24 Gross Motor Games and Activities For Parent-Child Outdoors

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Gross motor skills involve movements using the large muscles of the body. They include things like running, jumping, catching and throwing balls, and other large muscle activities. “Good gross motor skills are essential, because the body develops from large moments such as control of the arms and the legs, to small, isolated movements that include the hands and fingers. Without reasonable gross motor control, it can be difficult for children to move onto developing the fine motor skills . . . .”

Here are 23 games and activities that young children can do to have fun while improving their gross motor skills. All are designed for two or more people to play together. All of these games can be played outside, many of them can also be played inside with enough space to run.


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1. The Run-Around

One person gives directions such as “run to the big tree, touch the bark, and come back,” or “run over to the slide, go down one time, and come back” or “run around the tree three times.” Great not only for gross motor skills, but for listening and following directions.


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2. Balloon Toss

Blow up several balloons and toss them back and forth. Try moving closer to each other and farther away from each other. Try using different body parts (hands, elbows, heads) or blowing the balloon up in the air. See how many times your preschooler can bounce the balloon up before it falls to the ground.


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3. Hula Hoop Fun

Invest in several different colored hula hoops; lay them on the ground. Give instructions such as “run to the red hula hoop and pretend to be a car,” or “hop over to the green hula hoop like a bunny.”


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4. Egg Races

Using plastic eggs, race from one end of the yard to the next holding the egg on a serving spoon (or a measuring cup or smaller spoon, depending on the dexterity of your child). See how far your child can get without dropping/breaking an egg. Try not to focus on “winning,” but on having fun while walking with the egg.

A hilarious alternative to this game is to have the children get on their hands and knees and push the plastic eggs from one place to another using only their noses.


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5. Sidewalk Chalk Simon Says

Draw large shapes, letters of the alphabet, numbers, etc. using sidewalk chalk. Say “Simon says stand on the yellow square,” or “Simon says sit on the number 5.” For more advanced kids, try multiple step instructions like “Simon says run to number 14, then hop over to number 20.” This is a fun way to work on recognition of higher numbers, lowercase letters, etc.

For an EXTRA Challenge and to develop Executive Functions – Promote FOCUS and practice LISTENING skills – play by having the child do the OPPOSITE of what Simon Says!


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6. Jump the Brook

Draw two lines on the ground with sidewalk chalk (or use ropes in the grass). Let your child try to “jump over the brook.” You can move the lines together or farther apart, depending on your child’s abilities.


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7. Doggy Doggy Where’s Your Bone

In the group version of this game, children in a circle take turns hiding the “bone” from the doggy, who tries to find it. That’s impossible in a two person version. Instead, we enjoy taking turns hiding the bone in various places around the room or in the yard. It helps to have a defined hiding area, and be sure to offer hints if the child gets frustrated finding it.

Feel free to use the chant – have the child close his eyes while you hide the object and open them at the end of the chant (and if you’re skeptical of the value of chants and rhymes, read “The Importance of Rhyme“):

Doggy, Doggy, where’s your bone?
Somebody stole it from your home.
Guess who! Maybe you . . .
Maybe the monkeys from the zoo.
Wake up doggy, find your bone.

Group Version: Doggy Doggy Where’s Your Bone

This is a good activity for ages 2 thru 6 or so.

At a birthday party, if you’re planning a lot of outdoor activities, this is a good thing to have in the corner of your mind in case of bad weather!  This is a good game for Clifford, Blue’s Clues, Dalmatian/Fire, Scooby Doo, etc theme parties.

The Chant:
(feel free to change “Doggy Doggy” to “clifford, clifford”, “scooby, scooby”, etc.)

Doggy, Doggy, where’s your bone?
Somebody stole it from your home.
Guess who!  Maybe you…
Maybe the monkeys from the zoo.
Wake up doggy, find your bone.

How to play:

Have the birthday boy or girl be the first to be the doggy.  They should sit in the center of the circle of children and close/cover their eyes while the song is chanted (it doesn’t really have a tune).

Alternative 1:  have an adult give the bone (or whatever you choose to hide…  A shoe works too) to one of the children while chanting the song (make sure you give each child a chance to have the bone).  Have all of the children hide their hands behind their backs.  When the chant is over, the doggy can uncover his or her eyes and gets 3 guesses as to which person has the bone.  Whether the doggy gets it right or not, the person with the bone gets to be the next doggy.  Because you’ve made sure to give each child a turn with the bone, each child will get a turn being the doggy.

Alternative 2:  (more competitive) — have the last person who was the doggy, give the bone (or whatever you choose to hide) to one of the other children while everyone chants the song.  Have all the children hide their hands behind their backs.  When the chant is over, the doggy can uncover his or her eyes and gets 3 guesses as to which person has the bone.  If they guess where the bone is, they get to sit outside the circle and the person with the bone is the doggy.  If they don’t guess where the bone is, they have to be the doggy again.


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8. We All Play Ball

Roll or pass a ball back and forth. Pair each roll with a verbal cue. For example, take turns saying the ABCs (each person says a letter on her turn), count forward or backward, think of different colors, shapes, foods, etc.


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9. Toe Pick-Up

Take off your socks and shoes and pick up small toys with your toes and put them in a bucket. For more skilled preschoolers, try picking up all of the yellow objects, then the blue, the red, etc.


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10. Mother May I?

In this simple game, the direction giver stands on one side of the room/yard, and the child(ren) stand on the other. The children take turns asking the direction giver, “Mother, may I _____?” (i.e., take 3 giant steps; hop 4 times; take 2 baby steps) The direction giver can answer “Yes you may” or “No you may not” at her whim. There are other variations of this game, use the one that is the most fun for your child. Mother May I is great for exploring limits and accepting compromise.


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11. Pop Goes the Weasel

Child runs around adult in circles, everyone sings the song “Pop Goes the Weasel.” When you sing “pop goes the weasel,” grab the child for a big bear hug (and/or tickle, if your child enjoys that).)

Lyrics/link to song: http://kids.niehs.nih.gov/games/songs/childrens/pop_goes_the_weaselmp3.htm

Round and round the cobbler’s bench
The monkey chased the weasel,
The monkey thought ’twas all in fun
Pop! Goes the weasel.

A penny for a spool of thread
A penny for a needle,
That’s the way the money goes,
Pop! Goes the weasel.

A half a pound of tupenny rice,
A half a pound of treacle.
Mix it up and make it nice,
Pop! Goes the weasel.

Up and down the London road,
In and out of the Eagle,
That’s the way the money goes,
Pop! Goes the weasel.

I’ve no time to plead and pine,
I’ve no time to wheedle,
Kiss me quick and then I’m gone
Pop! Goes the weasel.

Other Versions of “Pop Goes the Weasel”

Version 1

Round and round the cobbler’s bench,
The monkey chased the weasel.
The monkey thought it was all in fun.
Pop! Goes the weasel.

A penny for a spool of thread,
A penny for a needle.
That’s the way the money goes.
Pop! Goes the weasel.

(Mother Goose Club Version)

Version 2

All around the cobbler’s bench,
The monkey chased the weasel;
The monkey thought it was all in fun.
Pop! Goes the weasel.I’ve no time to wait or sigh,
No patience to wait till by and by;
Kiss me quick, I’m off, good bye.
Pop! Goes the weasel.Source: Wier, Songs the Children Love to Sing (1916)

Version 3

Half a pound of tuppenny rice,
Half a pound of treacle,
Mix it up and make it nice—
Pop goes the weasel.

Every night when I come home,
The monkey’s on the table;
Take a broom and knock him off,
Pop goes the weasel.

Source: White, Notes and Queries, Vol. 111 (1905)

Version 4

Up and down the City Road,
In and out the Eagle,
That’s the way the money goes—
Pop goes the weasel.Every night when I come home
Supper’s on the table;
That’s the way the money goes—
Pop goes the weasel.

Source: White, Notes and Queries, Vol. 111 (1905)

Historical Background (Pop Goes the Weasel)

Dating back to the 1700s, “Pop Goes the Weasel” originated from Cockney Rhyming Slang, a system of cryptic phrases used by Cockneys and poor Londoners. Rhyming Slang is created by finding a rhyme for a given word, identifying a synonym for the rhyme, and then substituting the synonym for the original word. For example, “head” rhymes with “bread,” and the Cockney Rhyming Slang for “head” is “loaf.” Cockneys created the secret slang because of their suspicion of strangers and strong dislike for the police. “Pop” is the slang word for pawn, and “weasel” originates from “weasel and stout,” meaning coat. During difficult financial times, poor commoners would pawn their suits on Mondays and reclaim it before Sunday in order to be properly dressed for church. Thus, the birth of the saying “Pop Goes the Weasel.”

You Tube Video of Pop Goes the Weasel:


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12. Red Light Green Light

The stop light stands at one end of the room/yard, the player(s) stand at the other. The stop light calls “green light,” and the players move toward the stop light. The players must stop when the stop light calls “red light.”

Add variations to keep things fun: “yellow light” can mean walk slowly; “blue light” can mean hop; “purple light” can mean walk backwards, etc. Take turns being the stop light.

Play OPPOSITES for a challenge and to develop FOCUS and LISTENING Skills – Red means go and Green means stop!


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FREE Printable Charades Cards & Blank Template to add your own Cards:

Activities Cards: charades-cards-kids-activities

Animals Cards: charades-cards-kids-animals

Easy Kids Cards: charades-cards-kids-easy

Emotions Cards: charades-cards-kids-emotion

Actions Cards: water-charade-cards-actions

Blank Template Cards: charade-cards-charades-ideas

13. Charades

For younger children, make the clues they are to act out very easy: reading a book, sleeping, happy, sad, dog, cat. Use picture cards instead of written words (you can cut them out of a magazine), so that you don’t know what the child is acting out.


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14. Basketball

Using any ball and “hoop” (a trash can, and bucket, a wagon, etc.), take turns shooting the ball toward the hoop. Let your preschooler start at whatever distance is comfortable for him. Concentrate on having fun – not making it a contest!

*There are lots of Fun Basket Ball Games to play with your child (I have a separate post on this but on my other website that explains several fun games – PIG, HORES, 21 etc). www.skinnurse.wordpress.com


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15. Crab Soccer

Get down into a crab walk position, then kick a bouncy ball back and forth or try kicking it into a goal. This is a fun (and funny!) way to exercise different muscle groups.


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16. Head Shoulders Knees and Toes

Start out by singing Head Shoulders Knees and Toes at a normal pace. Once your child gets the concept, try it slower, faster, super fast, and “warp speed,” or substitute other body parts in for a change of pace.

Link to Tune “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes”: http://kids.niehs.nih.gov/games/songs/childrens/headshmp3.htm

Version I

Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes,
Knees and Toes
Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes,
Knees and Toes

And Eyes   and Ears and Mouth and Nose
Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes

Head Shoulders Song

Or maybe you remember Version II best!

(To the Tune of London Bridge)

Head and shoulders, knees and toes,
Knees and toes,
Knees and toes,
Head and shoulders, knees and toes,
It’s my body

Eyes and ears and mouth and nose,
Mouth and nose,
Mouth and nose,
Eyes and ears and mouth and nose,
It’s my body

Ankles, elbows, feet and seat,
Feet and seat,
Feet and seat,
Ankles, elbows, feet and seat,
It’s my body

Video on You Tube: 


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17. Hopscotch

There are many different ways to play hopscotch. One way is to draw your basic hopscotch grid, then the first player throws a marker (we use a rock) into box #1. The player hops on one foot (or alternating feet, or both feet for some kids!) all the way to the last box and back, stopping to pick up the marker on her way. Players take turns trying to throw in each box in order (1, 2, 3, etc.).

A simpler way to play is to follow the instructions above, but only to hop to the first square, pick up the marker, and return.

You can also vary the way you draw the grid.

Snail Hopscotch Variety:

Snail hopscotch

1. The player hops through the grid – one hop only to each space.

2.  Player may rest at home (10) with both feet before turning around and hopping back to the base line (1).

3.  When a player successfully hops to 10 and back, that person’s initials are chalked in any space chosen by the player, except home (1).

4.  From now on, the player may rest on both feet in that space, but no other player is allowed to hop into it.  When players come to any initial space other than their own, they must hop over it.  

5.  The game becomes harder as the spaces are initialed.  When there is only one player left who can complete the grid, that person is the winner. variation:    Play the game just like potsy.


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18. “Touch” Game

One person gives directions, saying: “touch a tree,” “touch something blue,” “touch something high,” etc. The other person runs as fast as she can to find and touch whatever it is.


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19. Follow the Leader

The leader walks, runs, jumps, etc. around, the other people follow and repeat the movements. Take turns being the leader.

  • Reach Up and Touch the Sky
  • Sniff like a dog
  •  Meow/Crawl Like a Cat
  • Balance
  • Fly Like a Bird
  • Log Roll
  • Take Deep Breaths
  • Walk, Run, Skip, Jump
  • Turn with your arms out
  • Stretch and touch your toes
  • Touch your head, shoulders, eyes, ears, knees, elbows, nose etc.

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20. Ring Around the Rosie

Hold hands and sing the traditional “Ring Around the Rosy” song.

You Tube Link: 

Clear a space so that you and your child (and any other players) have enough room to hold hands, walk in a circle, and sit down without hitting anything. As you’re walking – or galloping – in a circle, sing:

Ring-around-the-rosy
A pocket full of posies
Ashes, ashes
We all fall down!

On “fall down,” sit quickly on the floor. This part is usually a hit!

You may be playing this game for a while, so if you’d like a little variety, you can add a traditional (though less well-known) verse. Chant it while you’re still sitting, then jump up at the end:

Mammy in the teapot
Daddy in the cup
When our mother calls us
We all jump up!

Here is a Link to the music of “Ring Around the Rosy” (This website is a bank of children’s songs!): http://kids.niehs.nih.gov/games/songs/childrens/ringaroundmp3.htm

(Start activity with children hold hands and dance around in a circle)

Ring around the rosies
A pocket full of posies;
Ashes, Ashes
All stand still.
 (Children hold still)

The King has sent his daughter,
To fetch a pail of water;
 (Children hold hands and dance around in a circle)
Ashes, Ashes
All fall down
. (Children fall to the floor)

The bird upon the steeple,
Sits high above the people;
 (Children hold hands and dance around in a circle)
Ashes, Ashes
All kneel down
. (Children kneel)

The wedding bells are ringing,
The boys and girls are singing;
 (Children hold hands and dance around in a circle)
Ashes, Ashes,
All fall down
. (Children fall to the floor)


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21. What Time Is It Mr. Fox

Mr. Fox stands with his back to the other player(s). The players ask “what time is it, Mr. Fox?” Mr. Fox answers with a time. If he says two o’clock, the other players must take two steps toward Mr. Fox. Once one player gets close enough to touch Mr. Fox, the fox turns around and tries to catch one of the players. The players attempt to run back to the starting line.

How To Play Explained in 9 Simple Steps:

  1. Can you outfox the Fox?
  2. This game is for 3 or more players and should be played in an open area.
  3. The object of the game is to walk past Mrs. (or Mr.) Fox without getting caught.
  4. To play, pick someone to be the Fox. Everyone else should line up on the starting line.
  5. The Fox will stand about 20 feet away with her back turned.
  6. The rest of the players say, “What time is it Mrs. (or Mr.) Fox?”
  7. If Mrs. (or Mr.) Fox answers a time like, “It’s five o’clock” players take five steps forward. If she answers, “It’s one o’clock” players take one step forward, and so on. The players can take any size step they want.
  8. If Mrs. Fox says, “It’s time to eat you!” she turns around and chases the other players back to the starting line.
  9. If Mrs. Fox catches someone, he becomes the next Fox.

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You can play this with any variation of animal that your child is interested in; I’ve also heard “Mr. Shark” played at the pool.


22. A Tooty Ta Ta

This hilarious song and action game will get both adults and kids giggling. Watch the video to learn how!

CHORUS:

A tooty-ta, a tooty-ta, a tooty ta-ta!
A tooty-ta, a tooty-ta, a tooty ta-ta!
Thumbs up CHORUS
Thumbs up, Elbows back CHORUS
Thumbs up, Elbows back, Knees together CHORUS
Thumbs up, Elbows back, Knees together, Feet apart CHORUS
Thumbs up, Elbows back, Knees together, Feet apart, Bottoms up CHORUS
Thumbs up, Elbows back, Knees together, Feet apart, Bottoms up, Head back CHORUS
Thumbs up, Elbows back, Knees together, Feet apart, Bottoms up, Head back, Tongue out, CHORUS

Variation:Tooty-Ta!

Tooty ta, tooty ta, tooty ta, ta.
Thumbs up! Tooty ta, tooty ta, tooty ta, ta.
Elbows back! Tooty ta, tooty ta, tooty ta, ta.
Feet apart! Tooty ta, tooty ta, tooty ta, ta.
Eyes shut! Tooty ta, tooty ta, tooty ta, ta.
Clap hands! Tooty ta, tooty ta, tooty ta, ta.

Link to the video: http://tmas.kcls.org/a-tooty-ta-ta/


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23. Preschool Four Square

In traditional four square, you try to get other players “out.” In this version, we’ll concentrate more on controlling the ball. In each of the four squares, draw a picture or write a letter or number (or word, or whatever else you are learning about). Take turns trying to bounce the ball into each square. Players can also rotate around and try to bounce the ball back to each other.

*Also on my other website www.skinnurse.wordpress.com I have detailed explanation of this game with official rules and variations.


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24. Hide and Seek

Play hide and seek the traditional way or try a variety by hiding a stuffed animal in the yard or park – Give hints using colors “Red – HOT – getting really really close,” —— “Blue, Cold, Frozen – not even close.”  — “Yellow – Getting Warmer and warmer – you are close.”


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Q-tip painting with templates (free printable)

Q-tip painting with templates

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Instructions:
Kids dip Q-Tips into paint and press into a circle on paper- one dot per circle. This activity slows movements patterns because requires focus to dot inside of each circle. This activity is a great activity for working on distal control. You can also address appropriate grasp patterns and force modulation (the harder you press the more the paint will spread outside the circles). The kids loved having a choice between pictures and enjoyed making their very own castles!

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distalpointcontrolqtippaint

Supplies:

Areas Addressed:

  • Distal control
  • Fine motor
  • grasp
  • force modulation

Brain Gym Exercises With Left Handed & Right Handed Movements

Brain Gym Exercises With Left Handed & Right Handed Movements
Brain Gym Exercises With Left Handed & Right Handed Movements

Brain Gym exercises include specific movements designed to improve concentration, focus and memory. Educators use Brain Gym activities to improve students’ academic achievements, attitude and organizational skills. Brain Gym movements may also help to enhance physical coordination, relationships and self-responsibility. Some exercises use both left and right handed movements.

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Brain Hemispheres

When you focus on movements that cross the midline of your body, you help integrate the left and right hemispheres in your brain. This helps to improve coordination, as midline crossing movements are routine used in daily life. When a child begins to crawl, or an adult walks, he is using movements that cross the body’s midline.

Double Doodle

Draw with both hands at the same time during the Double Doodle exercise. Draw specific shapes such as circles, squares or triangles. The object is to draw the shapes at the same time using both hands to improve focus and concentration, as your less dominant hand may find this challenging.

Lazy Eight

The Lazy Eight exercise uses a drawing of an infinity sign, or a sideways figure eight. Trace the outline of the figure eight as you hold the paper in front of your body. This exercise causes the hand to cross the midline of the body. You can perform this exercise with both hands at different times.

Cross Crawl

The Brain Gym Cross Crawl exercise is designed to integrate the two hemispheres of the brain and to improve coordination. Perform a Cross Crawl by lifting your right knee and touching your right knee with your left hand. Then perform the same movement with the left knee and right hand. You can do this seated or standing, and for more of a challenge, try the exercise with your eyes closed, or with an additional movement such as a jump.

Back to School: 8 Tips on How To Make Friends and A Game

8 Tips for a Great First Day! How To Make Friends!
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  1. SMILE!  I know that sounds like a small thing, but it’s huge!!!  One little smile goes a long way.  Remember that most of the kids at school are feeling just as nervous as you are, and they are looking for a friendly face!
  2. Hold your head up high and be confident.  I know you might be feeling shy, but staring at the ground will not help you make friends.  When others see you looking down or keeping a big frown or worried look on your face, they won’t realize that you are shy.  They will simply think that you don’t want to be their friend.  Remember, you are a child of God.  You are something special!  People will be as excited to get to know you as you are to get to know them.
  3. Look people in the eye, and say hello.  No one likes to feel invisible (like they are in the room, but no one sees them or cares that they are there).  When you look people in the eye and say hello, you immediately make them feel more comfortable.  Instead of looking away when you catch someone’s eye, look right back at them, smile, and wave or say, “Hello.”  Trust me.  It works!
  4. Introduce yourself.  Did I mention already that you are someone special?  So are the other kids you will meet.  There is no reason to be afraid that they don’t want to meet you.  Be brave.  Think how you feel when someone makes an effort to talk to you.  They’ll feel the same way when you make an effort to talk to them.  Here’s how you do it:  “Hi.  My name is ___________.  What’s your name?”  Easy, peasy.
  5. Ask questions.  If you don’t know what to say, ask your new friend a question.  People love to talk about themselves!  Here are some ideas:  “Are you excited about school?”  “What did you do this summer?”  “What’s your favorite subject?”  “What do you like to do for fun?”
  6. Give a compliment.  Look at your new friend.  Can you think of something nice that you noticed about him or her?  I bet you can!  Don’t you love it when someone says something nice about you?  Your new friend will, too.  How about, “I love your hair!  Did you do it yourself?” or, “Those are really cute shoes.” or, how about, “Thanks for saying hello.  I was really feeling shy, and you made my day.”
  7. Invite someone to sit by you or to play with you.  Are you nervous about who you will sit by at lunch?  Are you afraid you won’t have anyone to play with at recess?  So are the other kids!  Look for someone who doesn’t seem to know anyone.  They’ll be grateful for the invitation to play or to sit together.
  8. Be happy and positive.   No one likes to be around someone that is always grumpy and negative.  Look for the good things about situations and other people.  Choose to be happy, and your happiness will spread.  Kids will want to be around you because of your cheerful attitude and smiling face.
Practice with Role-Playing

Now that you know the techniques, it’s time to practice!  You might feel silly at first, but you’ll be a pro in no time!

  1. Ask your family to pretend to be your classmates.
  2. Hold your head up high as you enter the room, and pretend you are at school.  Practice smiling and starting conversations with your family members.
  3. Take turns.  Practice what to do when someone comes to talk to you and how to start a conversation.
  4. Have fun!  When it’s your turn to be a member of the class, make up fake names and interests to have silly conversations.  (That’s just for practicing.  You’ll want to be sure to tell the truth when you talk to your new friends.)
Motivate Yourself with Back-to-School Games

Want to be sure you don’t chicken out on the first day of school?  Try one or both of these games to reward yourself for setting goals to make friends.

Going back to school (or starting school for the first time) is a scary thing for many kids.  Most have two main fears:  Will I like my teacher?  and Will I make any friends?  I can’t help with the teacher part, but I can help with making friends!  In order to make it more fun, and to encourage them to get out of their comfort zones, I created a back to school friendship game for kids.

Back-to-School-Make-Friends-Game

This is kind of the opposite of a scavenger hunt.  Instead of looking for things to put in the container, kids are taking challenges and then eating the treats!  The goal of the game is to get the kids to be brave at school.  The challenges listed under the lids are:

  • Smile at someone
  • Introduce yourself to someone you don’t know
  • Raise your hand to answer a question in class
  • Ask someone to sit by you at lunch
  • Find someone with the same hobby as you
  • Find someone who is alone and invite them to play with you.

For shy kids (like mine), I’m hoping this will be a good reminder for them to be brave and jump out of their comfort zones to make friends at school.  Each morning, the girls pick a challenge and try to complete it that day at school.  After school, they report back to me.  If they did it, they get to open the lid and eat the treat!

Ready to make the game?  Here’s what you will need:

  • A seven-day pill box (can be found at Walmart, the Dollar Store, etc.).   These come in small and large.  I chose small because they were cheaper (and there was only one large one left).
  • Cardstock and/or scrapbook paper
  • Mod Podge
  • Small foam brush or paint brush
  • If you’re lucky–some type of cutting tool- Letter stencils and regular old scissors work too!
  • Treats to fill the individual boxes.
  • Printout of first week of school ideas

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Begin by cutting your paper to fit the top of each lid.  Out of a contrasting paper, cut letters to fit on the lids as well.  (You could title it:  Friends, Be Happy, Service . . . whatever.  I chose “Be Happy” because I plan to use the boxes for a few other games.)

Paint Mod Podge onto the lids of each daily box, and top with your first paper.  Paint another layer of Mod Podge on top, so that it covers the paper and the plastic surrounding it.  Now top the lids with your letters and paint Mod Podge on top again.

Open the lids (so that you don’t accidentally glue them down), and allow the containers to dry.

This game contains seven challenges to help you make friends during the first week of school.  After school, you can get a treat for the challenges you tried!

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Print the challenges printable, and cut out the individual boxes.  Glue or tape the tasks inside the lids.  If you don’t use a permanent glue, you can remove the tasks and use the boxes for something new later.  Fill the holes with treats, and you’re ready to go!

Now–most important step–gather your kids and talk about ways to make friends at school!  Talk about smiling, saying hello, and how to make friends.  We even like to roll play entering a new classroom and meeting new kids.  (It makes a really fun family night.)  Let your kids pick their first challenge, and they’re ready to start the new school year off right!

Back-to-School Conversation Starters for Kids {Free Printable}

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I changed the rules a little bit this week.  They can do more than one activity a day, and (as long as they do five things during the week) they can eat the rest of the candy on the weekend.  There was no way that candy in their two uncompleted slots was going to survive until today!  Also, they don’t have to do exactly what’s written.  If they can tell me something they did to go out of their comfort zone and/or make a friend, they earn the treat.

If you aren’t into giving your kids candy, small toys and stickers will fit, too.  Those are Squinkies in the picture.

Here is the download to the second Conversation Stater List: Be-Happy-Conversation-Starter-Game

Here is the Text to the second download of Conversation Starters:

  1. How was your weekend?
  2. Did you do anything fun yesterday?
  3.  What do you want to play at recess?
  4. Smile and introduce yourself
  5. What are you going to do this weekend?
  6. Ask someone to sit by you at lunch
  7. Find someone who is alone and invite them to play with you

Here is the Text to the First Download Friend Maker Hunt:

  1. Smile at someone
  2. Introduce yourself to someone you don’t know
  3.  Raise your hand to answer a question in class
  4. Say hello to someone you don’t know
  5. Find someone with the same hobby as you
  6. Ask someone to sit by you at lunch
  7. Find someone who is alone and invite them to play with you

What Are Private Parts? – Social Stories (Free printables)

What Are Private Parts? - Social Story (Free printable)

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This social story explains what private parts are in a simple way. It depicts drawings of male and female anatomy.

Download and print here: what_are_private_parts.224161402

Good Touch/Bad Touch - Social Story (free printable)

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This social story explains what touches are okay and which are not, and how to report bad touches. Be sure your child understands what private parts are first

SIDE NOTE: Be careful about using “Good Touch Bad Touch”.  Good/Bad may bring up feelings of guilt, could be over generalized, and might be confusing as an assault often starts with touches that feel good then moves to touches that feel bad.  Also, there are some studies that have shown that children understand the word touch differently than adults.  For example they wouldn’t categorize people kissing as touching, because well, they’re kissing.  I think this could be a problem for someone with an intellectual disability that doesn’t categorize well.  I like the terms safe and unsafe touch.  I also like saying touching makes you feel something.  If a touch feels good, it’s probably safe.  If a touch doesn’t feel good it’s probably not safe.  Then you can teach specific kinds of touches.

Download and print here: private_parts_and_touching.224155032

Executive Function Chart (ADHD/ADD)

Executive Dysfunction is an often-overlooked source of the difficulties students have initiating, completing, and turning in their homework and class work.

Now that I have your attention, let’s take a closer look at what the executive functions are and how dysfunction might be impairing your student.

The foundations for learning are attention, memory, and executive function. While most teachers would immediately have some sense of what “attention” and “memory” mean, many were probably never received any training about executive functions. And yet without these functions, so many aspects of our functioning would be impossible or significantly impaired.
Executive functions (EF) are central processes that are most intimately involved in giving organization and order to our actions and behavior. They have been compared to the “maestro” who conducts the orchestra. But what are these processes? The whole topic is very controversial, but there seems to be a consensus that executive functions involve (at the very least):

  • planning for the future and strategic thinking
  • the ability to inhibit or delay responding
  • initiating behavior, and
  • shifting between activities flexibly

If we break down the skills or functions into subfunctions, we might say that executive functions tap into the following abilities or skills:

  • Goal
  • Plan
  • Sequence
  • Prioritize
  • Organize
  • Initiate
  • Inhibit
  • Pace
  • Shift
  • Self-monitor
  • Emotional control
  • Completing

We will consider these skills in more detail later in this article, but for now, it should also be noted that in considering executive functions, we will also be talking about “working memory,” which is not purely an executive function but overlaps executive functions, attention, and memory. Also, although “emotional control” is included in this list, it is not a purely executive function.

HOW ARE EXECUTIVE FUNCTIONS ASSESSED?

Because there is no uniform agreement on what the executive functions are, there has been no agreement on how to assess them. If we talk about particular subfunctions, however, it is possible to answer the question.
Executive functions are generally assessed via neuropsychological tests and assessments. For any one function or subfunction, there may be a variety of tasks or tests that tap into components.

If you suspect that your student has executive dysfunction (EDF), the appropriate referral would be to a board-certified neuropsychologist. Neuropsychologists are psychologists who specialize in the relationship between brain and behavior.2 Although some of the tests school psychologists administer as part of any psychoeducational assessment do tap into some of the executive functions, in my opinion, a typical psychoeducational evaluation is not adequate or sufficient if you suspect the student has EDF.

FUNCTIONS AND SIGNS OF DYSFUNCTION

Let us take a closer look at each of the functions we identified earlier, and consider what dysfunction might look like. In looking at this chart, keep in mind that there are only a few examples of what dysfunction might look like.

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Silky and stretchy play dough using 2 ingredients

Silky and stretchy play dough using 2 ingredients

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To make this silky and stretchy play dough you will need

  • 1 cup conditioner (cheaper the better)
  • 2  cups cornflour/cornstarch (or 2 ¼ cups)
  • Glitter (optional)

Yep, that’s it!
Obviously cornflour can vary from country to country. If you find your dough crumbly then add a teaspoon more conditioner. If it’s too damp, add a teaspoon more cornflour. You may need to tweak the recipe slightly.

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Storing play dough
This lovely play dough can be kept for a number of weeks/months, depending on how well it is stored. I recommend, like with any play dough, wrap it very tightly with a few layers of cling wrap and store it in an air-tight container out of direct light.

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For something a little more interesting you might like to add coloured glitter to your child’s play dough experience.

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Some common recipes can make quite stiff play dough, however, this is lovely and soft, leaving a gorgeous fragrance from the conditioner.

Tattling Vs. Reporting Worksheet (free printable)

This freebie download will help your students learn to tell the difference between tattling and reporting.

Students learn that they tattle to get others in trouble, but they report to get people out of trouble.

T Vs. R

Free download here (Answer Key): Tattling vs. Reporting Thank You

Free download here (Worksheet): Tattling Vs. Reporting

Worksheet with scenarios and kids need to figure out if it is reporting or tattling:

Am I Tattling or Reporting?

Tattling is when I get someone in trouble.

Reporting is when I get someone out of trouble.

Answer Key

Tattling

Michael keeps making faces at me.

Mr. Cobb, Jason isn’t getting in line.

Jerome is drawing in his notebook when he’s supposed to be doing his math.

Ms. Long, Devin isn’t reading the right story.

Meghan isn’t walking on the right sight of the hallway, Mrs. Jones!

Reporting

Heather scratched me when I didn’t do what she said.

During recess, Callie pushed Dana down on purpose.

Brandon picks on Kayla everyday during lunch.

Some boys are bullying Joshua in the bathroom.

Cooper said he’s going to punch Conner after school.

Incorporate into This Lesson The THINK before You Speak 

Such wise advice….for kids and adults alike! 
 
Free Printable Poster to Laminate and keep on your fridge: 61772754-Before-You-Speak-Think

Life Skills for Kids – Quarter Plan for Chores

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Quarter Plan
Each boy starts the month off with 1 quarter for each day of the month.  January has 31 days, so they received 31 quarters.  I poke my head in their rooms daily to see if they made their beds.  If they did they keep their quarter, if not, they bring one to me.  (it’s much more painful to bring the quarter to mom)

If at the end of the month they’ve kept all their quarters, they can trade it in for approximately $7.00 extra in cash each month.  Money talks for my kids, maybe your children would prefer points or pom poms.

We’ll refill quarters at the beginning of the next month and add a new task (probably the bathroom) in addition to making beds.  Make sense?

I know it seems like I’m taking very simple steps, but if we have 12 new tasks done and implemented by the end of the year it could be genius!

What would be on your to-do list?

*** This idea was taken from Cleaning House by Kay Wills Wyma.  She instituted a dollar plan, I’ve knocked it down to a quarter plan.