​Headteacher: Mrs J.Dambach

Mailto:headteacher@hortonlodge.staffs.sch.uk

Tel: 01538 306214

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Learn ways to support your children at home.

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Sensory Learning

Let's get messy!! The motto for most sensory activities. By engaging taste, smell, sound, sight and touch we can provide children with meaningful opportunities for learning. For children with Special Educational Needs (SEN) Sensory experiences can be used to encourage cognative, language, physical and emotional development. We hope that the resources below will give you ideas of how you can continue these developments at home as well giving you hours of FUN!

 

Sensory Room Ideas On A Budget 

A  sensory room or corner at home provides an excellent resource for improving concentration, alertness and awareness, they also help to provide a calming atmosphere ideal for relaxation.  We have created our own sensory room on  a budget at school. Below are some of the great ideas that we used in school.  There is no need for you to spend a great deal of money either!

 

Click the pictures or the links in the text to view more ideas

 

 

Make yourself some sensory Play dough. We have found a great recipe for making the dough without having to cook it, thank you Imagination Tree! This means that the sensory experience can start straight away by exploring and mixing all the ingredients together. You can add lots of different colours and smells to your dough to make it more appealing. When you're finished modelling why not bake it so you can keep it or store it in a sealed container for another day.

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These sensory bottles are great fun courtesy of Inner Child Living. There are a few ideas on their website but you can be really creative. How about using different coloured shower gels to make lava lamp effects. Pop some small holes in the bottles and add different scented objects inside them. We have found lucozade bottles to be perfect once you have removed the outer lables. Making the bottles can be as much fun as exploring them!

 

 

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Sensory tiles are great for exploration. But they can also be used to develop a range of skills, such as fine and gross motor skills. Fill one with numbers and get your children to put them in order. Teach phonics by filling them with letters to make as many 'at' words as they can. Use them for anything; drawing, colouring, sorting, seasons. Add a little hoop to your tile when you make it then when you have finished hang it up on a wall to make a sensory mosaic. Click here for instructions and get creative, dont forget that these are for your kids though!

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STOP! Get the Christmas lights back out and make yourself a D.I.Y sensory light box. This is another great idea courtesy of the brains at Imagination Tree.  These light boxes can be used for children with Special Needs, Autism, Sensory and visual Impairments. If you have coloured lights you can make yourself a soothing colour changing light box. I would recomend using a tough plastic storage box to avoid breakages.

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Make yourself a UV light with any old lamp and this bulb from Cheap Disability Aids for £3. Great when used with UV equipment. You can pick up lots of fluorescent materials and objects from most bargain basement stores like Poundland and B&M.

Space blankets are brilliant for creating light reflective areas in your sensory room. You can cover opjects with them or hang them up around the room. These are £3.23 from Amazon but a quick internet search will probably find them for less. Tin foil can be a cheaper alternative but the blanket will last a little longer.

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This little sensory light is a snip at £12. 99 from Cheap Disability Aids . It can be sound activated so you can play your childrens favourite music and watch as the  lights dance to the beat. Even better you can use the sound; voice, clapping and musical instruments. It makes it great for cause and effect or communication development. Richard Hirstwood has some great ideas for how you can use with your space blankets , to see them click here. (watch the video at the bottom of his page.)

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If you have any old CDs why not recycle them into your own mirror ball. Lights reflect from the CDs and make some beautiful images and colours. I can't find the link for this one. Should you like to make it you will need to drill holes in the CDs and attach them all together with some strong fishing line. You can hang it as shown in the picture or how about making it into a tent?

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Every sensory room needs sensory lights. The Sensory Globe from Cheap Disability Aids is the complete sensory light. The light uses a range of colours from calming blues to vibrant reds, it's brilliant for stimulating the visual senses. You can speed up or slow down the patterns and use sound activation so the lights move to music.

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Get your nostrils twitching with these smells from Boots. They are great for creating a nice relaxing aroma. You can also find scented extracts in the baking section in Asda and probably most other supermarkets. These can be mixed with water to make your own scents. We use them in school to represent days of the week. Maybe you could invent your own smells for weekends? Pepermint and lemon are up for grabs!

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​YouTube is brilliant in any sensory room. You can find videos and music for any occasion. Here are some examples of what we use in school.

                                         

There are loads of useful websites out there to give you ideas of how to create your own room on a buget, most of which I have included for you above. One of the best places I have found though, is Pinterest. You can make yourself a member for free and become part of an absolute hot bed of ideas for anything.

 

Please be aware, anything you buy or create should always be used and created under the supervision of a responsible adult.

 

More Ideas On A Slightly Bigger Budget 

The ideas below are a bit more expensive but they are just to good not to share!

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Sensory rooms can be heavily reliant on technology to create a fully accesible environment. The problem is technologhy comes at a price! Encore, part of the Stone Computers Group,  is a fantastic local company  who specialise in high quality refurbished computers and peripherals at affordable prices.

While not integral, ​a computer or laptop can be a really useful piece of equipment in a sensory room. It can allow you to watch videos, play music or ambient sounds or play games. If you already have one great! If not you can purchase one to suit your need from Encore.

 

 

 

​If you have a Laptop or Computer why not purchace a Projector! Again Encore sell the refurbished, and they are not expensive, ranging from £45 to £120. We have one in our sensory room that projects the onto a full wall! YouTube has some great videos to create a relaxing environment that looks stunning! To watch an example of an ambient video we use in school, click here. There are loads more and if you wanted to get really technical you could even make your own!

 

 

Ipads are brilliant for giving sensory rooms a little extra. You can use them to take pictures, play music, watch videos and play games. There are thousands of sensory apps that you can download and the best bit, most of them are FREE! For more information on apps see our IPad Section.

While they are not the cheapest option you can buy them refurbished from Apple and they come with the same 1 year warranty as a new iPad or enquire with school about joining our Learn Anywhere scheme.

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​If you have all of the above why not purchase AirServer? It is a brilliant program that allows you to view and listen to your iPad through your computer. You can then  use your projector to display all your  apps and anything else you may want to view. This can create some wonderful visuially stimulating experiences. Best bit, it only costs £10.

 

The Wowee is a portable speaker that packs a punch. It can be placed on any surface to amplify the sounds. The vibrations that it gives off can be great for creating sensory stimulation. Pop it under an inflatable chair and you can feel the vibrations of the music you are listening to!

Cable Universe

With all these electronics you may find yourself in need of some longer cables to set them all up. I have always found Cable Universe to be cheap, quick and relaible.

 

 

Sensory Links...

Click the images to visit some cool websites for hours of fun for Free!

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Northern Grid for Learning bring you SEN switcher. Accessible software for students with profound and multiple learning difficulties. A great range of activities to develop and hone switching skills. To learn more about switches if you don't already have one visit out Computing page.

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SEN Teacher has printables, specialist links, free software downloads and search tools for all types and levels of special and remedial education. SEN Teacher is also used by many parents and teachers of younger students and children without special needs.

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HelpKidzLearn is a collection of software for young children and those with learning difficulties to play online. The software is split into five sections: Early Years, Games and Quizzes, Stories and Songs, Creative Play & Find Out About.

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Pinterest is a social network that allows users to visually share, and discover new interests by posting (known as 'pinning' on Pinterest) images or videos to their own or others' boards (i.e. a collection of 'pins,' usually with a common theme) and browsing what other users have pinned. There are some fantastic sensory pins!