Category: Focus Tool

Slime Time!

G was recently inspired by a book she has been reading called “My Pet Slime” and has been begging to make her own pet slime for about a week.  Of course, each time the idea to make slime pops into her head, we are headed out in the car or getting ready for bed.  So finally, after may days of asking, we put it in our calendar to make sure it happened!  I totally love making slime, so thoroughly appreciate her passion.

She gathered up all of the materials to make a slime just like in the book.  C got involved too once all of the materials were out.  My favorite slime recipe calls for:

1/2 cup of Elmer’s glue

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1/4 cup Sta-Flo liquid starch

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And then the extras – food coloring, glitter, googly eyes, bits of foam, or anything else you are inspired to add to your slime!

This was a little too sticky and needed the starch tap!

G poured the glue into a bowl and added many drops of blue and red food coloring until she got the perfect purple!  C added blue food coloring and loads of glitter!  Once they were pleased with the color, they added small amounts of the liquid starch, stirred, let it sit for a couple of minutes and then continued until all of the starch was incorporated.  After the starch is mostly absorbed, it is time to pick it up and knead it!  The more you knead it, the less sticky it becomes. But, if after several minutes, it is still sticky, tap it in a bit more liquid starch.

 

Then its time to add items and play!  C added several beads and gems and G added 2 giant googly eyes to make her “pet slime”.  She is still working on a name for this little cutey.

 

 

We made these creations a few days ago, and if you put them in a cup and cover them, they keep!  This slime pet has been coming out every day for adventures!

Hope this slime recipe brings you as much joy as it does for C and G (and myself 🙂 )

 

This site contains affiliate links to products. I may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, but only share items that I have personally tried and approve.

Glow Bath Party

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I have been saving glow sticks for a long time to do a glow bath with the kids!  They put their bathing suits/shorts on so they could sit/stand in the tub last evening and we had a blast!  I filled the tub with warm water and bubbles and we put the glow sticks at the bottom.  They were amazed to see how much it glowed.  We splashed around a bit and put on some music to dance and shake the glow sticks.  It was a great sensory experience to feel the warm water and watch the rhythmic movement and glow of the sticks.

We then started to play some games in the bath with the glow sticks.  We encouraged them to come up with some games and they were very creative!

Ring Pass – we each held one stick and saw how quickly we could pass a glow bracelet around our circle without dropping it

Ring Toss – we tossed a bracelet in the air and tried to catch it with our stick

Fishing – we put the bracelets at the bottom of the tub and used our glow sticks to try to pick them up

Everyone dried off and changed into pj’s for some more glow game!

Grab the Bracelet – all but one of us had on a glow bracelet.  We played a tag game where the person who was not wearing a bracelet had to chase the others and steal their bracelet.  This ended up being really fun and had us on the floor laughing!

Glow Hide and Seek – we kept the lights off in the house and played dark hide and seek.  The glow bracelet was the clue to finding someone.  This was a bit more challenging and the kids did turn on the lights to find us, but it was fun and slowed us down a bit after Grab the Bracelet

We had so much fun that we went on amazon and bought more glow sticks for next time!

(affiliate link)

See what fun glow games you can come up with as a family!

This site contains affiliate links to products. I may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, but only share items that I have personally tried and approve.

 

 

Science with G – Lava Lamp

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Got some alka-seltzer tabs hanging around?  There are so many experiments that you can do with them.  And Alka-seltzer actually has a page on their website for experiments – https://www.alkaseltzer.com/science-experiments

Here is our first of many experiments with alka-seltzer (this one is not listed on their website)

The Lava Lamp

Materials needed – water, cooking oil (we used vegetable), food coloring, alka-seltzer tab  (this project could still be cool without the alka-seltzer)

We filled our bottle about 1/4 full of water

Then added vegetable oil, almost to the top.  Just leave some room for food coloring and the reaction to occur (so it doesn’t overflow)

Next put in about 10 drops of food coloring.  Wait for the food coloring to settle through to the oil and into the water at the bottom.

Here is a great opportunity to talk about water and oil.  Ask questions about why do you think they do not mix?  Do you think water or oil is heavier?  What do you think would happen if we shook the bottle?  You can even have them record their predictions!

Now, that the food coloring has settled, comes the fun!  Add the alka-seltzer tab and watch in amazement!

We played with the bottle for the whole day, letting is settle then adding in more food coloring or alka-seltzer.  It was fun to make predictions and see what happened.  We definitely overflowed the bottle when we added two alka-seltzer tabs at once 🙂

If you do not have alka-seltzer.  Let them have fun shaking up the bottle and turning the bottle on its side to see what happens!

 

 

 

 

Yarn Art Mantra

Having a focus word or a “mantra” can help to inspire, elevate, and focus.  I have found many fun and creative ways to find your “word”.  I am excited to be able to share more word finding activities so make sure you SUBSCRIBE!

First up is this Yarn Art Mantra.  Of course, for this one, you already need a word!  I was inspired by the nice weather, finally!  Seeing the buds on the trees and getting to re-pot my seedlings led me to choose G R O W.  I also recently started a new job, so I feel like I have an opportunity to GROW as well.  The kiddos wanted to make slime, of course!, so I took advantage of the newspaper on the table and glue already out, and enjoyed one of my favorite crafts.

This one is very messy!  So best to get everything laid out before you get to work.  The materials you need are Elmer’s glue, yarn, parchment paper, plain paper and a marker.  First write out your bubble letters.  If this is hard, you could always type and print large letters.

Place parchment paper over your letters.

Next you will need to cut your yarn, about 6 – 8 inches a strand.  You will need roughly 8 – 12 strands of yarn per letter.

   

Now that you have everything set up, it is time to get MESSY!  I love getting messy, but this activity can be a tough one for kids with tactile sensitivities.  I have many ask to use gloves.  It’s always fun though to watch the kids that think they don’t want to get messy, and then end up getting really glue-y and into the project!

Pour out some glue onto a plate, dip each strand in, and squeeze some of the extra off.  Use a couple pieces to outline the letter ,then place onto the parchment however you like to fill the letter.  It’s important to make sure several pieces touch the outside border so that it will be strong and stay together when it is finished.

  

Leave to dry overnight.  Peel off the parchment paper, string, and display!!

I hope you have as much fun with your Yarn Art Mantra as I did!  Stay tuned for some other inspirational word activities!

This site contains affiliate links to products. I may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, but only share items that I have personally tried and approve.

 

Weaving Goodbye!

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I recently left a job that I really cared about.  It was a good move for me, but I knew how much I would miss that job and the people with whom I built relationships.  I decided to create something so I could take a piece of each one of them with me!  And so I created this “termination” activity called Weaving Goodbye!  I took an old frame that I had, removed the glass and the backing so all that remained was the rectangular frame.  I began tying pieces of black floss one one side of the frame.  I placed them about 1/4″ apart.

After tying on one side, I pulled the floss tight and tied to the other side.  To secure the knots, I added tape to the back.

I cut the ends and voila!  Makeshift loom!

I brought a basket of yarn and ribbon that were meaningful to me.  I asked all of my favorite people that I saw in my last few days at work to grab a piece that spoke to them and weave.  It gave me an opportunity to spend some time, while doing an activity.  It always helps to have an activity to focus on, so I could channel my emotions and not cry with every goodbye.  I will admit that I am a pretty emotional person 🙂

I will forever remember who wove this first piece!

I continued to visit special people and fill the loom.  

It was really moving to see my co-workers engage in the process with creativity and determination to fill the whole loom!  I choose a BIG frame and so I needed a lot of participation!  One lesson I learned for future weaving…. choose a smaller frame 😉  Everyone was excited to see the final project and I was thrilled to have this piece of art to remind me of all the people who have woven themselves into a special part of my life!

Now I have a wonderful conversation piece hanging in my new office, and a way to think fondly of this important time in my past.

 

This activity allows a lot for processing and giving a way to take something positive from a goodbye.  It could be used for transitioning from a program or home, moving or going away to school, or ending a session with a beloved therapist.  Weaving is therapeutic in itself because it gets your hands and mind working in sync.  It  can also become very rhythmic which lends to self-regulation.  To weave, you simply take a strand and go over, under, over, under and the imperfections only add to the beauty and memory.  Teaching and watching the weaving process certainly helped me to shift my mood and focus my feelings.

 

Not only did I wave goodbye on my last day, I also got to WEAVE goodbye!  And I am so grateful for that experience.  Thank you to all my participants!!

This site contains affiliate links to products. I may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, but only share items that I have personally tried and approve.

The 10 Best Fidgets!

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I have spent the last two Tool of the Month sessions sharing all of my favorite fidgets!  So now, I want to hear from you!  Did you get to try any, do you already have some of these?  What is your favorite?  Any suggestions of something that I have not shared?  Please comment on this or any of the other fidget posts.  If you are still looking to get a few fidgets, click on the images below!  I can’t wait to hear from you!

  

This site contains affiliate links to products. I may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, but only share items that I have personally tried and approve.

To read my review of each tool, click on the tool name below;

Slime

Kinetic Sand

Bunchems

Tangle

Water Beads

Wacky Trax

Wikki Stix

Flow Ring

Squash It

Marble Fidget

Categories: Focus Tool

Bunchems … Favorite Fidget #10

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Hooray!  If you are reading this, we made it through all 10 of my favorite fidgets!!   Here is the last of the 10 – Bunchems!  These little velcro balls are so exciting because they stick together on all surfaces to allow for some amazing creations, like this one here —

These little fidgets come in a variety of packs and colors; some geared toward building something specific and others to using your imagination.  I like the spiky texture and that holding just a couple allows for subtle fidgeting.  Building and creating with this interesting textures can appeal to the senses and keep hands and mind busy!  If this texture is preferred for your kiddo (or yourself) putting some sticky back Velcro under a desk can allow for a discreet regulation tool with a similar feeling!

My kids gave their review of these Bunchems;

C (4): spiky, prickly, sticks to your hair!, 100

G (7): spiky, movable, attachable, 10

C gave some proof that is does stick to your hair!

and G made a patterned chain that she was quite excited about.

This site contains affiliate links to products. I may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, but only share items that I have personally tried and approve.

Categories: Focus Tool

Kinetic Sand … Favorite Fidget #9

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I have purchased and tried many different moon sands and kinetic sands and this National Geographic Play Sand is my favorite by far!

This site contains affiliate links to products. I may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, but only share items that I have personally tried and approve.

This sand is so mold-able, it is amazing!  It is also pretty dense, so for those who have some tactile sensitivities, this could be a good touch exploration activity.  This set comes with 6 different tiny castle molds to add to the fun!

          

Setting up an “invitation to play” has been a really useful technique that we use in our house and that I recommend to families.  We all get into slumps and find our kiddos asking and asking for tv and technology.  When I find this happening, we “reset” with meaningful activities!  After the kids go to bed, we pick out a toy, craft or other activity, and set it out on the floor in the playroom.  When they wake up in the morning, they are immediately invited to play!  It works for us, because even if this is a toy that is stored in our playroom, this sets the scene for them to play with something that they may have forgotten about and it builds it back into their repertoire.  It has been really fun and they get so excited to see what is in store [and gives us a little time to sleep in 😉 ].

So yesterday, I set up an invitation to play on the floor of the dining for the kids to see when they got home from school. They were pumped because it was in the dining room! and immediately got to work on building sand castles!   They were engaged in this activity, squeezing the sand, dropping it, noting how hard and soft it was at the same time, and molding it.  You can see that they had a blast.

        

Here are some our describing words and score;

C (4) mushy, squishy, hard, 100

G (7) hard, warm, soft, 10

Grab your own set of sand and castles — NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Play Sand – 2 LBS of Sand with Castle Molds and Tray (Blue) – A Kinetic Sensory Activity

This site contains affiliate links to products. I may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, but only share items that I have personally tried and approve.

Categories: Focus Tool Soothe Tool

The Tangle … Favorite Fidget #8

Tangles are one of those fidget that you cannot put down!  It can twist and turn and be manipulated in many different ways.  This is a common tool that I see on clinician’s desks.  I have observed so many individuals – staff and clients alike – walk into an office and instinctively pick up the tangle.  Having the tangle (or other fidget) in hand seems to put the holder at ease so they can better access the thinking part of the brain.  Tangles come in a different sizes and textures to appeal to many different audiences.  Ours was the textured tangle jr!

Here are the words C, G, and O came up with to describe the tangle;

C (4) twicky [so many new vocab words 😉 ], wacky, connective.  And his score — 17

G (7!) ((she just celebrated a birthday, hence why there was a week break in between posts – I totally love party planning!)) wiggly, fidgety, squiggly, 10

O – manipulative, unpredictable, flow-y, 8.3

Another thing I forgot to mention above, is each piece can come apart, so you can add several tangles together or make many small tangles!!

Get your own tangles by clicking below!

This site contains affiliate links to products. I may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, but only share items that I have personally tried and approve.

Categories: Focus Tool

Water Beads … Favorite Fidget #7

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Orbeez, water beads, sooper beads, call them what you like, these little expanding balls lead to endless fun!  They start as tiny seeds… and as soon as water is added, they immediately start to expand!  They will expand for up to 6 hours, looking something like this

Water beads have always been one of the most desired prizes in the OT prize box.  Just a small handful can overflow a cup!!  They are such a great sensory tool for touch, sight, and focus!  They give a cool sensation and if you fill a deep bucket or table, can offer some deep pressure input.  Hiding small items amongst the water beads can make for a fun searching game!  Good for visual distraction and tactile discrimination. (Click HERE for more details on specifics of sensory bins)

C had a bug-themed birthday party this year, so we filled our water table with green and yellow water beads and many plastic and rubbery bugs.  The kids had a blast digging up to their elbows for bugs.  (For a whole other sensory experience, we also had a mud table filled with real bugs!  But that is for another post…)

         

Something else we love to with our water beads is pour them into balloons!  These make really excellent stress balls.  Clearly, I could go on forever about all the wonderful things you can do with these little beads!   So, here’s the review:

C(4): breakable, bouncy, slimy, 16  (yes, out of 10!)

G(6): squishy, wet, colorful, 10

O: satisfying, boba-like, fun, 8.5

This is the pack that I always order!  Very inexpensive for A LOT of beads!  Click the image to buy your own!

This site contains affiliate links to products. I may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, but only share items that I have personally tried and approve.