One of the great things about Summer is the time spent outside.   It is always nice to be able to have that as an option most days.

I speak from the perspective of a mid-westerner,  who has lived through many a polar- vortex and who has had many days where the only outside time we get is when we dash from a store to the car.  Then shiver and turn up the heat.

So with that perspective, summer is a great time to visit, in the words of Michael when he was two years old, THE BIG ROOM,  in other words,  be outside.

Something that I love to do in the summer, some days,  is to sit on the deck with the kids and do something creative.

Since we do this in the later afternoons, it is a nice time to sort of wind down after a summer day, talk a bit and have a little quiet fun.

Maybe sit and read together.

Maybe do a craft or color.

Something that is a fun and quiet sensory filled activity is this great sensory toy called Kinetic Sand.

It is “Sand” but it is so much better.  If your child has Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), the Kinetic Sand is an ideal solution because your hands stay clean while you use it.

Gone is the feeling of sand stuck to your hands until you wash them many times or in our case using Baby powder  to get sand off of Elizabeth‘s hands. (True Story:  She was practically glowing white when we were at the beach during her younger years…all in the name of getting the sand off).

The amazing thing is, you can play with the Kinetic Sand minus the need to keep adding water to traditional sand.  We used to have a sandbox in the back yard.  Elizabeth loved digging and playing.  But once it was dry, she wanted more water and that led to the above “Baby Powder” story.

I love that the Kinetic Sand can be put in a tray,  add a few spoons or something to use for a mold and it is a nice contained sandbox.  But a table top version.

So if you are working with your special needs child on scooping or other fine motor skills, I know with Elizabeth’s Dyspraxia we did, or finger strength activities, this can be a nice therapy time exercise, but they will only see the fun!

You can count the scoops needed to fill a cup.  Press the sand down with fingers and work on gentle control to get the sand to come out like a small castle.  Or you can hide objects in the sand to have them dig out with their fingers.

Add the Kinetic Sand to the sensory bin or use during the next therapy session or the next time you hear “I am bored” give this to your child!  Mainly because it is fun, attractive bright colors, cool to touch without the sensory overload, strengthens hand and grip, encourages imaginative play, and something that makes you simply want to play and manipulate. And may I say, it is calming and relaxing to play making it a fantastic sensory solution.

I  was showing Emily, our oldest, this sand today and she said to tell her when I opened the new pack because she wanted to play with it.

I say the above because sometimes it is hard to find an activity that is fun for all the siblings as well as your child with special needs.

So take a look at the site to read more about this great stuff.   The sand comes in many colors to make it more fun.

I wish everyone a peaceful week and a great start to summer!!!

Michele Gianetti

author of “I Believe In You: A Mother and Daughter’s Special Journey” and “Emily’s Sister”