Using A Treasure Hunt to Work on Social Skills

I love to set up treasure hunts because it’s awesome and fun. But did you know you can actually use them to help kids work on social skills?

What social skills can a kid work on by doing a treasure hunt?

It’s a great way to work on picking up on clues around us. It’s also wonderful practice for kids to work cooperatively, take turns, and problem solve.

Why do kids need to be able to pick up on social clues?

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Resources to Understand Sensory Challenges

Have you ever heard these words?

I think my child has sensory issues.

He just got a diagnosis of Sensory Processing Disorder.

That child struggles with sensory integration.

There are so many different words people use to talk about sensory issues. And if you’re ever on Pinterest, you have probably seen ideas and projects about sensory play. But what does that all mean? I have to admit, when I first started hearing about sensory, it was confusing. Here are some books and resources I’ve found to be informative and helpful when talking about all things sensory.

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Baking with Kids: A Fun Family Activity

I’ve always enjoyed cooking and baking and wanted to get my kids involved too. From the time they were little, I would have them pour in ingredients and mix things together. As they’ve gotten older, they’ve been able to do more cooking tasks with me and they love it. They understand they have to take turns with one another, and they’ve gotten better at that as they’ve gotten older. Usually when I’m making something with them, it’s either a snack like granola bars or a sweet treat like cookies, so they are also wonderful taste testers.

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A Peek Inside Our April Subscription Box

As some of you know, Encourage Play started a subscription box service in January. I wanted to give people a more in depth peek inside what goes into one of our subscription kits. Here’s a look at what was in our April subscription box!

The theme was Managing Feelings. The ability to manage different feelings that occur on a regular basis is such an important skill for friendships, but sometimes it’s hard to learn.

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Pampered Teacher Subscription Box

This week is Teacher Appreciation Week, and I wanted to share a gift teachers would love to receive. I have a great respect and admiration for teachers. My mom taught kindergarten and 1st grade for years, and my dad was a high school teacher and administrator, so I grew up in a family where education was highly valued and teachers were respected. It’s not surprising that for my career, I chose to focus on working with kids in a school setting. I’ve met some amazing & talented teachers over the years, both as a student and as a school counselor.

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Resources to Teach Mindfulness to Children

I’ve been seeing the topic of mindfulness and meditation come up for kids more frequently in recent years. For a while now, when I’ve worked with kids, I’ve talked about different coping skills and how they can help, and I’ve become more and more interested in gathering some information about mindfulness and using it with my own children and with my clients.

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Encourage Play is now on YouTube!

I love using videos when working with kids.  It’s a wonderful way to teach about different social skills and calming strategies. I always preview what I’m going to show the kids and think about what our focus will be. I will often pause the video in the middle to have a conversation about a scene we’ve just watched.

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Puppet Showplace Theater Family Activity

The kids were on April vacation last week. The end of vacation can be hard, so I was looking for something fun to do with our family. A few weeks before I had been looking at The Puppet Showplace and thought that the last day of vacation would be a good time to try it out as a family activity. We love making puppet theaters and putting on shows, but the kids have never seen a live puppet show before. I was able to get tickets to Everybody Loves Pirates!, and I was excited. (I received a voucher for two free tickets to this show).

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Feelings Thermometer

As a counselor, sometimes I work with kids who have a hard time identifying their feelings, especially the fact that feelings can range from slight to intense. One of the interventions I use is a feelings thermometer. Kids need to understand what they are feeling and that feelings can be small or big. Being able to identify how big their feelings are can also help them recognize when they are getting more and more escalated. If they know when they are escalating, then they can intervene and use a coping skill to manage their feelings.

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Outdoor Plans for the Summer

I’ve never been so excited for spring and summer as I am this year. We spent so much time indoors or surrounded by snow outside that I just want to live outside these days. We have a little play structure with swings and a slide, and we still have our tic tac toe set up outside. Last year, I made the space under our deck more appealing by adding some small stones, but I’ve been searching Pinterest and found some new ideas for outdoor play. Here’s what I’m thinking about setting up over the spring and summer for fun with the kids!

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Recycled Musical Instruments: Pinterest in Real Life

In honor of Earth Day, I wanted to do a project with the kids that involved making toys out of recycling. We’ve done plenty of projects using recycled materials, including playing with cardboard boxes and making recycled rocket jet packs, and I wanted to try something different.

My son’s school had a day a few weeks ago where they were asked to make musical instruments and bring them in for a parade (oh the cuteness!!). My son made a shaker all on his own. He used a plastic egg from Easter. He put some beads in it, taped it shut and shook his little heart out. Super easy! Bonus - he did his school assignment without any help from me!

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