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In last week’s post we reviewed the amazing book, “Sensory Processing 101” and tried out the Sensory Bags activity from the book. As a Speech Pathologist I was so excited to discover sensory bags and bottles because they are not only great for sensory exploration, but they provide so many opportunities for language building and can be customized to each child’s interests. Plus children have an easier time learning and talking when their sensory needs are met. This makes Sensory Bags a win/win for this mama SLP!
My kids and I loved the sensory bags from the book so much that we decided to make more with a Halloween theme. My family loves Halloween! How about yours?
To create our bags we used clear hair gel (we used soap for a few and it seemed to leak more often), fuzzy balls, googly eyes, witch hat stickers, glow sticks, glow dinosaurs, 2 freezer bags for each, masking tape/packing tape, decorative tape, and of course glitter! You can really use any small items you have around the house. Visit last week’s post to see the recipe for Sensory Bags from the “Sensory Processing 101” book.
Here are some of the materials we used for the Halloween sensory bags:
These are the bags we made. We named them: Sparkle Witch Hat Bag, Oooey Gooey Googly Eye Bag, Colorful Halloween Fuzzy Ball Bag, Creepy Creatures Bag, & Ghoulish Glow Bag
These are the language concepts we talked about (don’t feel like you have to address all of these at once. We wouldn’t usually do this many bags in a row):
- Sequencing words: first, then
- Following directions: my 6 year old read each step and told her sister how to do it (and of course I helped her out when she needed it)
- Colors: purple, green, orange, black, etc.
- Descriptive words to describe the sensory experience (“how does the bag feel?”): gooey, squishy, colorful, glowing, bright, dark, glittery, sparkly, etc
- Vocabulary words to talk about: bats, spiders, witches, eyeballs, snakes, witch, hat
- We read a few Halloween books later in the day and talked about the items we recognized from the sensory bags
- We sang the “Itsy Bitsy Spider” for a little added fun!
General tips for building language that go along with creating and playing with Sensory Bags:
- Work on sequencing and following directions:
- Let your child help you lay out the ingredients and follow the steps to make the bag. Let them make choices about what they want to put in and talk about the things they chose.
- Talk about the sensory experience:
- When the bag is done, let your child feel the bag and play with the bag. Ask them questions that allow them to tap into their senses. How does the bag feel? What do they see inside the bag?
- Choose items or themes of interest:
- Let your child pick out the theme or choose to do a mish-mosh of a bunch of things they like. You can also expose your child to new concepts they are learning about (letters, sounds, animals, colors, shapes, numbers, and the list goes on). These bags are great for building vocabulary!
- Extend the concepts across contexts:
- Sing songs, read books, and talk about real life examples of the concepts the sensory bags included to build background knowledge.
- For babies and toddlers, simply modify the above items to their ability level. This might look like: describing the bags to them using your senses and letting them explore the bags using theirs. Ask them questions about what they are experiencing and pause to allow them to respond (it’s ok if they don’t respond, you can always model what they could say after you pause).
(Note: Parent supervision needed at all times when making and playing with these bags, if you notice the bags tear, or leak, dispose of them immediately, use glow sticks at your own risk.)
Check out this awesome list from the “Sensory Processing 101” book on ideas for sensory bag/bottle fillers:
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