Making a harvest festival box: Teaching your child with Down syndrome new skills

We made a harvest festival box and used it as an excuse to practise our reading and writing skills

Process not product

I know I know... the urge to interfere sometimes becomes too great. The desire to help make that homework or art project look lovely AND not take for ever to complete can be overwhelming.

Natty makes her harvest festival box

But all children, especially those with additional needs must learn to take control and make choices about how things will turn out. What matters is the process of creating, rather than the product itself.

To make a harvest festival or food bank box with your child with Down syndrome you will need:

An old shoe box or similar.

Some tin foil (easy to wrap, but watch those little fingers on sharp edges).

Some grocery items to put in the box. Allow your child to make choices but offer options which are not too heavy and which will not break if dropped. (I'm thinking no eggs, glass jars or lots of tins.)

Even better if you can pick some items from the garden, such as a marrow or a small bunch of flowers.

To create an opportunity for learning, I also created:

A printed sheet of words for the items in the box, in a faint font so that Natty could practise writing over them.

Natty then cut the words out using rounded plastic craft scissors.

I printed the sentence 'I made a harvest festival box with Mummy', twice, cut one up into individual words and Natty was able to recreate the sentence for herself. This also provided a model sentence for her to practise saying.

We drilled the word har/vest/fes/ti/val using hand claps to mark each syllable. Natty loves doing this, and we have to pull funny faces at the same time. (Doesn't everyone?)

Of course your child is also learning valuable lessons about charity and helping others within their community.

Have fun!

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