Today over on my craft blog, here, I shared how I made these Eye Spy bags but if you don't sew, you can still make fun and interactive Eye Spy toys that your little one will love.
Every toy starts with a few basic pieces. A clear container with a lid, sand or pellets, tiny objects, and glue.
Our little ones will sit and our laps and help us find some fun things. It teaches them about colors, shapes, increase vocabulary, and builds trust. They know they can sit and interact in the safety of our laps. These bottles or bags are also a fun activity for older kids when they are given scavenger hunt cards.
The little toys keep their minds occupied during doctors visits, long trips, difficult during nap time, or for time outs. For children with RADS they get to connect with you and escape stressful situations for a bit by studying the objects inside. Keep in mind also that the items are typically too small for toddlers to play with so they enjoy looking at the tiny things and you don't have to worry about them going on little mouths
To make the bags you can click the link at the top of this post. To make a bottle you'll need a clean, clear bottle with a lid. Fill your container about half way with pellets or sand and then add your objects. Put glue around the top of the rim and screw the cap on tightly. Let the glue set and you're good to go.
Extenstion: Take snap shots with your phoneof each item you include and use your phone like a scavenger hunt card or print them out, laminate, and put on a ring to go with the bottle. There are many ways you can create a self exploratory eye spy bottle.
One of the things I recently learned about Reactive Attachment Disorder (RADS) is that when children with RADS are introduced to the unexpected , being events or people, they can shut down. Before it was even suggested that we had a possible RADS child in our home I thought the symptoms were him, being shy or unaffectionate. I honestly just thought it was his personality. Then a therapist asked about particular scenarios and the reactions. A flood of memories came rushing in on me with each question. It broke my heart to learn that internally, my boy was shutting down as a coping mechanism. His little body would go into tiny panic mode until he could process the situation and judge how others would react. If the situation felt unpredictable the tiny panic button stayed pushed down.
Then, I read about calming bottles. As beautiful as they are and as fun as they are to make, they served a huge purpose. We have made up several different ones for fun and to see which one he liked best. The purpose is to give him a temporary focus that he knows is safe until he is ready to return to reality. It may only take a second or you might find him crouched in a corner studying the rhythm and waves that he is in control of making. Here are a few of the ones we used.
The eyeball bottle is his favorite.
In each bottle I added different elements or colors. The basis for almost all of them is simple oil and water. I color the water with food color and poor in the desired amount, I add glitter or buttons or googly eyes...what ever is on hand. Rubber bands, tiny toys or anything small. A bit of elements glue gives the water a milky color. I add baby oil to the top, put glue around the rim and screw the cap on tight.
I placed these in a basket near our door going out to the car so I will remember to grab them but they are also reachable anytime he needs them.
I have a few other fun activities and calming objects you can make at home so be sure to come back for a visit.
Years ago my boys and I would spend a lot of time playing with play dough. It's recommended for ages 2 and over and really good for their fine motor skills. They are growing up and almost out of elementary school now but they still love it.
As a foster family we have recently been directed to a RADS diagnosis for one of our little ones. It's kind of a big deal but thank goodness he is still little. There's a great deal to learn about the cause and effect of having Reactive Attachment Disorder. I won't go into detail about the diagnosis we have but you can read more about it here.
What I want to focus on is the healing. I'm no expert on RADS but I'm learning and my background is Early Childhood Education and Reading. These two degrees have given me an excellent base to start remediation at home while Occupational Therapy takes place with the professionals.
These photos are of my boys when they were little. We loved to squish and model together on our patio table. Today I bring the activity in doors at the kitchen table until the weather permits us to go outside. I'm going to post links to a few of my favorite recipes for homemade play dough and activity at the end of this blog.
How can playing with play dough be beneficial for a child with RADS? It has to be a combined effort between caregiver and child.
Working on building an attachment is one part of the process. The other part is trust. For children with RADS they have been let down by their caregivers in the past. The connections in the brain that connect a caregiver to trust or love just simply isn't there. So we build new ones. Like a bridge from island to island we work on building trust and love. Following trust and love is self worth and recognition.
As as I sit with my FS (foster son) I pull out of a box a choice of tools. I let him pick which ones he wants to try. He's intrigued by the plastic knife and extruder tools. I pinch off several colors of play dough and show him how to squish, roll, and model. I make it a point to sit beside him and help him. I show him new techniques and help when needed. Being very considerate of the fact he may not ask for help but would rather adapt to meet his own need.
The task at hand helps him:
Here are a few resources I loved
Tip Junkie's No Cook Kool-Aid Play Dough
Jell-O Play Dough
Yogurt Play Dough
I am birth mom to my 3 boys, foster mom to 2 sweet babies, wife to my high school sweet heart, and daughter to my King. I love to write. I am no scholar but I love my Lord and He helps me.