I have been meaning to write this post for a long, long time. Life gets busy and then you know, global pandemic … Anyway, Deanne from Small But Kinda Mighty sent me these amazingly beautiful hand-crafted toys and supplemental materials to use with my daughter in exchange for my feedback as she worked to develop her materials. The toys are absolutely lovely. I also love the idea of learning through play. Her materials include digital downloads with social stories and suggestions other related books, crafts and learning activities related to the theme of the set.
First, I’d like to say I am so impressed with the quality of the toys. For a tactile person like myself, it is really nice to see and also feel these quality hand-made characters. They arrive in a crocheted carrying case with a drawstring. They are beautifully made and very cute with little bead eyes. Not only can children play with them while listening to the stories, but they also make awesome squish toys for sensory seekers like my child. Many kids (including mine) do better listening if their hands are also busy.
Along with the toys, materials are available that cover a variety of related topics. There is a social story called Grumpy Moon in which the Sun and Stars help the Moon deal with a resistance to change by creating a visual calendar. Another story, When the Sun Never Set, describes what happens when the sun decides not to go down. Social stories are a wonderful teaching tool for all young children, especially those with special needs. The materials are created by a mom of two autistic boys, so they are designed with them in mind.
A list of book recommendations is included offering educational opportunities that would be great for homeschoolers who like to learn thematically. One of my very favorite activities in the resource pdf is the Planetary Sensory Walk. Because my daughter has been a sensory seeker from a very young age, I love tying in sensory related activities as much as possible. Each activity is associated with a planet and includes related facts. Below is a photo of us experimenting with the “Jupiter Magic Milk” activity. (We ran out of milk and had to use cream, so we will have to repeat it later to compare milk with cream. Another experiment!). My daughter loved dipping the q-tip and watching the colors. When we were done, she used the q-tip and food coloring solution to paint pictures. Even more fun.
You can check out the Regulate Your Universe set and download a free PDF, Planetary Sensory Walk, describing the planets in our solar system and sensory play ideas here.