Today, I am so honoured to introduce you to my fellow CMN-blogger, Heather Greutman from Golden Reflections, who is building on the concept of sensory activities for kids for our #30daystoMontessori series by discussing how to explore the senses your kids don’t like.
Day 19: Exploring the Senses Your Kids Don’t Like
Thank you Jennifer for inviting me to share in your #30DaystoMontessori Challenge. I am rather new to the Montessori world. I just learned about it a little over a year ago, after my daughter was born. But with my background in Occupational Therapy, I was immediately drawn to Montessori activities. So today I am going to be sharing ways of exploring the senses your kids don’t like with your Montessori activities.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Occupational Therapy (OT), it is a very a holistic approach to treatment, looking at the entire person. The main goal with OT is to encourage patients and clients in gaining as much independence in their daily life as possible through activities of daily living and their personal interests.
One thing that drew me to the Montessori approach was the similarities in encouraging independence and focusing on child-led interests. These are the two main components of Occupational Therapy, which is why I wrote a post on the similarities between OT and Montessori on my blog.
A huge area of need right now, especially in the school based setting is working with children who have sensory processing difficulties. Autism spectrum disorders and Sensory Processing Disorders are a very common diagnosis now.
Something we worked on a lot was encouraging children to explore the many senses around them, including the ones they don’t particularly enjoy. This is so easy to do with Montessori activities as well, so I am going to give you some tips on how to do that.
Tips for Encouraging Exploration of Senses Kids Don’t Like
For me personally, I have a lot of food texture sensitivities. Pulp in orange juice literally makes me want to gag. I also can’t stand eating a real orange. Every single piece of pulp or white area has to be taken off for me to even try it. Banana’s have to have every single string taken off the sides. Corn on the cob is another one, I can’t stand having silk on my piece of corn. So I will spend time taking all these things off before eating them.
Does this keep me from having a quality of life or does it impede my participation in most every day life? No. But for many kids with sensory sensitivities, it does. Maybe it’s a certain sound, texture, or environment that they don’t like. The list could go on and on.
So today’s challenge: find that one thing your child literally cannot stand. Avoiding certain foods or textures is pretty common among children. Also not wanting to get dirty, or having certain textures on their skin is another big one.
Once you have figured that out, find a way to include that sensation or texture into their Montessori activities. You don’t want to include it in every single one or else they won’t be interested in any of the activities. I will give you two examples to get you started.
- Food textures – Have your child help make a recipe or dish that includes one ingredient they don’t like. Just casually bring up the ingredients and have them help prepare it. Kids are more likely to try something if they help to prepare it.
- Getting Messy – Making a sensory bin or tray to go on your Montessori shelves is a great way to do this. Include one messy item in your bin that they can choose to use. Shaving cream, jello, and cornmeal bins are all good options.
- Outdoors – Many children do not like being barefoot outdoors, especially on the grass or rocks. The bottom of your feet are typically more sensitive anyway. A good way to help desensitize is to play in water or allowing them to use their feet in a messy play activity indoors. Then gradually move the activities outside to a flat surface. You could make a sensory bin full of paper grass and get them use to touching it with their hands on feet. Gradually move them to walking outdoors in flip-flops or sandals.
There are so many other ways you can include exploring sensations your kids don’t like. Do you have an idea? Let me know in the comments below. And don’t forget to share your exploring sensation activities on social media using the hashtag #30DaystoMontessori.