Sensory Puzzle

by Katy

Today’s sensory matching game is fun for all kids, but is really good for those with low vision or sensory issues. My son, Charlie, had an instructor who came to the house and she had a similar game, but I figured I could make one and save myself a little money.

To do this activity, you will need twelve small cups and six items with distinctive textures. To make my cups, I cut up an egg carton, but it could be done all sorts of ways. I got my textured items at the dollar store–I especially looked for things like the sponge because it had a different texture on each side.

So first I cut up my egg carton to make twelve individual cups.

Next, I took a textured item, cut it up, and then glued the texture to the bottom of two different cups. Do this with each texture until you have six pairs.

Now, for the matching! If your child is young, or this is their first attempt, start with just a few pairs. We used three for our first attempt.

Have your child try to match cups that have the same texture. Younger kids can check themselves easily by looking at the two cups to see if they look the same. Challenge older kids to match up the textures with their eyes closed. Even I had fun trying that!

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Katy is a mom of one who loves art, mystery novels, and anything involving peanut butter–she blogs about raising her little miracle at Bird on the Street.

Sand Paper Cactus Craft

crafts for kids

I know I have already started getting ready for back to school but I am not ready to give up on the sun quite yet !  I was flirting with the idea of cleaning my art closet out while my son was at summer camp last week, and found a big piece of sand paper and this idea popped in my head.  Sand paper make such a perfect cactus and since you are finger painting this is a wonderful craft for multi-age groups too.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some paper, sand paper, crayons or markers, scissors, glue and green paint.
  2. Start by drawing a cactus on your sand paper.
  3. Using the green paint finger paint your cactus. Talk about textures, how it feels, does your child like the way it feels?
  4. Let dry. While it’s drying draw a sun with crayons or markers on your paper.
  5. Cut the cactus out when dry.
  6. Add glue.
  7. Glue the cactus on!

Books About 5 Senses

my five senses

My Five Senses Big Book by Aliki is a great non fiction book about the 5 senses for toddlers and preschoolers. It’s simple but informative with clear pictures to help support the text . The author uses common things to help teach about the 5 senses like ice cream for taste, feeling a soft bunny for touch and hearing sirens. I like that is explains that sense can be used alone or all together and that the gift senses give us is awareness about the world around us.

five senses

Green Start: The Five Senses by IKids is a sweet book that focuses on the senses we use throughout our day as we explore our home and nature. Although the text covers all 5 senses it is not discussed overtly as ” And when you smell this you are using your sense of smell…” it’s a great little book to share with a toddler or young preschooler not ready for the more fact based non fiction books.

Look, Listen, Taste, Touch, and Smell: Learning About Your Five Sensesby Pamela Hill Nettleton is a really great find. The book doesn’t separate the senses, instead the author explains all the ways the senses work in specific situations. My son was intrigued by the ideas of smores and kept telling me “I want to smell and taste some smores Mommy, please!” I liked how it explained the connection between the areas of our bodies we associated with the senses ( mouth, eyes, nose, skin and ears) and the brain. The author succeeds in making it accessible for young kids but not boring for older ones. Good Find!!

Texture Sorting { Touch & Feel City}

We had a blast making this Touch and Feel City! Young children learn with all their senses and when I can incorporate a sensory element into a craft my son suggested making I can’t wait to share it.  My son plays “City” all day with his Legos and when I asked him what he wanted to make for craft time he suggested making ” Daddy’s building” I looked in my craft closet to see what we could make with it and decided to use some felt, sandpaper, foil and foam and turn it into a texture lesson.This can also be used as a shape lesson!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a large piece of paper ( a brown grocery bag cut open and laid flat would be awesome), some construction paper, materials with different textures ( I am using sandpaper, felt, foam and foil) , scissors and glue. Also after we were done I regretted not having my son use crayons or markers to make clouds, perhaps a plane in the sky etc… so if you want to do that it should be the first step.
  2. Start by cutting the texture materials into small pieces.
  3. Cut the construction paper into various sized rectangles.
  4. Glue the buildings onto the larger paper.
  5. Glue the texture materials on as windows, as you do this explore how they feel talk about which ones is soft, rough, smooth and squishy. Ask your child to use their own words to describe the textures.
  6. Let dry.

Sensory Alphabet Activities

by Katy
Sensory Alphabet Activity
One of the best ways to help a child learn is to have them use more than one sense at the same time.  I’m guessing that’s one of the reasons why Allie is so passionate about doing crafts with kids–all kinds of senses are engaged, which makes learning easier and also fun. It can be hard, though, when your child has issues that prevent them from participating in crafts.  Today I’m sharing three ways to do the alphabet with kids with limited motor skills although I think they would be fun for all kids.
Alphabet StampsSensory Alphabet Activity

I bought a pack of foam letters at Walmart for one dollar and turned them into two activities.  First, I used them as stamps and let Charlie stamp on a sheet of paper.  As we’re stamping out the letter, it’s good to name it and tell your child the sound it makes.
I then took the foam pieces and glued them to a piece of cardboard to make an alphabet puzzle.  Since Charlie’s aim is rough, I put all the letters in and then let him pull them out.  I let him decided which letter looked good and then I would again, name the letter he was touching and say it’s sound aloud.
Big LettersSensory Alphabet Activity
This activity is also great for improving fine motor skills–I don’t completely understand the relationship between big motions and improving fine motor, but multiple therapists have told me this, so I’m going to believe them.  Take a sheet of paper and put it up on your refrigerator. Give your child a crayon or marker and help them make BIG letters on the paper.  I found that Charlie was able to make some c-like motions, which is pretty impressive for him.  Children with poor neck control often do better when activities are propped up in front of them because it requires less head control.
Sugar Writing
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You can also use sand, but sugar is easier for me to find.  Pour about half a cup of sugar into a baking pan.  If you can find one with a dark finish, then that will work great.  Help your child form letters in the sugar with their fingers.  This was probably Charlie’s favorite activity of the bunch–probably because it was one of the few that he was allowed to taste!
As always, don’t be discouraged if you try and activity and your child doesn’t like it.  All children are picky and special needs kids can often be intimidated by new experiences.  Experiment with different ideas, try activities multiple times, and remember that not every activity is going to be a hit.
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Katy is a mom of one who loves art, mystery novels, and anything involving peanut butter–she blogs about raising her little miracle at Bird on the Street.

Cotton Ball Bunny

Cotton Ball Bunny

Bunny crafts aren’t just for Easter time, toddlers and preschoolers readily identify with these animals because so much media is directed towards them with bunny themes: books, TV , even clothing for little ones often have fuzzy little bunnies on them. So grab some cotton balls and enjoy this activity from our contributing writer Katy.

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This is a great, easy activity that you can do with your child if they have the motor skills or you can create it and then share it with them if they don’t.

You need a heavy piece of white paper, cotton balls, scissors, and glue.
1. Cut out the shape of a rabbit out the white paper.  If your child is able, you can have them do it themselves. Cotton Ball Buny Craft
2. Sit down with your child, add a line of glue, and then add the cotton balls.  We also practiced taking turns for this activity.  We had to move Charlie’s arms into the position at first, but he quickly got the hang of dropping the cotton balls into place.cotton ball bunny
3. Cover the paper with cotton balls.  We took turns since Charlie can be a little slow all by himself. Cotton Ball BunnyCotton Ball Bunny Craft
This activity could easily be done with almost any animal and cotton balls of all colors are available at craft stores.

Book We Enjoyed

It's Spring

It’s Springby Samantha Berger and Pamela Chanko. Illustrated by Melissa Sweet

This is a simple book with a rhyming rhythm about the arrival of spring.  The illustrations are precious.  Definitely for younger kids.
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Katy is a mom of one who loves art, mystery novels, and anything involving peanut butter–she blogs about raising her little miracle at Bird on the Street.