Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Sensory Stimulation Through Art

This semester I am working on helping students who benefit from having extra stimulation through their senses. Teaching in a school with 100% special education students, this is something many of our students can benefit from. However, I think at any school there are students whom you might have noticed like to touch everything they look at or who love the messy projects & experiments just a little more than the rest of the class. These students can benefit from and enjoy some extra sensory stimulation.

How do you get students thinking about their senses? In my sensory stimulation group students listed the five senses and each week we discuss with them what senses they will experience with the activity we have planned. We try to come up with different ideas each week that hit different senses. Here are some ideas we have tried so far.

One week we made our own silly putty using this recipe from Wiki-How. The students had a lot of fun mixing up the glue and liquid starch and kneading it until it became silly putty. We also encouraged them to use their silly putty in class when they were stressed or upset like they would a stress ball. If you have students that need an outlet for their emotions in class, this would be a great activity for them to try.

We also made this microwavable puffy paint from Melissagoodsell's blog. If you don't have self rising flour you can make your own by mixing 1 cup of regular flour with about 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder (we added a little extra to make our paint extra puffy!) and 1/4 teaspoons of salt. This activity also used our sense of smell since we could smell the paint after it was done cooking in the microwave!

Today my students experimented by microwaving a bar of Ivory soap to create foam. It only took about 30 seconds and the soap seemed to explode out causing a huge pile of foam to form. They had fun after it cooled playing and shaping it with their hands. We also experimented with what happened when they added water or cooking previously cooked pieces again. Read about all the scientific concepts this demonstrates in the link above!

I hope you have a chance to stimulate your students' senses with some fun experiments & activities! For more sensory activity suggestions, check out my sensory pin board on my Pinterest page.

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