I am honoured today to present my very first guest blogger. I have so much love and respect for this very talented woman. She’s filled my heart with love, education, and understanding, not to mention nominating me for the Very Inspiring Blogging award! I had nominated her two weeks ago for her kindness, talent and inspiration. With an educational background with a Masters in education concentrating on teaching and learning, and Bachelor of Sciences in child studies majoring in early childhood education. I first came across Danielle’s Facebook group
and my mind was blown with all her wonderful creative ideas for sensory based play. Which led me to her
I then saw where her passion for all things children and education lied with her sweet, creative, son who has autism. Danielle works with the approach to child led learning through the gift of her son. And she has helped me immeasurably with my own son’s journey with SPD. She is a blessing and gift to me and the world! The true epitome of an amazing teacher, I’m excited to introduce her to you dear readers, happy reading and learning.
Children love to explore and when they are given freedom, they sure love to learn. Children learn about the world through their senses. Hands on learning, – experimenting with different textures using their hands. They touch, feel and scope out different sized and shaped items sensing if they are soft, rigid, slimy, fuzzy – among many other feels. Children can tell a lot about something by using tactile learning. As well, this type of learning can soothe distressed children especially those on the autism spectrum. There are many types of sensory learning items that I make that can be used for exploration and relaxation when needed. There are sensory bottles, sensory bags, and sensory bins. There are many, many ways that I make them; I use kinetic sand, colored water, shaving cream, corn starch – just to name some things. The items that I use to create these sensory learning products are easy to find and cost little money. Below are some examples of the creations that I have made. They all can be custom made, according to the needs of the child.
Below I have made a sensory bin with kinetic sand and added plastic dinosaurs. This is great for early hands on math where the children can search and sort by color and make patterns with them as well.
I have packaged up some hand made play dough that is great for children to use and roll between their little hands, squeeze, make shapes out of and so much more. The soft texture can be calming and different scents, such as lavender can be added for tension and stress relief.
Here I have made some colorful sensory bags that are great visual for the eyes and can get the children to focus. These sensory bags are great too because they are cool to the touch and may be scented as well for an ultimate sensation of calmness and learning. Inside the bag can hold tiny items that are suitable for your child. I use beads, dry macaroni, small figures, etc. They are portable and can be taken on long car trips and to stores or anywhere that a child may need to help them focus, keep them busy and help them in cases of being over stimulated by bright lights and loud noises. These work nicely for all children especially those on the autism spectrum and / or have SPD – sensory processing disorder.
In the next picture, I have made a small sensory bin with kinetic sand. In it I have added plastic insects, The pic in the middle is a sensory bin with different shapes of dry macaroni and in it I have added some small creatures and toys that my son really likes. This can be used for search and find, mix and match and other math and science activities.
Here we have some cloud dough and in the next picture is some play dough. The cloud dough is made of shaving cream and flour. It is great for the sense of smell and it feels really silky and smooth. The combination of the two, makes for a nice soothing experience that is a great stress reliever when a child may be worked up over homework or other situations. It is great for an in between break as is the play dough.
Kinetic Sand sensory bins are versatile, here I made a fun one with cowboys and Native Americans from a set my son had. The children can play search an find, math, or just dig them up and pour the sand on them again. Any way, it is soothing for little hands. The next pic is a sensory table that I had set up. On it there is some play dough, cloud dough and some slime or flubber. All home made. The slime is one of the biggest hits. It is cool to the touch and can take many forms in which the kids love seeing. I made orange this time. It is easy to add any color that is desired using food coloring. Having a small table set up gives the children choices and enables them to make their own decisions as to what they want to learn with at a certain time. I use all types of learning tools with it such as cookie cutters and google eyes for open ended learning.
Here I made dirt and worms. A yummy tasteful treat. Let the kids help. Hands on fun that they get to eat afterwards. Make some pudding, they can mix and add ingredients for early math and science. They can help crumble up some cookies and add worms. A great learning experience that they will be proud of. The next pic is a robot. I have a few arts and crafts bins with a variety of learning tools. They are great for exploration and provide for a great stretching of the imagination too. When a child has choices, he or she will feel more open and therefore able to express his or herself fully through hands on creativity. The tools used here are a shoebox, clothes pins, pony beads, craft sticks and more. Set up an invitation to play and watch what children are able to create.
A light table works wonders. Here he is drawing put many items such as paper, small plastic toys, bead (you name it) can be placed on this portable light table and used for endless fun and learning. The next pic, I made some green flubber and we put small plastic colored rings in which were used to make matching pairs and patterns as well as sorting. Great sensory play for early math learning.
Here I made a sensory bottle. Great for on the go! Easy and fun. Fill it up for endless possibilities. Can be used for seek and find. Here I put some random stuff such as google eyes and squinkies. Add water, food coloring..even glitter. Many ways to create. Seal the top with glue and ready to go. Next, I made a geo board for hands on early math learning. I used a cork board, push pins and rubber bands. This can even be used to make different types of sounds and rhythms.
Here I made a dry macaroni sensory bins with different shaped pasta. I added some plastic animals. The pasta can also be dyed. Next is a simple sensory bin with marbles. Great for textile and sounds.
Sensory learning is an awesome way for children to experience the world around them. There are endless opportunities and possibilities when it comes to sensory creations. They are suitable for all children especially those sensory seekers, ASD children and SPD children. Sensory “toys” are great fun to make and sparks creativity. It promotes healthy learning and works on fine muscles that benefit children when they are learning how to write, hold scissors, open stuff such as juice boxes, zippers, buttons etc.
Learning should be fun. The goal is to get children to love learning and we may achieve this goal by providing them with different opportunities that make them feel well. When children feel well, they will learn well. Sensory is key!! It opens up many doors. ?
Peace, love, and education.
Danielle Loor- M. Ed, BSCS
Founder and creative director of Loorducation.
Making learning fun.