Monday, December 16, 2013

Soap Carving: A Jonathan Toomey-Inspired Sensory Diet Advent Activity

When we were reading The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey this year, I smiled thinking back to an activity we enjoyed last year that I never posted about.  Then, I thought, Wow.  It's been a long time since I have posted a strictly sensory diet post on the blog.  

Mea culpa, fellow parents of "sensory kids".  We have become so "natural" with our sensory diet efforts here that I have not been as focused on coming up with and sharing them as much.  They just sort of happen through the course of life.

However, sometimes, I still "create" them, as I did last year with our:
Advent Soap Carving

Got some Ivory soap (or any bar soap really) and a butter knife?  Then, you're good to go.  You might also want trays to work on, a bowl for collected soap shavings, a copy of The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey (or any Advent-themed books which refers to carving), a CD player and the CD from The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey with CD: Gift Edition (or a copy of any Advent music or story CD).
To begin, read the picture book aloud.
Then, pop in a music or story CD, sit down with soap and knives, begin carving and enjoy.
It's as simple as that!
Or is it?  When you look at this seemingly simple activity from a sensory standpoint, you realize that it's actually layered richly in sensory diet experience.

Looking Through Your SPD Lenses

When you read the story, you could cuddle up tightly for some tactile input or have your child bounce or swing for some proprioceptive and vestibular input.  

The actual reading aloud will provide auditory input, especially when done with a dramatic voice.  Plus, of course, drawing your child's attention to search for specific details in the illustrations of the book will key into the visual aspect of reading aloud together.  You can also talk about the palette of colors in the book and what emotions they evoke, as well as look at the expressions on the characters faces to open up emotional awareness skills.

Carving the soap requires fine motor skills and, depending on the scent of the soap you use, can tickle olfactory senses.  

Playing music or a story on CD adds further auditory input.


(1)  Carve wax candles, soft wood, ice or even playdough blobs instead of soap, depending on what you have around the house and what kind of material your children work best with  
(2)  For more snuggles and visual input, precede or follow the activity by watching the video version of the Miracle of Jonathon Toomey. 
(3) Experiment with different carving tools.


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