Ultimate Road Trip Must Haves

Travel has been sort of derailed lately, but what’s summer without a fun trip, right? And what’s parenthood without a road trip with your family? If are able to venture out this summer safely, you may want to make sure you have some of the following items to take along with you.

Backseat Car Organizer
When you are spending so much time in a fairly confined space, it’s great to have a way to effectively organize all your supplies and entertainments.

First Aid Kit
It’s never a bad idea to have a first aid kit on board when young kids are involved. But, really it’s a great idea for all people all the time.  You never know when you will need a bandage or an ibuprofen, etc.

A cooler is a great tool to bring along on a road trip. Unless you’ve carefully planned out every detail, you may find that food stops may be scarce in some parts of the country.  Or, you may not want to slow down long enough to stop for food or drink. Bringing along a cooler gives you great access to cold drinks or turkey sandwiches. You may even need it for keeping medicines cool.

Travel Games
Road trips mean hours after hours on the road. If you want to limit the screen time and still give your kids something to occupy them, this is a classic road trip game.

Travel Pillow
Yes please! Unless you’re the driver, a short nap on the road is a wonderful thing. And a travel pillow makes it even better.  You might want to bring along one – or maybe more than one to prevent disagreements. 😉

Travel Laptop Desk
What a great way to keep your kids’ things all contained. Everything from their snacks, coloring books, and devices can be easily organized in this little travel desk. So useful for those long hours.

Cell Phone Signal Booster
We all know how important signal strength can be for your devices on a road trip.  Not just for entertaining the kids, but for navigation, as well. If you’re unfamiliar with the signal strength in the areas you’re headed, you may want to take along a booster.

Travel Blanket
Travel blankets are an absolute necessity for winter road trips as a safety tool to keep you warm in the event of an emergency or breakdown. But, on a good, old-fashioned summer road trip, it’s a great convenience. Sometimes it’s hard to keep the temperature just right when it’s hot outside and the air vents are going full blast.  For the occupants nearest the vents, it might get a little chilly.

Vehicle Trash Can
In the interest of keeping things neat and tidy during long road trips, you may want to include a vehicle trash can. It will keep all the families’ trash in one place until the next stop along the way.

Road Side Emergency Kit
Murphy’s Law pretty much guarantees that at some point of some journey, you may have use for an road side emergency kit. And when that happens, you’re be glad that you have one.

SmartKnitKIDS Compresso-T
A Compresso-T has always been great to help children to be calm.  A Compresso-T can be useful for children during road trips. They’re seamless and lightweight, so very comfortable in the summer heat.

SmartKnitKIDS Seamless Sensitivity Socks
We know you don’t go anywhere without your SmartKnitKIDS Seamless Sensitivity Socks!

Hand Sanitizer
If you can get your hands on some hand sanitizer, it would be an excellent thing to take along with you on any road trip in 2020, because –  you know – the virus.

Disinfecting Wipes
A must have in 2020, you’ll want a couple of packs of disinfectant wipes to wipe down any objects or surfaces while you journey along.

Lightweight Face Masks
Lightweight material is such a great thing for the summer heat. And since wearing a mask is our new normal for awhile, you’ll want to make sure to stay as comfortable as possible while you wear them.

That’s it! Pack your baggage and grab your mask and head out for your latest adventure!

All non SmartKnit and DTYF! images and links are from Amazon.

SmartKnit DIY: Sensory Rain Stick Bottles

It’s time for another great DIY craft!  This one is super easy!  Today we’re making Rain Stick Bottles. Sound from a rain stick bottle can help children to learn focus and self-regulation. It’s a great and soothing way for kids to calm down, and best of all without any mess!

So let’s get right to it! Here’s how to make your own Sensory Rain Stick Bottle!


• Clear Water Bottle
• Small Sticks from Outdoors
• Old Fashioned Oats
• Whole Sunflower Seeds
• Rice
• Funnel


  1. Fill an empty water bottle with sticks.
  2. Use a funnel to add rice to your bottle.
  3. Next add some birdseed with your funnel.
  4. Add some sunflower seeds.
  5. Finally, add some oats.
  6. Replace the cap.
  7. Enjoy!

Note: Be sure you don’t overfill your bottle.  You want to make sure there is plenty of space for all your ingredients to move around.

That’s it!  So easy and fun!

Watch our step by step video here:

Tips For Supporting People With Disabilities Through Holidays!

The holiday season often brings wonderful memories of joyful times with family and friends. However, for some people with special needs – such as those on the autism spectrum – the holidays can actually bring feelings of stress and discomfort. And who can blame them? Changes in routine, different demands, new foods, sounds, textures — it is all a challenge! Below are some tips to help create a positive holiday celebration for everyone in the family.

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Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay


  • Try to keep to the usual routine as much as possible. That will keep everyone calmer.
  • Holidays can bring sensory over-stimulations with lights, sounds, smells, and even relatives who want to give hugs. Eliminating or minimizing these stimulations are your best bet. Plus, you may want to talk to your family about how to greet your child or your relative when they arrive.
  • And while you are at it, talk to relatives about the best way to behave with your child’s unique sensitivity and needs.
  • Instead of limiting the holiday decorations, some families wait until Christmas Eve to put up their tree and decorate. It keeps the stress down and also builds up some fun anticipation of Christmas Eve. You can spend the month preparing for this big day.
  • Or, some families let everyone participate in the decorating. The decorations may end up in a line or stacked rather than in the traditional way, but so what. Let them enjoy the activity in their own way.
  • Generally, people with special needs do better in the morning when they are less tired, rather than the late afternoon or evening. It may be better to schedule Christmas events at these times.
  • And finally, realize that you are probably not going to have perfect food, perfect decorations and perfect gifts. Your holidays may not be celebrated the traditional way, but it can still have real meaning.

Happy Holidays!


SmartKnit DIY: Sensory Books

We’ve got another great DIY Craft Project for you!  And we’re so excited about this one!  Today we’re making Sensory Texture Books.  Texture books are a great tool to give your kiddos a sensory input take-along.  This could be useful in the car, the shopping cart, in the waiting room at the doctor’s office or even waiting for your food in a restaurant. This book provides hours of calm touch-and-feel time for your kiddo that needs sensory input . . . or let’s face it, any kiddo!

So let’s get right to it! Here’s how to make your own Sensory Texture Book!


• Glue Gun
• Multiple Sheets of Hard Felt
• Multiple Full-Length Texture Sheets
• Extra Textured Items
• Yarn
• 3-Hole Punch

**Note: Our texture sheets included a textured coloring sheet, a piece of faux fur, a plastic canvas sheet, a sequinned pillowcase, a piece of textured paper, 2 shaped pegboards, and some pompoms.  But, you can use ANYTHING.  That’s what makes this craft so fun.  Follow our pattern, or branch out and make your own!


  1. Use a 3-hole punch to punch holes in each sheet of hard felt.
  2. Page #1: Textured Coloring Sheet
    1. Carefully glue all 4 edges with a glue gun.
  3. Page #2: Faux Fur
    1. Carefully glue all 4 edges with a glue gun.
  4. Page #3: Plastic Canvas Sheet
    1. Carefully glue each of the 4 corners with a glue gun.
  5. Page #4: Sequin Pillowcase
    1. Cut out a portion of the sequined pillowcase to fit felt sheet.
    2. Carefully glue all 4 edges with a glue gun.
  6. Page #5: Textured Paper
    1. Carefully glue all 4 edges with a glue gun.
  7. Page #6: Extra Textured Items
    1. Carefully glue peg boards to hard felt.
    2. Next carefully glue pom-poms to hard felt.
    3. Remove hot glue strings.
  8. Cut three pieces of yarn, each at 6-9 inches.
  9. Thread through the holes in the hard felt sheets.
  10. Tie each piece of yarn in a double knot to secure it.
  11. Enjoy!

That’s it!  So easy and fun!

Watch our step by step video here:

Sensory Suggestions for Back to School

It’s that time again, Moms and Dads!  That’s right, back to school time is upon us – whether we’re excited about it or not!

At SmartKnitKIDS everything we do is seamless – really it is!  So, we want to help you plan a Back To School 2019 that is as seamless as our socks.  We’ve formulated a list of some great suggestions for a successful Back to School that will help your kiddos have a super seamless year!

SmartKnitKIDS Seamless Sensitivity Socks

You’re already familiar with our Seamless Sensitivity Socks, but it bears repeating. These socks are perfectly seamless. We’re able to do this with a unique manufacturing process where the socks are knitted in the same way that a caterpillar knits a cocoon. Not only that, but they’re made of super soft, stretchy, form-fitting materials, so they’re extra comfortable. And they don’t wrinkle or bunch up. Our high-tech fibers wick moisture away from the skin making them drier also.

SmartKnitKIDS Compresso-T

Another must have for Back to School is our Compresso-T.  Compresso-T’s deep pressure feeling provides the ideal amount of compression for a gentle “hug” feel that helps calm or focus your child. This is a great tool for kids that crave deep sensory input or a child that needs a little extra help in sitting still and focusing.

SmartKnitKIDS Seamless Undies and Bralettes

Just like with socks, many children are bothered by seams in their undergarments. That’s why SmartKnitKIDS also makes seamless undies and bralettes, too! Same great materials with moisture-wicking fibers and no seams. Can’t beat that!

Other Great Sensory School Supplies

Our SmartKnitKIDS products should be on the Back to School shopping list for any parent with a sensory sensitive kiddo. But, in addition to our great products, don’t forget some of these true life-savers for sensory sensitive kiddos and their parents and teachers.


There are many kinds of fidgets out there that can give your child an outlet to get their wiggles out, which will allow them to focus their brains on learning. Depending on the needs of your child, you may want to try a foot fidget, and hand fidget, or even a chewing fidget. Below are several great options of each.

Alternative Seat Options

Some kiddos need to sit in chairs that help them to get their wiggles out. Here are a couple of seat options.

Calming Putty

Another super option for a sensory kiddo is Calming Putty. It has dual positives. It is a hand fidget, but also has a calming scent that is pleasing. Lavender is known for its calming principles, but there are several other scent options.

Learning Tools

Flash cards are great learning tools for all kids, but especially for kids with special needs. This great tool allows parents and teachers to create their own flash cards.


Finally, here are a couple of titles to add to your library. We recommend these two parent guide books, as well as the two books written for children.

When you’re picking up your pencils, scissors, crayons and markers, don’t forget these wonderful tools to help your sensory sensitive kiddos have a happy, healthy, successful and SEAMLESS school year!  Happy BTS!

How to Have a Fun and Safe 4th of July with Sensory Sensitive Children

Our country’s Independence Day celebration – better known as the 4th of July – is truly one of my favorite holidays.  What can be better than a day at the pool or the beach with family and friends, hamburgers and hotdogs cooked on the grill, and a spectacular fireworks show on a warm, summer evening?  Not much, right?!  Well, for a kid with sensory processing disorder, my idea of perfection might seem more like a day of torture – especially during the fireworks show.

Too often, parents of sensory sensitive kids have to handle meltdowns or choose to hide out from the world instead of participating in our annual country-wide birthday party.  But, what if I told you that with a little thought and preparation, a family with a sensitive kiddo can be part of the festivities?  You can!  Just follow these helpful tips.


As any parent of a sensory child knows, preparation is often key.  Doing a lot of prep work ahead of time will help your child to cope with the situation, manage his or her sensitivities and even enjoy the experience.

  1. Limit the number of sensory exposures – Take an assessment of what activities the family would like to participate in and determine which ones might be difficult for your sensory kiddo. Every kid is different, as well as every community, so plan accordingly.  Maybe your child would prefer watching a 4th of July Parade through town, but wouldn’t be able to handle the fireworks display.  Or, perhaps it’s the other way around and avoiding the parade is best.  You know your child best and know how much is too much.  Limit your plans to what you feel your kiddo can handle.
  2. Limit the amount of junk food – This one might be difficult with all the cookouts, barbecues, ice cream trucks, etc. that might occupy your plans, but could be critical to helping your kiddo avoid a difficult situation. Too much sugar could lead to hyperactivity that will only enhance their sensitivities.  Choosing healthy fruits, veggies and proteins might make all the difference.
  3. Prepare the child before hand – Talk to your child days before hand about things that you know might upset him or her. Let your child know that there may be large crowds or very loud noise involved and reassure them that it doesn’t have to be scary.
  4. Rest before the festivities – Especially if you’ve already had a long day and you’re set on a fireworks show, give the child some cool and quiet down time a little while before. It will give everyone – you included – a chance to recharge their batteries and be better prepared for the evening fun.
  5. Set expectations – Sometimes a child just needs to feel in control. Find out what time a fireworks show or parade is expected to be finished so you can help your child understand how much time is involved.  Just knowing how much longer something is, might help your child to better cope.


What is it they say about location?  It can make all the difference.  Sometimes just finding the right spot can help your child to relax and enjoy a great fireworks show.

  1. Find a secluded spot – When I was a kid, my family would always watch the city’s professional display from a nearby elementary school playground or even sometimes the high school football field. These were some of the higher points in town, which meant we could see a really great display from pretty far away.  The display itself was far enough away that the noise wasn’t bad at all.  Amazingly, no one else had the same idea, so we usually had the location to ourselves.  We’d spread out a blanket and have a couple of snacks and it was truly perfect.  Of course, every city and town is different, and this may not be a valid option, but try some things out.  You might be surprised at what you’re able to come up with for a nice and happy time with your family.
  2. Watch from the car – As I said, sometimes seclusion is just not an option. If not, try watching a display from the car.  It might help to muffle some of the sounds.  This may also help your child to feel safe since the car is familiar.
  3. Watch from inside or on TV – The neighborhood I live in now is inhabited by serious pyrotechnic experts, I think. I mean, it must be anyway, because every street is equivalent to a professional display.  Every street!  While this really could make things difficult for sensory kids and pets alike, it does provide the ability to watch fireworks from pretty much any window in our house.  While this is certainly not ideal to a lot of sensory kids, it might be just what the doctor ordered for some.  And for real, mom wants to stay home in case she needs to call the fire department.

During the Show

  1. Bring a familiar or favorite item – Wherever you decide to watch fireworks, bringing along a familiar or favorite item might give your child comfort if they have a moment of anxiety during a particularly loud or crazy moment.
  2. Establish a safe space – Have a designated place available that your child can escape to if things become too intense. It might be the car, the basement of your house, or I even saw that one parent would set up a tent where they were viewing fireworks.  If things got too loud or scary, the child just crawled in the tent and felt better.
  3. Earmuffs and sunglasses – If your child is sensitive to noise, give them a pair of noise cancelling headphones or earmuffs to help muffle the noise. It might make it easier to enjoy the pretty show.  Or if your child is sensitive to flashes of bright light, a pair of sunglasses will soften things up a little bit.
  4. Use fidget items – Bring along a few fidget items. If your child can focus some of his or her energy and attention elsewhere, they will have an easier time coping with the situation.
  5. Play a prediction game – While you’re watching a fireworks display, ask your child to guess what color each rocket will be or how many seconds until they hear the bang. Your child may have fun trying to guess, but it will also help to establish some predictability about what is happening.
  6. Be mindful of your child’s cues – Finally, watch your kiddo for how he or she is handling the day and each unfamiliar situation. Watch for his cues or signs that a difficult moment is brewing.  If you notice some familiar signs, don’t be afraid to call it a night and head home a little early.  It’s better to have a shorter night of fun, then a night that turns into a meltdown.

Here’s hoping your 4th of July celebration goes off with a bang!  Happy Independence Day to our SmartKnitKIDS family and Happy Birthday, America!

Summer Water Safety for Autistic Kids

Summer time usually means pool time for most kids.  The weather’s hot and sticky and the nice, cool water can feel great.  Whether your kids spend time at the slides and diving boards; like to play water games with their friends; or prefer floating along calmly on a raft, safety should be the number one thing for pool time.  That is especially true of families with autistic kids, since drowning is the leading cause of death for children with ASD.

Here are a few tips to help keep everyone safe at the pool and to ensure everyone has a good time – all summer long.

Introduce Water Early

The first step in water safety for children with autism, or any child, is to introduce them early.  As with anything, your child will feel more comfortable around water if it is familiar.  Feeling comfortable will help to reduce any feelings of fear or anxiety.

Discourage Wandering/ Water Safety

The downside of familiarity is the feeling of over confidence.  And that over confidence may lead them into a dangerous situation with water. As autistic kids do have a tendency to wander off, it is imperative that proper safety precautions are taken.  Be sure any pools have adequate fencing and locks to keep the child from wandering in.  Gently tell your child about the dangers associated with water, too, so that they can be aware themselves.

Enroll in Swim lessons

Autistic children can absolutely learn to swim, and as with all children, they should be enrolled in swimming lessons.  Accidents can still happen even in the safest of water environments, so teaching an autistic child to swim will help to prevent drowning.  They will be better equipped to help themselves out of a dangerous situation.  The National Autism Association maintains a list of YMCAs that offer special needs swimming lessons.

Stay Nearby When Kids are in the Water

Even if kids can swim and you’ve taken all the safety precautions you can, accidents can still happen.  And they usually occur in a split second.  Whenever your children are playing in the pool, it is important to stay nearby.  And as tempting as it is to read a book or take a little nap in the sun, you shouldn’t do so while your kids are in the pool.

Inform Pool Staff, Friends and Neighbors

Inform anyone who may regularly see your child at a swimming environment of his or her special needs.  It never hurts to have an extra set of eyes (or 12) on your child to help prevent a water emergency from occurring.  It only takes a second, and an informed friend, neighbor or regular lifeguard may be the difference in keeping your child safe.

Summer is about having fun.  Remembering these water safety tips will help keep your child safe so that the whole family can enjoy pool time.

Now get to the pool . . . and don’t forget the sunscreen!


Sources: https://www.intheswim.com/eGuides/water-safety-for-children-autism



SmartKnit DIY: Sensory Lap Belts

Who’s ready for another SmartKnit DIY Sensory craft?  We are!  Today we’re making Sensory Lap Belts.  Our lap belt is a great tool to help provide some proprioceptive input for your sensory kiddo.  It’s a great way to help a child control their fidgets and focus for school or any other task.

So without further ado, here’s how to make your own Sensory Lap Belt.



• 1 Long No-Heel Sock – We used one of our SmartKnit KAFO socks, but any long sock will do
• Rice
• Needle and Thread
• Scissors
• Markers
• Essential Oil – We used a calming lavender


  1. Fill your sock with rice.
  2. Fold the edges of the sock in to create a crease where you want the seam to be.
  3. Thread the needle and sew an invisible seam along the crease.
  4. Knot and snip your thread.
  5. Personalize your lap belt using the markers to create designs or doodles.
  6. Add a few drops of essential oil.

That’s it!  So easy and fun!

Watch our step by step video here:


SmartKnit DIY: Sensory Bags

We’ve got a great new DIY craft just in time for Valentine’s Day!  (Actually, this can be done with any upcoming holiday.  Just change up the craft pieces accordingly.)

These Sensory Bags can offer hours of mess-free satisfying sensory play.

Sensory Bag Version 1



  • 1 Gallon-sized zipper bag
  • Clear hair gel
  • Valentine’s glitter glue
  • Red food coloring
  • Water beads
  • Valentine’s confetti
  • Craft Pom-poms
  • Valentine’s foam stickers
  • Duct tape
  • Scissors


Step by Step Instructions:

  1. Pour a generous amount of hair gel into a gallon-sized zipper bag.
  2. Add some Valentine’s glitter glue.
  3. Place a few drops of red food coloring into the bag.
  4. Seal the bag and let out as much excess air as possible.
  5. Using your fingers, blend all the craft materials together.
  6. Move everything to the bottom of the bag.
  7. Pour in water beads, Valentine’s confetti and pom-poms.
  8. Add Valentine’s foam stickers.
  9. Re-close the bag and force out all excess air again.
  10. Once again, blend all materials using  your fingers.
  11. Line all four sides of the bag with duct tape to prevent rips. (This also prevents little ones from opening the bag. 😉 )
  12. Trim the duct tape using your scissors.

Sensory Bag Version 2



  • Gallon-sized zipper bag
  • Shaving cream
  • Glitter glue
  • Valentine’s glitter glue
  • Red food coloring
  • Glitter
  • Water beads
  • Duct tape
  • Scissors


Step by Step Instructions:

  1. Pour a large amount of shaving cream into gallon-sized bag.
  2. Add glitter glue and Valentine’s glitter glue.
  3. Place a few drops of red food coloring into the bag.
  4. Close bag and let out all excess air.
  5. Using your fingers, blend all craft materials together.
  6. Move all craft materials to the bottom of the bag.
  7. Pour a large amount of glitter into the bag.
  8. Add water beads.
  9. Close the bag and let out excess air while combining all the contents of the bag together.
  10. Line all four sides of the bag with duct tape to prevent rips or tears.
  11. Trim the duct tape with scissors.

Watch our Step by Step video here:


SmartKnit DIY: Floam

The kids are about to be out for Christmas break.  How long until they’re bouncing off the walls?  How about a new Sensory DIY to keep them entertained . . . at least for a while.  This one is one the kids can help make; play with for a while; and then save for a moment when a good sensory activity is needed.

So, how about some Floam!  Floam is easy to make at home with regular household supplies.  Wal-Mart, dollar stores, craft stores and even Amazon are great places to find anything you might need.

Watch our step by step video for instructions.





  1. Pour one full 6 oz. bottle of glue into the mixing bowl.
  2. Measure out ½ tsp. of baking soda and pour into bowl.
  3. Add 1 ½ tbsp. of contact solution into the bowl.
  4. Mix all ingredients together until they begin to congeal together.
  5. Dump in desired amount of foam beads. (The more beads you add, the less sticky your floam will be.)
  6. Use your hands to knead the mixture together.
  7. Store each “blob” of floam in its own plastic storage container.

That’s it!  You can play with it any way you want.  You can squeeze it, stretch it, roll it, bounce it, or anything you want!  Try making several floam recipes using creative color combinations of both glue and foam beads.  Pro tip: try using glow-in-the-dark glue!  You won’t be disappointed.