Friday, April 9, 2010

Sensory Saturday: Exam Table Paper

Who knew a roll of paper could elicit such joy? (And as much as the kids enjoyed playing with it, I'm speaking of my joy... we occupied ourselves for almost 2 hours straight on a rainy Saturday morning!) If you're not familiar with exam table paper it's that super thin, crinkly, somewhat translucent paper that sticks to your you-know-what when you go to the doctor.

The Little Man (LM) gets all the credit for this sensory play day. I brought a roll home as a much cheaper alternative to easel paper, expecting the boys to draw and paint on it. Little did I know, exam table paper is a sensory extravaganza!

LM got his grubby little hands on it and right away built a road. He started on one end of the den, gave it a push ... and voila! a 20 foot road appeared. First he carefully walked toe to toe (like a balance beam) the length of the road. Little Bear of course was quick to follow. Hey! added bonus: the paper makes a crinkly sound! I asked them if the paper made different sounds if they walked, jumped or crawled down the road. To their sensory delight, it sure did.

Those who know me know that I'm singing a La La Language song every chance I can get, and this was an activity that called for a song!
Ha Ha This A-Way
Bear is walking, walking, walking,
Bear is walking all day long.
Ha Ha this a-way Ha Ha that a-way
Ha Ha this a-way, all day long.
(hey LM - how do you want to go down the road?)
LM is skipping, skipping, skipping,
LM is skipping all day long.
Ha Ha this a-way ...
("Bear is smiling! How does he feel? Yes! He feels happy! Happy people smile!)
Bear is smiling, smiling, smiling,
Bear is Happy all day long.
Ha Ha this a-way ha ha that a-way
Ha Ha this a-way, all day long.
Whew! We walked, ran, skipped, hopped, crawled ... even rolled down our Sensory Street. I love to use this song as often as possible for a bunch of reasons. From a sensory standpoint you're getting heavy work and gross motor skills. Social interaction is encouraged when 2 or more kids are playing this together. Have the kids take turns, wait on line, follow the leader, or partner up and walk down together. I use every opportunity to reinforce emotions and social skills, so reminding LM of smiling, happy and laughing fits well here. And oh! the language possibilities with this song! This is a great one for kids at every developmental level. From CV and CVCV (consonant/vowel "Ha" "Ha Ha") combinations to introducing action verbs (Walking, running, jumping, smiling) to asking "Wh" questions (What do you want to do? Who is jumping?) ... this is one of my favorite language enrichment songs!
"Ha Ha" was fun while it lasted, but came to an end in a full blown tug-of-war battle, the paper now twisted and a boy on each end. (I'll let you in on a daily dilemma in my home ... should I be the socially responsible parent and stop this "bad behavior" or cheer them on because they've come up with another fab sensory play activity? I bet you know the answer!) I let it go on for a little while knowing that the heavy work would calm LM down. Success ... they both collapsed in a pile of giggles.
We then unrolled another 10 feet or so of paper, gave them each an end and pretended it was a parachute. The paper filled with air and billowed up with a satisfying crackling sound.
We practiced shaking fast, slow, high and low ... check back soon for some great parachute songs.
Next we took some time to explore the different textures we could make with the paper. Fine motor work and heavy work combined when we crumpled, squeezed, twisted and tore the paper.
Hmm ... now what to do with all these balls of crumpled paper? How about a "snowball fight"? Lots of fun to throw, even more fun hiding ducking and dodging. And of course, when we're through, the Clean Up song. But this isn't our ordinary clean up. Today we pulled out the wastebasket and had a paper ball toss. Never one to miss out on an opportunity to count, LM counted all 27 balls. Bear did pretty well too - joined in and counted to 12.
LM did the finishing touches and rolled the rest of the paper back onto the roll. A fine display of intrinsic muscle coordination if I do say so myself. Hooray for OT! By now we were ready for stories and naps. What a Sen(sory)sational morning!
And to think, I just thought we'd break out the crayons. Hey - we never did do any drawing! Well, there's always tomorrow.
La La Later ...


  1. Great post! My kids would love this and often have fun sitting in a box box filled with newspaper!

  2. Super Idea! Just knew there had to be a better use for exam paper. ;)

  3. How awesome is this! I love the way kids adapt things into what they need and what they desire to play with. Our beanbag chair has been so many things - including a turtle shell, a house, a boat, a crash pad... I will have to look into getting some exam paper now... We always enjoy bringing crayongs to dr. appt.'s to draw on it while we wait for the dr. to come in, but I never thought of bringing it home to enjoy between visits in other ways....