Woo Hoo Summer is here!! We are ready for sunshine, popsicles, sprinklers/pools, s’mores, and lots of fun family time!
But let’s not forget that our children’s learning doesn’t stop just because school is not in session. This is a critical time for them to continue learning. As parents, we all worry about our children falling behind over the next few months and how we will keep their minds and bodies active. As you are planning and arranging for Extended School Year services, childcare, swimming lessons, and camps, don’t forget that GiGi’s Playhouse is here for you.
Our FREE purposeful programming never stops, and each program incorporates components of communication, educational learning, peer interaction, social skills, sensory, fine motor, and gross motor skills while building skills including physical, cognitive, affective, social, language, and attention development through fun activities! Our Destination Discovery motto: Play = Fun + Learning, along with our GiGi U motto of Healthy U, Confident U, and Whole U sets everyone up for success!!
Here are some GiGi’s program ideas and how you can become involved
- Enroll in one of our GiGiFIT programs at your local GiGi’s Playhouse or through the Virtual Playhouse. GiGiFIT programs focus on building social skills with friends without Down syndrome by participating in team-based activities in a casual and fun setting. Skill development includes understanding compromise, turn-taking and problem-solving abilities. Learn more about GiGiFIT
- Enroll in one of our GiGi’s Kitchen programs at your local GiGi’s Playhouse or through the Virtual Playhouse. Our GiGi’s Kitchen programs are designed to emphasize the importance of a healthy lifestyle and early exposure to practical cooking skills. Under the guidance of program leaders, participants will engage in activities designed to promote healthy eating habits, kitchen safety awareness, food preparation skills, self-confidence, and social skills by applying learned skills as they prepare and enjoy a shared meal/snack! Learn more about GiGi’s Kitchen
- Check out your local GiGi’s Playhouse calendar and register to attend the following programs or through the Virtual Playhouse.
- Destination Discovery supports the development of fine motor skills, gross motor skills, social skills and language through purposeful play and peer-to-peer interaction in a casual and fun setting. This program also brings families together to share experiences and build relationships. All ages are welcome.
- Kids Club supports the development of social skills and language through peer-to-peer interaction in a casual and fun setting. This program will also support gross motor skills through active games, fine motor, and self-help skills through meal/snack preparation and activities. Recommended for 8-12-year-olds.
- Teen Tastic focuses on building social skills with friends without Down syndrome by participating in team-based activities in a casual and fun setting. Skill development includes understanding compromise, turn-taking and problem-solving abilities. Recommended for ages 13-17-year-olds.
Check out some of these ideas for some quick and easy fun ways to keep learning involved in your everyday activities:
- From GiGi’s Playhouse Wausau titled “Summer Fun…Therapy in Disguise!”
- Erupting Ice Chalk Paint
- Giant Window Painting
- GiGi’s Virtual Playhouse On Demand Programming videos offer a wide variety of engaging, purposeful activities that can be participated in at a time that is convenient for your family. Check out the On Demand section by clicking the links below.
- All Ages
- Destination Discovery – Rainbows and Colors
- One of our favorites is LMNOP – Farm Animals
- One of our favorites is GiGiFIT Kids
- All Ages
- Play some Road Trip games! No matter how close of far your destination is these are purposeful fun games for everyone:
- I’m going on a picnic. This game used to confuse me, but now I think I’ve got it! Here’s the gist: you can go on a picnic and take something that begins with the first letter of the alphabet. The next person repeats all the previous letters and then adds an item that corresponds to the next letter. If you’re the fourth person in the game, you might have to say, “I’m going on a picnic and I‘m bringing an apple, a bronco, a candle, and a dog. Not only is this our favorite road trip game, it’s also the one we play in restaurants that take a while to bring out the food!
- Read road signs out loud to practice your literacy and communication skills:
- Cows on my Side. This one sharpens your math skills. Count the cows on your side of the road. Pass a cemetery, lose all your cows, and start over.
- Word Association. What do you think of when I say Spiderman? That’s how you start word association. The first person says something, and the next person has three seconds to associate the word with something else. So, Spiderman, Batman, Robin, Bird, parakeet, pet. See? If someone takes longer than three seconds, or the word they say doesn’t make sense, they are out. Would you Rather. You can learn a lot about your car mates with this car game. Would you rather…jump off a cliff or eat a spider? Come up with your own questions.
- Alphabet Game. This classic road trip game is a fun game to play for all ages because anyone can play as long as they can identify letters A-Z outside their window! The game is played by finding all 26 letters of the alphabet on things that you pass as you are going down the highway, in order, from A to Z. Check out billboards, roadside signs, license plates, restaurant signs — anything! — and once you see the next letter, call it out. You can work together as a group, and play as long as you want.
- Bob the Memory Builder. Can you remember all the items needed at the store? The first person goes to the store and gets something that begins with A – probably apples. The second person goes to the store and gets apples, but also something that begins with B – bananas, anyone? The third person goes to the store and gets apples, bananas, and so on.
We just couldn’t resist adding this memory and tip from Nancy Gianni from May 2008.
“You can tell summer is here when the Hannah Montana CD is blaring at 7:30 am, and the kids are outside playing in their pajamas before 8!! I love it!
I remember reading recently in a magazine that one of the best things you can do for your child is to allow them time to play alone outside. You guys know me… I am still stalking from the window, but it still gives them a sense of independence, and they begin to explore a world they might not see with us constantly around guiding them!” Check out the blog post I love summer!!! here.