When it comes to Christmas and the individual with Sensory Processing Disorder it is all about making sure they still manage to get the right Sensory Diet. Trouble is with all the additional Sensory input (especially in terms of vision, sounds and smells) then this is going to knock their normal routine right out. It is key to consider what it is that has changed and is affecting them, and what can be done to get the balance right once more. This can be really difficult to understand because it may be that there is more visual stimulation than normal so you try to limit it (keeping decorations to a minimum for example): On the other hand it may be that you need to give them more opportunities to touch as they NEED to explore the world around them. Christmas for us is one of the most difficult times of the year as The Sensory Seeker gets so excited but often struggles to control his emotions and reactions. As well as trying to keep him at the right balance we ensure that he is supervised more than usual and remember that once things are back to how they were then things will be easier.
Sensory Christmas Activities for the Sensory Seeker
I try to ensure that we do a good mix of Christmas Activities on the build up to Christmas and how I run that activity will depend on The Sensory Seeker. For example – does he need noise (and therefore we will put Christmas music on, sing, etc) or does he need it settled and quiet? Does he need a non-messy activity that he can really touch? Or does he need to get messy (and plan a bath time straight afterwards). Which kind of materials should I use – does he need the same as he did last time or would he benefit from a different one?
Sensory Snowman Cards
To demonstrate what I mean let’s take the idea of making a Snowman Christmas Card. You can really vary how much sensory input is involved and vary the craft material. This year we used shredded paper.
This is a non-messy craft in terms of it getting stuck to The Sensory Seeker but meant he could get it all over his hands (and my room!) without too much fuss. It was easy for him to understand the craft – as he simply had to stick it into two circular shapes. You could draw around something round like In the Playroom’s Upcycled Snowman Collage Cards. He was then free to use whatever craft materials he liked to decorate his snowman.
Alternatively, if this would have been too difficult for him I could have put the glue on the card in circles myself; Or the circles could be drawn with a white crayon (on a darker background); Or stuck on with paper or felt; Or even used cotton wool pads like this Quick Craft Snowman Card from RedTedArt.
If you wanted to get messier than how about using finger prints to make snowmen out of white paint. Or if you wanted to use paint without getting dirty how about using the end of an old toilet roll holder to put circles of paint on the page.
Alternate materials could be cotton wool like the one from Dear Bear and Beany
Other Sensory Snow Crafts
Perhaps your child is not interested in snowmen cards – well fear not there’s plenty of other ideas around:
- Arctic Sensory Tub – RainydayMum
- Build a Snowman – Happy Hooligans
- Build a Snowman Busy Bag Activity – Sunny Day Family
- How to make Olaf from a sock – Playtivities
- Snowman Factory – Buggy and Buddy
Making Snow – The Sensory Seeker loves snow but we hardly have any here. I have found many different ideas of making snow around the internet:
- Snow Paint Did you know that mixing equal parts white glue and shaving cream creates snow paint? Brush it on to card stock and see what it feels like when it’s dry!
- Play Snow
- Sensory Snow
- Snow dough
- Snow Slime