I decided to write a post about some of the fun stuff we do at home. My son has sensory processing disorder, so we do a lot of sensory activities. They call this a “sensory diet” and it is good for any child – particularly elementary age and younger. We do things like digging through a big bin of dried beans and rice for toy dinosaurs. Jumping on the trampoline, using a hopper ball, playing in the sand at the local swimming beach (at a lake), etc. But we also try to do some things that are fun and different now and then. I will occasionally post them – but here are a few ideas to get started. I get many of my ideas on the internet and at the end I will post some of my favorite websites as well.
1. Glow stick baths! I thought I had an awesome picture for this, but apparently I don’t. It’s easy, and cheap. We just go to “the dollar store”, buy several packets of glow sticks, and keep them around – I don’t think they ever go bad, but if they do we usually use them up pretty quick. My son prefers to have several sizes (fat, skinny, long, short) and some that come with little pieces to link together and make necklaces or bracelets. We do this once a week – throw them in the bath and turn off the lights. If you have a window, cover it with a towel or something. I even shut the door for him. He makes it into a sort of sensory deprivation chamber – mostly dark, no other toys, door shut so there isn’t much noise, lays down to cover his ears with water and plays with the sticks.
2. Water beads. We did these for the first time last week – though I have been reading about them for some time. They are originally for decorating in vases or bowls. They are dehydrated beads – when you add them to water they become slimy and squishy. We bought them at the local craft store. I believe places like Walmart usually have them too. There are several brands and they all look different. I got the cheapest ones that start out the size of seed beads. We put them in the water and 4 hours later – puffed up and fun. I did drain the excess water. One good thing about them – it doesn’t take a lot, and they last a long time. My son has played with them for about 5 days in a row now. He is now calling them his eggs and checking on them daily. The boy has a problem with getting his hands dirty – he hates food on them, won’t eat food that is “slimy” or gritty because he can’t stand to touch it. He will play with things like putty or playdough, but not things like GAK, etc – so I am attempting to find things that will desensitize him to those textures … These worked great. We did several things with them, but his favorite was putting them down a tube into another bowl, then swirling that bowl around (we went outside for the swirling part). He has also enjoyed just sticking his hands in with various things like shovels, cups, etc.
3. Colored water spray bottles. THIS is our favorite winter activity. By far. We have been doing it for 3 years. Simply buy some cheap spray bottles at your favorite discount store. I usually get colored ones so he can see the color easily – but any kind would work. We have a good dozen of them now. I fill them with water and add a drop or two of food coloring. Then we make art in the snow. It also works in the summer on an old white sheet – hang it up and let the art begin! I haven’t tried it, but I bet it would work in sand too – light sand.Great for grip and learning colors and just having fun!
4. Last one for today. We love to do science experiments – we get many of our ideas from Steve Spangler – he has several books out and a terrific website. My son is fascinated with science so we try to do lots of fun “experiments”. One we have particularly loved is the diet soda/mentos fountain. I will post the link to it, but here is a picture (the fountain is on the left).
http://playathomemom3.blogspot.com/ (tons and tons of sensory stuff here)