What’s in Your Sensory Bin?
Every now and again we all need breaks. Time to take a deep breath, focus our attention, or switch gears in our brain. These are some of the sensory tools I’ve kept handy for when students in my class need to take a break. Below I’ve linked to some similar products:
like a small stuffed animal or blanket
you can sometimes find good sturdy ones at the dollar store, but they are often light up which can be very distracting
Flexible Rubber Chair Foot Fidget – Great for fidgety feet!
OTHER FIDGET TOOLS
Paper & Pencil
Sensory Items that May Require Parent, School or Pediatrician Consent
Noise Muffler Headphones
Something to keep in mind when searching for headphones to help your noise sensitive child- If they are noise canceling make sure your child is only wearing them in controlled environments with supervision. Some headphones truly cancel out sound and that can be dangerous. If a child wears noise cancellation headphones consistently throughout the day they may become dependent and even more disturbed by sounds when not wearing headphones. I have seen sound muffling headphones to be successful when used in small bursts on an as needed basis (when you know there will be a fire drill, child will be in a large crowd with adult supervision or child needs to focus on piece of work and surrounding noise is distracting them from being successful).
I chose the headphones linked above because they muffle sound, helping to lower sound distractions/disturbance, but still allowing a child to hear loud noises, just at a lower volume. If you have further questions or concerns I suggest you do some research to decide for yourself what is best for your child. If your child works with an occupational therapist they would be a great resource to learn more about headphones, the different types and appropriate usage for your child.
When I was teaching TK in California I had a couple of students over the years that really benefited from weighted compression vests. Parents had to give consent and I was required to log the time the child was wearing the vest. The vest linked is just like the one I used in my classroom and children felt like they were being hugged. The compression and weight tended to make them less anxious and seek out less sensory stimulation, which allowed them to focus better. I also noticed that when they were wearing the vest they had better emotional regulation. Every child is different and you should always check with parents and your school administration before implementing a sensory tool like this with a student.
Chew necklace or tool
Chewing can help calm and de-stress some students, which helps them focus. If a student consistently seeks out oral stimulation (chewing holes in clothes, putting unsafe or inappropriate things in their mouth) I have reached out to parents about trying a chew necklace. Click here to read parent reviews, research and see more chew products for children.
What are some sensory tools you use at home or in your classroom? I’m always looking for new things to try with students or suggest to families!
Check out sensory bin and play inspiration on the Valley of the Moon Learning Sensory Pinterest board
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