Thursday, July 20, 2017

30 Fun & Inexpensive Things to Do this Summer with Kids

Ahhh, summer is here and we've already eaten more watermelons and ice cream than one would think is possible. We've stayed up late. We've been sunburnt. We've swimmed, splashed, and explored the city.

But we still have many more weeks of summer left to enjoy.

So every summer we create a summer bucket list for my kids. A list of fun, but inexpensive, options to beat the heat and just have...well...a fun summer creating memories together! This list of 30 fun and inexpensive things to do with kids this summer has a little bit of everything on it and we hope to complete all of the things on this list.

Fun & inexpensive things to do with the kids this summer from And Next Comes L

This post contains affiliate links.

Summer Bucket List for Kids: How to Have Fun with the Kids All Summer Long for Free (or Nearly Free!)

Another free thing we like to do all summer long is the Kids Bowl Free program where we can bowl all summer long for free (okay, the kids are free, but to pay for me all summer was dirt cheap!). I didn't include it on our summer bucket list simply because it may not be available in your area, but definitely check it out if you haven't already. It's our third year doing the Kids Bowl Free program.


Fun & inexpensive things to do with the kids this summer from And Next Comes L

Read More

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Pirates I Spy Game {Free Printable for Kids}

Arrrr, mateys! I have a pirate themed I spy game for kids that is full of adorable piratey goodness. From treasure maps to parrots and pirate ships, this free printable I spy game is perfect for kids to count, visually scan, and learn pirate vocabulary.

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

The Benefits of I Spy Games for Kids

I Spy printables like this pirate 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 Pirate 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

Pirate Sensory Soup
Read More

Monday, July 17, 2017

Free Printable Fairies Barrier Game for Speech Therapy

If you have a kid who loves fairies or fantasy creatures, then this free printable fairy themed barrier game is a perfect way to work on a variety of speech and social skills. I think in terms of barrier games, this one may be more challenging than some of my others simply because the landscape scene has less unique features than other ones I have put together. The kids will have to make extremely precise descriptions in order for the other player(s) to figure out the exact locations to place the fairies.

Free printable fairy 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

Fairy Tale Sentence Building
Read More

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Unicorn I Spy Game {Free Printable for Kids}

Since I've had a lot of requests for more girly themed I spy games, I knew right away that I wanted to make a unicorn themed free I spy game for kids. These adorable unicorns are just the perfect shades of pastel colors and are oh so cute!

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

The Benefits of I Spy Games for Kids

I Spy printables like this unicorn 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 Unicorn 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

Fairy Tale Sentence Building on the Light Table
Read More

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Watermelon I Spy Game {Free Printable for Kids}

When it comes to summer, there's no better treat than a few slices of watermelon. It's so refreshing and sweet. I am pretty sure my kids could eat an entire large watermelon by themselves in one sitting. That's how much they love it.

My oldest, J, also loves to draw watermelon slices with smiley faces all over the place. They're really cute. Needless to say, my kids love watermelon.

This free printable watermelon themed I spy game for kids is a perfect summer time boredom buster.

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

The Benefits of I Spy Games for Kids

I Spy printables like this watermelon 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 Watermelon 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

Watermelon Soap Foam Sensory Play
Read More

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.

Read More