September is here. School has begun and the kids are getting settled into the new routines. I created this month's theme for Big Play in a Box based on the "back to school" idea. I found the book ABC's of Kindness, and well...found it perfect for my needs! Kids are being faced with new teachers, friends, rules, and concepts and well, it is a lot! We all want our children to be kind. It's kind of a universal hope. This book provides neat, clean pictures and concepts of virtue that are easy to talk about and provide discussion that you and your child will benefit from.
As well, a refresh of the ABC's can't hurt anyone! I know, I know...your child already knows the alphabet. That is the beauty of Big Play in a Box. I recognize some concepts may seem "too easy". I pledge to give you ideas on how you can challenge the older kids to make the ABC's fun and educational for multiple developmental levels! It's our specialty as Occupational Therapists.
Upon opening your box, you will be greeted with these bright inserts. I provide you clear instructions with pictures for each activity. As well, noted above is giving your children ways to engage with each project in a way that is developmentally appropriate for him/her. Despite, I recognize the fact that I do need to place an age category on the boxes and so by that I recommend developmental age range of 3-8 years of age.
Next you will see individual bags of colored rice. Very popular, and rightfully so are the introduction of sensory bins. As an OT, I have seen sensory play change children's emotional state and participation level almost instantly. Part of the fun of this rice is mixing the colors! Find a plastic bowl with a lid or use the box that all of the contents are shipped in. It comes in the perfect size, has a lid, and is a great way to recycle! In one of the bags are small beads with the UC alphabet in them. Dump them in the rice. Now go on a letter hunt! Work on naming, matching, sequencing, simple spelling, etc.. For the older kids, play a game of "naming" using various categories. Name an animal that starts with whatever letter you pull out, etc.. Pull out a sensory box when you as a caregiver either need a moment to yourself OR want to engage in a simple activity that can bring you together for some quiet time to share about each other's day.
This Go Fish Game was a perfect substitution for my original plan of adding some foam alphabet dice as pictured in the top. I received the dice, took them to the therapy clinic I work with, and found them to be a disappointment! They were returned and I replaced with these cards and the craft sticks below.
Of course you can play Go Fish with these sturdy colorful cards. But there is so much more!!! Younger developmental levels will enjoy matching and talking about the Mama and Baby animals represented on the cards. They can work on naming and matching UC and LC Letters. How about a game of memory? Are your children having a difficult time managing cards while trying to play Go Fish? Get out some playdough and use it to help stabilize the cards on the table.
I have created a simple, but FUN way to play KABOOM using these Craft Sticks. There is a stick for each letter of the alphabet with both UC and LC letters printed on them. There are as well 5 sticks that say the word KABOOM! Place the sticks letter side down in a coffee mug. Take turns drawing a stick. Get a letter? Great! To keep it you must name it, sound it out, write it or come up with a word that starts with it (again according to each developmental level). Pull a card that says KABOOM and poof! You will need to return all of your sticks back into the cup. Use a timer and gauge how long you play the game. I recommend somewhere between 3-6 minutes to starts. When the timer goes off, whoever has the most sticks is proclaimed the winner!
The Shape Combination Puzzle is a great little tool to address letter recognition. Research has proven that learning improves when using multiple senses and finding ways to learn through touching, movement, vision, sound, taste, etc. Build the letter with the included pieces. Trace the letter with your finger while closing your eyes and finally practice writing the letter. Get creative with the pieces and create shapes or pictures. Use the bagged rubber bands that are included to create some fun pegboard designs by stetching them and placing in different patterns. A great eye-hand coordination activity! Working on using scissors? Have your child snip the rubber bands after being placed for a fun cause and effect activity.
Dig a litter further to find an extension activity for the letter beads in your rice as well as some craft projects. I have included Crayola watercolor paint set. You absolutely cannot go wrong with Crayola and these watercolors are no exception!
There are 3 pieces of Watercolor Paper (trust me, it makes such a huge difference). One of the pieces I have written a hidden message in white crayon on and once painted (however they choose) it will appear. An important message I feel! The second piece has the alphabet carefully written on in pencil. The activity cards will help instruct you based on your child's developmental level how best to approach this project. Lastly, there is a blank page for your child's inner artist to go wild!
The last project is the Friendship Banner. I kind of felt like this may be a fun family project! One night after dinner each family member takes 1 or 2 of the "people" and creates their own design. Perfect time to discuss how no matter how we look, what size we are, how we get from one place to another, we are all the same. Use the included brads after cutting out your people and create the most adorable wall decoration with an important reminder right in the middle!
There you have it! All of that plus a fun snack idea included on the Activity Cards. Subscribers are receiving this box as I write this blog. Still interested in purchasing this? Act fast! I have only a few left. You can head to my website at www.bigplayinabox.com and purchase as a one time gift box.
Are you interested in becoming a subscriber? You can pre-order October's box NOW by heading to the website and purchasing a subscription. Delivery will occur as close to 10th of each month as possible. There are 2 subscribing options. There is no obligation to continue and you can cancel at any time.
1. FULL EXPERIENCE - Will include Children's Book, 2-3 toys/games/puzzles themed around book, 2-3 art/crafts again themed around book, Sensory Play and a Kitchen activity. Activity Cards are included to give full instructions and guidance on leveling the activity up/down. Cost $55/Month
2. THE WEEKENDER - Includes Children's Book, Sensory Play and 2-3 art/craft projects that are related to the theme as well. Activity Cards as well included. Cost $25/Month
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