Animal Cracker Oral Motor Exercise with Shape IdentificationDo your kids like to snack constantly? Mine are allllllways hungry. Always. So, when I pulled out this Animal Cracker Proprioception activity that we designed to address oral motor sensory processing, they were just a bit excited. Make that completely-jumping-and-cheering-excited. Anything that involves play and food makes the Best Thing of the Day column.
We used animal crackers and a couple of straws to provide calming oral input. This was an easy way to add in an oral motor strengthening exercise, too.
Oral Sensory Processing
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Sensory processing allows us to take in information from our environment and process it appropriately. Typically, we adjust to sensory input and adjust appropriately. Sensory input to a person's mouth is no exception. We must process movement of the tongue, textures of food, adjust to drinking liquids, monitor and adjust the force required to bite and chew, and move our mouth/lips/tongue in order to speak.
When there is a difficulty with oral sensory processing, a child might drool excessively, chew on their shirt or hair, have difficulty eating certain foods, have trouble moving their tongue to swallow all of their food, show difficulty removing all of the food from a utensil, be unable to use a straw, refuse certain food textures or tastes, or have trouble with articulation in speech. Here are tips for kids who chew on everything.
Children with proprioceptive sensory needs may present as benefiting from calming, resistive activities. Sucking from a straw is one activity that involves the oral input and is typically effective in calming a overactive child.
Oral Motor Sensory Processing ExerciseFor this calming activity, we used just a few items. Some brightly colored straws were the perfect tool for adding proprioceptive input to the mouth. I love the bright straws for their high contrast and tendency to draw the eyes toward the mid-line. When we added the learning portion to this activity, attention and precision were important so the bright colors helped.
You can find many fun oral sensory activities out there that involve blowing as a sensory processing activity. The one that we did used straw sucking as a way to add proprioceptive input. When a child sucks on a straw, their lips are forced to close while their cheek muscles tighten and the tongue retracts. This activity would be beneficial to a child who needs to build strength and endurance of the cheeks and muscles or a child who demonstrates tongue protrusion.
We practiced a bunch or rounds with this activity, because she loved it so much!
Looking for more ways to use small crackers in learning and play? Try these ideas:
How Many Cows on the Farm Counting Game from Life Over C's
Gold Fish Measurement Math Game from Learning 2 Walk
Find the Letters Snack Sheet from Still Playing School
Make Learning Fun: Math Facts with Teddy Grahams from Crafty Mama in ME
Crushed Rainbow Cereal Process Art from Play Dough & Popsicles
Teach Preschoolers Fractions from Preschool Powol Packets
Feed The Penguin from Adventures of Adam
Jelly Bean Maths Game from Mum in the Madhouse
How Many Goldfish in the Bowl Game from Play & Learn Everyday
Cheerios Number Tracing from Schooling a Monkey
10 Fun Games with ABC Pretzels from Books and Giggles
Fish Cracker Color Patterns from The Kindergarten Connection
Animal Cracker Oral Motor Exercise with Shape Identification from Sugar Aunts
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You'll love these oral processing activities:
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Oral Motor Road Trip Sensory Breaks
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