Bath time can be a great time to grow and explore! What are some fun things that you can do with your kids to make bath time more sensory?
- Oatmeal Bath-put oatmeal straight into bath water and let your child explore the texture
- Foam letters in the bathtub-practice your ABC’s in the bath tub
- Shaving Cream-put shaving cream on the walls and practice writing your ABC’s and 123’s
- Baking Soda Bath-a great texture to put in the bath and good for sensitive skin
- Cup Play-bath time is a great time to practice bringing an open cup to the mouth and drinking
- Bath tub chalk-practice those pre-writing shapes and drawing using bath tub chalk in the tub and on the walls.
- Bath paint-put some food coloring in the shaving cream to get fun colors and let your kids explore the colors in the bath tub.
- Make your own bath fizzies compliments of Martha Stewart- http://www.marthastewart.com/280275/how-to-make-bath-fizzies
If your child is having a difficult time learning how to wipe their own bottom, here are some fun body awareness activities that you can try with them.
- Put stickers on your child’s clothed bottom and have them reach back to take the stickers off
- Have your child lay on their tummy and take bean bags or toys off of their bottom by reaching back
- Have your child take clothespins off of their back pockets
- Have your child wash their bottom in the bath with an loofah, sponge, and wash cloth to teach them where their bottom is.
Parents often go from encouraging their kid to drink from a bottle to drinking from a sippy cup. Did you know that you can start to encourage your child to drink from an open cup held by an adult at 4-6 months old! Instead of using a sippy cup why not introduce an open cup? You may be saying, but my kid will spill it everywhere! If you are worried about spills than we suggest that you give your kid a cup with a straw.
Here is an excerpt from a great article written by Melanie Potock, MA, CCC-SLP, “ Sippy cups were invented for parents, not for kids…Once a child transitions to a cup with a straw, I suggest cutting down the straw so that the child can just get his lips around it, but can’t anchor his tongue underneath it. That’s my issue with the sippy-cup: It continues to promote the anterior-posterior movement of the tongue, characteristic of a suckle-like pattern that infants use for breast or bottle feeding. Sippy cups limit the child’s ability to develop a more mature swallowing pattern, especially with continued use after the first year. The spout blocks the tongue tip from rising up to the alveolar ridge just above the front teeth and forces the child to continue to push his tongue forward and back as he sucks on the spout to extract the juice”-http://blog.asha.org/2014/01/09/step-away-from-the-sippy-cup/
Please follow the link above to read the rest of this great article!
“You’re writing too lightly! I can’t see what you wrote”. “You’re pressing too hard down on your pencil and tiring yourself out!”. If you find yourself saying either of these two lines to your child, then there is something you must try! Try putting a foam mat under your child’s paper while they are writing, drawing or coloring. If your child is writing too softly this will encourage them to put more pressure down on the paper. If your child is putting too much pressure on their pencil while they are writing then having the foam board underneath the paper will encourage them to put less pressure on the pencil otherwise they will put holes in the paper as they write with too much pressure. Try this fun trick and tell us what you think!
If your child is in the preschool to elemantary school age range this blog is for you. Many of you remember that large crayon box that you would receive when you entered Kindergarten. The thought process was that larger crayons were better for preschool and Kindergarten goers because they were easier to hold. Larger crayons are not better for small hands! Small hands require small crayons. Take all of those discarded short, broken crayons and put them to good use. Short crayons are one of the very best writing tools for teaching coloring. A child will often naturally use a functional writing grasp when given a short crayon because they are unable to hold the crayon with their entire hand. You can encourage good strengthening using a functional hand grasp while using short crayons. Some other ideas for encouraging the correct functional writing grasp are: golf pencils, “Pip Squeeks” markers by Crayola, short chalk and short dry-erase markers. All of these items should be short and thin. If you still are not seeing your child use a more mature grasp then go shorter on the writing utensil. You will be amazed at the magic trick of seeing your child start using the correct grasp!
As your child is developing it is a great idea to teach them about facial expressions and emotions. A person’s ability to correctly understand facial expressions on other people and then replicate facial expressions is an important part of social behavior. Many children who have a hard time making eye contact are able to enjoy this game. You can practice facial imitations while your child is either playing across from you or entertained on a swing with the ability to look at your face. Sing the song, “If you’re happy and you know it…” and add the facial expression that you want them to imitate. Some examples are, “If you’re happy and you know it make a happy face…”, “If you’re sad and you know it make a sad face”, “If you’re silly and you know it make a silly face”. This game is also great for practicing oral motor exercises such as, stick out your tongue, tongue lateralization, blow a kiss, buzz your lips like a bee, pucker your lips, make a fish face, etc. If your child has a hard time doing this the first time do not get discouraged! Start with whatever facial expression is easiest for them and keep practicing.
Motor planning and body awareness are an important part of a child’s learning. One of the best ways to get a child to interact with you is with songs. All of the following songs have motor planning that you can have your child imitate. It is very important for you to first model the song and gestures because children learn through imitation. If your child is having a hard time imitating the gestures you can help them make the gestures by putting your hands on top of their hands to help them form the gestures while you sing the song. If you are unsure of the gestures that go with the songs YouTube is a good reference to look up. Most of these songs are probably ones that you will remember from your childhood and may just need a refresher on. Here are some songs with gestures for you and your child to have fun with:
Itsy Bitsy Spider
Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes
The Wheels on the Bus
Where is Thumbkin?
If You’re Happy and You Know It
Pat a Cake
I’m a Little Tea Pot
Children lie in the middle of a designated area on either their stomach or backs. Ask each child to logroll and knock over the bowling pins that you have set up in a large circle around them. Children will logroll to work on core strength, ab strength, glute strength, vestibular movement and body awareness. Have your child log roll to knock over all of the cones. You may find that your child has difficulty rolling in a straight line, this demonstrates that this activity is difficult for your child and a good activity to work on. If your child is having trouble log rolling their body correctly into the cones you can help them by pushing them in the correct direction and giving them an extra boost.
Messy play activities are great to encourage kids of all ages and tactile sensitivities. Messy play is great for kids that do not like touching different textures and/or may be very picky eaters. Encourage your child to touch different textures by you demonstrating the touching of the texture first, then have the child at least put their finger in the texture and try touching it, and always have a clean wipe nearby to be able to quickly clean the child’s hands if they do not like the texture and start to tantrum.
Messy play is also great for kids that enjoy touching textures and are constantly touching different things.This allows them an outlet to organize their body and get messy in the texture in a constructive environment. Here is a list of some messy play activities:
Finger paiting with washable paint
Finger painting with food such as pudding, yogurt, fruit.
Making shapes and letters in shaving cream
Rolling play-dough into shapes
Glitter glue outline name
Painting with apples as stencils
Painting with leaves and flowers
Play with Jell-O and stick items inside of Jell-O bowl
Stretch putty and hide items inside of it and then find items
Paint coloring book pages with mushed berries
Crash toy cars into food items and squish food
Paiting rainbows with marshmellows as paintbrushes
If you have a picky eater, try having them play with the non-preferred food instead of eating it and then you can eventually work up to eating once they feel comfortable.
These are just a couple of messy play activities-there are plenty more so let your imagination run wild!
Fill up a child’s size blow up or ready made pool with dried pinto beans far enough so that the child can sit in it and their legs can be completely immersed in it. Having your child play and touch pinto beans allows them to have a tactile experience and grow in playing with messy textures. This activity is also great for increasing body awareness. Have the child play in the beans by pouring the beans on their body, scoop the beans with a shovel and put in a bucket, find hidden objects in the beans, make snow angels in the beans, etc. After the first couple of times playing in the beans children often view it as a preferred activity and they will often have increased attention to non-preferred tasks that are introduced during bean bath time.