January 11, 2017

Game Review: Bunny Peek-A-Boo

Note: This post contains affiliate links.

Sometimes I run across a therapy material that is so awesome that I just have to share! Last month, a kind parent gave me an Amazon gift card to use towards therapy materials and one of the things I bought was "Bunny Peek-a-Boo" by SmartGames. It had been on my Therapy wishlist forever, but I hesitated to buy it because of the steep price (close to $30). Now that I own the game I am so glad I do!

Bunny Peek-a-Boo consists of three wooden blocks, a wooden bunny figure, and picture cards. The premise is simple: students have to arrange the blocks and bunny figure in such a way that it matches the picture on the card. There are 60 different challenges at four different difficulty levels (15 challenges for each level).

I used this during my therapy sessions with students ranging from Kindergarten through 5th grade (the 5th graders were students from our self-contained Special Day Class) - everyone thoroughly enjoyed it! Even though this toy is recommended for ages 2+, some of my older SDC students already began to struggle at Level 2, which was great in terms of learning opportunities. 

This game is excellent for speech & language therapy, as it promotes problem-solving, flexible thinking, and can be used to work on positional concepts (e.g., "Where is the bunny?" - "The bunny is on top of the blue block").

I absolutely LOVE this product and given it's sturdy quality I know we'll be using it for years to come! I can't recommend it enough!

January 6, 2017

Have You Filled a Bucket Today - An Extension Activity

One concept that I love using with the students in my social skills group is that of Bucketfilling. This idea is based on the book "Have You Filled a Bucket Today?: A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids" by Carol McCloud. 

Basically, the gist of the book is that everyone carries around an invisible bucket that represents the level of an individual's happiness. When someone's bucket is full, the person is feeling happy, and when the bucket is empty, the person is feeling sad. The author emphasizes that you should fill others' buckets by being kind and doing nice things for them. This in turn, will fill your own bucket.

I revisit this concept annually with the students in my social skills group and we talk about different ways to fill someone's bucket. This year we took it a little bit further. My students observed that in the book, a person's bucket tends to bear resemblance to the person it belongs to - for example, if the person is wearing glasses, the bucket is wearing glasses. We decided to create our very own personalized buckets to practice bucketfilling.

You will need:
First, we designed the buckets. Students colored their buckets in a way to resemble them. We also glued on wiggly eyes to add some life to them. We then used the pipe cleaners to poke through the styrofoam rim and create a handle.

Some of my students really got into it and spend a lot of time creating bucket-masterpieces. One student insisted on having Pikachu sit on his bucket's shoulder. I loved to see the level of creativity! 

Once the buckets were completed, we started practicing the act of bucketfilling. In the book, the happiness and good feelings filling one's bucket are represented by rainbow stars and hearts. In the past, I have used plastic coins and pompoms during these lessons, but this year I found something even better: Foam Beads! These beads come in different shapes and colors and kind of look like the bucket contents in the book.

For this part of the lesson, we practiced filling each other's buckets by complimenting or doing nice things for the people in our group. Students loved seeing their buckets getting fuller. We also practiced bucket-dipping: if a student interrupted or misbehaved in some other way, shapes were removed from the teacher's bucket and their own bucket.

There are so many things you can do with the concept of bucketfilling and this is just one of them!