July 17, 2020
Time at home this summer is the perfect formula for family connection and an opportunity to get creative with your kids. By being intentional, we can take simple activities and enhance attachment and bonding, as well as meet the needs of our children, like sensory processing*. With this in mind, I thought I would share a few ideas, from my family to yours, as we stay home and continue to build relationships with our children.
Bubbles seem to be a favorite for children across the board, and you may be surprised at the multitude of benefits this simple activity has to offer. Blowing bubbles is a great breathing technique for regulation* that allows a child to inhale deeply, sending more oxygen to the brain. This could be a good transition when you notice your child is having a hard time regulating their emotions.
The type of bubble container you have will determine the benefits your child will receive. Standard bubble bottles with a bubble wand allow for hand-eye coordination as the wand is dipped in and out of the bottle. Larger bubble wands allow for movement and running, which is a great energy burner for an active child. Your playful engagement as you follow behind the bubble trail keeps you both connecting as well.
Make Your Own Ice Cream In a Jar
Keep children entertained and work up an appetite. Check out this recipe sent in by one of our resource moms, or use your favorite homemade ice cream ingredients. Find one that works for your family’s diet, as long as it can be made in a jar. The shaking of the ice cream in the jar is a proprioception exercise (aka heavy work)* which helps children with body awareness.
After the ice cream is made, take turns tasting each other’s unique creation having your child spoon feed you their flavor. The eye contact and intimacy that is involved in feeding each other naturally builds attachment, like that of a baby being fed by a parent during infancy.
Tip: Use a jar appropriate for your child’s age and stage, in case it happens to get dropped during the shaking process.
Children with sensory needs tend to love the texture and feel of slime. With only a few ingredients found in most households, it could be the stimulation your child is seeking. We loved this recipe, but there are many variations out there. Be sure to check the safety of ingredients in other recipes. And do not assume this is just for the younger children; even teenagers may want to whip up a batch or two of their own!
Tip: Be careful and attuned to the age and stage of your child. Give options to customize the slime. Glitter and food coloring are easy possibilities that give your child the power (in a healthy and non-threatening context) to make a choice.
Using food coloring, water, and ice cube trays/zip block bags, create blocks of ice for your child to melt or build with. Let your child practice filling the designated container with water; this promotes gross motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Using their favorite colors, fill the container with food coloring. If your child is younger, experiment with mixing colors to teach how colors can be combined to create new ones.
Once your ice blocks are frozen, put your child’s gross motor skills back to work by building a mini ice fortress or stacking into the back of a favorite toy truck. For a heavy work activity*, provide your child with an age appropriate hammer or tool to chisel the ice into a shape. There are many ways to play, especially on a hot day.
Tip: Place small, freezer-safe toys (think plastic figurines, bouncy balls, etc.) inside the ice tray before freezing. Once frozen, have your child work to get them out in whatever way they find safe and fun.
*Unfamiliar with the terms regulation, proprioception, heavy work, or sensory processing? Learn more about them here:
Tiffany and her husband have four amazing kiddos, who love spending time outdoors together, preferably next to a beach. Her music tends to be loud, coffee cold and creativity key. As a former Resource Parent with Koinonia and adoptive mama, she enjoys her new role as a Resource Parent Coordinator in the Sacramento office where she guides families through the approval process.