Southpaw Enterprises
Pawprint May 2011
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Southpaw's New Hideaway Play Tent
Hideaway Play Tent 
Our new Hideaway Play Tent is composed of a 45" x 45" wooden tent base, a 43" high tent canopy of cotton polyester with star patterns inside and out, and a 1" thick mat. This is a great place for a quiet room for your little ones. 
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Southpaw's Bounce Disc 

Bouce Disc


Similar to the Bounce Pad, our new Bounce Disc is a clever alternative to a trampoline with added stability. The base is made of Baltic Birch and it has 6 durable springs covered in vinyl. The disc is 36" in diameter and is 6-1/4" high.

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Creating a Sensational Summer Sensory DietDeanna Maciole
Deanna Macioce, MS, OTR/L

After many of us throughout the country have been bogged down with rain, we are eager for the nice weather to be here.  And for most, that means an end to the school year is nearing.  But how do we continue to integrate our child's sensory diet activities into the day-to-day summer schedule of fun and relaxation? Summertime poses the difficulty of keeping up with a routine because we tend to see it as a time that we do not have to maintain such a rigorous schedule.  However, as parents we always battle with making sure we are still meeting the needs of our children with sensory processing concerns.  Therefore, this is a great time to revisit your child's needs and work with his therapist to develop a new and exciting schedule of activities for the summer, especially ones that can pull in the entire family.  This month we are going to take some time to give you a few ideas to change up your sensory diet with some fun and exciting summer activities.

Once you come up with the needs for the summer months, although time consuming, a fun way to make sure you are hitting at least one thing each day is to plan out a  "Family Fun" calendar, so that each day highlights an overall need to help your child remain regulated. If your child requires more, then add 2-3 activities per day based on your child's needs.
Ways to incorporate vestibular and/or proprioceptive input into your days this summer include some common and very traditional summer activities such as swimming and going to the playground.   Based on your child's age and skill level, some variations to swimming include putting them in a raft and going for a ride through the pool providing input in different directions and at different speeds.  As discussed in past articles, playgrounds provide so much more than sensory input, they are also great for working on balance, coordination, bilateral skills, as well as provide social interactions.  You can make it a day outing by finding different playgrounds and packing lunches for a fun lunch away from home.  This adds variety and keeps everyone in the family happy.  Also enjoy some time outside by finding a big hill and allow your child to run up and roll down it, or make obstacle courses in the backyard to have relay races with a friend or siblings.  All kids love running, bear walking, crab walking or wheelbarrow walking for the prized popsicle. Pick up a medium sized parachute and have the neighborhood children over to lift, dip, and hide under it.  These are exciting for kids of all ages and a great way to work on direction following skills.  And outdoor motor/riding toys are fun for everyone.  There are a variety of these available to fit your child's needs and skills, from the "Turtle" ride on scooters, stand-up scooters, bike, riding cars, pogo sticks, and Plasma cars just to name a few.  In addition, giving your children wagon rides is another way to get them some good movement input.  You can even change the input by having them ride backwards in the wagon.  Based on your child's age and skill level, trampolines are also a great source of sensory input, but I advise all these activities be performed with adult supervision. 
To provide some good oral motor input this summer, present drinks with straws.  Change up the input by using various straws from twisty, to large ones to even little coffee stirrer.  Shake in the fun by having the family put together a treat of milkshakes after dinner.  Cool down after some outdoor playtime with a Popsicle, frozen fruit bar or ice cream cone. Bubbles are always a fun, entertaining and great outdoor activity.  Using a variety of bubble blowers provide various types of input while challenging their oral motor skills.  Your child can become a little snorkeler by using a straw to blow bubbles while in the pool.  Allow children to get regulated by making lots of noise blowing whistles and noise-makers for an outdoor parade.
Summertime is an ideal time to address tactile needs since it is easy to move the mess outside.  Allow your child to play in the sand using shovels and spoons for scooping and dumping. Make it a family project to build a large sandcastle.  You can fill a baby pool with shaving cream to hide small objects inside.  For an easy clean up, turn on the sprinkler and let your child run through it.   Although another messy activity, letting your child be a creative chef making mud pies is an excellent tactile task.  Pull out some old plastic containers and silverware, a little water and mud, and let them go at it.  (The hose is a great way to clean up from this one.)

Being outside provides a new variety of auditory input that we miss during the winter months. Take a nature walk through a wooded park, have a dance party through the sprinkler, or go to watch airplanes or trains go by at nearby open field.

Pull your child into those daily outside chores, such as washing the car, weeding, and planting flowers.  All these activities provide tons of sensory input, and helps you mark items off your to-do list. Move some of your common inside activities outside, such as reading and game playing.  Just changing the environment and positioning away from a chair or table, increases the sensory input for your child.  From the auditory sounds of nature to increasing core control to sit on the ground or lay on their bellies, this is a simple way to pull things into your daily schedules.
Summer allows you to be open to new and creative ideas for sensory play. Just like with the decrease in the rigor of the school schedule, summer is a good time to provide new activities and change the rigor of the sensory diet.  So, let sensory fun begin!