This year certainly had its challenges, but there were also some fantastic highlights. During sessions we had amazing breakthroughs, built beautiful relationships and supported children achieve some big goals!
Throughout the year, we have tired and tested lots of toys and resources. Here is a list of some of our favourites this year.
These bottles are fabulous! Made from sturdy plastic that can easily be wiped down, with silicone ends for an interesting tactile experience that also doubles as padding to ensure the plastic doesn’t crack if it is dropped. The silicone is also dishwasher safe! I love that these sensory bottles can be emptied and refilled over and over, allowing children to choose what items can be put inside building their creativity and problem solving skills.
“With our passion for inclusive children’s toys, we have collaborated with The Creative Toy Shop to bring our customers a unique sensory bottle for focused, calm play. Sensory bottles have been used by parents, teachers and therapists to help children self-regulate their breathing and improve their focus.”
Make at home option: Use an empty plastic water bottle, fill with assorted craft items (glitter, sequins, pom poms, etc), and top up with water. Make sure you seal the lid on tight with tape, glue or liquid nails!
A great alternative to playdough or kinetic sand is this stretchy sensory sand. I especially love that this product doesn’t leave a sticky mess on your hands or surfaces, making cleanup a breeze. Playing with these types of products is a great way to build finger strength and build dexterity which is especially important for writing.
“This Stretchy Sensory Sand is similar in texture to kinetic sand, only it’s stretchy! Amazingly sensory, fun and slightly addictive. If you love air dry clay, kinetic sand and similar sensory textural experiences you’re going to love this! To us it feels like a combination of sand and bubble gum! It feels like it should leave residue on your hands, but it doesn’t! “
Make at home option: This particular product is a bit tricky to make at home, but I did find a great recipe to make your own kinetic sand here.
Who doesn’t love bubbles?! When watching bubbles, children are scanning their surroundings which is an important pre-reading skill. Add in the benefit of taking a deep breath to blow the bubbles, which helps with self regulation and the hand eye coordination that is needed to pop or catch them, means that playing with bubbles helps build some great skills!
“Blow super strong bubbles that don’t pop even when touched. A bubble break through!”
Make at home option: I’ve tried and tested this recipe and it worked out really well!
If you have a child in your life that has high anxiety or could be considered a perfectionist, this is the book for you!
“A life lesson that all parents want their children to learn: It’s OK to make a mistake. In fact, hooray for mistakes. A mistake is an adventure in creativity, a portal of discovery. A spill doesn’t ruin a drawing-not when it becomes the shape of a goofy animal. And an accidental tear in your paper? Don’t be upset about it when you can turn it into the roaring mouth of an alligator.”
Make at home option: Watch the read aloud video of the Beautiful OOPS! book and make your own! Create mistakes using paper and channel your creativity into making it something new.