Bean Bin Hide and Seek

Lately I’ve been making more of an effort to have Trevor to play in his sensory bins.  The experience really does help calm and regulate him.  With Paige’s birth I definitely was slacking with his sensory diet and it showed.  With organizing the playroom, getting his sensory materials in order was the first order of business.  His sensory bins are more accessible now and he’s really taken a new interest in them.  And the results of this increase in sensory play are wonderful 🙂

He’s been having a lot of fun playing Hide & Seek with his bean bin.  We use a bunch of little character toys (Toy Story, Mickey and Friends, etc.) that I picked up at the Dollar Tree.  We bury them under the beans and then he finds them.  He thinks it’s hilarious if I sing about his toys to the tune of “Oh Where, Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone?” (Oh Where, oh where has Mickey gone, oh where, oh where could he be?) when he digs for them.

image

What are your kids’ favorite sensory bin activities?

Soapbox

I haven’t blogged in nearly a week, as Trevor (and consequently I) haven’t been getting much sleep.  I planned on writing a new Make-It Monday post today, but I think instead I’d like to step up onto my soapbox today.  I belong to an online support group for kids with delays and someone commented on a post today about sensory issues and if OT for sensory issues is really necessary.  This person questioned whether or not a sensory diet was just a “crutch” and maybe we should just force these kids to deal with their sensory issues on their own.  As a mom of a kid with SPD I can tell you without a doubt that SPD is real, and it sucks.  There are noises that physically bring Trevor pain.  Some lights and other sensations also bring him physical pain.  He also has a need (yes, NEED) at times to chew, so we offer him a Chewy Tube.  Maybe the Chewy Tubes, noise-cancelling headphones, heavy work, strict adherence to his routines, etc. are all crutches of a sort.  But my question is, what’s wrong with that?

Trevor is also globally delayed.  At one time he needed to use a walker to help him walk.  Eventually he got strong enough and learned to walk independently.  But would you look at a child using a walker and tell them to toughen up and just walk on their own?  No, you wouldn’t.  These sensory “crutches” are no different than allowing a motor-delayed child to use a walker or a speech-delayed child to use a communication device.  Hopefully one day Trevor won’t need these extra things.  Obviously my greatest hope is that, like with the walker, he becomes strong enough to one day not need these assists.

But even if it turns out that he always needs a little extra support with sensory issues, I will never deny him what he NEEDS simply because sensory issues are misunderstood and not as obvious as not being able to walk or talk.  As a mother my job is to make sure my child is happy, safe, and loved.  If when he’s in school he needs to sit in a special chair or needs “sensory breaks” so that he can focus properly, then so be it.  I want him to be the best Trevor he can be.  And if that means providing him with a “crutch” so that he is able to “walk” through this world that is filled with sensory experiences he finds uncomfortable and distressing, then that is what I will do.

Whew…I think I’ll step down off my soapbox now and take a nap.  Because I’m really, really tired.

Oh, and why am I tired?  Because my son has issues regulating his sensory system and has been having a hard time winding down.  He’s exhausted, but he CAN’T (not won’t) settle down and sleep.  Now that I’ve refocused on some of his sensory needs at night he is taking less time to fall asleep.  So again I say, SPD is real.  And SPD can be helped with a sensory diet.

Take that, haters.

Sensational Saturday: DIY Light Box

The latest rage online seems to be light boxes for kids.  Several blogs I’ve stumbled across show kids having fun playing with ready-made light boxes.  But those are pretty pricey and I’m way too cheap for that!  So I searched around online and found a few ideas on how to make your own light box.

What You Need:

  • clear under-the-bed style storage tote
  • foil
  • parchment paper
  • duct tape
  • Christmas lights (I used white LED net lights I found on clearance after Christmas)

Using these items I made a light box for under 15 bucks.

How to Make It:

  1. Assemble your supplies.
  2. Line the inside of the storage tote with foil, securing with duct tape.  This helps to reflect the light upward.
  3. Line the lid of the tote with a double layer of parchment paper, securing the edges with duct tape.  The parchment paper helps diffuse the light.
  4. Spread the lights as evenly as possible inside the box, with the plug hanging over the edge.
  5. Put your lid on.
  6. Plug it in and enjoy!

Trevor loves his light box!  I found some great items at the Dollar Tree to use on top of the light box.  These are glow-in-the-dark animals.  They are flat and transparent, so they work great.

And I found some colored transparent kaleidoscopes in the party favor section.  He decided they were hats, because they’re cone-shaped like a Santa hat 🙂

I also picked up some colored gems in the floral section at the Dollar Tree for him to explore on his light box.

He decided sitting on it was fun too.  The plus side of making your own light box out of a storage tote is that it’s pretty durable too.

The light box is a huge hit in our house.  Playing with light is a great way to stimulate the visual sense.  I had been looking into adding some more visual tasks to Trevor’s sensory diet, and this worked out perfectly.  The possibilities are endless.  I can’t wait to find lots of new items for him to explore on his light box.

—–

Stay tuned for more Light Box ideas, or check out Teach Preschool for their great ideas!

Sensational Saturday: Christmas Sensory Bin

As I’ve said before, sensory bins are a great teaching tool.  They also really help kids focus.  After some guided sensory play Trevor’s balance is better and his words are clearer.  It’s amazing how much a good sensory diet can help a kid!

Sensory bins full of beans and rice are great, but they can get old after awhile.  So since the Christmas season is upon us, we decided to create a Christmas sensory bin 🙂

First, you need to assemble some supplies:

For the “snow” I used a couple bags each of iridescent tinsel and white paper shreds.  Then I added in some Christmas trinkets:  Christmas-themed erasers; small bows; plastic snowman and penguin; jingle bells; round, plastic ornaments; shiny, present ornaments, pom-poms, plastic candy canes and a cup for filling/dumping/pretend play.  I love that these things are all different sizes and textures and that some reflect light and make noise.  I added everything to an under-the-bed storage container, and there you have it, a Christmas sensory bin:

What’s the next step?  Oh yeah, have fun!

This was Trevor’s favorite sensory bin to date.  He loved it so much, he wanted to get in it: