Let’s get excited about Thanksgiving! Sometimes, for young children with visual impairments or those with complex access needs, holidays can be a very abstract concept. Let’s gather some materials and build a concept box to support our student’s understanding of this special day!
- Social interactions and communication
- Symbolic communication
- Tactile discrimination
- Texture identification
- Concept development
- Functions of objects
- Shoebox or plastic container with a lid
- Dried corn on the cob
- Turkey sound
- Straw hat
- Photos of family members or special artifacts from them, (bracelets, key ring, etc.)
- Oven mitt
- Sponges or dish scrubbers
- Objects to represent favorite family activities, (football, cards, bingo markers, etc.)
- Fancy ribbon or fabric to indicate dressing up
- Shopping bags
- Choose a box to store your items. This can be a shoebox or a plastic container with a lid. It’s best if this is something that can be stored nicely in a shelf where the child can access it easily.
- Select 5-10 items for the box. Choose from the materials list above. Try to choose some items that the student may already be familiar with, in addition to some novel objects for discovery.
- Label the box with braille, tactile symbols, print, pictures, and/or an object that will cue the student to the concept being discussed.
- Use the box to facilitate a conversation about the upcoming holiday and what will take place.
- Repeat this activity frequently prior to Thanksgiving so that the student can build familiarity with the objects, what they represent, and can expand communication skills.
- Have fun!!!! With my students, the more fun I tried to have, the better the conversation went. We tapped corn on different body parts, rolled gourds around the room, tickled one another with feathers, and modeled fast and slow scooping of pretend food into our mouths with spoons.
Extensions & Adaptations
- Create a script to use as the student discovers each object for those who are not verbal communicators.
- Pair sign language with objects for students who are deafblind.
- Choose objects to present if students are unable to reach in and make a choice for themselves.
- Use an adaptive communication device to record Thanksgiving sounds and listen to them while you explore the objects.
- Use a digital recorder to create a sound file of the actual holiday for students to “remember” what took place.
- Write an experience story about Thanksgiving using some of the objects from the box.