Friday, March 27, 2020

Autism Acceptance Month Ideas for Families

April is autism acceptance month. Here's how you can participate in autism acceptance month with your family.

In case you didn't already know it, April is Autism Acceptance Month.

And there are lots of things you can do as a family to educate yourself and teach your children about autism and neurodiversity.

Why?

Because even if you don't know an autistic person yourself (although you likely do), you likely have an autistic co-worker. And there's likely an autistic child in your child's classroom or school.

They deserve to be accepted and embraced for who they are, just like every other human being on this planet.

So this April, I encourage you and your family to move beyond autism awareness by learning more about autism and neurodiversity. 

Autism acceptance month ideas and resources

Autism Acceptance Month Resources & Ideas: 10 Ways Your Family Can Participate This April

You probably notice that I am using the term acceptance instead of awareness here. And there's a reason.

I strongly encourage you to rethink who and what you support during autism acceptance month because the autism awareness campaigns and initiatives that you're likely familiar with aren't ideal. In fact, autistic adults have continually spoken out against these ideas and push for celebrating autism acceptance month instead of autism awareness month.

So having said that, here are some things you can do with your family during autism acceptance month.

1. Read picture books about autism with your child.

2. Talk to your kids about autism and disabilities and explain that not all disabilities are visible.

3. Learn more about autism by reading a book about autism. My top picks for someone new to autism and neurodiversity would be Uniquely Human or The Reason I Jump, but if you are ready to dive into something more meaty, I highly recommend Neurotribes. Or try one of these free neurodiversity ebooks.

4. Join an autistic-led group and start listening to and learning from autistic people themselves.

5. Read a book that features an autistic main character or read one out loud together as a family. 

6. Educate yourself about these common autism myths.

7. Donate an autism picture book to your child's classroom so that it can be shared with lots of children.

8. Learn about neurodiversity. This calendar of neurodiversity resources from The Neurodivergent Teacher is a fantastic starting point.

9. Start reading blogs and sharing articles and content written by actually autistic people. For example, you could start watching and sharing some of these Ask an Autistic videos.

10. Read up about identity-first language and start getting comfortable using the word autistic. This article called The Significance of Semantics: Person-First Language: Why it Matters from Autistic Hoya is a great read!

Other Resources You'll Love




Autism acceptance month ideas and resources
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My Grandpa's 3 A's and Why You Might Need to Rethink Who and What You Support When it Comes to Autism

A closer look at the associations you keep and why you might need to rethink who and what you support when it comes to autism, especially during autism acceptance month.

Why you need to be mindful of who and what you support during autism acceptance month

I've been thinking about my grandpa a lot lately and the things that he taught me.

He was indeed a wise man, teaching my brothers and myself valuable skills like how to fold a tissue properly so you didn't get snot all over your hands. Or how to not-so-casually slip a twenty dollar bill into your hands by saying, "Here's some A&W coupons."

And, to my brothers, not to pee into the wind.

Life skills, yo!

But the one thing that really stuck with me are his three A's: attitude, appearance, and association.

Like it or not, we are all judged by these three things to some degree.

Your attitude...is it positive or negative? Are you willing to learn and adjust as needed? Or are you more of a fixed mindset kind of person?

Interesting how my grandpa was years ahead on this whole growth mindset thing. He was certainly sharing about it well before it became popular here on the interwebs...

As for appearance, how you present yourself does matter. So make sure that the way you present yourself is reflective of how you really want to be seen. People will know when you're faking it so it's best to just be authentic and true to yourself.

And then finally, there's association.

The company you keep.

Your tribe.

Your people.

Your peeps.

Whatever you want to call it.

Who you associate with can speak volumes about who you are as a person and what you believe in. It's like slapping a big ol' bumper sticker on the back of your car that screams "here's what I care about."

But why exactly am I sharing this with you?

Well, like I said, it's something I've been thinking about a lot lately.

Especially in relation to the world of autism.

What are those associations of yours saying about you and your views on autism? Are they consistent with your beliefs and reflective of your true identity and how you want to be seen?

If you're not sure, then take the time to research the organizations you support. The campaigns you participate in. The imagery you proudly display and the words you use when talking about autism.

Especially during the month of April.

Because your associations not only speak volumes about yourself, but volumes about how you view my autistic child.

And if those associations currently do not align with your appearance, then now's the perfect time to show your willingness to learn (that attitude I mentioned earlier) and adjust as needed. Because when you know better, you do better.

Such a cliche, I know...

Other Resources You'll Love

Autism Acceptance Month Ideas for Families

One Thing You Need to Know About Autism

Why I'm Thankful for my Son's Autism Diagnosis

Why you need to be mindful of who and what you support during autism acceptance month
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Thursday, March 26, 2020

Pokemon Themed Writing Prompts for Kids {Free Printable!}

Looking for Pokemon educational activities? Try these 15 Pokemon themed writing prompts for kids.

Encouraging my kids to do writing can be a bit challenging. But, like most things, I always try to use their special interests to try and pique their interest.

I've already created some writing prompts for kids that are Mario themed and Sonic themed. So it made sense to make my boys some Pokemon themed ones too since it has been an interest of theirs for years now.

So if you have a little Pokemon fan at your house too, then I hope they'll have with these prompts!

Pokemon educational activity: free printable writing prompts for kids that are Pokemon themed

15 Pokemon Themed Writing Prompts for Kids

Grab a pencil and some paper and use these prompts to get your kids writing! And be sure to grab the free printable version of these prompts (available at the bottom of this blog post).

1. Who is your favorite Pokemon character? Write five reasons why they are your favorite character.

2. What is your favorite Pokemon video game? Explain why it’s your favorite.

3. Pick your favorite Pokemon character and write an acrostic poem using their name.

4. Your friend doesn’t know anything about Pokemon. How you would explain Pokemon to them?

5. Imagine you are a Pokemon trainer like Ash Ketchum and it’s time to pick your starter Pokemon. Which starter Pokemon would you choose and why? Explain why you think that Pokemon is the best choice.

6. There are different types of Pokemon: water, grass, rock, fairy, etc. If you could create a new type of Pokemon, what would it be and why? Explain what types it would be strong against and weak against.

7. Create your own Pokemon character. Describe what it would look like, what its name would be, what its evolutions would be (if any), what type it would be, and what moves it would have.

8. Who is your least favorite Pokemon character? Write five reasons why they are your least favorite character.

9. Do you collect Pokemon cards? Write about why you like to collect Pokemon cards and which cards are your favorite and why.

10. Pretend you are a Pokemon captured inside a pokeball. Describe what it would be like to be inside the pokeball and what it looks like inside. How do you think a Pokemon feels when it is captured in a pokeball?

11. If you could be any Pokemon, which one would you be and why?

12. Imagine you are a Pokemon trainer and are going on your first adventure. Write a short story about your first day as a Pokemon trainer, which Pokemon you encountered, which Pokemon was your travel companion, and any other interesting details.

13. Which Pokemon do you think would be the scariest to see in real life and why?

14. Which Pokemon do you think would be the most interesting to meet and why?

15. What is your favorite Pokemon type (water, grass, rock, fairy, etc.) and why?

Pokemon themed writing prompts for kids - includes a free printable!

Download the Free Printable Writing Prompts for Kids

This one page printable has 15 different Pokemon themed writing prompts for kids. To get your copy, simply click the link below.

>> CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE FREE PRINTABLE

Or subscribe to the Weekly Autism Planner newsletter to gain access to hundreds of printables in the subscriber library!

Other Activities You'll Love

DIY Pokemon Cards {Free Templates}

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Pokemon themed writing prompts for kids - includes a free printable!
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Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Sonic Themed Writing Prompts for Kids {Free Printable!}

15 Sonic the Hedgehog themed writing prompts for kids.

My youngest son asked me to make some Sonic the Hedgehog inspired writing prompts for him when he saw me working on these Mario writing prompts. After all, he absolutely loves Sonic!

So with some help from my Sonic-obsessed son, I compiled a list of 15 Sonic themed writing prompts for kids. He wasn't happy with my one prompt about Sonic being slow instead of fast, but he agreed to keep it on the list anyway. He just assured me he was never going to respond to it. Ever. What can I say except that he's as stubborn as I am!

Free printable writing prompts for kids that are Sonic themed

15 Sonic Themed Writing Prompts for Kids

Grab a pencil and some paper and use these prompts to get your kids writing! And be sure to grab the free printable version of these prompts (available at the bottom of this blog post).

1. Who is your favorite Sonic character? Write five reasons why they are your favorite character.

2. What is your favorite Sonic video game? Explain why it’s your favorite.

3. Pick your favorite Sonic character and write an acrostic poem using their name.

4. If you could add a new character to a Sonic game, who would it be? Describe what the character would look like, what their name would be, and other interesting details about them.

5. If you could be any character in a Sonic game, who would you be and why?

6. If you could design a new level for a Sonic game, what would it look like? Describe the background, the items, the obstacles, and other interesting things about the level.

7. Imagine Sonic was a different kind of animal. What animal would he be and why? Describe what he would look like as this animal.

8. Imagine that you’ve been hired to create the next Sonic game. Describe what the next game would be about or look like.

9. If you could create a new enemy for a Sonic game, what would it be? Describe what it would look like, how it would move, how it would attack, etc.

10. Invent a new special move for Sonic. Give it a name and describe what the new move would look like.

11. Sonic wants a makeover and wants to be a different color. Pick a new color for him and describe why you would pick that color.

12. Imagine Sonic was slow instead of fast. What kind of moves would he have? Would Sonic still be a good name for him or not?

13. If you could put a new item in the item boxes for Sonic, what would you add? What would the special ability be for this item?

14. Pretend that Sonic collects something other than rings. What items would you have him collect instead and why?

15. Sonic’s favorite food is chili dogs. What is your favorite food and why?


Sonic the Hedgehog themed writing prompts for kids - includes a free printable!

Download the Free Printable Writing Prompts for Kids

This one page printable has 15 different Sonic themed writing prompts for kids. To get your copy, simply click the link below.

>> CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE FREE PRINTABLE

Or subscribe to the Weekly Autism Planner newsletter to gain access to hundreds of printables in the subscriber library!

Other Activities You'll Love

Mario Themed Writing Prompts {with Free Printable!}

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Sonic the Hedgehog themed writing prompts for kids - includes a free printable!
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Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Mario Themed Writing Prompts for Kids {Free Printable!}

15 Super Mario themed writing prompts for kids.

My kids love all things Mario and Nintendo, as I have mentioned many, many times before.

It's why we have a Mario climbing wall and have made Mario sensory bottles.

It's even why I've made Yoshi and Super Famicon birthday cakes, which reminds me that I still haven't shared the tutorials for them yet...

Writing, on the other hand, is a big struggle for one of my boys. So I'm hoping that these Mario themed writing prompts for kids are enough to encourage and inspire him to do a little bit more writing each day.

Free printable writing prompts for kids that are Mario themed

15 Mario Themed Writing Prompts for Kids

Grab a pencil and some paper and use these prompts to get your kids writing! And be sure to grab the free printable version of these prompts (available at the bottom of this blog post).

1. Who is your favorite Mario character? Write five reasons why they are your favorite character.

2. If you could design a new race track for Mario Kart, what would it look like? Describe the layout of the track, how many laps it would have, and any obstacles it would have.

3. What is your favorite Mario video game? Explain why it’s your favorite.

4. Pick your favorite Mario character and write an acrostic poem using their name.

5. There are mushrooms that make you bigger and give you an extra life in Mario games, but if you could make a new type of mushroom for a Mario game, what would the mushroom do to you?

6. If you could add a new item to the item boxes in Mario Kart, what would you add? Explain what the item would do to your opponents.

7. If you could add a new character to a Mario game, who would it be? Describe what the character would look like, what their name would be, and other interesting details about them.

8. If you could be any character in a Mario game, who would you be and why?

9. If you could design a new level for a Mario game, what would it look like? Describe the background, the items, the obstacles, and other interesting things about the level.

10. Imagine Mario was an animal instead of a person. What animal would he be and why? Describe what he would look like as this animal.

11. Imagine that you’ve been hired to create the next Mario game. Describe what the next game would be about or look like.

12. If you could create a new enemy for a Mario game, what would it be? Describe what it would look like, how it would move, how it would attack, etc.

13. Instead of an ice flower or fire flower, come up with a new kind of flower power that Mario could have. Describe the flower and its ability.

14. If you could design a new vehicle for Mario Kart, what would it look like and what would its special features be? Would it be fast or slow? A car or a boat? Big wheels or small wheels? Describe what it would look like.

15. Imagine that Yoshi was a different type of creature. Explain what Yoshi would look like, what they would eat, and how they would help Mario in his adventure.

Mario themed writing prompts for kids - includes a free printable!

Download the Free Printable Writing Prompts for Kids

This one page printable has 15 different Mario themed writing prompts for kids. To get your copy, simply click the link below.

>> CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE FREE PRINTABLE

Or subscribe to the Weekly Autism Planner newsletter to gain access to hundreds of printables in the subscriber library!

Other Mario Activities You'll Love

Free Printable Super Mario Scrabble Math Worksheet

Super Mario Sensory Bottles

More Mario Activities & Crafts for Kids

Mario themed writing prompts for kids - includes a free printable!
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Friday, March 20, 2020

Spring & Easter Perler Bead Patterns

These Easter perler bead designs are perfect for kids to make this Spring!

My youngest son adores making perler bead crafts and these adorable spring and Easter perler bead designs are no different. He happily made a few of them.

What I love about perler bead crafts is that they can be turned into all sorts of things like magnets, key chains, necklaces, hair clips...the possibilities are endless!

But my son prefers to keep all this projects together in an old Pokemon tin and play with them like toys.

Spring and Easter perler bead patterns

Perler Beads Crafts for Spring & Easter

These spring and Easter perler bead patterns are so cute! There's three projects to choose from: a bunny, a chick, and a tulip.

The finished craft is small enough to fit into the palm of your hand.

You can see the full designs up close over on CBC Parents.


Spring and Easter perler bead patterns

Easter bunny perler beads project
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Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Indoor Activities for Kids Using Materials You Already Have

A huge collection of indoor activities for kids and boredom buster ideas that make use of materials you likely already have on hand.

I know that many of us are looking for ways to keep our kids busy and preoccupied indoors right now. And shopping for supplies is not a possibility at the moment.

So the other morning I sent an email to my newsletter subscribers with a variety of indoor activities for kids that made use of supplies that they likely already had on hand, hoping it would be helpful for families during this transition period.

Well, the response was overwhelming.

So here is a fully expanded list of easy indoor activities sorted by material types. From no materials besides your body and using recyclables like cardboard to kitchen supplies and craft sticks, there is something for everybody on this list.

Easy indoor activities for kids using materials you already have on hand

No Materials Required! Just Use Your Body or Hands

You don't need any special materials for these activities (some include a printable to make it easier though!).

  1. 12 Animal Walks
  2. Feelings Walk
  3. 11 Easy Hand Games
  4. Pokemon Action Cards (read the prompts from the printable)
  5. Arrow Jumping Game (requires printing the arrows)
  6. Dance party
  7. Go for a walk
  8. Yoga
  9. Learn sign language and finger spell words (use the free printable ASL alphabet cards to get started)


Cardboard & Other Recyclables

Time to use up whatever recycling you have laying around and get creative! Here are some fun ways to make use of all those Amazon prime boxes, tin cans, and whatnot.

  1. Homemade Crayon Rubbing Cards
  2. Recycled Alphabet & Number Box
  3. Cardboard Box & Crayons Open Ended Process Art
  4. Yarn Wrapped Planets (you'll also need yarn, obviously)
  5. Homemade Elevator
  6. Cardboard Slide
  7. Egg Carton Geoboard
  8. No Glue, No Tape STEM Challenge with Recyclables
  9. 10 Ways to Play With Plastic Individual Sized Fruit Cups
  10. Spelling With Tin Can Drums
  11. Cardboard Tube Matching Busy Bag Activities
  12. Cardboard Box Hurdles (& Other Easy Indoor Ideas)
  13. DIY Recycled Building Blocks with Washi Tape (but you could color or decorate with paint instead)


A Roll of Masking Tape

Do you have a roll of painter's tape or masking tape kicking around? Here's what you can do with a roll of tape.

  1. 12+ Ways to Play with Tape
  2. Tape Letters
  3. Make tape resist art: Music Tape Resist Art & Tape Resist Surfboard Art
  4. Graphing Activity (just add some toys or craft supplies you have duplicates of)


Pool Noodles

Maybe I'm the only oddball that always seems to have a pool noodle or two kicking around their house, but in case you have one on hand, here's what you can do:

  1. DIY Balance Beam
  2. Pool Noodles & Rubber Bands
  3. DIY Mix & Match Creature Blocks
  4. Pool Noodle Phone
  5. DIY Pool Noodle Balance Board
  6. 12 Olympic Activities Using Pool Noodles
  7. Cut up pool noodles and stamp with paint onto paper

Craft Sticks (Colored and/or Plain)

Do you have a stockpile of craft sticks or popsicle sticks in your craft supply? Try these ideas!

  1. DIY Activity Jar
  2. Sight Word Popsicle Stick Puzzles
  3. Tally Marks Busy Bag
  4. Tally Marks Math Tray
  5. DIY Picture Puzzles
  6. Make craft stick roads: Magnetic Roads Busy Bag or DIY Road Play Set
  7. Popsicle Stick Push Busy Bag for Toddlers

Blankets, Pillows, Bed Sheets, & Stuffed Animals

Pull the cushions off the couch and round up all the soft things in your house for these ideas!

  1. DIY Crash Mat
  2. 8 Activities Using Pillows & A Bucket (or Laundry Basket)
  3. Bedsheet Parachute
  4. Couch Cushion or Pillow Jumping
  5. Stuffed Animal Throw
  6. Make a fort
  7. Pillow fight
  8. Sumo wrestling with pillows (just stuff your shirt with a pillow)


Kitchen Supplies

Your kitchen is full of awesome materials that your kids can use for play and learning. From muffin tins and ice cube trays to cookie cutters and canned goods.

  1. Muffin Tin Geoboard
  2. 7 More Muffin Tin Boredom Buster Activities
  3. Drawing with Cookie Cutters
  4. Cookie cutters into play dough
  5. Dip cookie cutters into washable paint and stamp onto paper
  6. Paper Plate Alphabet Scavenger Hunt
  7. Paper Plate Spinner (we did months of the year, but you can make it for any topic)
  8. 12 Ways to Play with a Bag of Ice
  9. Sorting with Ice Cube Trays: Example 1 & Example 2
  10. Stack canned goods or make towers
  11. Stretch rubber bands around cans (similar to this)
  12. Grab some bowls and wooden spoons and make drums


Tissue Paper

I personally like to reuse tissue paper from birthday and Christmas gifts so I have an ongoing collection in our storage room. Here are some fun ways to use it to keep the kids busy:

  1. Tissue Paper Ripping Sensory Bin
  2. Ocean Themed Sensory Bin
  3. Bleeding tissue paper art: Shamrock & Easter egg
  4. DIY Confetti Drop - maybe to celebrate when we're out of isolation?
  5. Suncatcher Crafts (if you happen to have contact paper on hand, which you may not have, then scroll down to the suncatchers section)


Printer, Paper, & Ink!

Just print to play and learn with these handy dandy free printables.

  1. DIY Pokemon Cards Template
  2. Pokeball Coloring Sheets
  3. Hundreds of I Spy Games for Kids
  4. Scrabble Math Printables
  5. Barrier Games for Speech & Language
  6. ASL Sign Language Alphabet Cards
  7. ASL Sign Language Number Cards


What Else Do You Have on Hand?

And finally, here's the catch-all category!



Phew! I hope you find this huge list helpful!

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Easy indoor activities for kids using materials you already have on hand
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