Shapes More Maths Learning #KidsCoop

Shapes and Numbers Maths MonstersThis week we learnt about Shapes as part of our Maths family lesson. But it was also combined with numbers. We were explained what the different things that each year group were expected to know and I have to say there’s a massive jump between Reception and Year 1. Again the activity was able to be adapted to suit different ability levels.

Shapes Maths Monsters or Number Worms

Shapes and Numbers Maths MonstersThis week we made a Maths Monster. Well that’s what I called it anyway (I am sure it wasn’t quite as fierce when the tutor said it – maybe a number worm or something). The children had a number of shapes to pick from. At this point you could make sure they know the names of the different shapes, or talk about the different properties – how many sides, angles, and even go as far as talking about perimeters and circumferences (but not with children as young as primary I expect).

Shapes and Numbers Maths MonstersNext the children were given lots of coloured paper from them to chose from and draw around their shape. Great for pencil control, hand-eye co-ordination. I like how they have so much choice (shape and colour) as this is good for independence and self-esteem. Next some fine-motor development as they cut and stick their shapes. This could either be to each other or on another piece of paper. Arranging the shapes into a monster or worm. Again this is great for placement, creativity etc.

Shapes and Numbers adapting for The Sensory Seeker and his Older Brother

Shapes and Numbers Maths MonstersThe Sensory Seeker needed help with drawing around the shapes more than his older brother. The older brother needed just reminding to hold the shape still with one hand. The Sensory Seeker is crossing his arms across and not quite figured how to just go all the way around.

Shapes and Numbers Maths Monsters

Each of the shapes then had a number written on in a set pattern. Starting at the simple end of children writing numbers up from 1 (in ones) to making it more complex such as writing numbers in multiples (say the 3 times table). For The Sensory Seeker it was about writing the numbers the right way around (and he did do 3 backwards). I am pleased to see his progress that if I say the number he has a good idea of what it looks like. I am pretty sure that he does know the order to 10 too.

weekly kids coop

I apologise for the lack of features from The Weekly Kids Co-op last week but I have been visiting The Toy Fair in London and just super busy. I do hope to have caught up by next week though. There were some great Heart Shape Activities linked up all ready for Valentine’s Day.

Christmas 2000 Stickers Frosty Festive and Fun

Christmas 2000 Stickers Frosty Festive and Fun #Review

Christmas 2000 Stickers Frosty Festive and Fun!

Christmas 2000 Stickers Frosty Festive and FunThis was more than just a sticker book from Parragon it was an absolute blessing. It certainly kept The Sensory Seeker and his older brother entertained on the train journey to the Panto (over an hour each way and I refused to take the DSs).Christmas 2000 Stickers Frosty Festive and FunPacked full of festive stickers some big, some small and some the same as each other (fantastic for not fighting over them) plus loads of different activities to help with thinking and fine motor skills.

Whether it was just randomly adding stickers to the pages, or thinking about which the most appropriate sticker was for the page, or page for the sticker, the boys could not have had more fun.

Christmas 2000 Stickers Frosty Festive and FunEasy to peel stickers off and place on the page (without sticking to themselves) – this book appealed to both the younger and older of the two boys (I am sure my 11 year old would have joined in too if he did not have his nose in his own new book). Luckily I took some pencil crayons as there are plenty of colouring in, drawing, dot-to-dots and trails.

Christmas 2000 Stickers Frosty Festive and FunThere was a lot for observation skills including games of i-spy, matching, spot the difference, counting and problems to solve (eg find a circle. Some of the problems were definitely aimed more at the older child (such as the code breaker) but both boys (ages 5 with a learning difficulty and 7 but very bright) really enjoyed this book.

I do not know where time goes and we are still behind with things we need to do, so are going to use some of the many leftover stickers to make Thank you cards.

Christmas 2000 Stickers Frosty Festive and FunRRP £8.00

ISBN: 978-1-4723-5041-1

Why not buy it now and put it away for next Christmas whilst it is on sale at Debenhams for only £2.40!!!


I am a Parragon Book Buddy and was sent this book free for an honest review.

number activities for kids

10 Number Activities Kids Co-op

maths skillsThis week saw the start of a new Maths course at the school. The Sensory Seeker is coming along but is still well behind his peers in this area. His brother, who is in the year above, is flying and knows all of his 12 times tables.  So when an opportunity came up for the 3 of us to spend 5 weeks at school on Maths I thought it would be a nice idea for them to help each other. We made a Snakes and Ladders game.

There are some fantastic Number Activities link up to the Weekly Kids Co-op and as it is an area that I am going to be focusing on for over the next month I thought I would share with you some of the posts that have linked up. I think that it is important that children develop not only their mathematical abilities but a love of the subject through the Number activities.

Number Activities from The Weekly Kids Co-op

Counting with Foam Numbers – great for fine motor.

Simple Educational Activities: Money – very good for helping with relating Maths to the every day World.

Math Games: Number Fences - My favourite thing about this is the excuse to eat more lollies!

Counting and Number Recognition: sticky Wall Activity – This is good for hand development too – getting him to flatten his hand up the wall is something the OT told me to do.

number activities for kids

Free Math Fact Houses for Multiplication & Division – There is also ones for addition and subtraction – a good fun way of helping with the basics.

Paint by Numbers in the Shower – I absolutely love this there is no activity more perfect for The Sensory Seeker as it is messy but in an area where he can be cleaned straight away.

Coloring Race – Great idea as it helps with fine motor skills and social skills as well as number.

Hook a Duck – this one helps with hand-eye co-ordination too.

Playdough Numbers – As it is so easy to get different textures and smells into Playdough.

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maths skills

Maths Skills Snakes and Ladders

Maths Skills Learning Through Play

maths skillsThis week I started a Maths course with my youngest 2 boys. Every Monday afternoon for 5 weeks I go to their school for a couple of hours. The first hour the tutor talks to the adults and the second hour the children come in. This first week was a lot of form filling, rules and red tape as well as explaining a bit about the course and Maths in schools. The reason I wanted to do this with both my children is that there may only be one school year between them but there’s a massive academic gap due to The Sensory Seeker’s Global Developmental Delay and the older of the two being exceptionally bright. This often means that it is The Sensory Seeker that has the attention and the older one is left to get on with things. I suggested that we all go so that the older one could help his younger brother. I thought this family time together would be beneficial to us all. This first week what I learnt that the best way to bridge this gap is by learning through play.

Maths Skills A Home Made Snakes and Ladders Game

maths skillsThis week’s Maths Skills activity was to make a Snakes and Ladders game. The boys were given a net of a dice which they had to cut out and fold together, a sheet with numbers on, a sheet with snakes & another with ladders – to cut out and glue on in the required places. The Sensory Seeker had the ladders and the older of the two boys had the snakes. I was actually really impressed with how The Sensory Seeker coped with the task and just got on with it. It was actually the older one who wanted the help with his snakes.

maths skillsThis was good for Maths Skills; fine motor skills, number, the concept of addition and subtraction (up the ladders and down the snakes), and they made a dice (learning that the 2 sides add up to 7). My older of the two boys did ask what it had to do with Maths and it was nice to see that by playing together they could both enjoy the subject. Of course playing games then has many skills such as counting, turn-taking, etc.


Valentine's ideas for kids hama hearts

Valentine’s Ideas for Kids – The Weekly Kids Co-op

Valentine's ideas for kids hama heartsThe Sensory Seeker has found going back to school difficult. He’s ok when he’s at school and just really lets it out when he’s at home. I need to keep fulfilling his Sensory needs and keeping him focused. As the next big holiday coming up is Valentine’s I decided that we would turn our attention to hearts. We decided to start simply with Hama beads from Craft Merrily.

Valentine's ideas for kids Hama heartsIt was really simple in that he just picked out the colours that he wanted and put them onto his heart shaped board. When it was completed the shape was ironed so it stuck together. It was great for his concentration, hand-eye co-ordination and fine-motor skills for a start.

I am keen to do more with him and so took a look at previously linked up Valentine’s ideas that we could do together or take inspiration from:

Valentine’s Ideas from The Kids Co-op

The Weekly Kids Co-OpValentine’s Ideas for Fine Motor Skills

There are lots of activities that involve holding a pencil (etc), cutting and hand manipulation all something that The Sensory Seeker needs to do a lot to help him develop. Here are some of my favourite Valentine’s ideas to aid this:

Valentine’s Scissor Cutting Skills Activity Tray
Valentine's ideas from the Kids Co-opChalk Heart Stencil Collage
Valentine’s Door Banner
Valentine’s Paint Chip Bookmarks
Fine Motor Heart Stamping
Coffee Filter Bunting (hearts)
Simple Valentine’s Heart Craft
Message in a bottle
Super Simple Valentine Craft
Valentine’s Day Love Tree
10 Valentine’s Day Activities for Kids for Fine Motor Skills

Valentine’s Ideas for Sensory Activities

Sensory doesn’t always mean getting your hands dirty but I do like the range of Valentine’s ideas that help to explore textures, smells and colours. Obviously The Sensory Seeker likes the stimulation but they are also good for encouraging the Sensory Avoider.

Valentine's ideasTissue Paper Heart Wreath
Valentine’s Day Stamp Painting
Valentine’s Mobile with Tissue Paper Dyed Hearts
Home Made Valentine’s Cards with Celery Rose Stamp
Heart Potato Stamping
Valentine's ideas Sensory SeekerDIY Glitter Puff Paint Valentine’s Hearts
Squishy Heart Valentine Sensory Activity
Waterbeads Valentine’s Sensory Play
Hearts with Black Glue
Valentine’s Cards Using Shaving Cream
Heart Sensory Collage
Heart Sun Catchers
Valentine’s Day Goop Painting
Valentine’s Tin Foil Painting
Valentine’s Glittered Hearts
Valentine Playdough Mats
Valentine’s Role Play: Making Felt Mail with free printable pattern
Making Beeswax Valentine’s Candles
Valentine’s Nature Suncatchers
Valentine’s Day Prints
Squishy Heart Valentine’s Card
Kids Pizza Making for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Ideas to Develop Thinking Skills

I liked the activities that could help develop the brain and help The Sensory Seeker with his thinking skills:
Valentine's ideas from the Kids co-opValentine Craft Printable – Bee Mine  – I think this is a great activity for sequencing. I feel it is simple enough for The Sensory Seeker to put together by himself, but difficult enough for him to think about the order in which to do it.
Simple Valentine’s Day Science for Kids
Valentine Sensory Sink
Valentine’s Science: Frozen Vinegar Hearts
Valentine Sudoku Printable
Mirror Kids Play for Valentine’s Day
25 Valentine’s Day Books for kids

Valentine’s Ideas for Gifts

With another half-term coming up you may want to make thank you gifts for someone who has helped. Or just generally making gifts helps to teach about kindness and gives the opportunity to talk about feelings:

Valentine's ideas kids co-opValentine’s Keepsake (Bookmark)
Flower Gift Craft
Valentine’s Day Gifts: Pipe Cleaner Pencil Toppers
Hearts and Flowers Home Made Gift

Brushing Teeth Sensory Processing Disorder

Brushing Teeth & Sensory Processing Disorder

Brushing Teeth Sensory Processing DisorderThose with Sensory Processing Disorder have a difficult with filtering out the senses in the brain to make sense of the World around them. One of the areas this can cause difficulties is with hygiene. I thought that I would share my thoughts on how to best help deal with Sensory Processing Disorder and brushing teeth. The Sensory Seeker used to hate having his teeth brushed, would scream, fight and refuse – even to the point of nearly being sick. Fast forward on a bit and now he is asking to have his teeth cleaned. Here I consider what happened to change that.

Sensory Processing Disorder Brushing Teeth: What is the Problem?

You need to consider what the problem actually is. In this case The Sensory Seeker has little oral awareness. This can also be seen at mealtimes when he stuffs as much food as possible into his mouth all at once. Or oldest son also had this and would drool lots until all his mouth was sore and his clothes were soaked. Before even thinking about going as far as brushing teeth things that can help are by providing different sensory inputs for the mouth – this can be with different textured foods or chewy toys or even try ice. If there is an aversion to things going into the mouth then try to discover exactly where the problem is – is it the lips, inside the mouth, the tip of the tongue, the middle of the tongue, the gums, or all of the above, that is causing the problem?

Sensory Processing Disorder Brushing Teeth: Get them to agree

I am sure it seems like such an obvious thing to say but having The Sensory Seeker on-board to the idea of brushing his teeth is the first step. Now it is much easier as he has a bit of an understanding that he needs to look after them. I am not quite sure how this happened, or to what extent, but since losing his first tooth it has been much easier to get him into the bathroom. Before this, or if he is in a defiant mood then we use bribery rewards. This may be that he can play with Lego when we are finished, it may be to watch his favourite tv show, even to leave some of his breakfast – we give him some control back to get what he wants if he does what we want. You may want to get them to agree in stages – entering the bathroom one day, massaging their gums another, rubbing toothpaste on their gums after that, until you slowly progress to a toothbrush.

Sensory Processing Disorder Brushing Teeth The Bathroom

You have to remember that the problem may be the bathroom itself. If you were to enter my bathroom you may feel that it is too cold for you. If this were your house you’d probably put something on warmer or turn on the heating. Those with Sensory Processing Disorder may not understand what the problem is though, or know how to fix it. What if you haven’t got the tools to fix it either? I think it is important to stand where you will be brushing teeth and put yourself in their position. Think – is the bathroom cluttered? How does the colour make you feel? What is the temperature like? How does it smell? What are textures like? What is the flooring made of? Are there any sounds? An extractor fan or an open window? Is there a tap running? Too many sounds from other people? Is there not enough noise? Could you put some music on?  You need to think about each individual with Sensory Processing Disorder as they may be a Seeker or Avoider or a bit of both. Really think about what they require for their Sensory Diet. Maybe you could brush their teeth in another room (a smaller one) or even start in their favourite room or sensory den (just take a bowl for them to spit in to). I noticed this morning that The Sensory Seeker uses the training step for moving up and down, and around whilst brushing his teeth, but that also he makes tapping sounds with his foot on it.

Sensory Processing Disorder Brushing Teeth The Toothbrush and Paste

Brushing Teeth & Sensory Processing DisorderIt took us a long time of trying many different toothbrushes and pastes before we found ones he was happy with. There are many different sizes, textures, colours, smells of paste and brushes you can ones that spin, musical, electric and main colours and shapes. We even tried electric ones. In the end I think it was the control The Sensory Seeker had over the situation and now he has a choice of brushes and paste in the morning. Again think about the individuals need. Let them familiarise themselves with the toothbrush and paste – even if that means letting them play with the paste – without even getting any in their mouth. We did as above and had a slow build up. One of the best products we found for The Sensory Seeker was a brush that slid over the finger. We always wet the brush before adding paste – do you do this? If so have you considered the temperature of the water? Have you tried it without? If you do not put water on then – have you considered the temperature and feel of the brush – could water help?

Sensory Processing Disorder Brushing Teeth

Brushing Teeth & Sensory Processing DisorderControl is an important aspect of successfully brushing teeth for the individual with Sensory Processing Disorder. I think that our success with getting The Sensory Seeker brushing teeth was when he could see himself in the mirror. He knew what was going to happen and could see exactly where the brush was being moved to. It also gives him the control of how much pressure the brush puts on him. Now he likes to brush his teeth at the same time as me, using me as a model and mirroring where I move the brush. Prior to that I also held him firmly under the chin – and think this helped with the tactile sense. I have to admit myself that sometimes brushing my teeth makes my nose itch. Again communication has played a big part in this development. Letting The Sensory Seeker know how long it would happen – starting small and then building up. You could do this by letting them count or sing. Sand timers are great though, as they are visual display of the time that would be required to be brushing teeth. Another good visual is disclosing tablets that colour the teeth and gums so that they can see where they need to brush to get rid of the plaque.

Sensory Processing Disorder Still Difficulties with Brushing Teeth

There are some with Sensory Processing Disorder that none of the above works. The only way to get their teeth done is to restrain them and get the job done. I think that if this is the case you just have to remember how much more difficult it would be if they had to have work done at the dentist – an unfamiliar place with new noises, smells, textures.

If you have a problem with Brushing Teeth I would love to know in the comments below all about it. Or alternatively can you help give any further advice on this issue?


Dick Whittington relaxed performance Bristol Hippodrome

Relaxed Performance Panto Dick Whittington – Bristol Hippodrome

Dick Whittington relaxed performance Bristol HippodromeThe Bristol Hippodrome put on their first relaxed performance of a Panto yesterday. The Hippodrome is without a doubt one of the most magical places to experience a Panto and it was so nice that Bristol had gone to the trouble of making those with special needs be included. Dick Whittington relaxed performance Bristol HippodromeThe production was Dick Whittington starring Ashleigh and Pudsey (from Britain’s Got Talent fame), Ben Faulks (aka Mr Bloom), Andy Ford (with a string of credits to his name and his 22nd Panto performance at The Bristol Hippodrome), Brenda Edwards (the last woman standing in the X-Factor finals 2005), Eric Potts (best known for being Diggory Compton in Coronation Street amongst many other amazing accomplishments), Lara Denning, Ben Goodridge and Hayley Jane Goold. The Sensory Seeker was invited along in order to review how the Relaxed Performance was handled.

The Relaxed Performance of Dick Whittington at The Bristol Hippodrome

Dick Whittington relaxed performance Bristol HippodromeFirst of all I cannot express enough how much of a great step in acceptance and inclusion it feels that the Bristol Hippodrome put on a relaxed performance. The Bristol Hippodrome has without a doubt some of the most amazing lights, sounds, costumes, scenery and performers: With the theatre itself is a beauty all on its own. Without any additional support, it was great just knowing that The Sensory Seeker could watch the performance in his own way (getting up, spinning, making noises, clapping his hands) without the judgement (well without the guilt of it disturbing others at least). The Bristol Hippodrome opened at 12:30 – leaving 90 minutes for familiarisation of the building. In this time we could go in the Chill-out room (especially put on for the relaxed performance), visit the toilets and purchase anything we needed from the shop.

Dick Whittington relaxed performance Bristol HippodromeThe chill-out room had several different toys to help The Sensory Seeker. Things he could stretch, squeeze, different colours, shapes, textures – it even encouraged him to interact with other children in the room. The lighting in the room was low and soft and coloured lights were used. There were comfy sofas and bean bags with cushions for the children to sit on. Also in the room was a screen so that if they felt that they had to come out of the performance then they would not miss the show. I was also pleased to see that those in wheelchairs also had access to the performance,as they are quite a few stairs.

Dick Whittington relaxed performance Bristol HippodromeI believe that the levels of light were different for this performance, with mainly the stage being lit up and no lights going across where we were seated. That the overall content of the show was not changed but that sound levels were, that there was also the option to listen to an audio description commentary, and a visual story was available prior to the performance (containing detailed information/photos of the theatre and a Dick Whittington sensory synopsis – detailing all that will happen in terms of sound and light throughout the show). I cannot comment on any of this as we did not receive it. The Sensory Seeker has been to a few different productions now however and so was fine without this support.

The Pantomime of Dick Whittington at The Bristol Hippodrome

Dick Whittington relaxed performance Bristol HippodromeDick Whittington was everything I remember a Panto being as a child, and truly magical. It began the moment we stepped foot in the impressive theatre. It looked so grand and the children instantly wished we had balcony seats (I promised them maybe next time). In front of them was the glitteriest screen with Dick Whittington written on it – with so much detail and bling. There was humour on so many levels and it was great to see my 11 year old laughing at some of the more adult bits (such as guessing what Idle Jack would have said that rhymed with silly!) It was great family fun and none of the lines went too far. The costumes were amazing and in true Panto style The Dame (Sarah the Cook) had a fabulous wardrobe, including a fantastic underwear set!! The story itself flowed really well and it was a lovely twist on the classic.

Ashleigh and Pudsey 9I loved the way they had integrated Pudsey into the story and he indeed was a big hit with The Sensory Seeker; who I am sure is like many others with his difficulties that has a fondness for dogs. The talent was out of this World – Brenda Edwards has the voice of an angel and it was amazing to hear, Ashleigh was also a brilliant singer but the biggest shock was listening to how well Mr Bloom (Ben Faulks) could sing – sorry I mean Dick Whittington of course! The children recognising people they had seen on the television was a treat in itself.

Dick Whittington (Ben Faulks)  Tommy The Cat (Hayley Jane Goold)The choreography was amazing and the dancing flawless. One thing that always amazing me is the young people, and in this case they are referred to as the Juveniles. I am not sure if we had the Red Team or the Blue Team but they did a superb job. The only reason I could tell that they were so young is from their heights, because their performances were just as good as the rest of the cast. Their parents must be so incredibly proud that their children held their own with such talent in The Bristol Hippodrome.

Dick Whittington relaxed performance Bristol HippodromeOf course as well as the amazing use of scenery, textures and lights the added magic to this performance was the inclusion of a very clever 3D underwater scene. This was a great addition to the show and something I have never seen in Panto before. A very modern twist and a great way to demonstrate the technology at The Bristol Hippodrome. All 3D glasses were provided and the children were thrilled that they could take them home.

Conclusion of The Relaxed Performance of Dick Whittington at The Bristol Hippodrome

In terms of inclusion I will repeat again how it is very much appreciated that The Bristol Hippodrome have gone to lengths to include individuals such as The Sensory Seeker (that is those with Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, Sensory, learning and communication disorders and other difficulties). Apart from the things stated above it was good to see individuals with these needs invited on stage to take part with the Pantomime (I could be wrong about this as this is an assumption based on my observations). There was a good selection of glowing items to purchase, the theatre was easy to find our way around and the queue to the toilet moved very quickly.

Idle Jack (Andy Ford) and Sarah the Cook (Eric Potts)However, it was really busy. There was no real room to move. and getting up to move out of our seats meant lots of other people having to move too. This was awkward enough in the interval never mind if an individual couldn’t cope during the performance. There was no introduction of the Cast before the performance – but I guess they did not have their faces covered like in The Gruffalo. It was really busy on trying to exit The Bristol Hippodrome, I think this was further heightened by the fact that Andy Ford was in the foyer selling his DVD and photo opportunities were available. I do think this was a really nice touch and the children were excited to be able to get a picture together, but also not very well thought out for those with differing abilities that may have struggled with this scenario.

In conclusion Dick Whittington was an amazing production and I would like to thank everyone involved, especially those who helped turn it into a relaxed performance to make it more inclusive for all.

I received 4 free tickets to the Relaxed Performance and a programme in return for an honest review. All words and opinions are my own.

reindeer food sensory christmas

Reindeer Food and Other Sensory Christmas Ideas

reindeer food sensory christmas

Reindeer Food and Other Sensory Christmas Ideas

reindeer food sensory christmasTo help The Sensory Seeker cope with Christmas we put a few things in place and one of the things we do is plenty of Sensory fulfilling ideas such as Christmas Crafts. This year we decided to make Reindeer food. This just comprises of oats for the Reindeer to eat and edible glitter so that it shines and they can see where it is/which house to go to.

reindeer food sensory christmasI got the idea from Mum in the Madhouse – also told me that I can purchase the glitter for £1 from Poundland. I really simplified the idea down so that it was easy for The Sensory Seeker to understand and did not demand too much from him. We used some tissue paper to make a bag with which we tied with a bit of ribbon that we had been using to decorate our presents.

reindeer food sensory christmasI put a big bowl of porridge oats in the middle of the table with some spoons. The idea is to put a mix of oats and different colour glitters into the center of the tissue paper. This was good for helping him with his fine motor skills (holding the spoon), hand-eye co-ordination (moving from bowl to paper), and thinking about how much oats were on the paper (he did struggle with this last bit as he kept on going). Of course, like any activity, it also helped him increase his concentration and attention span too.

reindeer food sensory christmasThe same skills were also applicable to the glitter. Doing an activity of this kind really helps to calm and focus The Sensory Seeker who really struggles in these last days of the excitement to Christmas. He does not quite understand time either so is always so hyped up that Christmas will be here soon. It is good to get him to sit still for a little while.
The Sensory Seeker will then put out the Reindeer Food on Christmas Eve before bed. Doing this as a tradition every year will mean that over time he will begin to understand that it is the night before Christmas.

Check out these other Sensory Christmas ideas from other bloggers:

sensory ChristmasOver on ParentShaped there’s some home made dog treats – like play dough that dogs can eat. Perfect for those with Sensory needs with a dog.

sensory ChristmasAnother Play Dough inspired idea is this Ginger Bread Latte Play Dough and Chocolate Play Dough by Crafts on Sea, and over on the Gingerbread House they have Gingerbread playdough (or as an alternative to playdough there’s Gingerbread Cloud dough). They are really good for the tactile and olfactory senses. Although you do have to be careful with Sensory Seekers as the recipe has a lot of salt in it so not good for those who always put things in their mouth.  Whilst In The Playroom has Sparkly Gel Dough. Whilst all the play dough recipes are good for tactile and hand
development, this sparkly dough has an added visual stimulation: Good for those Seeker or needing stimulation.

sensory christmasWe are also working on a range of Christmas Tree crafts and I do love the Pipe Cleaner Christmas Trees on Zing Zing Tree, just perfect for fine motor development and helping with the tactile element as the pipe cleaners and pompoms have different textures.

I am going to find as many Sensory Craft ideas as I can -such as this Writing Practice Sensory Bag on In the Playroom.  If you have a Sensory Activity then I would love to know about it please. Could you kindly comment below, catch me on Social media or e-mail me. Thank you.

I hope you have a very Merry Christmas.

Sensory processing disorder and visiting at Christmas

Visiting family and friends at Christmas with Sensory Processing Disorder

Sensory processing disorder and visiting at ChristmasChristmas is a time when we go visiting a lot of family and friends which can be difficult for individuals with Sensory Processing Disorder. But when it comes to Sensory Processing Disorder techniques to help with Christmas, what works for one individual will not necessarily work for another. You need to look at the individual’s Sensory Make-up – each of the seven senses (vision (sight), tactile (touch), auditory (hearing), gustatory (taste), Vestibular (movement & gravity), olfactory (smell) and proprioception (sense of body position, from information received through the muscles, and joints – force, speed and control) and whether there is a problem filtering with too much, too little or a mix of the two) and determine what their individual needs are based on that.

Problems visiting Family & Friends for individuals with Sensory Processing Disorder at Christmas

The individual with Sensory Processing Disorder may very well not like change: The brain is already struggling to make sense of the World without added pressures of it constantly changing. At Christmas people often go visiting friends and family that they do not see regularly, which can be hard on the individual with Sensory Processing Disorder. Added to that is the environment can be greatly heightened with lights, noise, and extra people – which can be quite an overload for the resister or they may want to touch, hug squeeze more (for example) if they are a Sensory Seeker.

Sensory Processing Strategies for Coping with visiting family and friends this Christmas

Planning. If possible know as much about what is going to happen as you can. This means you can prepare. Knowing how far it is, how long you will be, what will happen, who will be there will greatly improve the likelihood of smooth visiting.

How far: Will they need something to keep them calm on the journey. We have a ds, tablet and in car dvd player.  If there is an unexpected long journey with have apps on our phone. Although this is advice for any child to stop them becoming bored when visiting family and friends, for those with Sensory Processing Disorder it can help them calm down and remain focused.

How long: Knowing how long visiting will last can help better prepare the individual with Sensory Processing Disorder. Make sure you explain things in terms they understand; for example with the use of time. It would be no use telling our Sensory Seeker that we would be visiting until 7pm, but he would understand if we told him that the visit would end by bedtime. It also helps prepare for whether other things need to be packed – do they need to take an activity, favourite toy, ipad/ds, etc – are they likely to have an “accident” and need a change of clothes packing, will they need something to ensure they eat/drink – like a special cup? Are their Sensory Issues likely to become a problem whilst they are there? Do you need to take things to help deal with those issues whilst still there (will you need a weighted blanket/lappad with you, head phones, eye mask/sunglasses, squeezy, chewy or favourite toy.

What will happen whilst visiting and who will be there: if you can talk to them before you go then they can be prepared. If it is a party situation then it may be noisy – music and party poppers, or additional lights (see this guide on parties as it will be pretty similar). Is it possible to arrange a safe place to go, do they know where the toilet is – or who they should ask about it? Will there be people they do not know? Do they know what to do if someone wants to hug or kiss them? If they do not like it may be they could offer a hi-five or to offer to shake hands instead. Have they got something to help them cope if they want to kiss/hug people more than is socially acceptable (I tend to get him to come and give me a bear squeeze instead).

If you can think of any other problems and/or solutions for visiting family and friends at Christmas for the individual with Sensory Processing Disorder then please do reply below.

Mark Warner Mum Ambassador Entry

Mark Warner Mum Ambassador Entry

mark warner mum sensoryIntroduction to Sensory Processing Disorder

You know when you can hear a tap dripping and it stops you from concentrating on what you want to focus on?Well imagine that happened for every sense that you have. The brain takes in masses of information from all the senses and filters out the ones it does not need. Sometimes this filter does not work properly (and this can be true for everyone) – but when this happens a lot it may be a sign of Sensory Processing Disorder. Sometimes the filter lets too many signals in, and other times not enough. Because of trying to sort out all the information, it means that it is a lot more difficult to concentrate on what is really wanted to be focused on. This can result in limited attention span, dietary issues, toileting problems, speech and language delays, developmental delays, and social delays – and so on. Our Sensory Seeker struggles to hold a pencil, still has accidents in the daytime (this has got a considerably a lot less) and wears drynites to bed. He can find it hard not to touch people and objects – even if they are dirty (objects not people) or the wrong temperature! He can get over or under stimulated by his sensory environment. He likes to spin, tip upside down and boy can he JUMP! He can be a bit of a risk taker and needs careful supervision. But, with the right support, he is progressing SO well and actually a better way to describe him is as a 5 year old boy who wakes up every day happy, just trying to get on with his life.

Mark Warner Mum sensoryProblems for Those with Sensory Processing Disorder with Holidays

The Sensory Seeker is unable to think flexibly – this means it is hard for him to imagine what happens in the future,  making change difficult. He needs as much information as possible prior to it happening. Even small changes (such as getting a twin instead of bunk bed) can feel like something major. Sometimes other sensory input can help deal with such changes (or a DS to distract him). His understanding is more limited than his peers and he has difficulties with  expressing his needs and fears. He struggles socially – such as empathizing with others (and that they do NOT want him to put his hands around their neck!). Coping with situations such as waiting, dealing with crowds can be a problem due to lack of attention, physical needs (toileting), touching others, being over or under-simulated. They may have dietary issues – not like things touching or only eat a select range of foods. The child with Sensory Processing Disorder may have to have their needs put first – impinging on the needs of other family members.

Why The Sensory Seeker should be part of the Mark Warner Ambassador Team

Mark Warner Mum Ambassador EntryObviously The Sensory Seeker is just one 6th of our family – but as a whole we just like to get on with things. Despite the range of ages we try to get out and have some action and be as normal as possible. Why I think we would make a great Mark Warner Family is so that the company would benefit from us helping to show other families with special needs in the family that they too can just enjoy a “normal” holiday. We would show how Mark Warner make this possible from the planning stages of a holiday (where is suitable, what we can do to help familiarise a child who does not like change), to what things need to be taken into account and/or are available whilst on the holiday for the member with special needs, to the calming down (and rebooking) and aftermath of the holiday. I am currently building up a series of videos on YouTube of what it is like to have Sensory Processing Disorder and demonstrating the hope, for those newly diagnosed, as our own Sensory Seeker progresses so well with the right help.

We would like to be Mark Warner Ambassadors because I want to help others who are in a similar position. The whole reason I set up this second blog was so that families had access to the information they need to make their lives easier and the person with Sensory Processing Disorder more enriched. I think that skiing would meet the needs of The Sensory Seeker’s sensory diet: the visual and touch properties of the snow, the auditory and attention of listening to instructions, hand-development holding the equipment, proprioception and vestibular senses whilst on the slopes, and helping to develop his self-esteem and self-confidence.

Of course we are like every other family that we love holidays – action, relaxation, etc. But also with extra care being needed for The Sensory Seeker on a general basis it is always good to make sure we spend quality time with the other boys. The oldest will not be coming as he is doing his final year at A-level and then off to University, but the other two are only 11 and 7. The 11 year old has just started a new school and the 7 year old starts a new school next September. They are very smart children and am sure that they will pick things up very quickly (like they did in their first ski training session). They are both becoming very independent and would relish the opportunity to go off on their own to kids club, whilst I like to be a whole family – and so a holiday that encompasses it all would be ideal.

This is my application for to be a #MarkWarnerMum – thank you for your consideration.