Memories from May…
Sometimes I think the importance of playgrounds are undervalued. I have often included in my posts photos and information about our trips to playgrounds and it strikes me that some parents may wonder why this is even noteworthy. Yet everything around us can be considered of educational value in some way. Other than the obvious health benefits of this physical exercise, a trip to a playground also has another clear purpose as well as ‘just’ being fun. Playgrounds are highly beneficial for a child with sensory processing disorder (or any child without!) because they provide plenty of opportunities to organise the nervous system, especially through vestibular and proprioceptive input, which helps to integrate and rebalance the senses. In short, it has a calming effect and helps the child to be more focused and ready to learn. A playground is almost like an informal sensory integration therapy session, with the added benefit of being readily available and often entirely free!
Personally we love going out alone to quiet playgrounds during school hours for some unrestricted and unhurried therapeutic play. When we meet up with friends at playgrounds it tends to be a very different experience compared to going alone, both beneficial for Squiggle but in different ways. Whilst one provides a lovely social opportunity, she gets less out of those trips in terms of sensory ‘therapy’ because she tends to play differently at playgrounds when with others, rather than spend as much time on the range of equipment. So she particularly enjoys the opportunity to focus on the environment itself sometimes too.
Squiggle really enjoyed the opportunity to watch dog agility at a local fete yesterday. She then had fun doing her own agility practice on the inflatable obstacle course and the agility course that were also at the fete. Today she had fun in the garden with her dad acting out the dog agility race with plastic toy dogs and some garden equipment.
I must admit I am not a huge fan of the concept of wipe clean books, in my opinion they are too prescriptive and therefore have the potential to be very restrictive, limiting the child’s creative thinking, and have limited appeal. To be honest, I fully expected the novelty of them to be very short-lived.
However, they have actually proven to be quite the opposite in our experience at home. Squiggle finds unique and interesting ways to interact with them, coming up with ideas that, to be perfectly honest, I never could have imagined. They reveal her creative side and imagination beautifully and show off her wonderful ability to really think outside the box.
She has spent entire days recently making up stories about the characters from the books, combining a range of media to do so. Here is just one example of this…
Note: this is not the whole story, the actual version went on for several days!
As well as doing detailed storytelling, drawing illustrations and role-playing inspired by these books, she also enjoys using them in other ways…
Squiggle got a giant paper flower making kit for her birthday from her nan. It is a simple technique, she was able to do it fairly independently, but quite effective. It could be done easily enough with any sheets of tissue paper and pipe cleaners, the kit is not really a necessity but it was a fun activity (and a lovely present!) nonetheless.
Here is the video of it from Alex Toys…
Water play is therapeutic and relaxing for Squiggle but it is so much more fun when it’s outdoors and on a large scale, so there is nothing like sunshine to brighten her mood, just for that reason alone!
Squiggle saw Decopatch at Living Crafts and was very interested in the technique. Therefore she was bought some Decopatch for her birthday (she got a starter kit from us and then got some more lovely items to decopatch from a very kind friend too). Here she is hard at work (and thoroughly enjoying it)…
Here are some of our adventures this week….