Chill Out and Play with The Nora Project!

ShoppingGives has partnered with Gerardo Perez as a guest blogger, raising awareness for the importance of inclusive play, as well as supporting the mission and goals of The Nora Project.

Gerardo is a Certified Recreational Therapist (CTRS) and has experience facilitating therapeutic play sessions with children with disabilities and their families.

ShoppingGives has partnered with Gerardo Perez as a guest blogger, raising awareness for the importance of inclusive play, as well as supporting the mission and goals of The Nora Project.

Gerardo is a Certified Recreational Therapist (CTRS) and has experience facilitating therapeutic play sessions with children with disabilities and their families.

Summertime is for playing!

July is filled with many hot summer days and children are home for the summer. What better way to cool down than to play in the water? Here are some fun, inclusive water play ideas that are sure to cool off the kids!

We have provided links to some of the versatile equipment and supplies needed to help meet your child’s play needs this summer, and each item purchased through these links automatically donates 2.5% of the purchase total to The Nora Project – at no extra cost to you!

  1. Pond Sensory Water Play:

This is play that appropriately integrates the senses with fun while enhancing learning, making this sensory pond the perfect activity to keep your children engaged in pretend play and exploration!

This stimulating play activity may engage tactile, visual, and olfactory senses, and can be done indoors or outdoors and easily modified to meet each child’s level of comfort. If done indoors, you may want to lay a tarp underneath your table to catch any splashed water. Prior to beginning the activity, pre-cut various sized lily pads, logs, and flower shapes using multi-colored foam sheets. These are great because they will float in the water and add an aesthetic touch to the “pond”. Start by having children fill the water table halfway with water. Next add the pre-grown blue Orbeeze into the water, along with the pretend play animals (frogs, fish, turtles, etc.). Including your child as much as possible in the preparation process as appropriate (cutting shapes, opening containers, etc.) is another great way to foster developmentally appropriate hand skills. For easy cleanup, provide children with a colander to sift out the Orbeeze, making the clean-up part of the play!

Adaptations
• To emphasize self-care and positive association with bathing, have children wash the animals in a soap and water pond. Provide a separate container with shaving cream. Have children engage in an animal “scavenger hunt” by finding toys from the shaving cream bin and washing them in the “pond”.
• Add your child’s favorite essential oil to the water to activate their olfactory system.
• Provide large kitchen utensils (mixing spoon, ladle, strainer, tongs, etc.) for children that may be hesitant to touch the shaving cream or other materials.

Shopping List:

1.Pond Sensory Water Play:

This is play that appropriately integrates the senses with fun while enhancing learning, making this sensory pond the perfect activity to keep your children engaged in pretend play and exploration!

This stimulating play activity may engage tactile, visual, and olfactory senses, and can be done indoors or outdoors and easily modified to meet each child’s level of comfort. If done indoors, you may want to lay a tarp underneath your table to catch any splashed water. Prior to beginning the activity, pre-cut various sized lily pads, logs, and flower shapes using multi-colored foam sheets. These are great because they will float in the water and add an aesthetic touch to the “pond”. Start by having children fill the water table halfway with water. Next add the pre-grown blue Orbeeze into the water, along with the pretend play animals (frogs, fish, turtles, etc.). Including your child as much as possible in the preparation process as appropriate (cutting shapes, opening containers, etc.) is another great way to foster developmentally appropriate hand skills. For easy cleanup, provide children with a colander to sift out the Orbeeze, making the clean-up part of the play!

Adaptations
• To emphasize self-care and positive association with bathing, have children wash the animals in a soap and water pond. Provide a separate container with shaving cream. Have children engage in an animal “scavenger hunt” by finding toys from the shaving cream bin and washing them in the “pond”.
• Add your child’s favorite essential oil to the water to activate their olfactory system.
• Provide large kitchen utensils (mixing spoon, ladle, strainer, tongs, etc.) for children that may be hesitant to touch the shaving cream or other materials.

Shopping List:

2. Parachute Water Balloon Toss

The combination of water balloons and parachute play are sure to be a success.

Begin by doing a few warm-up activities with just the parachute (lifting the parachute all the way up and down, going fast/slow, making waves etc.). Add one water balloon on the parachute with which they can practice rolling the balloon in circles or moving the balloon to a specific color triangle on the parachute. Next, have each child take turns tossing one balloon onto the parachute, and encourage children to work together to toss the water balloon up and down into the air. Once the balloon pops, have the next person toss their balloon. After everyone has had the opportunity to toss a balloon onto the parachute, have children try 2 balloons and continue to increase the number each subsequent turn. For the grand, “splash” add all remaining balloons on the parachute and on the count of three have children launch the balloons in the air and release the parachute immediately.

Adaptations
• For children who may have difficulties holding onto the parachute have them buddy up and use the “hand over hand” method.
• Children that may not be able to stand or sit for the entire duration of the activity can lay under the parachute.

Shopping List:

2. Parachute Water Balloon Toss

The combination of water balloons and parachute play are sure to be a success.

Begin by doing a few warm-up activities with just the parachute (lifting the parachute all the way up and down, going fast/slow, making waves etc.). Add one water balloon on the parachute with which they can practice rolling the balloon in circles or moving the balloon to a specific color triangle on the parachute. Next, have each child take turns tossing one balloon onto the parachute, and encourage children to work together to toss the water balloon up and down into the air. Once the balloon pops, have the next person toss their balloon. After everyone has had the opportunity to toss a balloon onto the parachute, have children try 2 balloons and continue to increase the number each subsequent turn. For the grand, “splash” add all remaining balloons on the parachute and on the count of three have children launch the balloons in the air and release the parachute immediately.

Adaptations
• For children who may have difficulties holding onto the parachute have them buddy up and use the “hand over hand” method.
• Children that may not be able to stand or sit for the entire duration of the activity can lay under the parachute.

Shopping List:

3. DIY Ice Cream

What better way to cool off than making your own ice cream and enjoying it on a hot summer day?

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup coarse salt
  • 3 cups ice
  • 1-gallon sized Ziploc bag
  • 1-quart sized Ziploc bag
  • Timer

Steps
1. Combine milk, vanilla extract, and sugar into quart sized bag. Securely seal the bag, ensuring that it’s airtight.
2. Fill a gallon sized bag with ice and mix in salt. Next, place the quart-sized bag into the salt and ice mixture gallon-sized bag and seal it tightly (it never hurts to double bag).
3. Start the timer and shake the bag vigorously for 5-10 minutes. Have fun with this part, taking turns tossing and shaking the bag.
4. Once the liquid has hardened, remove quart sized bag. Rinse off with cold water to avoid getting salt in the ice cream.
5.Now the ice cream is ready to serve!

Adaptations/Suggestions
• If the ice becomes too cold when shaking, children may wear gloves to keep hands warmer.
• For children that may have difficulties shaking the bag because of the shape or coldness, place into a large coffee can or container.
• Use a timer for children that may have difficulties staying on task. This also provides a visual and auditory cue for timing and enhances planning and organization skills.
• This recipe makes about 2 servings. If you would like to double the recipe, place two quart-size bags into the gallon-sized bag.

Shopping List:

Check out The Nora Project’s fundraiser for more great information on the important work they do.  To continue to give back, simply search the hundreds of stores that Shopping Gives offers for your next purchase. Show your support by sharing this fundraiser with family and friends and together we can help make a difference!

3.DIY Ice Cream

What better way to cool off than making your own ice cream and enjoying it on a hot summer day?

Ingredients:
o1 cup whole milk
o2 tablespoons sugar
o1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
o1/3 cup coarse salt
o3 cups ice
o1-gallon sized Ziploc bag
o1-quart sized Ziploc bag
oTimer

Steps
1. Combine milk, vanilla extract, and sugar into quart sized bag. Securely seal the bag, ensuring that it’s airtight.
2. Fill a gallon sized bag with ice and mix in salt. Next, place the quart-sized bag into the salt and ice mixture gallon-sized bag and seal it tightly (it never hurts to double bag).
3. Start the timer and shake the bag vigorously for 5-10 minutes. Have fun with this part, taking turns tossing and shaking the bag.
4. Once the liquid has hardened, remove quart sized bag. Rinse off with cold water to avoid getting salt in the ice cream.
5.Now the ice cream is ready to serve!

Adaptations/Suggestions
• If the ice becomes too cold when shaking, children may wear gloves to keep hands warmer.
• For children that may have difficulties shaking the bag because of the shape or coldness, place into a large coffee can or container.
• Use a timer for children that may have difficulties staying on task. This also provides a visual and auditory cue for timing and enhances planning and organization skills.
• This recipe makes about 2 servings. If you would like to double the recipe, place two quart-size bags into the gallon-sized bag.

Shopping List:

Check out The Nora Project’s fundraiser for more great information on the important work they do.  To continue to give back, simply search the hundreds of stores that Shopping Gives offers for your next purchase. Show your support by sharing this fundraiser with family and friends and together we can help make a difference!