Fluffy Stuff

I came across this recipe about a week ago and decided to give it a try. I didn’t have as much cornstarch as it called for, so I just made a small batch. It’s been a huge hit. The best part is that it can be put in a bag and saved for another day. It’s lasted us a week so far.

"Fluffy Stuff"

Fluffy Stuff

Recipe
2 boxes of cornstarch
1 can of shaving cream
Optional: dye/food coloring (we didn’t add any color)
Mix together until the shaving cream is spread evenly through the mixture
Play!

"Fluffy Stuff"

Helping mix it and totally amazed

"Fluffy Stuff"

Deep concentration

The shaving cream makes the concoction cling to itself just enough to be able to form balls (or rocks, as Isaiah called them). If you pinch them or poke them with a spoon, though, they turn back to powder. Isaiah thought this was great fun. He also loves just burying his hands in the mixture and scooping it.

"Fluffy Stuff"

Sneaking a taste. He says it tastes like chocolate. Not so sure I believe that one...

"Fluffy Stuff"

Having tons of fun

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Weighted Toys for Special Needs

Some children with special needs benefit from weighted toys and blankets. These tools can be helpful for many different needs, including SPD, ADHD and autism. Determining whether your child will benefit from a weighted toy is mostly a matter of trial and error. Either using the toy will help your child, make no difference at all or make things worse.

Sometimes, weighted toys are recommended by an occupational therapist or teacher, other times, we parents come across the idea and decide to try it ourselves. Either way, knowing you want to try it doesn’t necessarily make it easy to find such a toy. There are weighted toys available, but there is not much variety. Many are plain or ugly and they often cost a fortune. I saw one advertised yesterday for $70! Now, $70 is a small price to pay to help your child to function better, but what if you could make your own or buy one for less that your child will love?

Build-A-Bear

Isaiah's special friend--it weighs approximately 3 pounds

You have two great options. First, if you’re a little bit crafty, you can make your own from your child’s favorite stuffed animal. I haven’t made one myself because my stitching skills aren’t stellar, but many mamas are much better at such things, so I wanted to include this.

Animals can be weighted with a variety of materials. The heavier the material, the better because it takes less space inside the animal. Unpainted aquarium rocks, plastic pellets, rice and beans are all great options. The toy should weigh no more than 15% of your child’s weight.

To make your animal, take a pair of toddler tights and cut the legs off. Pour your heavy item into one leg of the stocking and tie it shut, trimming off any excess stocking. If you want, you can pour half into each leg, so you have two smaller weighted bags. Carefully cut open a seam on the stuffed animal, preferably toward the back and/or bottom, and remove a small amount of stuffing. You want to remove just enough stuffing to fit the weights inside. Once the weight is inside, carefully and securely sew the animal closed. Your toy is now ready to be enjoyed by your child.

You also have the option to do as I did. I promised Isaiah a trip to Build-A-Bear for his birthday this year. We brought weights made from aquarium rocks to be stuffed inside whatever toy he selected. It took quite a while for him to choose the perfect toy, but he ended up choosing a monkey. The woman carefully stuffed the weights into the monkey, then let Isaiah stand on the pedal to fill his toy. Stuffing the monkey with weights took extra effort, but she was willing to do it for us and said they do it fairly often. I would highly recommend paying your local Build-A-Bear a visit if you find yourself in need of a weighted toy. We had a wonderful experience and Isaiah got to experience choosing the perfect toy, without the limitations of choosing from premade toys.

Build-A-Bear

Standing proudly outside the store

Build-A-Bear

Isaiah with his brand new monkey

Cats and Rice

Isaiah loves using rice for sensory play. It’s one of his absolute favorites. He enjoys scooping and pouring, but he especially loves having special toys to play with in the rice. Tonight, I pulled out a set of cats for him. He played with the cats, buried the cats and dug them out. He said they were playing “hide and seek”. Adding something new and different can help keep him entertained for longer periods of time.

Rice and Kitties

Ready for play

Rice and Kitties

Kitty!

Rice and Kitties

So much fun

I’ve found lots of different sets at Dollar Tree to help build our sensory collections. The great thing about getting them from Dollar Tree is that they’re fairly easy to replace when the various sensory activities eventually damage them. Isaiah has a set of little cars, various animal sets and lots of scoops and buckets.

Sensory Adventures

Isaiah loves new activities and seems to thrive on sensory play, so we did some old and new sensory activities today. We started our adventures with homemade finger paints. I’ve found a variety of recipes for finger paints, thanks to Pinterest and wanted to test one. Today, we chose a fairly simple one. Basically, it’s equal parts water and flour with some food coloring. We did one cup of water and flour, then put six or eight drops of color into each cup. Isaiah chose the two colors he can name (although, he’s not totally sure what they are, we’re working on that part): blue and purple, as well as “firetruck blue” (red).

Sensory Fun

Waiting patiently

Once all the paints were made, we pulled Isaiah’s table into the kitchen because it’s the only place (except bedrooms) that doesn’t have carpet. I taped his paper down so it wouldn’t slide away from him and be distracting and Isaiah settled in to paint.

At first, true to form, Isaiah would only stick one finger in the paint. With a little encouragement, he decided to try sticking two fingers in at once and soon had both hands buried in the paint. It was generally a big mess, but he had a blast, so it was worth it. This time, the mess was mostly confined to the table, so it didn’t take too long to clean up, either.

Sensory Fun

Cautiously testing the paint

Sensory Fun

Diving in

When Isaiah decided he was done painting, I poured the paint into a plastic bag. There was no way a flour/water mixture was going to last to be used later, so I decided to try something I’d seen on a blog a while ago, instead. It was actually more paint than I needed, so next time, I won’t put so much in the bag (or I’ll use a bigger bag). I taped it to the table with paper under it and showed Isaiah that he could move the paint around with his fingers. It started out with the blue, purple and red separate, but soon combined to make a nice purple color, much to Isaiah’s amazement. The paint bag kept Isaiah happily occupied off and on all day.

Sensory Fun

This is interesting...

Sensory Fun

Drawing a house

This evening, I took Isaiah outside to play in his sandbox. He really loves playing in the sand and seems to sleep best after time outside, so it was a win-win situation. He happily played in his sand and wanted me to play, too. I don’t really fit in the sandbox, so I sat next to it and played over the side. I mixed some water from the outside edge of the box into some sand, packed it into a cup and made a tower, which Isaiah promptly knocked over.

Sensory Fun

Shoveling sand

I mixed sand and water to make a really watery mess at one point and Isaiah thought it was fun to cover himself in it. He wanted it on his back, too, so I dripped some over him.

Sensory Fun

Covered in sand!

Sensory Fun

Showing off how sandy he was for the camera--''Take a pitur a me!''

We had a ton of fun with his turtles that squirt water. He couldn’t figure out why mine shot water so nicely and his didn’t, even if he insisted on trading with me! There was no way I was going to hand him a loaded turtle to soak me with and he couldn’t quite get them filled with water himself. He still thought it was insanely funny and kept swapping turtles with me, then laughing hysterically when I sprayed him.

Sensory Fun

Getting sprayed by my turtle

When it was finally time to go inside, I hosed him down. Even doing that, I managed to miss some of the sand. It’s amazing how much got into his diaper! He got a bath when we got inside because he needed to take one today anyway. He was perfectly happy with that plan.

Sensory Fun

Rinsing off as much sand as we could

Gingerbread Train

My mom bought a gingerbread kit when they were on sale after Christmas. This year, she opted for a train shaped kit over the traditional house. Isaiah, of course, was thrilled with the train. He sat on the chair next to me and watched me (try) to assemble it. The icing was too old and we ended up using hot glue. Oh well, we weren’t planning to eat it anyway.

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So excited

train0057

A gingerbread train

Once all the pieces were finally staying together, I helped Isaiah put wheels on his train (icing and mints). He thought that was pretty cool. It didn’t take much convincing to get him to start decorating for himself. I put the icing on and he stuck various candies to it.

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Attaching candie wheels

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Decorating happily

Of course, like all children, Isaiah had to taste the candy. He liked some kinds better than others. He really thought he should be able to shove it all in his mouth at once, though. I had to keep stopping him to make sure he remembered to chew and at least stick some of the candy on the train.

Yummy!

''I'm tasting the candy!''

Decorating the train kept Isaiah occupied for quite a while. He thought it was wonderful! It turned out pretty well for a not-quite-two-year-old, too.

Finished Product

The finished work of art

Playing in the Snow

Isaiah had never actually played in snow before today. Not for lack of trying on my part, he just wasn’t into it last year. Snow was scary and he didn’t want it to touch him. This year, his opinion on the matter has been the opposite. He couldn’t wait to get out in it. We went outside briefly yesterday while it was snowing, but since he didn’t have any mittens that fit, he couldn’t be out for long. Now that he has mittens, it was time for fun!

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Telling Gram all about the snow

First, Isaiah had to touch it and experiment with the texture. He really wanted his mittens off for that. He spent quite a while swinging his hands in the snow and making it fly everywhere. Then, he discovered he could pile it on top of his feet and make them disappear. He covered them and was so proud of himself that he picked his foot up to show me. Oops! So much for it being hidden! Oh, well. It was easy enough to cover again–and cover it he did.

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Burying his foot

Next up was discovering that it could be made into a ball. Since I was holding the camera, my mom scooped up some snow and packed it tightly into a ball. It took some real effort because the snow is extremely powdery. Once the first snowball was created, Isaiah pointed and shouted “a ball!” while doing a little happy dance. With very little encouragement, he took the ball and promptly threw it in the air. Of course, then he needed a new ball!

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Throwing the ball

When the snowballs got boring, we wandered around following the tracks our vehicles had made (in the church parking lot, don’t worry). Since they were “tracks”, Isaiah decided that meant that he must be a train. He shuffled his way along making all the appropriate train noises. He couldn’t have been happier.

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Pretending to be a train

I tried to convince Isaiah to make a snow angel, but he didn’t want to lie down in the snow. He did sit and wave his arms and legs, but it doesn’t make the cool imprint. I made a snow angel for him, which resulted in needing dry clothes because, unlike Isaiah, I don’t have good snow gear.

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A sitting snow angel

When it was time to go in, Isaiah really didn’t want to leave the snow. He cried and tried to bring snow inside with him. Once we got inside and he found out that you get hot chocolate after time in the snow, he was much happier.