This is a very popular workshop I gave last year to several schools. The questions and brainstorming that came from this presentation were very inspiring. I love when teachers try to incorporate fine motor and sensory goals in their classrooms realizing that it can benefit ALL children. This workshop addressed: Creating a Sensory Classroom, How to pick out the children that need OT, The importance of Movement in our curriculum and integrating children with special needs in a regular classroom.
Miss Mancy Summer classes at the Social Mind Center have been doing great! The kids are really enjoying everything they are getting their hands on! I wanted to share with you some of the most popular Art projects we did. I like that they can accommodate various skill levels.
1- Cool Self-portraits!
You Will Need:
- Large white paper
- Pencil and eraser
- Black Sharpie marker
- Water colors
This is a really fun group project. Children get to work together on each others projects! (Great social skills building activity!)
I start by pairing up 2 students together.
Place a large piece of paper on the table in front of each child.
Have the children take turns using a PENCIL to trace each others hands towards the top half of the paper. (Works on tracing skills)
You can then put the paper on the floor and have them trace each others feet (with shoes on) at the bottom half of the page.
I like to then use a black marker and go over the traces to make sure they look ok and have children erase the pencil marks. (Erasing is a great way to strengthen little fingers and teach graded finger control, you have to erase firmly but gently otherwise you can tear or crumple paper)
Each child then adds a face and body to the hands/feet.
I like to have children use watercolors to paint their drawings. Kids LOOOOVE the final product!!!!
2- Pollock-inspired Drip Painting!
You Will Need:
- Large black construction paper
- Acrylic Paints
Based on Jackson Pollock’s unique style of drip painting, the kids explored paint in a whole new, liberating way!
This is a wonderful sensory activity. It does get messy so be ready!
Do this activity outdoors.
Place black or white pieces of paper on the ground.
Provide kids with acrilyc paints (water them down a little to syrup consistency if needed)
Give each child a paint brush that they dip in the paint and splash away!!!! Let the fun begin!
By framing these paintings, they make such a great art piece to expose!
I love this activity because it’s great for children with tactile sensitivities (those that don’t like to get dirty) and there’s no right or wrong. No “rules” to follow so this is great for all levels.
We have an Art Exposition at Social Mind Center where all children get a chance to expose their work of art. The Pollock Paintings allow children with lower skills to participate in these Expos.
3- Cloud Painting!
You Will Need:
- White paper
- Shaving cream
- Food coloring
- Paintbrush (or any thin stick)
- Wide popsicle stick
This is a wonderful multi-step sensory activity for kids of all abilities.
Begin by having children spread shaving cream on the table (keep enough thickness)
Squeeze drops of food coloring across the shaving cream.
Use a paintbrush or stick to drag the food coloring across the shaving cream (do not mix all colors together they will become a brown uniform color, we want to see the separation of colors)
Place a white sheet of paper over the shaving cream and press sown firmly
Use the side of a wide popsicle stick to remove by scraping all shaving cream from the paper.
This creates your final product! A beautiful rainbow colored paper!
Note: we used a second piece of paper across the shaving cream a second time and it created a similar but lighter masterpiece!
4- Modern Mosaics
You Will Need:
- Black construction paper and another two of contrasting color
- Washi tape of various colors
- Glue and scissors
This is a great activity to teach cutting skills especially to little ones. The idea here is to cut without following any lines so this makes it easy at various levels.
Begin with a blank piece of black construction paper.
Have children stick tape of various colors to cover the black paper.
Children then cut this into small pieces (to resemble broken glass)
Here we decided to stick the mosaic pieces on each child’s first letter of their name.
I drew the letter (in reverse) on the back of a piece of blue construction paper and roughly cut around the letter, leaving a 1 inch edge.
Flip over the paper (the letter will be on the back of the construction paper) and ask children to glue pieces of mosaics to cover the entire cut out.
Once dry, flip the paper over and now cut out the letter on the lines. When you flip back, you will have a perfect letter with clean edges.
We stuck the letters on a different color construction paper and added a border with washi tape.
So easy and so pretty!
You will need:
- Ziploc Freezer Bag
- Hair Gel
- Different mini figurines or Halloween erasers
- Permanent Marker
- Duct tape
How to Make a Sensory Halloween Bag:
Place different small items in a Ziploc bag. In this case, I used miniature erasers. Add A large bottle of hair gel. Seal the top of the bag and add a large piece of duct tape. (I learned the hard way that this can leak). I drew 3 squares on the sides of the bag and drew a pumpkin, ghost and skull in each of the squares. I then ask children to use their fingers to push the figurines into the matching boxes!
Halloween is a great time to push children’s sensory boundaries! There are so many gooey, gross activities you can do with them. I like to start with something simple that may feel a little odd to some children but definitely works on their tactile discrimination skills. This means they use their fingers to find their way around.
We have all made sensory bags in the past, but I usually like to combine this with a specific task especially for children that have tactile defensiveness issues, when they are aware of a beginning and an end to the activity or task, they are more apt to participate. Otherwise just asking them to touch and feel a medium that is aversive to them may be easily overwhelming.