Play is very important, especially for those who are developmentally delayed, or lack social skills. However, this is not always easy with a child who is not interested. This is my journey of making play matter and ways I have found to hold my son’s attention a little longer.
AD Wicked Uncle have asked me to write this post so that you are aware that they have great Sensory Gift Ideas. Catering for those with additional sensory needs. I have been financially compensated however all opinions are honest and my own.
The Sensory Seeker is a Teenager!
Can you believe that The Sensory Seeker himself is now a teenager! For his 13th birthday he actually opted for a night away at Thorpe Park with his dad. This was perfect for him as he got to go on all the big roller-coasters. With his oldest brother being 25, you could say we have had a lot of birthdays to cover for boys. Therefore, we know what makes great sensory gift ideas. I truly believe that Wicked Uncle is a great place to look.
What to Buy a Teenager with Sensory Processing Disorder
Now you may Google “what to buy an autistic?” or “sensory gift ideas” and come up with a whole load of websites showing some fantastic sensory products but honestly children with sensory processing disorder are still just children.
We have found that generally they like what other children do. Sometimes they want what their peers have in an attempt to try to fit in more. Our boys have been like any other when it comes to birthdays – wanting the latest computer games, or in-thing, even trying to like football when really it hasn’t been their thing.
You need to think outside the box about whether it is something that is helping their sensory needs too. For example The Sensory Seeker loves his Oculus Quest 2, a virtual reality headset. This helps him with his visual and movement needs. But of course this is a hugely popular product in his peer group!
Why Shop with Wicked Uncle
Wicked Uncle is a great website for discovering some great gift ideas for all children, whether they have additional sensory needs or not. But additionally Wicked Uncle have a section of sensory products! Also, it can be easier to find your child the ideal gift if they have a special interest – and Wicked Uncle cater for some of those too!
Wicked Uncle Sensory Products
The Wicked Uncle Sensory Toys and Presents section covers a multitude of different colour-changing, noisy or tactile gifts. For teenagers like the Sensory Seeker there are products such as the mini erupting volcano mood light; the Disco 360 Ice – LED lightshow and luxury bath sets for example.
As with all of the sections on the Wicked Uncle website, you can sort the sensory gift ideas by ages (not just the whole website) – 0-3, 4-7, 8-11 and 12+ but not, unfortunately, by sensory need (ie the vision, tactile, smell, etc). Hopefully they may look into this in the future. You can also look high to low, and low to high on price – great if you are looking for an idea if you are invited to a party where the birthday person has sensory needs.
Sensory Popular Products at Wicked Uncle
As I say, however, our boys have been just like any other and would have wanted gift ideas that are popular. Wicked Uncle have many gift ideas in the popular filter which would be perfect for addressing sensory needs.
They aren’t actually in the sensory section as if you aren’t a parent of a child with sensory processing difficulties you may not think about senses other than sight, sounds and touch. For example, good movement birthday ideas on Wicked Uncle include the top seller Upside Down Challenge, Flying Bee, Smart ball and a Giant Piano dance mat.
Special Interest Gift Ideas from Wicked Uncle
Wicked Uncle also sort their gift by product type – which means there is a small number of special interests covered. These include those who are into football, dinosaurs, engineering, unicorns, food, fashion and spooks and spells.
Other Related Posts you may be interested in:
You may also recall that I have previously written about what best to buy women with Asperger’s Syndrome for Christmas and I think you will find it helpful as a starting base when you consider what they really might like. It was put together from the opinions of many women who are Autistic.
Papier Mache is such a great craft idea for The Sensory Seeker – as not only does he get the touch sensation from the paper but also the slime from the glue. It gives him the opportunity to get his hands dirty and build his sense of achievement – as he can easily mould his creation into shape.
The materials needed for Papier Mache Bunnies are very few. There’s a number of ways of mixing up Papier Mache paste but I simply mixed PVA glue with water. Next we took a toilet roll holder each and stuffed a ball of newspaper inside to form a head – which we secured in place with sellotape. Then we simply covered it all in papier mache – including over the head. After waiting for that to dry we painted it all over (again great for The Sensory Seeker for tactile but also to help with fine motor (when he used a brush to paint). We also painted a white sheet of paper to cut out ears and feet (we later decided against adding on feet).
Finally once all the paint was dry we simply glued on googly eyes, whiskers (from pipe cleaners), a cotton wool tail, a pompom nose, and some teeth (made from more white paper). The boys were able to vary what their bunnies looked like by using different coloured noses, making the teeth bigger or smaller, the ears pointing up or floppy.
Papier Mache Skills for The Sensory Seeker
Attention: Listening skills, following instructions, patience waiting for glue to dry.
Turn taking: We only had one pencil, set of scissors and The Sensory Seeker needed to wait his turn.
Fine motor: sticking the objects on, using a paintbrush, drawing and cutting out the ears.
Tactile: Touching all the different materials .
Self-Esteem: A sense of achievement and pride. A sense of self through the individuality of changes made to the Papier Mache Bunnies.
This activity was also good for The Sensory Seeker as it was made in stages – you could make the activity last longer by building up more layers of papier mache if you chose, but it also good for those with short attention spans as you could do just a few moments at a time. It also appealed to my children of different ages. You could utilise them in an egg hunt by hiding small chocolate eggs inside/underneath them.
The Pirate Captain Says game is an adaptation of Simon Says. Players listen to the commands of someone who is not actually in the game. If they say “The Pirate Captain says” then players do the action of what has just been given. If the action is said without saying “The Pirate Captain says” first then they have to do a forfeit of star jumps (the number dependent on the ability of the player).
We chose to make a Pirates game to fit in with our trip to LEGOLAND Hotel Windsor, where we stayed in a Pirate room. It helped keep The Sensory Seeker focused and count down the days. The commands used were then all related to Pirates: Walk the plank, Scrub the decks, Climb the rigging, load the cannon, sailor’s salute. Some of the instructions none of my boys understood and had to be shown, but soon picked it up. The Sensory Seeker did very well and watched what his brothers did and copied.
Benefits of The Pirate Captain Says Game for The Sensory Seeker
The Pirate Captain Says game is good for The Sensory Seeker because it helps with his attention, gross motor skills, sense of body perception, noise, touch, attention, visual, build on vocabulary, social and just down right having fun! In fact next time I have told the boys that I will give them real brushes to “scrub the decks” – well they may as well clean the floor whilst they are down there! This would be a good game to transfer outside too. I really liked how it was suitable for my younger three boys bridging the gap between their ages and abilities.
When you have a child with special needs I think that a Hand Made Christmas gift for their teachers is a really special touch. The teachers know that The Sensory Seeker does not cope with the change of routine that Christmas brings, and how hard he has worked at making their gift. Not only does it help show the progress he’s made but it also helps him cope with his Sensory imbalance. This year he made Christmas Tree biscuits – which I then simply packed into cellophane, tidied some ribbon round and added a bow.
Hand Made Christmas Tree Biscuits Gifts
The recipe to make the biscuits is slightly more complicated but The Sensory Seeker used an all in one mix which seemed to work okay.
Christmas Tree Biscuits Ingredients
250g Softenend butter, 140g castor sugar, 1 egg yolk, 300g plain flour (plus extra if it is to sticky and for the surface/rolling pin), orange flavouring
For Decoration: Ice sugar, colouring, sweets.
Christmas Tree Biscuits Method
Measure all the ingredients. The benefits for The Sensory Seeker were that he had to listen, follow instructions and his attention/patience were stretched. I often had to change my use of language to be simpler for him, or less abstract to him. For example after weighing the sugar and flour they both needed tipping in together. But both items were white and some The Sensory Seeker did not understand the instruction tip the sugar in with the flour. But when I told him to put the contents of the white little bowl into the green big bowl he was able to understand.
Mix together all the ingredients. The Sensory Seeker started by stirring with a spoon, this was beneficially for him learning to try and stop himself from just touching things. I did then let him mix it in with his hands – which is good for his hand development as well as getting the desired tactile sensory input that he requires.
Next the mixture was rolled out and Christmas Trees cut out using cutters. If you have no cutters I am sure a Christmas Tree shape would be easy enough to make with a knife. They were then baked in our fan oven at 180 degrees for around 20 minutes (watch the biscuits and smell them until they are ready). Let cool before decorating.
Decorating the Christmas Tree Biscuits
Simply colour some icing green and pour over the Christmas Trees. Whilst this is still wet decorate with stars and circle sweets (to represent baubles). When this has dried squeeze on more coloured icing to represent tinsel.
Turning Christmas Tree Biscuits into Hand Made Gifts
To turn the Christmas Tree Biscuits into beautiful Hand Made Gifts then simply shape some cellophane around them (we got ones with Christmas Trees on from Ebay), and secure it in place with sticky tape. Make it more of a gift by added some ribbon in festive colours and a bow.
Christmas Tree Biscuit Gifts Benefits and Problems for The Sensory Seeker
Making the Christmas Tree Biscuits provided a lot of benefits to The Sensory Seeker, but there were also a few problems to overcome. Whilst making the mixture up I also talked to The Sensory Seeker a lot: This was good for his auditory sense, following instructions, and his understanding – as we discussed concepts such as number, texture, etc. He has made great relationships with the staff at school and it was great to see him taking such pride in the activity. This is great for his sense of self and of his World (thinking about others). I was actually really impressed with him asking if it was time to start the next section again when he was allowed to play on computer games. The activity was great for his hand development with mixing, rolling, cutting, transferring (the biscuits onto the tray), and fine motor for adding the sweets. Most of these also helped his hand-eye co-ordination and his sense of place. He was able to meet many aspects of his Sensory Diet such as adding in some orange flavouring, which is good for the sense of smell, whilst giving the biscuits a Christmas feel. The Sensory Seeker DID need to wash his hands A LOT as inevitably he ended up touching. The surfaces also needed a lot of cleaning. The Sensory Seeker was particularly unable to resist the butter and had to be stopped from giving the (cooked) biscuits a little kiss (to give his teachers his love). It was a great way to let him become more aware about hygiene. Sitting still is quite difficult for The Sensory Seeker so the biscuits were made in stages. He also sat on a stool that allowed him to spin around and around in circles getting his vestibular input.
Note for parents: This activity may require a lot of patience and result in a lot of mess. We did it in the kitchen (with easy wipe surfaces and floors) and not far from the sink.
Halloween can be utilised to help your child with sensory processing disorder deal with some of their difficulties. Halloween games and activities can help the child learn to deal with unpleasant situations, connect with their bodies, and fulfill some of their required Sensory Diet. Of course there is going to be benefits for both the Sensory Seeker and the Sensory Avoider – but I mainly focusing on the Sensory Seeker – as that is what I know most about, as my son is more a Seeker.
Halloween Dressing up and Sensory Processing Disorder
Halloween definitely is a time to embrace dressing up. My Sensory Seeker loves nothing better than dressing up. All those different textures, and I think it really is where he is comfortable at using his imagination. Letting them get themselves dressed will also help them with orientation, textures, fastenings (zips, buttons, bows, laces etc). We also have a mirror for him – so that he can see what he looks like. I find that when he uses the mirror he also uses different expressions – and he can see what that looks like too. Or you can use face paint – which is fantastic for tactile stimulation.
The Mummy Race
My boys loved this game. Basically get into two teams with the child with Sensory Processing Disorder (or any child) to be the Mummy. Then get the other children to wrap them up. We used toilet paper but you could use bandages or any other white material for a deeper pressure. The winning team can either be the one who has their Mummy all wrapped up the quickest, or have a time limit and the winner is the one who is the most wrapped at the end. If you wanted to add more sensory experiences to it the Mummy could have to run around too.
Go Away Ghost!
A number of children are scared of the dark, and at Halloween ghosts and monsters are even more likely to frighten them. The Go Away Ghost game can also be beneficial to the child who gets upset when something messy touches them (something in their shoe, a cobweb, a wet leaf, a grain of sand, wet paint); Or the child who is worried about something touching them; the unresponsive child who does not react to what is going on around them; the child who has trouble focusing on an activity, or has trouble making the transition between activities; and when they have trouble with an activity and needs removing. This game is good for their imaginations too.
The child says (whispers or shouts depending on their sensory need) – “Go Away Ghost Get off!” Get the child to use their hands to get the ghost off their whole body – pushing the ghost off their hair, down their face, shoulders, upper body, arms, hands, pulling him off their fingers, down their tummy to the legs (give him a kick off), shake him off their feet, then shake all over and jump, jump around in the space. Then get the child to take deep breaths and say, “That’s good, it is better.”
Apple Bobbin and Scary Spaghetti
I think this is especially good if your child is like mine in that he struggles with his diet. Sometimes he will not even try touching something just because of its appearance or smell. Putting some coloured water in a bowl and throw in some apples is a great way to encourage him to try putting the apple in his mouth because he knows it is a game and he is not expected to eat it. I think this takes the pressure off him. This could be used with black, red and green water – maybe have the 3 different bowls. Rewarding with sweets for participating is always a useful incentive I find too.
If they are not quite ready for putting their face in what about a game of scary spaghetti – where you place the cooked spaghetti in some jelly with some Halloween toys (eyes, spiders, etc) – and the idea is to put your hand in and pull out a particular Halloween toy to win. This will help them develop their sense of what things feel like, and what shapes they are without their sense of sight. You can do this with or without a face mask – depending on how comfortable they are with it.
Alternatives to Halloween Parties
It doesn’t have to be a party with lots of people around – why not try frozen spiders in the bath. Last year my Sensory Seeker loved it. I simply filled tubs with plastic spiders and coloured water. I put them in the freezer and let my Sensory Seeker dissolve them in the bath. He had a lot of fun and discovered how the blocks of froze spiders disappear in his hot bath. Also how his bath changed colour and the fascination of more and more spiders appearing as the ice dissolved.
Halloween Craft and Sensory Bins
Or why not have a Halloween crafting session. Great for fine motor, textures, etc. We made our own Halloween treat bags from just paper and odd bits – perfect for carry a few treats.
For children with Sensory Processing Disorder parties are a whole different ball game. I am so proud of how far my Sensory Seeker has come with coping with them. In fact I would go as far to say that at the last party the parents who do not know him would never have thought that he has any additional needs at all. There were signs there (a bit of spinning on the floor and ok maybe the rubbing a cookie on his head) but nothing that couldn’t be put down to a quirky five year old. Of course the problems can change from child to child with Sensory Processing Disorder, and the same child at different times, dependent on whether they are seeking or avoiding, and which areas affect them.
I asked for advice from the experts of Sensory Processing Disorder – that is parents and those who have SPD themselves, through Facebook groups and Twitter, on how to prepare your child for a party and how to plan one yourself when consider the child with Sensory Processing Disorder.
You need to consider whether the child is an Avoider or a Seeker
Remember that your child can fit into both of this categories for the different Sensory areas, or at different times.
If you have a Sensory avoider they may not be interested in attending parties at all. They may be anxious before they even get there and then not even want to join in with the party. The Avoider may not eat, want to leave their parent’s side and become easily upset. They may not like the noise, colours, the crowds, the stimulations.
How to help an Avoider with Parties
Talk to the child about the party and what to expect in the days leading up to it. If possible show them visual aids to familiarise themselves with the venue, or read books about parties. You may need to take ear plugs/defenders and/or sunglasses to help block out the lights and sounds.
If it is not your party then make sure the host is aware of your child’s needs. If it is your child’s party then make sure you have means for the primary caregiver to stay with the child (helping with anxiety/safety and encouraging them to join in) and that you have enough help from others to ensure that the other guests can be looked after.
The Avoider may be upset at little things, so keep it simple. Make things quiet, avoid balloons, flashing lights, loud music/noise, just whisper Happy Birthday and have no singing or fuss, as it may be too much for the sensitive auditory system. A small party is easier to control. They may not eat so make sure you have the food they are most likely to eat. Give them a separate quiet room for them to go to.
May want all the stimulations – lots of balloons, colours, sounds, but over stimulate themselves. Or they may like the feel but be scared of the noise when they go pop. They may become over hyped up and excitable, want to touch everything/everyone, may be spinning all over the place and knocking into other people, jumping on balloons trying to make them burst.
My Sensory Seeker can get a bit hyper about when the party is as he has very little understanding of time. What we found worked is that he has “party clothes” and he now understands that we leave for the party after he has got changed into them. Luckily we have never had a problem entering a party as he is a Seeker – he loves the noise, the colours, and atmosphere, always wanting MORE, MORE, MORE. Now his patience and attention has increased he is able to join in with the party games, but a party that has structure is much better for him.
What we do need to be careful is that he does not get too over stimulated. He seems to self-regulate himself now by doing things such as spinning on the floor. I still have to watch that he doesn’t invade other children’s space too much, or if he spins on the floor that there’s room and he’s not going to trip people up. As I mentioned he has trouble visually seeing food he wants but cannot have. To be fair to him he has developed loads in this area and does no longer grab it, I do see him being more anxious/worked up due to it though. I also need to make sure that he does not put too much food into his mouth at once (stuffing). What food is available can be an issue but there’s usually something unhealthy that he will like (typical birthday food either sandwiches and biscuits or chips). He can be a bit messy and try to pile too much food on his plate. I just supervise him and make sure I take him to wash his hands (you could also take wipes but we are trying to encourage him to move forwards and feel he has an association with babies with them). Plenty of sweets throughout really help him as it gives him something oral he can touch and taste.
Planning a Party for a Child with Sensory Processing Disorder
Party Size and Location
When determining the party location you need to consider the time of year (indoors or outdoors), the number of guests you would like (think about whether the child will be under or overwhelmed and how many you can cope with), whether your child needs plenty of space to move around/a small quiet party – as well as your budget. Also will the other guests need someone to stay and supervise them? Are there any access requirements for the Birthday child or their guests? Also consider their developmental ages and abilities as to a venue’s suitability. If there is food included with the venue then does it meet the needs of the party guests?
Personally parties where the food is brought out when it is ready to be eaten suits us better, and it also means that Avoiders will not have the foods’ smells. Also we find cold food is better, as it is dry and not touching. Again you need to consider what the Sensory issues are in regard to the food on making decisions about it, such as whether it is hot or cold, textures and smells. Be careful when it is dished out – my son loves burgers and ketchup but when someone else put his burger in the ketchup he would not eat it.
Time, Duration & Calming down
Consider the time of day of the party, how long your child can handle the sensory input and somewhere/something to help calm them down afterwards. If the child cannot cope with stimulation for long consider having a shorter party. You may want a morning party because the child is anxious about the wait, or you may want a late afternoon party so that it is not long until bedtime.
To help settle down at the end of the party you could put on a film, have an area for playing with Lego, doing some craft or colouring: Use stickers and wax crayons to avoid sensory seekers eating the glue and licking the paint. Or the best calming device we have found technology! (DS or tablet). Or extra stimulus may be needed – such as an obstacle course, a dancing competition, lots of pressure/bear hugs/back rubs.
Party Entertainment & Decoration
The needs of the child with Sensory Processing Disorder are going to greatly determine what kind of party you have, what the entertainment and decorations is going to be like.
To engage the child and keep their attention, whether an Avoider or Seeker, utilising their interests is helpful.
“Does the birthday girl or boy have a love of something – anything… we had a London Bus party one year. Everyone got to take home a beaker, toy bus and pencil crayons.” RosyandBo
A Sensory Seeker is more likely to want music, bouncy castles, a place to run around, lights, balloons, lots of games (musical chairs/statues/bumps) – and so on. Consider the physical abilities of the child (fine and gross motor skills, physical abilities, spatial awareness, developmental ability to cope with losing).
Whilst the Avoider is more likely to prefer quite, calm maybe a craft party, with little stimulus. Use plain paper for pass the parcel to make it less visually stimulating and easier to understand which layer is being unwrapped. Use a small amount of tape so it is easy to undo. Keeping the music/passing short to avoid distractions/over stimulation.
Sensory Seekers want more more more utilise what they are interested in:
Dinosaurs, Superheros, Farm, Neverland, Cooking party, bouncing (castle or trampoline), swimming party, a scavenger hunt, art & craft – have a face painter. We sometimes find our Sensory Seeker does not want the feel of paint on his face or then has to rub it everywhere – we find a cheek or even better his arm suits his needs best.
For the Sensory Avoider how about a calm Movie party – with pillows and blankets laid out with a quiet film. Or a Colouring party with colouring in tablecloths or placemats, or just pictures. For more tips on a Simple Party.
Do you have any party ideas? Or more tips on helping with a Party with a Child with Sensory Processing disorder?
Being a mother is hard work, we all know that. So why do we continuously put too many expectations on ourselves? Well I’m learning to let go of them a bit and focus on what’s important. Now that will mean different things to different people. For me I decided that spending quality time with my children is far more important than an immaculate house (in fact even if I had no children I just don’t think it’s in my nature to spend my life keeping a sparkling pin home, as I say we are all different). I know that right now the best thing I can do for my Sensory Seeker needs to help him develop is just play with him. On a Wednesday his brother goes to football club. In fact I think so do most of his friends. But I just don’t think it is fair on anyone that he goes because of his needs. To make up for him missing out on this I make sure we do something together.
The Batman Mask
This week I had a nice sensory activity of salt dough lined up. This is something I have never done before and thought he’d appreciate it (I’d just need to watch that he did not put it in his mouth). But then I saw it THE CARDBOARD BOX. It just kind of screamed at me that it would make an AMAZING Batman mask! He is loving everything related to Superheroes and Villains. I popped it on my head and it was the perfect size. I simply cut out some cereal boxes for ears and stuck them on. Cut out holes for the eyes and mouth – and viola – it was ready for him to paint.
One of his problems has been to develop his attention – how long he can sit at a task. Using something he is interested in has been a great way for helping with this. And he did, he sat and helped paint it all black (we were going for the Lego Batman look).
Also painting Batman was good for helping with his fine motor skills, his hyper-mobility in his hands, turn taking (with the brushes), his self-confidence, he knew to paint around the holes so developed his control, as well as learning that the bigger brush covered more of the box quicker. I learnt that if you add glue to the paint it will cover the tape!
And you know it didn’t really look that good. But he was so pleased. And most importantly we had spent that time together. Oh and he argued it was his Batman mask when I put it on – so he must have liked it.
We love Tree Fu Tom in our house so were delighted to be about to review the Tree Fu Tom Ranger Utility Belt Set from Flair.
About the Tree Fu Tom Ranger Utility Belt Set
Two of our boys are in the Scouts (one is a Beaver Scout), but our Sensory Seeker (aged 4) is unlikely to be able to attend Beavers when he turns 6, due to his special needs. He of course wants to be doing what his brothers are up to. I think that this is one of the many reasons that he loved dressing up with the Ranger Utility Bet Set so much, as it comes complete with a scarf and woggle.
There is a storage pouch where the Ranger cards and Ranger book can be stored. This can be threaded onto the adjustable belt. The utility belt has a rotating , reflector Sapstone too and spaces to clip on the Ranger badges, microscope and compass (the older brothers enjoyed explaining to their younger brother about the compass).
The Ranger Utility Belt Set is aimed at those over the age of three years so that even young adventurers can have fun. Although I would say that even at its tightest the belt is fairly lose, and feels like it could do with tightening up a bit, but this does make it easier to spin it around.
Tree Fu Ranger Utility Belt in the Back Garden
This is the perfect time of year for the Ranger Utility Belt set. There are many beautiful things in nature to go off to explore and observe under the microscope. Of course the first place we went with the Tree Fu Tom Ranger Utility Belt on was into the back garden. It is inside a tree in Tom’s back garden where there is an enchanted kingdom called Treetopolis. We were looking for Tom’s best friend and side-kick Twigs, (a silly and energetic acorn-sprite), and his other friends the Treelings. We soon found Squirmtum, who is an odd-job woodlouse with a heart of gold.
Our Sensory Seeker excitedly told me that Squirmtum looked the same as on his Ranger card. Our Sensory Seeker enjoyed looking through his microscope, telling me that it made things bigger.
We did not find the other Treelings – Ariela (a beautiful but rough-and-tumble ranch-running butterfly); Treetog ((a Tree Fu Master and wise teacher), or Zigzoo, (a bubbly, eccentric tree frog inventor). However, we did find a ladybird. Our Sensory Seeker was so excited that after dinner we all decided to go off and try to find some frog spawn. We were unsuccessful but are going to look again at the weekend (when the sun is up). Then we can utilise the microscope and record what we see in the Ranger book.
Sensory Processing Disorder and Tree Fu Tom
Our Sensory Seeker has problems with his gross motor skills. He is currently seeing the occupational therapist at school for this (the fizzy programme I believe) but we like to help him develop at home as much as we can. What we liked about Tree Fu Tom is that it gives him Sensory rewards for making movements.
The Tree Fu Spells were designed with children with Dyspraxia, and other movement difficulties and disorders, in mind. The spells encourage and guide children to teach and practise the movements in many of the key areas needed for everyday activities. This can then benefit them in areas such as eating, dressing, writing, sports, games and so on. Tree Fu Tom is aimed at children who are developmentally at an important time for their growth. This belt was particularly good for our Sensory Seeker to help with his hand development – having to squeeze the clips and badges to get them on and off the belt. I think this is beneficial as the occupational therapist feels he has hypermobile hands.
Tree Fu Tom is developmentally in other ways (for children with or without Special needs). Tom is a born leader using his Big World Magic to save the day against impending disasters, whilst up against the mischievous Mushas (siblings Stink and Puffy, the foolish fungi). Making the audience Superheroes as they help with the magic is very empowering, good for their confidence and helping to boost self-esteem. The lessons in friendship are good for social and emotional development.
I would definitely recommend this product.
I was sent a free Tree Fu Tom Ranger Utility Belt Set from Flair for purposes of review. They are available from Smyths Toys. All words and opinions are my own.
I do find that if my son has plenty of opportunities to fulfil his sensory needs throughout the day, it places him in a better mood and helps him sleep at night. The best way to get and keep his attention is to utilise his interests. Currently he is loving Superheroes and Villains, and we recently made a Batcave and dressed up.
Inspiration for Kryptonite Play
I got the idea for Kryptonite Sensory Play from an idea we used at Halloween with frozen spiders. Knowing that my son would love just a frozen lump of green coloured water labelled as Kryptonite. Plus I like how quickly water freezes too, if he mentions that he’d like to do Kryptonite Sensory play in the morning I can have a block made up for when he gets home from school.
The sun has begun to shine more lately, and I knew that the Kryptonite Sensory Play would be ideal outside (if not I would have done it in a nice warm bath). Coupled with one of his favourite superheroes (Superman) and villain (Doctor Octopus) he set to work on destroying the Kryptonite.
How he liked to Explore it
First he bashed it with his characters and noticed that it went all slushy. He loved the Sensory feel when touching it on the bottom of Doctor Octopus’ feet. I liked how not only did he get his sensory needs met, but it really helped his speech and language, as he tried to explain to me what was happening to the Kryptonite.
After he bashed it with his characters, and had a feel of the coldness (he loves cold), he then decided to use his feet.
Then he stamped and he stamped and he stamped. Until the Kryptonite was no more. This was great for his proprioception, as well as learning a bit about the science behind the ice breaking up. I am hoping that as we play this game more and more it will develop. Maybe using the characters more to tell a story.
Party planning can be difficult (see my party guide ), with lots of things to factor in. Who are the guests, what is your budget, will they be left, what can they eat, how will you entertain them? When it comes to your Sensory Seeker Party the first thing to think about is what will work for your child. I was really surprised to see how patient my Sensory Seeker was at a recent Wild Kids Reptile Party. In fact it wasn’t a party, it was a clever idea of a friend about us all chipping in to entertain our children in the school holidays – that it what such great value it was. We hired a hall and all bought a packed lunch. This is a good idea for a Sensory Seeker Party as there wasn’t food on view, until my Sensory Seeker could actually have it.
Sensory Seeker Party Suitable guests for Reptiles
Obviously you need to consider who your guests are. I could not see a Sensory Seeker Party with reptiles where there are a whole bunch of Sensory Seekers, as they would not cope in this scenario. Sometimes you need the attendees to be quiet – and those Sensory Seekers who like to make a lot of noise may find this very difficult. Our party had a wide range of ages and it suited them all. I am also not sure how well it would have ran with a lot of very small children – so I would imagine it would suit at least those of school age.
If the children did not want to hold the reptiles they could still just stroke them. The guests had the option for each reptile as to how comfortable they feel with them, and whether they wanted to hold or stroke them. A good Sensory Seeker party will make sure there is somewhere for the guests to go if they really do not like the reptiles, or a particular reptile.
Reptile Sensory Seeker Party Pros and Cons
It was great to see my Sensory Seeker loving all the different textures of the reptiles. This is one of the reasons I think that it would make an ideal Sensory Seeker Party. He had no fear of the reptiles and even wanted to hold the tarantula (which you have to be sixteen years and over to do).
I have to admit that my Sensory Seeker was much braver than me. I found the staff to be fully supportive, and very encouraging of those who were a little apprehensive. I was amazed at how well my son sat quietly, listening and waiting his turn. I think it is also that they come out to you – so you can arrange to have it in a familiar environment, or one that you know really suits your Sensory Seekers needs.
As a Sensory Seeker Party I can see that the biggest problem would be preventing hands going in mouths. The staff had warned the children not to do this and had hand sanitiser for at the end, but my Sensory Seeker kept trying to put it his hand in his mouth. This was simply resolved by me sitting next to my son, and keeping his hands clean with antibacterial gel.
About Wild Reptile Parties
Available throughout Gloucestershire, £120 for a one hour party for hands on educational interaction with some of the world’s most fascinating animals without the mess. Wild Kids Reptile Parties bring with them not only all the animals (including friendly snakes, frogs, tortoises, stick insects and leaving behind any you do not want to see), but the protective sheets and hand sanitiser.