Working With Sensory Issues

by Katy

There are a lot of kids out there with different kinds of sensory issues–sometimes it’s related to another condition like Autism or Brain Injury, but some children deal with only sensory issues. In any case, it can be hard to know where to start, and recently a reader here at No Time for Flashcards asked about the types of things I do with my son to work on his issues.

I’m not a doctor or a therapist, but I learned this activity from one of the many fantastic Early Interventionists that worked with Charlie when he was young.

First you need to collect several things that have different textures and a piece of cardboard. For this activity I sent my husband to the dollar store with five bucks and told him to buy red things with different textures. He came back with some interesting choices, but I won’t complain because I took a nap while he was at the store.

We’re studying fruit right now, so I cut out my cardboard into the shape of an apple. Then I glued down all of our different textured stuff. You don’t have to do a particular shape for this project–you can just use a plain piece of cardboard.

After everything is dry, present your child with the board. Take their hand and gently guide them through touching all of the different textures. Note which textures upset them. If a texture seems especially horrible, try having them touch it with the backs of their hand. You might also try both hands and see if one handles textures better than the other. My son is more experimental with his right hand than his left.

If you notice that some textures are tough, remember them because these are the ones that you will have to work on with your child more and more.

Present the board to your child several times. See if some textures improve with more exposure. These are all hints that will help your child get more comfortable with new and different textures.

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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.

Easy Texture Collage Ghost

halloween crafts for toddlers I’m trying to desensitize my easy to burst into tears toddler to the scarier side of Halloween so today our craft is a fun friendly ghost. I decided to make it a fun collage with rough and soft materials so even if you don’t participate in Halloween you can simply do a collage with opposing textures !

  1. Gather your materials. You will need 2 pieces of construction paper, some black foam ( although paper would work fine too) , some cotton balls, some party streamers, crayons, scissors and glue.
  2. Pull the cotton balls apart into smaller pieces, and cut the streamer into small squares.
  3. Draw a basic outline of a ghost. If your child can draw it have them do it.
  4. Add glue start collaging! Talk about how soft the cotton balls are and how rough the paper feels. Let dry.
  5. While your child is collaging , cut out 2 eyes and mouth from the foam sheet. I like using foam because it will retain it’s shape on top of the other materials.
  6. Glue those on. My son wanted nothing to do with them until they looked like eyes and a mouth on the ghost, then he wanted to help tap them in place!
  7. Have your child decorate the other piece of paper, we are using the Halloween recycled crayon we made a few weeks ago.
  8. Cut out the ghost and glue it on the backing!
  9. All done!