OK. This Toad of mine is a sensory connoisseur, right?
I mean, forget a sensory room, if I were Queen of the World I would have an entire sensory house made for him, complete with his own beach for endless hours of sand-walking.
But sadly I am not Queen of the World. Wait... I'm not?!? I hate that. Suffice it to say, Toad's indoor beach will have to remain in my - and his - imagination for the foreseeable future.
But I had an idea! Sensory tables are expensive, and frankly a pain due to the mess that occurs because most of whatever material you're using ends up outside the table. And to be honest, Toadie's feet are a real sensory focal point and he can't use his feet with a sensory table.
He can, however, put his feet in the bathtub.
In fact, he can put his whole body in there. And because he'd be in the tub, there'd be no mess because he wouldn't be standing beside it bringing everything out with his hands.
The bathtub. At first I can't believe how brilliant this is. Then I realize it's so simple, I should have thought of it a hundred years ago and am likely the last parent of a sensory fanatic on the planet to figure this out.
(Fine. It took me a while but I got here, so thbbpthbpt. Yes, thank you, I AM very mature - on my driver's license under birthday it says "carbon dating required" so, eat that, hippies.)
Right. So here's what I did: thought for a while about what exactly to put in the tub and eventually decided on rice. Sand is not a great option for a lot of reasons even though you can buy it. I thought about dried beans (pintos, reds), and I may end up getting some of those as well down the road to change up the sensation on occasion, but rice seemed like the best start.
I bought 40lbs of rice (most grocery stores have giant bags of it, and I'm sure that the big warehouse stores like BJ's, Costco, or Sam's Club, would have it in bullk as well) and a container to keep it in. The amount was totally arbitrary, I had no idea how much would be "enough". We are talking about a bathtub here. Plus, I figured if there was too much the rest could be used as replacement when we want to freshen it up.
Check it out...
This container is awesome. It's a pet food keeper I found at Target. It has a lid that snaps closed tight, and the best part - wheels! You can't even see them because the bottom of the container is actually arched so that they are tucked in and it sits even with the floor. The wheels are important because 40lbs is not so fun to lug around, even the few feet to the tub.
On top? Behold....
Kitchen utensils make great accessories for this. Funnels, that's a silicone spatula, NOT A KNIFE, geez, a big spoon and a measuring cup.
And we were set!
I scooped what ended up being a little more than half of the rice in to the tub with a small, plastic bucket that we have and decided to see how well that would work.
Is that rice in the tub or are we having 25lbs of Thai food for dinner?
Yes, I bought Jasmine rice. I LIKE THE WAY IT SMELLS, OK?. Shut up.
Doesn't look like much in this picture but once Toadie got in there...
as you can see, there was plenty to bury himself in.
Those are pj bottoms, by the way. I tried putting him in his bathing suit, but for some reason he didn't want to wear it - despite the fact that he will find it and just wear it around the house on his own. But apparently rice and bathing suit do not go together. Pj's are ok though, just so you know. Next time you're getting in to a tub full of rice.
And he was funny - when I first sat him on the edge of the tub so he could put his feet in, he almost froze, and was glancing around suspiciously like, "I know the fun police are here somewhere... " but once he got that I was actually encouraging him to get in, he went for it.
He was really shy about my having the camera there and I'm not sure why. So much so that he pretty much kept his back to me the majority of the time...
The first rule of Rice Tub is, we don't talk about Rice Tub.
I had to get slightly acrobatic to take the pictures.
But he loved it. Not in a hyper-giggly loved it way, more of an "oh yeeeaaah, this is good..." sort-of way.
Toad, getting Zen with the ricey goodness.
He had his eyes closed here, and was just running his hands back and forth over the rice. He sits exactly like this and does the same thing at the beach. It may not be sand, but he was diggin' it all the same.
Maybe we'll even get some fine-motor work in while we're at it...
Using the spoon and his other hand to fill the cup.
Then he spent a lot of time just burying his feet.
When he was done, or rather, when I decided an hour in the Rice Tub was probably good for our first time out, I just brushed the stray grains from him and scooped it all back in to the container. Tossed the utensils on top, closed it up, ready to go the next time.
I also gave him a regular bath afterward so he wouldn't go to school the next day smelling like A Taste of Thai ™.
So now we have a way to get some great sensory time, and all I had to get was the rice and the container. No mess since it all stays in the tub with him, he can actually get completely in there with it, and, we can do this any time - the tub's not going anywhere and it's inside so the weather doesn't matter.
Know what else we're going to try in the tub?
No. Nice try.
NO. Seriously, don't give Zach ideas. (note: the guy is playing video games, in case you're not sure what he's doing... )
He LOVES playing with the shaving cream on the occasions they have the sensory table at school. I figure this will be a fun lead-in to his real baths.
Pro Tip: this isn't actually shaving cream. It used to be called that. Now, what we are looking for is called shaving foam. If you get anything labeled as shaving cream for sensory time, it will not be what you want as far as consistency goes. Of course the foam is hard to find these days, everything is gel or the cream. Gillette and Barbasol still make the old-fashioned stuff we're looking for, in this country anyway.
I am keeping the rice container in the bathroom, there's room, and, the door is (usually... ) closed with the child-proof knob. But even on the occasions (*AHEM*) that the door gets left open, I figure if he gets in there, maybe the rice bin will distract him from the shampoo or toothpaste - rice is a hell of a lot easier to clean up than those things. Hello, Mr Vacuum, time to carbo-load...
Of course everybody wants in on the tub of awesomeness. Buddy suggested we fill it with
and then passed out just thinking about it...
So. What's in your bathtub???