Blog Archive

My Body Unit w/ Free Printables

Princess wants to become a doctor when she grows up. She is absolutely fascinated with the body, reading anything about the subject she can get her hands on.  Needless to say, it was time to study the body!

The boys enjoy learning about the human body, but only when it's applicable to them.  I made sure to keep that in mind when I created My Body Unit!

My body unit with free printables

Here's what we're up to:

My Body Unit with Free Printables

Body Part Spelling with Movable Alphabet

Body Part Spelling with Movable Alphabet

The kiddos are using our print and cursive movable alphabets to spell body part words.  The printable for this activity has more cards than are shown in the picture. 

Source:  I created this printable as part of my My Body Activities for Tots & Preschoolers Printable Pack 1.  This is a free printable.  For your copy, click on the link at the bottom of this post.

Physician Specialty Syllable Counting

Physician Specialty Syllable Counting

One of the best ways I've found to teach my kiddos new vocabulary that may be difficult to pronounce, is to create a syllable counting activity.  It works like a charm every time.  I think it helps that the kiddos love syllable activities.

Between our four special needs kiddos, we've become acquainted with many specialists over the years.  Bulldozer still tops the list when it comes to how many specialists he's seen.  If I remember correctly, the number of specialists was definitely over 10 by the time he was two.  Words can't express how thankful I am that he's doing so well.

Since the kiddos are familiar with so many different types of doctors, I wanted to be sure to cover that in our unit.  Princess is trying to decide what kind of doctor she wants to be, so I thought this activity would help her with that too.  Today she said she wants to be a surgeon.  Lol.  If anyone could pull it off, it would be her!

Source:  I created the printable for this activity as part of the My Body Unit Printable Pack 1. This is a free printable.  For your copy, click on the link at the bottom of this post.

Odd & Even Practice with Skeleton Bones

Odd & Even Practice with Skeleton Bones

I don't remember how or why it came up, but the kiddos and I were discussing odd and even numbers a couple weeks back.  It was quite apparent that it'd been a while since we reviewed this material.  Here's hoping the refresher will stick with them.

Source:  I created the printable for this activity as part of the My Body Printable Pack 1.  This is a free printable.  For your copy, click on the link at the bottom of this post.

Medical Instruments Match Up

Medical Instruments cards

The kiddos are such pros when it comes to doctor's appointments, unless they're getting shots.  All of them are becoming quite interested in the names of specific medical instruments.  I thought this activity would be fun for them.  Most likely, they'll turn it into a memory game.

Source:  Jason created the printable for this activity as part of the My Body Printable Pack 1.  This is a free printable.  For your copy, click on the link at the bottom of this post.

Learning the Body Systems

Body Systems Cards

It's been my goal to teach about each of the body systems as we progress through our Montessori preschool years.  Though we've not covered them all yet, the kiddos have done a fabulous job with the ones they do know.

To ensure the kiddos are still remembering all of the systems we have covered, and some we haven't, I created these cards.  

The kiddos match up a symbol that represents each system, with its corresponding card.  We've done this activity in the past, but it's been a while.  I'm excited to see what the kiddos remember.

Source:  I created the printable for this activity. The Body Systems Nomenclature Cards are free. For your copy, click on the link at the bottom of this post.

My Human Skeleton Book

My human skeleton book printable

Princess LOVES creating books during learning time.  If she notices one on the shelves, it's the first thing she chooses.  We've created this book in the past, but it was before the kiddos could read on their own.

It was so much fun listening to the kiddos talk about the different bones today.  I love watching them progress.  The kiddos will color the correct bones on each page of their book.  The cards are provided as a control for them.

Source:  You can find this free printables at Montessori Workjobs.

My Body Magnetic Doll Activity

My body magnetic doll

I fell in love with this Melissa & Doug Magnetic Human Body Play Set the first moment I laid eyes on it.  Princess did too and can't wait for it to go in her room once we're finished with it in our learning time room.  

Dinomite was a bit leery of the boy and girl anatomy parts, but after a great discussion he was feeling much better.  Bulldozer went right to town finding matching body parts.

3 Dimensional Body Activity

My body kit

If I had to pick the favorite activity of the week, this one would be it. The SmartLab Toys Squishy Human Body has been so much fun to use!  

The kiddos LOVE to disassemble the body, placing all of the parts in the correct spaces on their organizer sheet.  Once they do that, they have almost as much fun putting the body back together following booklet instructions.  Hands on learning is always the best!

For those who would like more more Montessori activity ideas and free printables, be sure to subscribe to our free newsletter by clicking the link below.

Don't forget your free printables!

If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy the resources below.

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Our Family Vacation to Grindstone Island Day 4: A Trip to the Hospital & More!

The day started out as any other day on our vacation. The kiddos woke up, ate breakfast, did morning work, etc.  We watched ships pass each other in the channel.  The family of geese that visited us each day said hello.  After lunch our plan was to go for a nature walk.

Last year on vacation, Princess ended up with a HORRIBLE double ear infection.  Of course she didn't tell me her ears were hurting, so I didn't realize it until she had a fever of 105 degrees F and was vomiting all over the place.  (Not a fun way to end a vacation.)

This year, I asked her every morning how her ears were doing.  Each morning she replied that they were great until day 4.  That's when she told me they were feeling better, that they didn't hurt as badly as they did yesterday.  Sigh.  Princess had no fever, but I gave her some medicine to help with the pain, and then looked at Jason knowing we were most likely going to need to make a trip to the mainland, Which is not as easy as it sounds. Let me explain.

Grindstone is an island in the middle of the St. Lawrence River.  It is not accessible by car, bus or train.  One can only access it by boat.  Once on the island, there are no stores.  There are no doctors offices, hospitals, or emergency personnel.  No police are there.  The island has dirt roads, old cars, four wheelers, and that's about it.  There is a church, where everyone attends in the summer, no matter what denomination you are, but the rest is just you and nature.  My paternal grandparents were born and raised on the island. Back then there were mines, a cheese factory (where my grandfather worked), a general store (where my grandmother was raised), and two-one room school houses, where children on the island attended school.  There are a few farms left on the island from those days too.  Very few people live there year round anymore, but the place is my heritage.  As a child and adolescent, I was over there every chance I got, even if it meant I was cleaning.  It's my home.  There is no place on earth where I feel more at peace and connected with myself.  When I brought my husband to the island for the first time, when we dated, he said that was the day he learned and understood who I was.  If given the opportunity, I would move my family over there year round in a heartbeat.  There's no place on earth quite like it.  As my grandmother always used to say, Grindstone is about 50 years behind the times.  When I look at how the world is today, compared to what it was like 50 years ago, especially when it comes to crime and the safety of my children, I can't think of a better place to be. My children can roam free and I don't have to worry about who might live next door.  Neighbors are family. Everyone says hello.  Doors are always open.   People live off the land.  It's truly an amazing place.

However if you need to seek medical care, get groceries, or go to any store, you must cross the river to get there.  I knew I'd need to watch Princess closely to see if she di have another ear infection, so that transportation over the river could be arranged quickly.

The kiddos had been in the water every day, but day four of our trip was definitely time for all of them to have a bath.  Due to sensory issues related to bathing, and kiddos with eczema, I usually bathe my kiddos two to three times per week.  Baths were definitely past due.   Jason bathed each of the kiddos and helped them brush their teeth.  I helped them get dressed and combed their hair.  Bulldozer is prone to cradle cap, even at age 6, so I decided I should probably check his scalp to see how it was looking.  As I combed through his hair, looking at his scalp, I noticed something tiny sticking out of his head, in the same area he had mentioned his head hurt the night before. Not sure of what it was, and realizing that I just couldn't comb it out, I asked Jason to get me some tweezers.  (We bring our first aid kit everywhere with us.)  Even with tweezers, I couldn't pull out the tiny object.  However, after three tries, I realized that what I was seeing had legs.  Bulldozer had a tick in his scalp!
This is not Bulldozer's scalp, but a picture that I found on Wikipedia, showing what it looks like.  Notice how small it is compared to  an adult finger.  ("Tick engorged with thumb" by Original uploader was Jeremykemp at en.wikipedia - Transferred from en.wikipedia. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons -
For those who are not familiar with ticks, they are arachnids that can carry all sorts of diseases.  If a tick is not removed from your skin, serious medical issues may follow.  Lyme Disease is very common.  We know two people off the top of our heads that have contracted Lyme Disease due to a tick, most likely from the island.

I immediately called my pediatrician and asked what we needed to do.  Since I couldn't remove the tick with tweezers, and it wasn't completely intact, we were advised to take Bulldozer to the nearest Urgent Care or Hospital.  In our case, it was the same place.

I've driven boats all my life, but when it comes to driving boats with four special needs kiddos on board, and a non experienced boater husband, I ask for the help of my Dad, when transporting back and forth across to the island.  He brought the boat over as as soon as I called, and we all headed back to the mainland.

Since we were already taking Bulldozer to the hospital/urgent care facility, I decided I'd bring Princess too.  That way, if she did have an ear infection, I could get medicine started quickly.

Jason, Dinomite, and Sunshine stayed at my parents' house while Bulldozer, Princess, and I headed to the closest hospital/urgent care facility around.  Everyone remained quite calm during the whole ordeal.  I worried that Bulldozer would freak out when he realized a bug was stuck in his head, but he didn't.  In fact, he tried to make friends with it.  LOL.  He was not shy at all about it, and was quick to tell anyone he saw that he had a bug stuck in his head.  Thankfully he knew to call it a tick.  I'm also thankful that most everyone he talked to had their own tick story to tell, so the experience was mostly positive.

The nurse and doctor were great with the two kiddos.  They explained that I had already removed most of the tick from Bulldozer's head. Only a little bit was left that NEEDED to be pulled out.  Due to Bulldozer's autism and sensory sensitivities, they felt there was no need to dig into his head to pull out a leg, etc. that might be left.  The experience would be too traumatic for him.  Though I didn't know exactly how long the tick had been in his scalp, I knew the longest it could have been there was four days.  Bulldozer was showing no symptoms.  The doctor said it hadn't been there long at all, and that most likely the day he first felt the pain was the day he got it.  (Bulldozer was sure to make the doctor very aware of his sensory sensitivities, especially when it came to his head and scalp.)  We were made aware of further symptoms to watch for, but the doctor felt very confident that Bulldozer would be fine.

Princess, on the other hand, definitely had the start of an ear infection in her left ear and was prescribed an antibiotic.  I was so thankful we had thought to ask her each morning about her ear, and that we caught the infection early enough to prevent super high fevers and vomiting, which she's notorious for when it comes to ear infections.

The appointments went well.  No tears were shed.  Kiddos were happy.  The only other memorable moment was when we stepped into the elevator, and I realized Bulldozer had never put on his sneakers after being weighed.  LOL.

Once Princess' prescription was filled, we headed back to my parents' place. It was getting close to dinner and I had brought nothing with me for the kiddos to eat.  The best option was to eat out.  I was so excited to take the kiddos to my favorite restaurant in town for the first time.  I was also excited to order fries with gravy too!  My parents joined us and we had a wonderful time.  We've been practicing restaurant manners for the past few months in preparation for our trip to Disney World and it definitely showed.  The kiddos were amazing!    The kiddos ordered their own food.  They remembered to say please and thank you and were social during the meal, using their quiet voices.  Our waitress complimented us, telling us that we had the best behaved kiddos they'd had in the restaurant all day.   I love it when practice pays off!

After dinner, we headed to the ice cream stand for a final treat before returning to the island.  By then the kiddos medications had worn off and they were pretty crazy, but the treat was still good.  When we returned home, everyone crashed.  But not before Princess gave me a huge hug and kiss goodnight.  (This is a very rare thing.)  I do believe the experience of me catching her ear infection BEFORE it was too bad, helped her feel a little safer that day.

What an eventful day!  I only wish I would have brought my camera to capture all the fun moments!
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Our Family Vacation to Grindstone Island Day 3

By day three of our vacation the kiddos had settled into a pretty good routine.  I had checked out a bunch of books from the library before we left to keep kiddos busy during transitions etc with no media.  The kiddos loved the books!

When Jason and I were planning our vacation together, we tried to choose a theme for each day to help organize our time.  This helped us know what to bring as far as the kiddos were concerned.  Themes included camping, the beach, insects, birds, fishing, etc.  The books I checked out from the library went along with these themes.  It was my goal to plan some fun busy bag activities for each theme too, but I never ended up getting that far.  Perhaps later this summer I'll get to it.  Lol.  I've wanted to do a unit on camping for quite some time.
Our third day was pretty typical in regards to what we did.  Breakfast followed by learning time and then morning routines.  The kiddos did end up going outside to play a little bit while I was cleaning up things from breakfast.  Princess picked a beautiful bouquet of dandelions.  She was quite proud.
Despite wind and cooler temperatures the kiddos begged and pleaded to go swimming after lunch.  As always they had loads of fun.
Then the kiddos realized just how cold they were and decided it was time to get warm.  The water was fun while it lasted.
The kiddos played outside a little more throughout the day.  We ate dinner and then did our bedtime routines.  Dinomite LOVED reading a book while sipping lemonade, in his favorite chair every night. The view of the river is beautiful from where he was sitting.
Bulldozer looked at books too. But this 3rd night of vacation, he was complaining about one side of his head hurting.  I asked if he had done anything to it. He casually mentioned it probably hurt because he had fallen a couple days before.  Nothing else was said about it until the next morning when...

To be continued.
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Our Family Vacation to Grindstone Island Day 2

Our second day started out absolutely beautiful!  The sun was shining.  It was warm.  We couldn't have asked for better beach weather.  
I couldn't resist sharing the view from the opening of our tent.  Truly breathtaking!  Note:  This picture was not taken in the morning, or else you would be seeing the sunrise as well.

Each morning, after breakfast, we did our morning routines and then morning work.  I knew if Bulldozer didn't write for a week, we'd be set back about three weeks.  If Dinomite was out of some type of learning routine for an entire week, the meltdowns would be horrible when we returned home as life went back to normal.  Each day the kiddos did two workbook pages, practiced their cursive letters, and answered a question in their journal.  Depending on how motivated they were, depended on how long it took them each morning.  Dinomite finished his work sometimes in less than 30 minutes.  Bulldozer took over two hours at least one morning as he took a while to get motivated and then was very distracted by ships going by, geese in the water, etc.
On this particular morning, Jason was helping Bulldozer.  It took A LOT of motivation for him to do his work.  Jason does so well being patient with him.  If I recall, this was the morning he took the longest amount of time.  Jason ended up using little pieces of chocolate pop tarts as incentives.

It was quite noticeable that everyone was a bit over tired.  We had stayed up until almost midnight the night before.  Those who slept outside didn't seem to sleep as well as they would have inside.  Dinomite finished his morning work and went to rest in his bed.  He quickly fell asleep.  I sent Princess upstairs to her bed when she was finished.  It didn't take her five minutes, and she was out.  Sunshine even fell asleep while resting on the couch waiting for Bulldozer to play.  And then when Bulldozer finally finished his work, I sent him in his room for a quick nap.  No lie, every kiddo took a morning nap for at least an hour, which meant Jason and I were able to nap too.  It was BLISS!

At noon, Sunshine started to stir.  Jason and I fixed lunch, woke up those who weren't awake yet and ate a yummy lunch of leftovers.  After lunch and clean up, we headed to the beach.  The sandy beach is located on the other side of the island, so it's quite special when we go.
From top to bottom, left to right, you can see everyone had fun:  Princess, Dinomite, Bulldozer and Sunshine all spent the afternoon in the water  Jason and I went in a few times too in order to  cool off, but we didn't stay in for long.  It was a bit too cold for our liking.
The kiddos also spent some quality time out of the water.  Bulldozer and Sunshine enjoyed throwing sand, rocks, and sticks into the water.  Sunshine had a blast burying Daddy's feet in the sand.  Princess built a castle that both Sunshine and she enjoyed stomping on when finished.  All four kiddos took a break from the water for a snack.  (We learned last year, the hard way, that Dinomite needs to take frequent breaks to eat when exerting so much physical activity in the water.  Otherwise horrible meltdowns follow on the way home.)  All of us had a fabulous time.  When it came time to go home... No meltdowns over sand, hunger, etc. this year!  Such a huge accomplishment for everyone!

Once back to our camp, everyone changed and played outside while I made dinner. Then, like the night before, we built a campfire and enjoyed S'mores.  We started much earlier, which seemed to help those that were afraid of the dark and nature noises.  I captured this shot while the kiddos were waiting for me to bring out the makings for S'mores.  It's one of my favorite pictures from vacation.
The kiddos kept their distance from the campfire the second night, as it was much hotter than the first night.  Still, each took turns roasting marshmallows.  You'll notice I did get a picture of Sunshine the second night.  (Hooray for me!)
After S'mores, we started bedtime routines. The girls went down first.  Then the boys followed. Jason and I were even able to spend some alone time before falling asleep.  It was a magical day!
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Our Family Vacation to Grindstone Island Day 1

We just arrived home from a WONDERFUL week on Grindstone Island in the 1000 Islands.  The vacation was a much needed respite for all of us.  Continuing with tradition,  we stayed completely unplugged from all media devices while on the island, until the last day when Jason and I packed and cleaned up camp.  No one was excited about returning home.  At least we have fabulous memories to hold us over until next year.  We hope to return again.

We left our home as early as we could the first day, in order to be sure to enjoy some warm weather, before a cold front moved in.  As soon as we were settled, the kiddos had their swimming suits on and were in the water.
The didn't care that the water was FREEZING.

This year was the first year that the kiddos were old enough and strong enough to jump off of the dock and swim around to the ladder.  Dinomite and Princess loved it.  Bulldozer... not so much.  I'm still shocked he even tried.
When the kiddos weren't swimming, they were wading, looking for treasures and throwing rocks.  Bulldozer's favorite island past time is throwing rocks.  He loves watching the splash and ripples in the water caused by the rocks.  I've tried to teach him how to skip rocks, but he still doesn't seem interested.  Maybe next year...  Dinomite instantly started up a collection of treasures he made sure we brought home today.
After swimming everyone headed inside to get warm.  We all ate dinner-turkey burgers, hot dogs, salt potatoes, corn on the cob, and fruit, and then prepared for evening festivities.

Bulldozer has been saying for weeks that he wants to go camping. When we found out we were going to Grindstone, we jumped at the opportunity to appease his request.  Of course, first we needed to figure out what camping meant to the kiddos.  It turns out, camping means S'mores by a camp fire and sleeping in a tent.  Lol.

Jason surprised us all with his scouting skills.  (I love that after almost 10 years my husband can still surprise me with new skills I never knew he had.)  He built a beautiful tepee fire down on the rocks right next to the water.  The kiddos had helped him collect tinder, kindling, and fuel wood for the fire before dinner.

We brought the makings for S'mores.  Each kiddo took turns down by the fire with Daddy roasting their marshmallows.
It seems I neglected to take a picture of Sunshine roasting her marshmallow.  She couldn't eat one due to food allergies, but she roasted one for Mommy.  I  gave her allergy friendly chocolate and graham crackers so she could join in.
Dinomite surprised everyone with his new liking for S'mores.  It turns out that cooking them over a campfire makes all the difference. Lol.  In the past he has always eaten each part of the snack separately, with the marshmallows plain, not roasted.  Dinomite ate three S'mores our first night on the island.

After the campfire was put out (Again, so impressed with my husband's skills!), it was time for phase two of our camping experience.  Unfortunately we already had two kiddos who were a bit frightened by the sounds of nature in the dark around us.  Bulldozer and Sunshine had asked to go back inside the house several times already.  Sigh.  Not even the bright stars in the sky could distract them.

We brought all of the kiddos back inside to grab blankets and then headed to our tent.  Jason and I thought that perhaps once we were inside the tent, all together, that Bulldozer and Sunshine would settle down.  Our plan worked only part way.
Jason, Dinomite, Sunshine & Princess slept in the tent.  Bulldozer couldn't wait to return to the house to sleep.  He asked to sleep with Mommy.  In the end, it turns out that Bulldozer and Mommy lucked out because everyone sleeping in the tent froze all night.  I'm still not quite sure why they didn't come in to get more blankets, but oh well.  Mommy and Daddy will be getting everyone warm sleeping bags for Christmas.  All three kiddos slept with Jason in the tent ALL night long which was extremely impressive to me.  And Bulldozer...
His biggest worry once inside was that Mommy was sad and upset because she didn't get to sleep in the tent like she had wanted.  He apologized profusely.  I assured him he had nothing to worry about.  And with that he went to bed with a smile.  We had such an amazing first day on the island!
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I will be vacationing and completely unplugged with my family May 18-May 22.  Please enjoy the blog while I'm gone and share as many posts as you'd like.  New posts will be coming when I return!
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Ancient Egypt Printables and Activities

We are wrapping up our school year over the next month and a half.  One of the units we have yet to cover is Ancient Egypt.  

The whole unit seems very overwhelming to me.  I know I'm going to need to study up on my history and find some great ideas to include on our shelves.  

This week I took some time to look.  Here are some great Ancient Egypt Printables and Activities.

Ancient Egypt Printables and Activities

Ancient Egypt Printables and Activities

Egypt Studies:  Books, Resources, Free Printables, Ideas & Lessons from The Natural Homeschool

If you're looking for a complete unit study full of hands on ideas, this post has several. It includes study ideas, wonderful projects, book lists and more! I love how so many different resources were included filling out the unit study beautifully.

Exploring Egypt from Natural Beach Living

This post shares so many ways to add sensory components to a study of Ancient Egypt. I love how this post includes so many project ideas and really helps children understand so many aspects of the culture.

FREE Egypt Pack from 3 Dinosaurs

If you're looking for printables for tots and early elementary students to assist in teaching language and math skills, these printables are perfect. Images are created using adorable clip art.

Montessori-inspired Little Passports Activities-Egypt from Living Montessori Now

I'm always a fan of using fantastic resources and creating Montessori shelf work with them. This is exactly what Deb does in this post. She shows so many fabulous ideas and how to create beautiful activities for children in the Montessori classroom.

The Study of Ancient Egypt from The Pinay Homeschooler

This is another fabulous post full of hands on activity ideas and resources. I love how simple concepts were turned into fun work which is so attractive to kids. 

Ancient Egypt Learning Study:  2nd Grade w/ FREE Printables from Royal Baloo

This post gives a day by day guide to studying Ancient Egypt with so many fabulous ideas and printables.  I love how each day of plans focuses on a different aspect of Ancient Egypt with a fun activity to go with it.

15 Books About Egypt for Children from Sunny Day Today Mama

There are so many books out there about Ancient Egypt. It can be incredibly overwhelming to know which ones to choose. I love these recommendations as they make my life so much easier!

Mummification:  Let's Mummify Barbie! from Kids Activities Blog

I LOVE this mummification idea. It's by far my favorite. There are so many details included in this post that help children learn the process of mummification and what it's about.

Fun Ancient Egypt Lesson Plans from the Organized Homeschooler

I am always on the look out for fun geography activities and this post delivers! Not only does it include a fabulous edible hands-on activity, it also includes many other resources.

Learn to Play: Egyptian Senet from Only Passionate Curiosity

It can be so much fun to create and learn to play an Egyptian board game. This post includes all of the directions and rules along with photos to guide the process.

Learning about Ancient Egypt can be so much fun with so many activities and printables to choose from!

And for the ultimate resource, be sure to check out our amazing printable pack below!

Ancient Egypt Printable Pack

Montessori-inspired Ancient Egypt Printable Pack

This printable pack is designed for children in Montessori preschool and elementary classrooms. It includes so many fantastic resources that teach all about life in Ancient Egypt.

For those who would like more activity ideas and printables, be sure to subscribe to our free newsletter by clicking the link below.

If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy the resources below.

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Airport Preparation Activities for Kids with Free Printables

We continue our preparation for our magical trip to Disney World in October.  

Now that we've learned all about the airplane, it's time to prepare the kiddos for their first airport experience.

The airport is filled with new sensory experiences and behavior expectations. If the kids are not prepared, there is a great chance that their first airport experience will be a negative one. I want to avoid that at all costs.

To ensure a more positive experience we are moving forward with a ton of airport preparation activities for kids that include some great free printables.

Airport Preparation Unit with Free Printables

This unit study is a bit different than units past.  You won't see the typical language, math, science, and geography activities.  

I wanted to really prepare the kiddos for this experience which means a lot of hands-on practice.  

It's been so much fun to watch them learn.  Hopefully they'll enjoy the airport as much as I do.  Did I mention how much I LOVE airports and flying?

Airport Preparation Activities for Kids with Free Printables

My First Trip to the Airport Social Story

My First Trip to the Airport Social Story

I'm not sure if I've shared this before, but Dinomite suffers from Neophobia-the fear of new things, experiences, etc.  This part of his autism is by far the hardest for me to manage.  

It affects EVERYTHING that we do as a family, from what I serve at the dinner table, to a day out of the house.  

One way I've found to help him is to create social stories with pictures in preparation for big events. My hope is that if I create a social story for each part or day of our trip, it will help him be ready for our new big adventures with minimal meltdowns.  

He thoroughly enjoyed the social story I made in preparation for the airplane ride itself.  If you haven't checked it out, be sure to visit my airplane unit for the free printable.

So far my plan seems to be working as Dinomite's anxieties about the trip are lessening.  Granted we aren't at the airport or on a plane yet.

When we first scheduled this trip he was spending at least one day a week melting down, completely anxious about the unknown.  I haven't seen that in a couple of weeks, right about the same time we started this process.  

Instead of melting down, he's taking what he's learned and running with it, identifying movies that include specific things he's learned, researching airplanes, and so much more.  I just love his smiles!

This week we introduce our airport social story.  I kid you not, I spent at least four hours on the phone with our airline asking questions to make sure I had every detail correct in our book.  

It shouldn't surprise me anymore, but I still am shocked at just how many steps and details there are in some processes, especially a trip to the airport.  

It's no wonder kiddos with anxieties, autism, and other special needs struggle so much as they attempt to be successful at things we take for granted.  

Their poor little brains are on complete overload!  

Hopefully this book will help.  Our trip is 5 months out.  

I'm starting a folder for each of the kiddos with all of their social stories and other preparation items to review with them often.  It may seem silly, but they will need it.

This book starts out as you enter the doors of the airport and takes you through every process you may encounter until you board your airplane.  It also addresses layovers and baggage claim.  

I worked hard to make sure new terms were defined.  At the same time, I tried to include airport vocabulary so the kiddos would be prepared for words they might hear or read.  

It was very difficult to minimize the amount of words used to describe each step. Both my husband and I worked very hard to make the book as simple as possible.  It took a while.

For each page of the book, the kiddos will glue a picture that matches the description.  The pictures are actual pictures from airports to help them learn what they look like etc.  Each picture is numbered to match the page number it belongs on.  

When you print out this book, or even view the printable, the page numbers will be mixed up.  I created the book in Microsoft Publisher, which aligns the pages as if you were going to fold the pages and put the book together.  

All you need to do after printing is fold the pages in half, cut on the fold, put story book pages in order, and then cut out pictures to glue on them.  Hopefully this makes sense.

Source: I created this printable for this activity. The Airport Social Story. For your free copy, click on the link at the bottom of this post.

"Airport" Security Field Trip

"Airport" Security Field Trip

Okay, so... I was NOT planning on having my picture taken while on our field trip.  

My husband finagled his way out of the picture WITH the camera, and voila.  Here you see me with a baggy sweatshirt sweater, no contacts, and no make up.  Yup! This is me at a not so flattering angle.  Oh well.

One of my biggest worries about our upcoming airport experience is going through security.  It's a bear to begin with, but with four special needs kiddos...  Shoot me now!  

Then one day the idea came to me.  What if we visited our local court house?  They have an x-ray machine.  There's a metal detector and they even use wands just like at the airport.  

I stopped by one day to ask if it was okay to bring the kiddos.  They looked at their schedule and told us when to come.  

It was THE BEST field trip ever!  The security guards were amazing with the kiddos.

In preparation for the experience, each kiddo brought a backpack full of their favorite things from their rooms.  When we arrived at the court house the guards asked for the bags.  

At this point we hadn't explained this process.  

Bulldozer immediately ran past the metal detector to get his bag back.  He didn't understand why the guards were taking it.  This was when the teaching came in.  Again, the guards were great.  

Going through the metal detector was hilarious.  None of them knew what they were doing and so confused.

Once we were all past security, the guards explained each step of the process the kiddos had just gone through.  

Jason went through the detector again with a belt to show what would happen if someone was wearing metal.  The security guards brought out their wands and demonstrated on Jason what would happen if they beeped going through the metal detector.  

I LOVE how the kiddos were able to see and hear what each step looked and sounded like.  

Once Jason's further screening was finished, the security guard found metal on each of the kiddos sweatshirts (while the kiddos were wearing them), and used the wand to make them beep.  They all laughed.

Finally the kids were brought behind the security desk to get first hand experience with the x-ray machine.  

Dinomite asked a ton of questions.  All the kiddos LOVED seeing the contents of their bags on the screen.  

It really was such a neat experience for them.  I do believe they're much better prepared now.

Removing & Putting On Shoes at the "Airport"

Removing and Putting On Shoes at Airport Security

The last part of the security screening I wanted the kiddos to be ready for was removing and putting their shoes back on.  

Dinomite is proficient at this but Bulldozer, Princess and Sunshine can always use extra practice.  

When it comes to removing shoes, it's not that they can't, it's that they love flinging them off, causing the shoes to go flying.  

That's not quite what I want to have happen at the security check point.  As far as putting them on, the speed can always be improved on.

Practice Walking with Luggage

Airport Preparation for Kids: Practice Walking with Luggage

The kiddos have had their own backpacks and lunch boxes for a while, but the luggage is new.  

The last time I traveled by plane, I only had Dinomite, so my personal luggage worked.  

But now with four kiddos, one suit case just doesn't cut it.  We let the kiddos pick out their own luggage, and made sure the bags were small enough to work as carry-on if we wanted to use them as such.  

The luggage arrived just in time for a practice run, as we're heading to the beautiful 1000 Islands for vacation this coming week.

The kids practice walking, turning, and backing up with luggage. 

Packing Practice

Airport Preparation Activities for Kids: Packing Practice for Kids

When you have new luggage, it's crucial that you fill it full of things you'll need for your vacation RIGHT AWAY!  Or so the kiddos think.  Lol.  

They were lucky we actually are going on vacation this weekend for a week, so it gave them a chance to practice.  

I printed out adorable FREE packing list printables from A Grand Life.  I love the pictures included for those who can't read yet.  

The kiddos loved that they were able to check the box, once the correct number of each item was packed.  

My only complaint about the printable is that it doesn't include pajamas, a jacket or sweatshirt.  

Still, we're using them because they're just so darn cute and perfect for the kiddos!  

They successfully packed for their upcoming trip with some assistance from Mommy and Daddy.  What a relief to have that done!

It's one thing to have your own suitcase and to pack your own suitcase, but an entirely different thing to know how to maneuver your suitcase, especially when it's packed full of stuff.  

Just the weight difference between an empty suitcase versus a full suitcase completely alters one's ability to move it around.  

It may sound silly, but the kiddos have been practicing pulling their suitcases, while also carrying their lunch boxes and having their backpacks on.  And well... they need the practice.  Lol.

Airport Preparation Activities for Kids: Practicing Walking with Luggage

Only two kiddos have dropped suitcases on their toes, which is a good thing. But, almost all of the kiddos struggle to turn their suitcases when needed.  Two end up actually flipping them over.  

I'm sure as practice continues the kiddos will become pros and they'll get some great sensory input too.  Hopefully we'll be able to provide some extra opportunities for them to use them before our big trip to the airport.

If you were interested in the FREE printable, be sure to click the link below.

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