Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Sensory Camp 2016 Day 1

What a fun and exciting first day of Sensory Camp! These little explorers were vibrant, energetic, sweet, funny and enthusiastic, and we couldn't have asked for a better group of campers! Thank you to Abigail Schmidt, Ilana Kanovsky, OTR, and Eva Morrow for all of your help. I truly could not be doing this without you! I can't wait for my mother-in-law, Donna Bonang, a retired teacher of 37 years, and one of the best, and Niki Olesky, Little School teacher & overall wonderful person, to help out too! 

Let's unveil our day for all of you parents and readers! All activities are things that you can do at home with your kiddos as well. We started off camp with some play set fun. The kids found their niche quickly; whether it is was hanging on the trapeze bar improving upper extremity and core strength, climbing the climbing the wall, sliding down the slide for some vestibular input, or balancing on the skateboard swing. Some children veered off to hop over logs that were placed on the ground or swing on the tire swing as well. It's incredible to watch the children explore and find out what they enjoy. 

After we sat in a circle getting to know one another, we dove into our play dough activity. I used this recipe to have the gluten free play dough ready for the kids. They then got to use their little fingers and hands to knead, pinch, and roll their dough building up fine motor strength and coordination, intrinsic hand strength, thumb opposition and bilateral coordination (using 2 hands together in a coordination manner). Play dough is a great activity for imaginative and social play as well! The kids added purple sprinkles to their playdough and then had the choice of adding 1 of 4 essential oils to their dough. Each child really smelled the oils and chose what smelled good to them. These were the options and a few eliciting responses of each oil.

Lavender - relaxing & calming

Eucalyptus - germ killer (in play dough a 
great hand sanitizer ;) & congestion aid

Peppermint - energy booster 

Lemon - mood booster & natural disinfectant

Essential oils have endless benefits & uses, and I highly recommend them. I'm happy to help if you have any questions!

Next, OBSTACLE COURSE! I am an OT who has set-up, gone through and worked with kids on a million and one obstacle courses throughout my career. My own kids love them too! They work on initiation, follow through, sequencing & organization, to name a few. Obstacle course can also be very calming for some children, especially kids with motor coordination disorders, sensory processing challenges, and autism. Here is the camp obstacle course! 

1. Balance Bike down the hill - this bike is amazing and has taught both of my boys to ride bikes at 3. It is great for balance, proprioceptive awareness, body in space & coordination. 

2. Tunnel - tunnels are a wonderful activity to have kids feel safe in a calming space. They also build strength and endurance as the children crawl on their hands and knees.

3. Tires - The kids had to climb in, up and over tires that were stacked. Great for motor planning, balance and incorporating upper and lower extremities

4. Slide - what kids don't love to slide?! 

5. There was a pool set up and some kids took the option to go in and some did not want to get their feet wet! 

By this point, the kids were STARVING!! Each of them had their own special made mason jar cup (using glass is much safer to drink out of then plastic!). I've already gotten a few texts and emails about the RECIPES, so here they are!

HOMEMADE ALMOND MILK - once you are in the habit, this is so so easy, so don't be overwhelmed at the name! 

1. Soak 1c Almonds & 4 dates overnight, in separate bowls. (I usually double this recipe)
2. Save the date water
3. Rinse soaked almonds
4. Place almonds, dates, date water, approximately 1 tbsp. maple syrup or vanilla extract, plus enough water to make 4 cups in the blender. Blend for a few minutes. Pour into a cheese cloth or nut bag
5. Strain

Easy, right? 

My kids LOVE this milk and it tastes like vanilla ice cream. Going one step further. I let the almond pulp sit in my fridge in a cloth napkin or paper towel overnight to rid of any excess water. Then, I dehydrate the pulp in the oven at 180 degrees for about 4-6 hours. If you have a dehydrator, even better! Once dry, grind into a fine powder and you just made your own Almond Flour! This is what I used for this delicous BANANA BREAD RECIPE! I added dairy, nut & soy free chocolate chunks to the bread to make it extra yummy as well. Gluten and refined sugar free baking is so amazing, nutritious & much more nutrient based then using wheat based flours and refined sugar and just as easy! The kids loved snack! 

After snack we engaged in a few deeps breaths, lion breaths, and a few yoga poses too! Then, it was off to the woods to find our nature instrument sticks. The kids had a great time exploring in the woods and were so motivated to find the most perfectly imperfect stick for next week's activity! 

Thank you for sharing your children with us for Sensory Camp 2016! We are so excited for next Monday!

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