Have you ever heard people say that the patient often becomes the therapist? Well, in my case, I am most definitely a sensory kid turned sensory adult. I spend my days speeding around, sipping water (or coffee, if I’m going to be totally honest), doing my yoga practice, and/or holding some sort of fidget. I’m definitely the type of person who would have benefitted from learning sensory integration strategies as a kid. Oh, well. I’ve learned late, and I think I’m doing ok compensating (at least most days!)😊
Ok. I’m rambling. But this relates to the activity featured in this post-I promise! Right-I love to make play dough with the kids I work with because A) I LOVE GETTING MY HANDS DIRTY, and B) it covers so many bases.
1. Executive functioning/motor planning: in order to make play dough, kids need to follow a recipe, no matter how simple or complex.
2. Fine motor strength/bilateral coordination: during the mixing phase, as the dough firms up, kids need to utilize a good amount of strength, as well as the use of both hands.
3. Sensory: talk about tactile input! Kids may either crave or shy away from the different textures experienced while creating your play dough masterpiece. In this recipe, adapted from growingajeweledrose.com , we utilized flour and lotion (dry and sticky-two opposing textures that children had very mixed reactions to).
4. Imaginary/exploratory play: we created snowmen, adding orange and black play dough for the extra features-but there possibilities are endless.
Here are basic snapshots of our activities conducted during therapy sessions so that you could replicate this on your own:
So… “Do YOU want to build a snowman…?”
That is seriously how I started most of my sessions yesterday; in my not-so-great voice, singing FROZEN amidst laughter from my older-elementary kids. It’s ok, I love it when they laugh. We have a great therapeutic relationship, so I know they are laughing with me, because I was honestly laughing at myself at the same time. Can I let you in on a secret? At least half of the kids at the end of their sessions had a full-blown sing-freeze dance party to “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” and “Let it Go!” Awesome.