Sunday, March 22, 2015

Taking a Break to De-Stress

Clara making "ghosts" out of her batch
While we do a lot of reading in our house, sometimes you just need a break!  With three pre-school aged kids, some of my days just seem jam-packed with loud intensity - and there are times when I wonder just how long my group can go without whining, melting down, fighting, or just generally making me crazy.  So, to say I am always on the hunt for calming activities (for them and me) is an understatement.

We play with play-dough a lot in our house - and my go-to recipe is from the blog The Imagination Tree.  I love it.  It takes less than 20 minutes (and it only takes that long because I often have one of the kids help, or I'm trying to make it while doing a million other things!)  Usually, we go pretty standard and just add food coloring.  Play-dough is so fun, but it's also clearly a great sensory activity that strengthens little hands for fine motor skills.

About six months ago, thanks to a friend of a friend, I got really into essential oils.  Check out her Facebook Page (Nurse Freckles) for all kinds of wonderful information about things you can do with essential oils (as I'm writing this post, I'm drinking hot tea infused with Lemongrass, and my son is down the hall diffusing a blend to help with his breathing).

So, when I saw a post from  Lemon Lime Adventures for Calming Glitter Slime, I was immediately inspired.  Calming Glitter Slime is basically made from Elmer's Glue and Liquid Starch.   As explained on the post:

Calming Proprioceptive Input | Since this slime is extremely resistant and thick it provides a great deal of deep pressure and joint compressions. As you squeeze, fold, roll, and even pull the slime, you are sending signals to your brain that are calming and organizing! Much like chores, brain breaks and simple daily tasks, playing with slime is actually calming and can increase focus.

The material is vaguely play-dough-like, and the suggestion was to add calming essential oils to maximize the de-stressing properties of this substance.  Two of the things I get overly excited about in one place!  I had all the best intentions of following the recipe and making a huge cool batch for my kids...but, alas, I have no idea what liquid starch is!  I ordered something on Amazon that claimed to be liquid starch - but it was not.  I'm sure it serves the same purpose on clothing as liquid starch, but it did nothing for my Calming Glitter Slime!  But, I had no time to run out and track down liquid starch (it's probably not THAT hard to find, right?) I turned back to my trusty play-dough recipe, and I whipped up a batch.  My girls asked for purple, so I mixed my red and blue food coloring as best I could.  Then, I broke my #1 craft activity rule, which is NO GLITTER!!  Or as I like to call it "Devil's Dust."  And I added half a vial of purple glitter to the play-dough - and then, because the whole point was to get some CALM and RELAXATION out of this, I added a few drops of lavender oil to the recipe.

In the end, we didn't get to try this cool SLIME.  But we will.  I still have a ton of glue!  But, my girls were so excited to get some glitter in their lives, and I was so relaxed having just smelled the lavender as I was kneading the dough and absorbing it through my hands, that even if I only imagined that it worked on my kids too, well, that's just fine by me!

Alice poking at her Surprise Egg
As an added fun son is excited about Surprise Eggs (after he saw it on a youtube video), so I took a few of our plastic Easter Eggs, put a few jelly beans inside, and then wrapped it in the play-dough.  My kids are young, so they had a lot of fun doing this over and over, even if I just put old little trinkets in the eggs before covering them up.  

I loved the process of this activity - finding inspiration from all the amazing blogs out there, using essential oils to help my family re-gain balance, making an activity with and for my kids, screwing up but still finding a way to make it work, and of course, generating a lot of excitement and smiles!  And we will get to the GLITTER SLIME.  Soon.  I promise :)

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