Whew! Three weeks into school, I finally caught my breath enough to share my latest project: a collection of tools designed to make my classroom more sensory-friendly for students with ASD (autism spectrum disorder) or related issues.
I cribbed some of these ideas from Pinterest, Googled others, and dreamed up a couple myself. Most of the materials are readily available at your local dollar store.
1. Tabletop sensory wall: This frame full of textures, pictured at the top of this post, is a miniature variant on the sensory walls I’ve seen all over Pinterest. I don’t have space for a whole sensory wall, but I found this collage-style picture frame for $3.50 at Family Dollar, loaded it with materials of varying textures, and ended up with a tactile tool students can set on a desk in front of them or hold on their laps. Mine has rubber shelf liner ($1 a roll) taped over a scrap of holographic cardstock; part of a car-wash mitt ($4); and part of a nubby-textured dishcloth I had in the rag bag, but you could use just about anything you have on hand.
2. Monster in a bottle: Basically a good old-fashioned sensory jar. I filled this one with pompoms ($1 a bag), googly eyes ($1 a bag) and glitter ($1 a tube) and glued the lid shut with Barge Cement.
3. and 4. Liquid sensory jars: There are tons of recipes on Pinterest. I made one with baby oil and one with a mixture of warm water and hair gel. Whatever recipe you choose, make sure you use a strong adhesive to seal the bottle shut.
5. Sensory bin: A plastic tub ($1) full of rice (80 cents a bag), Mexican shell pasta (35 cents a bag), and some trinkets leftover from my geocaching hobby. Very quick and cheap to make.
6. Stim tool kit: A pencil pouch ($1) stuffed with comforting items for busy hands.
A few items wouldn’t fit in the bag.7. Extras: A rainbow Slinky knockoff ($1) and a few spare Christmas ornaments in varying textures.
We’ll test-drive these next week and see what works best.