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New Product :: Back to School Bingo

Back to School Bingo

 

One of my students’ favorite activities is Bingo. Seriously…they’ll want to play it even if they know there’s no prize at the end! Many of you have used Coping Skills Bingo and Feelings Bingo from my store for awhile, but I want to start offering even more varieties. Since many of us are looking ahead to the fall, what could be better than a game that saves you some plan time during the first couple weeks of school!?

This bingo game was designed to help students ages 5-8 develop logic skills by identifying various school people and objects given a clue. It can be used as a beginning of the year icebreaker, or used when you just need something quick! It was originally developed to be used in small social skills groups, but it perfectly suited for classroom use as well!

This pack contains:
– blank bingo card
– caller cards
– bingo card items (pictures only, words and pictures, or words only)

Back to School Bingo Back to School Bingo

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Tips & Tricks :: Inexpensive & Creative Therapy Toys

With the school year starting up in just a few weeks (I know, I know), many of you are probably starting to stock up on new materials for your classrooms and offices. If you’re looking to save a little money, here are some creative ideas to help you get the biggest bang for your buck!

Dollhouse

If you don’t have the money to spring for an awesome actual dollhouse like this one, Kim’s Counseling Corner has a few great ideas for saving money  – just use a bookshelf or dresser from a garage or rummage sale, add a little paint, and you’re done! Amazon also has some really cheap bookshelves that would work perfectly here.

DIY Dollhouse

If you’re REALLY on a budget, just tape cereal boxes together to make walls and voila!

Dollhouse 3

Play-Doh or Clay

While Play-Doh isn’t really that expensive, you could include your students in a project to make your own! Here’s an easy recipe you could do for kids of all ages (they make great kneaders after it cools – obviously don’t let them handle the boiling water!):

  • 2 cups all-purpose flourplaydoh
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 2 tablespoons cream of tartar
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • food coloring (optional)
  • few drops glycerine (optional, but adds nice shine)

Mix the flour, salt, cream of tartar and oil in a large mixing bowl. Add food coloring to the boiling water then into the dry ingredients (color optional). Stir continuously until it becomes a sticky, combined dough. If you’re using it, add the glycerine. Allow it to cool down then take it out of the bowl and knead it vigorously for a couple of minutes until all of the stickiness has gone. If it comes out a little sticky, add a bit more flour until you reach the right consistency. Store in plastic bags and it’ll last for several months!

TotikaJenga

There are tons of great icebreaker get-to-know-you type games out there, but my personal favorite is a variation on Jenga. One game you could buy is called Totika, which combines Jenga with many different types of questions to get kids talking. If you don’t want to spend the money and have a bit of free time on your hands, you could use regular Jenga or wooden blocks and tape your own questions to the bottom of each block. It makes them a little harder to balance when stacking, but definitely gets the job done!

Stress BallsStress Ball Pool Noodles

One of my favorite crafts for the beginning of the school year are stress balls. We’ve all seen the flour-filled balloons that inevitable get holes in them and spill all over the place. Well, here’s a no mess, no fuss, dirt cheap solution…pool noodles! Just grab a bread knife, slice 2″ segments and you’re set. At the beginning of the year, I leave a bunch in the teacher’s lounge (or teachers or kids!) and have received an awesome response!

Sand/Sensory Tray

There are a lot of really great sand trays out there. However, you don’t necessary have to spend a lot of money unless you want to! When I was younger, my mom bought a huge bag of rice and dumped it into a storage bin. I loved playing with little toys, measuring cups, etc. in it and it was significantly less messy than sand.

Therapy TangleFidgets

There are a million different types of things you can use as fidgets. I’ve shared a great resource that details many of them here, but examples include keychains, pieces of exercise band, paper clamps, pipe cleaners with pony beads on them, therapy tangles, beanbags…the list goes on and on!

Have any other ways to create therapy toys? Share below in the comments!

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Review :: Erin Condren Life Planner 2014

Erin Condren Life Planner

For the last 2 years, my days have been a little more organized and colorful thanks to my lovely planners that I have purchased from ErinCondren.com. I’ll admit that I didn’t order one a little after midnight the day they came out like I did last year. However, I will be just as excited to receive that decorated box on my doorstep this year! It’s always hard to justify spending so much on a planner, but each year I think about the total minutes I spend each day looking at it (probably 15-30 which works out to about 70 hours per year, or almost 3 days of my life!) and know that it’s worth it!

Here’s a round-up on my loves and wishes of my EC Planner

Loves:

  • Interchangeable covers. While I only ordered one, the ability to change the cover during the year could be really helpful. For example, I have an adorable 3-month old baby at home and I’m sure I’ll get some cute pictures of her this year that I might not to wait until next year to feature. The ability to may a little bit of money and update my cover partway through the year is pretty awesome!
  • Repositionable stickers. I hate when an appointment gets changed and I have to veeerrrrry carefully and verrrry slowly peel off a sticker and hope I don’t rip the page to little pieces. The fact that the stickers this year can easily be moved from one day to another makes me very happy! And like last year, you can personalize the stickers for institute days, school improvement days, parent-teacher conferences, etc.!

Erin Condren Life Planner

  • “Forget Me Not” Perpetual Calendar for birthdays and anniversaries. While I do have to say that the couple of hours I spend rewriting birthdays and such in my new planner is very fun, it is nice to be able to spend that time playing with my baby instead 🙂

Erin Condren Life Planner

  • The usual adorableness that comes with EC products. Here’s a glimpse of some of the insides:

Erin Condren Life Planner

My Wishes for Next Year:

  • More “circle sticker” choices. You can upload your own images, but I’d love if they had more pre-made images for holidays to choose from. This was a wish of mine from last year and I hope it eventually happens!!

circle stickers

  • Ability to personalize ALL the rectangle stickers. While it is faster (for me and probably for them too!) to have some of them with specific events already made up (sale!, no work!, doctor appt., party!, etc.), it’d really be nice to do ALL my own. That way, I can color code and not be stuck in the colors they’ve decided for certain types of events (light blue for fun things, red for work). Another repeat wish from last year…maybe it’ll happen.

stickers

  • Taller ruler. The week marking ruler is clear this year, compared to the one from previous years. It gets a lot of use from me and it’s nice that it doesn’t block part of my week. However, like before, it only sticks up from the top of the planner MAYBE 1/2 a cm. It’d be really nice if it stuck up a little more so I could more easily find the current week!

Erin Condren Life Planner

  • No August-August calendar? This was ALMOST a deal breaker for me. Sure, I could pay $5 extra for the remaining months of 2014 in addition to all of 2015, but seriously guys. A majority of your audience is school people. Why the heck would you not allow an August to August option!? I understand the production difficulties of allowing people to choose any start month, but August seems like a very common one to offer. This year, I will basically throw out August through December 2015 as soon as I got the planner so I didn’t have to lug around all that extra weight all year. This was majorly disappointing 🙁

I’ll update this post as soon as I get mine in the mail (hopefully in the next week!) Want a planner? Click any of the images in this post, sign up for an account, and get an e-mail coupon for $10 off your first order!!

A final note: All of the pictures on this post are from the Erin Condren site. None of them are mine!