Our 5-year-old loves stuffed animals. He has them in his bed and requests them for his birthday. He's always loved cuddling with burly bears and stuffed squid and the occasional soft, spooky stuff spider. He absolutely lovvves his weighted lizard! We play together with it most mornings in sort of tug-of-war type game that offers him plenty of sensory input on his arms and hands. He sits with the lizard during online learning sessions sometimes, choosing to have it hang limply over his shoulders or nap on his lap. And maybe most of all, our son loves to cuddle with it every night while falling asleep. Its name: Blue Love, naturally.
Our sweet new arcs Sensory Shop now carries Weighted Animals designed by Quebec company fdmt. This is an exciting venture for me, as I’ve long used fdmt’s weighted animals in my classroom! This trusted brand started the unique Manimo line in 2002 - the exact year I started teaching. The most popular animal has always been the frog and we used a few of those in both my Grade 3/4 classrooms. The weighted lizard was popular in my smaller classroom where I taught students with early childhood trauma and/or attachment challenges. The extra sensory input - the additional weight - can really work to soothe the nervous system and help kids (and adults) feel better oriented and grounded. On those emotionally-charged and demanding days, we all felt better snuggling up on the couch or in the class rocking chair with a Manimo.
Currently in the arcs Sensory Shop, we carry weighted lizards in three different colours: green, blue or silver. Each lizard is 2kg (or approximately 4.4lbs) and can be used wrapped around the shoulders, on top of knees, on someone's back, or on their chest. Frogs are also available in the same colours: green, blue or silver. As the heaviest and most popular Manimo weighted animal, frogs each weigh 2.5kg (or approximately 5.5lbs) and can be enjoyed atop knees or on the trunk (chest or back). Finally, weighted snakes are incredibly cute in those same three colour options and come in two different weights: 1kg (approximately 2.2lbs) or 1.5kg (approximately 3.3lbs). Placed on the shoulders around the neck, I personally love the snake's weight and soothing effect.
So, how does it work? What exactly is so cool about weighted animals, besides being so stinkin’ cute?
Manimo recommends using these weighted animals 15-20 minutes at a time for a optimal effect that can last for 1-2 hours after use.
Do you use a weighted blanket? We've had some people ask how a weighted animal compares to a weighted blanket. To be honest, we love both and use both. The idea behind the two items are the same and sensory input and effects might be similar. The animals can easily be carried and used just about anywhere: in the car, at daycare, in an office, or a waiting room. Blankets can be incredibly soothing at nighttime. However, animals can be used at any time of day or night. Finally, using a weighted animal is not as hot or cumbersome as using a weighted blanket or vest.