Friday, February 14, 2020

Free Neurodiversity Ebooks

Looking for books on neurodiversity and autism? Then you'll definitely want to check out these two free neurodiversity ebooks!

Two things I love in this world are: free things and books.

So, in my eyes, it doesn't get any better than free books.

And when those said free books are jam packed with information about autism and neurodiversity straight from actually autistic people, I'm like yes, please! After all, there's no better way to learn about autism than from actually autistic people themselves.

That's why I'm excited to share these free neurodiversity books. They would be great to read any time of the year, but especially as we get closer and closer to Autism Acceptance Month.

Free ebooks on neurodiversity and autism

Two Neurodiversity Ebooks that are Completely Free!

These two books about neurodiversity are totally worth the read, I promise. Whether you are new to the concept of neurodiversity or already familiar with it, you'll definitely want to grab a copy of these books to read and share.

1. Respectfully Connected: Journeys in Parenting, Autism and Neurodiversity

Edited by Leia Solo and Michelle Sutton

A collection of essays from the Respectfully Connected blog compiled into one book. A majority of the contributors are autistic themselves, offering great insight into autism directly from autistic writers themselves. Here are the topics covered in this book:

  • Identification
  • Humanity
  • Diversity
  • Support
  • Advocacy
  • Freedom
  • Family
  • Acceptance

2. Autistic Community and the Neurodiversity Movement: Stories from the Frontline

Edited by Steven K. Kapp

This open access book is available as a PDF or in epub format and goes over the history of the autism rights branch of the neurodiversity movement. It offers first-person accounts while introducing you to the neurodiversity movement.

This three part book covers the following topics:

  • Gaining Community
  • Getting Heard
  • Entering the Establishment?

Other Neurodiversity Book Lists You'll Love

Best Books About Autism

Best Books About ADHD

Problematic Autism Books

Free ebooks about neurodiversity and autism
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Thursday, February 13, 2020

Free Social Stories About a New Baby

A collection of free social stories about becoming a big brother or big sister and having a new baby in the family, a teacher being pregnant, and more!

I'll preface this by saying I'm not pregnant just in case anyone I know reads this and is like whaaaat?

But I do remember how hard the transition was for J when we first brought K home.

A social story like one of these below definitely could have helped prepare him for what to expect, even if he was just shy of age two at the time.

So if you're expecting a baby and want to prepare your autistic child for the transition to this big change, then you'll love these free new baby social stories for kids.

Printable social story new baby in the family

Free Printable Social Stories: New Baby, Pregnancy, My Teacher is Having a Baby, & More

Below you will find a wide variety of free printable new baby social stories. Everything from my teacher is pregnant to becoming a big brother or sister, there's a variety of ways this topic can be presented in day to day life.

Most of these, unfortunately, use clipart instead of real photos. But, remember, you can always use these stories as inspiration for writing your own to suit your needs.

Some of these social stories require you to have a Teachers Pay Teachers account, which is free.

1. Gender Neutral New Baby Social Story for Preschoolers from Dana Hearnsberger on Teachers Pay Teachers

2. New Baby Social Story from The Traveling Therapist on Teachers Pay Teachers

3. Preparing to be a Big Brother or Big Sister from Kidmunicate

4. Pregnancy Social Story: Mom is Having a New Baby from Little Puddins

5. New Baby Sister from Patricia Keane on Teachers Pay Teachers

6. My Teacher is Having a Baby from Autism The Teen Years on Teachers Pay Teachers

7. The New Baby is Here Social Story from Sara Curran Behavior Consulting on Teachers Pay Teachers

8. My New Brother Social Story from A Latte Lucky Charms on Teachers Pay Teachers

9. New Baby in the Family (written for a girl expecting a baby sister) from Amy Ravert on Teachers Pay Teachers

Free Video Social Stories About a New Baby

As an alternative, you could try these video and slideshow style social stories instead.



Other Social Story Resources You'll Love

Printable Social Stories Library

How to Write Social Stories

Free Social Story Templates

Free new baby social stories
Read More

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Super Mario Sensory Bottles

DIY calm down sensory bottles for kids who love Super Mario! These calming bottles are so easy to make!

Sensory bottles are a great self regulation tool and make the perfect addition to a calm down kit. And they're always more effective when they appeal to your children's interests.

My kids, for instance, love Mario. We've done lots of Mario perler bead crafts and even made a Super Mario Climbing Wall. They've memorized the entire Super Mario Bros. Encyclopedia by now too, I'm sure.

So obviously, we had to make Mario themed sensory bottles too because #marioislife

Super Mario themed sensory bottles with glitter

DIY Sensory Bottles with Glitter that are Inspired by Super Mario!

When I originally came up with this idea, I considered adding mustaches to the bottles and googly eyes so it looked like Mario and Luigi's faces. But I decided to keep it simple.

Besides, I wanted to reuse these plastic bottles for other projects eventually too. So I didn't really want to permanently glue anything or draw anything on the outside.

I made three bottles in total. One inspired by Mario. Another inspired by Luigi. And another inspired by a Yoshi egg.

Super Mario themed sensory bottles with glitter

Obviously, you could run with this idea and make one inspired by Toad (my personal favorite character!) or Bowser or Princess Peach. Or maybe a goomba is more your style? Regardless, I stuck with the two main characters, as well as their pal Yoshi.

I think they turned out really neat!

Super Mario glitter jars/calming bottles

Super Mario glitter jars/calming bottles


How to Make the Mario Inspired Calm Down Sensory Bottle

It's a-me, Mario! Let's a-go and make this sensory bottle. Here's what you'll need:

  • Clear plastic water bottle - I used a VOSS bottle (tip for Canadians: I can always find them in stock at London Drugs!)
  • Water
  • Red permanent marker
  • Red glitter
Add the clear glue and water to the plastic bottle using a 20/80 or 25/75 ratio (I usually just eyeball this step). Add the liquid watercolor and glitter until it reaches a nice bright red. Put the lid on and shake to mix. If it looks good, then you can secure the lid permanently with super glue or a hot glue gun (optional). If not, you can always add more coloring or glitter at this point.

Once you've got the right mix of glitter and coloring, it's time to add Mario's hat to the bottle. Wrap the lid with the red tape. Write an uppercase M on a white dot sticker using the red permanent marker. Then go ahead and add the Mario logo to the lid.

When finished, it should look like this:

How to make a sensory bottle inspired by Mario

How to make a sensory bottle inspired by Mario

How to Make the Luigi Inspired Calming Sensory Bottle

Here's what you'll need to make this Luigi sensory bottle:

  • Water
  • Green permanent marker
  • Green glitter
Add the clear glue and water to the plastic bottle using a 20/80 or 25/75 ratio. Next, add green liquid watercolor until it reaches your desired coloring. Add lots and lots of green glitter. Put the lid on and shake to mix. If it looks good, then you can secure the lid permanently with super glue or a hot glue gun (optional). If not, you can always add more coloring or glitter at this point.

Once you've got the right mix of glitter and coloring, it's time to make the Luigi hat. Wrap the lid with the green tape. Write an uppercase L on a white dot sticker using the green permanent marker. Add the Luigi logo to the lid.

When finished, it should look like this:

How to make a sensory bottle inspired by Luigi

How to make a sensory bottle inspired by Luigi

How to Make the Yoshi Egg Inspired Calm Down Bottle

To make the Yoshi egg sensory bottle, you'll need:

  • Water
  • White glitter
  • Silver glitter
Decorate the outside of the plastic bottle with the green dot stickers. Use a 20/80 or 25/75 ratio of clear glue to water by adding the clear glue first. Next, add a few squirts of the pearl white liquid watercolor. Then add as much (or as little) glitter as you'd like. Put the lid on and shake to mix. If it looks good, then you can secure the lid permanently with super glue or a hot glue gun (optional). If not, you can always add more coloring or glitter at this point.

With this particular sensory bottle, you can watch both the glitter and the liquid watercolors swirl around and settle. It's a much more subtle sensory bottle than the other two.

How to make a sensory bottle inspired by a Yoshi egg

How to make a sensory bottle inspired by a Yoshi egg

Other Mario Ideas You'll Love

Mario Gift Ideas for Kids

DIY Super Mario Climbing Wall

Mario Activities & Crafts

DIY sensory bottles inspired by Super Mario - find out how to make these calming bottles for kids with this easy DIY tutorial
Read More

Monday, February 10, 2020

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Inspired Deep Breathing Exercise {Free Printable Poster Included!}

Looking for some deep breathing exercises to teach the kids? Try this Chicka Chicka Boom Boom inspired technique and grab a copy of the free printable poster too!

This Chicka Chicka Boom Boom printable teaches kids how to do deep breathing, while racing their fingers (or a letter toy if they want!) up to the top of the coconut tree, just like the letters of the alphabet do in the book itself.

I designed this deep breathing exercise with hyperlexic kids in mind since the book "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom" is a favorite among these kids (see: the best books for kids with hyperlexia). I find that the story itself fit well with breathing exercises like triangle breathing or some of my other breathing exercises that I've shared.

It's important to use the hyperlexic child's interests and strengths when teaching them new skills so why not use their love for Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and letters to teach them useful coping strategies such as deep breathing.

Free Chicka Chicka Boom Boom printable poster and deep breathing exercise for kids

A Simple Breathing Exercise for Kids that's Inspired by the Book Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

I like how this simple breathing exercise can be adapted further to follow the book closer. For instance, you could:

  • Grab a letter magnet (or similar) and race it to the top of the coconut tree as you do the breathing exercise
  • Say "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom" as you reach the bottom of the coconut tree
I'm sure your kids will come up with some other fun ways to use this mindfulness poster!

Free deep breathing printable for kids inspired by the book Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

About the Free Printable Coconut Tree Deep Breathing Exercise Poster

This one page printable offers a simple deep breathing technique based on the popular children's book "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom." I highly recommend laminating the poster for durability.

As for how to do the actual deep breathing technique, simply trace your finger to the top of the coconut tree and follow the instructions. Breathe in. Hold for three counts. Breathe out. Repeat as needed.
To get your copy of the printable, simply click the link below.

>> CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE FREE PRINTABLE

Or subscribe to the Weekly Autism Planner newsletter to gain access to hundreds of printables in the subscriber library!

Other Mindfulness Resources You'll Love

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Sensory Bins

Free Printable Deep Breathing Social Story

Mindfulness & Meditation Resources, Activities, & Printables

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom inspired deep breathing exercise for kids with free printable mindfulness poster
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Tuesday, February 04, 2020

Painted Snow Hearts

Have you ever painted snow before? If not, you'll definitely want to head outside with the kids and paint some hearts in the snow for Valentine's Day.

Painting snow on a winter day is such a fun thing to do (we've painted a snowman before). However, we were hit with frigid temperatures here for awhile. Like frostbite-within-minutes-why-do-I-even-live-here-stupid-cold frigid (and yes, that's the technical term...haha). So our outdoor play was put on hold while we hibernated through the -40 C or colder temperatures.

When it was finally a normal winter temperature, we headed outside for some outdoor play. And since we were in the mood for Valentine's Day activities, I brought out some supplies to paint hearts in the snow.

These painted snow hearts are a lot of fun to make!

Painted snow - a fun activity for kids

Painting Hearts in the Snow: What You'll Need

Here's what you'll need for this Valentine's Day activity:
  • Heart shaped stencil of some kind (see below)
  • Spray bottles
  • Red liquid watercolor or red food coloring
Remember these red hearts that were once a Valentine's Day mobile? Well, they became our stencils for this activity. You could always substitute some heart cookie cutters instead.

Preparing to paint hearts in the snow

In two spray bottles, one for J and one for K so they wouldn't fight, I mixed water with about 10-12 drops of red food coloring. Liquid watercolors could be used instead of red food coloring if you have them on hand. Then let the kids spray paint the snow!

Spray Painted Hearts in the Snow are a Great Way to Decorate for Valentine's Day

K was really into this activity. Mind you, he likes anything that involves using a spray bottle! 

J, on the other hand, was excited to finally head outside and just play in the snow. 

So while K painted hearts, J demolished a huge mound of snow and turned it into a slide. PS: How AWESOME is K's winter hat?!  Have you seen a cuter moose?

Painting snow for Valentine's Day

Painting snow for Valentine's Day

Anyway, back to the activity...When the heart stencil is removed, you'll be left with a beautiful painted snow heart.

Painted snow hearts

And after just four hearts, K happily joined J in demolishing the giant pile of shoveled snow, but at least my snowbanks looked colorful for awhile.

Painting hearts in the snow

Painting hearts in the snow

Other Valentine's Day Activities You'll Love

Valentine's Day Sensory Bin

Valentine's Gross Motor Activities

Valentine's Day Activities & Crafts for Kids

This activity was part of a series called "Show Me the Love." Here are some other posts from my co-hosts of this series:

Creating with Hearts on the Light Table from Still Playing School

Painted snow hearts - a fun outdoor activity for kids to do in winter and for Valentine's Day
Read More

Valentine's Day Scrabble Math {Free Printable}

This free printable Scrabble math worksheet makes for a great Valentine's Day math activity for kids.

My five year old loves doing Scrabble math. 

It's the perfect combination of spelling and math for his little hyperlexic brain

And as you've probably figured out, it's a Valentine's Day themed one (how did you manage to figure that out?! haha). I hope you love this free printable Scrabble math worksheet as much as he did.

Valentine's Day Scrabble math activity for kids

What You'll Need for this Valentine's Day Scrabble Math Activity

To do Scrabble math, you will need:

  • Valentine's Day Scrabble math printable (link to download below)
  • Pencil
Simply spell the words on the sheet using the Scrabble letter tiles, add the numbers on the bottom of each letter tile, and write the answer in the blank. J likes to go back and write the letters in each box once he's solved the math problem.

Scrabble math offers a great opportunity to practice some writing and spelling. Not that he needs help with that at all (see hyperlexia post to see what I'm talking about).

Download the Free Printable Scrabble Math Worksheets

This five page printable includes 16 Valentine's Day themed words to spell and add. To get your copy, simply click the link below.

>> CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE FREE PRINTABLE

Or subscribe to the Weekly Autism Planner newsletter to gain access to hundreds of printables in the subscriber library!


Other Resources You'll Love

More Scrabble Math Printables

Valentine's Day Activities for Kids

Valentine's Day Gross Motor Activities

Valentine's Day Scrabble math activity for kids with free printable
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Monday, February 03, 2020

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Sensory Bin Ideas

Looking for Chicka Chicka Boom Boom sensory bin activities to do at home with your toddlers or to do in your preschool classroom? Try these fun ideas!

The book Chicka Chicka Boom Boom is a classic that's well-loved by many toddlers and preschoolers, but even more so by hyperlexic kids. It's seriously one of their top book picks.

So if your child can't get enough of the book and you're looking for ways to extend the book, then they'll love these super fun sensory bin ideas inspired by the book.

Sensory bin ideas based on the book Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Sensory Bin Ideas the Kids Will Love!

Grab some letters, whether they're foam, beads, magnetic, or whatever else you've got on hand. I know you've got an abundance of letters laying around your house if you're a parent of a hyperlexic child.

You'll also want to to include a copy of the book Chicka Chicka Boom Boom alongside these sensory bins so your child can play along as they read it. It's an easy way to work on comprehension too! Kind of like we did with this Chicka Chicka 123 Invisible Numbers activity.

Anyway, let's take a closer look at those Chicka Chicka Boom Boom sensory bins you're here to read about!

1. Magnetic Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Sensory Bin with Colored Rice from Mama. Papa. Bubba. (pictured)

2. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Sensory Bin with Alphabet Beads from Stir the Wonder (pictured) - Heads up that the instructions for this sensory bin seem to be missing, but you can get the gist of it by looking at the photos.

3. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Sensory Bin with Sand from Natural Beach Living

4. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Sensory Bin with Rice from Creative Kindergarten - No instructions, but instead, an inspiration picture on Instagram.

5. Two Variations of a Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Sensory Bin from Small Potatoes (pictured) - There's one with beans as the base and another water based one that's perfect for small toddlers or older babies.

6. Colorful Sensory Bin Inspired by Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Rubber Boots and Elf Shoes

Other Ideas You'll Love

Alphabet Activities for Kids

Alphabet Sensory Bins

Alphabet Sensory Bottles

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom sensory bins for toddlers and preschoolers
Read More