Categories
Sensory Activities

Colorful Cornstarch Ice Painting

You Will Need:

  • Cornstarch
  • Water
  • Liquid water color
  • Ice trays
  • Popsicle sticks

Directions:

PREPARING THE COLORFUL ICE:

Put 3/4 cup of cornstarch in a bowl and add a few drops of liquid watercolor. Mix.

THEN Add 1/2 cup of water. (Use a ratio of 1 part water to 1.5 parts cornstarch). Mix.

Pour into ice cubes and put a popsicle stick in each cube. Put in the freezer overnight.

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THE ACTIVITY:

I have done this activity several times, with children of all abilities and all ages. I have to admit this…it looks like a beautiful, fun activity but the kids really do not enjoy it as much as I thought they would!!!!

Place a blank piece of paper in a tray and let children paint freely!

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I even tried covering a piece of paper with oil before painting with the ice but still no luck! )Let each child brush oil over a blank piece of paper before painting with the ice cubes.

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Not giving up on this one just yet!!! The results are too pretty!

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I think I will try it outdoors in the summer as a group project on a large mural!

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Categories
Sensory Activities

Spring Flower Painting

I saw this idea on line at playfullearning.net and decided to give it a try with my Messy Art group. I love activities that combine a variety of senses. The smell of the flowers and the bright paint colors is a great way to welcome inSpring. It was a great success with my little ones. We even features this project at our first Art Show!

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You Will Need:

  • Fresh Flowers
  • Tempra paints
  • Paper plates
  • Card stock paper
  • Ruler

The Activity:

Begin by providing each child with a piece of card stock paper and fresh cut flowers. Let them play with the flowers, smell them, pull the petals.

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Put one color of paint in each paper plate and spread it out. (Don’t put too much paint)

Have children dip their flowers in the paint and stamp them across their paper, or twirl them or use the flower as a paintbrush!

 

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While the paint is still a little wet, use one of the paint colors and squeeze out one line vertically down the edge of the page.

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Use a ruler to drag the paint across the paper. If you feel you need more paint to drag all the way across the page, add another vertical line down the middle of the page.

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Simple and beautiful!

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Categories
Sensory Activities

Partner Painting

You Will Need:

  • Washable Paints in blue, red and yellow
  • Sponge brush
  • Covered Table with paper or garbage bag

The Activity:

I wanted to do a messy activity with the children that allowed them full control of the paint. Many times, I try to get them to follow one or 2 simple steps to an activity but this time I wanted to allow the creative flow. We paired up children two by two and painted on 2 different primary colors on one each one’s hand.

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They then shook hands with each other to reveal a whole new color! The children loved it.

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Once that step was completed, they went wild painting freely on the covered table, mixing as many colors as they wanted, with or without paintbrushes. We had them place  a piece of white paper on top of their paint mix to make a stamp of their beautiful expression.

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Categories
Sensory Activities

Sensory Snow

Living in Florida, many children don’t have the experience of playing with snow. Being that I grew up in Montreal, Canada, I know all about snow and would love to share that experience with my kids. Through the years, I have I have tried many Snow Sensory Bins. This is HANDS DOWN the best Snow Recipe! I don’t know the science behind it but it gets COOL to the touch!!!!

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This is one of my favorite sensory activities. The children can play for hours! Since everyone is obsessed with Frozen movie, they wanted to make Olaf the snowman! I have also used this recipe and had children spray the snow with a mixture of water/paint to make rainbow snow!

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You Will Need:

  • White Hair Conditioner (I used coconut scented, to make it “Florida Snow”)
  • Baking Soda
  • Dry spaghetti for arms
  • Mini carrots for nose
  • Wiggle eyes
  • pop corn kernels for buttons

Note: You can ask use Shaving cream instead of hair conditioner but I prefer the scent selection of hair conditioner.

Directions:

Mix 3 cups of baking soda to ½ cup of hair conditioner. You can change the proportions if you’d like.

Use wiggle eyes for the eyes, a carrot for the nose, spaghetti for the arms (some made hair) and pop corn kernels for buttons.

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Categories
Sensory Activities

4 Really Cool Art Projects for all Skill Levels

Once a week, I work at the Social Mind Center where I teach several classes of Messy  Art. The challenge is to find art projects for children with very different skill sets. The following activities were a great success with children at our center. I hope you enjoy and send me feedback and pictures!!!!

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1- Snack Painting

Who doesn’t love snacks?! For very young children that put everything in their mouths, I like to use edible paints but trust me, the appeal was just as great for older children. Just make sure to check with parents regarding food allergies and restrictions. Depending on the ingredients you choose, this activity can have lots of SUGAR!!!!

You Will Need:

  • White card stock paper
  • Condensed milk (For children that are Gluten Free use heavy cream)
  • Several colors of Food Coloring
  • Popcorn
  • Marshmallows (For children that are Gluten Free leave this ingredient out)

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 The Activity:

This is as simple as it gets. Mix a few drops of food coloring with condensed milk. Set out bowls of popcorn and marshmallows as well as white card stock paper and let the fun begin!

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Children dip snacks into the “paint” and stamp it on their paper…watch the snacks disappear in no time!

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Therapy Corner:

I love crafts that involve food. Many children (and especially those with ASD and SPD) are picky eaters. Using food and art is a great way to expose them to food that they would otherwise never even touch! This is a first step in the right direction.

2- Oil Pastels with a Twist

A new twist on a regular coloring activity!

You Will Need:

  • White Cardstock paper
  • Oil Pastels
  • 1/3 cup of baby oil (or any cooking oil will do)
  • 5-6 Cotton balls

 The Activity:

Place a tray or cover the working surface with plastic such as a garbage bag! Ask children to use oil pastels to draw a colorful picture. For this class I had them draw Kandinsky Circles.

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For some, this was difficult so they drew colorful flowers. The important thing is to have a variety of colors.

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Once the drawing is complete, children dip a cotton ball into a little bit of oil and spread it in ONE direction across the drawing.

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This will spread the colors and create a cool effect! Let it dry completely.

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Therapy Corner:

This activity is simple yet for children with tactile sensitivities, it can be quite challenging. It gets dirty, oily and slippery!

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3- Sticker Art

Here’s a really great way to create a beautiful project with minimal skills needed. I like to use this activity for holiday gifts.

 You Will Need:

  • Small Canvas
  • Variety of Foam Stickers
  • Acrylic/Tempra Paint
  • Sponge brushes and regular paint brushes
  • Blow Dryer/Fan (if you want the painting to be ready that same day)

 The Activity:

Ask children to peel and stick stickers on their canvas. You can have them create a theme ex: Ocean Animals or provide them with letters to create a message to mom for Mother’s Day or create their name for a cool painting they can hang in their rooms!

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Use a sponge brush and different colored paints to paint over the entire surface of the canvas (Paint over the stickers too, you may need a little paintbrush to get into the crevices of the stickers). Blow dry the painting on cold setting just enough so the stickers can be peeled off without leaving streaks. Tada! Beautiful Art!

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Therapy Corner:

Peeling stickers is a great way to work on neat pincer grasp i.e. thumb and index finger working to peel the stickers. This is an important precursor to an efficient pencil grasp and to improve dexterity.

4- Rainbow Oobleck Art!

Ready to get dirty?!! This is a fun twist on oobleck. This really gets messy so get ready for it!

You will Need:

  • White Cardstock paper
  • 2 cups of corn starch
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1-2 drops of food coloring
  • Large bin

The Activity:

I created several bowls of different colored oobleck. The ingredients are quite simple but you will find it difficult to mix. Just be patient. You may start out with a wooden spoon but eventually you will need to mix it with your hands.

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Note: I prepared this activity 30 minutes before my kiddos showed up, the oobleck hardens and looks like wet cement! All you have to do is mix it up once again and it liquefies!!!!

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In a large bin I had each child pour in one of the colored ooblecks. We gently swirled it with a spoon to create a cool pattern and each child had a chance to dip in a sheet of paper to reveal a beautiful rainbow creation! I did not send this project home! Instead, we took pictures of these beautiful masterpieces.

It was then time to have some fun with this fascinating medium! The kids looooved it!

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Therapy Corner:

Oobleck is quite a challenging medium to play with. For those of you who never felt it before, it’s a liquid that solidifies and then returns to a liquid consistency when mixed. It almost feels like wet chalk! For children with tactile sensitivities, this is quite the challenge. There are so many different sensations when using this medium. It feels wet but also can feel hard and chalky and if it dries on the hands it then feels powdery! Pretty cool!

Categories
Sensory Activities

Summer Fun with Balloons

I love balloons and kids do too! Not only are they colorful and festive but they can be used for movement activities as well as art and science! Here are some of my favorite activities.

Painting with Balloons.

You Will Need:

  • Balloons
  • Tempra Paint
  • White drawing paper

This is a very simple activity that can be done with children of all skill levels. There is no emphasis on the outcome but rather on the process.

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First have children blow balloons. Keep them small. Then they can dip the balloons in the paint and stamp them unto the paper to create beautiful art creations.

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Balloon Letter Tap:

You Will Need:

  • Balloon
  • Sharpie Marker

Many children that I work with are challenged by eye-hand coordination. Throwing and catching balls can be a challenging skill. I love using balloons to help them catch and throw. Since the movement of the balloon is slower, they can take more time to motor plan their actions.

Begin by blowing up a balloon and use the sharpie marker to write letters on the balloon.  Throw the balloon in the air and name a letter or name a letter and name a word that starts with that letter. Ask the child to do the same as they tap the balloon back to you. This can be very challenging for children that have difficulty combining movement (tapping balloon) with a cognitive skills (name letter or word).

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Balloon Volcano

You will Need:

  • Parachute
  • 5-6 Balloons

This is a wonderful group activity. Kids hold on to the parachute and work as a group. You place a balloon in the middle and as children raise the parachute, they have to make sure the balloon does not fall out. Once they master the one balloon, you can add more and more balloons. I like to tell the kids that we keep the volcano dormant and then at the end we let the volcano erupt by lifting off all the balloons in the air!!!

Don’t Let the Balloons Drop with a Twist

You Will Need:

  • Balloons

Another great group activity is the infamous Balloon Drop! I like to play it with a twist. We start with one balloon and gradually I add one balloon at a time. I like adding up to one more balloon than the number of children playing. (if 5 children play, I will slowly add up to 6 balloons) Warning: This becomes a very loud, energetic game!!!

Sensory Bean Bags

You Will Need:

  • Balloons
  • Funnel
  • Dry Rice
  • Dry Beans
  • Dry Chickpeas
  • White Glue
  • Water

Fill balloons with the above ingredients and tie a knot. You can then use them as hand fidgets or bean bags for a toss game. The different ingredients result in bean bags of different weight. They can then be used to work on graded hand control. ie. children have to decide how much force needs to be used to throw the different weights into a set target.

Categories
Sensory Activities

St-Patty’s Activities

Here are some fun St-Patty’s Day activities I found while searching on line.

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Golden Coins Shaving Cream Search

Kids  absolutely love getting messy with shaving cream.  Just add green finger paint,  glitter and shiny coins to create a St- Patty’s theme. The children use tactile discrimination to find hidden coins. This is a a great skills to teach so that children learn to use the tactile information they get from touching without using their eyes to monitor what their hands are doing.  This comes in handy when opening/closing fasteners on their clothing.

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Rainbow Painting

This is a great sensory craft for all skill levels. I found this activity on www.sassydealz.com but adapted it for lower level skills. I cut out black pots from construction paper and stuck it at the bottom of the paper. Then using a pencil I drew 6 curved lines to create a rainbow. I numbered each line and marked it with the matching color pattern of a rainbow.

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I also put paints in small bowls and used a dry erase marker to mark the bowls with the corresponding numbers for the order of the colors.  Children dip their fingertips in the paint and make dots to create a rainbow! We also used silver foil to make shiny coins.2014-03-15 06.46.06

Leprechaun Activity Hunt!

I have yet to meet a child who doesn’t love the excitement of a treasure hunt. I got this idea from www.spoonful.com. I created clovers with activities on each of them ex: 10 sit ups with a partner, 10 jumping jacks, hold hands with friends in a circle and stand on 1 foot 10 sec. Each child had a chance to pick a room on our map and go find a clover. Each child reads out loud the activity that is on their clover and we complete it as a group. I like sending out one child at a time and doing the activities as each child brings back a clover. It helps with maintaining attention and excitement in the group!

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Categories
Sensory Activities

3 Kings Day Inspiration

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I remember as a little girl living in France, we celebrated 3 Kings Day with a very special tradition. Although I didn’t grow up Catholic,  it was a tradition that my parents did with us every year because to me and my siblings it was so magical.

We call it La Galette des Rois—The Kings Cake. In France, they made this delicious round puff pastry in which they hid a tiny porcelain figurine.  We all sat around the table for a slice and whoever landed on the figurine became the king.  They got to wear a paper crown and were granted one wish!

This has become an activity that I like to do as a cooking group with my little ones.Cooking activities address so many skills on a sensory level as well as sequencing, following directions and life skills such as measuring, pouring, mixing etc.. Instead of the fancy puff pastry,  we make a giant chocolate chip cookie and I hide a little porcelain figurine. I was also inspired by 3 Kings Day to do create “OT” activities.

La Galette des Rois:

Mix all ingredients for your favorite chocolate chip recipe or use the one below but hide a PORCELAINE figurine before baking. However finds the figurine wins a crown and is granted one wish!

The recipe:

  • 1 c butter, softened
  • 3/4 c white sugar
  • 3/4 c brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 & 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups chocolate chips

In large bowl, beat butter, sugars and vanilla until soft and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Gradually add flour, salt, baking soda, and beat until well blended.  Stir in Chocolate Chips.  Spread it out on  greased pizza pan. (leave a good inch or so around the edge of the pan as it will spread when it’s baking) Bake 375 for 20-25 mins.

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Find the King in a Rice Bin:

Here is a wonderful sensory way for children to play. You can use rice, sand, or dry beans and hide all sorts of items in it including a little king. Whoever finds the king becomes king for the day and is granted one wish.

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Find the king in the Putty:

This is also a great sensory activity but with the added component of finger strengthening. Children use tactile discrimination to find the little king hidden in the putty using their fingers.

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Writing Activity:

When working on handwriting, instead of working from worksheets, I like children to use their creative side and imagination. For my 3 Kings inspiration I started off a sentence and asked children to finish the idea by writing their own words. “If I was King for a day, I would……………..”

Cutting Activity:

Zig zag cutting takes a lot of bilateral coordination and therefore it’s great cutting practice for young children. What better way to do that than have children cut a piece of construction paper in a zig zag to create a crown!

Start by drawing a zig zag in thick marker across the length of a construction paper.

Ask children to cut on the lines

Stick both ends of the cutouts together to create one long piece.

Have children decorate by coloring, stickers, glitter, jewels etc…

size it to the child’s head and staple together or tape.

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The King’s Scepter

This is a fun group activity. Create a kings scepter my decorating a dowel with ribbons and jewels. Each child gets a turn to “draw” a letter in the air and the rest of the group needs to guess the letter! This is a great way for children to practice correct letter formation.

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Categories
Fine Motor Activities Sensory Activities

Candy Candy sooooo Much Candy!

What to do with all this extra candy?

1- Science experiment:

Teach children about acid content. Place a candy in a bowl with a little bit of water. Add a teaspoon of baking soda. If the solution bubbles, then this candy is acidic. Try with a variety of candies such as Lemonheads, Nerds, skittles, m&ms etc…

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2-Candy Graphing Math:

Create graphs of the various candies. (Sample taken from www.justreed-ashley.blogspot.com)

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3- Licorice stamps:

Use the thin licorice strings (untwist) create a pattern on jar lids and use as a stamp. Children can create letters and numbers as well.

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4- Blessing Boxes:

Create Sweet Blessings boxes filled with candy and donate to a local charity.

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5- Candy Jar:

Kids are asked to bring extra candy to school. These can be placed in a jar that the teacher can use for rewards to the class. (Sample taken from www.decoart.com)

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6- Paint with skittles and m&m:

Separate the candy by color. Dissolve the candy in a little bit of water and use like watercolors! (Sample taken from www.artprojectsforkids.org)

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7-Twizzlers and string licorice to make letters:

Create cards with uppercase and lowercase letters. Laminate them and have children create these letters using licorice.

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8- Patterns:

Teach children important sequencing skills by creating candy patterns that they have to follow. This is a great classroom activity for little ones. (Sample taken from classroomfreebies.com)

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9- Candy Sorting:

Use tweezers to pick up and sort candy by color. This works on pincer strength.

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10- Donate the candy to our troops:

Donate extra candy to our troops at www.treats4ourtroops.org

Categories
Sensory Activities

Gardening!

I will try to share with you pictures of the wonderful activities that we do during Miss Mancy’s Fun with Science Classes at the Social Mind Center here in Davie Florida. It gets a little busy (and messy (: but i will try as best as I can)IMG_5943

Several weeks a go we began a planting activity with the children at the center. We used regular dried beans including Pinto, Lima, Kidney and Black beans. We placed them on wet cotton balls and allowed them to grow. The children were so excited to see that these seeds truly grew into small plants! Most of them did not believe it would happen!IMG_5946

This week, we continued our gardening project. The children planted the little plants into small ceramic pots. They watered them and some of them painted their pots! Everyone got a chance to take their plants home. We learned about the growth cycle of a plant and how to care for them!

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So much fun and such a wonderful sensory activity for the children!

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Categories
Sensory Activities

Shaving Cream Fun

Shaving cream is such a fun sensory experience for your child. For children that demonstrate tactile defensiveness, I would only introduce this activity once a child trusts you and knows you well. I usually start to play with it myself, I don’t initially push them to touch the shaving cream but I then take their hands and place both of them entirely into the cream…Once they’re hands are in their most children will go with the flow and LOOOOVE it too! I also reassure them that we can wipe it off very easily.

10 Fun Activities to do with Shaving Cream:

1- Ask your child to use her finger or tools such as paintbrushes and sticks to draw letters, numbers and shapes

2-Add a few drops of different colored finger paint and let your child mix to learn about beautiful color combos!

3-Hide different textured items in the cream ex: a key, a coin, a spoon, a pencil, a small ball, a paper clip etc…and ask your child to find a requested item without looking ex: Can you find the spoon? (This works on what we call Stereognosis)

4-Ask your child to find specific colored items or shapes that you have hidden. This is a great way to teach little ones about colors or shapes

5-Hide all sorts of items and ask your child: Can you find an item that begins with the letter A?

6-Write your child’s name on paper, place it in a plastic sleeve. Hide letters in the cream and ask t=your child to find the letters of his name. As an added skill, tell you child each time he finds a letter: Is this letter in your name? if YES then have them place the letter on their written name…Continue till they can find all letters of their name.

7-Hide numbers in the cream. Ask your child to pick two numbers and then add them up. Great way to work on math skills!

8-Shaving cream is great fun in the bath. Make a mustache, or a beard and a hat!

9-Use shaving cream to play a carwash game with toy cars. It’s great sensory play!

10- Put a plastic tablecloth on the grass and put shaving cream all over it. Children can skate barefoot! You can even hide letters and ask your child to find specific letters. ex: Find the first letter of the word FISH!