While the cold weather has put a limit on time spent outdoors, and “cabin fever” may have set in, indoor activities, can also be fun and provide sensory opportunities.
One such activity is food preparation. Even preparing a cup of chocolate milk or a similar drink, can provide your child with valuable sensory input and a natural opportunity for learning. With supervision, instruct he/she to open the refrigerator to find the cold milk, pour the milk into a cup, locate a spoon and either squeeze the chocolate syrup from the bottle, or scoop some powder into the milk. As he/she stirs the milk the color change can be seen. Sipping the sweet milk through a straw provides another wonderful sensory experience, a work-out for the muscles of the mouth that can help increase oral awareness. Add an ice cube and see if your child likes it more, or some seltzer that provides carbonation to help “wake-up” the mouth even more.
Making a homemade pizza that requires some squeezing, rolling and patting is another great way to engage your child in a sensory experience. If making the dough is not your thing, try purchasing dough at your local pizzeria or supermarket. Pillsbury offers a host of ideas at www.pillsbury.com. Spreading the sauce using the back of a spoon, sprinkling cheese on top and adding other toppings and herbs, offers some fragrant exploration as well. Remember—it doesn’t have to look perfect!
While the pizza is baking in the oven, there’s time for salad prep! Tearing lettuce leaves into pieces and using a salad spinner is a lot of fun! Positioning items low enough for proper leverage can be the key to success in the kitchen. PhoenixCenter students have experience cutting softer vegetables and fruits with plastic knives, so reinforce those skills at home, with supervision. Mushrooms, sweet peppers, tomatoes, strawberries, and peeled cucumber and apple pieces, are easier ones to try.
Ready for dessert? Picture recipes similar to the ones used in school, can be found by following the links below. Try a snowman dessert and a Valentine Roll-up using a tortilla, cream cheese and jelly.
In addition to making a wonderful snack or meal, including your child in its preparation is a great way for learning to take place that can be very motivating!