Amusement Parks – Bombarding The Senses
Our family LOVES to go to amusement parks. We are a foster turned adoptive family that is always looking for an experience that will bring our family closer together. After all, we have an obvious disadvantage – we haven’t all known each other since the kids were born.
However, the issue that many families experience is the fatigue that comes along when all of your senses are being bombarded. Now let’s throw in sensory processing issues that have born out of trauma. It’s almost like planning to run a marathon with the general populous but you have a broken leg.
I have had it explained to me best that going through life with sensory processing issues is like walking through the center of a crowded midway at a carnival.
- Loud Noises
There is theme music blaring, throngs of people talking all at once, and various other sound effects
- Visual Overload
Bright colors are everywhere. People are moving all over the place. There are flashing lights, puffs of smoke and so on.
- Odd Touches
Did we already mention the crowds of people? They’re constantly bumping into you. There could also be extreme heat outside and then into cold air conditioning in buildings.
Roller coasters, 3-D or 4-D rides and so on are all designed to take us on adventures where we are spun, twirled and turned around. If you’re a foster-adoptive child that has trouble with balance or know where you are in space, these sensations are downright scary.
Fidgets to Help Foster-Adoptive Kids
We have witnessed first-hand that when the senses are overloaded that kiddos can either deflate or get more ramped up. Fidgets have the ability for people to transfer that nervous energy and get it out of themselves. We tested out four fidgets from Office Playground. Let’s see how they tested.
- Wooden Fidget Puzzle
The Wooden Fidget Puzzle was quite fantastic for keeping kiddos entertained and calm while waiting in lines for rides. Our kids had a great time forming shapes out of the blocks. This fidget was very mobile and easy to fit into a pocket before getting on a ride. Since the blocks were made of wood, it made the puzzle very durable. As a parent, I gave it an “A” and my kids gave it an “A” also.
2. Hairy Tangle
The Hairy Tangle was enjoyed by our kids because it was squishy. The kids, however, really wanted to make shapes with the tangle. The tangle is really simply designed to move around and give nervous hands something to do. Again, this fidget was very mobile. We could put it in a pocket before getting on a ride and quickly give it to a child while waiting in line. Two of our children started to have meltdowns in line. We thrust the fidget into their hands and had them talk to us while playing. The fidget really did help the kiddos to calm down before the meltdown when catastrophic. For all these reasons the parents’ score was an “A” but the kids’ score was a “B.”
3. Octopus Water Stress Ball
The Octopus Water Stress Ball was a great fidget for our kids who weren’t having as much fun with the hairy tangle. The legs of the octopus could be pulled and stretched. The main body could be squeezed. While the ball seemed to be therapeutic for the kiddos, it wasn’t very mobile. We couldn’t take it on some rides with us and had to put it in a ride locker. Lastly, in the duration of a 24 hour period the ball sprung a leak. The kids’ score was an “A.” However, with leaky goo all over my hand, the parents’ score was knocked down to a “C.”
4. Neon Mesh Squishy Ball
The Neon Mesh Squishy Ball was a kin to the octopus stress ball. It was very therapeutic for our kids. You would do well to watch the YouTube video at the top of this page to see this ball in action. However, like the octopus ball this ball sprung a leak within a 24 hour period. As the fidget above, the kids’ score was an “A” but the parents’ score was a “C.”