Sunday, January 31, 2016

Years ago, my daughters were avid jugglers.  They made their own juggling balls called "hacky sacks."  More recently, I've discovered these cute little balls can be really helpful in calming an anxious or unregulated child.  I've named them "Squeezy balls" or "Stress balls."
To make them you need: 
-coffee grounds (I let the grounds dry out a day before I use them)

-plastic liter bottle

 Place funnel in bottle and spoon rice or coffee grounds into bottom.
 Stretch balloon over the top

 Invert bottle and squeeze until balloon in filled
 Tie securely and squeeze.
Ahh!  I feel more relaxed already.  

 Now try the same procedure using coffee grounds.

I use the Squeezy balls to help settle a wiggly child at circle time meeting or to help calm an anxious or angry child. The rice filled balloons and the coffee filled have a different feel to them.  Some children prefer the smooth, supple quality of the coffee.  Some like the slightly bumpy, harder feel of the rice.  You can also fill balloons with lentils.  Try all and see which you prefer.
These can be made with children.  They love the process!  And then they get to use the fruits of their labor.
Have fun!
- Eileen

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Hi All,

Today I am excited to show you one of my favorite sensory activities and one that kids are totally drawn to.  It's constructing with foam, wooden golf tees and hammers.  I invented this set-up and I love it because the possibilities are almost endless.

The materials you need are:
- golf tees (about 2 inches or 2 3/4 inch).  These can be purchased at Modell's.

- wooden hammers (found in the dollar store)
- foam (also called "plank.")  Found in delivery boxes of appliances.  I scour the bins in and around my building and have found wonderful, funky shapes.  You can purchase "plank" over the internet, but for me the fun is scavenging.

I start by reading "Bling, Blang" by Pete Seeger.  It can be read or sung and it gets kids in construction mode.

I then have children practice wielding a hammer.  I show them how to hold the hammer, place the golf tee and then bear down on the tee, using the other hand to keep the piece of foam from sliding around.

With all different interesting shapes, kids can make boats, bridges, robots, airplanes, houses, towers, etc....Some kids just enjoy the hammering of many tees into the foam.  Others get excited about the idea of creating stuff.

           And here is my boat.

Have fun!