Like most everyone here in the United States, we are now faced with extended spring breaks and potential for school closures longer than anticipated. And like most other parents, we MIGHT be trying to figure out how the heck we are going to manage! We are lucky in that we can work from home, and I know others are scrambling as they might not be as fortunate to do so. In the vain of finding a calm and new normal for the next few weeks, I have put together a few activities, products and just self-care thoughts in this post to share. I would LOVE to hear what you are doing for your sensory, ADHD, or ASD child during this time of unrest. Email me or comment on this post!
I have never homeschooled my children before, so this is NEW territory for us. My sensory child’s school is well equipped for distant learning through Google Classroom so we are provided a little bit of structure and assignments for the upcoming weeks (we are distance learning for 2 weeks, then out of school for our normal 2 weeks of spring break in April). BUT. And this is a big one, learning at home is VERY different for my child than being at school. So here is what we are doing to navigate these new waters:
- Setting up a clean, clutter-free space. I am not the most organized person ever, so this is a bit daunting. BUT I am going for progress not perfection here! I have chosen our guest room as the room that will house ALL THE CLUTTER for the next few weeks. This way, I can quickly clear our our dining room space and office to provide two spaces the children don’t typically use. I don’t recommend learning in an area where they normally eat or lounge/watch TV. Try a new space in your home, or even outside!
- Set a Schedule. We have no expectations of home schooling for more than 2-3 hours of the day. With individualized learning, we feel this is the perfect amount of time to work through assigned classroom work, review and play a few online learning games (check that resource for online resources FREE for the next few months!). Check out our sample schedule below!
- Books, Books and more Books!! We are a family that LOVES to read, so this is something we already do together and separately on a regular basis. This is a great time for your older child to start a new series, discover a new author or just catch up if they have a stock pile! Here are a list of books that my kids are into right now (also, check out @thebookdarlingblog on Instagram..she has GREAT recommendations!)
- Keepers of the Lost City: My 10 year old is OBSESSED! And with 8 books in the series, you can’t go wrong! It’s like Harry Potter and Percy Jackson combined for one super series!
- Bear Grylls Adventures Series: My sensory boy LOVES these books. Easy to read, great stories..a little fiction and tips to satisfy my non-fiction lover! Recommend age 6-9
- A little Spot of Kindness (and all in the series!): Love these beautifully illustrated books about learning kindness, confidence, and patience. Sometimes sensory kids learn best from a book or resource instead of parent instruction…these are a great tool!
- Bob Books, Set 1: Do you have a little one ready and willing to learn to read? I do! My 4 year old keeps asking and really wants to be like her older siblings. I have used this series over and over with such great success. I highly recommend!
- Good Morning Yoga/Good Night Yoga: You all know I love/need yoga and I hope to pass along this calming, self-care, self-control practice to my children. These two books, although learn more towards younger children…have been great for all kids! (age 4 to 10!). In this time of a little uncertainty and fear, let’s provide a calm, safe place for our children.
A child in our neighborhood recently built and established a small book library in one of our common areas and it is AWESOME! WE trade out and discover new reads all the time!
A great way to trade books (just for now, wipe them clean!!)
Kit to book library linked here!
At Home Tools for Sensory Children
Ideas for Play
FORTS! I don’t know about your sensory child, but mine LOVES to build forts! I think it provides comfort, problem solving, and just plain ol’ fun. Now, ours may not look like the one from “The Holiday” (see below!) but we can try right? Add some twinkly lights and everyone in the family gather in and read a great book!
Tape Path! Check out this great sensory and vestibular exercise Hands On We Grow posted about! And best part, how easy is this to create??
Tongue-Depressor Bookmarks! Grab some depressors from Amazon, a few markers, and voila!…a fun quick craft!
Cardboard. Seriously, you laugh…here is a pic of my kids and their recent cardboard creations! A great, creative outlet. with endless possibilities! So save those boxes and let them play!
Lastly, here are a few items we use at home to help create calm if a child is feeling overwhelmed or needing additional sensory input. And right now, couldn’t we all use a little calm??
Therapy Swing/Cuddle Hammock: We recently installed a yoga swing in my sensory Childs room but I am really loving this hammock as an alternative. They can curl, stretch and feel so secure. Message me if you have one and how you like it!!
Liquid Motion Bubbler: I shared these around Christmas last year and ours are still in use! Recently, my child brought this to school to help aid in relaxation and self regulation. Occasionally, tempers flare and frustrations arise..flip this little guy over and it provides a quiet 5 minute self time out without distracting classmates!
Weighted Blanket: I know, we talk about this all the time..but it is a method that is proven to help sensory child feel secure and safe. Recommended no more than 10% of body weight.
Stress Balls: Our play therapist recently recommended these for my child (and really ALL my kiddos!!). I’m sure you have used one before! They are great to provide an outlet for frustration especially for young ones having problems with self-regulating frustration and anger.
I hope you have found this helpful as a resource in navigation these new, uncharted waters in our country. We’d love to hear how you and your family are doing during this time! Email me or hop over to our Facebook page and join the discussion! I’d love to chat!