Red, white, and blue celebrations are a big part of the start of summer. Everyone plans ways to head out and celebrate the day when the United States became free from British control. It is also a great opportunity to practice working on skills which will allow children to be more independent. Keeping it lighter and fun in the summer is crucial to making sure that kids will be engaged.
Sensory Friendly Fireworks
While fireworks are beautiful to watch on the 4th of July, the noise can overwhelm some children. In addition to this, younger kids may not be able to stay up late enough to see them in person. Spend some time sharing different videos of fireworks. Mute them if you sense kids may be afraid of the sounds. This will also give everyone ideas for the project which will follow.
Making a fireworks salt painting is the perfect way to incorporate the holiday into different types of sessions. If you are working on fine motor skills, speech and language, modeling an activity in group, or something else this may be adjusted for your needs. A great firework salt painting tutorial is on Busy Mommy Media. The supplies needed are black paper, salt, watercolors, small containers of water, paint brushes, and white glue.
Follow the steps in the tutorial. While crafting, talk about seeing fireworks. What do you hear, see, smell, and experience while watching? Let each child share when and where they have seen them in the past and where they may go for Independence Day this year.
Independence Day Sensory Bins
Sensory bins are a wonderful way to interact with students in a variety of ways. They are small, portable, and able to be changed out for different themes. Independence Day sensory bins with all things red, white, and blue would be perfect practice for fine motor, speech, and team building practice. Several ideas for these July jewels are at:
Use any of these or others which may be found on Pinterest as inspiration for your own sensory box. Once you have it, use it to play games that work on skills needed. Perhaps a child is working on picking up small items with a two-finger grasp. Toss in letter beads or something else that they can look for within the Independence Day items. For younger children, working on speech and language, make it into an I Spy game where they need to find things that have a specific start sound, blend, end sound, or even a rhyming pair.
Therapists can check in with families to see what special traditions they have for Independence Day. Ask if there are similar holidays that their families celebrate for the countries they may originally be from. This is a wonderful time to embrace cultural diversity with multilingual students.