Categories
Miss Mancy Videos

The Sensory Approach to Learning

This is my favorite time of the year!!! Back to school!!!

I get to do what I love the most! Giving workshops to all the wonderful teachers that I work with! Here’s a little snippet of my workshop. You can view all the slides by following this link.

http://www.slideshare.net/MissMancy/the-sensory-approach-to-maximizing-students-potential-2016

Here are some things you can do to create Sensory Smart Classrooms:

Classroom Organization:

1.Set up your classroom in stations and make sure you have a quiet area where kids can calm and regroup if needed when the class gets too loud.

2.Make sure the quiet area has lots of book, heavy blankets, pillows, bean bags, earphones, soft music, fidget toys.

3.Provide fidget toys such as tactile balls, “stress” balls.

4.Use visual schedules at the beginning of class that “maps” out the children’s day. This helps kids transition more easily from one activity to the next and keeps them more organized.

Classroom Activities:

1.Use songs to help children transition such as “Clean up…clean up…” or flick the lights.

2.Make sure your schedule allows for movement breaks as well as table-top activities. Brain Breaks are great.

3.During circle time. Keep the children that have a harder time keeping still next to you or make sure you give them something to hold like a puppet. Give them a fidget toy to hold on to or even a weighted lap pad. You can also have them sit against a wall.

4.Try to plan activities that incorporate as many sensory components as possible. Ex: finger paint on textured surfaces.

5.You can begin all table-top activities with a little “chair exercise” program that allows all the children to get their state of arousal at the same level. Ex: prior to commencing a handwriting task. Sing a song with the children that wakes up the arms, legs, stretches etc…

6.Consider having a “treasure box” with a variety of sensory toys. You can send a child to pick a sensory toy that helps them calm and become centered/organized. Ex: Put stress balls, fidget toys, body brush, lotion, etc…

7.Make a “bean bag snake” using a sock and dried beans. The over-aroused child can put it on his shoulders or lap to help calm during circle time or at table-top.

8.Outdoor activities are an all around wonderful sensory experience.

Sensory/Arousal:

1.For children who need to calm, use deep pressure such as pressure with your hands to his/her shoulders

2.Another great way to calm is to give a child heavy resistive work to do ex: carry heavy books to the table, push/pull heavy cart.

3.For children who need increased arousal, have them do a few jumping jacks, wall push ups etc… or use light touch from your finger tips to awaken their senses.

4.For children who touch other peers during circle time, consider sitting them against a wall or bookshelf for extra grounding and trunk support, give them a fidget toy to hold.

5.Touching others can be an indication that the child needs input to their hands and body. It can also be a spatial awareness or body awareness challenge. Give input to the hands by brushing the child’s hands, play with playdoh/other resistive toys, clap hands. I also use the one arm rule to teach personal space.

6.For a child who has difficulty transitioning from one activity to the next, allow him/her to hold on to an object that they like (aka.  A transitioning object) This helps them stay organized during the transition. You can also assign a task to the child such as “helper” (ex: he holds the cards you will be using and brings them to circle time)

Have fun implementing these strategies and let me know how it goes!

Categories
Miss Mancy Videos Sensory Activities

Creating a Sensory Smart Classroom

As an OT I get the opportunity to visit many schools in South Florida. Teachers ask me all the time how to implement sensory components in their classrooms. Here is a list of a few suggestions:

 10 steps

 

Sensory/Arousal:

1-       Try to plan activities that incorporate as many sensory components as possible. Ex: finger paint on textured surfaces.

2-       For children who need to calm, use deep pressure such as pressure with your hands to his/her shoulders.

3-       For children who need increased arousal, have them do a few jumping jacks, wall push ups etc… or use light touch from your finger tips or a feather to awaken their senses.

4-       For children who touch other peers during circle time, consider sitting them against a wall or bookshelf for extra grounding and trunk support, give them a fidget toy to hold.

5-       Touching others can be an indication that the child needs tactile input to his hands. You can brush the child’s hands, have him play with playdoh/other resistive mediums, play hand clapping games, crawling or wheelbarrow walking,

6-    You can begin all table-top activities with a little “chair exercise” program that allows all the children to get their state of arousal at the same level. Ex: prior to commencing a handwriting task. Sing a song with the children that wakes up the arms, legs, stretches etc…

7-     Consider having a “treasure box” with a variety of sensory toys. You can send a child to pick a sensory toy that helps them calm and become centered/organized. Ex: Put stress balls, fidget toys, body brush, lotion, etc…

8-    Make a “bean bag snake” using a sock and dried beans. The over-aroused child can put it on his shoulders or lap to help calm during circle time or at table-top.

9-    Another great way to calm is to give a child heavy resistive work to do ex: carry heave books to the table, push/pull heavy cart.

10- Outdoor activities are an all around wonderful sensory experience.

Here’s a few more tips:

Classroom Organization:

1-       Set up your classroom in stations and make sure you have a quiet area where kids can calm and regroup if needed when class get too loud.

2-       Make sure the quiet area has lots of book, heavy blankets, pillows. Bean bags, earphones.

3-       Provide fidget toys such as tactile balls, “stress” balls.

4-       Use visual schedules at the beginning of class that “maps” out the children’s day. This helps kids transition more easily from one activity to the next and can keep them more organized.

5-       For a child who has difficulty transitioning from one activity to the next, allow him/her to hold on to an object that they like (aka.  A transitioning object) This helps them “keep it together” during the transition. You can also assign a task to the child such as “helper” (ex: he holds the cards you will be using and brings them to circle time)

6-       Use songs to help children transition such as “Clean up…clean up…”

7-       Make sure your schedule allows for movement breaks as well as table-top activities.

8-       During circle time. Keep the children that have a harder time keeping still next to you or make sure you give them something to hold like a puppet. Or give them a fidget toy to hold on to or even a weighted lap pad.

Categories
Sensory Activities

Spooky Sounding Lanterns

These were so easy to make and the resulting sound is really loud!!!
The kids loved playing around with the sound variations. We each got a chance to pull on our string while other children guessed what it sounded like. We made sounds of witches, ghosts, squeaky doors and even chickens!!!!!

You will need:

  • Plastic cup
  • Black Adhesive felt (You can do this with construction paper and glue instead)
  • Skewer or nail to poke a hole
  • Cotton string or yarn (will not work with nylon string)
  • Paper clip
  • Scissors
  • Wet piece of cloth/material

Instructions:

Cut out 2 small triangles  and a mouth with black felt. Flip the cup upside down, peel and stick facial features to the cup.

photo-74
Use the skewer to poke a hole at the top of the cup.

photo-73

Attach the string to a paper clip by making 2 knots.

photo-75Slip the other end of the string in the hole, from the top of the cup.

photo-81

Wet a little piece of cloth (we used a cut up wash cloth)

photo-76
Hold the cup up from the top and glide the cup on the string for some really silly sounds!!!

Categories
Fine Motor Activities Sensory Activities

4 Really Cool Art Projects to do with Kids of ALL Skill Levels

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.

photo-38

1- Cool Self-portraits!

You Will Need:

  • Large white paper
  • Pencil and eraser
  • Black Sharpie marker
  • Water colors

IMG_6272

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
  • Paintbrush

IMG_6211

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.

IMG_6652

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)

IMG_6670

Place a white sheet of paper over the shaving cream and press sown firmly

IMG_6657

Use the side of a wide popsicle stick to remove by scraping all shaving cream from the paper.

IMG_6663

This creates your final product! A beautiful rainbow colored paper!

IMG_6673

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.

IMG_6787

Children then cut this into small pieces (to resemble broken glass)

IMG_6788

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.

IMG_6781

So easy and so pretty!

Categories
Gross Motor Activities Sensory Activities

ABC Magic Tunnel

What you need:

  • ABC Puzzle (You can purchase a similar puzzle at MissMancy’s AMAZON Shop)
  • Homemade Nylon tunnel (You can make it by sewing  a long piece of Nylon material purchased at your local fabric store)
  • Dry erase board and dry erase markers ( Available for purchase at MissMancy’s AMAZON Shop)

The Activity:

I like using this activity when I need children to “get into their bodies” before working on other activities that require more attention from their bodies (for ex: balance activities).

Start by laying out the tunnel across the room. Place 8 letters on one end of the tunnel and the puzzle on the other end.

Ask your child to pick a letter and write it on the white board or a word that begins with that letter.

 If he writes it correctly, he can now crawl inside the magic tunnel and place the letter in the puzzle. Have your child crawl back through the tunnel to get another letter.

Little tips to keep in mind:

Some young children can be afraid of crawling in this dark tunnel. Have someone else keep the other end of the tunnel open and verbally cue them as they crawl through.

Ask children to go through the tunnel several different ways such as crawl backwards, walk on your knees, walk standing up,  commando crawl like a snake etc…

The resistance from the nylon tunnel provides great proprioceptive input to the body. And since your child cannot see much in the tunnel, he uses other senses to “feel” where his body is in space.