Archive for April 2014
A Sensory Area in Your Home
It’s the dream of many parents with children living with a range of disabilities to create a whole sensory room. A separate area where sensory play and fun can be enjoyed without interruption. This isn’t always possible but building your own sensory wall can be much simpler and it can be affixed to the regular wall of a bedroom to add an extra interactive fun element to any child’s room.
The importance of sensory play and stimulation cannot be disputed. It can be a valuable way of helping children with disabilities connect with their environments and learn in a way that suits their physical and emotional capabilities. There are many different ways of building a sensory wall so this is just our example. Our previous post looked at creating a sensory cube, now let’s look at making a sensory wall.
The wall can be specific to your child, like this board for children who love locks and door latches!
Making your Sensory Wall
You will need:
- A large wooden board/piece of MDF to cover the wall area you’re planning to make
- Cable clips or similar for securing hard to hold items
- Plastic chains
- Carpet and Wallpaper swatches and scraps
- A mirror
- A pushable light
- Locks of different types (chain lock/slide lock)
- Tissue paper and foil (for scrunching and crunching)
- Fibre optic cables
- Squeaky Balls/Toys
- A curtain pole, fixtures and fittings & dark curtain
One you’ve laid out all your items you can spread them equally over the board and secure them in place. Items such as the squeaky toys can be nailed onto the board so they can still be pressed and made a noise and the tissue paper and foil can be placed in a nailed or glued plastic envelope so they can be easily replaced.
The curtain rail and dark curtain are provided so you can affix this to the top of the board, allowing it to be covered when not in use and also to avoid overstimulation and the urge to get out of bed at night to continue playing!
This is just our suggestion and there are many more interesting and innovative ideas out there such as those shown on this Pinterest board:
We also love this idea of Mother Geek who made her children a Lego Wall. The beauty of this design is that is can be extended and grow with the family!
If the space for a sensory wall isn’t available then consider making sensory books or boards that can be packed away. If your children’s room includes this sensory element alongside the other homemade sensory toys we’ve shared then you can be sure they’ll be kept busy and stimulated.
Sensory Room Video Ideas
This video from the Global Hydranencephaly Foundation shows some really great ideas to include in your child’s sensory room:
Make Your Own Mirror Cube Sensory Play Area
Homemade toys are amongst the best for your kids as they give you the chance to bring together everything they love best. More than that – they’re affordable.
This post is a quick tutorial of how to make your own version of the Softie Mirror Exploratory style toy, great for a wide range of sensory experiences. The original toy retails at around £69.99 but with this tutorial you should be able to make it for less than £30, and you can make yours much bigger too!
We found this innovative idea on the Facebook Group: Special Needs Equipment ~ Buy Sell Swap and we thought it was too good not to share. Mirrors are an important tool for helping your child’s cognitive development, recognising themselves and understanding angles and reflections, as well as being great fun!
What you need
To make this toy you’ll need:
- 1 Foam Letter Puzzle or standard TLCmat® Soft Foam Play Mat Puzzle Jigsaw With Number (0-9) Pop-Out (approximately £6 from eBay)
- 5 sheets of A5 silver mirror Board Card. PP65 to fit inside the puzzle shaped box (available cut to size from eBay for around £22)
- Thin wooden sticks/pieces for sturdiness and creating a frame (around £1 from your local hardware or DIY store)
- Strong glue
Putting the fun toy together is quite straightforward and you can be sure the kids will love it.
Building your Sensory Mirror Toy
There are three key steps to creating your sensory mirror toy:
- Glue all the puzzle/floor mat pieces together to create an open-faced box shape
- Add a frame to the edges by gluing the thin pieces of wood – to reinforce the toy’s structure
- Glue each mirror to the inside of the box covering the foam base and sides
The finished result should look something like this:
Of course you can add other things in too – if you choose to make a larger toy you could use more floor mat pieces, more mirrors and make a huge version for lying down in – creating an even more enjoyable sensory experience.
Ways to Play
There are many ways you and your child can enjoy this exploratory toy. It’s a great place for them to lie gently down on a pillow and look into the mirrors. It’s also great for imaginative play as you pop a toy or two into the window area of the toy and your children play with both the toy and its reflection. The mirrors internal surfaces will all reflect back and so even fairy lights and flashing toys would be great fun.
Once you’ve had a go at this toy you’ll probably be inspired to try others and we’ve shown off some other homemade toy ideas before.
- International Dravet Syndrome Awareness Day 2015
- Six Neck and Head Support Options for your Child
- Gripping Aids for Children
- Sensory Stories for Children and Teens – The Book!
- What to Pack for your Child’s Hospital Stay
- How to make your own Sensory Wall
- Homemade Mirror Cube Sensory Toy
- Join Trabasack and Active Hands at Kidz in the Middle
- Sensory Play at Naidex National 2014
- Festive Christmas Apps for Kids