Monday, June 26, 2017

Free Printable Dragons Barrier Game for Speech Therapy

I'm in love with this free printable barrier game for kids, especially since the dragons are so cute! Whether you place the dragons on a rock or at the top of the castle, this dragon themed barrier game is the perfect way to target speech and language goals, while working on social skills like turn taking and following directions. Seriously, if you've never played a barrier game with your kids, then give it a try! They are so versatile!

Free printable dragon themed barrier game for speech therapy from And Next Comes L

This post contains affiliate links.

What is a Barrier Game?

Barrier games are a way to practice speech and social skills concepts by creating and describing scenes to another player. For more information on barrier games, I highly recommend reading this article about how barrier games are great for language enrichment.

Barrier games can be used to target specific skills such as:

  • Following directions
  • Listening skills
  • Prepositions (on, under, above, beside, next to, etc.)
  • Expressive speech
  • Vocabulary
  • Turn taking
Or at least, that's what we're using these games to target with my son who has autism and hyperlexia.

How to Use the Free Printable Barrier Game

To prep this barrier game, you will need at least two players. Simply download, print two copies of both the scene and the items (one copy for each player), cut the individual items, and laminate all pieces for durability (optional).

To play this barrier game, have all players sit at a table and set up a barrier (a file folder or book works great!) so that all players cannot see each other's materials. Each player takes turns placing an object on the scene and describing to the other player where to place the objects. Each player should give specific directions on where to place the objects. The objective of the game is to have identical pictures at the end. That is, all players should have matching scenes with the items placed in the same spots for all players.

Please keep in mind that I am not a speech pathologist. I created these barrier games using ideas from our son's speech pathologist as well as from researching about barrier games, what they are, and how to use them.

Download the Free Printable Dragons Barrier Game

This free printable barrier game includes three pages, including details instructions on how to play, a landscape or scene, and game pieces.


Other Ideas You'll Love

More Free Speech Barrier Games

Barrier Games Bundle Pack

Free Printable Medieval Barrier Game
Read More

Friday, June 23, 2017

50 Self-Care Activities You Can Do Together With Kids

Self-care is something I really struggle with.

I find it difficult to put my needs ahead of others. 

See, I'm a giver and a carer.

So I hate acknowledging that I need help and therefore, never ask for it. Giving control over to someone else, when I know I can do it eventually, is hard for me. I guess in a way it feels like failing, even though I know I am not.

Perhaps I am too much of a perfectionist.

Or maybe it's the fact that I am usually just too darn tired to give myself the attention and care I require.

After all, raising kids is hard and exhausting. 

Raising quirky, neurodiverse kids is hard and exhausting. So I end up not having the energy to even consider my own needs.

However, I have been trying to be better at giving myself the self-care I need. It's important to do so. I am a much better person, and a much better parent, when I do. 

But finding time away to give myself the self-care I need is impossible. There's not too many people I trust to look after my kids for any length of time. That's why I'm focusing on finding self-care activities to do with my kids.

These activities are for you to do together with your kids to help both of you feel recharged because let's face it, most parents struggle to find time alone to do these things themselves. So why not include the kids!

By including them, I am helping them learn self-care skills themselves. I am helping them, and me, fill our coping skills toolbox and teaching them valuable self-regulation skills.

50 self-care activities you can do together with your kids from And Next Comes L

This post contains affiliate links.

50 Self-Care Activities You Can Do With Kids

This list of ideas is designed to make you laugh, relax, breathe, and generally just have fun with your kids. They are activities that you can do together to make you both feel recharged. They will reset your day and help you and your child feel refreshed!

  1. Have a dance party
  2. Play a game (our current favorites are Ticket to Ride, Hogwarts Battle, and Dragonwood)
  3. Unplug and read a book (we are currently reading through the Harry Potter books)
  4. Exercise
  5. Go for a bike ride
  6. Go for a walk or a hike
  7. Cuddle up and watch a movie
  8. Paint your nails
  9. Diffuse essential oils
  10. Draw, paint, or craft
  11. Journal
  12. Write a collaborative story
  13. Bake or cook a meal
  14. Order take out or go out for supper
  15. Drink warm beverages
  16. Do some Mad Libs
  17. Just play!
  18. Watch music videos on YouTube
  19. Go swimming
  20. Go to the library and pick out books
  21. Tell jokes
  22. Meditate
  23. Do yoga
  24. Blow bubbles
  25. Garden
  26. Go on a picnic
  27. Swing at the park
  28. Go out for ice cream
  29. Give each other back or foot massages
  30. Call or FaceTime with family or friends
  31. Watch funny videos on YouTube
  32. Listen to music
  33. Take a nap
  34. Learn something new (instrument, language, hobby, etc.)
  35. Listen to an audiobook
  36. Write poetry
  37. Skip rocks on a pond
  38. Make an inspiration collage
  39. Go fishing
  40. Go berry picking
  41. Explore a new museum, park, or area of your town or city
  42. Scrapbook
  43. Take silly pictures together
  44. Write things you like about yourself and your child on a list and have them to do the same
  45. Plan a trip to somewhere you've never been before
  46. Do a puzzle
  47. Brush and/or braid each other's hair
  48. Lay in a hammock and cuddle, read a book, and/or talk
  49. Build a fort and play a game or read a book inside it
  50. Go to a pet store and watch the fish swim around

Other Ideas You'll Love

This post is part of a monthly series called Parenting Children with Special Needs. This month's topic is self-care and you can find the other posts regarding this topic below.

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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Bug I Spy Game {Free Printable for Kids}

As much as I don't like bugs, my kids love them! J especially loved all the tent caterpillars that always take over the entire city in the Spring. He'd let them crawl up his arms and along his hands. Me, on the other hand? I can barely handle ladybugs!

But thankfully the bugs on this free printable bug themed I spy game for kids are super cute. Hard to be grossed out by these bugs, right?

Free bug themed I Spy game for kids from And Next Comes L

The Benefits of I Spy Games for Kids

I Spy printables like this Christmas pandas themed one are great for providing visual sensory input to kids, making them a great choice for visual sensory seekers. They also help develop a child's visual tracking ability and improve visual discrimination. This printable requires kids to visually scan through the objects and find ones that are the same.

Playing I Spy with your kids is also a great way to improve speech, language, vocabulary, and comprehension skills. I've discussed how playing I Spy games with kids can improve comprehension in kids with autism and hyperlexia before.

These types of I Spy games also encourage math learning by asking kids to count how many of each object they find.

Download the Free Printable Bug Themed I Spy Game

This printable includes one I Spy game sheet and one answer sheet to record the number of objects found. The answer sheet uses the written word as well as an image of the object to search for to help improve comprehension - something kids with hyperlexia struggle with.


Other Ideas You'll Love

More Free Printable I Spy Games for Kids

I Spy Bundle Packs

Free Printable Bug Themed Barrier Game
Read More

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Aliens I Spy Game {Free Printable for Kids}

If you have a space obsessed kiddo (like many hyperlexic kids are!), then they're going to love this free printable alien I spy game for kids. With UFOs and multiple-eyed aliens, this alien I spy game is sure to delight little space fanatics.

It's a perfect companion to the alien themed personal space social skills pack too in case you are working on those skills at home with your child.

Free alien themed I Spy game for kids from And Next Comes L

The Benefits of I Spy Games for Kids

I Spy printables like this Christmas pandas themed one are great for providing visual sensory input to kids, making them a great choice for visual sensory seekers. They also help develop a child's visual tracking ability and improve visual discrimination. This printable requires kids to visually scan through the objects and find ones that are the same.

Playing I Spy with your kids is also a great way to improve speech, language, vocabulary, and comprehension skills. I've discussed how playing I Spy games with kids can improve comprehension in kids with autism and hyperlexia before.

These types of I Spy games also encourage math learning by asking kids to count how many of each object they find.

Download the Free Printable Alien Themed I Spy Game

This printable includes one I Spy game sheet and one answer sheet to record the number of objects found. The answer sheet uses the written word as well as an image of the object to search for to help improve comprehension - something kids with hyperlexia struggle with.


Other Ideas You'll Love

More Free Printable I Spy Games for Kids

I Spy Bundle Packs

Alien Themed Personal Space Social Skills Pack
Read More

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Free Printable Circus Barrier Game for Speech Therapy

From juggling clowns to a lion riding a bicycle, this free printable circus themed barrier game is a super cute way to work on speech, language, and social skills. Simply work together with your child to see if you can both create the same circus scene!

Free printable circus themed barrier game for speech therapy from And Next Comes L

This post contains affiliate links.

What is a Barrier Game?

Barrier games are a way to practice speech and social skills concepts by creating and describing scenes to another player. For more information on barrier games, I highly recommend reading this article about how barrier games are great for language enrichment.

Barrier games can be used to target specific skills such as:

  • Following directions
  • Listening skills
  • Prepositions (on, under, above, beside, next to, etc.)
  • Expressive speech
  • Vocabulary
  • Turn taking
Or at least, that's what we're using these games to target with my son who has autism and hyperlexia.

How to Use the Free Printable Barrier Game

To prep this barrier game, you will need at least two players. Simply download, print two copies of both the scene and the items (one copy for each player), cut the individual items, and laminate all pieces for durability (optional).

To play this barrier game, have all players sit at a table and set up a barrier (a file folder or book works great!) so that all players cannot see each other's materials. Each player takes turns placing an object on the scene and describing to the other player where to place the objects. Each player should give specific directions on where to place the objects. The objective of the game is to have identical pictures at the end. That is, all players should have matching scenes with the items placed in the same spots for all players.

Please keep in mind that I am not a speech pathologist. I created these barrier games using ideas from our son's speech pathologist as well as from researching about barrier games, what they are, and how to use them.

Download the Free Printable Circus Barrier Game

This free printable barrier game includes four pages, including details instructions on how to play, a landscape or scene, and game pieces.


Other Ideas You'll Love

More Free Speech Barrier Games

Barrier Games Bundle Pack

Free Printable Farm Animal I Spy Game
Read More

Friday, June 16, 2017

Lavender Scented Slime

Life with kids is hectic, but toss in autism, sensory issues, and one crazy school year and I'm basically begging for more calm in our lives. Even when I first started dabbling with essential oils to calm sensory meltdowns, I quickly noticed how positive lavender essential oil was for us. We began using it for bedtime and for calming sensory play.

So when my kids first started showing an interest in playing with slime, I knew right away that I wanted to make a lavender scented slime recipe. I wanted the first experience with slime to be calming to touch, calming to watch, and calming to smell.

But if I'm going to be honest, it certainly wasn't a calming process to make it! It was an extremely sticky mess as I tried to get the measurements perfect. It was stuck to my hands, and I'm pretty sure my hair and face, as I desperately tried to make this slime recipe work for us. I swear those slime video tutorials I see on social media make things look way too easy.

Lavender scented slime recipe for kids from And Next Comes L

This post contains affiliate links.

A Few Important Notes About Slime

When it comes to making and playing with slime in our house, I do have a few important rules.

  1. Always wash your hands after playing with slime.
  2. Parents should always make the slime recipe (to make sure measurements are correct). Or at least, supervise your child while they make it.
  3. Seal the slime in an airtight container so that it can be reused and played with over and over.
I'm not super "sciency," but we are basically mixing things together and forming a chemical reaction or something. See, not sciency at all. 

How to Make Calming Lavender Scented Slime

Here's what I used to make this lavender scented slime:

Pour the bottle of glue into a bowl and add the baking soda. Mix well. Add the lavender essential oil and liquid watercolor and stir until combined. Next, add some generous squirts of contact solution and mix. Keep adding the contact solution until the mixture starts to ball up and stick to itself. Then I like to wet my fingers with some more contact solution and knead the slime until it's well combined.

Or, you can use K's trusty instructions that he wrote out all by himself...

How to make calming lavender slime for kids from And Next Comes L

Just don't forget this important final step, especially if you are a blogger...hahaha

How to make calming lavender slime for kids from And Next Comes L


Then you'll end up with a lovely purple plop of...poop? Or at least that's what it looks like in this photo!

How to make calming lavender slime for kids from And Next Comes L

This simple slime recipe is ooey, gooey, and oh so stretchy! And admittedly, kind of challenging to photograph!

How to make calming lavender slime for kids from And Next Comes L

Playing with stretchy lavender scented slime from And Next Comes L

Playing with stretchy lavender scented slime from And Next Comes L

Playing with stretchy lavender scented slime from And Next Comes L

K gives it too thumbs up!

Playing with stretchy lavender scented slime from And Next Comes L
  

Other Ideas You'll Love




Lavender scented slime recipe for kids from And Next Comes L
Read More

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Simple Tech Challenge for Kids: Make a Stop Motion Movie

In addition to K's interest in photography, both him and J have developed an interest in making their own videos as well. 

It all started innocently when they were watching some adorable Yarn Yoshi shorts on YouTube when my husband suggested that the kids try making their own stop motion videos. Of course, they were excited to give it a try!

As long as you have an iPad, then this simple technology challenge for kids is totally free and, in no time, your kids will be showing off their proud creations!

Simple technology challenge for kids: make a stop motion movie from And Next Comes L

Teach Your Kids How to Make Their Own Stop Motion Videos

Getting started with stop motion is easy. We simply used what we already had on hand and downloaded a free app on my iPad. Then off the kids ran to make a variety of little movies.


Simple technology challenge for kids: make a stop motion movie from And Next Comes L
Read More