As children of a pediatric occupational therapist who is obsessed with all things sensory, my kids are well-versed in the use of many different sensory tools and manipulatives. It shouldn’t have come as a surprise when, a few days ago, my children emerged from the kitchen, with handmade fidgets, configured out of animal-balloons (I’ll get to that), and a bit of water, all tied into a knot.
“Mommy, we made calm-down fidgets!” They exclaimed, pride evident in their voice.
I was pretty impressed. What a smart idea! As a therapist with a limited budget, working in the school system, I am always looking for simple, do-it-yourself sensory items that can be made quickly and in large quantities. I have some already-made to bring in for the start of the upcoming school year!
Pack of balloons for creating balloon animals (we got ours on Amazon)
Water from the sink
Spread open the top of the balloon under the running water. Add a bit of water until approximately 1/3 to 1/2 way full. Knot it together.
Repeat to two other balloons.
Tie all balloons together.
Loved being able to fidget with this, going between the balloons, and shifting the water around from side to side within each balloon.
Having my kids be the ones to create the tool not only works on a number of developmentally inportant skills (i.e.-fine motor, motor planning, visual motor, etc.), but is more motivating in terms of actual tool use-as they have pride and mastery over what they created, fostering more of a connection and meaning with the tool. They have used these items more than the store-bought fidgets we have in the sensory area in our home. I call that a success! 🙂
Have a wonderful day, and enjoy your weekend!
Lauren (and the kids- Shayna, Yosef, and Lianna)