Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Light Show

Further to last post thought I would add this wonderful light toy that is designed for under water e.g. in the bath, but works equally well outside. It can be used for exploration of for themes e.g. light, stars etc.

It projects well onto ceiling and walls but even better onto close surfaces e.g. an umbrella or chiffon or indeed both as in one of the photos. I placed it in a large shiny Ikea fruit dish that reflected well.

It can be purchased from specialist SEN retailers or ebay and Amazon, search around under the heading "under water light show"  the vary in price from £5-£50 (depending on size/ amount of light sequences/ or just difference)

Here is a link to the one featured here (possibly not the same retailer)

Monday, 23 September 2013

Church Sensory Space

We have been creating a Sensory Space at junior church relating to relevant sessions for all children attending (with initial inspiration to support children with SEND) ALL children have been utilising the space amazingly, either as a calm space, prayer, exploration etc. and in response to story (we have found it's great place for children to build relationships without business). Yesterday there was even a post it note on wall from one of the children (For prayer writing) saying "Thank you for this room" 

I googled sensory spaces in church and there is not a huge amount to be honest, and I guess understandably it may be considered useful for a small group of children (which is not the case) and also generally a large budget needed. Inclusive Church blog has a couple of blog entries: Special needs ministry sensory room   and creating a Multi Sensory Environment

We have not created our environments on a huge budget, but generally by looking around for cheap items that have lights/ tackle qualities. Generally poundland (or other pound stores) and budget home wear stores. Also ebay, amazon and second hand sites (particularly if battery operated, consider safety checks here). So here are some budget ideas. If you start thinking sensory you'll find you see stuff everywhere.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Ten Plagues Story Box

We did this as part of holiday club 2012 (Moses) and it was really popular with the youngest group (age 3-5) and retold over and over with very little support

For each plague we used the same refrain

"Moses said "Let my people go"
But Pharaoh said "No"
So God sent..."

When children were telling alone the cards were lined up as a guide, when an adult told each card was generally got out along with the corresponding object. This is the line up once all the plagues had been done.

  1.  A plague of blood (Sensory block with red liquid, a bottle with water and red food colouring would work)
  2. A plague of frogs (A plastic frog with noise of frog)
  3. A plague of gnats (a jar with a man drawn on outside, filled with water and black sequins so gnats flew around when shaken)
  4. A plague of flies (a plastic fly)
  5. Death of live stock (a wooden cow)
  6. A plague of boils (a peg with face and clothes drawn
  7. A hail storm (jar with man drawn on with white beads inside)
  8. A plague of locusts (a grasshopper - looks like a locust)
  9. Darkness (a black scarf to put over eyes)
  10. Death of first born (a tomb, but a sad face or tomb stone would work)
The cards were printed from the Mr Biblehead blog 

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Playdough Sheep

Could be used to support a variety of stories e.g. lost sheep, good shepherd, psalm 23, David... 

I am regurgitating a post (almost) from all join in blog as I was thinking of this, this am when the toddlers had sheep/ shepherd play materials out and thought it would be good to follow this up with some play dough another week.

The sheep play dough has previously been well received. 
The play dough was made white to create sheep (although black could be made also, but I never have huge success creating non greyish play dough). The whitest playdough  contained only cornflour (cornstarch), using recipe 1 from the Gluten free playdough . The whitish playdough was made using a traditional playdough recipe but substituting plain flour for half self raising and half cornflour. 

The dough was supplemented with short lengths of pipe cleaner (legs), buttons, (eyes, although also used as flowers in the photo above) if I was to do again i'd probably use large goggly eyes too) and rubber mats for fields (and water).

The supplementary materials were simply there, and children were not told what to do with the pieces other than shall we make some sheep for the shepherd. 

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Going Fishing

Funky Foam Fishing

Funky foam makes most wonderful fish (if a little dead, floating on water), when accompanied by a tea strainer, mini fishing net or in this case a spoon? It provides a great fishing activity. I originally did this a responsive activity in pre-school sunday group where I wrote words on one side, with affirming words about what God thought of the, subsequently a memory verse. You could equally do the affirming words with any group of children, even allowing the children to each pass thier fish to a friend. This group of fish had various emotions drawn on to allow discussion about emotions. 

This would be a useful activity for any of the fishing stories in the Bible, particularly the Jesus ones, it's easy cheap and fun (and the children could make the fish)

Just be aware little ones might bite fish and funky foam breaks with little teeth so supervise or reconsider with little ones.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

The Good Shepherd, World Communion and Unleavened Bread

 A "loose?" version of the Good Shepherd and World Communion.
When it came to asking "Have you ever came close to this table?" some said "no" then said "yes"
"It's like what we just did in church" another said "Yes a bit but it can't be because it doesn't have a white table cloth or a white covering over the bread and the wine."
Agreed but it could still be that table. They then asked why the clothes were there and some joint wondering ensued...? The considered replies as follows: 

  • So we don't know its communion.
  • So its a surprise
  • To think about how Jesus was hidden in the tomb and couldn't be seen but then was alive
  • To remind us that Jesus is not seen but is here with us when we have communion
  • White is a pure colour.

After a time of prayer, unleavened bread was made as a group (there were other options but this is what was decided) cooked (by a very nice adult) and then our feast was shared!!! As we discussed communion and bread some more, e.g. the types of bread used for communion, the pass over feast et.c. 

The service was a communion service (which the children were part of prior to going out for their group) which is why this was planned.

Monday, 2 September 2013

Christmas Communication Signs and Symbols

I know it's only Sept but some people already seem to be on the Christmas Planning already (I'm not that organised) so thought I'd start (or attempt to, depends on organisation) posting resources and ideas that support individuals with SEN and or Additional Needs and their inclusion in the advent/ christmas activities/ events.

So starting with communication, which is obviously a key aspect of inclusion of anyone but it's essential that we get it right.
A few things to consider relating to Communication, Additional Needs and SEN
  • Attempt to simplify and reduce language, particularly ensuring you reduce jargon and cliches 
  • Speak clearly
  • Speak at a steady pace that isn't too fast and ensure some pauses between important points (not long silences, just a pause)
  • Supplement spoken language with changes to pitch and tone appropriate to what is being said with appropriate (maybe exaggerated) facial expressions
  • Supplement spoken language with visuals e.g. gestures, props, pictures, signs and symbols (some ideas for this below)
  • Idioms can be difficult for some people with additional needs, such as autism to understand. (Also consider the use of metaphors with some individuals, who may need more concrete examples I remember talking to a very verbal teen with additional needs after a talk using the metaphor that we should be like a stick of rock have Jesus' name running through  us, she said she thought the talk was great I asked what they liked the reply "Christian's should be crispy like a stick of rock")
  • Offer appropriate/ adapted opportunities for the individual to communicate alongside peers (you will need to consider the individual needs)
  • Ensure you communicate with the individual, their parents or carers about their needs and adapt accordingly 
  • Make inclusive practices a part of your "usual" practices, consider how the TV show Something Special has made Makaton mainstream.

Makaton Signs and Symbols
"Makaton uses signs, symbols and speech to help people communicate.  Signs are used, with speech, in spoken word order.  This helps provide extra clues about what someone is saying.  Using signs can help people who have no speech or whose speech is unclear.  Using symbols can help people who have limited speech and those who cannot, or prefer not to sign." (Makaton website) 

"Symbols are images which are used to support text, makingthe meaning clearer and easier to understand. They provide visual representation of a concept." (Widgit

There are a range of symbol sets e.g. Widgit Symbols, Picture Comuncation Symbols (PCS), and obviously Makaton. Symbols can be used to aid understanding and individuals communication.

British Sign Language
The sign system by some members of the deaf community in Britain.
  • Silent Night British Sign Language (and other songs) recorded for youtube
  • Silent night British Sign Language, printable song. It costs £1.99 to download
Check out one of my previous Inclusive Christmas Post