April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day and marks the start of National Autism Awareness month. Autism Awareness Month is dedicated to celebrating individuals on the spectrum by offering unique fundraising, raising awareness and providing support to the autism community. As a sister of siblings on the spectrum, having a son with sensory sensitivity and dedicating my career as a licensed clinical professional counselor to helping children with mental and behavioral health needs, this holiday holds a special place in my heart. Join The Playful Parent in celebrating National Autism Awareness Month today and throughout April! In honor of Autism Awareness Month today’s Toy Tuesday review is all about sensory play.
IMPORTANCE OF SENSORY PLAY
All to often we forget about the beauty and simplicity of play and it’s benefits. The simple act of playing is the easiest way for a child to learn and grow. Sensory play is one of the best ways to engage children in activities that stimulate their senses. Through using the five senses: touch, sound, taste, sight, and smell during play; they are given the opportunity to explore sensory input.
One of the biggest advantages of using sensory play is that it can help with regulating and reducing meltdowns for children on the spectrum or children with sensory processing disorder. Little ones on the spectrum often have trouble regulating everyday sensory stimulation and can be easily overwhelmed by small things that are often overlooked by the average person.
FEATURED SENSORY PLAY TOYS
SANDSALIVE! SENSORY PLAY
There are a lot of reasons that kinetic sand is great for sensory play. SandsAlive! is our favorite. One of the biggest reasons We love it so much is how easy it is to mold and manipulate. Kinetic sand is perfect for playing, building and sculpting with that involves using skills along with sensory input. One of the biggest skills they will develop on is fine motor skills which works on finger strengthening, dexterity and hand manipulation. Kinetic sand also highlights on sensory input through exploring new textures. Bilateral coordination and visual motor skills are used as they shape and mold the sand. Little ones are given the chance to play freely, explore and be creative, which is often a very relaxing and therapeutic experience.
Play Dirt Construction Zone
Price Range: $8
Description: Build and create your very own construction site with the Play Dirt Construction Zone set from Play Visions. This set comes with a reusable jar, kinetic sand, construction cone, signs and tools (construction truck not included.) Kids can build their very own construction zone with roadways and warning signs without the mess! I love Play Visions kinetic sand kits. The sand is soft and perfect for playing with. It is a consistency that is easier to clean up than real sand or even play dough. I love this kit because my boys will sit down and play with it for about an hour. On days when they are getting hyper from cabin fever, I notice playing with kinetic sand tends to calm them down and center them.
Play Vision SandsAlive! Starter Kits Link
FUN WITH FLOOF
Floof is a fluffy modeling clay that is super light. This compound looks like snow, feels like a marshmallow and molds like clay! It is such a unique sensory substance. It can be used with tools or by manipulating with your hands to create incredible creations. The best part is it can be used again and again. Floof helps improve finger strength and manipulation and strengthen fine motor skills. This strong tactile experience can enhance focus and help children develop their sensory processing skills.
Dino Babies Floof
Price Range: $15
Description: The newest Floof Dino Babies comes with a reusable bucket full of floof, three dinosaur molds and a dino track roller. Floof is one of my new favorite sensory play toys. It’s so calming to play with. I love that you can play with it time and time again and doesn’t dry out.
HOW TO SUPPORT AUTISM AWARENESS
- Get the Guide: The Playful Parent wrote a guide to help families. Feel free to check it out or share with a family you think could use the resources. Family Resource Guide
- Put on the Puzzle! Show your support for people with autism by putting on an Autism Awareness Puzzle Ribbon. You can wear a pin on your shirt, a magnet on your car, an image on your Facebook profile picture.
- Make a donation: Help improve the lives of all impacted by autism with a financial gift to the Autism Society. Every dollar raised by the Autism Society allows us to improve the capabilities and services of our over 100 nationwide affiliates, provide the best national resource database and contact center specializing in autism, and increase public awareness about autism and the day-to-day issues faced by individuals with ASD and their families.
- Connect with your community. Many Autism Society local affiliates hold special events in their communities throughout the month of April. But if you can’t find an event that suits you just right, create your own!
- See a sensory friendly film. Did you know that something that seems as simple as going to the movies is not an option for many families affected by autism? The Autism Society is working with AMC Theatres to bring special-needs families Sensory Friendly Films every month.
- Keep up to date on how to make a better world for the autism community by signing up for e-newsletters through Autism Matters.
WIN A SANDSALIVE! STARTER KIT!!!
- LIKE the post
- SHARE to spread the word about Autism Awareness
- Post a COMMENT or GIF to support to the Autism community.
- The winner will be randomly drawn Friday April 2, 2018 at 9 AM.
I’m truly honored and blessed to work with Play Alive and Play Visions on this article! Thank you Play Vision for understanding the importance of Autism Awareness by providing a sample for review and kit to giveaway. The Playful Parent is not paid to endorse companies. All pictures, information and review are my own unbiased opinion.
April 3, 2018 at 11:35 am
Autism awareness is so important. I like your post as it is an eye-opener to many.