I like to give my children a lot of different ways to learn. My two kids with AD/HD are strong visual learners, and their sensory processing challenges lead them to seek out hands-on experiences. So, besides offering them fidget items when the lesson doesn't have manipulatives, I try to find ways that they can see and touch objects as they learn. I also know that my children are externally motivated (not unusual for those who have weak executive functions) and they need frequent reinforcement or reminders to stick with a task. In case I haven't mentioned it before (though I think maybe I have either here or during my workshops) I am also reluctant to spend a lot of money on things I can make myself. Of course I always think I will go to craft shows and then make whatever has grabbed my fancy once I get back home, but I never seem to do that. But with school materials, I sometimes manage to get inspiration from my recycling bin. The picture above shows a simple set of materials that are readily available and can be used for a number of things. It took me about 15 minutes from start to finish to make it.
First, get a cardboard egg carton. Make sure it's clean and no eggs have cracked and leaked in it. I spray mine with Clorox Anywhere Spray to kill any germs. (Disclaimer: Melinda cannot be held responsible for any icky things you pick up from your egg carton. I am not a doctor...blah, blah...) My egg carton had a little circle indented on the bottom of each cup, and I cut around them to make the holes in the middle of each cup. If your carton does not include these handy, preformed circles, you can just cut your own. The circles need to be large enough for a clothespin to fit through but small enough to hold the clothespin in place. Leave the lid on the carton so you can store small materials inside and to provide a base for the clothespin to stand on. There are many ways you can use your newly recycled materials, so I'll just get you started with a few ideas. I'm sure you will be able to come up with more ideas, and I'd love to hear about them.
- Use the clothespins to practice counting.
- Practice fine motor skills by having the child place and remove the clothespins
- Use as reinforcement by putting one clothespin in place for each completed task
- Use as a motivator by placing clothespins in the carton for each task that needs completed. Remove a clothespin as the work gets done, visually depicting for your child that progress is being made.
- Paint the clothespins (or use colored popsicle sticks or tongue depressors) to match colors