I know places like Lowe’s and The Home Depot offer classes for kids to learn to make different things. These might be great activities for all the kids in the family.

Writing – Photography – Video

No matter the medium, you could document your summer. I love taking pictures and drawing. Depending on your child’s skills you can put together something about what you did this summer. My daughter has discovered she likes taking videos and creates her own “V-logs” about what she has done. It is great to see what she considers important in her life. She also has her own little camera and loves taking pictures of things she sees and where she goes. At the end of the summer you can put together a nice album of things you have done together, a journal or memory book.

Summer Job

We have talked about the importance of teaching our kids to do things and learn to have a job. We can give them a summer job at the house so they can start learning what it is to follow through with the things that are required in a job. Simple things like loading and emptying the dishwasher, doing laundry, taking out the trash, walking the dog, or vacuuming. We can work with them on skills that we might consider self-help skills but that are so important for their self esteem and future development.

Reading

My daughter is not a great reader, but she loves reading. She will hand me a book she wants to read and asks me to do different voices for the characters.  What is great about this is that she can talk to her friends, her sister or anybody who has also read the book as if she had read it herself.  Now, she is also enjoying audio books. These are especially great for road trips or when the kids have to wait for a while.  Like Dr Seuss said:  The more you read The more things you know. The more that you learn the more places you’ll go.

Another source of great activities and ideas for the summer are you local home school groups. Connect with them and see if they have any activities that they would allow you to bring your kid.

I want to remind you that all the things you do with your child, any progress they make are things you want to show you IEP team. They will make for great examples of the type of work you child can do and skills that are emerging or falling behind.  This is the information you team wants to ensure the goals you have for the upcoming year are still good or if you need to make any changes.

Finally, enjoy your summer, make it yours. No matter your child’s skill, fill your life with activities that will be memorable for the whole family.

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Luz Adriana

My name is Luz Adriana Martinez and for the past 27 years I have been working in the field of advocacy for children with disabilities. I hold an MBA from the University of Phoenix and a BA from the Inter-American University of Puerto Rico.

I’m married to a great guy, Tito, an Army Veteran of 22 years, who supports all the crazy things I do. Being an Army wife also prepared us to be always on the move and without daddy for long periods of time. This also gave me the opportunity work and volunteer with organizations whose mission was to assist other military families. This blog results from my desire to give back to the many families that have given me and mine so much. I have had the fortune to be able to travel the world assisting military families and now that that stage of my life is over, I want to continue to share what I have learned in the hopes that I can still provide some information and resources to families who need it.

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