It's hard to believe we only have two weeks left of our summer program. I guess it's true that time flies when you are having fun! The kids continue to participate with enthusiasm and are so excited to see each other and our TMH team each week. During our group today, we welcomed two new team members and the kids were quick to ask them their names and introduce themselves. High school volunteer Hayley, the older sister of one our alumni, began this week and will join us in the fall as well. We couldn't be more excited that she has decided to volunteer. We also welcomed Steven Rudin, our new social worker who will be part of the Fall TMH team as well. In addition to these new faces, we had a new friend do a trial session. We love using these trial sessions as an opportunity to apply some of the skills we have been practicing. Going forward, we will be creating some kind of buddy program to pair one of our existing members to the visitor. Expanding our community is always a great opportunity for the children to practice flexibility and explore their curiosity.
A few new rules regarding snack time were introduced today. In the past, we let the kids have two snacks during the whole afternoon. But now, to avoid having a distraction throughout the afternoon, everyone must finish their two snacks by the end of hangout time. We noticed that all the kids were much more engaged and able to participate without distraction during Kite Club. New rules can sometimes lead to anxiety for kids so we made sure to remind them of the change a couple of times while they were playing and gave them the opportunity to grab that second snack. This is something you can do at home when there is a change in a house rule or in any type of plan. Making sure that children understand the rules helps them feel in control and will lead to more success.
We read the book The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds today. The lesson of the book is that sometimes we have to try new things that we don't think we will be good at. They may be hard and we might be scared, but sometimes we may learn that we are better at things than we thought we'd be and that we don’t have to be perfect. As always, we focus on reading facial expressions so we emphasized looking at the expressions on each character's face throughout the book. We were so proud of the kids as they all went around and shared different times that they were scared to try something new but tried it anyways.
We kept with the dot theme by playing a game of TMH Twister. Instead of using a Twister board, we used different colored stars and dots. The kids had to follow verbal directions about what color they needed to put their body on. Sounds simple but the kids had to share the spots and had to be mindful of both their own and their friends bodies. They all had a great time and loved as we upped the challenges by adding different body parts, multiple colors, etc.. Our favorite part of this whole activity was watching the kids help out their friends by telling them where there was space for them and getting them to be part of the group. We couldn't be more proud of the sportsmanship and collaboration we are seeing with this group of kids.
We stuck with the dot theme during art as well. While we were reading the book, we encouraged the kids to look at the pictures and start thinking about what they might want to create. Using watercolors and a variety of painting instruments, everyone made a beautiful dot painting. Some kids made big dots, some made several small dots, some put small dots in a big dot....there was no right or wrong method during this project and we made sure that everyone knew that whatever they chose to make was perfect. Once the kids made their individual dot pictures, we put out a huge dot for everyone to complete together. Everyone was allowed to add whatever they wanted but they were encouraged to not invade other people's dots/creations. The final result was perfect!