5 Surprising Sensory Activities to Help Picky Eaters Please welcome Alisha Grogan MOT, OTR/L from…
Patriotic Foam Sensory Activity
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The 4th of July holiday is right around the corner and we couldn’t be more thrilled! I love this time of year because it reminds me of breakfast in the canyons, parades, fireworks, long summer days, warm weather, family parties, and it gives us a chance to celebrate America’s Independence Day.
If you are like me, I get excited, even giddy, about watching the beautiful firework show over a lake near our house while roasting hot dogs and s’mores on the fire. It’s one of my favorite and most memorable pastimes. However, the 4th of July can also be pretty crazy with the endless noise and number of activities going on throughout the day. Even the most energetic kids are probably worn out by the time fireworks are about to begin, and if you haven’t experienced at least one meltdown throughout the day, you are probably considering yourself lucky.
Some children, especially those who struggle with bright light and loud noises, receive too much sensory input on the 4th of July and parents have to be careful about the activities they plan for their families. Any child struggling with sensory issues could find the firework show, parade and large crowds so overwhelming that it causes anxiety, tantrums and even heightens fears. But, if you already know your child may struggle with this on that day, never fear, there are great ways to help your child cope and there are other fun alternatives to make the day special.
Fun Firework Alternative
If you are worried about your child on the 4th of July and would like to avoid fireworks completely, we have a really fun sensory activity for your kids to try that still captures the spirit of the holiday. As you know, we love activities that get kids to use their senses (called sensory play). It allows kids to be creative, use their hands to develop their fine motor skills, and not only develops their cognitive development, but also their descriptive and expressive language. But we will get into that later. Let’s have some fun!
Patriotic Foam Painting
We are going let our kids get messy today! It’s easy, fun and will keep your kids entertained for hours. Here are some of the items you will need:
- Whip Cream
- Food Coloring
- Popsicle sticks (optional)
- Spatula (optional)
- Cookie sheet (optional)
- Water bucket (optional)
Warning: If you don’t want your kids to get too dirty, you will want to dress them in worn out clothes or put an apron on them.
If you aren’t using a cookie sheet, find a kids table or a hard surface that you don’t mind getting messy.
Slop two big old spoonfuls of whip cream next to each other on the table and put a few drops of blue food coloring in one blob and a few drops of red food coloring in the other blob.
Then, let your child go to town with the whip cream: mixing it, putting their fingers through it, swirling it around with the Popsicle sticks or spatula, or let them make pictures or art with their hands.
The red and blue are of course to put a patriotic spin to your activity and the whip cream is so your kids can eat it if they put it in their mouth. You can also use shaving cream, which is foamier, but we find too many kids want to put the foam in their mouth so making it edible is a better option.
To make it festive and fun for the holiday, have them draw fireworks in the whip cream like in the picture above or they can even practice their spelling by writing out “Happy 4th of July!”
When they run out of the first spoonfuls, add some more until it is all gone. When they are finished, you can have a bucket of water ready for them to dip their hands in or you can quickly rush them to the kitchen sink.
There are many sensory benefits that come from these types of activities, but here are just a few to remember why your kids are learning while playing.
Sensory play builds:
- Descriptive and expressive language – kids can use this activity to describe the way it feels: slimy, squishy, melting, delicious, colorful
- Social and emotional development – engages kids with their friends and peers, boosts confidence, calms the mind and body
- Fine Motor skills – allows kids to strengthen their hands and fingers for holding pencils, writing letters, tying their shoes, throwing a ball
- Cognitive development – blue and red mixed together make purple, and using both the right and left hands builds a stronger, more balanced brain for learning
We hope you all have a fun and safe 4th of July holiday!
Integrated Learning Strategies is a Utah-based center dedicated to helping mainstream children and children with learning challenges achieve academic success. Our services provide kids with non-traditional tutoring programs within the Davis County, Kaysville, Layton, Syracuse, Farmington, and Centerville areas. Areas to find Integrated Learning Strategies include: Reading tutors in Kaysville, Math tutors in Kaysville, Common Core Tutors in Kaysville, Tutors in Utah, Utah Tutoring Programs