The reality is that kids can get overwhelmed with what they are working on during sessions. Sensory activities may help to ease their fears and allow them to enjoy what they are seeing, smelling, and feeling while working on speech and language topics at the same time. When you are creative with different activities, it takes an otherwise mundane task and will actively engage children so they internalize the skill to use in the future. In addition to this, kids that are shyer about their speech will often open up more when actively engaged and exploring items for the fun holidays. Halloween is a great opportunity to combine the two together.
Pumpkin Cloud Dough
Since kids often use regular dough in school and at home, cloud dough is a fun option. This dough has a different texture and provides a way to get kids involved in making it and/or searching for special things within it. Growing a Jeweled Rose has a great recipe to use. You will need the following items:
- 7 cups of flour
- 1/2 cup of orange powdered tempera pain or crushed chalk
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- Pumpkin spice
- Bowl for mixing ingredients
If you make the cloud dough together allow everyone to talk through the process. Encourage the use of descriptive words for how it feels, smells, and looks. When it is made, make up games to play. Can they make different shapes, are they able to use one of their focus words and make a sculpture using it. Another great twist is to hide pumpkin seeds within the cloud dough. For every so many seeds they find, make a game to practice the skill specific to the child’s needs.
Sensory Bin for Halloween
If cloud dough is too messy for your space, sensory bins are a wonderful option. Fill a good sized plastic container with different items for Halloween. This container may then go on table tops or the floor for kids to use within smaller spaces. They may also be taken outside if the weather permits.
Begin by using dried black beans as the main ingredient in your mix. Orange lentils are another fun Halloween touch to add and give an additional texture. Look at dollar store bins and Halloween decorations at stores for objects to place within the mixture. Toss in spider rings, holiday glitter, Halloween erasers, and anything else that will work. Give time to explore the sensory bin and talk about how it feels and describe what they see. Play a game of I Spy and talk through fun finds. Toss in extra goodies that match up with words, sounds, or vocabulary kids are working on.
Always share what you are doing with families. Some may be interested in making their own sensory boxes or dough at home. When finished, you may send a baggie of the cloud dough home with the children to practice with adults and have the recipe for them to make more. Be sure to ask whether families have Halloween or fall traditions that are important to their multilingual identities.
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