Alyssa Wilkins, MT-BC, Shares Two Songs for Bean Bags

Written by: Alyssa Wilkins, MT-BC, owner and founder Dynamic Lynks   Alyssa is a passionate Autism provider, Board Certified Music Therapist, music educator and adaptive yoga instructor.

As a music therapist, it is important to constantly have tools and tricks in your arsenal to pull out for sessions. One of my favorite props to use as a “quick pull” is the textured bean bag set from Bear Paw Creek. The reason I love this particular set is two-fold.

One, they are durable. This is perfect for those clients and small groups that tend to be a little more aggressive with my instruments and such. Two, they provide individualized tactile stimulation. Because the bean bags have various textures, each client can choose the type of tactile sensation they want to receive. There are rough ones, smooth ones, furry ones, soft ones, bumpy ones.

In fact, I am feeling a song coming on…

“What’s in the Bag?”

This song was written to use when a client is becoming dysregulated and needs some sensory input to keep their body safe and calm. However, it quickly turned into a game similar to Touchy Feely where they had to identify what they were feeling in the bag. There are two ways you can play the game with the song. You can have the client identify what they are feeling in the bag, or you can give them a specific texture to find and they have to feel around for it in the bag.

Some benefits of this song/game are tactile stimulation, sensory regulation, following one-step directions, and turn-taking skills. A fantastic side-effect of the game is that you can begin to identify what type of sensory items your client most wants or needs. Once you pull the bean bag out, you can have the client rub it in their hands, on their arms, and see what textures they like most.

 

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Strong Sensory Input Helps Body Communicate With Brain Effectively

Once you know what type of tactile stimulation you like most, you can use that specific bean bag for other sensory regulation strategies. A strategy I use often with my clients is deep pressure. I find that many of my clients need that strong sensory input so their body can communicate with their brain more effectively. Because not all of us are equipped with a squeeze machine, I created an activity where my clients could provide the pressure to themselves using their preferred textured bean bag.

“Squish the Bean Bag”

 

I like to think of this song as a deep pressure/ progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) hybrid because the clients are squishing the bean bag on a specific body part, for a given amount of time, then releasing. This provides temporary deep pressure in tandem with a contract and release strategy of PMR. I use this song at the end of most of my sessions and find that it helps ground and regulate my clients so they can leave the session calmly.

Textured Bean Bags

TEXTURED BEAN BAGS

These bean bags come in handy when I need a sensory intervention or an interactive social skills game. My clients respond incredibly well to the versatility of these props and it always brings a smile to their face when they see the big bag o’ bean bags come out of the cabinet. I am constantly trying to come up with new sensory regulation strategies for my clients and I hope you are able to use some of my tricks and tips!

 

***From Janet:  Thanks Alyssa for a great post with songs!  This is the last week of Autism Awareness month and we’re going to give one set of textured bean bags away. Leave a comment on this post and you’ll be entered to win.  Share on social media and tag us: @bearpawcreek and/or #bearpawcreek  That will get you an extra entry for each tag and share!  Winner drawn on May 12.***

This blog post is already jammed packed  – but here’s even MORE!

Click the image to get a list of 13 activities to do with regular and textured beans – more songs too!

13 Bean Bag Activites

7 Comments

  1. Jenette Clay

    The kids at church love the bean bag set I bought them and I would love to receive a set of the textured bean bags… I might take them to the littlest class room, but I might be tempted to keep them. 😉

  2. Ashley Robertson

    I have been super impressed with the quality of Bear Paw’s products!

  3. Brandy

    Love this! I will be ordering these and will use them as soon as I get them. I have several clients who will benefit and a few parents who will likely order some too.

  4. Lisa Klostermann

    My students and their parents love your props! Thank you!

  5. Yvonne Marshall

    George does love these bags. There are so many things you can do with them too!

  6. Rebecca

    Would love to win these for my granddaughter!

  7. Tara Duvall

    I’m putting my name in to try to win a set. I think I’d like to gift them to our special needs teacher at Chris’ s school if I won them. I know of one student there that would love them. Thanks for the chance to win. ♡

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