This week, I’ve spent some time working on a set of ABC bean bags for my daughter. She is very motivated by letters and spelling words. She also started occupational therapy (OT) this last Friday. It went well, but she got a little bored swinging. Her therapist tried to introduce some toys to get her interested in, but failed (he was lacking any sort of toy with the ABCs on it).
At first I thought I would go buy another set of foam bath tub letters to bring with us to our next session. As she already spends quite a bit of time playing with them at home, I decided to search the good old Pinterest for some different ideas.
Now, I’m quite new to the whole Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD, I’ve seen it abbreviated). My daughter needs help with vestibular and proprioception. Upon Pinterest-researching (there are some good mom-blogs out there with lots of good information about SPD), I decided that bean bags would 1-be considered “heavy lifting,” 2- bean bags are versatile: you can throw them, hide them, stack them, spell with them, carry them (the set of 26 letters weighs almost 7.5 lbs) and 3- they will be motivating and brand new to her. I plan on either donating them to her therapist (if he wants to keep them and use them with other kids, I’m ok with them staying there) or I will keep them in the car and only bringing them out for her sessions.
Getting on with the how-to:
1. Cut 52 squares that are the same size. I used a piece of cardboard to measure mine as I don’t have a fancy rotary cutter and cutting board. Just a plain old scissors worked for me.
2. Paint your letters onto the top side on 26 of the squares. I free-hand painted each letter with craft paint. Let dry.
3. Take 2 squares and place them insides out. (Put the painted letter side against the back of the bean bag).
4. Sew around the bean bag, with about a 1/4 inch seam, leaving an opening on one side to flip the right-side out. This is IMPORTANT! Do not sew all the way around. This will not allow for you to flip it the right way and fill with beans.
5. Flip your bean bag right-sides-out.
6. Fill with beans. For the size of mine, I filled them each with about 3/4 cup dry pinto beans.
7. Sew around the edge of the bean bag. I went all the way around and went twice over the area that was open from filling the bean bag.
Notes: cut strings as you go. I found that doing the same step for each bag went faster. (like an assembly line, cut all your squares, paint all the letters, sew insides-out, flip them all, fill all with beans, sew around all of the edges).