Valentine’s Day Fine Motor and Sensory Fun

Happy Valentine’s Day, everybody! I did things for my children today that they didn’t notice such as make their homemade chocolate chip pancakes this morning into the the shape of hearts, but hey- I won’t keep score.

In the spirit of continued festive fun, we did some home-made fine motor and sensory bin activities because if you know me, you know I love a theme. Here’s what we were up to today……….

Stickers

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Fine Motor Benefits;

– practice pincer grasp

– bilateral coordination

– spatial awareness

– hand strength

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Language Benefits:

– prepositions

– noun and action vocabulary

– requesting

– descriptive vocabulary

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Water Sponges

Ok, these little gems have been around forever. They’re sponges in a disintegrating capsule that emerge into different shapes when you put them in water. *Here’s a shopping tip! These are at the Dollar Tree pretty much all the time- vehicles, animals, etc. BUT, if you shop the dollar bins at Target, they also sell them seasonally to match each holiday for just $1 also. Halloween, Valentine’s, etc. So, naturally we did Valentine’s sponges on Valentine’s Day.

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All you need to prep is a bowl of warm water (they don’t open up in cold water, p.s.). I added a couple of drops of red food dye to make the water festive.

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The sponge capsules come in different colors so you can use color vocabulary to request or identify each one before giving it to your child. Also, I like this activity for executive functioning practice because waiting for the sponges to emerge takes patience and impulse control.

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Word of caution: Your mischievous daughter may sneak attack the sponge bowl and dunk her peacock.

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A couple of minutes later, you get a dozen festive sponges! They don’t last long but will make it long enough to be bathtub toys for the evening. It’s at least worth a dollar as something new and different to do.

Tactile Sensory Bin

Benefits of Tactile Exploration:

Promotes a healthy tactile system which is necessary for…..

– feeling pain

– gauging temperature

– decreasing distractions from the environment

– playing easily with peers

– tolerating input from activities of daily living

– understanding and using new language to describe senses and feelings

Here’s How I Made My Bin:

First, I had to dye some noodles red. For that you need…..

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Food coloring and a box of pasta (I used the gluten-free box in the back of the pantry nobody ever wants to eat).

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Hydrogen Peroxide.

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Mix about 1/4 to 1/2 a cup of hydrogen peroxide in a bag with the box of pasta along with 10-20 drops of food coloring. I added all the liquid first and then the noodles, and mixed it all up by squeezing the bag around. The longer you leave the bag to mix, the more saturated your color will become. When you’re satisfied with the color, take the pasta out to dry. Don’t be like me and put it on paper towels because then the noodles just stick to the towels and you sit on your kitchen floor 30 minutes picking them off.

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I added in some other textures for us to explore. The pasta had ridges and was rough. The stones (they’re the decorative bags of aquarium or vase filling stones- $1 each) were smooth, and the candy conversation hearts were chalky.

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I also added in Valentine’s cookie cutters to mix, pour, shake, and sift the sensory contents through. Also, I felt like I needed to do something with them because instead of baking Valentine’s treats, I maybe bought Little Debbie ones instead……

*Another shopping tip: Wal-Mart always has sets of holiday cookie cutters (which you can paint with or play with play dough with if you’re like me and don’t bake) in the seasonal aisles they rotate through for $1.50. You can’t lose.

I also threw in those sponges we did.

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Ready, set, and……………..healthy sensory processing GO!

Take That, Valentine’s Day!