Activities for Home
Note: With all activities, safety comes first. These activities need to be supervised by an adult and may need to be modified if you child has a lot of hand and arm strength.
“Learning is achieving knowledge by being active.”
Dr. Lilli Nielsen, from Early Learning Step by Step
During the COVID-19 crisis, many parents are needing to create ways to provide Active Learning environments and activities with their child. Since most of us are sheltering in place for an unknown period of time without all the wonderful Active Learning equipment on hand and have no way to go out and buy materials to make equipment, we thought we would share some easy “hacks” that you can do at home.
Look around your house and find items that have a variety of textures, temperatures, taste, smell, color, weight, and shape. By simply offering your child common household objects, you are giving them information about the world around them. You may want to collect these into an old suitcase or other container, so that you can clean them after each use to avoid the spread of germs. Wash them in soapy water, if that is appropriate, or wipe them with sanitizer.
Don’t worry if these things can only be used just a few times. Some items, like paper or plastic bags, might only be used once or twice before they need to be replaced.
If you have other children at home or friends and relatives living in your neighborhood, you might share ideas with them to enlist their help in creating items or collecting things you can use.
Be creative! If it works, it works! Don’t be reluctant to come up with your own ideas. For example, if you don’t have Velcro to make a cummerbund, then wrap Duct tape (sticky side out) around the front of your child’s shirt.
Look for ways to make the activities you are already doing with your child and family more Active Learning based. Playing with a variety of items in a bath can be fun for your child and for you, if you relax and slow the pace. Offer scented soap to smell before rubbing on arms and legs. Spend time playing in a tub or shallow pan of water while positioned in a wheelchair or sitting on the floor. Putting liquid soap onto a child’s hand or your own hands to massage in before or after the activity helps with germ control and can be great fun. Tape toilet paper or paper towel rolls vertically to the wall and let your child drop small balls through them. Hang a variety of kitchen gadgets on a wall, door knob, or chair. Put ping pong balls, dried beans, or other small objects on a cookie sheet and set the tray on a wooden spoon so that the tray tips back and forth when touched.
Here are just a few simple ideas we came up with using things we found around the house. These learning environments and activities serve many purposes, but they are especially a great way to support Independent Living Skills from the Expanded Core Curriculum for Students with Visual Impairments.
Brochure to Share
Elizabeth Wallace, M.Ed², TSVI*, TDB*, Jill Smith, M.Ed, TSVI, COMS*, and Gwenn Burud, DHH* Parent Advisor, who work in the Region 11 ESC area, created this great brochure about materials for family members and professionals.