Variety, the children’s charity of Wisconsin, teamed up with a therapy service, Aspire Therapy, to host a fall event for children of all ages and abilities. Upon checking in, we were given a card with nine squares. There were nine stations, each one with a game or activity. The volunteer(s) at each one would also stamp our card; a card with all nine stamps could be turned in at the end for a prize.
The first station was a common fair game: throw a ball and knock down the pins (or cans, or cups, or what have you). Namine backed up and had fun knocking them down.
The next station was not a game; it was a bin filled with dry corn, leaves, small gourds, and plastic insects. It was a sensory table — offering children different textures to feel and objects to find. Namine found both of the plastic insects (a centipede and a grasshopper) before moving on.
I suppose this next station wasn’t exactly a fishing game. Children had to guess which pumpkin in a pool had an “x” written on the bottom. Since Namine couldn’t reach the pool — and we didn’t think to bring her grabber — she pointed out the one she chose and the volunteer flipped it over. She got it the first time!
Bowling with a pumpkin is not new to Namine. She knew exactly how she wanted it to go: she’d push the pumpkin with the front bar on her wheelchair, just like when she plays soccer. Things did not go according to plan.
Fortunately, the station volunteers had a backup plan. They handed Namine a ball, which she threw to knock over the pins. In fact, I only now realize that they were not pins at all, but cones shaped like giant candy corn.
Here was another station that was not a game. Available for the choosing were props for taking photos, like mustaches and hats. Namine insisted on both, and then some.
The next station was a prize wheel. Written on each segment was an action like one would do in physical therapy or yoga. Namine’s spin landed on “forward stretch,” but she did not lean as far forward as she could, or might if she were actually in therapy. The results of her last attempt at leaning far forward are too recent in memory.
Pumpkin painting (and washing)
Namine loves a good pumpkin decorating, and that’s exactly what this station offered. When she was done painting — a smiling Jack-o’-lantern face — she was offered the opportunity to wash it off herself, or let a volunteer do it for her. She opted for the former, happy to get it clean for the next child.
Pumpkin (and gourd) tic tac toe
The last station on our trip around the festival was a large tic tac toe board — a tarp, really — with pumpkins and gourds as the markers. Namine decided to be “gourds,” leaving me with the pumpkins. She has learned well, with our game resulting in a draw.
Picking a prize
You might notice that there are only eight stations listed, while I stated that children had to get all nine squares stamped on their card in order to get a prize. There was a ninth station, not pictured or listed here, that Namine could not participate in from her wheelchair. The volunteers at that station were nice enough to stamp her card anyway.
Having all nine stamps, Namine stopped at the prize table to pick out something for herself. She settled on a mermaid, which also doubled as a bath-safe toy. (It would be a poor mermaid if it did not!)