Happiness 

When I heard that the April theme for the Family Fund blog was ‘Happiness’ I was delighted as I really feel
that we’ve turned a corner in our household recently, it has been a year since my daughter, Lou, (5) was
diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) and Hypermobility, and she is currently at the start of an
ASD assessment. When we first received the diagnosis, it was a tendency to look at what my daughter
can’t do. Gradually over the past year I have learned to ‘tune-in’ to my daughter’s interests and in turn, it  has helped us as a family to really focus on what makes her happy, and learning to embrace her strengths,
and there are so many!

Via researching SPD I learnt the difference between ‘sensory seeking’ and ‘sensory avoiding.’ I soon
realised that Lou, on-the-whole, is a huge sensory seeker and does avoid in some circumstances, e.g.  she dislikes sudden, unexpected and loud noises. Lou is constantly seeking sensory input which can make her appear ‘hyperactive,’ and has an inability to sit still. But via offering a ‘Sensory Diet’ at home, it  allows Lou to get her daily sensory stimuli and we do notice improvements in terms of her
concentration and attention if her sensory seeking needs are met. (I have written a separate post about a  ‘Sensory Diet’) here: 

A Sensory Diet

Sensory seeking makes Lou happy.


Messy Play

From my own experience in working with Early Years children I picked up many ideas of the sort of
materials and equipment for messy play, along with many ideas. I soon found that Lou thrived on this kind of activity so I went with this. From the age of 18 months she enjoyed the feel of running water into  her hands, and if I put out a tray with sand and washing-up liquid in to make ‘Soapy Foam,’ she will usually
tip out the mixture onto the floor and explore the textures with her hands and her feet. 

Play dough is a huge favourite with Lou, especially when we make home-made sensory dough that has
essences added such as vanilla, or dough that has been mixed with glitter or herbs and spices, Lavender was a huge favourite. Lou tends to ask for play dough every day, especially after school, she will hum to
herself whilst she’s squeezing and manipulating the dough, which I’ve come to realise is a sign of ‘self- regulation’ and that she’s receiving the sensory input that she has been seeking. Any activities that involve
paint do not stay on the brush as she absolutely loves to cover her whole hands in the paint and slide her  hands across the paper, or table!  


Sensory toys and equipment

We have created a specific sensory area for Lou, which she has named her ‘calm zone.’ The sensory toys
and equipment have a very calming effect on her, this includes:

• Bubble tube, rainbow projector, stars and moon projector,

• Coloured gel-droppers,

• Light-up sensory balls,

• Home-made sensory bottles that we filled and then sealed that can be shaken,

  • Vibrating neck massager 
  • Torches 

• ‘Treasure basket’ with everyday objects that includes a variety of textures,

• Musical instruments,

• A ‘Peanut’ ball, like a Yoga ball that is peanut shaped,

• ‘fidget’ toys such as a giant ‘Tangle.’

• Soft toys and books, soft rug and blankets,

• Fairy lights.


Lou has free access to this area throughout the day and our hope is to help her recognise when she
needs to take herself off to the area to self-regulate before she gets to the point of a ‘sensory overload.’
There is also other sensory equipment that we have found helps to calm Lou, and in turn makes her
happy, this includes our most recent addition of a ‘Weighted blanket,’ that includes a pattern of her  favourite character – ‘Princess Poppy’ (From the Trolls movie.) Lou has loved deep pressure since she
was a newborn and only settled if she was swaddled. The deep pressure helps to calm her if she’s anxious
or has had a ‘sensory overload,’ sometimes she will just like the comfort of the feel and weight of the blanket.  


Lou has always been a huge lover of ‘White Noise,’ when she was a baby I had to download a ‘White
Noise’ app onto my mobile phone, with the sounds of a Hairdryer or Hoover, sometimes she prefers the
feel of the warm air coming from the Hoover, and not so keen on the noise, and therefore puts her ear
defenders on!


Outdoor play

Lou is a huge outdoors girl! She gets so much out of being in the garden or out at the park, she gets so
much from the ‘Forest School’ sessions that her Pre-School provided and that her current school provides
once a week. Lou is calmer and happier outdoors, this environment provides her with so much sensory
seeking input and stimuli, she makes a bee-line at our local park for the ‘Pendulum Swing,’ and likes to spin
and hold her head back to gain sensory input. She is happiest when covered in mud, the messier the
better, and is happy to climb and jump off equipment, she really has no fear!  


‘Special Interests’ make Lou happy.

Lou has certain interests that engage and motivate her and make her very happy. At the moment, she
loves to collect ‘Shopkins’ figures, she knows all of their names and arranges them into groups, she can tell
people facts about the various characters. Lou will watch ‘Toy Reviews’ on the tablet and then do her
own toy review with her own toys! Even putting on an American accent and saying “Hey guys, today we’re
reviewing…” Lou tends to have a film that she is interested in and will watch the same film over and
over and then will change and repeat with another film, she started watching the film ‘Rio,’ then moved
onto ‘Frozen,’ and now the ‘Trolls’ movie. Currently we are all about the Trolls, she has the movie, the
soundtrack, T-Shirts, Pyjamas, sticker books, plastic figures, watch, pencils, you name it, she has it! I  recently tried to play Lou some classical music to help calm her, but this didn’t work, until I played the
Trolls main theme tune, and she quickly calmed down after a sensory overload! I have sometimes  experienced times when children are stopped from talking about their special interests but I find from experience, that it is important to embrace children’s special interests as you can really reach them on their own level. 


In the past few months Lou’s love for Lego has developed, she now has several Lego sets and I realised recently that she gets so much from putting the Lego bricks together as the ‘click’ in itself gives sensory feedback.


Lining things up and numbers make Amber happy.

This is something that we’ve recently noticed, lining up the smaller characters that Lou collects, especially toys, but also items like household coasters, bathroom products and foam floor mats. This process we have found helps Lou to self-regulate, especially after a busy day at school. Lining up allows her to gain back some control, she likes to see objects and toys all in line, neat and tidy and this makes her feel happy. Lou is also a huge numbers fan, she can recognise 2-digit numbers now on sight, especially the numbers of the stickers for her Trolls sticker book! Lou also thrives in mathematical activities that include shape and repeating patterns.


I know that there are so many challenges to having a child with additional needs, we still have some really challenging days, but around a year ago I felt completely lost, until I started looking at the many positives that my child has, rather than focusing on what she cannot do, and learnt to embrace these positives, and in turn learnt more about my child and about myself. My love has grown for messy and sensory play with my child and I am now completing an online course in Play Therapy.  

My girl is wonderfully quirky, and loves to make people laugh, she naturally makes people around her happy, and seeing her happy warms my heart.

Click to link to The Family Fund website

Marble~Sparkly Play Dough 

We love making Play Dough in our house! 

We made this batch on a rainy day and it was only by accident that it turned out to have a marble-effect. 

I used the usual recipe of: 

2 cups of plain flour

1 cup of salt

2 cups of water 

1 tsp cream of tartar

1 tbsp of cooking oil 

Food colouring (for this we used blue) 
When adding the food colouring a first time the desired colour wasn’t achieved so after mixing it in we added another few squeezes of colouring and this made the marble-effect. We also added some silver and blue glitter for an added effect and also mixed in some vanilla essence to provide a scent. 
Thanks for reading 🙂 

A ‘Mess Around’ Birthday Party

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Last August we attended a ‘Mess Around’ messy play session at a local village hall, both of my girls thoroughly enjoyed the session.

Today my eldest daughter, Amber (4) attended a joint 5th Birthday Party for 2 of her school friends. Amber got straight in to explore the materials and we were impressed with the different messy play experiences on offer, Amber was a huge fan of the ‘Ice Cream Exploration’ Tuff Spot tray, where she was able to make her own ice cream cone with sprinkles!

 

Another popular Tuff Spot tray for Amber was the Fairy one which included fairy figures, with little cups full of custard and artificial grass for effect. Amber, of course, wanted to explore with all of her senses and had a little try of the orange jelly!

 

I am always so impressed how well thought out and carefully placed the various areas of the Mess Around sessions are. Other trays included: A number 5 made from coloured rice, A Dinosaur land which included various types of lettuce a rainbow made from brightly coloured spaghetti, a water tray full of sensory beads and a drain pipe ramp with pink soap, cups and balls, there was also a big strip of paper to paint on at the front of the hall, with a variety of different utensils to paint with. A really nice touch was a canvas that was given to each of the children who hosted the party with a hand print from every child that attended.

 

There was also a long table set out for play dough, and we made a special creature using the play dough, pipe cleaners, Googly eyes and sequins.

playdough-mess-around

Early on in the session Amber had spotted the foam machine that she had loved at the end of the Mess around session we had attended the previous August, she was delighted when the foam started!

amber-bubbles

What a fantastic way to end a fabulous Mess Around session!

I have written a previous review after we attended a Mess Around organised session last August:

Mess Around session review

 

Mess Around have a national website:

www.messarounduk.com

Our local area is:

www.messarounduk.com/worcestershire

 

Thanks for reading 🙂

Activities we’ve done 


‘Cloud Dough’
I’ve been wanting to try this out with Lou for a while now, I used to make it for the children I worked with in the nursery. We used baby oil and plain flour to make a very soft consistency, you can use food colouring but we left it plain. We did this outside with a tray as it does create quite a lot of mess! Lou loved the way she could create shape moulds with the dough she said “it’s like my motion sand!” 

Sensory Play Dough

I made play dough using our normal recipe of:
2 cups plain flour
2 cups salt
2 cups water 
2 table spoons of oil
2 tea spoons of Cream of Tartar
In the past I’ve then added to the microwave but I’ve found that adding boiling water works just as well.
I coloured the dough pink with food colouring and added Cinnamon. Lou liked smelling the dough and creating her own cupcakes.


Glittery Foam

Lou requested to have foam outside so I used shaving foam and to add an extra touch, glitter. She absolutely loved getting it on her hands! 

Spaghetti, pasta and rice play.

I am hoping to buy a ‘Tuff Spot’ or ‘Builder’s tray’ for sensory/messy play purposes. But for now I used an old under the bed storage box to put some rice, pasta and spaghetti in, both girls immediately wanted to get inside to sit amongst the materials! They used tea set items to transfer the rice, etc. Moo wanted to eat the pasta! 
Thanks for reading 🙂 

Sensory/Craft Ideas Link up #1

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Here is my first Link-up 🙂

Let’s Share ~ Sensory/Craft Ideas. 
We love Sensory/Messy Play in our household, I’ve created a Link-up where other bloggers can share their photos of Sensory/Messy play and/or Craft ideas, along with a description and any list of resources/ingredients/equipment used.

I have learnt that to share ideas is a fab thing. I’d also love to hear posts about any classes or groups that you have attended with your children, such as messy play groups, etc.

If you are not a blogger, I’d still love to hear from you as you can always send me an email at:

sensorysensitivemummy@outlook.com

 

Thanks 🙂

Please find the Link – Up below:

And if possible please copy and paste the Link-Up button code and add it to your post 🙂 

For any link up posts shared on social media please use the hashtag: 
#sensoryandcraftshare 

Let’s share ~ Sensory/Craft Ideas


Last summer I included a lot of Sensory/Messy Play and Craft ideas, via sharing photos of what we have done on my blog and Facebook Blog page. This was after planning a ‘Sensory Diet’ for Lou as she is a huge ‘Sensory Seeker,’ and she thrives on these type of activities.

I have recently had to reduce my work load due to ongoing back problems, whilst I await treatment, which I have been upset about as working in Early Years settings is all I’ve ever known. What I realised recently is that I can use my knowledge of early years activities to share ideas, especially as sensory play and craft are huge areas of my interests, and I do a lot of these types of activities at home with both Lou and Moo.

I also hope to share a range of new reward charts that I’m currently putting together, I’m having to change Lou’s ‘Frozen’ chart to her new interest of ‘Trolls.’

We cannot wait to get started on more sensory/messy activities as the weather starts to improve, we spent so many hours in the garden last spring and summer, and I have ordered Lou a ‘Tuff Spot,’ or ‘Builder’s tray’ to explore many of her favourite and new materials.


And of course it had to be pink!

What I hope to do now is to create a ‘Linky’ where other bloggers can link up their photos of Sensory/Messy play and/or Craft ideas, along with a description and any list of resources/ingredients/equipment used.

I have learnt that to share ideas is a fab thing. I’d also love to hear posts about any classes or groups that you have attended with your children, such as messy play groups, etc.

If you are not a blogger, I’d still love to hear from you as you can always send me an email at:

sensorysensitivemummy@outlook.com

The follow image is going to be the Linky icon for when the posts are linked up:


Whilst I get to grips with how this works, as it’s all new to me! I’ll be sharing some activity ideas via my Facebook page:

Sensory Sensitive Mummy 

Thanks for reading 🙂
get the InLinkz code “>

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

Sensory Sensitive Mummy



Instructions: Select all code above, copy it and paste it inside your blog post as HTML

Week 6 of our holidays ~ the final week! 

We made it!!! I can’t believe the end of the summer holidays is here! We have managed a lot of sensory and craft activities and it’s kept Lou going, along with some play dates, trips out, parties and weekly sessions at the SMILE therapy centre in Malvern. As with any plans, we didn’t achieve everything and had to alter things here and there depending on the weather and availability of materials. But I’m proud of what we’ve achieved. 

This week: 

1. Family time.

On bank holiday Monday we had a family barbecue and Lou received a watch ready for starting school. Lou has been fascinated with time for a while now and she’s picking it up really well. It helps her to understand things like “when the hand gets to the 6 it’s time to…” 

The girls also received a play kitchen as a gift. Playing ‘shops’ has been a favourite for a while now, this kept them occupied for hours! 

2. Last play therapy session of these holidays.

On Tuesday Lou had her weekly session at the SMILE Centre in Malvern. We were lucky that it was a beautiful day and we were able to visit the park opposite the centre. The girls were so happy to see that there were baby ducklings! We absolutely love Malvern, it’s one of my all time favourite places, I hope to take the girls up the Malvern Hills when they are a bit older. 

This week’s SMILE session was for Lou to make her own scones. I was amazed that the recipe that the staff had found used lemonade and double cream with self-raising flour to create the scones, which I’d never heard of before! Lou was able to feel the textures of all the ingredients and absolutely loved mixing it all together with her hands, the mixture foamed up once the lemonade was added! Lou got the chance to try Lemonade for the first time but she wasn’t keen as she said: “the bubbles are getting in my face!” 

The scones were baked and we got to taste them and took loads home! It’s amazing how we couldn’t tell the difference with using these ingredients to the usual way we’ve made scones with butter! 

They were delicious served with butter and jam! 

Here’s the recipe for these type of scones: 

3 ingredient scones
3. Flour paint.

We decided to experiment with textured paint by adding flour to the paint. This was popular with Lou who immediately wanted to explore the texture on her hands! She enjoyed creating handprints. 

We also used bottles to create flower prints. 

I’ve defintely found that it’s been beneficial to plan activity ideas for school holidays and I’ll do the same for October half term. 

Thanks for reading 🙂 

Week 5 of our holidays 

Wow what a busy week! We were hardly at home this week which meant that we hardly touched on any planned activities for craft and sensory play, but we were so lucky with the weather that time was spent at parks, friends’ houses and trips out.

1. Cous Cous sensory play.

I am always looking for more materials for sensory play, we’ve never tried Cous Cous before but Lou loved exploring this, “it’s like sand mummy” She observed. And then also explored what happened when adding a bit of water: “Now it’s slimy!”

2. Good old cut and stick.

Lou has always taken a great interest in catalogues! I remember when I was younger, myself and my younger sister would cut up old catalogues and stick the items we like onto paper, Lou really enjoyed this and has been waiting to get her hands on the scissors for a while now!

3. Our day out at ‘All Things Wild,’ Honeybourne, Worcestershire.

We love this place! We’ve visited ‘All Things Wild’ a few times since Lou was 2, there’s a bit of everything. We found that there are some new additions to the park such as a large climbing frame with a twisty slide that Lou just loved. Moo really enjoyed watching the Guinea Pigs, Prairie Dogs and rabbits, they were on her level and had domes to put your head in right up close to the animals. Another favourite were the Meerkats and Porcupines. We travelled on the Dinosaur train this time and enjoyed walking around the Dinosaur structures even though it was raining! There were new Digger pits and a sandpit where the children had to uncover Dinosaur bones.

We were lucky with the weather in the afternoon but Lou and Moo enjoyed the many indoor activities on offer, which is great if the weather is bad. Such as soft play, play tractors, and reptile house. There is also a great indoor sand pit room but we didn’t manage get in there this time as we were so busy!

We hope to visit again in October half term.

I cannot believe that were in our last week of the holidays! There’s going to be a bit of preparation this week for Lou starting school, but hopefully also time for more fun!

Thanks for reading 🙂


 

Week 4 of our holidays

We haven’t got a lot of craft done this week, we’ve been busy with appointments, parties, play dates and park visits! It was lovely this week to catch up with people we haven’t seen since the schools broke up, Lou was desperate to spend time some time with her friends, she’s done so incredibly well over the last 4 weeks, out of routine and the structure that an education setting provides, but I felt a bit of “I’m bored with you now mummy” this week! I can’t believe we’ve already done 4 weeks, I think the last 2 weeks will surely fly by! 

Activities this week:

1. ‘Cloud Dough’

I’ve been wanting to try this out with Lou for a while now, I used to make it for the children I worked with in the nursery. We used baby oil and plain flour to make a very soft consistency,  you can use food colouring but we left it plain. We did this outside with a tray as it does create quite a lot of mess! Lou loved the way she could create shape moulds with the dough she said “it’s like my motion sand!” 
2. Sensory play dough

I made play dough using our normal recipe of:

2 cups plain flour

2 cups salt

2 cups water 

2 table spoons of oil

2 tea spoons of Cream of Tartar

In the past I’ve then added to the microwave but I’ve found that adding boiling water works just as well.

I coloured the dough pink with food colouring and added Cinnamon. Lou liked smelling the dough and creating her own cupcakes.

3. Glittery Foam

Lou requested to have foam outside so I used shaving foam and to add an extra touch, glitter. She absolutely loved getting it on her hands! 

4. Spaghetti, pasta and rice play.

I am hoping to buy a ‘Tuff Spot’ or ‘Builder’s tray’ for sensory/messy play purposes. But for now I used an old under the bed storage box to put some rice, pasta and spaghetti in, both girls immediately wanted to get inside to sit amongst the materials! They used tea set items to transfer the rice, etc. Moo wanted to eat the pasta! 

5. Nature shot of the week

There was excitement on Thursday evening when a hot air balloon went straight over our house and landed only a few fields away! 

6. Baking ~ Cupcakes 

We made some cupcakes for Lou’s friends’ joint 3rd and 4th party. It’s strange how Lou just wants the icing off the cake – yet I gave her a bit of icing and sprinkles in a bowl and she said “I don’t want this mummy!” 

This week was a big one for me, some very positive steps forward in terms of my Blogging:

You can find the link to the article 

Here

  • I was asked by a local children’s centre to help run a group for parents that have children with additional needs, I will update more on this as I find out more.
  • I was approached by the charity Family Fund, who I write posts for, if they could use one of my photos in their marketing materials 🙂 this was the first time that I’ve received recognition for my photography. I now hope to pursue this and get a better camera than just taking pictures on my smart phone!
This photo was a natural photo taken on the spur-of-the-moment whilst Lou was going through the tunnel at a local park.

We’re now looking forward to week 5 🙂 Where I’ll be labelling lots of school uniform and thinking about the complicated task of school shoes! 
Thanks for reading 🙂 

‘Mess Around’ session

At the end of July ‘Mess Around’ did a session at Lou’s new school, as she wasn’t able to attend I searched their website and was delighted to find that a session was being held on 6th August at a local village hall, only a few miles away from where we live. 

‘Mess Around’ provide messy play sessions from babies aged 6 months old, (sitting unaided) to children aged 5. These sessions are run all over the UK.

I was keen to book Lou onto the session as she thrives on messy, or sensory activities. I also wanted Moo to experience the session as she’s more on the move now and has already taken an interest in messy play, particularly sand and water play.

There was a great variety of experiences set out all over the hall including:

● Yellow gloop

● Coloured rice 

● Coloured spaghetti 

● Ribbons and streamers

● Paint with a variety of rollers and painting tools

● Purple play dough with cupcake moulds and stand

● Sand tray 

● Water tray including water beads 

● Coloured rice pudding 

● Balloons covered in shaving foam and tennis rackets/swatters 

● Coloured porridge oats – made into a Union Jack pattern 

This all made for a very inviting a colourful site on a ‘Carnival Sports Party’ them, which tied in nicely with the start of the 2016 Olympic games in Rio. The session included music of a up-beat, party style. 

The organisers had taken a lot of care and attention in laying out the materials on the sports party theme, and included medals and cups into the ‘Tuff Spot’ or builder’s tray. 

We hadn’t encountered ‘water beads’ before, both Lou and Moo were fascinated with their texture and Lou was surprised she could pick them up as she described them as “flat under the water.” 

We were fascinated with the yellow gloop mould that could be explored with cooking spoons and spatulas. 

The highlight of the session, especially for Lou, was the foam machine – at first she wasn’t sure but she got right in there and throughly enjoyed the feeling of the foam raining down! 

I would recommend Mess Around sessions to anyone, they are well organised and the staff are extremely helpful and friendly, they went around at various points with a bubble machine. There was an area that included wash bowls and towels to clean up at the end, it was also good to be reminded when booking the session to ensure the children wore old clothes so they could fully explore the materials on offer.

For more information please vist: 

Mess Around UK
To find a session.

Our session was run by Mess Around Worcestershire

Or visit their Facebook page.

Thanks for reading 🙂