Thursday, May 4, 2017

More Than Meets the Eye

As the end of the school year approaches, I am trying hard to make these last few months of therapy as fun and motivating as possible.  By this time of the year, everyone (kids and therapists alike) is struggling to enjoy the toys and activities that have been used all year long.  Last weekend, I spent some time at my local bookstores looking at some of the new books that work on visual skills.  As a child, I remember spending hours and hours playing with the Where's Waldo books.  Little did I know, that those books accomplished way more than just passing time and having fun with friends.  Looking at them now with my therapist eyes, I see just how many skills can be worked on while using books like Where's Waldo.  For some of the kids I work with, working on visual perceptual skills can be difficult and requires much encouragement.  Making the activity as fun as possible makes it way more motivating.  I have introduced some of my kids to a few new books (and shared it with parents who are looking for things to do at home with their kids) and they have loved them.  We have been able to work on improving visual scanning/tracking, visual attention, visual discrimination and many other visual skills that are critical for the development of graphomotor and reading skills.  Below, you will find a handful of the best books to work on improving visual perceptual skills.  These are ones that have been kid tested and approved by the experts....the kids I work with!

Taro Gomi's Playful Puzzles for Little Hands-I have been a longtime fan of the books by Taro Gomi so when I saw this puzzle book, I was immediately intrigued by it.  This book contains over 60 different finger games that are completed using your fingers so it's perfect for working on improving fine motor control and strength.  There are a variety of different kinds of activities including mazes, matching games, brain teasers and many, many more.  One of my favorite things about this is that since you don't use writing instruments, you can use it over and over again making it a perfect addition to any teacher or therapist's bag of tricks.

One Is Not A Pair-in this search and find book by Britta Teckentrup, kids have to find the object that doesn't have a match on the two page spread.  Each page contains several sets of pairs but there is always one that doesn't have a match.  For example, try and find the house on the street that is unlike all the others or find the teddy bear that doesn't have a twin.  This sounds like it would be too easy but it is actually quite challenging.  Great for working on improving visual scanning, visual discrimination and several other visual skills.  It is also great for working on improving executive functioning skills such as focus, attention, organization and modulation/regulation.  Additionally, you can work on improving language skills by having kids describe what makes the object different than the others on the page.

Where's The Pair?-another great search and find book by Britta Teckentrup.  In this one, kids have to find the two animals that are exactly the same on each page.  Each two page spread features a different group of animals and kids have to find the ones that are the same  Sounds easy, but it is actually pretty tricky and requires the kids to really focus and look at the details.  Be sure to remind the kids that the animals might be a different size or looking in a different direction.   Once they find the matches, you can play a game of I Spy to have them find different things on the pages.  Great for working on improving visual scanning, visual discrimination and several other visual skills as well as focus, attentional and organizational skills.  

Who Done It?/Who What Where?-these two books by Olivier Tallec are great books for younger children to work on improving their visual skills. In these book, kids are asked a different question on each page about the lineup of featured characters.  They need to really listen to the question and carefully look at each animal to figure out the right answer.  For example, one page asks to find the animal who ate all the jam.  By looking at each animal, they will find that one animal has jam all over their face.  In addition to working on improving visual skills, kids will work on improving language skills, focus and attention and organizational skills.  Can be done 1:1 or you can have kids work together to find the correct animal on each page.

The Lost House (A Seek and Find Book)-I was drawn to this book by B.B. Cronin because of the bright colors and beautiful illustrations.  In this seek and find book, kids have to find a variety of objects to help Grandad get ready to leave the house.  The kids I work with have gotten the biggest hit out of having to find the grandad's teeth on one of the pages!  You don't have to just look for the objects that grandad has can spend some time looking at each page and come up with a list of other items that would be fun for kids to find.  This book is great for working on a variety of visual skills such as visual tracking, visual attention and visual discrimination skills.
I have graded this activity for younger children by giving them hints about where the object is hidden which works on following directions and auditory processing skills.  For older kids, I make them come up with hints to help me find where the object is hidden.  This is great for working on improving language skills and executive functioning skills such as focus, attention and organizational skills.

Undercover...One of These Things is Almost Like the Others-another book that I was drawn to because of the beautiful illustrations.  There is a simplicity to this book but so many opportunities to work on improving visual perceptual skills, including visual attention, visual scanning and visual discrimination.  Each two page spread has a series of pictures that are similar shapes/categories but there is always one that doesn't belong for one reason or another.  For example, on one page, there are a series of insects with an airplane hidden in there.

Busy Bunny Days-another awesome book by the brilliant Britta Teckentrup. I was drawn to this book because it reminded me so much of the Richard Scarry books I loved when I was a child.  The illustrations are similar and I love the fact that there are a lot of things happening in each picture.  In this one, kids follow the Bunny family from morning until night in their home town.  On each two page spread, the Bunny family is in a different part of their town.  There are 3 questions that require the kids to search the pages to find the answer.  This is not only great for working on improving visual skills, it is also great for language development, improving conversation skills and executive functioning such as focus, attention and organizational skills.  You don't have to just use the questions that are already can get creative and come up with your own.

These books have been a great addition to my bag of tricks at work these last few weeks.  The best part is that the kids are really enjoying them and don't even realize that they are working!  Do you have any great books that you would recommend to me or my readers?  I know as a parent, I am always willing to spend money on books, especially ones that will engage my daughter.  If you have any other suggestions, please share them with me.  I am always a click away and love hearing from all of you!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Spring Into Action!

Here on the east coast, there are little glimmers of hope that Spring is actually on its way.  Between the rainy days, there is warmer weather, flowers blooming and the sun is staying out much later at night.  I am a big fan of seasons, even winter and the cold, and am always excited for a new season to begin.  With each season brings new adventures.  What I love about spring is that it allows more outdoor play and, at least in my case with my daughter, less screen time.  For many of the kids I work with, the change from winter to spring helps with so many things.  First of all, outdoor time means more running around in the playground, climbing, jumping, scooting, bike riding, etc..  All of this movement always leads to improved sensory processing, attention and focus and overall organizational skills in children.  Additionally, kids show improved strength and endurance from being outside and moving around more often.

Recently, I was asked to write a blog for Friendship Circle on Outdoor Toys.  The focus was on toys, games and other products that helped with the development of body strength, motor planning executive functioning and encouraged social skills.  It's amazing how many great products there are out there that can be easily adapted to meet the needs and skill set of individual kids.  As always, I try and find products that parents can find in local toy stores without having to shop in special needs catalogues.  Be sure to check my Outdoor Toys post to learn all about them.

In addition to the toys I talked about in my post for Friendship Circle, there are a lot of great activities that you can do with kids.  Using some of the products I discussed, you can make outdoor play more meaningful while hiding the fact that it is actually working towards therapeutic goals.

1.  Go On a Picnic-my daughter loves our impromptu picnics in the park when the weather allows.  You can make this a therapeutic activity by making a list and having your child help pack the basket you are taking to them park.  This can help with executive functioning skills such as planning, and organization.  Have your kids go around and take sandwich orders on a pad from family and friends and then they can help with making sandwiches and packing up snacks which helps with fine motor and visual motor/perceptual skills.  Be sure to bring some fun activities to do with your kids during your picnic.  Pack some bubbles, stomp rockets or other kinds of outdoor games that you can do as a family.

2.  Gardening-if you are able to, find a patch of space to plant some flowers or easy to care for vegetables with your children.  There are so many skills that can be worked on through gardening and at the end there is an end product that will make your child feel so proud of.  First of all, gardening helps with improving fine motor and bilateral coordination skills (shoveling out dirt, placing seeds in the ground, covering the seeds with dirt, etc.).  It is also great for teaching kids responsibility as they have to be sure that they care for their garden each day by watering it, picking out weeds, etc..
**FYI....some fast growing plants (for our not always patient little ones) are:
-Morning Glory
-Sweet Pea
-Green Beans

3.  Chalk Drawing-one of my favorite activities to suggest to families during the warmer months is chalk drawing.  Whether you have a giant driveway or a patch of sidewalk in front of your apartment, this is a great family activity to work on improving fine motor, graphomotor and executive functioning skills.  It is also great for encouraging creativity and social skills as well.  One of my favorite spring/summer traditions in my family is to hang out outside our apartment after a day of school and work and draw chalk creations.  We will all take turns adding things to a picture and then we tell a story about it when it is complete.  As my daughter has gotten older, we have also made fun of learning how to write letters and now words outside.  It definitely makes it feel more like play than work.

4.  Scavenger Hunt-kids love a good scavenger hunt and I love that this activity can encourage social skills, teamwork and cooperative play for kids.  Depending on the age of the children, you can make this as simple or as complicated as they can handle.  For example, if you want them to find a flower you can tell younger kids to simply find a flower or make it more challenging for older kids by having them find a certain color flower.  If the space you are having the scavenger hunt allows, try and add some gross motor challenges to help work on building strength, endurance and motor planning.  For example, have them climb ladders on a swingset or lift garage doors to find things hidden.

5.  Outdoor Obstacle Course-if your space allows, have your kids come create an outdoor obstacle course using different outdoor toys.  Some things to include:  stomp rockets, scooters, draw chalk targets for them to jump into, shoot a basketball into the hoop, hula hoop x amount of times.  There are so many options and kids don't realize that they are actually working towards meeting some of their therapy goals.  Obstacle courses are great for working on improving motor planning, organizational and sequencing skills, increasing endurance and overall body strength.  Be sure to let your child help you come up with the obstacle course if they are able to.  For older kids, you can make this more challenging by timing them and having them try and beat their personal records.

Do you have some fun outdoor activities that you are your family enjoy during the nicer weather?  I would love to hear about family traditions or activities that you suggest to the families that you work with.  As always, I am always a click away and love hearing from you all.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Big Kid Finger Fun!

When kids are younger, I find it is easier to get them to do their strengthening work during our therapy sessions.  Oftentimes, you can hide the fact that they are actually "working" by making it seem like it is a game and not exercise.  For example, Discovery Putty by Fun and Function is one of my kids favorite things to do during my sessions.  Finding the various objects hidden in the putty is still a game for them and they are so excited to see what they find next.  As kids get older, something like this becomes "boring" and they need more to get them motivated to do their strengthening exercises.

Some of you may wonder why this is important, right?  Kids who have decreased grasp strength tend to be those kids who complain that their hands get tired when writing for a long time.  They may have a hard time getting all their work done in the classroom because they require breaks to rest their hands.  These are the kids who may have an immature grip on their writing instrument.  These are also the kids that may have a hard time with activities of daily living such as manipulating buttons, snaps, etc. or being able to tie their shoes independently.

Below, I share a handful of my favorite games and toys that could help work on building grasp strength and manipulation skills in some of your older kiddos.

Finger Hockey Mini Set-this is a great way to work all those muscles in the hand.  The best part, kids don't even realize that they are "working".  This mini hockey set comes with a playing mat, 2 finger goalie pads, a net, 2 hockey sticks and a puck.  This fun game is great for working on increasing grasp strength and manipulation skills.  Also great for working on improving visual skills such as visual attention, tracking and hand-eye coordination.  It's a great social activity for siblings and/or friends.  If your kid isn't so into hockey, check out the Desktop Croquet Mini Kit or Desktop Basketball Kit.  These are so reasonably priced (all under $10 each) that you could grab the whole collection!

Legos-I can speak from personal experience with my 7 year old daughter how Legos have been incredibly helpful for developing fine motor and grasping skills.  She recently became obsessed with them and will spend hours a week putting together these elaborate sets.  Since then, I have seen that her grip on a writing instrument is now appropriate (yay!!) and she can write, color and draw for much longer.  In addition to working on improving grasp strength and manipulation skills, building with Legos is great for working on visual motor and perceptual skills and executive functioning skills such as motor planning, organizational skills, focus and attention.  It can also encourage creativity when you let your kid build whatever they want to with a bunch of pieces.  If your kid is up for a real challenge, check out the Nanoblock sets.  Same concept as Legos but much tinier and more challenging to manipulate.

Crazy Aaron's Thinking Putty, Mixed By Me Thinking Putty Kit-I have been and recommending Crazy Aaron's Thinking Putty to my families for years.  Hide little objects in the putty, have kids find them and you have an easy strengthening activity.  However, this is something that my younger kids love and the older kids find to be a bit more boring.  The Mixed by Me Kit is great for older kids, especially those who are into the whole DIY science experiment fad that seems to be all the rage right now.  Each kit comes with five tins of clear putty, three concentrated color putties, three special effect putties and a guide that will help your kid make their very own Thinking Putty colors.  This is a great activity for working on improving grasp strength and manipulation skills.  It is also great for working on executive functioning skills such as planning, organization, focus and attentional skills.  It will also build confidence and self-esteem and can help improve social skills if you have them do this while working with a friend or a sibling.

Brynk-in this fun stacking game, kids can work on improving fine motor, grasping and manipulation skills.  One by one, kids take turns sliding any of the pieces onto the base of the game or attaching them to other game pieces.  The pieces are different shapes, sizes, etc. meaning that they have to look carefully making sure that the piece they choose won't make the structure topple over.  They have to make sure that they really pay attention to where they place their pieces to keep the structure from falling over.  If you have kids who need to work on improving social skills, this game could be a fun way to work on that.  Kids can play against each other or they can work in teams.  Be sure to discuss the rules of the game as a group and establish expectations on being a good winner/loser.

Paint by Sticker-if you are a regular reader of my blog, you will know how much I love the Sticky Mosaics by Orb Factory.  While even my bigger kids enjoy doing these, they do find them to get babyish and not challenging enough after a certain age.  So when I discovered the Paint by Sticker book by Workman Publishing, I got really excited.  This books is a collection of 12 black and white pictures (animals, flowers, landscapes, etc.) that come to life by adding stickers.  The stickers are a variety of shapes and each one matches up with a number.  colorful paintings that gets to design my matching stickers to numbers.  These are great for working on the development of fine motor and manipulation skills, improves hand-eye coordination, visual scanning and visual motor skills.  In addition, it is a great activity to work on improving executive functioning skills such as focus, attention, organization and planning.  Once completed, you can frame the picture which will help in boosting confidence and self-esteem.

Klutz Cootie Catcher Book-I remember spending hours making these with my friends growing up!  We used to call them fortune tellers but this book by Klutz refers to them as cootie catchers.  It is a simple origami kind of activity that has different colors, numbers, questions, and fun message at the end.  This book comes with 22 preprinted punch out and fold cootie catchers all with different themes/messages/etc..  These are great for working on improving fine motor skills such as grasping, manipulation and grasp strength.  It's also great for improving visual motor and perceptual skills.  Additionally, this is a fun way to encourage social skills in kids who may be experiencing challenges in this area.

Pirasta Coloring Posters-I absolutely love these giant coloring pages by Pirasta.  Not only are they great for working on improving coloring and hand-eye coordination, if you hang it up on a wall in your house, it is a great way to work on improving upper body and wrist strength/control.  My nieces got one for Christmas one year and it is still hanging on their wall and people still finding objects to color in on the poster.  I make sure that there is a really good variety of pencils, gel pens, markers, etc for the kids to choose from such as these Super Duper Scented Gel Pens or these Triangular Colored Pencils (triangle-shaped pencils help to encourage a tripod grasp when holding them) by Ooly.

Finding fun ways to work with older kids, especially ones that they won't mind doing at home, can be challenging but as you can see, there are a lot of great options out there.  Do you have any toys or games that you use with your older kids that have been a big hit?  I love hearing about new products and I know that the parents of the kids I work with appreciate it as well.  As long as we can keep things fun for those hard to please older kids, they won't mind doing "homework" in between sessions.  I look forward to hearing from you with your suggestions.  I am always a click away!

Monday, January 30, 2017

New Year, New Toys

One of the things that tends to happen to me during holiday shopping for my daughter and other kids is that I end up getting lots of new things for work.  This is the time of the year where I begin to get bored with all my toys and games at work.  If I am getting bored, I imagine the kids are getting bored too.  After the holidays, I always roll out some new toys, games and activities and the kids are totally excited to come into therapy to see what new things await them.  I love the idea of starting the new year off with fresh toys and ideas and the kids are more motivated and engaged in our sessions because of them.  I sometimes even ask kids to bring in some of their favorite gifts that they got to share with me.  Not only are they excited to tell me all about their new things, I get to learn about other great products out there that I might not have heard about before.

During my holiday shopping, I discovered lots of new products.  That's what happens when you are in and out of tons of stores and spending too much time searching online.  So, while shopping for all the little ones on list this year, I also picked up lots of stuff for work.  Here are the things that have been the biggest hits so far:

Mame Ohagki Rainbow Beans-I am a total sucker for almost any wooden toys.  There is no stopping me from buying almost any rainbow wooden toys I stumble upon.  The rainbow bean set  by Mame Ohagki is a beautiful toy that comes with a bunch of little rainbow colored wooden beans, a bowl and a set of wooden chopsticks.  While this can be used to encourage free play and creativity, it is also great for working on developing fine motor and manipulation skills, hand-eye coordination and bilateral coordination skills.  You can have kids work on sorting the different colored beans into piles or have them work on their counting skills.  By using the chopsticks, they are also working on increasing their grasp strength.
*for some of my younger kids, I have found that they have a hard time using the chopsticks provided.  I will provide them with a set of Zoo Sticks to make sure they have more success and don't end up getting frustrated by the task. 

Magic Moves Electronic Wand-getting kids up and moving around is important all the time, but it's especially important during the winter months when kids are not outside as much.  Let's face it, kids would rather be watching television or playing on some kind of electronical device so they need to be motivated to get up and workout.  The Magic Moves wand by Educational Insights promotes movement, gross motor skills and following directions.  Kids give the wand a shake and it will callout one of 90 different movements that the child then has to act out.  They may be asked to slither like a snake, fly like a bird, stomp like a bear and loads of other things.  This can be used 1:1 or with a group of kids.  Another similar product is the Magic Moves Jammin' Gym which is similar but instead of acting out movements, kids have to follow the directions to complete exercise movements (including some warm-up tasks).  One of the cool things about the Jammin' Gym wand is that if you go to their website you can print out 3 different posters that give you a visual to go along with the exercises.

Tobbly Wobbly-I was sold by this toy by Fat Brain Toys when I saw that they used one of my all time favorite toys, Squigz, on it to make an adorable little creature.  Think of this as a modern day Mr. Potato Head.  Tobbly Wobbly is an egg-shaped toy that comes with a 14 different Squigz and a two sheets of reusable stickers (everything can be conveniently stored inside the toy).  The Squigz can be turned into legs, arms, ears and even hair.  Kids can work on improving fine motor, grasping and manipulation skills while also working on improving body awareness.  Additionally, kids are working on improving bilateral coordination skills, hand-eye coordination, imagination and creativity.  Sometimes, I have the kids draw a picture of their Tobbly Wobbly all completed, especially for those kids who are still having a hard time drawing a picture of a person.

Willy's Wiggly Web-when I was looking for cooperative games for my social skills group, I found this one by Peaceable Kingdom and felt like it was made for an occupational therapist.  In this cooperative game, kids work together to cut all the bugs free from the web before Willy the spider falls.  Kids not only get to work on cutting skills in a fun and creative way, they also work on improving hand-eye coordination, problems solving and organizational skills.  There are 3 levels of play so kids of all ages and skill levels can play whichever one that they will be successful.

Getting Ready to Write Gumball Grab-this is a great game by Lakeshore Learning that works on improving fine motor, visual motor and visual perceptual skills.  Additionally, kids can work on learning colors and counting skills.  The point of the game is quite simple:  be the first to fill your gumball machine by matching the colors.  I love how easily adaptable this game is based on the skill level of your child.  For example, if you have younger kids, you can remove the cards that have you take gumballs off of your mat and just use the ones that have the kids add gumballs.  If your kids are struggling using the grabbers that are provided with the game, Kids can use their fingers but make sure that you encourage them to use their "pinchers (thumb and pointer finger)" when they pick up the gumballs.

These are just a few of the new things that I have been playing with this first month back at work after the holidays.  The kids have been excited to test things out and I am happy to have some fresh things to do with the kids that have them motivated to participate in therapy.  Did your children receive anything wonderful this holiday season or did you find a gift while you were shopping that may be a good addition to my bag of tricks?  I love hearing about new toys, games and activities!  I am just a click away and am always excited to hear from you all.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Snow Day Fun!

I spent most of this past weekend playing outside in the snow.  I'm not sure who enjoys the snowy weather more:  me or my 6 1/2 year old daughter.  As soon as it starts snowing, she is asking to go out and play.  Whether it be helping out with shoveling the snow, building a snowman or going sledding, this kid of mine is happiest when it snows.

Playing with and in the snow offers lots of opportunities to work on occupational therapy goals.  For example, shoveling snow is a great activity to work on providing sensory input and work on overall body strengthening.  Building a snowman requires focus, attention and organizational skills, can work on improving strength and motor planning skills.  Even having a friendly snowball fight can be a therapeutic activity.  If you don't want to encourage throwing snowballs at other people, you can play a game where you set up targets (trees, garage doors, etc.) for the kids to throw snowballs at.

There are lots of people who like the way snow looks but don't want to have anything else to do with it.  There are also lots of people who love snow but live in places where it never snows.  Below, I have shared some things you can do inside when it snows and you'd rather stay warm and cozy inside or for those of you who live in warmer places and want to bring winter to you!

Homemade Snow: while many of us are lucky enough to get to play with actual snow, there are a lot of people who live in parts of this country/world who don't ever get to experience snow.  The good thing is that no matter where you live and what the weather is like, there are ways you can make your own snow.  In this very easy recipe, you can mix baking soda and white conditioner and make your own snow that you get to play with inside without having to get all bulked up or having to deal with the cold weather.
Mix 2 1/2 cups of baking soda with 1/2 cup of white conditioner....stir together in bowl until it reaches the consistency you like.
*this is super simple and affordable activity that works on improving bilateral coordination (hold bowl with one hand while using a spatula to stir the ingredients).
*if you have a kid who needs to work on improving tactile defensiveness, mixing these two ingredients with your hands can work on improving grasp strength and manipulation skills as well as help to expose kids with tactile defensive tendencies to an opportunity to get their hands dirty and in the mix of things.

Make Snowflakes: who doesn't remember spending hours as a child making paper snowflakes?
This is a great activity for kids of all ages because you can make it as simple or as complicated as they can handle.  My favorite thing is that all you need are scissors and paper to make something really cool and beautiful.  You can add paint, glitter or stickers if you want to add details.  One thing that I do is save the extra stickers from the Orb Factory Sticky Mosaic sets I have done with the kids to decorate the snowflakes.  They love adding the sparkly colors and I love that they can work on fine motor and manipulation skills at the same time.  This activity allows kids to work on improving fine motor skills in a fun and creative way.  For some of my younger kids, I will draw shapes for them to cut out and then have them color or paint their snowflake in to work on graphomotor skills.  With the older ones, I encourage them to design their snowflake by themselves.  If you need some inspiration, Kinderart has a bunch of templates for you to choose from.  Making paper snowflakes is also great for working on improving visual motor and perceptual skills, hand-eye coordination, bilateral coordination skills and focus, attentional and organizational skills.

Indoor Snowball Fight: my daughter loves a good snowball fight.  It doesn't matter if she is on the giving or receiving end of the fight, she just thinks it is one of the best parts of winter to her.  If you are fortunate enough to have enough space where you live and don't necessarily have the weather to have a snowball fight, then you should definitely pick up these indoor snowballs by Snowtime Anytime.  These soft snowballs are perfect to keep your kids entertained for hours on end.  The best part is that they are getting exercise and working on developmental skills without realizing it!  Kids can work on upper extremity strength, hand-eye coordination, visual motor and perceptual skills and focus, attention, motor planning and organizational skills while playing!
There are so many different ways your kids can play with these snowballs.  They can have a safe snowball fight against each other.  You can set up targets for them to throw at with each target being worth points and the person with the most points at the end is the winner.  Another idea is that you can have a snowball throwing contest; each take a certain number of snowballs and throw as far as you can....the person who throws theirs the furthest is the winner.

Snowglobes: I've always loved looking at snow globes.  I am one of those people who can shake and stare at a snow globe for hours on end.  Once I realized how simple it was to make them, I have been doing it with the kids I work with.  This project can be customized based on your child's interests, favorite color, etc.. This project requires just a handful of inexpensive materials and very few steps.  You will need:
*Mason Jar (whatever size you want)
*Pure Glycerin
*Waterproof Glue or Epoxy
*Small, waterproof toys or figurines to put inside your globe
Here is how you make your snow globe:
1. Remove the lid of the mason jar and decide where you would like to put your figurines.  You will have to make sure that you don't put them too close to the edge or you won't be able to close the jar.
2.  Glue the figurines in place and let them dry.   Start by removing your mason jar lid and decide where you'd like to place your figurines. Make sure you are able to close your jar once they are in place.
3.  While things are drying, pour about a tablespoon of glitter into the jar (you can add more or less depending on how snowy you want it).
4.  Pour water into the jar leaving some room at the top (the water should not reach all the way to the top).  Add 3-5 drops of glycerin to the water (this makes the glitter fall more slowly when you shake it).
5.  Once the glue has dried on the lid, apply glue around the rim and to the threads around the jar (this forms a tight seal and prevents leaking).
Floof Mr. and Mrs. Snowman Kit: I discovered Floof a few months ago and immediately fell in love with it.  Floof is a relatively new sensory material.  It is a light, fluffy and moldable white material that sticks to itself making it easy for kids to play with.  Kids can make whatever structure they want to but I especially love their snowman making kit which includes a molds to make different sized snowballs and all the pieces to dress your snowmen.  This is great for working on improving bilateral coordination, motor planning and organizational skills and can help work on improving body awareness.  The best part of this snowman making experience is that nobody complains about being cold!  For parents who are concerned about making a big mess....even if your kids get sloppy while playing with Floof, it is incredibly easy to clean up and won't ruin clothing.

So here are just a few things that you can do to keep your kids entertained if the weather is too frightful to be outside or if you want to bring winter to you.  Do you and your family have any special snowy day activities or traditions?  How about you readers who don't get snow....what kinds of things do you do with your kids to bring winter weather to your family?  I love hearing about different family traditions and activities and I know my readers do to!  I look forward to hearing from you....I'm always a click away!