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Posts Tagged ‘sensory play’

Sensory Play at Naidex National 2014

The Five Senses

It’s commonly known that we as humans have five main senses: hearing, taste, touch, sight and smell. Sensory play allows your children to explore those senses and use them as a learning tool, teaching them skills they will treasure for the rest of their lives.

Why we need Sensory Play

Homemade play dough for sensory play

Homemade play dough – ideal for sensory play. For a play dough recipe click the image

Having been proved through research to build nerve connections in the brain’s pathway, sensory play can tune your child’s fine motor skills. Picking small objects up or pouring water teaches your child to focus his or her mind on the intricate task at hand, essentially giving the brain “practice” at coping with situations which require a high level of concentration. By repeating sensory play activities, you teach the brain to remember sequences and routines, thus improving your child’s memory.

Another benefit of sensory play is that it can help develop language skills in children. Often used as a tool in helping children who have language or communication difficulties, sensory play teaches them to be descriptive in what they say; the child learns to say that something is too hot, or that it is too salty, instead of simply expressing displeasure without the means to explain. Adults and children learn best when they engage their senses, and it is impossible to teach a child to speak in descriptive terms without allowing them to experience what “bumpy” or “soft” means for themselves.

Getting bored and restless is natural in children, and can be particularly problematic in those with additional behavioural needs. By engaging the mind in sensory play you are eliminating restlessness and replacing it with a calm, controlled activity. A huge benefit in sensory play is that it suits every child’s mind, whether they academically excel or not. There is no failing at sensory play; this can be a huge boost to a child’s self-esteem.

Early Years Sensory Play Sessions at Naidex

The RNIB Pear’s Centre for Specialist Learning will be featured at Naidex National 2014, presenting Parent and Early Years Sensory sessions at stand E114. These sensory play sessions are aimed at children aged 0 to 5 who have a disability, or social and emotional needs, and will include games with light, interactive signing and sound and tactile materials, all prepared by a Qualified Teacher of the Visually Impaired.

Trabasack for Sensory Play

Trabasack Curve and Media Mount holding a sensory toy

The Trabasack team are pleased to say we’ll also be at Naidex. Our multifunctional bag and lap trays are suitable for adults and children and are great for sensory play. The Trabasack’s secure and comfortable lap tray is the ideal surface for sensory play involving small or textured items, and will be featured just a few spaces down at stand E102. We’ve discussed many of our sensory play ideas before and noted how you could include your Trabasack in play.

Naidex National 2014 is running from 29th April – 1st May 2014 at Birmingham’s NEC.

Trabasack and Sensory Play Video

Good Luck Blossom for Children – a Funky Online Sensory Toy Shop

Good Luck Blossom for Children – a Funky Online Sensory Toy Shop

The Trabasack team love supporting new ventures in the disability sector, especially when they’re beneficial for children living with disabilities. Blossom for Children is a fantastic new concept. It’s an online shop which offers a range of funky, fashionable and vibrant books, toys, aids and clothes. They were set up to generate income for the Tree of Hope charity but also to provide families and children living with special needs with the equipment and toys they deserve.

What’s in Stock?

Hannah Ensor's Biscuit Baking

Hannah Ensor’s Biscuit Baking

Blossom for Children has a wide range of fantastic and carefully selected stock. Many of the products are universal and they include some of our favourites from EasyBelts to funky wheelchair gloves. Their range of books is brilliant, including titles from one of our favourite author and illustrators Hannah Ensor.

They also stock some really great colourful alternatives to the standard NHS equipment provided including bright crutches and tripods.

The shop is split into four distinct sections:

  • Clothing
  • Toys and Books
  • Mobility
  • At Home
Trabasack Curve in Action at Blossom for Children

Trabasack Curve in Action at Blossom for Children

Each of these section has a range of items which are designed to improve and aid independence. The toys section is packed with sensory play equipment and toys which can aid development as well as just being great fun. Some of the items do cross over so having a look at the whole range is recommended.

The At Home section also usefully contains a couple of books for parents and carers to help them too with the journey to diagnosis and supporting a child with special educational needs.

They also stock the Trabasack Curve Connect as a bundle offer and have put together this brilliant instructional video showing just how simple and easy to use the product really is:

Tree of Hope

The Tree of Hope Charity is dedicated to transforming the lives of sick children and providing the support needed to their families to do this. The charity works hard to raise funds so they can provide the support needed to families across the UK.

They work to provide grants to enable children to access the medical treatments, surgeries, therapies and equipment needed to help them flourish. Without the support of Tree of Hope the majority of these children wouldn’t have the support at all.

At Trabasack we’re really pleased to see more dedicated online retailers providing equipment and enjoyment for children with disabilities. Blossom for Children has a range of stock which will appeal to children with a range of different  difficulties and makes accessing some products easier than ever before.

We want to wish Blossom for Children all the best and am sure we will see their business thrive and grow! Take a look at their shop now and please tell us what you think in the comments below!

Play Dough Recipes: Sensory Toys for your Trabasack Play Tray

Make your own gloops and doughs for sensory play

There are endless possibilities for creating an exciting and enjoyable sensory play day for your child. Utilising your Trabasack Sensory Play Tray as a stable and secure surface to work from, you can really create anything you want. We previously looked at playing with water and ice, here we’ve collected some fun and safe ideas for creating your own dough. Fantastic for squelching, squashing and even (in some cases) tasting. Creating a range of doughs with different consistencies and properties is a great way of introducing different textures and feelings to your child and your Trabasack is the perfect platform to begin from.

Preparing your Trabasack

Use your non-slip Trabasack mat to keep the surface clean

This could get messy so remember to use your Trabasack non-slip mat to keep it clean and fresh. The mat wipes clean and if you do have any spillages remember you can simply put your play tray in the washing machine and it’ll be like new within a short spin. Of course, ensure the Trabasack is safely secured to your child’s buggy, wheelchair or safely around their waist and then the fun can begin.

Preparing your Doughs

There are literally hundreds of dough recipes out there and we thought we’d get together a few that are quite different from each other, to give the widest range of textures, colours and different sensory experiences:

Clean Mud: 1 bar of soap, 1 roll of toilet paper, 4 litres of water (makes a lot)
Layer the toilet paper in a tub, grate the soap on top and then add the water, mix up, leave overnight and you can squish and squash to your heart’s content in the morning

Fruity Putty: 1 packet of jelly powder, 250g flour, 1 tbsp cooking oil, 2 tbsp hot water – cook this all up in a pan to create a colourful, jelly ball of putty

Corn Flour Dough: 125g corn flour, 125ml warm water, 1 tbsp natural/baby oil – cook this up in a pan, choosing an oil with a strong flavour to add the additional aroma to the sensory experience. This produces a shiny, slick dough.

Play Time

With these three doughs, with their very different consistencies you can create shapes, balls, patties, whatever you want and your child can feel the different properties and enjoy the whole experience fully. These are just three of many doughs out there but they create a great range of different sensory experiences including the pleasant aroma of the corn flour dough, the sticky mess of the clean mud and of course, the bright colours of the fruit putty. We wouldn’t recommend you eat any of these products but they won’t cause you any harm and if you’re more interested in edible doughs, there are plenty out there.

There is a useful video with another recipe for coloured doughs here:

Using your Trabasack play tray as a base for exploring different sticky substances is a great way of enjoying your sensory time and it’s so quick and easy it’s really worth giving a go. For those of you who want to cheat, click here!

 

Sensory Play Tray Uses: Water and Ice

Free ideas for sensory play: Water and Ice

We know about the value of sensory play for children with special educational needs and have looked at homemade sensory toys in another article. We will now look a more free ideas for entertaining your child. Your Trabasack Sensory Play Tray can be used innovatively to introduce many different sensory experiences to your children and it’s perfectly designed to allow for fun and messy play as well as more scripted and controlled sessions. Why not consider using your Trabasack to introduce your child to water and ice and experience the differences?

Water and Ice Play

Trabasack Non-Slip Mat protects your play tray

Utilising a Trabasack Non-Slip Mat, you can protect your Trabasack’s soft surface and ensure it is secured around your child’s waist, to their buggy or to their wheelchair, wherever you choose to play. Once everything’s in place the fun can begin.

What you’ll need:

  • Ice Cubes
  • Small Tub of Water
  • Crushed Ice

You could also add in winter themed or water themed toys such as small boats or plastic toy animals.

Introducing each element individually, guide your child to feel and experience the differences between the three substances. Loads of fun can be had splashing in the water, trying to pick up ice cubes and you could even make mini snowballs out of the crushed ice. The secure Trabasack surface means you won’t have to worry about anything getting dropped. You could create a snowy winter scene with crushed ice mountains or try floating the ice cubes in your tub of water. The fun that can be had with ice and water is really vast and it’s a great way of introducing a range of different sensory experiences to your child.

Benefits of Water and Ice Play

Investigate the properties of ice

If you’re considering using water and ice in an educational setting, you can show children the differences between the two substances and give them the opportunity to feel these differences in their own time and it’s like having your own water play table in a safe, reachable difference. The Trabasack surface is protected by its non-slip mat and you can be sure your child will be having tons of fun and experiencing something beneficial to their development, understanding and of course entertainment.

Your Trabasack play tray really is an extremely flexible accessory which you can use in many ways to enhance and further your child’s sensory experiences.

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