Winter Themed Activities

Although it is already mid-January, the snow is just beginning. The feeling of awe and the imagery of fresh white snow blankets is among us. To preempt the winter blues from taking over, get out there and enjoy (temperatures permitting, of course)! Or, if stuck inside make the most of it and plan out the day. See below for some of our favorite activities.

OUTDOORS

Winter Scavenger Hunt
Print this visual scavenger hunt.

Winter_Scavenger_Hunt_sm

Snow Painting and Snow Gems
In addition to fun pictures, encourage color, shape, letter and number recognition!

Buckets-o-Snow
Just as it sounds! Fill bins or buckets of snow and throw in some sandbox buckets and shovels for some sensory fun. Encourage counting and stacking of snowballs for the mathematically inclined.

Bring Out the Toys
This option may excite the kiddo who is not as excited about the actual snow. Pick some indoor toys such as blocks, trucks, costumes, etc. and let them play outside with the typically “indoor only” toys.

Adaptive Skiing and Snowsports
Trained instructors in a welcoming atmosphere:
Waterville Valley Adaptive Sports

Lincoln Ice Castle
Make the trek up to Lincoln, NH for an adventure in a real frozen castle! Advance ticket purchase necessary.

INDOORS

Crafts, crafts and more crafts!
Grab some glue and paper products to create a Winter Wonderland!

Homemade Snow
Always a favorite (and simple) sensory activity.

“Snowball” Fight
Let out some energy and get the kids moving!

Ice Skating
Create a mini skating rink in the kitchen!

And of course, Open REC! No enrollment necessary. Drop-in for open play 5-6 days/week at either our Peabody, MA or Londonderry, NH location.

REC Snow Policy

Due to the unique aspect of our programming being open 7 days per week, into the early evening and holidays, using Peabody Public Schools and Londonderry Schools as a guide as to when to open or cancel is no longer an effective means to assist with the decisions at the centers.

For full day programming days (weekends/holidays), we will determine if the centers are closed by 7 am. Families can access this information by calling the centers directly and listening to the updated voicemail noting any changes or by checking our Facebook page.

For days we only offer afternoon/afterschool programming, a decision will be made by noon. Again, families can access the information by calling the centers or checking our Facebook page.

Please note, if your child is funded through a school district, you will follow and adhere to your own district’s snow cancellations.

We hope this change in policy will better meet the needs of our clients, staff and continue to support the overall mission of the center.

Click HERE to print and confirm the REC Snow Policy.

Sneak-a-Peek at our Clinical Corner!

The REC is committed to providing effective ABA programming for each individual student and that commitment extends to our staff training. REC Staffers join our team with varying degrees of ABA training. The REC promotes staff development through in person trainings, online modules, daily clinical exercises, as well as through other methods.

REC fulltime staffers consist of a team of Board Certified Behavior Analysts, Registered Behavior Technicians and experienced special educators who are passionate about ABA therapy and providing direct staff with the support system needed to create and implement successful programs. In addition to trainings, Senior REC Staffers have created the Clinical Corner to assist staff and reinforce the use of ABA methods.

The Clinical Corner topics change monthly so check out the last few months of creative learning in the staff room!

Positive vs. Negative Reinforcement
Staff was asked to give examples of positive and negative reinforcement based on student experiences. The staff room was decorated with various examples such as,

Positive Reinforcement – Verbal praise, “Awesome job waiting for your turn!” for turn taking during a game with peers reinforces waiting and will strengthen that behavior.

Negative Reinforcement – If a student mands (requests) for a break, “I want a break” to avoid a certain situation (loud, crowded area) the behavior will be strengthened, reinforced and then used to request a break in the future.

Functional Communication and Natural Environment Teaching
There are opportunities for Functional Communication in nearly every moment of programming at the REC. Staff was asked to give examples of various ways that they create opportunities for students to communicate functionally throughout the REC’s Natural Environment.

Examples included the following:
When on the trampoline staffers will ask the student, “What animals jump?” (categorization/class) or request that they “Jump 5 times” (following one step directions).

Also, staffers encourage students Mand (request) for items and Tact (label) for items:
“I want to jump” and “I want a turn” (Mand) or “He/she is jumping (Tact)

 

Are you a good fit for Team REC? Click HERE for a brief job description. Please email inquiries and resumes to jobs@recreationaleducationcenter.com.

Tree of Warmth

BE THANKFUL, SPREAD THE WARMTH!

The REC’s Annual Tree of Warmth drive will begin Friday, November 27th.

Both of the REC locations will be collecting coats, hats, mittens and scarves to be donated to the following local organizations:

Citizens for Adequate Housing: Peabody, MA
For 25 years Citizens for Adequate Housing, Inc. has worked toward ending homelessness, providing a temporary home for homeless families and permanent affordable housing to low income families.

Front Door Agency: Nashua, NH
For over 27 years the Front Door Agency has offered support and provided services to assist individuals and families transition from crisis to self-sufficiency.

Please come on by and adorn our trees with these warming items which will be dispersed to the organizations the week of December 21st. In return for your generosity, the REC is offering FREE Open REC to those who donate.

In order to maintain the health of these families in need, we request that all items are new, preferably with the tags.

Tree of Warmth

Thank you for your donation! We are very thankful for all of our REC friends! Please spread the word AND warmth!

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THANK YOU, VETS!

In honor of Veterans Day, we would like to invite military families to the REC during the entire month of November for FREE Open REC.  Click here for Open REC hours.

Please just present a military ID at check-in and enjoy watching your children have a blast in our three play spaces: Indoor Playground, Art Room and the Play & Pretend Toy Room.

veterans day thank you

Thank you for your service to our country!

 

 

Halloween Social Story

The Peabody REC’s 4th Annual Halloween Party was a huge success with over 200 attendees! Thank you to everyone who helped make the event great including the REC Volunteer Staff, Broosalooney the Balloon Guy and Feathers and Flames Face Painting!

Each year we aim to provide a safe and fun setting for children and teens to practice trick-or-treating. If you are planning on venturing out Halloween evening with your kiddo(s) you can download this social story to help make the night fun and safe for everyone.

Halloween Social Story

Additionally, stay tuned for more holiday parties at both REC locations!

Happy Halloween!

REC Pumpkin

Exploring The Great Outdoors

There is no denying that Fall in New England is one of the most beautiful times of the year. It is also a great learning opportunity to teach your child about the outdoors and nature.

Whether you are hiking for the day, heading to the orchards or just exploring in your own backyard, parents and caretakers can help open the doorway to the outside world.

Below are some resources to get started on your adventures!

Autumn Scavenger Hunt

How To Go Apple Picking (Video)

Bundle up using the below clothing guide:

Clothing Guide

HAVE FUN!

Our Fall Favorites!

Today marked the first official day of autumn. With the cooler weather setting in, it is a good time to find some activities to keep your family busy during the months to come. Look no further! We have compiled a list of our favorite New England activities which are more accommodating to the Special Needs Community. The activities are divided into the following categories:

SPECIAL EVENTS
RECREATION AND SPORTS
MUSEUMS AND FINE ARTS
MOVIES
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

SPECIAL EVENTS

Autism Friendly Performance of Cinderella*
Location: Boston Opera House in Boston, MA
Sunday, October 4th at 5:30 PM
*Advanced Purchase Required
More Info

Sensory Friendly Halloween Party
Location: Recreational Education Center in Peabody, MA
Sunday, October 25th 11 AM – 2 PM
FREE Event
More Info 

RECREATION AND SPORTS

Recreational Education Center
Locations: Peabody, MA and Londonderry, NH
Open REC: Daily
Every Tuesday-Sunday
More Info

Pollard Library Lego Time
Location: Lowell, MA
Lego Time for Kids with Special Needs: Monthly*
Next event: Saturday, October 3rd at 10 AM
*Advanced Registration Required.
More Info

Altitude Trampoline Park
Location: Billerica, MA
Sensory Friendly Saturdays: Weekly
Next Event: Saturday, October 3rd
More Info

Launch Trampoline Park
Location: Watertown, MA and Nashua, NH
Special Needs Day: Monthly
Next Event: Tuesday, October 6th
More Info Watertown
More Info Nashua

Cowabunga’s Indoor Inflatable Playground
Locations: North Reading, MA and Hooksett, NH
Kids with Special Needs Night: A Few Times a Year*
Next event: Thursday, October 8th 5 PM – 7 PM
*Advanced Registration Required
More Info

Ultimate Sports Program
Locations: Westfield, MA and other parts of Massachusetts
Social Inclusion Through Sports: Ongoing
Now Accepting Registrations
More Info

For more recreation ideas click here to visit the Sped Child Mass website.

MUSEUMS AND FINE ARTS

Boston Conservatory Music
Location: Boston, MA
Music Programs for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Class Registration
More Info

Museum of Fine Arts
Location: Boston, MA
Beyond the Spectrum: Monthly*
Next Event: Saturday, October 3rd 10:30 AM – 12 PM
*Advanced Registration Required
More Info

Children’s Museum of NH
Location: Dover, NH
Exploring Our Way: Monthly
Next Event: Sunday, October 4th
More Info

Boston Children’s Museum
Location: Boston, MA
Morningstar Access: Monthly*
Next Event: Monday, October 12th 8 AM – 10 AM
*Advanced Registration Required
More Info

Discovery Museum
Location: Acton, MA
Especially for Me: Monthly*
Next Event: Saturday, October 17th 5 PM – 8:30 PM
*Advanced Registration Required: FREE
More Info

MOVIES

AMC Theaters
Locations: Braintree, MA; Burlington, MA; Framingham, MA; Methuen, MA; Tyngsboro, MA
Sensory Friendly Films: Monthly
Next event: Saturday, September 26th at 10 AM
More Info

Cinemagic
Locations: Sturbridge, MA; Portsmouth, NH; South Portland, ME
Sensory Friendly Movies: Monthly
Next event: Saturday, September 26th at 10 AM
More Info

Chunky’s Cinema Pub
Locations: Nashua, NH; Pelham, NH; Haverhill, MA
Sensory Friendly Movies: Monthly
Next event: Wednesday, November 18th at 4 PM
More info

O’Neil Cinemas
Location: Epping, NH
Sensory Friendly Flix: Monthly
Next event: Sunday, September 27th at 10 AM
More Info

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
Some organizations and groups that have offered sensory friendly events in the past and may continue to do so for 2016 are as follows:

Autism Eats
Location: Northern Massachusetts
Committed to offering restaurant dining experiences to families with loved ones with Autism. Check their webpage to see when the next dinner is being held.
More Info 

Open Door Theater
Location: Acton, MA
Offered a Sensory Friendly performance of Peter Pan in March of 2015
More Info

photo 5

Superhero Staff from last year’s Annual Halloween Party!