Archives for posts with tag: Sensory Bin

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”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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When Elizabeth was young, about three or four years old, I had made a basket of activities for her. The basket contained many items that we used to help her fine motor work, helping her cross mid-line, count and identify colors.

There was a piggy bank for her to put pennies in, there was THERAPUTTY with beads in it to encourage her finger strength, there were these big plastic nuts and bolts to encourage motor planning and wrist strength among many other things. I would change them around as I was guided by the OT because as we all know, their sensory diets change as do their motor and sensory needs.

I think what made something better than another for Elizabeth was when she liked the therapy tool or toy we were working with. And this was way back in the late 90’s, so the options for special needs children were not as great as they are today. (I know, I just made myself sound old!)

But my point is, there are so many great therapy tools available that would really be fun and enjoyable for your special needs child to play with or for you assist in playing. Items that can help your child work on strengthening fine motor, oral motor and other gross  motor skills, but are fun. In my experience, this is the ticket to success!

So the sensory toy I have to talk about today looks innocent enough in its prettiness. But look at it again and I can see the great possibilities it can serve for a therapy tool.

It is called Build-A –Bouquet. And right away it looks inviting because it looks easy to play with and trust me, this can be the biggest thing because with sensory issues, loud or overwhelming toys can become an instant no.

So what I see is this eco-friendly toy has 44 pieces. They consist of the parts of flowers: the leaves, the petals and the inner part of a flower. The flowers, lilies, petunias and daisies, come in yellow, pink or purple colors. And instead of a vase, there is a flower bed that has a winding shape to it.

No noises, batteries, switches or really small parts!

Right away I know how great this would be for color identification. Even if it is only to separate them into piles. And then progressing to making a line of purple ones, then yellow and then pink.

The flowers have a nice solid feel to them, so that they will be easy to maneuver. They are very slightly textured which again, helps with holding them.

Putting the flower stems into the flower bed will work on eye-hand coordination as well as fine motor control. Then comes the fun of picking the colors of flower and inner part of the flower to use. This is the part that will build creativity but also keep working on fine motor skills. You can even put the flowers on one side of the table and the flower bed on the other to encourage your child to cross mid-line. The pretty flowers that are the result are a fantastic motivator! 

The thing I loved is that putting the flower bed together will encourage them to use both hands at the same time and working on wrist strength and motor planning to get the pieces to fit. But again the pieces are nice and big so that encourages success.

Being a lover of the pastel colors of these flowers, I know Elizabeth would have loved this to be added to her “work” basket. And this can hold true to any sensory bin that you might have.

So if you have a thought that this is something you might like use for your child, please visit our site to read more.

And again, for my planet saving, recycle everything you can daughter, this toy is made from recycled milk  jugs!

 

I wish everyone a peaceful week!

Michele Gianetti

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

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