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sensory-socksMy review of Smartknit Kid’s Seamless Socks was just published here: Thumbs (Or Should We Say Toes) Up For SmartKnitKids. We just love them! In fact, we love them so much we’re wondering what to do with some of our less appealing socks – you know, the ones that cause morning meltdowns. Thus, this Wearing SPD Lenses challenge is: How can we turn unwanted socks into sensory lesson tools?

Original Purpose: keeping feet warm and protected

With SPD Lenses: 10 Sensory-Friendly Ideas

Tactile Hot Sock Review Game “Ball”
Fill a clean, thick sock loosely with uncooked rice. Tie the open end with string, yarn or ribbon. Put it in the microwave for about one minute (or in the freezer for 45 minutes if you prefer to have a cold sock). Shake the rice evenly to distribute it once you take it out, and then, use it as a ball to toss about while singing the ABC’s, reviewing times tables, naming capitals or reviewing any such fact. (Be sure to test the temperature before using it and not to toss the “ball” too aggressively or you may end up with a rice shower!)

Proprioceptive Study Break
While your child is hard at work, hide as many socks as you can around the house or in your yard. Then, on “go” have your child race, stretch, crawl, etc. to find as many of them as possible in a given time frame. If you have more than one child, you may want to assign each a specific color or hue (light or dark) to find.

Olfactory Guessing Game
Using some loosely knit or thin socks, make scent sachets. Simply fill each sock with different scented potpourri or cotton balls with essential oil dropped onto them. Tie shut. Then, sniff and guess. These can also be used for a review game as with the Tactile Hot Socks.

Proprioceptive Practical Life Skill Tool
Swiffer cloths can be so expensive. Instead, turn on the tunes, don a sock on your hand and go to town with cleaning and dusting. Be sure to bend down to get the baseboards and stretch up to clean the high places to get the most movement and muscle work.

Tactile Nature/Science Tool
Choose some different colored socks. Draw or sew button eyes on them and maybe a funny mouth and nose, too. Stuff them with potting soil. Tap some grass seed on top. Then, watch them grow into fuzzy-grass-haired people. The drawing or sewing will provide some great fine motor practice. The soil, seeds and grass offer tactile stimulation.

Heavy Work Fun
This one is only for the brave and well supervised! On a soft surface, two people get down to wrestle. Each has on one sock from a pair of sock. Whoever gets the other person’s sock off wins.

Gross Motor Estimation
When studying estimation, try to guess how many socks it would take to go around the perimeter of a room, or from one spot to another. Then, get down on your hands and knees with a pile and test your theory.

Tactile Guessing Game
Find a collection of small objects. Put one in the toe of a sock and ask your child to feel it for up to ten seconds and then guess what it is. This can be played just for fun, or with early learners as part of a sound-object game, where they try match objects to letters that start with the same sound.

Proprioceptive-Vestibular Sock Shotput
This one requires supervision and a wide, open space – but can be lots of fun! Put a tennis ball in the bottom of a sock. Spin around a few times, and then throw the sock. See how far away you can make it land.

Classic Language Development Tool
And of course, the classic – make a sock puppet. Puppets are a wonderful language development tool, providing an opportunity to explore dramatic play, emotions, storylines, etc.

What fun ways have you found to use socks in school and during sensory break times?

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Martianne is a homeschooling mom with over 20 years of experience in education, youth work and dramatic arts both in the United States and abroad. With certifications as a Middle School Generalist and English 8-12 teacher, plus a drawer full of certificates from a wide variety of professional development workshops and graduate courses, she brings a comprehensive “traditional” background to her present-day creative pursuits. Visit Martianne at Training Happy Hearts.