Tuesday, April 8, 2014

DIY Sensory material

There are no books, curriculum or other official material for special education in Ecuador.

The teachers get almost no material from the schools or the education department.

Creating visual material for the students.
When I started working with them here in Napo they constantly asked me to teach them how to make material that they could use in the classroom.

I can do some crafts but it has never been my calling.

Rainbow rice made with acrylic paint.

There are people who can create awesome treasures from scratch.

I’m not one of them.

I tried to think material that I would be able to replicate and teach them.

The teachers were happy with the little things that I could show them and teach them to do.

Different kind of visual sensory material.

The red and black together stimulate the sight.

Until I noticed how much more creative and capable they are than me.

It was quite a humbling experience.

After all, I was the one teaching them and telling them how to be a good special education teacher.

But when it comes to creating DIY teaching material, I’m just a backward student.

Happy and sad, how do you feel?
The real magic started happening when I started showing them different ideas, gave them the material and then left them to create on their own.

Not all of them are DIY geniuses.

But the wonderful thing about Kichwa culture is that it is very communal, everything is done together.

A landscape with a figure of a woman, made with sand and acrylic paint.

And if someone knows a little bit of something, they share it with everyone.

Then another person shares a bit more and together they create incredible ideas and beautiful material that I can only admire.

Geometric forms

Rectangle and square getting ready.
My job really was just giving them an idea.

How about we do some sensory material, something for the students to explore their senses.

And then I let them have all the fun they wanted, and just enjoyed being part of something special.

A traditional Amazonic Kichwa home.

A tree made from lentils and sand.

Traditional Amazonic Kichwa houses, a Kichwa man and woman with traditional clothing made from soda bottles. With different kinds of sensory stimulis you can find at home, like the sun, or apples, or a cacao fruit.
Special education teachers sing Karullaktamanta, a song in Kichwa.


  1. Those are some great ideas. I love that red foil red paper.

    Michelle F.

  2. Your teachers are inspirational and these projects beautiful. I love the plates and feel young children could make and use these to learn how to share their own emotions. I also love the tree made with lentil and sand... just a couple of my favorites but they are all precious and great ideas for me to share with my daughters.

  3. Teachers or parents who do this, are talented.. they really know how to get the most out of what they need and do.

  4. I am not very crafty. I wish I could do this! These are all great ideas.

  5. These are really good ideas for kids! I love the lentil and sand picture idea.

  6. So Creative Love The Art Work!!

  7. This is so fun to see, great art work.

  8. The art work is beautiful. Gave me some ideas for sensory activities for my kids.

  9. I really love the creativity used here.
    And also the variety of artwork for teaching.
    It's so awesome when you can make a positive impact on lives!

  10. Crafts aren't my calling either, lol! These all look great though!

  11. I love that you encouraged them to be creative and just use the materials as they wished. Awesome!

  12. Ha! I love that the teachers are singing!! The crafts are great, it's nice that the students took your ideas and ran with them. I'm not overly craft either, but my kids are pretty good at it, so if i put the materials out there and some guidance they're usually pretty good at coming up w/something far better than I could have done on my own. :)

  13. I don't think I'm very crafty. :( I'm really impressed by their work, especially the lentil/sand tree. That's gorgeous!

  14. Wow, I had no idea that there were no books or curriculum for special needs kids. That is so unfortunate, but really great that those trying to educate these children are doing what they can. Love the rainbow rice!

  15. They did an amazing job! I think when teaching it is best to let them show their creative side sometimes because it seems that everyone has some sort of creative outlet!

  16. Wow this looks like a really great way to learn! love all the pics!

  17. This is so creative- it looks like it would be a super fun way to learn!

  18. Very nice and creative. I like all these ideas and it won't required a lot of materials. Thanks for sharing

  19. Being a teacher can be very challenging especially with this kind of situation. I salute you, teachers! :)

  20. Thanks for sharing at My Favorite Things party Theresa @DearCreatives