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Sensory Survival Kit Review by Jennifer Ladewig

Fun and Function
PO Box 11
Merion Station, PA 19066

The Sensory Survival Kit is a quick to-go bag full of sensory tools to help children needing sensory breaks no matter where they are.  This kit includes: Textured Pencil Toppers 3-Pack, Hand-Eye Coordination Scarves Set, 2-oz. Putty, Busy Fingers Tangram Gel Puzzle, Large Stretch Band, and Sensory Fidget Brushes-Set of 6. All of these tools are included in an easy canvas, travel pouch. The cost of this kit is $89.99.

Sensory tools can help children dealing with anxiety, coordination, fine motor deficits, sensory seeking, stress reduction, and fidgeting to help a child focus and calm. These tools are intended for ages 5 and up. Whether in the classroom, at home, or on the go this bag of tools is a great way to help your child. Many children with ADHD, Sensory Integration Disorder, and Autism can be helped with tools such as the ones found in this kit.

My 9-year-old daughter deals with chronic health issues that have been a driving force for her sensory issues. “Sensory Overload” is the perfect description for someone dealing with Sensory Disorder. Over the years she has been in and out of Occupational Therapy for her sensory issues. Her main over sensitivities are to textures and smells. Certain clothing, most closed toed shoes, and sock seams can significantly interfere when getting ready for the day. My daughter has a very hypersensitive to smells. Don’t think about switching laundry detergent or using smelly lotions or perfume. She also deals with proprioceptive dysfunction. She has a very hard time with feeling centered and in control of her body. This makes school a challenge. I was very excited to implement these tools into her everyday life.

When the kit first arrived I showed her everything and she immediately grabbed the bag and took off. Over the next couple of hours she was draw into play. Normally she wanders aimlessly around the house, follows me around, and never seems to be interested in doing much of anything. She has toys but really never plays with them. I was really exciting to see her entertaining herself.

Textured Pencil Toppers

These pencil toppers encourage oral exploration and focus. The toppers have smooth ridges to provide children with tactile awareness and sensory input. Toppers are made from a tough silicone material to withstand chewing, pulling, and twisting.

My daughter loved the feel of these toppers. She found many uses for these toppers. She liked to roll them between her hands to help relax. She put them on her finger to use as chewies to keep her mouth busy. Even though they do not weigh much they seemed to aid in keeping the pencil in her hand. My daughter is notorious for dropping her pencil.

Now that we are well into our school year these pencil toppers are getting used a lot! They normally start out on her pencil and eventually end up in her mouth especially when she is working on math. Math tends to be that one subject that causes major focus and stress.

Hand-Eye Coordination Scarves

This set of 12 nylon scarves come in various colors including yellow, red, pink, orange, blue, and green. The scarves are 12” square. When a child tosses a scarf in the air above them kids learn to cross midline. The midline is an imaginary line down the center of the body. This is an important developmental milestone for reading, writing, and daily activities. Playing toss with the scarves improves visual tracking, engages children with their peers in tossing games, improves bilateral coordination, and motor planning.

My daughter loved the feel of the nylon material against her body. I let her explore and decided what she wanted to do with the scarves. She tied them to her legs and arms and walked around the house. She sat and threw them into the air and watched them fall.

My daughter finds these scarves relaxing as she reads. Now that she is in 4th grade and she is needing to read for longer periods of time and not get distracted she finds a quiet place, curls up in her with a scarf or two and rubs it between her fingers while she reads.

Putty Elements

We received the red-soft resistance putty. Your child will enjoy a hands-on putty experience. Fun and Function offers a variety of colors and resistance from light to heavy. Sun is yellow and extra soft. Desert is red and has a soft resistance. Earth is green and has medium resistance. The blue putty is the firmest putty. Putty is great for hand strength, fine motor, stress reduction, sensory therapy, and imaginative play. The putty is FREE of gluten, casein, latex, and soy. Your child can mold, stretch, pull, and squish the putty until their heart is content. Care should be taken for children apt to put the putty in their mouths.

My daughter often gets frustrated and needs a way to regain control. She found that squeezing the putty between her fingers helped to calm her down. She enjoyed stretching, pulling, and molding the putty into various shapes. This putty has come in very handy when she needs to remain still. The putty gives her something to do to keep her squirming at a minimum. One of the first things that she said when she opened the container was, “Mom, it doesn’t smell!”


Busy Fingers Tangram Gel Puzzle

Your child can create unique patterns, animals, and objects with these fun, gel filled, and squishy, colorful shaped pieces. These puzzle pieces encourage imaginative play while strengthening focus, visual processing, fine motor skills, and spatial skills. The instruction sheet that comes with the puzzle has examples of the following builds: chair, dog, house, rocket, swan, runner, boat, candy, whale, turtle, and a top.

My daughter had fun building the shaped pictured as well as creating some of her own unique designs. She also had fun just squishing the pieces with her fingers as she watched the gel move around. This puzzle proved to be a great activity to take to church, waiting at doctor appointments, and anytime she needed to keep her hands busy.

These gel puzzle pieces are great for relaxing. Focusing on the gel as it moves back and forth is very therapeutic. Even when your child doesn’t have the space to build they are quite useful.

Lycra Stretchy Band

For children needing a big more exercise and heavy work these stretchy bands are great. Your child can pull and stretch this band utilizing muscles and joints to help relax, organize and focus. This band is lightweight and because it is Lycra it retains its shape. Several activities are listed on the instruction sheet for your child to try such as rowboat, mummy wrap, and raise the rainbow. Raise the Rainbow has the child “stand with your legs straight, feet apart. Hold the band in each hand and raise your arms able your head, take a deep breath, stretch the band and release.”

Using this stretchy band before sitting down to do schoolwork has helped my daughter focus and remain a bit more still while doing her schoolwork. My daughter is pretty short so in order for the band to work a bit better I tied a knot in the band to make it shorter. My goal has been to have my daughter utilize the stretchy band when she starts to lose focus.

Sometimes when my daughter is having a hard time focusing on her school work I will have her take a break and stretch for a while. Most of the time this gives her the ability to come back and focus. Sometimes she wraps herself up with the band and continues with her schoolwork. The pressure of the band is relaxing and comforting.

Sensory Fidget Brushes

Did you know that brushing could reduce sensory and tactile defensiveness, ease transitions, and improve focus. These super soft brushes are perfect for skin brushing or just fidgeting. They are made of silicone and come in yellow and blue.

I was first introduced to brushing when my daughter was in Occupational Therapy. We used the brushing technique before getting dressed, starting schoolwork, or anytime she needed to calm herself. Brushing is actually very relaxing and feels amazing. I was taught to brush both my daughter’s arms and legs, brushing each arm 10 times then moving to the legs and doing the same. Several rounds of brushing enable a child to better control their tactile defensiveness.

We will be traveling soon and I plan on taking this sensory kit on the airplane with us. My daughter tends to struggle a bit more when she is out of her normal routine and in a different environment. I am really hoping that this bags of tools, helps keep her meltdowns at a minimum.

Our trip was helped by this bag of tools. My daughter was able to self soothe by pulling out her helpful tools. Of course, she had her moments but they were definitely far less. 

I would highly recommend this kit for kiddos that may need some TLC. The kit is lightweight and very portable. It may be helpful to have a home kit as well as an on the go, or school kit.  Definitely check out the Fun and Function for a wide range of sensory solutions. Fun and Function provides new solutions for sensory seekers and out of the box sensory tools that help provide solutions to help kids thrive at every age! Fun and Function partners with ActiveMind Partnership for Schools.

This company was born out of a desire for change. Started by a husband and wife team who wanted to provide kid-friendly sensory tools at an affordable price was very important to them. Their hope is that the products found through Fun and Function will make a real developmental and therapeutic difference in the lives of children. Their motto is “Empowering Different” to focus on each individual’s uniqueness.

-Product review by Jennifer Ladewig, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, October, 2017