Day 5: Setting up the Morning Circle for the Child with Special Needs – Materials

Day 5- Setting up the Morning Circle for the child with special needs - materialsThis is a post out of the “31 Days of Morning Circles for the Child with Special Needs”.  You can find the main page for this series here.

Now that you have an idea of where you’ll conduct your morning circle, and you know the best equipment needed for proper positioning, it’s time to gather materials.

Each day brings on different types of activities, so it’s difficult to have a list of everything you’ll need for morning circle throughout the year. However, there are staples you should have handy because they can be used with many of the skills you want to focus on.

Staple items to have handy in the morning circle:

  • magnet board
  • white board and erasable markers
  • sturdy file folders
  • cardboard pieces
  • chalkboard and colored chalk
  • felt/ flannel board and pre-cut or DIY shapes
  • mirror

magnet board for morning circle with child with special needs

A magnetic board allows for a variety of activities. I like to use magnetic tape behind laminated cards so they can be moved around as we build on specific concepts/ skills. You will see activities using the magnet board in future posts. Note: The small magnets pictured are never used with my son. I added them here for demonstrative purposes.

small white board and markers for circle activity for child with special needs

These small whiteboards are perfect for individual use. The markers need to be used with adult supervision as the eraser parts easily come off, especially if a child mouths them.

chalk board for circle activities with child with special needs

A chalkboard and chalk allows for a different sensory experience in the circle. You can easily create a chalkboard yourself, as I did here, with a wooden board and chalkboard paint. Black paint lets the colors stand out.

file folders and velcro dots for morning circle with the child with special needs

Play with DIY cards using Velcro dots in a sturdy file folder. Future posts illustrate how I use these in the circle.

cardboard with velcro strip for circle activities with child with special needs

This is a cardboard with a Velcro strip. These are smaller, easy-to-handle strips of board . This one was created by a former educator. We now use it in the morning circle.

mirror for morning circle activities for child with special needs

A small mirror is a great addition to the circle. When you and your child both face outward, you can still see your child’s face reflected, and he can see you. There are many other uses for the mirror such as for speech practice, facial expression imitation, and exploring the parts of the face. This mirror is also magnetic.

A flannel/ felt board with cut-out shapes allows for a variety of storytelling or numeracy activities in the morning circle.

A flannel/ felt board with cut-out shapes allows for a variety of storytelling or numeracy activities in the morning circle.

Boards such as the ones I’ve listed above are ideal in the morning circle because you want to have one focus at a time. When you’re working with the magnet board, all other materials are aside. The boards are small enough to be used on our laps.

Sensory materials to keep the child focused and calm in the morning circle:

  • weighted vest
  • weighted toy (on lap or on shoulders)
  • lap pad
  • chewy tubes or fabrics
  • fidget toys (they could be ready-made gadgets or even just a squishy ball, a small blanket, etc.)

chewy tubes and fidget toys

The three items on the left are chewy tubes of different shapes, colors, textures and strengths. For the child who likes to mouth things, having chewies handy makes it easier for him to focus on the activity at hand because he’s getting the oral input he needs. The squiggly item on the right is a fidget toy for the child who needs to have something in his hands to pay better attention. Use it for times where your child does not need to use his hands such as with songs or while listening to a story. (Note: My son doesn’t use any of these because he doesn’t like the textures.)

Preparation materials (for parents):

Please note that this post includes affiliate links. I am linking to them to show you the items I own (or similar). If you decide to purchase through these links, I get a little commission, but at no extra cost to you. You can also find these materials at your local office supply shop or dollar store. 

What materials do you have ready for your morning circle gathering?

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