Lately, I’ve been getting reports from school that Little Miss is having some “trouble following directions.” In fact, that little problem has officially showed up as goal #5 on her latest IEP. — Yup. Ruh-roh.
Now, generally speaking, my Little Miss is a sensory seeker. She loves bumping, swinging through the air, spinning… you name it. She also loves exploring new textures and will return to wallow in her bean box again and again. And again.
The question was, could I combine this love for all things textured with a following-directions activity to come up with a way to practice our favorite school rule (“listen and do”). The answer is YES! Tactile Bead Sorting!
So, are you ready to try it out?
- Assortment of beads (I used a “Super Value Bead Assortment” from Darice that I found at the local craft store for $1.75)
- Tray-sized container (I used a large rectangular Zip-Loc reusable container)
- Small container
- Empty egg carton
I let Little Miss do the mixing because it gave her an opportunity to explore the beads and use a little of her budding language skills to talk about what she discovered. While she dug her little fingers through the beads, she began to notice favorites. We selected two from the mix… a holly-leaf-shaped clear bead and some round, faceted green beads.
I told her it was her job to find all the leaf beads and green beads and put them into the small container.
Now, you may be wondering why I chose only two types of beads and why we went to the small container rather than straight to the egg carton. Here’s the deal… Little Miss struggles with paying attention. That IEP I mentioned before? Goal #5 is following directions, but goal #4? Paying attention.
In order to force Little Miss to pay attention to her job, my plan was to provide sensory input and then slowly remove distractions.
With the beads safely presorted into the small bowl, I was free to remove the larger (and more distracting) tray of beads. Tactile Bead Sort Phase I complete!
For phase II, I introduced the egg carton and let Little Miss choose two spots to sort her beads. We designated the spots visually by placing one of each kind of bead into each spot. Then I told Little Miss that her job was to finish sorting the beads. The quiet, thoughtful work that went into that task was music to my ears!
When Little Miss had finished emptying the bowl, I removed the egg carton, brought back the bead tray and together we selected two more bead types to sort. Then, we repeated the activity. And you know what? I think Little Miss actually had fun listening to directions!
So, in summary, what went on here?
- Tactile Activity: Touching and pawing through beads in a tray.
- Language Activity: Describing beads. Talking about bead shapes and colors.
- Listening Activity: Following directions to sort beads.
- Fine Motor Activity: Using pincer grasp to separate ans sort beads.
- Visual Activity: Comparing beads. Matching beads in the egg carton.
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