Sensory presents for Christmas on a low budget

Sensory presents for Christmas on a low budget

Looking for Christmas presents for our kids can be difficult .  I try to look for presents that will be both educational and fun .  The links I put are not affiliate links  , so if you find better deals please let me know !!

For gross motor activity :

Balancing board :  Balancing boards not only improve balanced coordination but also core and strength which helps better reading and writing .

 

 

 

 

 

Balancing Stones : Great for improving coordination and balance.

 

 

 

 

 

Mini Trampoline     :    

 

 

 

 

 

Bosu: 

-skipping rope

-Hula Hoops

Ikea swirling chair : https://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/10407136/

Visual/Spatial games :

Wooden building blocks

 

 

 

 

 

Parquetry blocks:

Parquetry blocks are good for visual perception . A collection of geometrical shapes that  can be sorted in as part of a picture or pattern.

Lite Brite : creating art by putting colourful pegs on a template which is battery operated and lights up.  It improves visual detail and hand-eye coordination.

wonderful for fine motor skills , following a pattern etc…

 

 

 

 

  •  Colouring books
  • Spot it : good for tracking, visual discrimination and figure ground.
  • Bop-It  – good for hand -eye coordination and following instructions .
  • Pix-MIx  – good for visual discrimination and figure ground .
  • Think square
  • Hema beads :
  • Q-Bitz     – visual challenge game
What is therapeutic listening ?

What is therapeutic listening ?

Therapeutic listening is an approach that recognises that listening goes well beyond the ears and is a function of the brain .

The way we listen affects the way we behave , and so to that end therapeutic listening uses sound training together with sensory integrative techniques that don’t just stimulate the auditory system but also help rewire those parts of the brain that enable us to hear . What’s more it can help people who exhibit a myriad of behaviour types .

Therapeutic listening uses electronically modified music with rhythmic sound patterns in order to stimulate and trigger the self organising capacities of the nervous system , and as such , a person’s progression through the program will depend on how they respond at any particular point  . In other words , its adapted to a person’s specific needs.    We did the home based program and did it twice a day  while doing a floor time activity or while doing a physical activity . Our experience with therapeutic listening  showed improvements in many areas  such as : *better hand-eye coordination which resulted in better hand writing , better coordinated movements , better concentration , less anxiety as well as better articulation .

I am a certified therapeutic listening practitioner and recommend you use the Vital Link website to find a practitioner in your area  .

https://vitallinks.com/parent-center/therapeutic-listening-for-parents/

What is Crossing the Midline ?

What is Crossing the Midline ?

Crossing the midline is an imaginary line down the centre of the body which divides the body into left and right.

It actually refers to the ability to reach across the middle of the body with arms and legs crossing over to the other side.

Crossing the midline is important stage in child development.

A child that doesn’t cross the midline may indicate that both sides of the brain are not communicating well together and this will affect how your child  reads and writes.

Here are a few sensory ideas for crossing the midline activities :

 

Drawing the infinity  and using different materials  like chalk , whiteboard , foam ,sand etc …

With the Shaving foam I also added shining with a laser pen and tracing the infinity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arrange the alaphabet in order , alternating  HANDS .(you can also multi-task by adding singing a song while doing it).

Showing the ABC game

 

Hands to opposite knees while reading the Hart chart:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Resources for a Sensory Diet

Resources for a Sensory Diet

In this post I’ve gathered different resources that I found helpful through the years, some can be made at home with a bit of effort and others can be purchased on a small budget.

Resources for hand-eye coordination :
  • Hitting a ball hanging from the ceiling ,bunting the ball ,catching it /hitting with a plastic tennis racket
hitting a ball

hitting a ball

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • For the following resource you would need a tennis ball, tweezers and small pieces of paper:
    Get a standard tennis ball, cut it in the middle and them crunch small pieces of paper at the side.
  • Ask your child  to hold the ball with one hand .opening the ‘mouth of the ball’ and with the other hand insert the pieces of paper using the
  • tweezers.

 

tennis ball eye hand coordination

Tennis ball eye -hand coordination

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Throwing balls into a bucket- you could use a small ping-pong ball or tennis ball together with a small bucket you can find at home, I have used different types of textures sizes hardness and colors to add another layer to the sensory input.
  • Prickly pile up- was a hit in my household when each boy in his turn tried to “pile up” another hedgehog on top of the others making sure they keep “hanging on”

 

 

Resources for Spatial awareness :
  • Spinning –  the feeling of spinning around and getting used to the movement is very important in the way the child develop the spatial awareness this could be done with a desk chair or with the ‘Astronaut board’  below as part of the program.
  • Directionality  : drawing arrows ,mazes and following the direction with arrows helps understanding directionality as your child will physically add the arrows where appropriate.

 

 

astronout board

Primitive Reflexes- (as part of occupational therapist plan) :
Gross motor activity :
  • Jumping on a trampoline /Bosu  – also helps with spatial awareness
  • Jumping from one hula hoop to another- lay 3 to 4 hula hoops on the floor and get your child to jump.
  • Skipping : skipping can be a tricky task for some kids : we first practiced jumping and then learnt the arm motion with poi –socks ( you can make easily at home or buy it ready made.

 

poi sock

poi sock

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • jumping jacks exercise -straightforward jumping while moving arms and legs
  • Wheel-barrow exercise : hold the child legs and have him walk on his hands around the house .
  • Putting legs on the wall while the child’s hands are the floor.

 

 Balance :
  • Using a balancing board while hitting a ball which is tied to the ceiling  variation: throwing and catching ballons while on the balancing board –
  • Walking on a beam – there is no need to purchase a beam as you can practice walking in a straight line on pavements outside or in the park.
  • Walking on colored stones –  helps children build confidence when jumping, judging distances, coordinating and balancing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Working on inward/outward position of the toes : we did so with a pigeon/duck walk chart I created .

 

 

duck pigeon walk

duck pigeon walk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Stretchy arm bands or resistance band, they are really great to have at different resistance levels as they can help with motor planning, hand-eye coordination, proprioception and spatial awareness.
  • Pointy dog exercise (Bird dog) 
  • Superman excercise 
  • Marching straight in line with fingers pointing up – this exercise helps with  directionality.
Resources for logical thinking :

*Geoboard – great little board that helps with directionality creativity and mesuring distances as well

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Wooden blocks: Here are some examples for possible structures, the child might find it overwhelming at the beginning so I would recommend to start with an easy setup


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Parquetry blocks – geometrical shapes that can be sorted in as part of a picture or pattern
  • “Thinkfun pathwords” – word game good for spatial orientation , directionality etc..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are few other games from ‘Think fun’ which also contribute to directionality and spatial orientation .

 

  • Q-bitz: a visual challenge game.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Resources for writing :
  • Pelican pencils , tried a variety of pencil grip but found the pelican pencil the best for my kids as its stable and sturdy.
  • There are many  resources out there which are aimed at helping children in learning to write . I have tried some which combine music and learning  but I have found out that there is a set of basic skills a child has to have before he or she are ready to write.
  • The visual skills are focusing , tracking  and teaming making sure both eyes are working together to be able to learn to write .When the child is ‘Ready to learn’ I found  ‘writing without tears’  to be  a good resource.
Oral resources to help in articulation and speech :
  • Chewy necklaces and Ark grabber both are chewy but the arc is thicker and helps in jaw movement, tongue movement, and oral exploration.
    mouthing, and oral motor development.
  • Blowing and making bubbles using different size of straws
  • Whistles : variety of different kinds .(recommended resource kit
  • Blowing a variety of balloons from different sizes and shapes
  • Baby chewy toys
  • Sucking non sugar lollies (organic lollipops)helps to develop the muscles in our mouth
  • Using a mirror moving the tongue in circles after putting fruity lip-balm / putting one lip over the other sucking lips inwards and pulling tongue out
  • Using electric tooth brush on the lips for sensory input
Speech and Language :
  • Games for WH questions : super duper publications have got a verity of games for Speach and language
  • Auditory workout App: this is a wonderful application designed for children with auditory processing disorder .
  • Learning to sequence : 6 set scene game by ‘Carson Dellosa’ publishing
  • Social stories : creating social stories . I created some , one of them appears on Amazon , it was a story dealing with friendship and competition brother rivalry and relationship I offer it for FREE on this page.
  • Black sheep publications offer games that help in problem solving , imagination and prediction.
  • Tell tale – card  game that encourage imagination and creativity together with communication skills.
  • What a performance – perform a variety of noises, actions and activities to help children express themselves in a unique way.

Rhyhem:

  • Metronome- clapping hands at the right rhyhem and developing awareness to sound and music.
  • ‘Loopz Shifter’ game :  An action memory game that used light and sounds to help in memorizing the steps.

 

loops shifter

loopz shifter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anxiety :

 

Craniosacral therapy

Craniosacral therapy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Nutrition : healthy diet helps in revealing stress avoiding process foods added sugar and white flour.
How to make a geo board in Three simple steps?

How to make a geo board in Three simple steps?

What is a Geo board? Geo board is a great way to teach children geometrical shapes and use them to create a picture or a story. The child will stretch bands around pegs to form line segments and shapes and make discoveries. This is beneficial to children on the spectrum of sensory processing disorder to strengthen fine motor skills, visual processing, special skills and more. Its also great for dyslexic and dysgraphic children,

geoboard

Material needed: 25 pegs with round head (make sure that the pegs head is not sharp to eliminate possible risk Sandpaper Hammer 20 colorful rubber bands geoboard Steps Step1: Cut a wooden board at the size of 10 inches on 10 inches (25x 25 cm) use sand paper to make sure there are no risky wooden chips. Step 2. Draw 5 horizontal lines and 5 vertical lines in equal distances from each other with a pencil which will result in a grid shape with 25 juction points for the pegs location. Step 3 Using the hammer nail the 25 pegs to the board now it’s all ready for the funky creative shapes. • Optional – paint or colour the board to make it more lively. geoboard  
How I taught Math ?

How I taught Math ?

Teaching math at first seemed like an impossible task to me.   Guy didn’t understand what is counting or how to add simple sums or even subitising which is Instantly recognizing the number of objects in a small group, without counting . for example: when holding 3 fingers up a child automatically know its 3 . I can remember it made me anxious and protective whenever people asked him “How much is 2 + 5 or any simple sum …something that is expected of children of primary school age . I knew he didn’t have a clue . As a teacher I used to feel impatient with children who “didn’t get it “….but when my son did not understand simple concepts I developed an enormous amount of patience and creativity , qualities I did not think exist in me . I started reading a lot about neuroplasticity and that children are often mislabeled with a learning problem when it is often a vision/development related problem . In schools children are often labeled as being ‘Dyslectic’ , ‘Dyscalculia’ and so on …. I didn’t want to label my child as “Dys” before finding out if there not some neuro-development issue that is causing these learning difficulties . I thought there must be a way to teach him and I knew these answers wont be given to me by our national health service – the NHS or the school . It is a known fact that learning is more effective through movement. Embodied Cognition is the notion that the body influences the mind . It is when our motor system influences our cognition just as our mind has an impact on our bodily actions. It has become a very hot topic in many researches and many neuro-scientists are talking about it . We all learn differently and some of the activities will work for some and some will work for others , the key to all activities is to use a Multi-sensory approach and be creative .   My resources and activities are aimed at a low budget . As I have stated earlier my belief that we can rewire our brain and the wonderful results I have had has guided me through this journey. Changes are possible ……amazing changes are possible!!! Teaching to count :   My method was a multi-sensory approach combing Floortime , movement and tactile . During these years I converted my bedroom into a sensory room .   My mattress was put leaning against the wall and the entire space was devoted for our exercises.   My priority was helping Guy “bridge “ the gaps in his development, I preferred having a “sensory room rather than a bedroom.   As my husband was always very supportive , it was his decision as well. As we live in England and often have “cold weather” which Guy didn’t adapt well to cold weather  as  it often caused him to be non responsive and apathetic.   So instead of jumping on our Trampoline outside we did our jumping indoors. I used many different ways to give him the understanding of the counting . We did a lot of jumping : we put a variety of cushions on the floor together with a ‘Bosu’ (fitness training device) and mini trampoline and practiced counting from 1-10 and counting backwards as well. *We balanced on a balance board while hitting a ball to the wall , supporting hand-eye coordination at the same time of balancing and counting . Resources for Counting:
  • Three Bear Family Counters
  • Counting  his favourite toys.
  • Easy to make velcro chart like the one below:
.  
  • Dienz Blocks  (great resource to understand place value)
  • As stated by Harry Wachs in his book Visual/Spatial Portals to thinking, feeling and movement “These blocks are useful for developing numerical literacy and can help the child develop the visual infrastruction for mathematical thought”. (Visual/Spatial Portals to Thinking,Feeling and Movement page 426) .
         
  • Numicon:  An apparatus which I found very useful was the Numicon . A proven approach in teaching math in the primary national curriculum . It develops fluency by using a visual, practical base to develop conceptual understanding and fluent recall. 

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Primitive Reflexes...

 

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