Embracing Warmth in the Winter
Baby, it’s cold outside in much of the country during the winter months. This means that kids are often bundled up and trying to keep warm. Sometimes it can even be a bit chilly inside schools and classrooms. Take time to utilize items which keep us warm. This could also be expanded to discuss what makes you feel good and have warm and fuzzy thoughts. The sky is the limit and there are always unique ways to work on whatever session goals you have for students.
Practice Time with a Favorite Character
Froggy is a popular character from Jonathan London. Kids of all ages adore reading about his antics in the series of books about this amphibian and his family. In the book, Froggy Gets Dressed, we follow along as Froggy wakes up on a snowy day. The silly character heads outside but has forgotten some important items.
Take time to act out the dressing section of the book with students. Send home a note to families ahead of time asking them to send in the winter gear which you will need. Be sure to include translations for any families who are multilingual and may need this support. Encourage participation in this fun activity and explain how it will be beneficial for their children.
Working on Important Skills
While Froggy’s antics may seem silly, he reminds us of important skills. Many children struggle with independence during the winter months. They are unable to quickly put on their hat, mittens, scarf, coat, and boots. Safety at school means that it is crucial for children to be able to put these items on properly and be ready to go.
During physical or occupational therapy sessions, use Froggy Gets Dressed as motivation to work on these skills. Make a chart to use and allow your little frogs to get themselves ready. This visual will assist those with executive function deficits to have additional help. Make this fun and use the fun sounds and noises from the book. Hop around, jump, and pretend to play in the snow. When finished, try it again.
When winding down and cooling off from your froggy fun, take time to talk about things which make you feel happy. Kids may have heard about the warm and fuzzy feeling that you get. Discuss what this means and how you can do things in the future for others that will not only make those individuals feel happy, but you as well. Doing good deeds is important for social skill development, along with working on not being a just me. Just me means that a child is egocentric and may not understand the need to understand the feelings of others.
When finished with the activity, therapists can send home a practice sheet to families. Include the name of the book so they are able to take it out of the library to read together. Prepare a sequence of events sheet with fun antics for the kids to do at home. The more they are able to do this the better they will get at being independent in the classroom and other times when they need to bundle up to head outside.