This week is a CRAZY busy one for us. We've got multiple activities/committments/meetings every day Monday-Thursday and then Friday we are heading across the border down to Grand Forks for a little R&R with the boys for the weekend. Today I'm sharing the contents of my Home and Portable Sensory Kits, in the hopes they may be useful to some of you and your wonderful sensitive children! I've included links to products where possible.
Sensory Kit - Portable
My portable kit is a simple drawstring bag cool enough for any 6 year old boy to enjoy carting around. Pick one with a character or design that reflects your child's interests. Inside Simon's are:
- Ziplock bag with strong flavoured gum, hard candies or gummies (natural colours/flavours), very hard crunchy crackers, and very chewy caramels
- A squishy wiggly jiggly fidget toy
- Plus a ton of Lego - but I don't know how THAT got in there ;)
We have really found that making a habit of taking this portable sensory kit wherever Simon goes, really helps keep him calm and well-nourished in a sensory diet. Just like eating healthy means you need to plan ahead to bring smart snacks with you, a sensory diet means a little preparedness goes a long way in reaching your goals.
Sensory Kit – Home
We have a medium sized transparent bin that we keep out in the open (to avoid the out-of-sight-out-of-mind phenomenon) for regular sensory breaks. Inside you'll find:
- Magnesium cream for massages. Magnesium Sulfate (AKA epsom salts) are thought to improve sensory integration.
- Handheld vibrating massager (this is the one we have)
- Rolling pin for firm, deep rolling pressure on the back and legs (always follow your child's lead in terms of what feels good and what doesn't).
- Bubble wrap - lay a few sheets of this on the floor and let them jump and roll and bounce on it for that satisfying popcorn effect.
- Dried bean discovery bin or bag - a bin or strong ziplock large bag filled with dried beans (super cheap at a bulk store) and tiny treasures hidden inside. This activity encourages tactile defensive kids to desensitize their hands using the textures of the beans.
- Weighted lap lizard (also excellent for school, and can be worn around the back of the neck as well.
- Baby brush, if you want to do brushing with your child. Brushing has been very effective for Simon
- Strong flavoured gum - helps both oral seekers AND oral defensive children - for seekers it provides chewing activity, for defenders it helps wake up and desensitize the mouth.
- theraputty for squeezing, squishing, twisting, pulling
- scooter board - these are AWESOME! Choosing ones with handles means you can tie a rope to them and pull your child around too.
- mp3 with kid-comfy headphones (here's one in Europe) - helps block out noises that can often be overwhelming for sensory sensitive kids - nature sounds and soft music are best for calming activities, while rock and roll can help give your child energy when they are feeling worn down by coping with their sensory issues.
- Chocolate pudding cups (for spontaneous finger painting)
- Brain Dance Video - excellent for waking up their bodies and focussing their minds before or after school.
- Bendaroos (waxy feeling helps Simon get used to a sticky-like sensation, without actually making his hands sticky); encourages exploration, creativity, and fine motor skills.
- Scented markers - this was a great buy for us - Simon is extremely sensitive to smells and recoils from most of them. The markers let him control what and how much he smells, allowing him to experiment with sniffing scents he would otherwise never go near.
- Ikea egg chair - granted, this doesn't fit in our bin - but it's a BIG part of Simon's sensory diet as he spins in it freely whenever his body and mind let him know he needs it. It's had a noticably calming effect on him since we purchased it about a month ago.
We add and subtract items as indicated by Simon's needs. We've really seen a difference since dedicating ourselves to regular sensory diet activities. If anyone out there also uses sensory tools or kits, please share your tips and suggestions with a comment :) Happy shopping/squishing/spinning/splatting!
One of Simon's favourite sensory breaks: lying under a heaping pile of fresh-out-of-the-warm-dryer linens.