“ What keeps my heart awake is colorful silence.”
All those little flowers I planted a month ago are now starting to root and grow, producing all kinds of colorful pansies. Sometimes when I have a bunch of flowers I will fill a bowl with them and add some water for fresh potpourri to sit on our kitchen table.
All the different fragrances mixed together smells refreshing. Some of the flowers I am using for this project don’t have much of a fragrance but they are bright in colors which is nice just on it’s own. This would be a fun project to do with ASD children. A sensory play art project. There is sight, touch and smell all involved with this activity. Even taste with some of the plants I clipped. Pansies are edible and are used on cakes. I want to make some miniature cakes and decorate them with pansies this Spring.
Creating a sensory garden for children on the Autism spectrum isn’t very complicated. If I can do it, anyone can. It’s all fun to me. Depending on whether your child is over-sensitive or under-sensitive you will have to base those needs off of what your child will benefit from the most.
For the over- sensitive child create a garden with small little nooks throughout your garden. Pots filled with plants grouped together in similar patterns so not as busy or overwhelming with too many things. The under-sensitive child will need plants that are brighter in colors and textures that have a rougher texture. Where as the over-sensitive child will enjoy the softer leaves and textures.
Each parent will know their child best. They know what will calm them or what will motivate them to want to explore and be creative. Encouraging any child to get outside and discover all the beauty and changes in each day is better then staying inside stuck to a screen. Doesn’t matter if you are on the Spectrum or not, outside play is always the best in my book.
Some ideas for your sensory garden could be…
Different fragrant herbs and plants.
Muted or bright colored plants and flowers
Small corners of pots arranged to create mini gardens throughout your garden.
Places of shade for light sensitivities.
Wind mills or spinning flower windmills.
Comfy chairs with soft pillows
An art table to sit and color or paint at outside.
Pots in different sizes to move around and fill with new and old plants.
Always have an organic garden. Children do not need to be around harsh chemicals and besides that…harsh chemicals are killing off our pollinating friends. Who the needs that? Poor little critters.
This project I am sharing with you today involves water which is fun to touch and play in. Water being poured or running from the faucet has a pleasant sound to it. The fragrances from some of these clippings smell refreshing when added to water. The touch of the different textures in the water is very calming. The colors of your clippings once wet are very bright and pretty.
To get started on your own sensory bowl of fresh potpourri first have your child take some small scissors to cut flowers and plants from your garden. Give them a basket to carry with them while you walk around looking for plants and textures your child likes. Encourage them to touch the plants and talk to them about the differences in the plants. Depending on whether you are working with a verbal or non-verbal child you can work in communication skills while playing in the garden. Receptive language usually leads to expressive when practiced in everyday activities around different environments. Day by day with lots of baby steps I always said when my husband and I were teaching our non verbal son back when he was a preschooler.
Step 2- Find a large bowl to fill with some water. Don’t fill the bowl with too much water. You want the flowers to float a little.
Step 3- Have your child rearrange the flowers into different patterns .
Group same colors and types of flowers together to help with a lesson on categorizing. Big and little. Over and under the water for prepositions.
Can you tell from this photo which types of flowers I used? If you look closely you will see tiny tomatoes, clippings of rosemary, petunia leaves, and lots of pansies . Happy sensory play everyone.
How many are your works, Lord! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.