Archives for posts with tag: Anxiety

Thanksgiving is coming up, and that means tons of extra time with your little ones. Even though holidays are a welcome treat, Thanksgiving can be stressful. Sometimes, it can be hard to balance your kids and kitchen duty, and there never seems to be enough time to get everything done! You can avoid a meltdown AND spend time with your kids by getting every, and I mean every, hand on deck.

Why not do some Thanksgiving crafts with your kids? It will not only give them something fun to do, but you can also kill two birds (pun intended) with one stone by giving them an activity that contributes to the feast. Who knows, maybe they’ll love it so much they’ll take off and do it on their own, leaving you to baste the turkey and bake all that delicious food.

For this constructive project, let’s get creative with the place settings for the big feast! You see, two birds: one stone. Have fun with your children on this one — it’s an activity suited for kids of all abilities.

Here’s what you’ll need for your DIY kids’ Thanksgiving crafts:

  • construction paper
  • poster paint
  • paintbrush or Q-tip
  • scissors
  • the great outdoors

Your final product!


1. Go Outside

That’s right. Throw on a sweater, get out of your kitchen, and enjoy the beauty in your back yard or go for a walk around the neighborhood. The purpose of this little adventure is to not only have a peaceful start to the big weekend, but to collect some interesting leaves with the kids. Take a moment to relax by spending a few minutes with the family and collect leaves in various shapes. Since these will be used for place cards, the leaves can be small.


2. Cut Up

Put on some festive music and get ready to get crafty. Gather the construction paper, and let the kids choose their favorite colors — be it the traditional orange and yellow palette or a fun one all their own — purple and all.

Now, take the scissors and cut the paper vertically down the middle.

Then, fold each piece in half, and cut along the fold.


Fold each piece down one more time to get the final shape of your placecard. Do several of them so you have a collection of plain placecards like this: 


3. Get Colorful

Grab your paint now, because it’s time to get colorful. 


Using a paint brush, Q-tip, or foam brush, paint one side of a leaf and press painted-side down onto the bottom half of a placecard. Press down on all sides.

Carefully remove. If it’s not a complete shape, dab some paint back the leaf and try again, remembering to press down. 


4. Final Touch

Once your placecard has dried — it won’t take long! — use a marker or  paintbrush to add a wee stem to the top of the leaf. You can also add a name to the front of the card now, or feel free to wait until the stem dries and add a name to the inside.


You can also use this project to make cute notecards for thank-you notes or Christmas cards. This size would make a perfect gift card, so if you plan to spend a day getting the home ready for the holidays, why not let the little ones pick up on this craft again to create amazing little tags for your pretty presents?

Do you have a crafty holiday tradition in your family? Drop by our Facebook page and tell us about it!

Girl in a ball pool - Special Needs Essentials

Why is sensory play important to early childhood development?

Like most adults, children learn best and retain the most information when they engage their senses. Many of our favorite childhood memories are associated with one or more of our senses: the smell of a summer rainstorm or a song you sang with your family. Now, when your nose and ears are stimulated with those familiar smells and sounds, your brain triggers a flashback memory to those memories.

Sensory toys for children with special needs help teach hand-eye coordination, fine and gross motor skills, cognitive growth and social interaction. Sensory toys are not specially geared towards a particular age group. Rather, they are focused on the developmental level of the toy, not the specific age of the child.

Because specific developmental needs of each child varies, sensory toys designed for a certain age can be tailored to the specific need at hand. For instance, older children with autism can derive great benefits from toys that are designed for a younger child, like blocks or balls. By giving children the opportunity to investigate materials with no preconceived knowledge, you’re helping them develop and refine their cognitive, social, emotional, physical, creative and linguistic skill sets.

Many children with special needs can be less responsive to sensation. These sensory seekers benefit from toys that provide an intense experience with touch, texture, sound, pressure, light and balance. Sensory toys respond to a child’s actions. They offer feedback, like light and sound, that can help focus attention, soothe anxiety and decrease hyperactivity.

For sensory seekers, we offer a wide range of toys that provide a intense stimulation. These toys offer light, sound, varied textures, and vivid colors to provide a safe sensory experience. Toys that rock, spin, move, balance, and bounce are part of the sensory toy category. Others toys will encourage a child to move, balance and build. Here’s our Top Toys for Sensory Play.

Oddballs - Special Needs Essentials

Sensory Balls: Oddballs

What do you call four unique balls that come in gorgeous patterns and colors? Oddballs, of course! Perfect to bounce, kick, squeeze, roll, chase and love. Each ball feels different, offering a unique sensory experience. They are either soft or firm, covered with spikes, flowers, spirals and more. BPA free.

Finger paint - Special Needs Essentials

Sensory Art: Finger  Paint

Finger painting is a wonderful way for young children to develop manual dexterity, creativity, and self-expression through art! 6 brightly colored, washable finger paints with no-mess caps! Includes red, yellow, pink, green, blue and purple (3 oz. each). Don’t forget the finger paint paper, or our finger paint paper and tray.

Play Mat - 6x6 Foam Letter Puzzle (36 pieces)- Special Needs Essentials

Textured Puzzles: Play Mat – 6×6 Foam Letter Puzzle (36 PC)

Boost your child’s logic, reasoning and motor skills with the Play Mat – 3×3 Foam Letter Puzzle (10 PC). Each 12″x12″ tile has multiple removable puzzle pieces and textured tops for easy grip play and skid resistant bottoms. These fun, interactive tiles feature friendly animals, trucks, boats and more. The large, interlocking foam puzzle tiles doubles as a specific play area to enhance your child’s lifestyle.

Adorable Hippo Bath Set - Special Needs Essentials

Water Toys for Beach and Bath Time: Hippo Bath Set

Encourage Fun in the Tub with the Hippo Bath Set! This adorable purple Hippo organizes all of your bath tub clutter and strikes a cheery presence in the bathroom. The Hippo Bath Set also includes 41 colorful Wet & Stick Foam Letters to encourage creative play as well as fine motor skills, logic and reasoning, gross motor skills and hand-eye coordination. When playtime is over, just drain the Wet & Stick letters in hippo’s mouth to drain and dry.

Edushape Magic Bix

Blocks: Magic Brix Building Blocks

Spark your child’s creative side with the Edushape Magic Brix Building Blocks (72 PC). The Magic Brix offers soft and flexible building blocks especially designed for little hands. These nubby, interlocking bricks connect from practically every angle, making construction simple. The kit includes wheels and axles to build race cars, robots, houses, animals and more. With the Edushape Magic Brix Building Blocks, the sky’s the limit!

Drop by our Facebook page and tell us about your favorite sensory toy for a child with special needs. And if you have any suggestions for toys you’d like us to carry, we’d love to hear from you!

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