Thursday, March 25, 2010

Sensory Exploration for Speech and Fine-Motor Skills

This afternoon, John Michael's speech therapist brought over 4 bags of dried beans and filled a large bowl with small rubber cars, boats, trains, fire trucks and airplanes in various bright colors. The idea was to have him find the toys and make specific sounds associated with each. For example, fire truck was "wa-oooo wa-oooo", boat was "toot toot toot", car was "voom voom voom", train was "choo choo choo" and airplane was "ma ma ma ma..." The goal was to get him to string more than two syllables together in succession. Rather than just saying "choo choo" for train, she tried to get him to elongate his sounds and string more syllables (at least three) together.

He enjoyed the activity for about 15 minutes and then was "all done."

She left the beans for us to play with another time.  Feeling inspired, we took the bowl outside and worked on scooping. At first I gave John Michael some small measuring cups to scoop and transfer, but after a while, more ended up on the patio than I'd hoped. So, I came up with another idea... to put another container inside the bigger bowl and give him smaller tools to work with. A small medicine cup and a medicine spoon worked well for scooping and transferring into the smaller container and was a lot less messy. He stayed with this for almost 30 minutes.

Another fun sensory exploration tub to make is colorful rainbow rice. I've made colored rice before, but this blogger, Pink and Green Mama, shows how to make it much prettier (and cleaner) than mine. She suggests adding Purell to set the color.  I love her blog for art ideas. Most of the ideas I use for my older kids, but this one struck me as something easy we can do for our kiddos at this particular age. Of course, if your child still puts everything in their mouth, I'd hold off on this for now. I've also put colored rice in a clear water bottle and filled it with small things (pennies, dice, beads, etc) for a "Find It" type activity.
Posted by Picasa


  1. What a great activity! I think I'm going to do it with Landon next week since we are going back to rain....Down syndrome or not, that is fun for any little one....and indoor friendly!

  2. I've actually put Sheridan inside a giant tub (think garage storage bins) filled part way with lentils. He loves the sensory feedback (on hands, legs, feet, toes) and loves digging around to find things. And he loves scooping, too. The benefit of the big container is everything stays in - but it's a big thing to store. I love your ideas about the smaller bowls, etc. There's something magical about dried beans :)

  3. There is a little boy in the park that looks JUST like JM. Maybe about 6 months younger, but they've got the same little blondie head, the same delicious cheeks, similar head shape. Idk, I just totally see a baby JM when I look at this little muffin!

  4. Fun pictures! Kayla still loves playing with what we call the 'bean bucket'! :)