If you’re like me, you’re always on the lookout for a good classroom deal. I’ve never left a Target Dollar Section empty handed and I’m a regular at nearly every Dollar Tree within a 50 mile radius.
Before you proceed, you must know: I love rainbow. I mean, I am a ROYGBIV-4-life kind of gal.
It’s apparent in my TPT products and my classroom decor. It dominates my crafting hobbies and even influences the way I cook.
With that being said, yes, many of my sensory items are rainbow-themed. But if that’s not your thing, feel free to adjust accordingly!
Sensory Hack #1: Water beads
Water beads are inexpensive and EASY! They start out the size of ice cream sprinkles, but once they are soaked in water for a few hours, they expand to about the size of a marble.
They do wear down with frequent use, but I just toss them and make a new batch!
It also makes for a great science experiment!
These gelatinous orbs are non-toxic, but I would not recommend keeping them out for students who have oral fixations. (To be honest, I had a strong craving for boba tea after I made my first batch of water beads).
Sensory Hack #2: Sensory Rice
I first made sensory rice three years ago, and we are still using it in my classroom today. But, for the purpose of this blog post (and my obsession with food coloring) I decided to make a new batch for some step-by-step action.
Click here for my Easy, Vibrant Sensory Rice instructions!
Sensory Hack #3: Movement Sticks
In our self-contained, structured classroom, we thrive with on our daily, visual schedule. However, we also have a tendency to run, spin, skip, roll, and crawl around the room from time to time.
Our OT suggested that I incorporate movement breaks into our schedule, and it was such a great idea!
All you need:
- 15 (or so) popsicle sticks
- groovy jams
- duct tape (optional)
On each popsicle stick, write an action or movement in Sharpie. A few classroom favorites were stomp like a dinosaur, flap like a bat (insert student’s high-pitch echolocation screech here), and waddle like a penguin.
I used duct tape to make 2’x2′ tape squares on the carpet to represent personal space. We then put on some music and took turns drawing and acting out the activities.
This can be built into the schedule or just used as necessary for a brain break.
Sensory Hack #4: Sensory Bottles
These are all the rage on social media right now, and I can see why. Click here to see how I made some of my favorite sensory bottles!
Sensory Hack #5: Cordless Headphones
This might be one you are already using, but they sure do come in handy during assemblies and fire drills.
We have over 700 students at my elementary school, which equates to several pairs of broken headphones a year.
I asked my school’s CTA if we could have any extra broken headphones, which she was very excited about. We just snip the cord off with scissors and there you have it: free noise-canceling headphones!
Sensory Hack #6: Fidget Keys
I had a student who always needed something in his hands. (Then those things that made it into his hands often made it into his mouth.) That’s when I had the idea of fidget keys!
I started by buying a teething ring (I liked this one because the colors and designs didn’t make it look too babyish). I then started adding “fidgets” to it– old keys, keychains, even a faux rabbit foot. This boy was OBSESSED with these keys!
What are some of YOUR favorite sensory activities?