ASD table time crafts…sensory dough.

“ Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by it’s ability to climb a tree, it will live it’s whole life believing that it is stupid.”

                               Albert Einstein

  Happy World Autism awareness month. I missed the official day of course because honestly it is hard keeping up with all these days. This month’s ASD craft project is sensory dough.  Scented doughs are trending right now. You don’t have to spend a lot of money by buying them from the store or online, you can make your own with simple ingredients right in your kitchen.

I know, here we go again…this is a pattern here in our home. Old mom always saying “We can make that.” Even when we all have our “ Nail it ” moments, at least we always try.

Salt dough was very popular in our home when my kids were little . It was something I made as a child for school projects and a sensory craft I would make for friends and family too.

Playing with doughs and clays is a fun way to help children with proprioceptive problems. This is not a word I use in my vocabulary so first I need to explain a little about proprioceptive. Because I wouldn’t normally know about what that is all about…nope, we just had a really nice Occupational therapist to explain this all to us, many years ago.

You see, children on the autism spectrum may have a hard time with body awareness. Some may play too hard and are a little rough with things like pushing down on the crayons too hard when coloring or when writing with pencils, which leads to broken tips. Pushing down into people seeking deep pressure for sensory play. Sometimes just being rough and not really understanding that they are doing that. Don’t be upset when a child on the spectrum does this, they really can’t help it. It is also exhausting for parents to have to explain all the reasons behind their child’s behaviors. Just be kind and understanding when a child exhibits unusual behaviors, there may be reasons behind them.

It isn’t always about being rough either, there are some on the spectrum who are very soft, and very weak. They easily tire and struggle with clumsiness or imbalances. These are all symptoms that your child suffers from having poor proprioceptive body/joint awareness. They need lots of sensory play to help them with their proprioceptive system.

Here are a few ways to help your child get a good diet of proprioceptive play activities:

Playgrounds- swings and climbing bars.

Trampolines

Pulling wagons

Helping with chores around the house like laundry and vacuuming. If the vacuum noise hurts your child’s ears make sure to have safety noise canceling headphones for them to wear. You can get them at outdoor shops.

Kneading doughs. Pulling on the doughs, stretching and pounding the doughs.

Squeezy toys.

So make some dough and have your children knead and play with it. It’s a very calming for children. Experiment with aromatherapy with your children to see which fragrances they enjoy. When working with any children who suffer from sensory processing disorders make sure to use smaller pieces of dough for them to knead. Don’t make things too overwhelming or difficult, building confidence is also part of the lessons we all go through in life. Baby steps is what I always say in doing anything new.

Salt dough-

You will need:

2 cups of flour

1 cup of salt

1 cup of water

Have your children help mix the dough in a big bowl. If your dough is too sticky add more flour. Once mixed you can add a few drops of essential oil for scented dough. Stick to fruity fragrances like mango, green apple, and even coconut has a pleasant smell. Make sure your child enjoys the fragrance first before you add to your dough. You can also add food coloring for different colors of dough. Match the color with the scent of your fragrance.

Red-strawberry yellow-banana- green-green apple- blue-blueberries etc…

Make sure to store in air tight containers when your children are finished playing with it.

Cornstarch dough-

1/2 cup of cornstarch

1 cup of baking soda

3/4 cup of water

This one takes a little bit more time to make. When you mix your ingredients and they have dissolved in the water you will have to transfer that to a pan to slowly heat up. Put your pan on medium heat and keep stirring until mixture starts forming a ball of dough then remove from pan and cool on parchment paper. When it is still a little warm knead the dough. Careful with this one, test dough first while it is cooling so your children don’t hurt themselves if it is too hot. Store in air tight container when not using. You can also add food coloring and essential oils if you like.

Both these play doughs can be used for making crafts. Use cookie cutters, paints, markers, or decoupage pretty papers and fabrics onto clay. Make somethin pretty to hang from a window for all the moms out there on Mother’s Day. I made some pretty birds to hang up. Between the two doughs the salt dough is the softest but the salt can be irritating to hands. The cornstarch crumples a lot and it reminds me of that sand clay. I love the white color of the cornstarch dough. The birds I made in photo below were made from the cornstarch dough.

What ever dough you decide to make remember to just have fun and don’t forget to include everyone. Happy table time crafts everyone.

“ Get to know someone on the spectrum and your life will truly be blessed.”

                                        Stephanie Parker

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Thank you for this lovely article! Information is the first step to understanding.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Dorothy, so true too. Sometimes it is just hard to understand different disabilities, best to be understanding, kind and patient with everyone and everything.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. ourcrossings says:

    I am definitely saving this post for later. It always amazes me how little is needed to be creative and make kids happy. Salt dough would be perfect for making Christmas ornaments, too. Thanks for sharing and have a lovely weekend. Aiva 🙂 xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re welcome Aiva, have a lovely weekend too.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The birds you made are beyond darling!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Laura. I will have to do a more detailed post on that for you later. The cornstarch dough was the hardest to make but it dried really nicely. I also loved the texture of the cornstarch dough, almost like clay. The salt dough dries and cracks really fast once you start working with it. Your granddaughters could make all kinds of Christmas ornaments for everyone making these doughs.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I haven’t used the cornstarch dough but in your post, I really liked how smooth the texture looked. I had used salt dough, wayyyyy back when my kids were small. We used cookie cutters to cut out gingerbread men. Once dried, we painted them and hung them on the tree. Funny how I hadn’t thought of that in years until I read your post!
        What a wonderful idea to revisit and do with now, my grandchildren!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. We did a lot of salt dough when I was a kid and I did it a couple times with mine when they were little. The cornstarch dough is really smooth, you will love the texture and easy to paint on too.

        Liked by 1 person

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