Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sensory Learning

Sensory play is so important for all kids, but especially important for kids who lacked those experiences early on in life (orphans) and for children with Down Syndrome (as many children with DS have some sensory needs). Zoya and Mila are polar opposites in so many ways. One of those ways is how different they are with their sensory profiles. When Zoya came home she was very sensory defensive in most areas. She freaked out with loud and sudden noises. She got easily overwhelmed in large crowds. We had to leave worship at church because the music was too loud. She couldn't stand to be spun around or even tipped back ever so slightly. She hated swinging in the baby swing. She was scared of a lot. A lot of things helped her become less sensory defensive, including Therapeutic Listening, and a healthy sensory "diet" of sorts. Mila on the other hand is such a huge sensory seeker and dare devil when it comes to sound and movement! She however, has a harder time using her hands to explore her environment so these activities will be great for Mila when she is a little older too!

 One common sensory activity is shaving cream play. We took it up a notch and had an hour of "sensory learning" experience. 
First we practiced some letters in the shaving cream. We focused a lot on "Z" and "o" getting her ready to write her name. 

Zoya wrote these letters by herself and told me what they were. Now, if I said "write a letter 'p' she probably couldn't do it, but she likes to doodle and then tell me what letters or numbers her doodles look like. It's a good start!

She is starting her big "Z"

First line across...

Slant to the left...

Pull back across!

"I did it!"

Just playing :)

I'm getting better at tolerating messes...clearly I have my own sensory issues!

Another activity we did was drawing horizontal lines to practice our pre-writing skills. She had to connect the correct colored bears. 

We sorted our bears by color

To "up" the sensory experience we added was Zoya's initial thought. She got over it easily and thought it was cool!
I told her "hands up and don't move" while I pushed her over to the sink to clean up!

We finished our sensory play by playing in soapy water for another 20 minutes!

"Yes, mom?"

Here is an example of how we carried over the sensory learning to "paper/pencil" skills. I'll post more on this another time! This is her letter Z done all by herself on a small sentence strip. We used the stickers as guides for her to know where to draw her lines to make the Z! 


  1. Thanks for sharing. Your Mila video up top made me cry :)

    1. OH I know, those darn adoption stories get me every time too LOL! Love watching your story unfold Jill!

  2. Great activities!! On another note, what kind of swing is Mila sitting in in the background? Looks a lot nicer than other baby swings I've seen!

    1. It's a "playaway" indoor swing...has several different attachments...Uncle Bub bought it for the girls for gift EVER!

  3. Go Zoya!!! You are a lucky girl to have a mommy who makes learning so much fun for you!! (((BIG HUGS)))!!! Love this, Sarah!!

  4. Love these ideas!! I need to be better about the messes. I REALLY don't like them. Claire was eating (drawing in) her yogurt last night and I couldn't wait to get it cleaned up