}

Despicable Me Minions Sensory Bottle

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The Despicable Me movies are close to our hearts as an adoptive family and as fans of laughter. They are such cute stories so I thought I would create some sensory play opportunities for the kids. This Despicable Me Minions sensory bottle was simple to make. I later used the same items to make a Minions sensory bag.

Adorable Minions Despicable Me Sensory BottleI often use a clear glue and water mixture in my sensory bottles but due to the recent slime craze, it has been more challenging to find clear glue so I have switched most of my sensory bottles over to liquid hand soap as the main filler.

Materials needed:

To make this Minions sensory bottle, empty the water out of the water bottle either by drinking it or pouring it into another container. Next, peel off the labels. If you end up with residue from the labels on the bottle, you can use Goo Be Gone to remove it. Add a bit of liquid hand soap to the bottle and then drop in a mini figure. Add more liquid hand soap and then another mini figure. Continue to layer them.

One trick I have is to use a long bamboo skewer to move the mini figures in the bottle so that they are facing the way I want them to.

Fill the bottle to the top with the liquid hand soap and screw on the lid. If you are using this sensory bottle with younger children, you will want to secure the lid in place using hot glue.

If you are looking for other sensory ideas, sign up for our free 5 part email series Sensory Solutions and Activities and get our Sensory System Behaviours Easy Reference Cards.

Rainbow Rainfall Sensory Bottle

This Space sensory bottle is naturally weighted. Kids can also use it as an I-Spy activity.Weighted Space Sensory Bottle

Activities to Teach Kids About Emotions

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Giving our kids a solid foundation for emotional health is so important. When we are raising our kids, we want to give them the best foundation as far as their physical health so we make sure that they get enough water and food and exercise and we teach them to tell us when they aren’t feeling well. We even teach them to identify what part of their body is hurting them and we use tools like thermometers to check them for fevers.

Emotional health is no different. Kids don’t come into the world knowing how to care for their emotional health any more than they come into the world knowing how to care for their physical health. It is up to us to teach them.

Part of that comes with giving them the vocabulary. Emotion words can be very challenging for kids to learn, especially those who are on the autism spectrum, have early childhood trauma, or have attachment disorders. It can take a fair bit of repetition and explanation for emotion words to become natural for children and it can take even longer for them to begin to identify their own emotions.

In our house, I try to make learning about emotions fun. It’s also good to make it part of your regular routine. It’s made a big difference for our kids.
Giving our kids a solid foundation for emotional health is so important. These activities to teach kids about emotions are perfect for this.

Activities to Teach Kids About Emotions

Jenga Feelings Game from here on The Chaos and The Clutter

The Chart that Saved our Emotions (Big Time) by The Natural Homeschool

Emotion Changing Paper Cup Octopus by Easy Peasy and Fun

Strawberry Emotions Matching Game for Toddlers by Simple Fun for Kids

Which Emotion Am I? Guessing Game from Childhood 101

Emotions Discovery Bottles from Lalymom

Emotions Scavenger Hunt from Mosswood Connections

Build a Face Story Stones from Where Imagination Grows

Resources to Teach Kids About Emotions and How to Manage Them from here on The Chaos and The Clutter


Join me for a free 5 part email series, Little Hearts, Big Worries offering resources and hope for parents.

More Activities to Teach Kids About Emotions

Teaching About Emotions and Feelings by Montessori Nature

Montessori Peace Table ~ Why Everyone Should Have One by The Natural Homeschool

Printable Spanish Flashcards: English to Spanish Feelings Flashcards by Look, We’re Learning

Personalized Emotion Game from B-Inspired Mama

Emotions Sensory Bins by Sugar, Spice and Glitter

Create a Feelings Learning Center from Buggy and Buddy

Ideas on How to Teach Kids about Peace {Printable List} by The Natural Homeschool

FREE Printables and Activities on Feelings and Emotions by Homeschool Giveaways

Managing Feelings and Emotions Free Printables by Natural Beach Living

What to Do With Kids Who Chew

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Have you noticed that your child has been putting things in her mouth and chewing them incessantly? Does your child have sensory challenges? Is an oral fixation a good outlet for your child to process anxiety, perhaps? I have found some solutions that work with my kids and will hopefully help you too.

If your child chews on clothing or pencils or licks everything in sight because of sensory or anxiety issues, these tips may help.

Chewing and the Root of the Problem

Children can be chewing on things because of stress, proprioceptive sensory needs, oral sensory needs, anxiety, body awareness or stimming. It is important for us to figure out why they are turning to this behaviour to try to deal with the root of the issue. But in the meantime, it is also appropriate to help the child with coping mechanisms.

Chewable Jewelry

Having a go-to item to chew on is much better than having your child chew on shirt collars, pencils, nails or even rubber balls. We have found some wonderful munchable chewelry for kids to use as an outlet that won’t lead to them wrecking shirts or pencils.

These leaf pendants are great for older kids, especially teen girls as they look just like regular jewelry.

The Lego pendants and dog tag style necklaces are a great option for boys of all ages.

 

Chewing gum

I used to have a “no gum in the house” rule. Now, I carry packs of bubble gum with me everywhere I go! Gum is an excellent sensory solution, particularly for kids looking for oral input. Chewing gum, especially a thick bubble gum gives good sensory feedback and can even reduce anxiety. You can buy sugar-free, dye free chewing gum as a healthier alternative to regular gum.

Drinking through a straw

This is particularly effective with thicker liquids such as milkshakes or smoothies. You can combine oral input and calming with this sleep smoothie.

Chewable Pencil Toppers

Say goodbye to chewed up pencils by using fun chewable pencil toppers. My kids’ personal favourite are these robot toppers.

Crunchy Food or Hard Candy

Providing crunchy food such as carrot sticks or celery sticks or hard candy for your child to chew can also be an appropriate way to meet their oral sensory needs. Of course, you need to be sure that your child is old enough to have hard candy because of the potential choking hazard.

You might also like:

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Must Haves for Kids with Sensory Needs

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Does My Child Have Sensory Processing Disorder?

Does my Child Have Sensory Processing Disorder? If you are wondering whether or not your child has Sensory Processing Disorder, this list of information and resources will be a starting place for you to find help.

Advice for Parents of Children with Special Needs

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I have to admit that I cringed a little when I typed out that title. Advice for Parents of Children with Special Needs. When it comes to parenting, I try to avoid the “advice” word because each child is so different and I’m certainly no expert. So read this knowing that I am stepping tenderly here and this advice is coming with the best of intentions after years of walking this road for many years myself and still stumbling often.

Real Advice for Parents of Children with Special NeedsParenting children who have high needs can be exhausting and overwhelming. It will teach you so much about who you are, both the strength and compassion that you never knew you had and the limitations or weaknesses you hadn’t realized were there. This journey has been such a humbling one for me. I continue to learn daily from my children who are exceptional teachers. I hope that some of what I’ve learned so far can help others.

Expectations. 

This one is tricky because you need to keep your expectations realistic while still not putting limits on your child. My husband and I have always say that our job is to provide the opportunity for each of our individual children to reach their fullest possible potential. Their fullest possible potential may be to become a successful brain surgeon or it may be that they are able to successfully live semi-independantly.

It is important that we not limit our children by their disabilities or challenges, but that we give them the freedom to achieve whatever successes and accomplishments they can in life. It is equally important that we have realistic expectations. If we expect that our children will attain goals that are clearly not attainable, we will set ourselves up for disappointment and set them up for failure.

It is imperative that we keep this in mind when it comes to our parenting as well. We cannot expect too much of ourselves. We are humans, though often being the parent of a child with special needs calls us to be superhuman.

Take breaks.

Advocating for your child, taking them to appointments, caring for them, meeting their needs, reading up on all the latest articles pertaining to their condition, trying new medications or treatments, meeting with others involved in their care, plus the duties that “normal” parenting entails is all too much to sustain over an extended period of time for any person. You need to take breaks.

Accessing child care may not be something that is possible in your situation right now, but there are often programs available in your State or Province that may be able to offer cost relief on respite care or babysitting. In some areas, even the cost of cleaning your home may be covered. When you are already overwhelmed, you may not have the energy or time to look into these options. If this is the case, I suggest delegating a friend, family member, or pastor to look into this for you.

In the meantime, take breaks in your home when you can. Make yourself a bubble bath, go for an evening walk, or read a book unrelated to your child’s condition. You need to take care of yourself in order to better take care of your child. Self-care is critical to your success. This is a marathon, not a sprint and you need to be able to continue strong.

Humour.

The old saying “laughter is the best medicine” exists for a reason. You can feel the weight being temporarily lifted as the laughter releases the tension pent up in your body.

Rent a comedy, read a funny book, but most of all, look for the humour in the everyday. When you child smears an entire jar of Zincofax all over their body, you can choose to cry over the extra work it will take to clean it up, or you can choose to get out your camera and snap a picture of what you know you will laugh over someday. When your autistic son is repeating the same phrase for the four millionth time that week, you can choose frustration or anger, or humour. When you are taking your daughter to the hospital for the fifth time in four weeks, you can feel hopeless, or you can joke about how they should start giving you bonus prizes at that parking lot. It’s all in the attitude and the perspective!

Relationships.

If you are parenting a special needs child and are married, make the time to work on your relationship. This may be easier said than done, but the alternatives are not ones that make this an option not to do. Divorce rates are higher among parents of special needs children. This is something that you need to be aware of and therefore, guard against. Even when you do not agree with each other, know that you are both coming from a place of loving your child and that ultimately, puts you on the same side. Communicate, communicate, communicate. Get outside help if you need it.

We have found that instituting a non-negotiable weekly date night has completely revolutionized our marriage.

Support network.

Build yourself a support network. Of all the advice I’m sharing today, this is perhaps the most important. If you are able to join a support group of other parents who are raising kids with similar challenges to yours, you will no longer feel isolated. Build a strong support system of family and friends and build a sense of community by involving yourself (to the extent that your circumstances will allow) in a church or community centre.

When you have people who you can talk openly with, people who will pray for you, people who care about you, people who will bring meals or offer other practical help, then you will not be carrying this burden alone.

The Chaos and The Clutter Community Center is an online support and resource center offering that “me too” feeling to moms who are parenting children with high needs, particularly those with kids who have trauma, attachment or sensory related needs. I would love to have you join us!

Celebrate.

Celebrate the small victories. Keep a log of where you have been so that when there are improvements with your child, you can look back and see how far they have come. This log can be accomplished through notes, journalling, scrapbooking, or blogging.

As the saying goes “Rome was not built in a day”. Raising a child with special needs is no different. It is the baby steps, the tiny accomplishments that all lead towards the bigger goals. Celebrate it all.

Cherish the gifts that your child possesses instead of focusing on their challenges. Often, special needs come with their own precious treasures and it is those that we need to be thankful for.

Join me for a free 5 part email series, Little Hearts, Big Worries offering resources and hope for parents.

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Resources to Teach Kids About Emotions and How to Manage Them