We shook things up this week and spent the whole afternoon outside in the backyard at Parkside and couldn't have asked for a better afternoon! It was hot but we took advantage of the shade, ate some ice pops and filled up some water balloons to try and fight off the heat. I'm pretty sure one of the highlights was that everyone got to help us fill up the water balloons using the Pumponator. One of the most impressive parts of the whole afternoon was how the kids resisted their overwhelming urge to throw their water balloons once they were filled up! We're not sure we could have been so good about resisting the urge as they were!
We started off the afternoon by staying cool with some popsicles and hanging out with friends. It's so nice to see the friendships that have developed over these last few months. As we have gotten to know the kids even better these last few weeks, we have been able to develop a plan for each week that will work on group goals. Our main goal is to increase flexibility and sticking to the group plan can be really tricky for these kids as they would prefer to do something that seems more fun to them. They don't necessarily want to try new things because they would rather do things that they know they are good at. We've been trying each week to encourage the kids to try new things and step outside of their comfort zone. We have been doing a lot of relay races (using water balloons this week) to show the importance of being part of a group and working as a team to win. The first week, everyone was definitely more concerned about themselves and didn't care as much about their team winning. It was really nice to see the kids cheering each other on, giving them high fives and celebrating their group finishing the race.
The kids had a great time making fruit kebabs and decorating their canvas bags. We broke kids into little groups and everyone had to share the supplies/materials. With each week, we are noticing that the kids require fewer and fewer reminders to share with their friends.
One of our favorite parts of the entire afternoon was after one of our relay races. We were encouraging the kids to cheer for their teammates but to also follow the rule of sitting down to show that you have completed your leg of the race. Everyone was totally into the actual racing part but the sitting down part was really hard. We announced that there was no winning team but then one of the kids yelled out "we are all winners because we all had so much fun!" A few weeks ago, this same kid was the one who would have a major meltdown if he didn't score a goal or win a game. What a major improvement!
Have a great weekend! We will see everyone next Wednesday!