Plastic Egg Boats with Oral Motor Sensory Input
These plastic Easter egg boats was an activity that we did last year around this time. I never got around to sharing it with you, but I can tell you that my kids have been talking about them all year long! They have been waiting anxiously until we get the plastic Easter eggs out of the attic so we can build another fleet of egg boats and set them sail in a tub of wavy water! This is a fun STEM activity to see how much base you need to allow the boat to float, while making sure the balance is correct to keep the boats steadily upright. We added a bit of wind power to bring in some oral motor sensorimotor input and got our boats moving, sensory style!
Hey now, there's an idea: There's STEM for science, technology, engineering, and math, right? And there's STEAM with the added component of art...what if we added a sensory component to the STEM/STEAM mix?? It could be called STEMS or STEAMS! I think it's what the world needs: bring the science/math/art/technology, etc full circle with whole body movements and the underlying systems of sensory processing for integrated learning through the senses. Genius I tell ya!
STEMS: Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, and SENSORY
STEAMS: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math, and SENSORY
You heard it here first!
Back to our world-changing egg boats.
Plastic Easter Egg Boats
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This is an easy activity to throw together: Grab some plastic eggs, straws (every childhood needs brightly colored straws), card stock, tape, and play dough. Fill one half of the plastic egg with play dough. Stick a piece of straw into the play dough. Tape a triangle of card stock to the straw. Done.
NOW: Here's the fun part. Fill a bin with water and see if they will float. If you and the kids have filled the plastic eggs to the brim with play dough, they will not. Alas, you've got some capsized eggs. However, with some help from your STEM noggin, you can remove some of the play dough so it's just a bit at the bottom of the egg. See how they float now.
Move the play dough up the sides of the egg a bit more and see if you can get the boats to stay upright. Now we're talkin'!
Oral Motor Sensory Activity Wind Boats
So. You're wondering how this might be a state-of-the-art sensory-tastic STEMS activity (see, it just rolls off the tounge, right??!!)
Here's what we did to add a sensory oral motor component to this activity. Use one of those bright and colorful straws to add a bit of wind power to your egg boats. See how much breath it takes to move the boats across the water while providing proprioception to the mouth. The heavy work of the lips is an effort that is calming to kiddos who seek out sensory input through chewing or biting.
Have a few boat races with friends as you both blow the boats across a large bin of water.
Looking for more propriocetive input to the mouth? Try a smaller straw or this top-secret Occupational Therapist trick: pinch the straw so it's flat the whole length of the straw. Now you've got a power proprioception tool for oral sensory motor input!
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