I love exploring music with my clients, but being musical doesn’t always have to mean holding an instrument or tapping a drum. By bringing in different manipulatives, even non-musical ones, we can utilize three dimensional visuals, attend to sensory needs, and even save a few dollars. Which, let’s face it, is always a plus!
Stuffed animals are fantastic for working on counting, animal identification, and motor skills. Whether it be “Ten Little Monkeys Jumping On The Drum”, or “Down on Grandpa’s Farm” stuffed animals can be used to facilitate academic topics while utilizing fine and gross motor skills.
What I love most about stuffed animals as manipulatives is that they cater to sensory needs. They incline a client to squeeze them, push and pull them, and self-monitor their sensory needs. When I know that a client has additional sensory needs I like to give them ideal options and ways to fulfill those needs, and self-monitor those needs all while addressing the goal area and specific objectives. I like to bring multiple textures, densities, and overall options as possible. Its all about choice, and seeing when the sensory options are a comfort versus a distraction.
Stuffed animals are just one of the many ways that we can think outside the box to provide a broad encompassing care for our clients and students. They are easily accessible and available in a variety of textures, colors, and characters. I would consider stuffed animals one of my must haves in my music therapy materials kit! What about you? How do you think out of the box for your students and clients?