Back to School Shopping for Kids with Sensory Needs
Every year, I get excited for back to school shopping. There’s something about new pencils, notebooks, and clothes that I find refreshing and exhilarating. The start of the school year is the beginning of a new chapter for our family. It’s a chance to reset, start a new schedule and plan for an outstanding year. As a working mom of three, I don’t have much time to shop, so Amazon is a great way to explore all of our back to school options without leaving the house!
This year, our back to school shopping includes buying sensory tools for our kids to use at school. In the middle of the last school year, we created sensory bins for school and they helped our kids be successful during the day. This year, we wanted to start the year off with sensory bins to help our kids get school started on the right foot.
Here are my five go-to Back to School sensory items.
I remember being told to sit still in elementary school. I was always in trouble for moving around. Science has evolved a lot since I was a kid. We now know fidgeting can be a productive part of learning for kids because it helps keep their brains awake. I love a variety pack of fidget items. It gives my kids a lot of options for an affordable price. Some days my kids crave something bumpy, other days it’s something smooth or something that spins. Plus, the variety pack helps identify their favorites, so I can order a few extras from Amazon when we run out.
My kids need a lot of physical input. A lot. While at school, this comes in many forms like recess, sports, or cleaning. Sometimes they need physical input (often called heavy work) and playing outside or gym class isn’t an option. Therapy Putty is great because it comes with four levels of resistance, from extra soft to very difficult, and requires kids to put some effort into squishing and shaping it. This helps them get their energy out while remaining in the classroom listening and participating. A bonus is Therapy Putty helps build fine-motor skills which most kids can benefit from enhancing.
Sometimes when I am anxious or really need to focus, I like to chew gum or even the end of my pen. There is a reason for this. The mouth is actually a central part of keeping the nervous system organized and regulated. Enter chewlery. Chewable jewelry. We use chewlery because it is always accessible for chewing, is a fun accessory, and provides much needed input without drawing extra attention. I’d much rather have my kids chew on a necklace than the neck or sleeves of their clothes. We enjoy picking out cool shapes. Right now, shark tooth chewlery is very popular in our house.
Do you ever feel better after a hug or like the feeling of something heavy to keep you grounded? This is deep pressure input and it can be very centering and organizing for the brain. We love to use weighted blankets to help with sleep, so a weighted lap pad is a great classroom tool. We call this a hug blanket for our kids. It took some getting used to but now they ask for them. A lap pad can be stored in or under a desk for easy access. It could be draped over the back of the chair and offered throughout the day. I love the portability of a weighted lap pad so it can travel to art or music class easily. One tip is to make sure to choose a lap pad that has a fabric or texture your child likes.
Fidgeting feet. Toe tapping. My kid’s feet are always moving somewhere, even whenthey are supposed to be sitting still. Kick bands are an amazing solution because they allow kids to quietly bounce their feet and learn. It also provides resistance for them if they push against the band. It can also help prop up a child’s feet to be more comfortable. Because kick bands are relatively inexpensive, we were able to buy enough for the classroom so that my kids didn’t feel singled out sitting at a “special” chair. Kick bands easily slide over the legs of a chair, they are easy to move around.
When assembling our sensory bins, we’ve tried to make sure there are tools targeting each of the five senses. Hopefully, these extra tools get our kids started on the right path. Search Sensory Fidgets on Amazon to check out the thousands of options.
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