This Thanksgiving weekend, go jump in a pile of leaves with your little pumpkin. Then, partially cover her in the foliage and play Peek-a-Boo. It’s a hoot! And it’s great way to work on relationship development and joint attention. Here are a few more of our favourite fall activities that foster laughter, learning and social engagement. Put them on your Thanksgiving calendar to ensure you have a fantastic three days!
1. Go apple picking. An afternoon frolicking in the fresh air will do everyone good. After you fill your basket with fruit, take the opportunity to practice (or teach) different skills and concepts with your kiddo. For example, do one-to-one counting to discover how many apples you’ve collected; then examine and taste your healthy goodies and chat about their attributes (ie: big/small, red/green, juicy/crisp). You can also review the roles of the community helpers – farmers and cashiers in the store – at the orchard. How fun!
2. Collect leaves. Wander your neighbourhood or go to a park and scoop up beautiful fallen foliage. If your child is an advanced learner, talk about why leaves change colour in the fall. For early learners, count leaves and talk about their size, colour and texture. Back at home, do rubbing of the leaves – it’s a fun way to work on fine motor skills – or iron them between two pieces of wax paper. Don’t forget to decorate your home with this delightful art!
3. Bake a pie. Get your pumpkin to help create Thanksgiving dessert. If she can read, ensure she follows the recipe closely. (For younger learners, use pictures to help them know what to do next.) This simple act helps strengthen and generalize skills such as following directions, measuring and sequencing. And, to work on motor skills, make sure she gets to dump ingredients into the bowl, mix the batter (kids who like sensory items might like to do this with clean hands) and roll out the dough. Bonus: Children are more likely to try new foods when they’re hands-on in the kitchen.
4. Carve a pumpkin. This excellent activity shouldn’t be exclusive to Halloween! Have your sweetie draw a face or autumn-related item – it’s great for fine motor skills – onto the pumpkin. If he has trouble waiting, then the perfect time to practice patience is while you carve. Use a first-then board that shows what fun thing comes after you’re done with the knife and/or set a timer so he can see how long he has to wait. Praise frequently for awesome patience. If your kiddo likes sensory items, give him the chance to scoop out the pumpkin’s squishy, slimy innards. Together, clean the seeds and roast them. Once they’re baked, encourage him to snack on this new food with you.
5. Create an e-book. Using your tablet, take pictures of all the activities you do. Then create a journal/e-book in Book Creator. Do it with your kiddo, getting her to be as hands-on in the process as possible. Format her book chronologically to strengthen sequencing and recall skills. Write full sentences that tell who, what, where and when to work on your pumkpin’s comprehension and language skills. Don’t forget to record audio – kids love to hear what they’ve written!
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