We found out a few months ago that our two year old has Sensory Processing Disorder. I’ve been doing a ton of research on this disorder and trying to incorporate sensory activities into our daily routine. Our OT calls this our “sensory diet” which basically means that we provide multiple sensory experiences throughout the day.
Like many disorders, kids with sensory processing difficulties fall in a wide spectrum from those who avoid sensory experiences to those who actively seek them out. Our son is a “seeker.” He is constantly on-the-go and can often be found climbing, running, tearing apart toys, and crashing into things. In order to provide the sensory input that his little body craves (and keep my house from being torn to shreds), we are slowly finding different activities to incorporate throughout the day.
Dinnertime: The Never-Ending Struggle
Dinnertime is a struggle at my house. Jack whines and clings to my leg, begging to be held (common for kids who want deep pressure input). I remember cooking dinner one-handed when he was a newborn and did not think that I would still be doing it two and a half years later. I tried the technology route, but his behaviors increased so we had to figure something else out. Cue the sensory bins!
The first bin we did looked like this. We found this awesome inflatable sensory bin and added water beads, sensory tools, and stretchy spiders leftover from Halloween. I know it is possible to use plastic tubs for the bins, but my son prefers soft over hard.
Storage & Clean-Up
I used this same bin for a few days, storing the water beads in a pitcher with a little water at night. I worried about balls flying everywhere, but was pleasantly surprised he did a pretty good job at keeping them in the bin. While some made their way under the stove, they shriveled up within a few days and I was able to vacuum them up with an attachment on my vacuum.
Once he started to get “wild” with the beads, I just added a new element to the mix. He loved putting the beads through the funnel into the glass.
My “Secret” Ingredient
Since we typically do sensory bins at night, I put a few drops of Plant Therapy’s Kid Safe Nighty Night essential oil in with the oils. His calmness and focus while playing after adding this secret sauce was amazing! PT is my favorite essential oil company. Their prices are great and the oils are quality. They also do independent testing on their products and have loads of information on their website.
I didn’t get a picture of it, but I also gave him an empty ice cube container to use. I tried getting him to separate out the colors, but he had ideas of his own. Being an only child, my son usually wants me to play with him. This bin kept him quietly entertained by himself while I made dinner all week long! I’m excited to find new things to add so it stays novel. I’d love to hear your ideas for adding to sensory bins. I’ll post some links below to comparable products on amazon in case it is helpful to anyone!