Thursday, June 13, 2019

Free Printable Tree Grounding Technique for Kids

Looking for simple grounding techniques to help kids with anxiety? Try this tree grounding exercise. It comes with a free printable poster!

As the boys get older, we have been introducing family meditation time, worry time, and mindfulness techniques to build their coping skills toolbox and to help them deal with their anxiety (especially J's).

That includes things like practicing deep breathing exercises and learning different grounding exercises.

One grounding technique that we have been trying is this "be a tree" grounding exercise, where we simply pretend to be tall, strong trees.

I've included a free printable version of this tree grounding meditation technique for the kids who benefit from visual supports, like my son J does.

Ready to learn this simple technique?

Use this tree grounding meditation technique for anxiety in kids

How to Do this Simple Tree Grounding Exercise

This grounding technique for kids is all about pretending to be a firmly planted tree.

While you can find lots of variations of this tree grounding exercises, we have adapted and developed this particular version and wording to fit our needs.

Our version goes as follows:

  • I am a strong tree.
  • I stand shoulder width apart from my feet firmly planted like roots of a tree.
  • I keep my body tall and straight like the trunk of a tree.
  • I place my arms out or above my head like the branches of a tree.
  • I breathe in and out slowly like the wind and gently sway my arms.
You can either read the prompts from the poster out loud to your child (although you might want to switch the wording to say you instead of I) or have your child repeat or say the phrases themselves.

About the Free Printable Tree Grounding Technique Poster for Kids

This one page printable acts as a visual reminder to help guide your child through the "be a tree" grounding technique outlined above.

It would be a great addition to a calm down corner!


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

Other Grounding Techniques & Resources You'll Love

Free Printable ABC Grounding Technique Poster

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Anxiety Resources

Be a tree grounding technique for kids with a free printable poster
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Monday, June 10, 2019

Cinnamon Soap Foam Sensory Play

Cinnamon scented soap foam sensory play recipe and instructions on how to make soap foam for toddlers.

Of all the soap foam sensory bins that we have made and played with, I think my favorite may be this cinnamon soap foam. 

Not only does this sensory bin smell amazing, but the cinnamon gives the soap foam a really unique texture and look. It almost looks like sand, making it a great sensory bin filler for construction themed sensory bins. 

And like all of our soap foam sensory play activities, this one's easy to make too!

A fun cinnamon scented twist on how to make soap foam for toddlers

Easy Sensory Play Idea: How to Make Cinnamon Scented Soap Foam

Here's what you'll need to make cinnamon soap foam:

  • Liquid hand soap or foaming soap
  • Cinnamon
To make this soap foam recipe, combine liquid hand soap, a splash of water, and a generous amount of cinnamon and mix thoroughly using a hand mixer, electric mixer, or stand mixer. 

Alternatively, you can use a foaming hand soap dispenser to make soap foam and then add the cinnamon afterwards.

Cinnamon Soap Foam Sensory Play

Cinnamon soap foam ends up looking like fluffy dirt or sand, so I paired it with some tractors and a construction truck. I really think that this soap foam would be a great base for a construction themed sensory bin.

Messy sensory play idea for kids using cinnamon soap foam and tractors from And Next Comes L

Messy sensory play idea for kids using cinnamon soap foam and tractors from And Next Comes L

My boys enjoyed the addition of tractors to the sensory bin. They loved driving the tractors through the soap foam and "washing" the tractors with the soap foam.

Messy sensory play idea for kids using cinnamon soap foam and tractors from And Next Comes L

Cinnamon soap foam sensory play idea for kids from And Next Comes L

Messy sensory play idea for kids using cinnamon soap foam and tractors from And Next Comes L

Here's an easy clean up tip: keep a bucket of clean water and a towel handy so that kids can clean their hands (or toys!) along the way. 

I also like to use a shower curtain underneath all of our sensory bins to help contain the mess. Then you can toss the shower curtain into the washing machine for easy clean up!

Other Soap Foam Recipes You'll Love

You can also find more fun soap foam ideas in the book Pop! Squirt! Splash!

A fun cinnamon scented twist on how to make soap foam for toddlers
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Thursday, June 06, 2019

Free Printable Alphabet Grounding Technique for Kids

Looking for grounding techniques? Try this alphabet grounding technique that's perfect for kids with hyperlexia who are obsessed with letters.

If you have a hyperlexic child, then you likely already know how calming the alphabet can be for your child. These kids frequently stim with alphabet toys as a way to self-regulate and cope.

So naturally, it makes sense to use their special interest and passion as a way to teach mindfulness and self-regulation skills.

The result?

This free printable ABC grounding technique for kids.

ABC grounding techniques for kids with free printable

About the Free Printable ABC Grounding Technique for Kids

This one page printable outlines a simple grounding technique using the alphabet.

In this technique, the child looks around them to identify and name objects that they can see and hear that start with each letter of the alphabet (or as many letters of the alphabet as possible before they feel calm and grounded). They don't have to go in the order of the alphabet (unless, of course, they want to).

You could also laminate this printable and then encourage your child to cross off each letter with a dry erase marker as they name something that starts with that letter.


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

Other Resources You'll Love

ABC Brain Break Cards

Five Senses Grounding Technique Poster {Free Printable}

Anxiety Resources

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Wednesday, June 05, 2019

How to Make an Occupational Therapy at Home Activity Jar for Kids

Looking for inspiration on how to do occupational therapy at home with kids? You'll love this activity jar filled with occupational therapy and sensory integration activities and ideas.

Before my oldest son J started kindergarten, we started doing some occupational therapy activities at home with him, incorporating them into his morning routine. 

We already had the making of an epic sensory gym in our basement and I knew that he would need help making the transition to school so I figured making him a little therapy activity jar would be incredibly helpful for him.

With just a few simple materials and the help of the kids, I put together this occupational therapy at home activity jar that's filled with gross motor activities, heavy work proprioceptive activities, and ideas to stimulate the vestibular sensory system.

This idea is perfect for all kids, but especially those with autism and/or sensory processing issues who need some extra support for their sensory needs.

How to do occupational therapy at home with a DIY therapy activity jar for kids

How to Make an Occupational Therapy at Home Activity Jar for Kids

To make this activity jar, you'll need:

It's pretty straightforward to make. Simply write one activity on each craft stick, put them in a jar, and voila! Done!

OT at Home Activity Jar - ideas for doing occupational therapy at home from And Next Comes L

A List of Occupational Therapy Activities to Put into Your Child's Activity Jar

As for the activities, here is what is included in our jar:

  • Obstacle course
  • Play catch
  • Climb the slide
  • Bean bag toss
  • Jump on mini trampoline
  • Swinging - We have a variety of swings indoors and outdoors, including our DIY sensory swing and homemade taco sensory swing.
  • Ride balance bike - We have this one, but in a different design.
  • Spin on the office chair - J can spin and never get dizzy so we often find him doing this activity on his own.
  • Animal walks - Crawl like a crab, slither on the ground like a snack, etc.
  • Hopper ball
  • Balance board - We just put a piece of scrap wood on a pool noodle. It works great!
  • Wheelbarrow walk - I hold their ankles and they have to walk using their hands.
  • Parachute - Remember our homemade play parachute?
  • Pillow sandwich - The boys lay on their back. Then I put a large pillow on their body (it never covers their face) and then I lay on top of it.
  • Yoga
  • Sit on exercise ball
  • Big ball roll - The boys lay on their back. Then I roll a large exercise ball on their body, starting at their ankles and rolling up to their shoulders.
  • Sensory tunnel - I made my own (tutorial here). There are many, many, many activities that can be done with it!
  • Play with our homemade stretchy resistance bands
  • Jump and crash into our DIY no sew crash mat
So when it's time to do OT, the boys each pick a stick or two from the jar for us to try. Of course, you can modify your jar to include anything you want, fine motor, gross motor, vestibular, etc.

OT at Home Activity Jar - ideas for doing occupational therapy at home from And Next Comes L

Need More OT Exercises & Ideas to Put into Your Jar? Try these!

There are tons of printables and sensory diet resources available here to help you pick the right activities to include in your activity jar.

Use a DIY activity therapy jar to do sensory integration therapy at home
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Tuesday, June 04, 2019

35 Creative Hands-On Shaving Cream Sensory Play Activities for Kids

Looking for shaving cream activities for autism? Try one of these creative hands-on shaving cream sensory play ideas for kids of all ages!

Shaving cream is a great sensory material to play with and it's super easy to clean up too, which is always a nice perk, right? It simply just washes away.

Shaving cream is also versatile. You can swirl it, color it, build with it, draw in it, decorate with it, go down a slide super quick with it (yes, I'm really going to go there!)...the possibilities are endless!

Well, these 35 shaving cream activities for kids below will show you how versatile and fun shaving cream is to play with. These sensory activities are completely hands-on, although a wee bit messy (not going to sugar coat that one bit). But, they're totally worth the mess because they're super fun!

Now, if you are concerned that your child might taste or mouth the shaving cream, then remember you can always used whipped cream as a substitute.

Shaving cream sensory play ideas for kids with autism

Shaving Cream Sensory Play Ideas

Simple sensory bins and sensory play ideas using, yep, shaving cream. Many of these ideas work on fine motor skills and others will encourage kids to explore other textures, but all are 100% fun!

1. Shaving Cream Dot to Dot on the Light Table (pictured below)

2. Simple Shaving Cream Sensory Bin from My Bored Toddler

3. Sticky Shaving Cream Sensory Play from Fantastic Fun & Learning

4. Shaving Cream & Bubble Wrap Sensory Play from Picklebums (pictured)

5. Frozen Shaving Cream Sensory Bin from Learn Play Imagine (pictured)

6. Shaving Cream & LEGO Sensory Play from Toddler Approved (pictured)

7. Rainbow Noodles & Cloud Sensory Play from A Little Pinch of Perfect

8. Rock Washing Shaving Cream Sensory Bin from Happy Toddler Playtime

9. Shaving Cream & Pool Noodles Sensory Bin from Simple Everyday Mom

10. Shaving Cream Sensory Soup from Living Life & Learning

11. Shaving Cream & Water Beads Sensory Bin from 3 Dinosaurs

12. Shaving Cream Connect the Dots from School Time Snippets

13. Toddler Rainbow Sensory Play from Fun at Home with Kids

Shaving cream activities for autism

Shaving Cream Sensory Play Dough Recipes

Try these fun play dough alternatives that use shaving cream as one of the main ingredients. They're tons of fun to play with and super easy to make!

1. Sand Foam Dough Shaving Cream Sensory Play (pictured below)

2. Rainbow Foam Dough from Fun at Home with Kids

3. How to Make Homemade Snow from The Joys of Boys

Foam dough shaving cream recipe for sensory play

Pretend Play Shaving Cream Sensory Activities

Let them get creative with a bit of pretend play because these fun shaving cream sensory play ideas will certainly spark your children's imaginations!

1. Lemon Meringue Pie Pretend Play (pictured below)

2. Dragon Small World Sensory Bin from Fun at Home with Kids

3. Shaving Cream Cake Decorating Pretend Play from Hands-On Teaching Ideas

4. Construction Site Shaving Cream Sensory Table from Preschool Powol Packets

Shaving cream sensory play idea for kids using lemon scented play dough

Shaving Cream Sensory Art Ideas

Sensory art ideas using shaving cream (just like that header above suggests).

1. Tape Resist Mirror Painting - We used expired whipping cream for this, but you can use shaving cream instead. (pictured below)

2. Shaving Cream Finger Paint from Fun at Home with Kids

3. Puffy Planets Shaving Cream Sensory Craft from Thimble & Twig

4. Rainbow Shaving Cream Marbled Sensory Art from Hello, Wonderful

5. Shaving Cream Painting from Fun with Mama

Sensory art for kids using shaving cream

STEM & Literacy Shaving Cream Sensory Activities

These fun ideas using shaving cream to practice building skills in literacy, math, handwriting, and STEM. Your kids will explore and learn the alphabet, work on subtraction, and more with these amazing ideas!

1. Alphabet Ice & Shaving Cream Sensory Bin from Learning 4 Kids

2. Shaving Cream Letter Recognition Sensory Bin from Little Bins for Little Hands

3. Writing in Shaving Cream from Meaningful Mama

4. I Spy Letter Shaving Cream Sensory Bag from Teach Me Mommy

5. Shaving Cream Window Writing from Modern Preschool

6. Shaving Cream & Blocks from No Time for Flash Cards

7. Shaving Cream Subtraction Smash from School Time Snippets

Shaving cream rainbow

Messy Shaving Cream Sensory Activities to do Outdoors!

You'll definitely want to head outdoors for these full-body sensory activities using shaving cream because these ideas are super messy! But clean up is a breeze: just hose the kids off when they're all done playing.

1. Giant Colored Shaving Cream Rainbow (pictured above and below)

2. Shaving Cream Twister from Lou Lou Girls

3. Shaving Cream Battle from Fireflies & Mudpies

Sensory play ideas with shaving cream

Other Sensory Play Resources You'll Love

Sensory Play Guide: How to Dye Sensory Materials

Sensory Play Tips

130+ Sensory Bin Fillers with Free Printable List

Shaving cream sensory play ideas for kids with autism
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Monday, June 03, 2019

The Best Number & Math Sensory Bins for Kids Who Love Numbers

Math sensory bin ideas for kids that love numbers and math! If your child has a fascination with numbers, and/or is hyperlexic, then they'll love these math sensory activities!

My oldest son J was (and still is!) quite passionate about anything involving numbers and math.

He was a two year old toddler obsessed with numbers so it wasn't surprising that he was diagnosed with hypernumeracy.

I mean the kid lived and breathed numbers as a toddler.

Over the years, we've done a lot of math related activities, including lots of number themed and math sensory bin ideas like the ones below.

So whether you want to introduce numbers to your child or you simply just want to follow your child's passion and interest in math, you're going to love these simple math sensory activities!

Number sensory bin ideas

10+ Math Sensory Bin Ideas for Kids Obsessed with Numbers

Below you will find 14+ awesome math sensory bins that will be perfect for kids, just like my son, who are obsessed with math and numbers.

1. Number Sensory Bin with Water (pictured)

2. Two Simple Sensory Bins with Invisible Numbers

3. Bugs by the Numbers Inspired Sensory Bin

4. Kinetic Sand Math Sensory Bin Activity

5. Numbers & Counting Sensory Bin from For the Love of Learning (pictured)

6. Number Hunt Math Sensory Bin from Busy Toddler (pictured)

7. Math Sensory Bin with Dominoes from Happy Toddler Playtime

8. Three Number Sensory Bins Inspired by Chicka Chicka 1,2,3 from Mrs. Plemon's Kindergarten

9. Seashell Math Sensory Bin from Preschool Powol Packets (pictured)

10. Number Recognition Sensory Bin from My Mundane & Miraculous Life

11. Shaving Cream Number Hunt & Match Sensory Bin from Happy Toddler Playtime

12. Magnetic Number Hunt Sensory Bin from Creative Outlet for Little Hands

13. Pool Noodle Math Sensory Bin from Thinking & Learning in Room 122

14. Gardening for Math Sensory Bin with Printable from From ABCs to ACTs

Other Math Activities You'll Love

50+ Fine Motor Math Activities for Kids

Math Patterns Using a Clear Geoboard

Fine Motor Math Counting Tray

Math sensory bins that are perfect for toddlers obsessed with numbers
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Friday, May 31, 2019

Free Printable Deep Breathing Social Story

You're going to love this free printable deep breathing social story for kids with autism that teaches calm down breathing techniques for kids.

One self-regulation skill that we have been practicing a lot with both of my boys is how to do deep breathing to calm down.

For instance, we practice during our nightly family meditation time.

Or we simply pick one of these deep breathing exercises for kids and practice it a few times together.

And all the practice is starting to pay off!

How do I know?

Well, for starters, a psychologist recently pointed out how awesome my son J is at deep breathing. I also caught J doing some deep breathing on his own during a really long wedding ceremony we attended recently. He did it totally unprompted by himself. It was really quite wonderful to watch!

Now, it did take quite a bit of practice to get both boys to remember to breathe in slowly and exhale slowly. They started off doing short, fast, shallow breaths, like they were racing to be the first one done, which isn't super effective. So we gave lots of reminders and verbal prompts to help teach the skill, but this free printable social story for kids about deep breathing is another tool that you can use to teach deep breathing to your kids. I hope you find it helpful!

Free printable social story for kids with autism about learning calm down deep breaths

About the Free Printable Calm Down Breathing Social Story

This social story is all about teaching deep breathing to calm down. It teaches kids how to take a deep breath and the steps required. It also explains when you might need to do calm down breathing exercises.

I highly suggest laminating the social story for durability. You can use binder rings to keep the social story together or store it in a binder. As an alternative to laminating, you could use sheet protectors in a binder. Or if you find yourself printing off lots of social stories, then this binding machine is a lifesaver!

Download the Free Printable Social Story for Teaching Deep Breathing

This printable is 9 pages long and includes full color photos. To get your copy, simply click the link below.


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

Other Resources You'll Love

5 Deep Breathing Techniques for Kids

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