Pre-motherhood, Easter was a more religious part of my year. It revolved around Lent and church. I of course got an Easter egg but it was not really a big thing. Since having J Easter has become more. I still love the religious aspect but I have shifted to a fun and play based version of Easter. Church is a challenging place for J (although our church is great with children and very understanding). He struggles with some of the sensory parts of the service, sharing the play area and resources, and frankly I spend more time chasing him up and down aisles than listening to the sermon. So this year we will celebrate from home.
Apart from the Christian side of Easter (Which will involve reading prayers and the story of Easter from J’s children’s bible) we spend three days having Easter themed fun. It started yesterday on Good Friday with a day spent with family. Today I showed J his sensory basket full of fun activities to support play skills and sensory issues. Tomorrow we will have our Easter Egg Hunt and go to the park to play. Today I thought I’d share some of the fun activities we have been doing, and got planned for rest of the weekend.
Easter Sensory Basket
The aim of this basket is not to buy ‘gifts’ and spend a lot of money. It’s to find resources that encourage interest in exploring. J’s basket has got:
-Something to taste = biscuits mix (which we have to make) and chocolate eggs.
-Something to touch = Cra-Z-sand, mini slime, sunflower seeds (to plant)
-Something to fiddle with/manipulate = wind up bunny, Easter stickers (to make cards), bubbles.
-Something to learn about =sunflower seeds (life cycle of plants), cause and effect of baking.
Best of all there’s NO Star Wars or Disney Cars which are his big obsessions that take over all of his time and interest. The aim of the basket is to get J to explore resources and skills he doesn’t usually access. It will stretch his sensory tolerance, bring in new vocabulary and open up his play skills.
I am a big believer in learning through play. I wanted to have fun Easter themed games that would help J to build on his educational progress. One of J’s favourite things (outside his obsessions) is numbers. So I downloaded some maths based activities and resources from Twinkl. I chose two different egg themed resources.
–Small egg numbers 1-20: J recognises numerals 1-11, and 20 so I’m now bringing in the teen numbers to bridge that gap. The first game was to hide them in the split peas for J to find. The aim here is for J to talk about the numerals as he finds them but also to touch the split peas and feel the texture on his hand (palm, fingers, top of hand). The second activity was to line the numbers up and race chocolate eggs down a tube. We talked about whose went the furthest and experiment with different heights and positions of the tube.
–Large egg numbers: The aim of this activity (which we will play later) is to match quantity to the numeral. J can already recognise groups of 1-3 confidently so this will encourage him to go higher. Those he doesn’t recognise by sight we will count together (so he learns that one item has one number name rather than just counting in sequence randomly). We will then have fun attaching pegs onto the eggs and count them out so we have the right amount of pegs per egg. This has the added bonus of building his finger skills which lead to pencil control later in early years.
We used the stickers in the Easter basket to make cards for family. J practised hard peeling the backs off (which is again, good for finger skills, known as fine manipulation skills). He would position them wherever he wanted and then I encouraged him to decorate further using our pens. He practised writing his name inside the cards too. I added some detail as J’s attention wasn’t fully on the activity. He was more interested in peeling the backs off. There’s nothing wrong with joint effort as it shows J creative opportunities he can explore later.
The other Easter activity we downloaded from Twinkl is the rhyming Easter eggs. Rhyming is part of literacy and helps children to listen to sounds and recognise when they are the same. This is new to J so we did this together with me giving him hints and choices of answers. We talked about what words sounds like and which were the same or different. J then put the egg pieces together. The only issues I had with this resource was that the colours/patterns matched so that meant that he could match the correct answers even without listening to the sound. This isn’t totally negative though as its great he can have a sense of achievement. It boost confidence and encourage him to play again.
J has a restricted diet due to both allergy and his sensory issues. Food can turn into a power struggle and I try hard not to encourage a negative feeling towards dinner times. I find cooking helps as its fun and there’s no pressure to eat. Its gives a chance to talk about ingredients, feel different textures and see the effects of cooking. Cooking is a good opportunity to talk about ’cause and effect’ such as what happens when you add water to dry ingredients, what will they look like after being baked. We brought our Easter baking kit from Home Bargain. I liked the fact everything was measured and ready to go. It meant less waiting time for J so he was able to join in the whole thing rather than deciding the pull of his star wars toys in the other room was just too strong. It’s such as cute little kit and who doesn’t like cuteness!
We still have lots of Easter fun to have and more things to explore from our Easter basket so keep an eye on our social media to see what else we get up to. I hope you have a lovely time celebrating, whether that’s the religious aspect or the chocolate fun (or both!). Let me know what you get up to at Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.