Summer weather means that it is often possible to use the outdoors as a session space. Take the time to think of activities which will work for a wide variety of students and goals. Often times, different spaces will make it easier to actively engage kids and work on multiple skills. A simple walk, a blanket under a shady tree, or a picnic table to observe nature and the summer surroundings are great options.
Scavenger hunt bingo is a quick and easy game that is perfect for speech and language sessions. Spaces on bingo cards could have summer vocabulary on them for some students. This could include words like swing, bee, sun, cloud, rainbow, rose, sunflower, sprinkler, and anything else which would be seen where you may be walking. Other children may benefit from rhyme time scavenger hunt. Include spaces that work on word endings or specific sounds which they will be able to rhyme with when out and about. The sky is the limit and bingo cards can be laminated with students using a dry erase marker to check what they find. As kids find items, make sure that they practice using the words in a sentence acting it out in a silly way. This could also be adapted for group social skill session, physical therapy fun, and more.
Occupational therapy sessions could focus on making a summer journal. Make or buy small journals for each student. Include different prompts for drawing and or writing in them. Some examples:
- Draw something that you will not see in the winter months.
- Write about the favorite thing you saw on our way and explain why.
- Check out the flower garden and draw your favorite flower. Be sure to include details that you see.
- Pretend you are a balloon flying above you right now. Draw what you would see looking down.
Think about what will help each child with their fine motor skills. Pages could be done once a week when you go outside to have a more relaxed session. Allow some pages for each of the kids to come up with their own ideas which represent the current summer experience.
When the time is over, kids will be able to take the journals home to share with their families. Therapists should remember to think about multilingual individuals and include translations for them to be able to share at home. Parents may also be interested in bingo cards. Offer to make copies of them for extra practice and fun with their families.