“On the third Wednesday of each September, we celebrate the American Occupational Therapy Association’s National School Backpack Awareness Day™! Join AOTA and occupational therapy practitioners, educators, and students across the country on September 21st as we help others Live Life To Its Fullest by avoiding the pain and injury that can come from heavy backpacks and bags. ”
Here is a great one-page information sheet that parent and teachers (or student’s themselves) can use to make sure that the backpack is always a helpful, and not a harmful, tool for students. Parents and teachers, please work with your students to ensure that their backpacks are adjusted to the proper fit and that the weight does not exceed 15% of the child’s body weight.
As the school year is ending, kids are celebrating! Meanwhile, parents and teachers are naturally concerned about the academic impact of having over 10 weeks off from school. Many children clearly do regress in their skills over the summer, particularly in the area of writing. With our highly technical society, and the popularity of emails and texting (that do not always follow the rules of proper English), skills in this area can definitely suffer. Children can lose many of the gains they’ve made in both the mechanical act of handwriting as well as the cognitive act of written language. Here are some suggestions for encouraging your child to continue to write over the summer…fun ways that won’t feel like work!
Writing prompts (grades 3 and up):
What animal would you want to be and why?
What would your superhero name be, what powers would you have?
If you could make an invention, what would it be?
What is a great idea for a website that doesn’t exist yet?
If you had $100, how would you spend it?
If you were the president, what would you do differently?
Writing practice (K – grade 2):
Write acrostic poems (write a word vertically on a page, then think of a word or phrase that relates to summer for each of the letters; i.e., SUMMER: S = sunshine, U = umbrellas at the beach, M = making sand castles, etc.).
Hide the letters of the alphabet (i.e., from a puzzle, or made from paper) in “sensory bin” filled with dried rice and beans, or around the house so that he gets move a bit. When he finds each letter, either write the letter or a word starting with that letter, depending on the child’s level.
All ages can work on filling in the words in Mad Libs, or your own similar word completion story or poem (you’ll also be helping them recall all those grammatical terms such as noun, verb, adjective, and adverb).