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A Sensory Friendly Fourth of July

The Fourth of July can be an exciting and eventful time for most children, but for a child with sensorySensory Friendly processing difficulties, it can become overwhelming. Children with hypersensitivities to visual and auditory input may have a difficult time staying regulated and engaging in the activities that this holiday has to offer.

Here are some strategies for you and your child to have a sensory friendly holiday:

  1. Although fireworks can be a fun event for your family to attend, many children find the excess noise to be overwhelming. One strategy that might be helpful is to utilize noise-canceling headphones. If these are unavailable to you any type of ear buds you may have lying around the house could also help to muffle the sounds of fireworks. The bright flashing lights of fireworks can also be discomforting to a child with visual hypersensitivities. Bring along some shaded glasses to help block out some of that excess light.
  2. Parades may also be a very overwhelming activity for your child to engage in. The large crowds, loud music and bright colors can all be very stimulating and your child may have difficulties handling this overstimulation. One strategy that you could implement would be to avoid the crowd and watch from afar. Look around for a nearby building that you could watch from a window or find a designated area with fewer people.
  3. For a sensory seeking child you may want to create some sensory bins or activities for your child to engage in to help them feel more regulated. Mix red and blue paint into shaving cream (or uncooked colored rice or noodles to avoid the mess) and hide 4th of July themed items for your child to find. Your child may also need to engage in some heavy work activities before going to fireworks, parade, etc. so that he/she is regulated before these events. Some heavy work activities may include animal walks, carrying, pulling or lifting heavier objects, climbing, or crashing into pillows/cushions.
  4. Bring familiar items with you to these events to provide your child the comfort of home. Bring a favorite blanket or toy and let your child utilize it at times when they are feeling overwhelmed.
  5. Also remember to set expectations for your child. Let them know what the plan is for the day so they are more prepared for what they may encounter. Let them help you in planning out what to do for the day. This will make them feel more comfortable in these settings and can also give them the feeling that they have a choice. Having a plan will reduce anxiety for a child who is rigid or struggles with change. Visual schedules can also help to prompt your child as to what activities you have planned for the day. You can bring this along with you and take it out while transitioning from one activity to the next as a reminder.

NSPT offers services in Bucktown, Evanston, Highland Park, Lincolnwood, Glenview, Lake Bluff, Des Plaines, Hinsdale and Milwaukee. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

For additional information, watch our Facebook recording of A Sensory Friendly Fourth of July:

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4th of July Crafts to Develop Fine Motor Skills

5 4th of July Crafts to Improve Fine Motor Skills

Fourth of July is the perfect time to have your child create customized crafts in celebration of independence! Below are 5 ideas to build upon fine motor skills.

5 4th of July Crafts to Build Fine Motor Skills:

  1. Star-Spangled Flags: Gather red and white acrylic paint, blue construction paper, 10-15 popsicle sticks, glue,4th of July Crafts to Build Fine Motor Skills and glitter. After painting the popsicle sticks red and white and letting them dry, glue the backs together horizontally to make the stripes of the flag onto one full popsicle stick on the left (the flag staff) and two half pieces of popsicle stick on the middle and the right). Cut out a blue square and affix it to the top left corner of the flag. Use glitter and glue to create the stars. The older the child, the more precise you can encourage them to be when making the stars.
  2. Holiday-Themed Tissue Paper Crafts: Download a template of a flag or star and trace it onto a piece of white cardboard. For younger kids, plan out and label the placement of the colors to assist them in organization. For older kids, encourage them to create and measure their own template using a ruler. Gather red, white, and blue squares of tissue paper (can be precut or cut by the student). Have them place small amounts of glue onto the cardboard and then twist and glue or crumble the tissue paper on top. The end result will be a beautiful holiday themed craft they can showcase to friends and family.
  3. String Beads on a Pipe Cleaner: A great option for young children to promote pincer grasp and improve hand arch development. Can also work with string to create personalized and holiday themed necklaces and bracelets.
  4. Fourth of July Friendship Bracelets: Requires 3 arms-length sized pieces of of red, white, and blue embroidery floss, a piece of cardboard, and scissors. Locate a do-it-yourself, step-by-step instruction guide from the internet which will provide pictures and detailed instructions of several how-to-braid patterns. These patterns vary from easy to hard, so there are plenty of different options. This activity is great for hand strengthening, in hand manipulation, and fine motor coordination.
  5. Have Kids Practice Painting Each Other’s Finger Nails! This skill requires sustained attention as well as fine motor precision and control. Encourage your child to be creative and explore different colors and designs.


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NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

Creative Ways to Teach the Meaning of Independence Day to Children

Teach your children the meaning behind Independence Day and instill pride to be an American through these fun red, independence day white and blue activities. Through creating these crafts, you can talk with your child about Independence Day and why it is such an important holiday.

Meaningful Independence Day Crafts:

Trace Pictures of Famous Americans: Find pictures of Americans who have played an important role in our history and in the independence of America such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and others. You can use any picture from a book or print from the internet for this activity. For tracing, simply place tracing paper over the picture, and trace the outline of the person’s face. Include as much detail as you want.  Talk with your child about the person and their role in the founding of our country. Read more

How to Handle Fireworks and Your Child’s Sensitivity to Noise

By the time the 4th of July rolls around, summer is in full swing!  Kids spend their days at camp; families spend more timefireworks relaxing, and everyone enjoys spending time outside in the sun. The 4th of July is a fun time to gather friends and family and celebrate with food, games and (of course) fireworks!

While these July 4th traditions bring excitement for many children, there are kids with hypersensitivities who do not look forward to the noisy day. Below are 5 strategies that can help your sensitive child enjoy the day as well.

5 Ways to Help Your Child with Hypersensitivities Enjoy the 4th of July:

  1. Prepare your child for the day by providing them with explanations of where you are going, what you will do there, and what they will hear. This will help them to understand what to expect from the day without being fearful. You can also prepare them for the noise by having a family music night where everyone bangs on pots and pans around the house!
  2. Watch a video, either online or on television, that has fireworks in it.
  3. Bring cotton balls or ear plugs to the fireworks event to help decrease the intensity of the sound.
  4. Ask friends who lives near a local fireworks show if you can watch from their home. Being indoors will also decrease the intensity of the sound.
  5. If your child still won’t have an enjoyable time during fireworks with the above strategies, consider having a babysitter stay home with your kids. She can plan fun holiday games and crafts to celebrate at home.

Have a safe and wonderful 4th of July!

For more ideas on helping your child, click here to read about activities to address your child’s tactile hypersensitivities.
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