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Providing Children with Sensory Input: Rice Socks

Submitted by Craig on Tue, 09/28/2010 - 07:36.

Many of the teachers with whom I consult in the early childhood setting express concerns about the energy level of some of their students; especially when participating in teacher-directed activities (i.e., circle time, tabletop activities, etc.). For many children, this can be a very challenging time of the day. Their energy levels may be high, and their motors are constantly running. To help children better focus and attend for structured tasks, I recommend placing a rice sock on their lap, which provides them with the deep pressure (sensory input) they may need to better help regulate their systems. Prior to the start of structured activities, it may also be a good idea to have the child engage in a gross motor activity, which may help release some of their energy (such as jumping jacks, running, lifting heavy objects, etc.). I have found that chlidren are better able to attend for structured activities when using a combination of the two (gross motor prior to the start of structured activities, coupled with the rice socks during the activity).

Rice socks are simple and easy to make. Oh, and they're inexpensive to make, too! Basically, all you have to do is fill a sock with rice and either stitch the top with a needle and thread or glue it with a hot glue gun. The child can even personalize the rice sock by adding eyes, nose, ears, a mouth, etc. Here's are a couple of examples (sorry, I'm not much of an artist):

and

Once the child sits down for a structured task, simply place the rice sock on his lap. If one rice sock doesn't provide the child with enough sensory input, try adding two. Again, this application of deep pressure may meet the child's need for additional sensory input, resulting in his ability to calmly sit and focus for a structured task or activity.

Materials:

* plain white sock (or a sock of a different color)
* 1 bag of rice (though you may need more than one bag if you are making more than one rice sock)
* hot glue gun (or needle and thread to stich the top)
* eyes, nose, mouth, ears, etc. (if you want to personalize the sock)

Good luck! If this strategy doesn't do the trick, don't fret! I'll be posting more sensory strategies in the coming weeks!

-Craig