Learning life skills during community outings can help teach students in a natural environment how to live, work and enjoy recreational activities as independently as possible.
Real Life Functional Skills
In a classroom, a student can develop skills in a safe and controlled environment at their individual pace. However, taking those same exact students into the community can help them to generalize their newly learned functional skills through a variety of experiences and environments to help reinforce the learned skills within the classroom.
Taking the classroom out into the community helps to create endless opportunities for new learning experiences. Your students’ life extends past the classroom so why shouldn’t their learning environment expand past the classroom walls? A large part of a students life will take place beyond the typical therapy/classroom setting. For example, your student will have to wait patiently at a restaurant, pay for items at the grocery store, ask for help when they can’t find something, etc.
What to Work on in the Community
- Shopping: Purchasing, Locating Items, Checking Out
- Social Skills: Public Greeting, Personal Space, Impulse Control, Asking for Help, Dealing with Emotions in Public
- Leisure Recreation: Preferred Activities, Participation in Group Activities
- Personal Management: Mobility, Domestic Skills, Accessing Services, Independent Living Skills
- Academics: Math, Reading, and Science
Examples of Life Skills during Community Outings
- Math (Money Skills): Go to the store and have your student identify the price of an item. Once they have identified the price of the item have them identify the next dollar up so they can learn how much to give the cashier. For example, if an item costs $4.95 then have the student identify the next dollar up which would be $5.00.
- Social Skills (Greetings): Go to Costco (or a store with greeters). Have your student say, “Hello” to the greeter or say “Hello” to the cashier when checking out.
- Safety (Community Signs): Walk through the community and have your student spot, name, and define the community signs. If your student is nonverbal, bring pictures of community signs with you and have the student match the picture with the sign they spot.
- Gross Motor Skills: During community outings to a park have your student practice running, skipping, climbing, etc.
- Advocating (Asking for Help): Take your student to the store and have them locate a difficult to find item that they will need to ask an employee to help them locate. Or take your student to a restaurant and have them practice ordering food.
- Patience (Waiting in Line): Go to a store or place where the student will most likely need to stand in a line and have your student practice waiting patiently.
Start Practicing Today with this Community Outings Printable Freebie
Why wait! Start practicing with your kiddos today. Use this community outings printable to practice some helpful life skills out in the community. See what’s inside.
Read this social story prior to going to a store to help instruct your students how to behave while out in the community.
Practice some common store vocabulary words. Have your students cut and glue the correct picture alongside the correct vocabulary words.
Have your students identify which behaviors are expected while out in the community and which behaviors are unexpected.
Read the following scenarios with your students. Then have them identify what will likely happen next.
Use this practice shopping list to practice locating items, identifying the price, and the next dollar up. Use this worksheet twice and take it to an additional store and teach your students to price match items and identify that some items are cheaper at one store than another.
Here is an additional blank version of the shopping list to let your students create their own shopping list prior to heading to the store.
After a community outing use this form to review where they went, who was in their group, what they were working on, how they felt, and what was their favorite part?
Here is an additional differentiated community review form for those students who do not need a visual form and can write in complete sentences.
Do your students struggle with problem-solving in the community? Grab your 71+ Free Social Skills Problem Solving Scenarios bundle and use the social problem-solving map.
It’s never too early to begin working on life skills and appropriate behaviors to exhibit while out in the community. There’s no such thing as too much practice! Get started practicing today!