Tuesday, January 16, 2018

50 Sensory Diet Activities

When raising autistic kids or kids with sensory processing disorder, you often hear the phrase sensory diet mentioned. You know that incorporating sensory diet activities into your child's day makes a huge difference in their day-to-day life. Or at least I know we have!

Yet, it can be tricky to fit all the sensory activities your child needs into their day or even trickier to find the right sensory diet activities for your child.

This list of 50 easy sensory diet activities, however, will show you that you don't need to pick complicated activities and that many of the daily activities you likely already do, fit the bill for a good sensory diet activity.

List of 50 easy sensory diet activities for kids from And Next Comes L

This post contains affiliate links.

List of 50 Easy Sensory Diet Activities

Finding sensory diet activities shouldn't be complicated or use a lot of fancy materials. In fact, most of these activities are things you either already do at home or they are easy enough to do right at home with materials you have on hand. Yes, these are sensory diet activities for home!

And even if you have little ones at home, most of these activities are the perfect sensory diet activities for toddlers too!

This list of activities includes activities to provide all types of sensory input. From vestibular and proprioceptive to oral motor and auditory, this list is a great starting point to help your child get the sensory input they need.

1. Swing

Sensory swing

2. Roll like a log, in a blanket like a burrito, or down a hill

3. Hang upside down off of a couch or monkey bars

4. Ride a bike, scooter, or similar

5. Walk across a balance beam, stand on a balance board, or stand on a balance cushion

6. Spin

7. Do a handstand

8. Sit on something wobbly like a wobble stool, exercise ball, or balance cushion

9. Jump on a trampoline, bed, cushions, or similar

10. Hop like a kangaroo or using a hopper ball

11. Finger paint

12. Play with scented dough, sensory bin fillers, or similar

13. Draw with scented markers

14. Play with a sensory bin

Soap foam sensory bin

15. Get a massage

16. Listen to music, audiobooks, or nature sounds

17. Make a sensory path or walkway

18. Climb through a sensory tunnel

19. Bake cookies or bread

20. Brush skin

21. Play with textured balls

23. Rock in a rocking chair

24. Play auditory hide and seek with a musical toy

26. Crash into a crash mat or pile of pillows
27. Wear tight or snug fitting clothing like compression clothes or pressure vest

28. Blow bubbles in water using as straw

29. Sit with a weighted blanket or cushion across your lap or use a weighted vest

30. Play and knead play dough, putty, slime, or similar

31. Take a shower or a bath

32. Chew gum

33. Rub on scented lotion
34. Blow bubbles

blowing bubbles

35. Do animal walks

36. Go on a sound scavenger hunt
37. Do yoga

38. Climb into a body sock

Playing with a body sock

39. Go swimming

40. Blow dandelions, pinwheels, or a small instrument like a whistle or harmonica

42. Look at sensory bottles, lava lamps, kaleidoscope, or similar

43. Climb a tree, or on a ladder, rope ladder, rock wall, playground equipment, or similar

44. Take a scented bubble bath

46. Sleep with stretchy bed sheets

48. Play in the dark with flashlights or glow sticks

50. Lay on an exercise ball or have someone roll it across your body

Other Sensory Diet Resources You'll Love

List of 50 easy sensory diet activities for kids from And Next Comes L
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Friday, January 12, 2018

Free Calm Down Kit Printables

Teaching your child calming strategies is so important. It helps them self-regulate, manage big emotions, and reduce stress and anxiety. One way to help young children learn coping skills is to create a calm down kit for kids.

Really anything can be put in a calm down kit, but this list of free calm down kit printables will make putting together a calm down kit for your kids a breeze.

Free printable calming strategies resources to help you put together a calm down kit for kids from And Next Comes L

Free Printables to Help You Plan Out Your Calm Down Kit for Kids

When making a homemade calming kit for kids, it can be tough to decide what to put in it. It's important to consider your child's interests, as well as their sensory preferences when putting together a calm down bin for them. Thankfully, there are these free printables to help you plan out what to put in a calm down anxiety kit for kids.

1. List of Things to Put in a Calm Down Kit for Kids

2. List of Things to Put in a Calm Down Kit for Older Kids

Free Printables to Put in Your Calm Down Kit for Kids

There are lots of different things you can put in your homemade calm down kit for kids. While fidgets and chewies are a must, many kids benefit from having visual supports to help them self-regulate and calm down. These free printable calming strategies resources make the perfect addition to any calm down kit!

4. Calming Strategies Pack from Kori at Home

5. Relaxation Prompts for Kids from The Chaos & The Clutter

6. Calm Down Tools Mini Book from The Mommy View at Views from a Step Stool

7. Breathing Exercises Cards for Kids from Childhood 101

8. Coping Skills Cards from Littles, Life, & Laughter

9. Deep Breathing Printables from Coping Skills for Kids

Free Printable Posters to Put Up in Your Calm Down Area

Having a dedicated calm down area in your house (or classroom if you are a teacher) is a wonderful idea. It gives your children a perfect place to retreat too when they are feeling anxious or overwhelmed. Don't have a calm down area set up yet? Check out these tips for setting up a calm down corner for kids.

1. 9 Calm Down Ideas Poster from Childhood 101

2. Take 5 Breathing Poster from Childhood 101

3. Managing Big Emotions Poster from Childhood 101

Other Ideas You'll Love

Homemade Calm Down Kits for Kids

Calm & Focused DIY Essential Oil Blend

Christmas Calm Down Kit for Kids

Free printable calming strategies resources to help you put together a calm down kit for kids from And Next Comes L
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Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Needs of the Hyperlexic Child

When it comes to hyperlexic children, there are a variety of concerns and issues that need to be addressed. From language difficulties to social skills issues, your hyperlexic child has a complex list of needs that you, as a parent, can help them with. In particular, I have come up with a list of seven specific needs that hyperlexic children have.

A look at the specific needs of the hyperlexic child from And Next Comes L

The Specific Needs of the Hyperlexic Child

1. Your hyperlexic child needs you to learn about and understand what hyperlexia is

One of the most important things you can do for your child is to learn all you can about hyperlexia. The more you know and understand about hyperlexia, the better you can help your child flourish and the better you can advocate for your child.

While I admit there isn't a plethora of information available, I have tried my best to collect and share as much as I can here on my little old blog. Here are some resources I suggest you check out:

2. Your hyperlexic child needs extra time to process verbal requests

Verbal information is hard for these kids, especially if WH questions are involved. So be sure to give your child extra time to process what they have heard. Pause and wait for them to respond on their own time.

Or better yet, make sure you have their attention before you tell them something. It can be something as simple as touching their shoulder to gain their attention or as simple as saying "I need you to listen to my request."

3. Your hyperlexic child needs visual supports and written instructions

When it comes to your hyperlexic child, the golden rule is this: if it isn't written, it may not exist. I particularly love this quote from this hyperlexia pamphlet:

"Children may find it easier to attend to, and grasp language information that they see, better than that which they listen to."

Using things like written scripts or a visual schedule can have a tremendous impact on your child's success at home or at school. Having a whiteboard in your child's bedroom or elsewhere in your house can also be an extremely useful tool! You can write to do lists and checklists for your child on the fly to help them be more successful at accomplishing day-to-day tasks.

The bottom line is to use their strengths to their advantage. If they can read, why not use it to teach them other things?

4. Your hyperlexic child needs help with comprehension, WH questions, and communication

Hyperlexic children have problems processing language, expressing themselves, and comprehending words and emotions of others, just to name a few. Working with a speech pathologist is your best bet to helping you tackle these language issues! But here are a few resources and printables that you might find helpful:

5. Your hyperlexic child needs specific accommodations at home and in the classroom in order to be successful

Many hyperlexic children struggle with transitions, pronoun reversals, social skills, and so much more! They will need specific accommodations in place both at home and in the classroom in order for them to be successful. You can see five examples, along with some strategies to try, for five everyday tasks here.

As for the classroom, you can find a great list of classroom strategies and accommodations here.

6. Your hyperlexic child needs direct social skill teaching

Perhaps you have noticed that your child is slightly awkward when it comes to social situations. Sometimes they are unsure of how to act or respond and that can be due, in part, to their language difficulties. As this hyperlexia pamphlet describes:

"Children with hyperlexia have unusual or different responses and have difficulty developing the essential skills for interacting quickly and appropriately with peers and adults."

As a result, these children need to be taught social skills directly through modeling, role playing, rehearsing scripted exchanges, and so on. Here are some useful resources on teaching social skills:

7. Your hyperlexic child needs you to respect and follow their interests

This one is the most important, in my opinion. Hyperlexic children have intense fascinations with various things, usually letters, and you should use those interests to connect with your child. Do not discourage their interests, unless of course someone or something is being harmed. Otherwise, embrace their interests.

I find that my son's intense fascinations are a way for him to self-regulate. Just something to consider when it comes to these interests of hyperlexic children.

Other Ideas You'll Love

Hyperlexia & Hypernumeracy Resources

This is Hyperlexia {Our Story}

More Posts in the ABCs of Hyperlexia Series

A look at the specific needs of the hyperlexic child from And Next Comes L
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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Dragon Themed I Spy Game {Free Printable for Kids}

My kids love my free I spy printables and this dragon themed one is no exception! With cute colorful dragons, the kids love counting to see which one has the most. I'm not going to tell you which one it is though...your kids will have to figure that out themselves!

Free dragon themed I Spy game for kids from And Next Comes L

The Benefits of I Spy Games for Kids

I Spy printables like this dragon themed one are great for providing visual sensory input to kids, making them a great choice for visual sensory seekers. They also help develop a child's visual tracking ability and improve visual discrimination. This printable requires kids to visually scan through the objects and find ones that are the same.

Playing I Spy with your kids is also a great way to improve speech, language, vocabulary, and comprehension skills. I've discussed how playing I Spy games with kids can improve comprehension in kids with autism and hyperlexia before.

These types of I Spy games also encourage math learning by asking kids to count how many of each object they find.

Download the Free Printable Dragon Themed I Spy Game

This printable includes one I Spy game sheet and one answer sheet to record the number of objects found. The answer sheet uses the written word as well as an image of the object to search for to help improve comprehension - something kids with hyperlexia struggle with.

Other Ideas You'll Love

More Free Printable I Spy Games for Kids

I Spy Bundle Packs

Free Printable Dragons Themed Barrier Game
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Tuesday, January 09, 2018

50 Outdoor Winter Activities for Kids

While it's nice to stay warm and play indoors, winter is simply way too long here in the Canadian prairies to do so every single day! We have no choice but to bundle up and head outdoors, even when it's so cold you cannot feel your face.

Sadly, when I look up list of winter bucket lists for kids, the lists tend to focus primarily on indoor activities, which is great and all, but where is the list of outdoor play ideas?

When you can't find what you are looking for, one must come up with their own list, no? Well, that's what I did. 

You're going to love this list of 50 fun and inexpensive outdoor things to do this winter with your kids!

The ultimate outdoor winter bucket list! 50 fun outdoor winter activities to do with kids from And Next Comes L

Outdoor Winter Bucket List for Kids: 50 Fun & Inexpensive Things to do Outdoors this Winter with Your Kids

Over Christmas we faced about 10 days straight of -40 C weather. It was awful! By the time the deep freeze was over, the kids were so wiggly and squirmy from being cooped up in the house for days. They needed outside!

Thankfully, there's lots of wonderful and simple ways to enjoy the winter outdoors on this list of 50 outdoor winter activities for kids.

The ultimate outdoor winter bucket list! 50 fun outdoor winter activities to do with kids from And Next Comes L

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DIY Gift Idea: Perler Bead Coasters

My kids are obsessed with perler bead crafts and these homemade perler bead coasters are the perfect example of some of the DIY gifts that they can make all on their own. Next they want to try combining some more complex designs, such as our Mario perler bead designs, with these DIY perler bead coasters. Maybe for the next gift-giving occasion...

Perler bead craft idea for kids: make a DIY perler bead coaster set from And Next Comes L

DIY Gift Idea: Let the Kids Make Perler Bead Coasters!

These kid-made perler bead coasters are the perfect homemade gift idea! They're easy to make and can be virtually any color and design your child can come up with. I kind of like the checkerboard style ones, personally.

The kids will love making them for their parents or grandparents as a Christmas gift, a birthday gift, or a just-because gift.

Or it's a good way to use up the colors of perler beads the kids rarely touch!

Regardless, this perler bead coaster craft for kids is so simple, but will require a bit of help from some grown-ups to melt and fuse the beads.

Perler bead craft idea for kids: make a DIY perler bead coaster set from And Next Comes L

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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

5 Things to Know About the Kid Who Chews on Everything

I often find myself repeating the phrase, "Don't chew on that. Find a chewy instead."

That's because, even at age 8, J still chews on everything.

Absolutely everything.

His coats, sweaters, and the zippers on them end up taking the most abuse. And it really would be nice to have those coats and sweaters last long enough for K to wear them in a couple of years...A girl can dream, right?

Ugh and then there's winter...he chews on the collar of his jacket. It gets wet. It rubs his cheeks while he plays outside in minus -20C or colder temperatures. His face gets chapped. It's awful!

And our winters are long and cold!

See, J is an aggressive chewer and has chewed through more chew necklaces than I care to admit. So we're always on the lookout for other durable options for him.

Options that will save his teeth (and his coats and his cheeks!) from damage.

But there's a reason he chews on everything and I want you know those reasons why. Perhaps you have a child that chews on absolutely everything too and you are struggling to understand why yourself.

Well, here are 5 things I want you know to know about the kid who chews on everything.

5 things to know about the kid who chews on everything from And Next Comes L

This post is sponsored by Chewigem Canada. That means they sent me some amazing goodies to put to the ultimate chew test by my son J. I only ever accept paid work from companies and products that we would truly benefit from and love! See my honest reviews below. All opinions are my own.

5 Things to Know About the Kid Who Chews on Everything

1. Offering foods of a variety of textures can reduce the need to chew

Incorporating a variety of textures in your child's mealtimes and snacktimes can drastically reduce the need to chew on non-food items. For instance, foods with chewy textures like beef jerky, dried berries, fruit leather, or bagels provide lots of deep pressure and resistance to the jaw. Crunchy foods like nuts, pretzels, or carrots can also work wonders too! You can see more ideas here.

I always try to include chewy and crunchy foods into every meal and snack to help J get the sensory input he needs, which brings me to point two.

2. Chewing is a sensory need

Kids who chew on everything do it because they need oral motor sensory input. They crave the deep pressure that chewing provides to their gums. They basically use chewing as a way to cope and self-regulate. It can help them stay focused too!

3. They can benefit from heavy work activities to help calm their bodies

The deep pressure that chewing provides to the gums also provides proprioceptive input, which calms children's bodies and helps them self-regulate. By offering more heavy work style activities around the house or in the classroom, you can also help cut down on the frequency of the chewing.

Need some heavy work ideas? Try this list of 50 heavy work activities for kids.

4. The need to chew can point to your child's stress/anxiety levels

With J, we know he chews more when he is anxious about something or when he needs help focusing on a task. For him, an increase in chewing is related to his stress and anxiety levels, which can actually be the case for many kids.

So take the time to dig deep and figure out why your child may be chewing and see if you can discover any patterns.

One really cool new product from Chewigem are these Chewmojis. They're so new that they're not even on their website yet! 

They include four double-sided chewies with facial expressions to encourage kids to think about their emotions while they chew. The kids thought these were really awesome! The chews themselves are thick and durable so they'll easily withstand heavy, aggressive chewing from the likes of kids like J. I do find the overall size a bit bulky, but I think they would make a wonderful addition to a calm down box at home or in the classroom.

Chewmojis from Chewigem

Chewmojis from Chewigem

Chewmojis from Chewigem

5. They need a safe alternative to chew on

Finally, and perhaps the most imporant, these kids need safe options to chew on.

I know I have caught J chewing a lot of unexpected items like LEGO bricks or puzzle pieces. He'll basically chew on whatever is close by and handy. For this reason, we like to leave chewies accessible in nearly every room in our house, as well as on his coats and sweaters.

Chewigem has lots of wonderful options to "chews" from - see what I did there? - but I'm going to show you our favorites!

Right away J gravitated to this tie dye hexichew. It's huge, thick, and offers a variety of textures and edges to chew on. It's a definite winner in our house! He sometimes likes to cram multiple points of the hexichew into his mouth at once...or maybe my husband challenged him to see how many he could fit...haha

Hexichew from Chewigem

Hexichew from Chewigem

However, I think I was most excited for Chewigem's zipper pull "Toggle Boards." I had to make sure Chewigem gave us one to try out. We've got to save those coats and sweaters after all! Besides, J's need to chew on his coats is unmanageable most days. So having the chewable zipper pull handy is really beneficial to him (and to my sanity)!

Toggle board chewable zipper pull from Chewigem

Toggle board chewable zipper pull from Chewigem

Of course, there is also a huge selection of chewable necklaces and bangle bracelets to try.

I really like the thickness of the disc chews (pictured on the left) while K really liked the flexibility of the realm ring necklaces. He particularly loves cramming it entirely into his mouth! As a bonus, he discovered it fits perfectly inside the tread bangles (not pictured) to make a "real tire" as he calls it. Another fun surprise is that the disc chew Chewigem sent us glows in the dark. That means I can toss it in my gigantic purse and still have hopes of finding it!

Chewigem necklaces for kids who chew on everything from And Next Comes L

Chewigem Cyber Monday Sale 

With Cyber Monday coming up, now is your chance to scoop up some of the wonderful Chewigem products featured above and save 20% (applies to both Chewigem Canada and Chewigem USA)! Chewigem would make a great stocking stuffer for those kids on your list who need to chew on everything. Pop on over and let them know Dyan sent you!

Oh and if you notice the string in the picture below is caught on K's ear, it's on purpose. He wanted it like that for his photoshoot! What a character!

5 things to know about the kid who chews on everything from And Next Comes L
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