Happy Holidays From A is For Apple
‘Tis the season for parties, Santa, gifts, winter break, and a lot of potential for unexpected schedule changes. Last month we talked a lot about travel and also how to prepare your child for holiday events, which is also helpful advice for this month as we draw nearer to Christmas. This month we will be discussing how to alleviate some holiday stresses that can come with Christmas like gift giving and how to keep your child busy during one of the longest breaks from school of the year: Winter Break!
When there is a holiday or occasion where gift giving is involved, if you have a child with special needs, it may be necessary to change your expectations. Some children still developing small motor skills may even have trouble unwrapping gifts, or the wrong gift for certain children could cause a meltdown – you may need to realign plans with what your child can handle, not with what you want for them. This is also true for family members; they may have difficulty finding the right gift for your child. It could be helpful to make a wish list for family members so they feel more confident buying gifts this holiday for your kids. Here are some ideas that our staff came up with.
Family Gift Giving Guide
- Puzzles with large pieces – Children with Down syndrome can have difficulty with fine motor skills, puzzles with fewer or large pieces are fun and encourages these skills. Check out these Melissa and Doug puzzles at Target.
- Cause-and-effect toys- Working on interaction and verbal replies with children on the Autism spectrum is important, and if you can make it a game, that is even better! The Vtech’s Tote and Go Laptop Plus does that perfectly. Check it out on Amazon.
- Tunnels- For the children that don’t feel overstimulated in small areas, The tent-and-tunnel combo from Pacific Play Tents is a great option. This is also great for children who love to escape into their own world for a while, or need a safe space to read, think or be alone to play.
- Repetition is key- For kids with autism, anything that spins and has a lot of repetition draws their attention. Learning Resources has Gears! Gears! Gears! Lights & Action Building set perfect for your child.
- Development stages- Make sure to consider games that correlate to your child’s development stage. Think Fun has plenty of games such as Rush Hour to challenge your child without overstimulating them.
- Playdough (without the mess!)- Sensory play is important for any child’s development. PlayFoam does just that, without sticking to hands and minimal mess. Great for stocking stuffers too! Check it out at on Amazon.
We’d love to hear about the favorite gifts on your child’s wish list this year. Share them with us on our Facebook page!
The best part of this season is getting together with family, the food, the friends, the holiday cheer, and of course – the food! The part that is hard for most parents is the (very) long winter break. Most of the time it is two weeks long, and unlike summer, it isn’t the best weather to play outside, and it’s cold and flu season; so you are left with indoor options. What do you do with children indoor for two whole weeks? We have some suggestions for you!
Indoor Activities For Winter Break
- Forts & Towers – Guide your child with making forts and towers with large boxes and blankets you can find around your home! Create a new and exciting world while bonding with your child.
- Cooking and Baking – What’s better than bonding with your child? Bonding with your child while making delicious Christmas cookies of course! Not only are you giving your child a sensory experience, but also your child is learning essential skills such as following directions, measuring, and developing fine motor skills.
- Reading – Cozy up next to the fire with blankets and a good book. Local libraries have plenty of age and developmentally appropriate books you can check out. You can also visit the USA Toy Library Association and see if your town has a toy library!
- Take Advantage of Your Own Backyard– Once the leaves start falling, take advantage of the huge piles of leaves you might have and have some sensory time with your child! Watch your children roll, crunch, and crumble in the piles of leaves. You can also collect the leaves and bring indoors for leaf rubbing, or a gluing craft.
Special Needs Jump Sessions at Sky High Sports!
An affordable indoor activity for the cold weather season, and great idea for the upcoming Winter Break.
Lights are turned down, music is turned off and distractions are minimized. Kids with all kinds of special needs are welcome. Families and neuro-typical siblings enjoy the atmosphere of understanding and camaraderie.
- Where: Santa Clara Sky High Sports, 2880 Mead Avenue, Santa Clara, CA 95051
- When: Every Tuesday from 3-6pm PST
- Cost: Special jumpers are $5 for three hours with one parent or therapist free
- Contact: (408) 496-5867; Click Here for Website Link
* Any jumper under the age of 18 needs an online waiver signed by a parent. (Grandparents and therapists can’t sign.)
AMC Sensory Friendly Films
Here is another Winter indoor activity to keep you warm during the upcoming break.
AMC is proud to partner with the Autism Society to offer unique movie showings where we turn the lights up, and turn the sound down, so you can get up, dance, walk, shout or sing! Our Sensory Friendly Film program is available on the second and fourth Saturday (family-friendly) and Tuesday evenings (mature audiences) of every month. Please check your local theatre listings for specific showtimes, and don’t forget to share your family fun with #AMCSensoryFriendly.
Check AMC’s Website by clicking here for Sensory Friendly local showings of:
Disney’s Moana: December 10th
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: December 13th
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story: December 27 & 31