Hello Again! Let’s Talk Mindfulness

What’s been going on?

Things have been a whirlwind around here lately. R and V were both on breaks from occupational therapy for a while (that was fun, but I’m glad it’s over), V is now enrolled in two different autism studies, I just finished an intense business class, R’s ballet recital is right around the corner, V is starting ballet at the end of the month, I am about to officially launch my business tomorrow, Mr. A switched majors and started a new job that allows him to be home more often, the girls’ school has mostly been on break, I am prepping to go to Convention, we have family currently visiting, relatives planning to visit over the summer, I took on a new leadership role in my spiritual community, and I’ve really been focusing on mindfulness.

That last one, mindfulness, has truly been the overarching theme for me so far this year. I’ve been applying the concept to every aspect of my life.

The thing that started it all was going through the KonMari process. As I have been going through my things, one-by-one, I’m learning about what truly makes me happy. Not only that, but now I know exactly what I have, what I need, and what items would actually fit in my home. This has led to much more intentional shopping. I won’t just buy something because it’s “so cute” if I already have something similar. The exception being that I pledge to donate/sell the old version first. I also won’t buy something if I don’t have the space, no matter how great of a deal it is. The lack of clutter is massively helping with all of our collective sensory issues. Don’t worry. I haven’t gone full minimalist on you guys. I’m still working my way through the komono category (my kitchen is next), but there will be a full post on my KonMari journey coming up.

The floor of my closet after KonMari


Now that we have less clutter and more space, spending device-free time with my kids is something that I literally schedule into my day, multiple times per day. I’m striving to make sure that each of them is getting quality one-on-one time with me, as well as cooperatively playing together with me. I’ve noticed that this has the bonus side-effect of keeping them more regulated. They’ve also been better about letting me know, in their own unique ways, that they’re getting disregulated before it turns into a full meltdown. I’m not saying that it’s working perfectly, or that we don’t have bad days, but the overall trend has been awesome!

R and I hanging out downtown


Getting the girls stabilized has allowed me to make my own health a priority. Every morning, I get the kids settled, put the coffee on, get my diffuser going, and then I take an hour for myself in the kitchen. I sip my coffee, catch up on social media, check into the various pages that I moderate, and read while the girls independently go through their own morning routine in the living room. They still come in and ask me questions, but they understand that they need to give me that time, and take that time for themselves. I’m also taking supplements, utilizing fitness apps, paying attention to what I’m eating/drinking and how it makes my body feel, doing devotions, consciously grounding myself throughout the day, and getting more quality sleep. I’ve intentionally worked these things into my routine and my schedule. I’m definitely more emotionally balanced and I don’t think it’s a coincidence.

The result of a selfie challenge from a class I’m taking


With all of these other things settled, I wanted to take a closer look at the products we buy. I’ve always been mindful of the products that we use on ourselves and our home, but I wanted to take it up a notch. We’re on a budget (who isn’t these days?), so I have to research to make sure that what I buy works, actually is safe, and will be cost-effective. Using my rewards program through Young Living to purchase ready-made products, or the essential oils that I need for the products I make on my own, has been my solution. Doing it this way helps my team, my family, my wallet (rewards points!), and the environment. Plus, it’s an easy time-saver. If you’re curious about what’s in your own household products, look them up on the EWG database.

Making silly faces and playing with V


In general, I’m paying more attention to:  where I donate household goods, what charities I support, how my local community is affected by my actions (shopping, donating, voting, etc.), what bills I call my local representative to oppose/support, the local politicians who received my vote, where I shop, the things I buy, ingredients of everything, the literature/articles/posts I read, the people I follow, … Mindfulness and intentionality have both literally seeped into everything, and it’s been a wonderful experience.

Hanging at the museum after our Sensory Parent Support meetup


Time management is the next “big thing” I plan to tackle. I might even end up dedicating a whole post once I’ve semi figured it out.

Disclaimers: 

What I am not is a licensed professional of any sort. Please use your own good judgement, and/or check with an appropriate medical professional or therapist before trying out any activities from this blog.

This post does contain affiliate links that may financially benefit my family.

I am an Independent Young Living Distributor, member #3919812. Please email me at everydaysensorymom@gmail.com if you’d like to book a class, have questions about setting up an account, or would like to join my team.

Daniel Tiger in Our Neighborhood 

A live performance, downtown, at night, with two kids in tow…

My kids adore the PBS show Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. If you’ve never watched it, it’s about the children of some of the characters from Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood. The show is awesome for teaching kids how to handle big emotions and everyday experiences. It’s especially popular within the autism community right now. This article perfectly articulates how helpful Daniel Tiger can be for kids with autism. I can definitely say it’s been great for R, and for V. I love the little tunes (“flush and wash and be on your way”, “clean up, pick up, put away, clean up every day”, “when you can’t get what you want, stomp three times to help yourself feel better”, etc.), and frequently use the tunes to help the girls.

When a giveaway for a local live performance of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood popped up in my newsfeed a couple of weeks ago, I jumped at the chance to win tickets. I didn’t expect to be successful, and had all but forgotten about it when I got the notification that I’d been tagged on the Empire Kids NW page. I was pretty shocked to see that I had won. I want to give a huge thank you to Ashley Cravens from Empire Kids NW for my family’s tickets! My girls had a fantastic time!

With the event being less than a week away, I did my best to prepare everyone for the big night. I made sure that the girls and I talked about going to see Daniel Tiger at least once or twice every day, leading up to the night of the performance. I also had conversations with them about what it means to attend a live performance, and what the timeline should look like. The day before the show, I talked to R about what she should pack in her bag. After lunch on the day of the performance, I thoughtfully helped her get dressed. She wore compression leg warmers and compression shorts under her jeans (adjustable waist with loose legs), a comfy long-sleeve thermal shirt, a chew necklace, and comfortable slip-on shoes. Then, we packed up her gear in her backpack: sunglasses, a fidget, binoculars, a Tranquil Roll-On, compression arm warmers, and noise-reducing headphones. V wore Daniel Tiger rain boots, her trolley hoodie, and a chew necklace.


Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Live was performed at The Martin Woldson Theater at The Fox. We left fairly early so we had plenty of time to park, walk to the theater, and take pictures. After a blinding trip through downtown, thanks to overwhelmingly bright construction lights, we parked in a parking garage near the theater. Mr. A and I decided to use our carriers to transport the girls from the parking garage to the theater and back again. This gave V and R some much-needed deep pressure input before and after the performance. While we were waiting for the doors to open, we took some cute pictures with trolley and Daniel in the lobby. If you live in the area, the theater really is a must see. It’s gorgeous!

Neither one of the girls had a meltdown during or after the live performance! V, my little wiggler, was thrilled to be able to stand and dance throughout the show. R was content to sit and watch the performance, occasionally using one of the tools in her bag. Surprisingly, the live show was not very sensory-friendly. Before the performance, as well as during intermission, there was a slowly rotating projection of a trolley that continuously traveled all over theater. This would have been fine if the lights didn’t aim directly into the eyes of the audience at certain points of the rotation. Then during the show, the overhead theater lights were constantly being turned up and down every time the characters started singing a new song. It was very distracting. At least the girls did well, thanks to our careful preparations. I would have had a great time as well if I had remembered my own sensory gear:  noise reducing ear buds, sunglasses, bean bag, lavender rice “sock”, and my own calming essential oil roll-on. However, it was all sitting in my purse, safe and sound on a hook by the front door of our home. Oops.

When we got home, I got R ready for bed, while Mr. A took care of V. I don’t know if I’ve ever described R’s bedtime routine, but it took a long time to perfect. On her own, she goes to the bathroom, brushes her teeth, and puts on pajamas. While she’s doing that, I fill up her diffuser, and get her bed ready. We’ve been using a combination of Sacred Mountain and Vetiver in her diffuser lately. Then, I put Tranquil along her spine, RC on the center of the bottoms of her feet, and Vetiver on her big toes. While I’m doing all of that, R puts homemade lavender body butter on her hands and arms, and applies lip balm. When we’re done, R and I do a simple bean bag activity, followed by bean bag tapping. After that, I help R put on her compression arm warmers and leg warmers if she wants them. Then, I cover her and her chosen toys up with a weighted blanket, and she puts her eye mask over her eyes. This is currently working very well. She was asleep in minutes, and didn’t wake me up until the next morning. V’s bedtime routine is a work in progress. She ended up traveling back and forth between my lap and Mr. A’s lap, eventually falling asleep on Mr. A.

All in all, I’d say we had a pretty great day.

If you’d like to purchase essential oils, here is the link to do so through me, or to sign up to be able to purchase essential oils at wholesale prices.

Disclaimers: 

What I am not is a licensed professional of any sort. Please use your own good judgement, and/or check with an appropriate medical professional or therapist before trying out any activities from this blog.

This post does contain affiliate links that may financially benefit my family.

Special Edition: Pamper Yourself with 10+ Recipes

This post is for adults and does contain links that potentially benefit my family financially.

While my parents were visiting recently, I got a lovely break and decided to be proactive about my own self-care. I know that a lot of my family members feel like they don’t do enough to help out because they live so far away. It’s not true at all. Every time someone video chats with the girls, I get a break. Every time they come to visit and just play with the girls, Mr. A and I both get a break. Every time they help out with our sensory tools, that’s something that makes everyone’s lives better every day. This last visit alone is going to yield weeks, if not months, of positive ramifications for all four of us. You guys are awesome and I love you!

Anyone with young kids knows how insanely difficult it is to go clothes shopping. Having sensory kiddos makes it all but impossible. Before my parents’ visit, I literally hadn’t updated my wardrobe since V was an infant. I seriously looked like the stereotypical “hot mess” mom. My parents were sweet enough to help me make a new wardrobe happen. One afternoon, my dad and Mr. A hung out with the girls so that my mom and I could go shopping, and take our time. Since I was able to put some thought into my decisions, I made sure to choose pieces that I can effortlessly mix and match. I love that now I can just mindlessly throw on an outfit, and go. Even though I’m putting almost zero effort into getting dressed, I feel like I look way more put together.

Next on my “to do now” list, was to make a bunch of bath and body products. I’m a Young Living member (the discount rocks!), so I have a nice stash of oils. While I had some extra help, I took the opportunity to make a bunch of products to incorporate into my everyday routine. This makes me feel pampered without having to go out of my way. Like a lot of parents, I know that my own self-care simply isn’t going to happen unless it takes minimal effort. I feel like I’ve managed to accomplish that.

Facial Toners, Body Butter, and Sugar Scrub

*Note: Most of the following ingredients and supplies are less expensive to buy locally, but I provided convenient affiliate links just in case. The essential oils are all less expensive to buy wholesale. Use this link if that is something you’re interested in doing.
Face and Body Wash:

I chose ingredients that are calming, uplifting, and generally good for the skin, so that every shower has the ability to reset my mood. To make my face and body wash, I filled my bottle halfway with unscented Castile soap, added about 2 teaspoons of grape seed oil, added the essential oils, dumped in a splash of rosewater (I added a little, swirled it around, smelled it, and added a tiny bit more), filled it almost to the top with distilled water, and shook it up. I frequently make a Castile soap based body wash. If it isn’t foamy enough when I test it, I just add an extra squirt of Castile soap. This does seem to work better on a washcloth, rather than a loofah.

Facial Toner for Daytime

I love lavender and frankincense for my skin! In a 1 ounce glass spray bottle, I added 2-4 drops of lavender essential oil and 2-4 drops of frankincense essential oil, filled it almost to the top with plain witch hazel, and shook it to combine the ingredients. After I wash my face in the morning, I shake up my toner, and spray my face. Done!

Nighttime Facial Toner

I’ve found that Purification is great for treating my acne-prone skin, but it makes my skin more sensitive to the sun, so I only use it at night. In a 1 ounce glass spray bottle, I added 2 drops of Purification essential oil, 2-3 drops of lavender essential oil, 2-3 drops of frankincense essential oil, filled almost to the top with plain witch hazel, and then shook it up. After I wash my face at night, I shake up the bottle of toner, and spray my face. Too easy!

Sugar Scrub

This smells heavenly, and makes my hands feel so good! I filled my mason jar 2/3 of the way with organic light brown sugar, then I added the essential oils, filled almost the rest of the way with coconut oil, stirred it up, and put the lid back on. I like to wash my hands with this every night before bed.

Body Butter

This body butter feels absolutely wonderful! I use it any time I’d normally use regular old lotion. I chose oils that calming and good for my skin. I mostly followed this recipe. However, I did add a heaping teaspoon of grated beeswax to the ingredients that needed to be melted, and I also added 2 teaspoons of bourbon vanilla extract (at R’s insistence) to the liquid oils toward the end.

Texturizing Spray

This is my all-time favorite hair product! I have fine, wavy hair. Not only does this texturizing spray give my hair some body, but it works just as well as dry shampoo between washes. I don’t add any conditioner or lemon juice/alcohol. Other than that, I follow this recipe exactly. My favorite way to use this is to spray my almost dry hair, scrunch it up real quick, pile my hair into a messy bun for about half an hour while I go about my day, and then let my hair down. I always end up with perfect waves that don’t fall flat or get oily.

Hand Soap

I love knowing exactly what’s in my hand soap, and being able to do a different scent every time I make it. This time, I filled a glass soap dispenser 1/2 way with unscented Castile soap, added my Pumpkin Pie blend of essential oils, filled nearly to the top with distilled water, and carefully swirled to combine. This particular soap blend smells lovely!

Bath Salts

Don’t laugh! I know this one isn’t practical at all, but I might get to use it someday. I filled a mason jar 1/2 way with plain Epsom salt, 1/4 of the way with a mixture of “Real Salt” and pink Himalayan sea salt, added baking soda until there was about 1 inch of room at the top, added essential oils (about 10-20 drops total), put the lid back on, and shook to combine the ingredients. When I’ve used my homemade bath salts in the past, I added one to two tablespoons to my bathwater, as well as a heaping teaspoon of coconut oil. I always come out feeling grounded.

Mr. A also got a few nifty things, because he’s amazing.

Beard Oil

Making this beard softener was slightly selfish on my part, but I am definitely feeling better about Mr. A’s beard now that it isn’t so scratchy. I followed this recipe to make the beard oil. It smells great, and Mr. A seems to like it as well. I used a nearly empty 1 ounce pump bottle that had just a tiny bit of macadamia nut oil left in it, added the essential oils, and topped with grape seed oil.

Super Thick Man Lotion (aka Body Butter)

I used the same body butter recipe that I used for mine, I just added a couple of different essential oils that I thought Mr. A would enjoy.

Flavored Toothpicks

In a metal lid, I combined 1/2 teaspoon of coconut oil with the essential oils, added a handful of toothpicks, soaked them for about an hour, blotted the excess oil off, and put them in a small parchment paper-lined metal tin.

Future Plans

I have big plans to improve daily life even more! Stay tuned…

The oils mentioned in this post can be purchased through my  Young Living business. This is my distributor link. By purchasing through me, ID #3919812, you are supporting my small business. By purchasing other items through my Amazon affiliate links, you are helping to keep my blog going. Thank you!

Disclaimer:

What I am not is a licensed professional of any sort. Please use your own good judgement, and/or check with an appropriate medical professional or therapist before trying out any activities or recipes from this blog.

The Day of “The Appointment”

Yesterday was Diagnosis Day, the day of “The Appointment”. It was the day that R finally received her official diagnosis. 

R’s long-awaited appointment was with a developmental pediatrician downtown. We woke up, I fixed R’s breakfast, got myself ready to go, double-checked my purse for all of R’s paperwork and V’s diaper bag, negotiated an acceptable outfit for R to wear, fixed V’s breakfast while Mr. A got ready, and let V pick out her own outfit (a sundress with a Star Wars sweatshirt over the top). I was feeling really pleased with myself when we left on time, until I realized that I forgot to make coffee. 

I checked R in at 9:22, while Mr. A tried to find a decent parking spot. He came in with V just before the nurse took us all back to a room at 9:30. She checked R’s height and weight, and asked all of the usual medical history questions. Even though my brain was only functioning at about 10%, due to the lack of coffee, I did remember to update R’s allergy information! The nurse left the room at 9:40, Dr. G came in at 9:55, and immediately formed a connection with R. I couldn’t believe how easy the doctor made it look. After Dr. G got R settled with some toys, we went over the latest updates from R’s occupational and speech therapists, plus the screening that was done at her therapy center. I also gave the doctor all of the checklists and questionnaires that I had filled out before R started going to OT and Speech. Then, Dr. G spent nearly 2 hours learning pretty much everything there is to know about R. I’m extremely glad I had Mr. A with me to help fill in some of my memory gaps.

Just before checking out at 12:00, Dr. G gave R an official diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder. The doctor recommmended that R continues going to speech therapy and occupational therapy, and that we set up more supervised play dates with other girls, as well as boys. Applied Behavior Analysis therapy was not suggested, nor was any medication. However, Dr. G made it clear that those options were available to R, should she ever need them. 

So many emotions and thoughts have come and gone since yesterday. The first was relief. She only confirmed what I had suspected for a long time. The diagnosis doesn’t change anything about R. I simply finally know for sure what’s going on with my kid. This should make it easier to continue her therapies. It also makes it easier to brainstorm new things to try. At the same time, I’m sad. Part of me hoped I was wrong. Autism is a neurological condition. It isn’t something she is going to grow out of. Sure, we can help her manage some of the more dangerous symptoms, but she’s still going to have so many challenges as she gets older. What will happen to her if something happens to me and Mr. A? Who would advocate for her? It’s a scary thought process.

From R’s First Concert

The following thought really got to me. I was thinking that I wish I was close with another experienced special needs mom, because I desperately need to talk to someone who’s already been through all of this. 

Special Note:

If any one of my readers would like to chat with me, please don’t hesitate to send me an email. 

How I Turned Our Living Room into a Sensory Gym

In the beginning, I was planning to keep all of the sensory tools in R’s room. That only worked for a very short amount of time. Most of it is now in our living room, so that we all have easy access to everything, and things are less likely to be misplaced.

The very first sensory tool I just had to have, for the girls of course, was a crash pad. When I saw the price tag, I immediately got on Pinterest to try to find a way to make one. Some of the ideas I found were way too time-intensive (Hello! I have two sensory kids!), and some were almost as costly as buying a ready-made crash pad. I finally found this post. I didn’t want to sew it, so I bought a duvet cover at IKEA for less than $20. All I had to do was stuff the duvet cover full of all of our spare pillows, blankets, sheets, and stuffed toys. Too easy! 


The next “big thing” I wanted for the girls was a mini trampoline. My criteria: it had to be sturdy enough for me to use as well, the girls had to love the color, and it needed to have a bar for the girls to hold on to. We ended up with this trampoline in pink. I love that the bar comes off for easy storage. It’s not listed on the website, but the weight limit is at least 150 pounds. 


The girls also have storage chairs from Costco (they’re usually in stock around the holidays). I store all of their personal sensory items in the bottoms of the chairs. R’s chair has the weighted blanket I made for her (her OT sent me to a really awesome workshop), her weighted lap pad, superhero-inspired compression armwarmers and legwarmers from Kozie Clothes, a variety of bean bags, and a ball all stored in it.

V’s chair has her weighted blanket, weighted lap pad, a set of felt bean bags, a Schockproof ball and beanbag, her brush, a sensory bottle, Glow Bug, and her favorite chew necklace all stored in the bottom.

We also have other chewelry, an exercise ball, a kid-size day bed, play mats, various pillows and cushions, silly putty, dough, diffusers, light-up bouncy balls, etc. 

How in the world does it all work? I usually have the crash pad set up just like it is in the picture, but with the trampoline across from the chairs. This set-up is great because one kid can jump on the trampoline, while the other jumps on to the crash pad. Then, they switch. My plan with the chairs is for the girls to use them as a safe place to calm down. Most of our other “tools” are fully integrated into our home. Aside from “homework exercises” from their occupational and physical therapists, I let them choose what they want to do, because they usually know exactly what kind of input they need.

Disclaimer: 

What I am not is a licensed professional of any sort. Please use your own good judgement, and/or check with an appropriate medical professional or therapist before trying out any activities from this blog.

50+ Sensory Activities to Do Right Now

What do you do when you or your kiddo need sensory input, but you don’t have any nifty sensory gadgets on hand? Here’s a great roundup of sensory activities you can do right now, no special equipment required.

  • Do yoga, but choose all of the animal poses you can think of and make noises that correspond with each pose.
  • Make a walking path with pillows, cushions, small rugs, etc. Walk on it barefoot, and maybe jump from one “stone” to the next.
  • Jump on the couch or the bed.
  • Blow bubbles outside or in the bathtub.
  • Play with food: use a straw to blow bubbles in your drink, finger paint with pudding or yogurt, squish cooked spaghetti in your hands, string uncooked pasta on ribbon to make a necklace, etc.
  • Walk barefoot in the grass.
  • Make sensory bins to play in. Use water (cold, warm, with ice, etc.), tapioca pearls, raw beans (be extra vigilant as raw beans can be poisonous), water beads, sand, rice, cornmeal, etc.
  • Play Simon says.
  • Go outside and decorate your front walk with chalk.
  • Skip. You could combine this with the chalk activity by playing hop scotch.
  • Hop and/or jump. Hop like a bunny, jump like a frog, jump as high as you can to try to reach the clouds, practice your jump shot, etc.
  • Dance with or without music.
  • Play “hot potato” with a beanbag, a cuddly stuffed toy, a small stress ball, a travel pillow, etc.
  • Take a bath or a shower with the intent to relax. Use scented oils, shower tablets, bubble bath, body wash, etc. for more sensory benefits.
  • Practice making friction with your hands.
  • This one requires 2+ people. Choose 3 items, close your eyes, have someone hand you one of the items, and now you get to guess what it is.
  • Give yourself a giant bear hug for 3-5 deep breaths and then slowly let go.
  • Roll in the grass, on the carpet, down a hill, over a pile of pillows, etc.
  • Hug a tree. (No, I’m not joking)

  • Stroke the leaves of your non-poisonous plants and talk or sing to them.
  • Bake something that smells really delicious and enjoy how good it smells.
  • Squeeze, punch, kick, hug, or snuggle a pillow.
  • Rub your feet on the carpet.
  • Hang upside down.
  • Give yourself a shoulder, leg, head, or foot massage.
  • Turn off all the lights in a room, close the curtains, cover up with a heavy blanket, put an eye mask over your eyes, put some earmuffs/headphones on (not for music, just to muffle any noise), and enjoy the quiet dark.
  • Practice bouncing and catching a ball, alone or with someone else.
  • Toss a beanbag, ball, apple, orange, etc. from hand to hand.
  • Listen to music.
  • Listen to nature.
  • Go for a walk.
  • Knit, crochet, weave, braid, embroider, etc. (This is one of my personal favorites. I love working with different types of yarn.)
  • Brush your hair in small sections, with slow purposeful strokes. Start with your ends and work your way to your roots. You could also have someone do this for you.
  • Light some candles, turn off the lights, play some relaxing music, and take a bath. You could also use glow sticks or LED candles. 
  • Make sensory bags with shaving cream, hair gel, rice, ice cubes, etc. Just put your filling of choice inside a zip bag. You can place the bag inside of another bag to prevent leaks. 
  • Give yourself a manicure and/or pedicure with or without nail polish. 
  • Try a new food.
  • Apply oil or lotion from head to toe.
  • Play in the rain.
  • Eat ice.
  • Drink something hot, cold, carbonated, etc.
  • Make a sensory meal to experiment with different textures and flavors. Try any combination of crunchy, sweet, juicy, chewy, salty, spicy, hot, sweet, cold, warm, etc. Example: garlic bread, cashews, grilled chicken, cheese cubes, red pepper hummus for dunking, ice water/juice/tea, cherry tomatoes, and then fresh berries, whipped cream or cream cheese for dunking, graham crackers, and hot tea or cocoa for dessert
  • Sit or stand in front of a mirror and practice making different facial expressions.
  • Hand wash some dishes. This is one that my kids like to “help” me with (aka play in the water). Vacuuming, scrubbing the floor, wiping down the counters, etc. are all sensory chores that kids can help with. 
  • Snuggle with a pet, kiddo, partner, stuffed animal, body pillow, etc.
  • Brush your pet’s fur.
  • If you babywear, try using a woven wrap to wear your baby. This gives babies some great input and allows them to snuggle, usually without overstimulating their parents. When kids get older, this can really help keep them calm when you have to go to crowded places. (Both of my kids still enjoy being wrapped at 2 and 5.)
  • Grab a coloring page and some colored pencils. Enjoy watching the picture come to life. Put some music on for added sensory stimulation.
  • Chew bubble gum, blow bubbles, and pop the gum by sucking the bubbles back in.
  • Have a spa day. Exfoliate your hands and face, use a facial mask or peel, and moisturize with something that smells amazing.
  • Simmer some water with cinnamon sticks and orange slices on the stove.
  • Spin in a circle and then fall onto something soft, like a pile of cushions.

What’s your favorite simple sensory activity? Tell me in the comments and I’ll add it to the list.

Disclaimer:

What I am not is a licensed professional of any sort. Please use your own good judgement, and/or check with an appropriate medical professional or therapist before trying out any activities from this blog.

Not Back to School

I had so many cute ideas for our “first day” of the new school year, but none of it happened. We have barely gotten to sit still all week, due to unplanned appointments and scheduling conflicts. This week ended up perfectly demonstrating exactly why we homeschool. 

Here are some highlights from school this week:  On Monday, R had an appointment at the allergy clinic for testing. While we were waiting, we managed to practice some French and have a conversation about perspective. Tuesday was a complete blur. On Wednesday, R had speech, V had occupational therapy, and then R had another appointment at the allergy clinic. R worked on her critical thinking skills during speech, while V was practicing her gross motor skills with her occupational therapist. When we got to the allergy clinic, we learned about vertebrae. Later on, we practiced our French at the mall. Thursday, R worked on her fine motor skills during occupational therapy, while V learned new songs and strengthened her core during physical therapy. Before bed, they learned about The Very Hungry Caterpillar during our Cosmic Kids Yoga session. Today, R actually requested to do science workbook pages, some reading comprehension, and French vocabulary work before we left for her final testing appointment at the allergy clinic. We also had an unplanned physics lesson involving R’s tablet.

Our “classroom”


This is what it’s like every day, all year round. Any sort of ultra-structured homeschool program or philosophy isn’t going to work for us. We simply have too much going on. The beauty of homeschool is that it’s perfectly fine to make up your own way of schooling. If I was going to put a label on what we do, I’d say that we unschool. Basically, I follow their cues and natural curiosities. For example, R lives for ballet. Ballet has a lot of French vocabulary, and R wanted to know more, so we also learn French at home. V loves to stretch and dance, so she frequently does yoga with me. 

When they’re not asking me questions about anything and everything, they’re probably busy playing. At their ages, 2 and 5, I feel that playing is the most important thing for them to be doing. They play alone, they play with me by giving me directions, they play together, and I play with them by giving them directions. Sometimes, they play on their tablets, with toys, on our sensory equipment, and sometimes they’re outside playing. We try to keep things well-rounded. 

There’s a seemingly endless amount of data out there about play being developmentally beneficial. I’ll link a few good articles at the bottom of this post. Beyond playing, I expect them to learn about:  household duties, aspects of awareness, and life skills. Those three things encompass so much, and kids are naturally curious about everything. It’s amazing how much we’ve all already learned by just indulging their curiosities. 

At this point, I’m sure you’re wondering how in the world two sensory kiddos, plus me, aren’t going bonkers from this seemingly unstructured approach. For us, the key was to find a routine that worked, not necessarily a rigid schedule. We wake up, have breakfast while watching morning cartoons, lunch is always at noon even if we’re out, we all have two hours of quiet time after lunch, dinner is at 5:30, and the bedtime routine starts at 7:00. Since there’s a rhythm to our day, no one gets too disregulated.  If any disregulation does happen, it’s lucky that our living room pulls double duty as a sensory gym. When we’re out, I usually bring a small sensory kit. Our current kit includes: my Tekhni Tagalong clutch, V’s customized sensory brush for sensory brushing, R’s Schockproof bean bag for bean bag tapping, and a chew necklace from InYard.

Keep an eye out for an upcoming post about how we turned our living room into a sensory gym. 

Disclaimer:

What I am not is a licensed professional of any sort. Please use your own good judgement, and/or check with an appropriate medical professional or therapist before trying out any activities from this blog.

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