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Recycle - Sensory FunCelebrate Earth Day while donning your sensory savvy lenses.  Take a look inside your recycling bin with new vision – a sensational vision and gear up for some good old sensory fun.

Snag all those plastic lids from mayonnaise and peanut butter jars and you will discover an economical prop that will help you and your family get mouths and bodies moving.

With these fun activities and sensory solutions below, you will surely garner some quality family time while enjoying sensory based fun!

Shower Paint Palette – Tactile Sensory Fun

If your little one needs extra encouragement to get into the bath tub, this budget friendly re-purposed motivator will surely entice.  This is where the lids come in handy.

Spray some shaving cream or squeeze some shower gel into a recycled and cleaned lid. Add a few drops of natural food coloring and stir. Instant, economic shower paint!

For the next ten to fifteen minutes your child will happily use his fingers to paint the tub, shower walls and, sometimes his body.  If your child is having a tactile-defensive day, provide additional tools, such as cotton swabs or bits of sponge, for him to paint with.

After some tactile sensory fun, it’s clean up time.  Turn on the water and wash the paint down the drain in one way or another.  Shower the shaving cream paint all down the drain.  Fill the bath tub and use the lids to splash off whatever paint remains on the walls.

Oral Sensory Fun

Pretty much everyone is already aware that we all need to eat healthier foods.  Unfortunately, many children with sensory challenges do not welcome unfamiliar nutrition-packed foods with the same gusto that their parents do. Children with oral sensory isms may need to become familiar with the sensory experience of the foods before agreeing to actually eat them.

To help a child become familiar with foods, break out those lids and use them for two purposes.

Motivator Maverick

  1. For foods your child has never seen before and is extremely reluctant to try, use the lids to gather motivators.
  2. Set out a number of lids and a few motivators, such as Legos, small animal figurines or some other multiple part favorite.
  3. Then, for every time your child is willing to smell, touch, lick, kiss, bite or swallow a target food, the motivator goes into a lid.
  4. When all lids are full, your child can choose to take the motivator items in the lid to go play with or to do a second round to earn more playing parts.

Optionizer

  1. For foods your child is already learning to tolerate better, use the lids as option trays.
  2. Put three lids in a triangle shape on the table
  3. Place small bites of the food, prepared in different ways, in each lid.  See the example using peas below:
    1. One lid might contain a few frozen peas
    2. One might contain a few cooked peas
    3. One might contain a few cooked peas with a blob of mayonnaise next to them
      1. Our child sometimes prefers frozen bites over cooked ones and seems to be more willing to taste any food with mayonnaise on it.
  4. Have your child test a bite from each lid to see which his mouth thinks is best
  5. Have him score each option with a one to five rating scale
  6. Include the food in a future meal – in the form that earned the highest score

Hallway Hockey – All Around Sensory Fun

A wonderful way to release energy in the evening is to head to your hallway with a couple broomsticks and the lid of a peanut butter jar. The broomsticks become hockey sticks, the lid a puck, and the following minutes become a fantastically fun family time.

You can get in some pre-bedtime heavy work with overtones of visual tracking (by keeping an eye on the puck), coordination (by connecting stick to puck) and proprioception (by maneuvering all about the hallway.)

Movement Activities for More Sensory Fun

Fun activities with lids can offer a variety of movement play:

  • Stack a bunch of lids into the tallest tower possible
  • Lay multiple lids out in a line or curve and using them as a balance beam
  • See who can roll a lid down the hallway and back the fastest
  • Spread a number of lids out in a zig zag course down the hall and try to jump over each
  • Use lids as a prop for scooter board games, such as placing the lids at one end of the hallway and a tray at the other end.  Challenge your child to collect the lids one-by-one, scooter them down to the tray and construct an interesting structure.

With a bit of creativity and imagination, simple recycled lids can be the center of numerous sensory-based hallway games.

How do you envision using lids to help you celebrate Earth Day while staying attuned to your child’s sensory diet? Tell us on Facebook.

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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.