Weighted Items Help Children Calm Down

Posted: August 23rd, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Child Care Providers, News, Parent Blog | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Children sometimes need help calming down for many reasons.

 Sometimes the body is not able to calm down on its own.  For example:

  • a child can’t sit still in school
  •  the tags/rough fabric of their uniform is rubbing against their skin

Here are other reasons why a child could be acting out.

  • The Child has ADHD/ADD characteristics
  • The Child has sensory issues: over-stimulated/under-stimulated by their environment
  • The Child is affected by a recent move, going back to school or other family challenges

What can you do to help?

Often the simple act of adding weight/pressure might help the child calm down. The extra weight provides deep-pressure touch and calming input to the nervous system.


weighted item

Resources to make or buy weighted items.



Instructions to make a Weighted Lap Snake

 This is an easy way to try the concept and to see how the child responds.

Make one or more snakes and introduce them when the child is calm and happy. Place a snake in the child’s lap or drape it over his shoulders. Observe whether the child is less restless. Some parents/ teachers use the weighted snakes when they cannot stay right beside the child.

Instructions for sewing the Lap Snake:

  1. Use a long tube socks, one for each “snake.” You can also use thick tights or stockings and cut them off about 18” from the toe. Serge or whipstitch the cut edges.
  2. Fill each sock with four cups of rice or other similar pellets like pinto beans or split peas.
  3. Close the end of the tube sock by hand or machine, sewing the opening with small, sturdy stitches or use a rubber band.
  4. If desired, draw a simple face on the sewn side of the sock, making the seam the “mouth.”


 Gina Deveary

 4-C Early interventionist/Instructor


Wonderful Worms

Posted: June 13th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: News, Science | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Earthworms don’t have eyes, ears or noses, and instead of lungs, they breathe through their skin. But more than just learning some fascinating facts, bringing live earthworms into the classroom gives children an up close encounter with a gentle, harmless animal.

I recently brought earthworms to Yvonne Fisher’s classroom at Dawson Orman Education Center. After reading a story and practicing moving like earthworms during circle time, we spread out some newspaper and let them crawl across the table. The children squealed with delight as they watched the earthworms stretch and squeeze their bodies. Almost every child was willing to pet an earthworm, and most also picked one up and laughed as it tickled their hands.

Earthworms are everywhere and are very beneficial to plants. In one yard of earth, there can be thousands of earthworms!  Go for a walk and hunt for them. Try digging in the dirt or lifting up rocks and leaf litter. Look on the sidewalk after a heavy rain and model good stewardship by returning them to some dirt where they can dig back underground. Most of all, let children know that they don’t have to be afraid of something just because it moves!

 A word about earthworm care:

Remember that they breathe through their skin and need a damp environment; so keep a spray bottle handy, but avoid letting them “swim” in water. They can drown too! They eat dirt and decaying leaves, so if you plan on keeping them a few days, be sure to provide them with food.

 Literature connections:

  • Wonderful Worms by Linda Glaser
  • Garden Wigglers by Nancy Loewen
  • An Earthworm’s Life by John Himmelman
  • Earthworms by Claire Llewellyn and Barrie Watts

Clean Mud

Posted: September 1st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: News, Science | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Clean Mud

  • 1 Roll of Toilet Paper
  • 1 Bar of Ivory Soap 
  • Vegetable Peeler 
  • Water 
  • Large Bowl

  1. Take the roll of toilet paper and tear the sheets in to small pieces.
  2. Place the pieces of paper in a large bowl.
  3. Use the vegetable peeler and shave about a quarter (1/4) of the bar of soap into the bowl filled with the paper.
  4. Add warm water to the mixture. Start out with just enough water to dampen the paper.
  5. Have the child mix the ingredients, working the “clean mud” in between her fingers.
  6. Slowly add more and more water to the mixture to create a slimier feeling.

 Less Mess: Place the mixture into a Ziploc bag and allow the child to feel the “clean mud” from the outside of the bag.

 More Mess: Mix small items (such as coins or small plastic beads) into the mixture and have the child find the hidden objects.

Karo Syrup Color Mixing

Posted: August 4th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: News, Science | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

At a recent training with teachers involved in the PNC Grow Up Great with Science grant, we explored the properties of liquids and some unconventional ways to experiment with color mixing. Karo syrup provides a unique experience, because the colors don’t mix immediately but instead slide over one another creating a variety of shades and patterns and sometimes allowing the primary colors to re-emerge. If you are looking for an activity that is mesmerizing, try this one out. Just look how transfixed these teachers are!

Materials: Karo Syrup, Food Coloring, Large Waxed Paper Plate


  • Put a large drop of Karo Syrup in the middle of a paper plate.
  • Add one drop of yellow, one of red, and one of blue food coloring on opposite edges of the syrup. 
  • As the child holds the plate vertically and lets the syrup run, the colors begin to mix and make other colors. 
  • Keep turning the plate so that the syrup does not drip off. 
  • What colors do you see? Can you make any new colors?
  • Turn it again. Do you see any of the colors you started with?

Noticing the Details

Posted: July 22nd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: News, Science | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

I don’t know about your life, but mine seems to get busier and busier every day juggling work, home, family and friends. There always seems to be reasons to do things faster, just to get them done, to have time to do more things in the limited hours of the day. But the issue with faster and more is that there is little time to appreciate the details in life. Noticing details is a hallmark of a good scientist. Up close is where the discoveries are waiting, the ones that spark curiosity, make you wonder why or how or what and invite you to take another look, examine closer, or read more.  

Life can be full of these moments of wonder, but you have to slow down to find them. Have you ever noticed that drops of water cling to your fingers before falling off or examined salt to that see each individual crystal is a cube? Have you ever wondered why little rays of light seem to dance on the table when shining through a glass of water or why cream swirls in a cup of coffee? These are the types of observations that invite your mind to question and ponder how the world works, which is exactly what we want our children to be doing. What do you notice? How does it feel? How does it smell? Does it remind you of anything? What do you think would happen if…? The right question at the right time can help children focus on details, make connections and lead them to deeper learning.

One thing you should know about me is that I carry a pocket microscope in my purse, and I use it all the time. Just today I was showing my coworker, Brenda, an insect I found outside our door. It was some type of beetle I had never seen before, but the colors were amazing; lines of emerald green running down its wing edged with magenta, iridescent blues, purples and copper on its back, silver eyes made of hundreds of tiny lenses. Noticing these things myself makes me a curious person, but sharing what I am curious about with others is when the magic happens; when Brenda gets curious and calls to another coworker inviting her to look closer. We wondered together what kind of insect it might be, why its eyes have so many lenses and what the world must look like through them. You don’t have to wait for rainbows to feel the wonder of living, and the more you can model wonder for children, the more children will appreciate the world around them and want to know more about it.

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