Before I begin, let me make a sincere apology to my readers (if there are any left). It seems I fell off the face of the blogging planet during the latter part of this year. So sorry! I apparently didn’t keep last year’s resolution (see this post), which was to “routinely post in this blog;” chalk it up to another failed resolution. I hope to do better this year and not let my readers (you) down.
Moving on… as I continued my work last year (and now) with children and adults with disabilities, I relied more and more on my fruit and veggie shakers (mentioned in this post). I love them, my clients love them, the staff love them, and there are many goals and outcomes that can be facilitated through their use. It’s a win-win! However, I found myself coming to two conclusions: 1) I need more, and 2) they’re expensive! I have a set of these fruit shakers and these veggie shakers at my office, and I love them. Additionally, my mom found some on ebay and gave them to me for Christmas (thanks, mom)! These include a few gourds and squash (including zucchini and pumpkin), a tomato, a small apple, a banana, corn, and others. They’re fantastic, but still not cheap.
While working at the local developmental center one morning, and contemplating my options, several staff members had suggested I try to make some shakers with those little plastic kitchen food items that are sold with play kitchens. In addition to being cheaper and bought in bulk, they’d be smaller and fit better in the child’s hand. Hmm. Would that work? At some point last summer, after this idea had been hatched, I found these at a garage sale (see picture >>>>).
Score! They were $2.00 for the entire set, which also included soup cans and cereal boxes, which I promptly donated to a local thrift store. While I can find a purpose for nearly ANY shaker, I felt that was a bit “far fetched,” even for me. After the initial excitement of my find wore off, I was hit with one question: how do I turn these into shakers that the kids won’t destroy immediately? Time for some brainstorming!
I eventually decided to fill each with about a half tablespoon of barley (it’s what I had when I raided the cabinet). Rice, beans, or other grains would work fine, also, and it’s fun to experiment with different weights and sounds. Luckily, when these toys are made, they are left with a small whole at the top. Some of these were large enough for me to stick the grain through, others needed to be opened a bit more (with my trusty mini-screwdriver). It was somewhat tedious, as I had to stick each grain in individually (man has not made a funnel small enough for this task). Next came the hard part however… how do I close this up permanently?
I ended up putting super glue (the kind that sticks your fingers together if used without caution…) and glued scotch tape over the hole. The hope is that the glue holds the scotch tape on so that the kids cannot pull them apart (fingers crossed)! Since I have MANY more shakers to make, I may try some using hot glue, as well. If I can fill the hole a bit and get it to stay without the kids pulling it off, it may work better than the super glue. Any thoughts?
The bag-o-goodies shown above has many fruits, veggies, and even bagels and donuts (ha!) so who knows what songs I may come up with in the future to go with my shakers. How do YOU use shakers in your work?