Sunday, December 2, 2012

Christmas or winter holiday activities

The Grinchy Grinch! Everyone knows he is a cranky guy--but, in the end his heart grows big and full of love. I love watching this cartoon and now I get to share it with clients!

We start by either watching the movie OR reading the book. Afterwards, review the story line with your client and identify examples (from the story) of 'grinchy' behaviors as well as good behaviors (when is heart grows big).

Now provide your client with materials to make his/her own grinch! I do a double sided grinch--a happy one on the back and a cranky one of the other side. Now, brainstorm to identify examples of ways they can 'make the grinch grin' through good behaviors  I cut a paper plate in half and use it to make a pocket on the mouth area. We then put our examples (written on strips of paper) in the pocket so they can pull them out and read them when they need a reminder of good behavior (do this for the cranky side too)!

Another great Christmas movie with a wonderfully cute moral is the story of Rudolf . This story is great to teach the affects of bullying and how not to judge others because of differences. This classic movie has such great discussion prompts...from the little elf Hermey being an outcast...the island of misfit toys...Rudolf being called names and the 'reindeer games'---This movie is ripe with teaching! This was a new find for this season and I can't wait to watch the movie with clients!

Kids love to count down towards the Big Present Day--Aka Christmas. Who am I kidding...I LOVE to count down to Christmas! This is another take on the count down chain...its a count down Christmas tree! Each 'ornament' is connected to a strip of paper, you pull one each day and it gives you a task for the day. This is great for teaching kiddos how important the way we treat and interact with others is.

I first use poster board to cut out three triangles with little flaps on one side. I then used an exacto knife (best if you do this--kids dont need to handle exacto knives) to cut 25 little slits all over the triangles (for the paper strips to go through). My client and I then wrote out a task for each day (on strips of paper). We made sure to incorporate self care on some of the days--it's important to be kind to ourselves!
Some ideas we used: draw mom a picture of your favorite memory together, give mom and dad a compliment, do one extra chore today, make a new friend at school, take a bath and listen to favorite CD (she's a pre-teen).

Now, take a fuzzy ball and glue gun it on one side of the strip. Lace it through one of the slits made earlier. On the backside you can either glue something on the other end or like I did, use random foam stickers (this offers resistance so when they pull out the fuzzy ball it doesn't come through the other side).

Snowman emotions faces:

For this activity I began by setting out some emotions cards for reference. Using the facial expressions on the cards, this helped them come up with examples to name more than just happy, or more complicated emotions. 

 We then cut out some circles, used googly eyes and carrot noses, asking my client to draw in the rest!  This activity could be used all season, cutting them into cards to play go fish, a matching game, or play bingo! Super easy, super cute.

This last activity is a great and easy one to help your client practice coping skills at home (sneaky).

Make a paper chain counting down to Christmas, help your client brainstorm simple coping skills to write on each one.  These should be easy enough that the client can do them each day without a lot of prompting, skills they can do on their own and in their home, like breathing, jumping jacks, draw a picture, etc.  I usually pair this activity with a reward if they follow through, giving them a little extra for practicing at home.  An alternative to writing coping skills can be to write some self-care activities, doing a little something soothing for each day, or doing something nice for others on some or all of their chain.  

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