Thursday, January 14, 2016

DIY Chewable Zipper Pull

My six year old chews on absolutely everything. 

I repeat everything. 

In addition to doing lots of oral motor activities to provide him with the sensory input that he seeks, he uses a lot of chewable tools and necklaces. However, he has been chewing through the chewable necklaces at such an alarming rate that it was getting expensive. Even the ones described as extra extra tough for the most aggressive chewers couldn't last a week with him. I certainly couldn't be spending nearly $25 every week or two on a new chewable necklace for him.

The other issue that we have been facing with his avid chewing is chipped teeth. He regularly chews on his coat or sweater, specifically around the zipper area. And especially at school during recess. Not only was he wrecking the zipper teeth on his coats, but he chipped his front tooth. Thankfully it's a baby tooth, but still. 

We needed an inexpensive solution immediately.

Then one day his teacher suggested putting something on his zipper for him to chew on.

Wait. Why didn't I think of that?!

That night I tied one of his chewable necklaces to his zipper. I didn't dare cut the string because I still wanted to use the necklace as an actual necklace as well. So it wasn't pretty, but the tangled mess of string and the chew necklace on his zipper did the trick. But considering I couldn't find a reasonably priced chewable zipper pull to purchase that shipped here to Canada, it had to do.

Until he chewed on it so much that the string came untied and he lost the necklace in the snow. Thankfully it was located to avoid the meltdown that inevitably followed him losing it. 

Long story short, it was time to come up with an alternative. I had to make him a DIY chewable zipper pull.

DIY chewable zipper pull tutorial - perfect for older kids who chew on everything from And Next Comes L

The products featured in this post were sent to us, at my request, from Canadian DIY Supply, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own and were not influenced by the free products.

To solve our problem, I started searching online for silicone bead companies that shipped to Canada when I stumbled upon Canadian DIY Supply. I was instantly impressed with their selection of silicone beads. They literally had every shape, size, and color that I could imagine. It was a bit overwhelming at first. But the pricing was certainly right! I saw right away that I could purchase beads in bulk and it would be cheaper than replacing his chewable necklaces every other week.


Who is Canadian DIY Supply?

When I started reading more about the company, I discovered that one of the moms behind Canadian DIY Supply is also a mom of a child with autism. I just knew they would understand my current dilemma!

I asked Kelly-Ann and Cara to share more about how they started their company:

Kelly-Ann and Cara first began working creatively with silicone products when Cara's twelve month old daughter was diagnosed with autism.  Kelly-Ann has worked for years with children and teenagers who have different needs (FASD, autism, various genetic conditions), so she also quickly recognized the benefit that these products would have for so many of the people with whom she worked.  As sister-in-laws, they began an adventure of creating stylish and functional food grade silicone chewelry for children and teens with special specific sensory needs.  

They were excited when an opportunity arose to start supplying silicone products to customers just like themselves!  They belong to a tight-knit family who fully supported them and encouraged them to pursue their business dream.  They realized that having a DO-IT-YOURSELF avenue for customers was a great way for people to customize and personalize their products for specific needs, and at a much lower price! 

Currently, Cara's daughter, Tessa (2yrs), is in daily, intensive therapy (IBI).  She has made incredible gains since starting therapy, and the whole family loves watching her grow and bloom!  Both Kelly-Ann and Cara are so thankful for the incredible opportunities this business has given them to make a difference in practical ways!

Just look at some of the wonderful beads that they sent me! Gorgeous, right?

Silicone beads from Canadian DIY Supply from And Next Comes L

One of my favorite pieces that they sent is this black cookie necklace. When I first saw it on their website, I avoided it because in the past, my son just chewed off all of the texturey (yeah I made that word up) bits. But, much to my surprise, it has held up amazing. It is easily one of the top three toughest chewable necklaces that we have come across. So if you have an avid chewer, I highly recommend trying this cookie necklace. PS: Scroll down because I have a coupon code for you to use to save when ordering!

Cookie chewable necklace for kids from Canadian DIY Supply from And Next Comes L

How to Make a DIY Chewable Zipper Pull for Kids

I couldn't make just any ordinary chewable zipper pull. It had to meet certain conditions:

  1. It had to be easy to transfer from coat to coat.
  2. It couldn't contain any metal pieces. The only chewable zipper pull that I could find to order used a key ring. I knew my son would chew on that, so I vowed to make one without the key ring.
  3. The beads had to be replaceable for when (not if) he chews it beyond recognition.
  4. It had to be affordable.
It took a few tries, but I finally managed to come up with a beautiful design that met all of the above criteria. And more importantly, it has been holding up to the aggressive chewing!

DIY chewable zipper pull tutorial - perfect for older kids who chew on everything from And Next Comes L

Here's what you'll need to make a DIY chewable zipper pull:

STEP 1: Fold a piece of cord in half. Create a knot about 1.5-2" from the loop in the middle.

How to make a DIY chewable zipper pull for kids from And Next Comes L

STEP 2: Thread beads onto the cord.

How to make a DIY chewable zipper pull for kids from And Next Comes L

How to make a DIY chewable zipper pull for kids from And Next Comes L

STEP 3: Knot the cord multiple times after threading the last bead. It is important to knot multiple times because if you do not, then the cord can be pulled through the bead's holes if there is enough pressure.

How to make a DIY chewable zipper pull for kids from And Next Comes L

To attach the chewable zipper pull to the zipper, take the loop and loop it onto the zipper, threading the entire zipper pull through the looped cord. And that's it!

If you want to swap the beads for new ones, then simply unknot the ends and replace the beads. Or if you want to move the chewable zipper pull to a different coat or sweat, then simply unloop the loop from the zipper.

Save on Silicone Beads with a Coupon Code

I'm blown away by how durable these beads are. They're outperforming even the brand name extra extra tough chewable necklaces, which is fantastic! I want you to experience how wonderful their products are so pop over to Canadian DIY Supply and check out their amazing selection like these really neat alphabet beads (wouldn't they be perfect for hyperlexic kids!). But if your kids are chewing through necklaces and chew toys like my son is, then you definitely want to invest in the bulk beads!

Be sure to use the coupon code SENSORYDIY to save 10% off all orders. 

Please note that all orders on their website are processed in USD.

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DIY chewable zipper pull tutorial - perfect for older kids who chew on everything from And Next Comes L
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4 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness, I love the biscuit chewy - so fun! I think it's so wonderful that you're increasing awareness that for some kids this isn't a nervous habit that can be "broken," but is actually a sensory need that needs channeling and fulfilling. By giving children a chewy that they are allowed (and encouraged) to chew on, we can support their needs and avoid the issues about chewing things we'd rather not have chewed (sleeves, fingers, etc)

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    Replies
    1. Exactly! It is all about redirecting them to a suitable alternative to chew on.

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  2. This is such a great idea! My son is always chewing his zipper of shirt or hoodie strings. This is Sooo much better!

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