Christmas Tree Gift Tags

We’ve made our own Christmas tree gift tags last year.  This version was just as much fun to make and we can’t wait to wrap a few presents with our DIY Gift tags!  This Christmas tree art was great for preschoolers and toddler.  All it took was a little stamping and cotton swab painting.  If you’re not into making gift tags, this Christmas tree craft needs just a little stamping as a nice piece of holiday art to decorate with this Christmas!

Christmas Tree Gift Tag Craft

Christmas Tree gift tags are a fun Christmas craft for kids!
Note: This post contains affiliate links. 
Make Christmas tree gift tags with the kids at Christmas school parties.

Christmas Tree Gift Tags

We started with a recycled paper tube that was bent into a triangle shape.  This was dipped into green paint and ready for stamping all over the paper.  Little Guy liked this part best, and made a ton of little trees on his paper.

Christmas gift tags that kids can make as a holiday art project
A brown marker to draw little tree stumps on each triangle and it started to look more like Christmas trees.  We used our Spill Proof Paint Cups and some cotton swabs to decorate our Christmas Trees. 
Now this was Baby Girl’s favorite part of the painting!  She reeeally got into dotting little decorations on her Christmas trees.  Painting with the cotton swabs is such a good way to work o n tripod grasp for new pencil users and pre-handwriters.  They were able to dab a little red paint in the spill proof cup and dot it onto the paper with a tripod grasp on the cotton swab.
A Christmas tree craft kids will enjoy this holiday season.
Once the trees and the decorations were dry (and this took a while after Baby Girl painted…!) We snipped our papers into little gift tags and hole punched a place to tie a pretty ribbon.

Christmas Handwriting Activities

Writing out that Christmas wish list is a difficult task that brings out tears instead of holiday excitement.  I’ve got a solution for your kiddo with handwriting difficulties: a packet of modified paper for all of the Christmas handwriting tasks that come up each year.  Use this handwriting pack to help kids who struggle with handwriting to participate in holiday traditions while even working on and developing their handwriting skills!

Working on handwriting with kids this Christmas season? Grab your copy of the Christmas Modified Handwriting Packet. It’s got three types of adapted paper that kids can use to write letters to Santa, Thank You notes, holiday bucket lists and much more…all while working on handwriting skills in a motivating and fun way! Read more about the adapted Christmas Paper here

Christmas modified paper for holiday handwriting for kids

SALE! Save 25% on Modified Christmas Paper NOW THROUGH CYBER MONDAY.

Coupon code is HOLIDAY25

Use the Christmas modified paper handwriting pack to work on handwriting, letter size, letter formation, and legibility with meaningful and motivating activities:

  • Letters to Santa
  • Wish List
  • Holiday To-Do List
  • Shopping List
  • Thank You Notes
  • Recipe Sharing
  • Winter Writing Prompts

Click here to get your packet.

Proprioception and Vestibular Winter Activity Blanket Bundle

Winter means cold and warm, fuzzy blankets!  And the best part of cozy winter days is the vestibular and proprioceptive input that can be provided with a snugly blanket.

Vestibular Winter Activity to turn therapy into play

Grab a few heavy duty blankets and lay them out on the floor.  Roll your child up like a winter burrito. Keep rolling once they are wrapped up tightly.  Then, roll them in the other direction to unwrap the winter burrito.  Change the vestibular input by creating a large roll with the blankets (without the child inside!) Use the blanket roll as a balance beam (like we did here) or to lay on.

Proprioception Winter Activity with Blankets

Rolling a child up in a blanket is a great way to provide deep input to a child’s whole body. This is calming and organizing. Add proprioceptive input for calming and regulating by piling pillows ontop of your child after they’ve been wrapped up in the blanket.  Press evenly and gently, but firmly, with both hands to provide deep pressure input.

This post is part of our January Calendar activities where we’re sharing prorpioceptive and vestibular activities for each day.  See all of the posts here

Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter to receive your January Calendar and weekly updates from us on all of our blog posts. Sign up HERE.

Are you looking for more information on Vestibular or Proprioception (and ALL of the sensory systems) and how they affect functional skills, behavior, and the body’s sensory systems?  This book, Sensory Processing 101, will explain it all.  Activities and Resources are included.  Get it today and never struggle to understand or explain Sensory Integration again.  Shop HERE.

6 Fine Motor Activities using Gold Coins

This time of year, you may have a few plastic gold coins laying around. If not, these are those gold coins you see around March in dollar stores or in the party aisle of the store. They might be used in party decorating or as a fun addition to St. Patrick’s Day activities. We had a handful of gold coins in our house and decided to use them in some fine motor activities. Below are 6 quick and easy ways to improve fine motor skills using gold coins.

We’ve used coins to work on fine motor skills like in-hand manipulation before. Coins are a great way to encourage a skill needed for so many tasks!

Here are more ways to use coins to improve fine motor skills.

Use coins to help kids work on fine motor skills

Fine Motor Activities using Gold Coins

This post contains affiliate links.

Occupational therapists and kids will love these fine motor activities using gold coins or other coins.

Want these printable sheets in handout form? Grab the printable sheet by clicking the button below. You can use these exercises and activities in a home program or part of themed activities in the time leading up to St. Patrick’s Day. OR, use regular coins and use this printable sheet of exercises all year long! 

You may also like this St. Patrick’s Day balance beam for a themed way to encourage gross motor skills and vestibular sensory input. 

First, you will need a handful of gold coins. You can grab them here. You could also use play money like we did here or just use regular real money coins!

1. In-Hand Manipulation- Transfer the coins one at a time from the palm of the hand into the fingertips to drop them into a bank. don’t have a coin bank that’s big enough for the gold coins? No problem! Use a knife to slice an opening in the top of a cardboard box or container with a plastic lid such as a recycled raisin container. Younger children can drop the coins into an empty tissue box. In-hand manipulation activities can help with tasks like clothing fasteners, shoe tying, and pencil grasp.

2. Fine Motor Precision- Use the coins to practice fine  motor precision and graded movements by stacking the coins. The more, the better, especially with older students. Stack the coins, one at a time, onto one another in a stack. Don’t let the coins fall! Precision is an important fine motor skill needed for many fine motor tasks. 

Plastic gold coins (or regular coins) are a great tool for improving hand strength and fine motor skills in kids.

3. Open Thumb Webspace- Make a “sandwich” with the coins and improve that thumb webspace to use in pencil grasp, scissor use, and activities such as managing clothing fasteners. Kids can hold three coins in a tip-to-tip grasp as they oppose the thumb to the pointer finger while ensuring the thumb is open in an “O” shape. Activities to improve an open thumb web space are important for pencil grasp and manipulation of small items. 

4. Finger Translation- Another in-hand manipulation activity, this one helps kids work on the ability to rotate items like a pencil or a coin (a real one!) between the pad of the thumb and the pad of the pointer, middle, and ring fingers. This in-hand manipulation activity can be practiced by holding the edge of the coin and rolling it in a circular motion along the finger pads. Try these ideas to improve translation using small water beads and a plastic bottle. 

5. Finger Isolation- Place several gold coins on the table in a line. Use the fingers of one hand to tap them one at a time as the child “plays” a tapping tune on the coins. Just like tapping out keys on a piano, this activity allows the child to improve finger isolation and dexterity needed for skills like shoe tying or typing. Finger isolation activities can be a helpful way to improve fine motor skills needed for tasks like typing, shoe tying, pencil grasp, and more. 

6. Hand Grip Strength– Ask the child to place one or more coins in the palm of their hand. They should curl their fingers over the coin and SQUEEZE! You may want to ask them to try to squeeze the plastic gold coin into real gold! Squeezing the fingers into a gross grasp in a sustained grip is a fun way to work on hand strength needed for so many skills. Hand strengthening is one of the biggest needs for a functional pencil grasp, endurance when writing or coloring, and tool use of all kinds! 

Use coins to work on fine motor skills for kids like hand strength, in-hand manipulation, translation, dexterity, precision, and more.

How would you use these fun gold coins to improve hand strength and fine motor skills?

Kids will love these six fine motor activities that use coins!

You can grab the gold coins here and use them over and over again over the next month and the days leading up to St. Patrick’s Day!

Want to send these activities home as a home program? Print off this sheet and add a couple of gold coins for a creative home exercise program!

Use coins to work on fine motor skills like hand strength, precision, in-hand manipulation, dexterity, and more, the perfect fine motor activity that occupational therapists can use to promote fine motor skills and hand strength.
Here are more fine motor activities you will love: 
 fine motor writing activity Pencil Grasp Activity Pencil Grasp Exercise Thumb opposition activity

Sensory Diet Vestibular Activities

The vestibular system is a powerful one! It can be a confusing one when we consider how it impacts our body’s ability to regulate. The vestibular system is one of the three systems that impact all of the others and therefore all learning, cognition, and occupational performance. the vestibular system develops early in life and plays a very important role in early development. for these reasons, today we’re talking about Sensory Diet Vestibular Activities. These are vestibular activities that can be used in a sensory diet and a sensory lifestyle full of meaningful sensory activities. The vestibular activities listed below are those that impact an individual in many ways.

Use these sensory diet vestibular activities to address sensory needs such as hyperresponsiveness or hyperresponsiveness to vestibular sensory input, creating a functional and meaningful sensory lifestyle for kids.

The Vestibular System

Understanding the vestibular system can help explain how and why we need to incorporate vestibular activities into our daily life.

Here is an explanation of the vestibular system from a neurological focus.

Here are vestibular red flags indicating a problem with the vestibular system and how that looks in a child’s day.

Check out those two links above to get a good background on the vestibular system and how it impacts every activity and function that we perform. In fact, the vestibular system plays a huge part in coordination of our head movements with the stimulation in the environment. 

+ We are then able to copy words and phrases from the board in the classroom by shifting our vision from the table surface to the overhead board without losing our place.

+ We are able to watch a moving object like a soccer ball as it travels across a field.

+ We are able to read a speech while looking up at our audience, without losing our place on the cue cards.

+ We are able to hold our body in a specific position such as a downward dog yoga position while concentrating on deep breathing.

+ We are able to maintain our head positioning while cutting with scissors or while riding a bicycle.

The vestibular system plays such a huge part in our daily tasks in a manner that happens naturally and without effort!

It is easy to see how a problem with the vestibular system could result in major issues with functioning!

Sensory Diet Vestibular Activities

The sensory vestibular activities listed below are playful ways to promote performance and tolerance to movement activities. They are also challenges against gravity to help kids with difficulties in equilibrium, balance, self-regulation, and adjusting to typical sensory input. The vestibular system operates through receptors in the inner ear and in conjunction with position in space, input from the eyes, and feedback from muscle and joint receptors, is able to contribute to posture and appropriate response of the visual system to maintain a field of vision. This allows an individual to detect movement and changes in the position of the head and body. Dysfunction in the vestibular system may result in hypersensitivity to movements or hyposensitivity to movements.

providing vestibular input as an intervention strategy for sensory needs,
various movement patterns should be considered. Depending on the individualized
needs of the child, activities can be designed to include movements such as:

Prone swinging
Seated swinging
Standing swinging
Linear movements
Rotary movements
Angular movements
Upside down
Challenges to
Inverted head
Unstable base of
Starts and stops
in motion
Changes in

Changes in speed

Vestibular Hyperresponsiveness

Some children may present with vestibular hyperresponsiveness.

This looks like a variety of things in children. As we know, every child is uniquely different. The indicators of sensory hyperresponsiveness listed here are only just a few ways that vestibular hyperresponsiveness may present in kids: 

  • Overly dizzy with motions
  • Resistant to moving activities such as
    swings, slides, elevators, or escalators
  • Fear of unstable surfaces
  • Unable to tolerate backward motions
  • Unable to tolerate side to side motions
  • Illness in moving vehicles
  • Avoids swings or slides
  • Gets motion sick easily
  • Gravitational insecurity
  • Challenges with unstable surfaces
  • Dislike of moving surfaces 

Try adding some of these vestibular activities into a sensory diet or sensory lifestyle. (These are just a FEW activities that can be used by children. Activities can be modified to include all of the movement planes listed above.)

Sensory Diet Vestibular Activities for Hyperresponsiveness: 

  • Skipping
  • Prone activates with arms supporting the upper body at the shoulders and elbows
  • Slowly adding activities in the quadruped positioning
  • Adding a support for jumping, hopping, balance activities
  • Crawling
  • Walking
  • Sliding
  • Rolling
  • Being pulled on a blanket or sled (indoor works, too!)
  • Throwing bean bags at a target
  • Throwing/catching a ball
  • Movement obstacle courses
  • Wheelbarrow races

Vestibular Hyporesponsiveness

On the flip side, a child can present with hyporesponsiveness of the vestibular system. Hypo-responsiveness of the vestibular sense may present in a child as an under-responsiveness or underreaction to vestibular sensation. This may look like the actions listed below. Remember that every child is different. This list is only a sample of the various ways a child can present when they are impacted by hyporesponsive vestibular system.

Hyporesponsiveness of the vestibular system examples:
  • Constant movement including jumping,
    spinning, rocking, climbing
  • Craves movement at fast intervals
  • Craves spinning, rocking, or rotary
  • Poor balance on uneven surfaces
  • Constantly fidgeting
  • Increased visual attention to spinning
    objects or overhead fans
  • Bolts or runs away in community or group
    settings, or when outdoors or in large open areas such as shopping malls
  • Difficulty maintaining sustained
  • Impulsive movement
  • Constantly getting up and down from desk
    in the classroom
  • Walks around when not supposed to (in the
    classroom, during meals, etc.)
  • Loves to be upside down

Sensory Diet Vestibular Activities for Hyporesponsiveness: 

Children with hyporesponsiveness of vestibular input may benefit from a variety of activities. Below are just a jew of these ideas. Try using these sensory diet vestibular activities when addressing hyporesponsiveness of vestibular sensation: 

  • Therapy ball
  • Fidget tools
  • Cushion or partially deflated beach ball on the floor under feet at a desk or chair. 
  • Tie therapy band (TheraBand) or a resistive cord around the legs of a student’s chair for use as a foot fidget
  • Provide appropriate play-based opportunities for movement needs (sit and spin toy, see saw toy, rocking chair, trampoline)
  • Weave vestibular input throughout the day and prior to fine motor/visual motor activities
  • Ensure the feet touch the ground or have support when seated in a chair or on the toilet

Sensory diets and specific sensory input or sensory challenges are a big part of addressing sensory needs of children who struggle with sensory processing issues. Incorporating a schedule of sensory input (sensory diet) into a lifestyle of naturally occuring and meaningful activities is so very valuable for the child with sensory needs. That’s why I’ve worked to create a book on creating an authentic and meaningful sensory lifestyle that addresses sensory needs. You can watch for more information on this book coming very soon. If you would like to be the first to know more about this book (and want to grab some upcoming freebies related to sensory lifestyles and sensory diet activities, sign up here. You’ll be the first to get some awesome tools for addressing sensory needs in motivating and meaningful ways.

The vestibular system is one of the bodys senses and responsible for awareness of our body in space and gravitational insecurity during tasks.  Kids can use balance beams to work on integration of the vestibular sense, perfect for children who seek movement, run into objects, fear certain positions, have trouble visually tracking items in reading and written, and more. Occupational Therapy with a balance beam activities. Try these vestibular sensory activities with the family this Fall Try these sensory integration therapy ideas at the playground for vestibular and proprioceptive sensory input. Indoor Ice Skates proprioception and vestibular sensory play activity
Vestibular sensory play activity for indoor play. This shot put game is a great way to incorporate the vestibular system into play. Super easy and fun Frisbee Vestibular activity for indoor play this winter.  Get the kids moving! Try these backyard vestibular sensory activities for summerMake a wobble balance disc from ice for sensory input and balance training. This helps kids with attention, strengthening, and fidgeting while incorporating sensory needs like proprioception and vestibular integration.
These vestibular activities for a sensory diet are great sensory ideas for addressing hyperresponsiveness or hyporesponsiveness to vestibular input as well as adding vestibular sensory input into a sensory diet or sensory lifestyle.

Thank You Gold Coins Fine Motor Sheet

Thanks for grabbing the Fine Motor Activity Sheet using plastic gold coins! If you arrived at this page by accident, you can grab the free printable sheet HERE. This is a printable page of fine motor activities that use plastic gold coins (perfect leading up to St. Patrick’s Day) or all year long using regular coins.

These activities are ones that can be used in home programs or fine motor activity programs to strengthen and improve the fine motor skills kids need for tasks like pencil grasp, tool use, fine motor manipulation, and every task that requires developed fine motor skills.

If you are looking for more ways to address fine motor skills in fun and frugal ways, try some of these ideas:

Sensory Diet Activities for the Classroom

In the schools, many teachers struggle with students with sensory processing challenges. There are students who have attention and focus issues that impact learning. Classrooms are a busy place, and when sensory issues impact the ability to pay attention, focus, self-regulate, and interact with others, learning can suffer. Sensory issues are often times, the underlying reasons for impaired functioning in the classroom. For some children, a sensory diet activities for the classroom can help. Sensory activities for the classroom can make a big impact in the life of a student.

The information listed below includes effective strategies for helping kids who are distracted, inattentive, disorganized, irritable, sensitive to sensory input, or seeming to have other sensory-related behaviors.

Add these resources to the ones you can find here under sensory diet vestibular activities to meet the sensory needs of all kids.

Use these sensory diet activities for the classroom to help kids with sensory processing needs and to address areas like attention, focus, self-regulation and other areas that impact learning.

First, I am very excited to tell you about a NEW resource book that I’ve been working on behind the scenes. It’s a HUGE resource related to sensory diets. 

There is so much information packed into this book, including underlying information related to the sensory systems, detailed information and references related to sensory diets like what they are and who needs one.  

There are data collection sheets and strategy monitoring systems for ensuring sensory diet techniques are authentic and motivating. 

This book is coming very soon! If you would like to be among the first to know about this new book, join the list here. Annnnd, there just may be a few freebies in store for anyone who is among the first to be informed! 

For some students, a selection of sensory activities can be a helpful strategy for getting through the day. The students who receive therapy may be completing a sensory diet with specific activities based on the individual child’s needs.

Therapists can use the sensory diet activities listed below to add to their toolbox of strategies within the school environment.

NOTE: Activities described here should be used educational information and not as treatment suggestions. Every child’s specific needs and strengths are individual and before activities are utilized as interventions, individualized assessment should be performed by an occupational therapist.

Sensory Diet Activities for the Classroom

You can find many sensory strategies for the school based OT to use and provide in the classroom.

Additionally, therapists and teachers will find many resources, including a printable sensory activity sheet here on this article about calm down strategies for school.

Finally, here is information about using sensory diets in the school. You can see this informative video on our Facebook page, or in the video below:

Sensory diet activities in the classroom are extremely varied! Each child will crave or avoid different sensory input that naturally occurs in the classroom. Sensory diet activities can be integrated into the school environment using materials right in the classroom. Try some of these sensory diet activities:

Move classroom furniture at the beginning or end of the day.
Erase the Smart Board using a cloth.
Add moveable or alternative seating options into the classroom (chair cushions, standing at easels, bungee cord added to the chair legs, bean bags, lying prone on the floor, etc.)
Carry library books from the classroom to the library.
Move equipment from classroom to classroom.
Give the student a “job” to carry a box of materials to the office each day.
Allow the student to sharpen pencils using a manual pencil sharpener.
Add extra playground time into the schedule as a reward.
Provide movement breaks for the whole classroom.

Add calming sensory strategies to a sensory diet for the classroom:

Provide a warm blanket for cozy reading in a bean bag chair.
Create a calm-down space in a cardboard box.
Create a whole-classroom stretch break with yoga or rhythmical knee/shoulder patting and rocking. 
Ask the whole classroom to play “Simon Says” with face and mouth stretch exercises.
Allow wall push-ups and chair push-up breaks.
Encourage the child to blow bubbles at recess.

Add calming modifications to the classroom:

Turn down the lights for a calm-down break.
Seat the child away from high-traffic areas.
Use soft voices during classroom instruction.
Remove fluorescent light bulbs from the area above the student’s desk.
Allow the child to wear headphones to block out environmental sounds.
Minimize overwhelming visual environmental stimuli by using natural light.

Add alerting sensory strategies to a sensory diet for the classroom:

Play “Simon Says” with light touch to the face and palms.
Movement breaks with jumping jacks or burpees (if the space allows).
Show students how to briskly rub up and down the arms to “wake up” the arms and hands.
Provide classroom-friendly fidget tools such as a DIY pencil topper

Add alerting modifications to the classroom:

Have crunchy snacks available: dry cereal, pretzels, celery, raw carrots, etc.
Use modified writing utensils such as modified surfaces or writing utensils.
Provide visually stimulating writing paper with high-contrast lines or writing spaces.
Use these sensory strategies in the classroom for students who struggle with sensory processing or those who may experience sensory-related behaviors.
You may also be interested in the free printable packet, The Classroom Sensory Strategy Toolkit.

The Classroom Sensory Strategy Toolkit is a printable packet of resources and handouts that can be used by teachers, parents, and therapists. Whether you are looking for a handout to explain sensory strategies, or a tool for advocating for your child, the Classroom Sensory Strategy Toolkit has got you covered.

And it’s free for you to print off and use again and again.

In the Classroom Sensory Strategy Toolkit, you’ll find:

  • Fidgeting Tools for the Classroom
  • Adapted Seating Strategies for the Classroom
  • Self-Regulation in the Classroom
  • 105 Calm-down Strategies for the Classroom
  • Chewing Tools for Classroom Needs
  • 45 Organizing Tools for Classroom Needs
  • Indoor Recess Sensory Diet Cards

Sensory Strategies for the Classroom

Fragrance and Dye Free Products for Sensory Kids

Parents of children with sensory processing challenges know that the slightest scent can throw kids into a sensory-based meltdown. Children with sensory processing issues can over-respond to fragrances in soaps, detergents, or even lotions when others may not even notice the scents. A child with olfactory sensory processing issues can be overly sensitive to specific products that are used in the home or by others that they frequently are around. Use the fragrance free and dye free products listed below on children with sensory processing disorder or those who are overly sensitive to scents. 

This post describes products that may help children and families who struggle with sensory processing needs. 

It is important to recognize that even others in the same home or classroom who use a scented product can throw off a child with sensitivities to scent. The child with sensory issues can benefit from everyone in the home using  products without perfumes and dyes. It is especially important that the whole family’s clothing and bed linens be washed with fragrance-free detergents. 

Sensory kids will appreciate these fragrance-free and dye-free products for sensory sensitivities. Use the fragrance-free lotions, detergents, soaps, and shampoos to help with sensory sensitivities.

Fragrance-Free and Dye-Free Products for Sensory Kids

Interestingly, About 5-16% of children live with sensory processing disorder. That is a lot of children who may suffer from sensory sensitivities. Making small changes within the home may help. 

These fragrance-free and dye-free products can be a modification that is part of a sensory diet for children with sensory processing challenges. 

Some of the fragrance-free products and dye-free products listed below may be trialed in order to determine the perfect fit for the family of a child with sensory processing issues. An individual may have unique sensitivities and may need to try several of the items listed below in order to find the products that work best. 

Even adults with sensory processing issues will appreciate these product recommendations. Each item is dermatologist-approved as a fragrance-free and sensitive item. 

Note: The information included below (and, like everything on this website) is not a substitute for medical intervention, dermatology issues, therapy assessment, intervention, or medical advice. Please contact a physician or Occupational Therapist to assess and intervene. 

Start here by getting access to the sensory processing information you need related to sensitivities and hyper-responsiveness to sensation by downloading the Sensory Processing Disorder Information booklet.

This post contains affiliate links. 

Fragrance-Free Detergents

All Free Clear
Tide Free & Gentle
Dreft Stage 2 is better for stain removal.

Fragrance-Free Fabric Softeners

Bounce Free & Clear Fabric Softener
All Free & Clear Fabric Softener

Fragrance-Free Shampoos

Head and Shoulders Original Formula
Free & Clear Shampoo for sensitive skin

Fragrance-Free and Dye-Free Soaps

Dove Unscented for Sensitive Skin
CeraVe Cleanser
Cetaphil Cleanser

Fragrance-Free Moisturizers

Dry skin can make a child who is overly sensitive especially aware of clothing textures. Think about your skin in the winter months when most of the time is spent indoors in dry heat. The skin can become rough and dry. When clothing rubs up against this dry skin, it can be downright painful for the child who is sensitive to clothing textures. Moisturizers can help prevent the dry and cracked skin.

Additionally, for the child who benefits from the proprioceptive input of massages, a moisturizing cream can be a helpful calming tool. Moisturizers should not contain dyes or fragrances. However, trying various moisturizers will be necessary, as some children can be overly sensitive to the different thicknesses of various creams. The dy-free and fragrance free moisturizers listed below are good ones to try:

CeraVe Moisturizing Cream
Cetaphil Cream
Aveeno Free and Clear Cream
Eucerin Cream
Aquaphor Ointment

Fragrance-Free and Dye-Free Antiperspirants and Deodorants

Deodorants use fragrance to cover up odors of sweat. Antiperspirants utilize aluminum hydroxide without the fragrance of deodorants. Try these fragrance-free antiperspirants and deoderants:
Certain Dri
Dove Unscented
Tom’s of Maine Unscented (aluminum free)
Silvanapure All Natural Deodorant (aluminum free)

Fragrance-Free Sunblocks

Zinc oxide-based sunblocks do not contain the chemicals of typical sunscreens. Try these sunblocks:
Blue Lizard Baby
Blue Lizard Sensitive Skin
Neutrogena baby Pure and Free

Fragrance-Free Diapers

Most diapers contain a fragrance that is noticeable. Try these diapers free of dyes and fragrances:
Seventh Generation
Tender Care Diapers

Fragrance-Free Wipes

Pampers Sensitive Wipes
Seventh Generation Wipes

Use these fragrance-free products and dye-free products for kids and families with sensory processing issues or sensory sensitivities.

Self-Monitoring Strategies for Kids

Self monitoring and self regulation skills for kids

One of the big executive functioning skills is the ability to self-monitor oneself. Self-monitoring plays into one’s ability to notice what is happening in the world around us and what is happening in our own body. The ability to “check” oneself and monitor actions, behaviors, and thoughts as they happen play into our ability to problem solve. Use the tips below to help kids learn how to self-monitor and problem solve. These self-monitoring strategies for kids are applicable in the classroom, home, sports field, or in social situations.

As a related resources, try these self-reflection activities for kids

Use these self-monitoring strategies for kids to teach kids how to self-monitor their actions and behaviors for better learning, attention, and functional independence.

Related read: Here are more executive functioning resources to fill your therapy toolbox!

Self-monitoring is a process of metacognition. Metacognition is the ability to plan for and
execute a task, monitor one’s
actions, analyze a problem,
apply a strategy, maintain attention, and evaluate or
monitor completion of an activity. Ideally, metacognition should occur naturally and instinctively as we engage in an activity.

Self-Monitoring Strategies for Kids

In talking about self-monitoring skills, let’s first discuss what exactly self-monitoring is and what it means for kids to self-monitor their actions, thoughts, and behaviors.

What is self-monitoring?

The ability to self-monitor is made up of two main areas:

1.) Observation- In this stage, a child is able to identify a specific behavior, thought, or action that occurred. This might happen during the action or afterwords. In a child who struggles with talking out in class, they may catch themselves as they are interrupting. Another child may realize they spoke out of turn only after the teacher mentions the interruption. In both cases, the child is able to identify what behavior has occurred through self-assessment. This level of self-monitoring is a real struggle for some students and working on the ability to notice the behaviors or actions that are inefficient or inappropriate for the situation. This stage requires a lot of reflection and the ability to recognize an ideal response or appropriate behavior for a specific situation.

Observation, or self-assessment may require work in order for the child to understand targeted behaviors.
Some supports for self-assessment can include:
Lists of appropriate actions or behaviors
Visual cues
Verbal cues
Reminder notes
Goal setting
Journaling in a notebook or a tool such as the Impulse Control Journal
Role-playing practice
Modeling from peers

The goal of this stage is to get students to move from a teacher/parent/therapist/adult support of self-assessment to a self-assessment status where the child identifies behaviors and actions that are off-target.

2.) Recording- This stage of self-monitoring is a means for moving from an awareness of actions and behaviors to function. In the recording stage of self-monitoring, children are able to note their actions and make changes based on what happened in specific situations. Jotting down deviences of targeted behavior can help kids to become more aware of what happened in a specific situation and how they can make adjustments in the future to avoid specific behaviors, or how they can use accommodations and self-regulation tools to respond and react more appropriately.

Recording or measurement of actions can occur through several methods:
Parent/Teacher/Student communication sheets (where the child inputs behaviors throughout the day)
Journaling in a notebook or a tool such as the Impulse Control Journal
Data collection sheets
Frequency collection forms

A child’s ability to stay organized can make a big impact on self-monitoring. Use the organization activities and strategies identified here.

Self-Monitoring in Kids Improve Many Areas:

When children self-monitor their actions and thoughts, so many areas are developed and progressed:
Problem-solving abilities

You can see how each of the executive functioning skills play into the ability to self-monitor and how self-monitoring skills play into the development and use of each of the other executive functioning skills.

Teach Self-Monitoring Strategies to Improve Function

There are also functional skills that are developed and improved through self-monitoring:
Task initiation
Task completion
Social-emotional interaction
Follow-through on learned skills

Self-Monitoring Strategies

Below, you will find additional self-monitoring strategies that can help children with the ability to identify and self- assess and self-adjust behaviors that may occur within the classroom, home, or other environment. These strategies should be viewed as supports that can be used independently by the child following instruction and input to teach strategy methods.

  • Make an outline for writing tasks, homework assignments, or multi-step assignments in order to keep the child on task.
  • Utilize a self-monitoring schedule- Ask the child to stop and self-check their actions, behaviors, or thoughts to make sure they are on-task.
  • Try an index card or other visual reminder on desks for a list of appropriate behaviors.
  • Use social stories to teach appropriate actions and reactions to specific situations in the home or classroom.
  • Incorporate a schedule of self-regulation strategies to address sensory, attention, and focusing needs. A sensory diet can help with this.
  • Teach the child to check and recheck- Teach children to stop and check and then re-check their behaviors.
  • Teach the child self-talk strategies.
  • Teach students to look at their finished assignment from their teacher’s eyes. This can help them have an outside view of completed work or actions in the classroom and adjust as appropriate.
  • Sensory or coping strategies scheduled throughout the day for sensory input or movement breaks.
  • Use a timer for scheduled self-assessment and self-reflection of behaviors or actions and recording of data.
  • Work toward fading self-monitoring visual and physical cues as well as data collection means.
  • Teach the child to journal experiences. The Impulse Control Journal can be a helpful tool for children who are able to write or dictate to an adult.
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This is a 5 page printable self-monitoring strategy outline for educating those who work with kids with self-monitoring skills in kids.
Free self-monitoring strategy guide for kids

When saying “calm down” just isn’t enough…

When a child is easily “triggered” and seems to melt down at any sign of loud noises or excitement…

When you need help or a starting point to teach kids self-regulation strategies…

When you are struggling to motivate or redirect a child without causing a meltdown…

When you’re struggling to help kids explore their emotions, develop self-regulation and coping skills, manage and reflect on their emotions, identify their emotions, and more as they grow…

References on self-monitoring:

Cook, Kathleen B., “Self-Monitoring Strategies for Improving Classroom Engagement of Secondary Students” (2014). Georgia
Association for Positive Behavior Support Conference. 65.

How To: Teach Students to Change Behaviors Through Self-Monitoring. (n.d.). Retrieved February 01, 2018, from

Menzies, H. M., Lane, K. L., & Lee, J. M. (winter, 2009). Self-Monitoring Strategies for Use in the Classroom: A Promising Practice to Support Productive Behavior for Students With Emotional or Behavioral Disorders. Beyond Behavior, 27-35. Retrieved February 1, 2018, from