As soon as we are born we start to explore our surroundings by using our senses. That’s why babies mouth everything! Sensory play is very important to young children and has many benefits for those of us who are autistic and/or have sensory processing difficulties too. Sensory play stimulates the senses and allows us to explore our senses and respond to sensory information. This blog will tell you the best way to create a mess-free sensory play.
The benefits of sensory play are massive. Sensory play helps to develop fine motor skills whilst manipulating small objects. Gross motor skills by moving our bodies during play. Helps to calm us when we are stressed and anxious and so much more.
There are so many different kinds of sensory play and they can all help in different ways. So go on … explore your senses!
When it comes to sensory play there is so much out there. So you can really have a great time with this. We have 8 senses which give us a large range of senses we can stimulate and explore. Aromatherapy for olfaction (smell), Chewigems for those oral seekers and goo or sand for somatosensation (touch).
Did I really just say goo and sand, because on a personal level I can’t cope with either of those. I need my sensory play to be smooth and clean. Don’t forget like I’ve said above sensory play can really help with anxiety, and so I’ve been on the lookout for something that can help me with that.
I’ve tried many things and some of them have been great fun and massively helpful. Others have made my skin crawl. I suppose that’s the whole point of sensory play and exploring our senses. We get to find what we enjoy and what we don’t.
A few years ago at the Autism Show, I came across Jumping Clay. I took Jamie to the stand and made a rainbow coloured worm. As a parent it was amazing. Mess-free clay that doesn’t need to be put in an oven and just air dries … but there was so much more to it!
I bought several sets for the kids and they had great fun clay making and I was happy because we had no mess.
But there was still much more to it!
As the years passed more and more autistic adults started to attend the Autism Show. They all flocked to the Jumping Clay stand. As an adult, it had never occurred to me that I might love Jumping Clay too!
I’m not creative or artistic so I was worried it wouldn’t be for me or maybe I wouldn’t enjoy it.
I didn’t need to worry!
There are lots of different sets of Jumping Clay that include all of the materials you need and the instructions. You can also buy the colours and a book of instructions which starts off at an easy level and evolves as you get better. I decided to start with a set and what better than a dog (Beagle to be precise).
First I opened the box and it included all of the colours I needed, instructions and a cute little backdrop for my dog when he was complete. I won’t lie I can’t follow instructions but Jumping Clay has loads of online tutorials so I went to youtube and searched Jumping Clay Beagle. Between the instructions and the video, I was away!
I decided to do my Jumping Clay at a time when I was feeling anxious to see if it helped me. And from the moment I opened the pack my anxiety disappeared and I was hooked on the clay.
When I opened the different colour packs I was really surprised at how silky smooth the clay feels. It is amazing to roll up in your hands and once in a ball it actually bounces!
It has a jasmine scent which was really nice. I couldn’t smell it whilst modelling but the smell was on my hands and it gave them a lovely clean and fresh feel and smell.
The best part for me was mixing colours. For the Beagle Pack, you have to mix yellow and brown for the main body of the dog and then the black and brown later on for the markings and tail. The colours really do mix, which is amazing. You have to squeeze the clays together and pull them apart and roll them up and repeat to mix the colours. It is very therapeutic and really fulfilled some of my sensory needs.
There were some really intricate parts of the dog that really worked my fine motor skills. So this would be a great activity for those who are looking for ways to improve fine motor skills.
In the end, I achieved a clay beagle all by myself. It doesn’t look quite the same as the box but it’s not bad and I’m super proud of myself.
I was also really glad I didn’t have to clean up due to Jumping Clay being mess – free sensory play!
Since realising that I myself am autistic I have decided to embrace my senses. I realised that I needed to do this to regulate my sensory system. It doesn’t matter that I’m an adult because we all need to regulate ourselves. Sensory toys and sensory play are for adults as well as children. So don’t look at something and think you’re too old for it because it could be the perfect sensory toy or sensory play for you. Embrace mess – free sensory play, you never know… it might help!
I adore my Jumping Clay and I know loads of you guys will too!
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