March Fun!

As a special education teacher working in early childhood (both in the classroom and in homes), some of the most language-promoting activities I have done involved following a visual recipe.  Now of course with COVID-19 and different protocols, this may have thrown a small wrench in your dreams of “cooking”, but I encourage you to find a way through it!  The amount of engagement and language (whether through a AAC device, verbal output, visuals, signs, etc.) I see during a recipe activity is incredibly high. Not to mention all the amazing basic learner skills that go into this type of activity: i.e., following directions both verbally & visually, engagement, cooperativeness, task completion, matching objects to pictures, comprehension, pairing and the list goes on! Check out some fun & freebies below for March!

Sarah’s adapted St. Patrick’s Day books

I love using an adapted book either during circle time to “set the stage” or small group instruction.  You can have students come up one at a time and match the interactive pieces either by handing them the correct choice for errorless or having them choose from the field of pieces.  If you are working with toddler age children, using props such as rainbow cut out on a stick or pretend pot of gold is always a good alternative!  Check out Sarah’s two free St Patrick’s Day adapted book freebies and activities here:

There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Clover

The 12 Days of St. Patrick’s Day

Rainbow Snack

With March comes St. Patrick’s Day, rainbows, shamrocks, and pots of gold! For my in-home therapy families, I have been packaging up small easy to do cooking activities with visual recipes that always seem to be the most engaging activities to promote language.  Not to mention working on scooping with cups, matching objects to visuals (i.e.: ingredients to the pictures on the recipe) and pouring skills.  If you search ideas on Pinterest, you can come up with tons of fun snack ideas for march.  I knew I needed to combine some with Marshmallow cereal, white chocolate, and sprinkles to make this fun “Rainbow Snack”.

If you haven’t tried a cooking or visual recipe with a group of students here are some tips!  (1) Have your materials ready to go, in view, but not yet in reach.  If you lay everything out on the table and have students, come over, hands will be in everything and things may get swiped off the table or dumped.  I like to put my items on a small table or desk behind me and present them one at a time as we go through the recipe.  (2) Make sure to have student’s communication devices and visual boards present to support language.  It’s important to model the language and core words you may be targeting during the lesson.  (3) Expect messes and give a little taste of materials as you go along.  If you put a pile of cereal or chocolate chips in front of me, I will instantly want to eat it.  Same goes for kiddos. There’s no harm in giving them a few pieces to nibble on while you explore the ingredients!  (3) Have fun! Even if kids are not verbally imitating you, there is so much power in connecting that experience with language.  When I’m working with my families, I like to emphasize narrating what’s happening.  We naturally want to question kids but it’s important to model what they’re doing. It can be easy to constantly ask, “What’s that, what are you doing, what did you put in the bowl?”  Use language such as “Pretzels IN!, stir stir stir!, sticky marshmallows!, BIG scoop, dump it IN!”.

Here is the visual recipe that I created for you to download and try with your students!

RAINBOW INGREDIENTS
RAINBOW VISUAL STEPS

Marshmallow Color Sort!

The last activity we did together was a fun, 3 color marshmallow sort! It was not fancy, but the kids had fun sorting the marshmallows by color. If your student has not yet completed sorting type activities make sure to model model model! Sometimes they have not yet learned the actual direction of the task.  Then of course…eat those marshmallows! Happy March!
Gina Russell, B.S , M.Ed
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