5 Reasons to Keep Open Ended Games Around
Have you ever walked into a therapy session, all planned, to have your students say, “No way! I’m not doing that!” Maybe they just put their heads down, their hoods up, or their bodies on the floor and refused to communicate at all. It happens, especially when students have special needs, and all your planning goes out the door. What to do now?
Why have open-ended monthly thematic activities?
- For holidays, it gives you a chance to build communication skills before the day arrives, which can lead to a calmer holiday when students understand the event.
- The same skills can be learned and generalized over multiple months if you choose your materials correctly. When the students see the new theme, they feel like they are doing something different, but you know that you are consolidating and expanding their skills!
- Kids like things that are familiar, especially if they have autism or are dealing with anxiety problems. By using a theme to work on their areas of need, we can help them understand what will happen and what will be expected of them. Working on functional skills is always important!
Keep those games handy
5 reasons to keep games in your arsenal
There are lots of reasons, but here are the 5 that come to mind:
- Review quickly if you have extra time after your planned activity.
- If a group doesn’t jive with a makeup session, incorporate games to help out.
- When your planned activity bombs (yes, that can happen to anyone!) you have an emergency back up plan ready made.
- Hang them on a bulletin board because they make cute double-duty decorations.
- Students who request a specific game that they see will likely be more invested in that session, and you can make open-ended games work for most goals.
Plus, it is just plain fun! What is your reason for using themes and games year-round?