A very common question I get from parents. We found this fun and engaging POP IT fidget at Target the other day and Little One loves it! 👉🏼 Fidgets can help some kids (and adults) with increasing focus and attention, provide sensory input, and assist with self and emotional regulation. There are different kinds of fidgets, and it depends on the child’s (sensory) needs which fidgets they might like and what might work for them.
Wondering which fidget might work for your child?
It often depends on the impact you want the fidget to make on your child’s level of alertness, and on your child’s sensory preferences.
There are alerting fidgets such as the fidget cube, bubble wrap, Pop It, Kilicks fidget, Legos, or Snap and Match fidget ball, that are often bright and make a clicking sound that can help with focusing.
Calming fidgets, like manipulating fuzzy pipe cleaner, Wiki Stix, paper clips, or stress balls, are often soothing and can help with anxiety or sensory overload.
Spiky and puffer balls or rings, water beads, mermaid fabric pillows, and sensory bins, are some examples of tactile fidgets. These can be used to support a child with tactile discrimination in addition to providing a calming or alerting sensation.
Other types of fidgets are the stretchy, resistance fidgets, that provide proprioceptive input as well as calming sensation, and can assist with self-regulation. Some examples can be Theraputty, stretchy bands, stress balls, or stretchy rings and bracelets.
There are also chewy fidgets for children that need oral input to calm and/or focus. chewelry necklaces, chewy rings or stixx , chewy pencil toppers, chewing gum, eating crunchy food, or blowing a whistle or bubbles, can help provide this need.
It’s all about trial and error when looking for the right fidgets that work to support your child’s needs. Luckily, there is greater awareness now to the need and the benefits of fidgets, there are many options out there to try, and they are more accessible
The process in which our brain receives and organizes information about the food we eat and what we drink is called oral motor processing. This information includes texture, flavor, and temperature. Oral sensory processing also assists in sound production, saliva production, and contributes to movements of our mouth (oral motor).
The jaws and the muscles of the mouth (including the tongue) work together to provide proprioceptive input.
In this sensory play activity, we incorporate the oral sensory system as the child uses a straw to blow a pom-pom (or a cotton ball) through a play-dough maze. This activity not only helps with building oral motor skills, but it also promotes self and emotional regulation.
This week I chose to feature the Flexion Disc Swing, or how I like to call it “The Hug Swing”.
This swing facilitates flexion as the child sits on the disc and curls his body around to hold on to the padded pole.
It provides intense amounts of proprioceptive and vestibular input, especially if hung from a bungee cord, or if the disk is shaken or rocked.
One of our (the kids and I) favorite ways to play on the swing is pretending it is a tree and the child is the monkey swinging on the tree. We sing the “5 Little Monkeys Swinging on the Tree” song and shake the tree to make the monkey fall (into the pillow) or “get snapped” by the alligator, for additional prop input.
Today’s sensory equipment is the 🐸Frog Swing 🐸 Movement on the frog swing can be both linear and rotatory and provides both vestibular and proprioceptive input. It can also be used to facilitate prone extension pattern and required the child to flex the lower extremities.
When the child sits on the swing, you can encourage appropriate pumping and posture, working on core and coordination. Have the child kick a balance ball or knock down a tower from cardboard blocks while swinging.
Play Superman or let your child throw bean bags at a target while riding in prone. In this position, you can also play Tug of War, by having the child hold on to a rope while you gently pull it.
Sensory bottles are a great tool to provide sensory input and can be very calming. Involving and engaging your child in creating a sensory bottle is a great way to work on motor planning, bilateral coordination, grasp, eye-hand coordination, visual perception, tactile input, and force grading.
WARNING: This is a delicious activity!!! While this activity promotes tripod grasp and bilateral hand use, it is also a wonderful way to introduce new foods and textures to picky eaters or those children who love and enjoy fruit. Suggested fruit: cantaloupe, watermelon, mango, banana, grapes, plums, and peaches (veggies are welcome as well).
Going on a business trip with the kids has inspired me to look for more easy and accessible ideas to engage them in activities that are not only fun, but also promote some developmental skills.
The Little One enjoyed the endless amount of colorful flowers and kept bringing them into the room. When we had an empty paper roll I thought it would be fun for her to make a flower arrangement and work on pincer grasp, bilateral coordination, and eye-hand coordination. As she will be starting kindergarten soon, these are all important skills to enhance.