Functional Skills

Often these skills are put on the back burner next to educational skills when they actually should be taught as early as possible, and by starting early it will allow your child the extra time they need to practice them. However, it is important that the skills you are working on are age appropriate.

Cleaning

  •  Picking up their toys when done, washing dishes, sweeping the floor, vacuuming,  washing clothes, folding clothes, hanging clothes, wiping off a tables, taking out trash etc..
    • Start small such as in place of washing dishes have them wash some of their plastic toys use baby soap so if they get some in their eye it will not hurt (take it outside to make it more fun), matching socks & putting them away, making the bed
    • Older teens show and teach them about cleaning materials, and tricks to get rid of dirt/stains.

Communication

  • Teach your child his or her full name and your name – Use paper plates and cups and make a ring toss game – write out their/your name onto the bottom of cups (one letter per cup) take and cut out the center of a paper pate to use as rings and have you child try and toss the ring over each letter as they call out each letter and when complete have them say the full name! Mix it up have them write it, make it with play doh, say it, etc… many of the activities that are listed can be used to incorporate their/your name into it!

  • Have your child memorize your home address – show where the house number is located outside and show where the street name. Ideas – Write your address on a sheet of paper real big and ask what is your address, have your child read it (when you get to the city ask - what city, state, zip so that they learn the terms etc..) Make a picture and mail it to someone, have your child write out the return address or type it to print out an address label!

  • Have your child memorize your phone number.  If you have two phones handy have your child actually call you while in the same room to show them what it actually does!!

Food

  • Grocery Shopping – have your child help make a grocery list (start off small maybe just a few of their favorite items) go to the store ask your child do we need a cart or a basket, have your child find and put the items into your cart, mark the items off your list, check your list make sure you have everything, take items out of cart at register, and help to pay!

  • Cooking Skills – start small have your child use a plastic knife and cut fruit and put them on kebabs, spread peanut butter onto crackers, make toast, make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, popcorn in the microwave, then build up to making fruit smoothies in the blender, Lemonade from scratch etc…

    • Homemade Ice Cream - You will need Ice cubes (enough to fill each gallon-size bag about half full), 1 cup half and half, 1/2 cup salt (The bigger the granules, the better. Kosher or rock salt works best, but table salt is fine.), 2 tablespoons sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 pint-size Ziploc bag, 1 gallon-size Ziploc bag & Your favorite mixings such as chocolate chips, cereal pieces, or fresh fruit. Notes: Serves 1.  How to make it 1 Combine the sugar, half and half, and vanilla extract in the pint-size bag and seal it tightly. 2 Place the salt and ice in the gallon-size bag, then place the sealed smaller bag inside as well. Seal the larger bag. Now shake the bags until the mixture hardens (about 5 minutes). Feel the small bag to determine when it's done 3 Take the smaller bag out of the larger one, add mix-ins, and eat the ice cream right out of the bag. Easy cleanup too!

    • Pudding - You will need - cold milk, instant pudding mix, an empty yogurt cup and lid, tape and a spoon. SET UP: Fill the yogurt cup half way with cold milk and a teaspoon of your favorite instant pudding.  Put the lid on and tape it shut! Let your child shake it for a couple of minutes then open and enjoy!

Personal Hygiene – getting dress on own, tying shoes, buttoning buttons, zippers, brushing their own hair, brushing teeth, taking a shower on own, etc…

Practice Safety – practice crossing the street safely, Community helpers (who is safe to approach), Calling 911, an escape route in case of fire, road signs and what they mean, swimming safety, asking for help with things that are hot, sharp, dangerous or too high to reach.