Friday, March 21, 2014

Sensory Bottles

Sensory Bottles

Sensory bottles are a great tool that can be utilized at home, within the classroom and in therapy sessions. Sensory bottles are easy and inexpensive to make. Sensory bottles can be used for kids that are visual seekers or visual stimulators, hyperactive kids, kids who are overstimulated, as a calming tool, as a reward and as a timer for a timeout.

In the classroom setting, the sensory bottles were left on the table during free choice time (play time) so that the kids could play with and interact with the bottles. We also used the sensory bottles as a timer for kids who needed to calm down or were in a timeout. We would have the child sit in a quiet area of the classroom or at a table then shake the sensory bottle. The child would be instructed to watch the sensory bottle and once all the glitter has settled at the bottom they could go play again.

Kids that are feeling overstimulated by their environment can use the sensory bottle to help self-regulate. The adult can initially help the child to use the sensory bottle by introducing it to the child before they become upset so they are aware of what it is and how it works. Then once the child becomes overstimulated/upset re-introduce the sensory bottle to the child. The goal is that once the child starts to become overstimulated or upset he/she will recognize it and use the sensory bottle to self-regulate.

Video portraying sensory bottles:

What you need:
-Water bottle or mason jar. I recommend using a water bottle because it is plastic making it easier for the child to hold onto, and safer if the child should drop it.
-Glitter glue
-Warm water
Glitter glue bottles that I utilized
-Hot glue gun

1. Dump glitter glue into the water bottle. You can put as much as you want in, I added in three different colored glitter glue bottles.
2. Add in about half a bottle of warm water.
3. Shake the water bottle up to break up the glitter glue.
4. Add in food coloring of your choice.
5. Add in some regular glitter.
6. Fill the bottle with warm water leaving about an inch at the top.
7. Use a hot glue gun to keep the cap secured onto the bottle.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Therapy Activities and Tricks

 Therapy Activities and Tricks

Water beads
Water beads are a great toy that can be used in therapy. Water beads can be used for sensory play as well as fine motor activities. Below are some different ways that I utilized water beads in therapy.
          -Putting water beads into a marble board game.
          -Putting water beads into a bowl using their hands/fingers.  
          -Playing and exploring in the water beads 
          -Putting pegs in a peg board to place the water beads on. 
          -Putting water beads onto the pegs.

Whiteboard trick
Many people are under the assumption that permanent markers and whiteboards do not mix. However, using permanent markers on the whiteboard can be a useful trick for tracing on the whiteboard. When working on UE function and handwriting on a whiteboard I would write the child’s name on the whiteboard with a permanent marker then have him/her trace over top of it with a dry erase marker. Once the dry erase marker goes over the top of the permanent marker it works to erase the permanent marker off the whiteboard. Below is a video demonstrating how this works.

Or if you need to leave something on the whiteboard and you are worried about it being erased then you can use a permanent marker to ensure it stays up for as long as you need.

Here is a youtube link showing you how it works:

When working on correct letter formation I used sandpaper letters. The idea of using sand paper letters and sensory feedback as a way to teach correct letter formation was derived from the handwriting without tears curriculum. When the kids were tracing letters I would have them either use the eraser side of a pencil, their finger or cinnamon sticks (targeting another sensory system and working on pencil grip). When making the sand paper letters I used a die cut machine replacing paper with sand paper.

Sand paper is also a great way to provide kids with feedback when they are coloring a picture. The sand paper can be placed underneath the picture providing the child with resistance and sensory feedback.

Reinforcing boundaries while coloring
Teaching kids with cognitive disabilities the concept of staying in the lines is difficult to do. A couple of methods that I found to work are putting glue on the picture boundaries then sprinkling glitter on top and gluing wiki sticks to the boundaries. Both of these methods provide the child with sensory feedback helping them to understand that they are supposed to stay within those lines. The raised line made from wiki sticks also provides a better visual line for the child.

Tennis ball woman
Feeding the tennis ball women is a fun interactive way for the children to work on bilateral integration. It also can target weak finger/hand strength, three jaw chuck, pincer grasp, problem solving skills (figuring out how to get the chips back out of the tennis ball women) and finger isolation (when getting the chips back out of the tennis ball women).

Ping Pong Ball activity
This is a simple DIY activity that works on visual discrimination tasks, and left to right sequencing. The object of the activity is to have the kids move and rotate the pinball balls so that they are matched up with the picture above it.