Saturday, August 17, 2019

How to Dye Sensory Materials (So You Can Make Epic Rainbow Sensory Bins for Kids!)

Learn how to dye sensory materials, from chickpeas and beans to pasta and rice, with this collection of rainbow dyed sensory bin ideas for kids.

In my sensory stash, you'll find rainbow oats, rainbow rice, and rainbow boats.

Okay not really boats, but I wanted to rhyme, okay? 

Don't judge me for being so poetic.

But seriously, rainbow sensory bins are like the best. They're colorful, happy, and oh so inviting. The kids can't help but dig their hands in, swirling, scooping, pouring.

And maybe making a big mess on the floor, but it's alright. At least it'll be brightly colored and easy to see on the floor now...right??

Seriously, you're mere minutes away from stepping up your sensory bin game. Ready to find out how to dye different sensory materials for play

Rainbow sensory bin ideas for toddlers and preschoolers

20 Rainbow Dyed Sensory Bin Materials That You Can Make Today!

Here's how to color 20 different sensory bin fillers. Simply click the links to access the full tutorials.

I can almost guarantee that you'll want to dye everything on this list! There's just something so enticing about rainbow dyed sensory bin fillers. I personally find it hard not to play with a rainbow sensory bin myself, never mind the kids.

And it's a good thing that many of these sensory bin fillers last for months (or even years). Make them once. Store them in a zipper seal bag or container. And then you're set to reuse them multiple times.

2. How to Dye Chickpeas (pictured)

3. How to Dye Epsom Salt from Learn Play Imagine (pictured)

4. How to Dye Barley from Sugar, Spice, and Glitter

5. How to Dye Dried Beans from Fun at Home with Kids (pictured)

6. How to Dye Hay from Crayon Box Chronicles

7. How to Dye Corn Kernels from Fun-A-Day!

9. How to Dye Dried Pasta from Buggy & Buddy

10. How to Make Colored Cloud Dough from Powerful Mothering

12. How to Dye Rice from Happy Hooligans

13. How to Make Colored Salt from The Imagination Tree

14. How to Dye Cooked Spaghetti from Fun at Home with Kids

16. How to Make Colored Sand from Nuturestore

17. How to Dye Shredded Paper from The OT Toolbox

18. How to Dye Baking Soda from Happily Ever Mom

20. How to Dye Egg Shells from Powerful Mothering

How to dye sensory materials for play
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12+ Beautiful Fall Sensory Bottles That Are Calming for Kids

How to make fall sensory bottles that are a perfect addition to your child's calm down kit.

Fall is breathtakingly beautiful with the swirling colorful leaves and the crisp cool air. You hear leaves crunching beneath your feet as you walk while bundled up all cozy in a sweater, coat, and scarf. And boots. I love boot weather.

What's not to like?

Well, aside from knowing that winter is just weeks away...that part I don't look forward to.

You can capture the beauty and spirit of the season with these gorgeous fall sensory bottles for kids. Use them as a calming strategy with your kids and add them to your child's calm down kit for a couple of weeks or months, just to switch things up.

Fall calm down sensory bottles

Fall Sensory Bottles for Babies, Toddlers, Preschool, and Beyond!

Whether you are looking for fall sensory bottles for babies or for calm down bottles for toddlers and preschool, these 12+ ideas should be enough to get you inspired to create your own. Some of these ideas use natural elements. And others take inspiration from the colors of fall leaves. But all are so beautiful to look at! It's an entire season captured in a bottle.

1. Windy Fall Leaves Sensory Bottle from Rhythms of Play (pictured)

2. Fall Discovery Bottle from Preschool Inspirations

3. Simple Fall Sensory Bottle from The Chaos & the Clutter

4. Acorn Discovery Bottle from Still Playing School (pictured)

5. Fall Sensory Bottles from Little Bins for Little Hands

6. Fall Leaves Glitter Sensory Bottle from Simple Everyday Mom

7. Fall Sensory Bottle from Teaching Mama

8. Fall Sunset Sensory Bottle from Teaching Mama

9. Fall Nature I Spy Bottle from Mama. Papa. Bubba.

10. Fall Sensory Bottle from Teaching Mama (pictured)

11. 4 Fall Sensory Bottles from Views from a Step Stool

12. Sensory Bottle with Confetti Leaves from Teaching Mama

Other Fall Sensory Activities You'll Love

Fall Leaves Soup

25 Awesome Fall Sensory Bin Ideas

Easy Fall Sensory Bin

Fall inspired calming sensory bottles for kids
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Friday, August 16, 2019

How to Make a DIY Lycra Sensory Bed Sheet

Lycra sensory sheets are super easy to make. Use this tutorial to learn how to make your own DIY compression bed sheet for cheap!

I had been debating for months whether or not to sew a weighted blanket for my son before deciding to try making my own sensory bed sheets. I mean one look at the DIY weighted blanket tutorials and I'm like heck no, too much work. Plus, polyfill pellets are expensive!

So me being me, I figured that I could make one for super cheap.

And I did (obviously).

However, before I splurged on some fabric for making some a homemade compression sheet, I wanted to make sure my son would actually like the idea of it. I took our homemade sensory tunnel, which just happens to be the same length required to wrap around my son's mattress, and tried it as a temporary sensory sheet. It worked really great!

So I decided that it was worth making a trip to the fabric store and finally making a legit DIY lycra sensory bed sheet for him.

DIY compression sheet: how to make a lycra bed sheet for kids with autism or sensory processing disorder

About this Homemade Lycra Compression Sheet for Kids

The inspiration for this project is this stretchy lycra sheet that costs $70! Geez, that's a lot of money, isn't it?

Thankfully, my final price tag was $15.

Yes, FIFTEEN dollars.

Much better price, right?

How to Make the DIY Sensory Sheet

First, I measured the entire dimension of my son's mattress, top, bottom, and sides included (it was 120 inches). Then I converted it to metres so that I knew how much fabric to purchase. I needed the exact same amount of fabric that I used to make our sensory tunnel: 3 metres (which is about 3.3 yards). 

However, in the end I had to cut off about a foot to a foot and a half off to make it tight enough to provide good sensory input to my son. 

So K and I headed to the fabric store to look for something in the clearance section. 

I was looking for stretchy and cheap. I didn't care what color it was as long as the price was right. It also didn't have to be lycra as any stretchy fabric would work. 

I ended up searching and searching and finally found this peach cotton spandex blend for 70% off. So I paid $15 for 3 metres of fabric and I was happy as a...wait for it...yes, as happy as a peach.

At first I thought the color was hideous, but it's kind of grown on me, to be honest.

How to Sew Your Own Lycra Compression Bed Sheet

To sew the stretchy sheet, it's just like sewing the sensory tunnel or stretchy resistance bands

Simply take the two ends of the fabric and zig zag stitch them together to create a giant sleeve. 

Yep, that's seriously it! 

Remember, you can use any kind of lycra or spandex material for this project as long as it's nice and stretchy.

Homemade DIY stretchy sensory sheets for kids with autism or sensory processing disorder from And Next Comes L

How to Use the DIY Sensory Sheet

Using the DIY sensory sheet is straightforward. Simply slide the stretchy sheet onto the mattress. Nice alliteration there too, eh?

I know it sounds easy, but try putting it on a regular mattress on the bottom of a bunk bed when room is limited...It's a bit challenging, especially if the sensory sheet is snug. You'll work up a sweat and say a few curse worse in the process, I'm sure.

Then climb in underneath for a calming night of sleep! Awww, you can sense it can't you?

Homemade DIY stretchy sensory sheets for kids with autism or sensory processing disorder from And Next Comes L

Homemade DIY stretchy sensory sheets for kids with autism or sensory processing disorder from And Next Comes L

Hope you found this tutorial helpful. I've got tons of other great sensory hacks just like this.

Other Ideas You'll Love

Sensory sheet DIY: how to make a DIY lycra compression bed sheet for kids
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Monday, August 12, 2019

Free Pokemon Printables for Kids

15+ awesome free Pokemon printables, templates, and activity sheets for kids.

My kids are Pokemon obsessed and have been since well before Pokemon Go was released.

We've done many Pokemon activities and crafts over the past year and I've even designed some free printables for my boys as well.

I've even made Pokemon birthday cakes as elaborate as Rayquaza!

So whether your kids have been long-time fans of Pokemon, like mine, or only got into it since Pokemon Go came out, they are going to love this collection of amazing Pokemon printables.

Here are some of the best free Pokemon printables for kids. There are awesome learning games, cool paper toys, fun coloring pages, active movement cards, and so much more on this list!

Free Pokemon printables, templates, and activity sheets for kids

Free Pokemon Printables & Activity Sheets for Kids

1. Free Pokeball Coloring Pages - Let your kids design and color their own pokeballs with this awesome free printable.

2. Pokemon Evolution Paper Toys: Bulbasaur & Charmander from Red Ted Art - Okay, these paper kaleeidocycle paper toys are insane! You can literally watch the Pokemon evolve before your eyes!

3. Pokemon Evolution Flextangles: Eevee & Squirtle from Hattifant - More evolving Pokemon paper toys. Seriously, these are so cool!

4. Free DIY Pokemon Cards Template - Your kids will love designing their own Pokemon creatures and energy with this free printable template. It's available in two sizes, allowing kids both big and small to join in on the fun.

5. Pokeball Printables from Merry Printables - Print and assemble your own pokeballs to put Pokemon into with these free printables.

6. Pikachu Grid Art Printable from Royal Baloo - Here's a cute way to get your kids drawing and writing with Pikachu!

7. Free Printable Pokemon Action Cards - There's over 50 different movements and actions to perform with these Pokemon action cards. Best of all, all the movements found on these cards are based off of real moves that the Pokemon characters have. It's definitely for your die-hard Pokemon fans!

8. Free Pokemon Coloring Pages from Kids Activities Blog - If your kids are into coloring, then they are going to love these free coloring pages.

9. Pokemon Badge Case Printables from Merry Printables - Print off some Pokemon badges and make a case with these free printables.

10. Pokemon Inspired Letter Matching Game from Totschooling - If your kids love Pokemon and are learning their letters, this letter matching game is really cute.

11. Pokemon Movement Cards from Royal Baloo - I love these printable movement cards. They include an image of the Pokemon character and are similar to our action cards, just not with as many moves.

12. Pokemon Inspired Multiplication Game from Royal Baloo - This free printable game would be perfect for J since he loves math and Pokemon.

13. Pokemon Evolution Endless Cards from Hattifant - Another amazing Pokemon paper toy that the kids can play with to watch Pokemon evolve before their eyes! So cool!

14. Pokemon Evolution Cards from Red Ted Art - Get even more amazing Pokemon evolution cards here.

15. Pokemon BINGO, Bookmarks, Calendars, & More from DLTK - There are tons of free Pokemon printables on this website, but we particularly love the Pokemon BINGO cards.

Other Pokemon Ideas for Kids You'll Love

Pokemon Activities & Crafts for Kids

Easy Pikachu Birthday Cake

Pokemon Gift List for Kids

Pokemon Apps for Kids

Free Pokemon printables for kids
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Friday, August 09, 2019

10 Amazing DIY Sensory Wall Ideas for Kids Who Love to Touch Everything

Make one of these DIY sensory walls or sensory boards for your child's sensory room! They're perfect for the kids who love to fidget, stim, and touch everything in sight.

Can you walk through a fabric store without running your hands along every fabric you pass?

The smooth, cool, and creamy silks.

The fluffy, cozy fleece.

The luxurious plush minky with its bumps.

Gah...I mean how can you not touch all the fabric.

My son is the same way whether he's in a fabric store or not. He's constantly fidgeting with something in his hands and has to be touching something. He just loves to touch everything he can.

Tactile sensory seeker much, right?

Well, many kids (okay, adults too - like me in the fabric store) love to touch and feel things. Like many stims, it's comforting and calming. Why not give your child a safe place to touch and feel all the things? A place for them to happily stim away!

These DIY sensory walls and sensory board ideas are the perfect solution/tool/whatever-you-want-to-call-it for tactile sensory seekers. Some of these creative ideas even offer additional sensory input via the visual and auditory systems.

DIY sensory board ideas for kids with autism

Irresistible Sensory Walls & Sensory Boards {That are Impossible Not to Touch!}

Tactile sensory seekers are going to fall in love with these insanely creative homemade sensory boards and sensory wall ideas. I mean how are you going to pick just one for your sensory room?? (runs off to make all the sensory boards...)

1. Gruffalo Inspired Sensory Board (pictured)

2. DIY Upcycled Car Dashboard Sensory Wall

3. Giant Mermaid Fabric Sensory Board from Homegrown Friends (pictured)

4. Touch & Feel Frames from Little Lifelong Learners

5. Peek-a-Boo Sensory Board from Motherhood and Other Adventures

6. DIY Sensory Boards from Fun at Home with Kids (pictured)

7. Sensory Tactile Alphabet Poster from My Mundane & Miraculous Life - Perfect for hyperlexic kids, don't you think?

8. DIY Texture Sensory Wall from The Chaos & the Clutter

9. DIY Sensory Wall Wind Chimes from Arts & Crackers - It has the added bonus of auditory sensory input!

10. Bead Chains Wall from Little Miss Kim's Class - I like the idea of hanging these in a doorway or from a curtain rod or something.

Other Sensory Room Resources You'll Love

DIY Super Mario Climbing Wall

25 Sensory Hacks for Vestibular & Proprioceptive Sensory Input

Sensory Hacks for Small Spaces

Homemade sensory wall ideas for kids with autism
Read More

Thursday, August 08, 2019

40+ Things to Put in a Calm Down Kit for Kids {Free Printable}

Do you need calm down kit ideas? Or have you been wondering how to make a calm down box for kids, but don't know where to start? This printable list of 40+ things to put in a calm down kit is the ideal starting point!

Every child should learn coping skills.

And every child can benefit from having their own homemade calm down kit, filled with calming tools and things that suit their needs and interests.

I've always tried my best to teach my kids emotional regulation strategies such as deep breathing exercises, talking about emotions, and doing meditation as a family.

It is my hope that they'll feel confident managing anxiety, stress, and sensory overwhelm because they've practiced these different strategies. And having a tailor-made calm down box is another one of the strategies we use to promote healthy self-regulation skills.

So if you've been wondering how to make a calm down kit for your own kids, then look no further than this free printable list of 40+ things to put in their kit.

While this list is geared towards smaller children, I also have a list geared specifically towards older kids.

DIY calm down kit ideas for kids

What to Include in a Calm Down Kit for Kids

There are lots of different things that you can include in a calm down kit and obviously, you will want to tailor it to your child(ren). Here are 40+ things you can put in a calm down kit for anxious kids:

  1. Free printable visual calm down strategies cards
  2. Bottle of bubbles
  3. Chew toy or chew necklace
  4. Small puzzle
  5. Fidgets such as Tangle Jr. or puffer ball
  6. Weighted lap cushion or stuffed animal - You can find some great DIY ideas under tip #10 here.
  7. Weighted vest or pressure vest
  8. Stretchy resistance bands
  9. Sensory tunnel
  10. Hearing protection ear muffs or noise canceling headphones
  11. Chewing gum, hard candies, or lollipops - We love Pur natural chewing gum and Spry natural chewing gum!
  12. Calming essential oil spray
  13. Rescue remedy - I swear by this stuff! Seems to instantly calm meltdowns!
  14. MP3 player with music and/or audiobooks - Be sure to include headphones and an accompanying book for the audiobook so they can read along while listening.
  15. Book of yoga poses or printable yoga cards
  16. Blank notebook and a writing utensil (crayons, pencil crayons, markers, or similar)
  17. Sensory bottle or calm down jar - I love this post about 6 ways to make a calm down jar from Preschool Inspirations.
  18. Skipping rope - Try our DIY skipping rope that's made from straws!
  19. Visual stims such as a kaleidoscope or an hourglass
  20. Books to read
  21. Activity books: dot to dots, mazes, word searches, I Spy, etc. - Or print off a bunch of our I Spy printables and include them in your calm down kit!
  22. Stress balls
  23. Play dough or silly putty
  24. Photo album filled with photos of family and friends
  25. Small blanket
  26. Bubble wrap
  27. Pinwheels - To encourage deep breathing and blowing out.
  28. Rubik's cube
  29. Small chalk board and chalk, Magna-Doodle, Etch-a-Sketch, or Boogie Board for doodling and drawing
  30. Eye mask
  31. Tissue paper to rip - Fill a zipper seal bag with tissue paper and let kids rip it.
  32. Light up toys, flashlight, or similar
  33. Plastic snow globe - Acts like a calm down or sensory bottle and makes for a great visual stim.
  34. Snacks with a variety of textures like crunchy (pretzels or nuts), chewy (fruit leather or dried fruit), or soft (marshmallows)
  35. Pipe cleaners to twist and bend
  36. Coloring books
  37. Scarves or fabric scraps
  38. Spinning top
  39. Mini massager
  40. Scratch and sniff stickers
  41. Whistle, harmonica, party blowers, or similar small wind instrument - To encourage kids to breath out. Also, making music is a great way to release a variety of emotions.
  42. Small mirror for making silly faces and exploring emotions
  43. Straws and pom poms or cotton balls - A great oral motor idea to encourage deep breaths.
  44. Body sock - Kids can retreat into a body sock for calming proprioceptive sensory input. Since they fold up relatively small, they make a great addition to a calm down kit.
  45. Smelling bottles - Just fill bottles with calming scents, such as lavender.
  46. Scratch art doodle pad
  47. Social stories dedicated to deep breathingcalming strategies, chewing, or loud noises

Other Great Calm Down Tools for Anxious Kids

Here are some items that you might want to have accessible to your child during their calm down time. I even encourage you to create or designate an entire space to be your child's calm down corner and include these items in it.

  1. Wiggle/balance cushion - Great for sitting on, walking on, balancing, on, etc.
  2. Weighted blanket
  3. Large cardboard box, fort, or ball pit - Kids will love retreating to these quiet places, but using a ball pit also provides lots of calming proprioceptive input.
  4. Exercise ball - Perfect for bouncing or balancing on.
  5. Mini trampoline - Great for kids who love to jump as a way to calm down.
A free printable list of calming tools to put in a calm down box for kids

Download the Free Printable Calm Down Kit List

Grab a copy of this free printable list. Then take it with you when you go shopping so that you can easily build a calm down kit of your own!


Or subscribe to the Weekly Autism Planner newsletter to gain access to hundreds of printables in the subscriber library!
40+ things to put in a calm down bin or calm down box for kids with free printable list from And Next Comes L

Other Ideas You'll Love

How to make a calm down kit for kids
Read More

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

The Best Planet Crafts for Kids Who Love Space

20 awesome planet and solar system crafts that are perfect for kids who are obsessed with outer space.

We've gone through many phases in our house.

There was a maze phase. A traffic light phase. A Roman numerals phase.

Then there are the interests that come and go...

For my oldest son, space is one of those come and go interests. One day he's absolutely fascinated by all things space related and the next, it's like meh, not interested.

However, many hyperlexic and autistic children have a special interest in outer space. They'll binge read all the books about space they can. They'll insist on dressing like their favorite astronaut for a week straight. And they'll certainly test your knowledge of space as they impress you with fact after fact about Jupiter's moons.

Well, these outer space and planet crafts for kids are perfect for them (even if you still can't name at least one of Jupiter's moons).

Solar system and planet crafts for kids

These Solar System and Planet Crafts are Perfect for Kids Obsessed with Outer Space! 

Below you'll find tons of awesome outer space crafts and planet art projects for kids of all ages and skill levels.

1. Yarn Wrapped Planets Craft (pictured)

2. Black Glue Galaxy Planets Craft from I Heart Crafty Things (pictured)

3. How to Make Slime Planets from The Everyday Mom Life

4. Coffee Filter Planet Suncatchers Craft from Fun-A-Day!

5. Push Light Planets from Play at Home Mom

6. Puffy Planets Art from I Can Teach my Child

7. DIY Solar System Necklace from Ashley Hackshaw aka Lil Blue Boo

8. 3D Paper Planets Mobile Craft from Easy Peasy and Fun (pictured)

9. Space Stained Glass Planet Suncatchers from Adventure in a Box

10. Colorful Tea Light Planets from Journey into Creativity

11. Melted Pony Bead Planets from STEAMsational

12. Marbled Planets from I Heart Crafty Things

13. DIY Outer Space Clay Planet Jewelry from Pink Stripey Socks

14. DIY Solar System Planet Lanterns from Wholesale Party Supplies Blog

15. Classic Paper Mache Planets Craft from Red Ted Art

16. Torn Paper Planets from 3 Dinosaurs

17. Solar System Suncatchers from Someone's Mum

18. Watercolor Planets Art from Rainy Day Mum

19. Fingerprint Planets Craft from Darcy Brian

20. Salt Dough Planet Necklace from Kitchen Counter Chronicles

Other Space Activities Your Kids Will Love!

Free Printable Planets Scrabble Math Game

Free Printable Planets I Spy Game

Outer Space Calming Sensory Bottle Ideas

Planet crafts for kids who love space
Read More