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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Sensory Sock Manipulatives

I spent some time sewing this week making "sensory sock" bean bags that can be used in a variety of ways. They are made out of socks filled with  either- sand, popcorn or lentils. (you can use many other materials including marbles, pennies, beans etc. )

These bean bags feel really nice and of course can be used in toss activities. But I thought it would be interesting to create  a manipulation activity using these familiar and inviting materials.

The kids I work with are too young to expect to  close buttons or snaps. However, one girl opened the snaps and another opened a knot. These are the first steps to learning how to manipulate fasteners- watching me do it in a fun way....

The blue towel shown in the photo and video has pockets sewn onto them. I bought the pockets at a dollar store, but I can't remember exactly what they were, maybe potholders.

I can position the towel close in front of the child or higher on the mane to make the child reach during insertion tasks. When I place the towel behind on the horse's croup the child (and the child is facing forwards) has to rotate to place objects inside the pockets. Positioning the child to face sideways works on different postural stability and balance skills- while reaching for and inserting the socks.

I also  teach color identification or directionality concepts when I tell the child to place the socks or toys in the red or blue, left or right pockets. I  worked on matching skills when I asked the children to help me find matching color socks to connect before putting the materials away. (I did all the connecting manipulations).

Using these long and awkward socks is great for encouraging children to use both hands.   So if you don't want to spend time sewing, try using these "sensory sock" activities during simple placement or tossing tasks

If you don't have a horse available- try adapting these activities to perform while sitting on a bolster swing-placing the towel in front of or behind the child. Reinforce with a little movement as needed during the task and then lots of movement when compelted.

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