#167 - Facilitating Free Play! Our Favorite Tips, Tricks and Strategies!

by Jessica Hill, COTA/L & Rachel Harrington, COTA/L, AC August 25, 2021

#167 - Facilitating Free Play! Our Favorite Tips, Tricks and Strategies!

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Facilitating Free Play! Our Favorite Tips, Tricks and Strategies!

In today’s episode, we dive into the benefits and uses of free play! 

You’ll discover what it means to engage in free play and how to facilitate it in easy, fun activities with your kids. Learn about the skills children can develop during free play, from an increased attention span to building the capacity to negotiate with other children. 

We break down why a combination of structured play and free play is great for your child’s development as well as some tips on how to find a balance between the two. 

Later, we discuss why some children might struggle with free play and offer suggestions on how to slowly introduce helpful games and activities into their lives. We share some of our favorite tips, tricks, and activities for free play, like putting together a sensory bin or using a choice board for when children express boredom. 

Join us today for plenty of insights into free play, like why boredom can be a good thing for your kids and how to incorporate clean-up into playtime!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Why it’s valuable for children to experience boredom, free play, and structured activities.
  • How babies and young children have a natural instinct to learn and grow.
  • The tremendous amount of language and learning skills that babies develop within a short period of time.
  • How having fewer toys can increase a child’s attention.
  • Our hosts share some of the definitions of free play.
  • Children’s capacity to learn negotiating skills when they engage in free play with one another.
  • What children gain from engaging in free play that they can’t necessarily learn from other activities.
  • The importance of having a combination of structured play and free play.
  • The children who might struggle with free play.
  • Our hosts share some of their favorite free play activities.
  • Tips on how to construct and utilize a sensory bin.
  • The value of toys that have a variety of uses.
  • How cleaning up factors into free play activities.
  • An outline of activities that will improve praxis, namely knowing what to do and how to do it.
  • Tips, tricks, and activities to do when a child expresses boredom.


“They learn how to negotiate because they want to keep playing with each other so badly that they'll negotiate with each other, and they'll compromise and they learn those skills without adult help.” —Jessica Hill [0:07:57]

“It's nice to teach a kiddo to have free play, whether it's with friends or by themselves to play on their own, just to give them independence of thought, creativity, time for you, the parent to have a cup of coffee.” —Rachel Harrington [0:08:50]

“If a kiddo comes up to you and says, ‘I'm bored.’ You have a couple of options. You can engage them in something structured, or you can help them set up something for some free play.” —Jessica Hill [0:24:35]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Free To Play

Hunt, Gather, Parent

Episode 157: What is Constructional Praxis and Why is it Such an Important Skill?

Episode 37: Motor Planning & Praxis Abilities


All Things Sensory on Instagram

All Things Sensory on Facebook


Check out our video all about Sensory Bins!


Full Show Transcript

[00:00:02] RH: Hey, there. I’m Rachel.


[00:00:04] JH: And I’m Jessica and this is All Things Sensory by Harkla. Together, we’re on a mission to help children, families, therapists, and educators to live happy and healthy lives.


[00:00:12] RH: We dive into all things sensory, special needs, occupational therapy, parenting, self-care and so much more. In each episode, we share raw, honest, fun ideas and strategies for everyone to implement into daily life.


[00:00:24] JH: Thank you so much for joining us.


[00:00:32] RH:Hello, hello, everyone. Welcome back. If this is your 100th podcast of ours that you've listened to, or welcome, if this is your first podcast, this is All Things Sensory by Harkla, and I'm Rachel.


[00:00:47] JH:And I'm Jessica. This is actually episode number 167. That's a lot of episodes.


[00:00:55] RH:It is.


[00:00:56] JH:So, I understand if you haven't listened to all of them.


[00:00:58] RH:I don't.


[00:00:59] JH:But they're all good.


[00:01:01] RH:Go listen to all of them, I’ll go listen to all of them in your spare time. We do have quite a sense of humor, quite great sense of humor here.


[00:01:11] JH:I think most people think we're funny.


[00:01:14] RH:Funny, sarcastic, obnoxious. Not obnoxious.


[00:01:16] JH:Some people might think we're obnoxious.


[00:01:19] RH:We’re going to now if we don't start them episode.


[00:01:21] JH: We better start.


[00:01:23] RH:Did you say we bit a shark?


[00:01:24] JH:We better start. See, we’re super fun.




[00:01:27] RH:Okay. So today, we're talking all about free play. And we are both certified occupational therapy assistants and we are trained to set up and facilitate controlled activities with our clients in order to reach certain goals or outcomes.


[00:01:46] JH:While this is great, because it really does have research behind it, everything we do, everything we set up is research based, which is why it's so great. So, it is really beneficial. 


[00:02:00] RH:There's nothing wrong with it.


[00:02:01] JH:No, absolutely not. And we need those structured activities at certain parts in our day or life. And then, as parents, both Rachel and I are parents, and we have a lot of parents who listen to this podcast, we oftentimes feel pressure to constantly engage our child or our children in activities, whether it's group sport, or a game at home. There's a lot of pressure, I think most of us on social media, especially if you follow other moms or you're on Pinterest, and you see all these different things that other parents are doing, you might feel pressured to do more with your child.


[00:02:44] RH:Yeah. But also, you don't know what the background is and why they're doing them and how they're going and how the kiddos are acting afterwards. We're not here to talk about social media, we're here to talk about free play, and why it's so important. How to do it, when to do it, and start to see why it's important.


[00:03:04] JH:I don't think so. Why is it important?


[00:03:06] RH:Let's do it.


[00:03:07] JH:Okay. Why is it important?


[00:03:09] RH:Because –


[00:03:11] JH:We’re jumping ahead of ourselves.


[00:03:12] RH:We are. Yes. We're trying to keep this as organized as possible. So, let's go back to forgetting why it is so important in development, just basic development, that it's okay for kids to be bored.


[00:03:25] JH:It's important for kids to be bored. It's a good thing. Free play is good. Boredom is good. And structured activities are good, but we're going to focus on fee play.


[00:03:39] RH:Now, you read a book, I haven't read it yet.


[00:03:41] JH:It's calledFree to Learnby Peter Gray. I loved it. Now, it's mostly about school and public education system and all the things that go into that. But it starts with talking about free play. It talks about – I'm paraphrasing some things here. It says, “When children are born, they naturally instinctively seek out new experiences and learning opportunities.”


[00:04:07] RH:We talked about that in our last episode. I mean, two episodes ago.


[00:04:10] JH:Yeah, we did. About how much development and learning happens in the first year of life. And then as children continue to grow, they continue to just constantly absorb and learn.


[00:04:23] RH:I like this one. They are little learning machines.


[00:04:26] JH:So true, just instinctively, and they enjoy learning. They enjoy doing new things and learning new skills.


[00:04:34] RH:So, they learn new motor skills, language skills, all within such a short period of time, so they learn these new motor skills and language skills within such a short period of time. So, as these kiddos learn new motor skills and language skills within such a short period of time, the desire and capacity to learn doesn't just go away or turn off.


[00:04:56] JH:Sometimes as children get into formal education, the idea of free play, to learn new skills is disregarded. And that goes back to sitting in a classroom with structured activities, or even as a therapist always having structured activities planned. We don't think about the importance of free play.


[00:05:17] RH:Or maybe we do just not as often as we should.


[00:05:20] JH:Yeah, not as often as we should for sure.


[00:05:24] RH:So, think about all of the things that your baby learns, just by observing and trying new things. You don't have to set things up for them. You just have to provide a little bit of stimulation, and they'll learn from it. They really only need you, the adult.


[00:05:36] JH:I mean, it's so true. You don't have to buy fancy toys. I mean, how many times have Trip and Logan at very different ages, played with the box, for hours on end? You know what I mean?


[00:05:48] RH:Absolutely.


[00:05:49] JH:So, we've talked about this before in other episodes, but there's a study out there that describes how young children increased their attention, when they were provided with fewer toys. Kind of like what we just said, but there's an actual study out there to back us up.


[00:06:06] RH:Yep. So, like we said, they just need a little bit and it goes a long way. And less is more, how often do you give a kiddo a remote, and they're like, “Oh, my gosh, this is the coolest thing ever.” But when you give them a toy, they just throw it off to the side. They want things that we have, and we play with and new things.


[00:06:27] JH:And new things. So, let's define free play, like an actual definition. This is from that book. So, free play is the means by which children make friends, overcome fears, solve problems, and take control of their own lives. They acquire new physical and intellectual skills and the things that children learn through their own initiatives in free play cannot be taught in other ways.


[00:06:54] RH:I love that. So, free play is also defined as play in which players themselves decide what and how to play and are free to modify the goals and rules as they go along.


[00:07:08] JH:So, I think like when you read that, when you say that, I'm picturing in my head, my kid out in the street, not a busy street, or neighborhood street, where there's very little traffic. Out on the street, in the yard, playing with this like, group of kids in our neighborhood, just like I did, when I was growing up. A lot of us did that, you know, and he's out there and they are just making up these games, and they're running around and they play all these different intricate games. And when I asked him about it later, he kind of starts to describe it. And I'm like, “Dang, how'd you come up with that?” But they do. They make their own rules. And the free play book talks about this as well about how kids will learn negotiation skills with each other when they're allowed free play with other kids without adults intervening. They learn how to negotiate because they want to keep playing with each other so badly that they'll negotiate with each other, and they'll compromise and they learn those skills without adult help. It's just so interesting.


[00:08:08] RH:Yeah, how often do you let your kiddo play with another kiddo without intervening or even sibling?


[00:08:15] JH:And it's hard.


[00:08:16] RH:It's so hard. You want to be like, “No, don't do that”, or “Try this or be kind.” 


[00:08:22] JH:Yeah, it is really hard not to intervene. But I think we all just need to practice taking a step back, and waiting and observing to see what happens. And if our child really does need us, they can come get us.


[00:08:36] RH:I love that. I just love that the things that children learn through their own initiatives cannot be taught in other ways about that.


[00:08:45] JH:We said it before, structured activities aren't bad.


[00:08:49] RH:But it's nice to teach a kiddo to have free play, whether it's with friends or by themselves to play on their own, just to give them independence of thought, creativity, time for you, the parent to have a cup of coffee. And some kids require these skills, they have to be taught these skills. And we're going to talk a little bit more about that. But most of the time, these skills come naturally with the correct environment, with the correct setup, and with those opportunities.


[00:09:20] JH:Yeah, we have to provide them the opportunities to learn and then they can take it from there.


So, let's talk about what happens if the only type of play that a child experiences is structured play, where someone else makes the rules, someone else, like an adult is controlling the environment, setting up the rules, making sure the child is doing A, B and C the whole time.


[00:09:42] RH:In order.


[00:09:44] JH:In order. Yup, can't deviate. What does the child learn in that type of setting? 


[00:09:49] RH:Well, first of all, they learn that they cannot make their own choice. They learn that they have to follow someone else's rules. They learn that they are not capable of coming up with new ideas on their own, and they learn that they are not capable of changing the rules. I don’t want to raise kids like this.


[00:10:07] JH:I can't be in an environment like that. I mean, we've all experienced those types of environments and I can only imagine, I can't imagine anyone liking that.


[00:10:17] RH:So frustrating.


[00:10:18] JH: Now, I'm just going to say it again, because I feel like otherwise people are going to cancel us. There's a time and a place for structured activities. Sports are great, therapy activities are great, there's a time and a place.


[00:10:33] RH:Having the ability to follow the instructions to do what's asked of them, that is absolutely crucial, but so is this.


[00:10:40] JH:I think it's like, do you think it's 50/50?


[00:10:43] RH:Sure. Okay. Yeah. Okay, cool. I don't know.


[00:10:46] JH:It could be we don't know.


[00:10:49] RH:Yeah, that's a hard number. Everyone's so different.


[00:10:51] JH:They're both very important.


[00:10:55] RH:Okay, so a lot of our kiddos and a lot of you listening have kiddos who are already rigid in their thinking. A lot of the clients we work with are very rigid, or on the opposite side, they struggle with independent thinking. And just coming up with activities to do and games to play –


[00:11:11] JH: And like how they would play with things on their own.


[00:11:15] RH: Yeah.




[00:11:15] RH: We just want to take a minute and talk to you about our company, Harkla. Our mission at Harkla is to help those with special needs live happy healthy lives. Not only do we accomplish this through the podcast, but we also have therapy products, easy to follow digital courses and the Harkla Sensory Club to try to bring holistic care to you and your family.


[00:11:34] JH: Listeners of the All Things Sensory podcast get 10% off their first purchase at Harkla with a discount code, “Sensory.” We’d recommend checking out some of our best-sellers, like the compression sensory swing, weighted blankets or our course on sensory diets. 


[00:11:49] RH: Here’s the best part, 1% of each sale gets donated to the University of Washington Autism Center to support autism research and fund scholarships to families in need to receive in-clinic therapy for their child.


[00:12:01] JH: Learn more about Harkla and all we have to offer at harkla.co. Don’t forget to use the discount code “sensory” to get 10% off your first purchase. That’s S-E-N-S-O-R-Y for 10% off.


[00:12:23] RH: The best part is, all Harkla orders come with a lifetime guarantee and free shipping.


[00:12:30] JH: You really can’t beat that.


[00:12:30] RH: No.


[00:12:31] JH: No, you can’t. Okay. Let’s go back to the show.




[00:12:35] RH:So, for kiddos who are already rigid in their thinking, I know, we as therapists have dealt with that. I'm sure a lot of parents and therapists listening, your kiddos are very rigid and thinking. Or on the opposite side, they struggle with independent thoughts and like praxis and coming up with ideas on their own. Free play can be really tricky for both of those types of kiddos.


[00:12:58] JH:Yeah, they're not going to know how to play on their own.


[00:13:02] RH:So, for kiddos, who are more on that rigid side, we're going to model these new ways to play this creative thinking and the novelty.


[00:13:12] JH:Yeah, so we'll use Legos as an example. Because I feel like most kids have engaged in Lego play of some sort, whether it's the big ones, or the little ones or whatever, right? So, this is going to be a child who gets a Lego set, and they need instructions to follow in order to build something, or they only build the same thing over and over and they can't deviate from that plan.


[00:13:36] RH:Yeah, so that's fine. We want to make sure they know that that's okay to do so. But we also want to explore some different ways to play. So, after they complete it, take it apart, and demonstrate making a completely different structure and talk about how cool it is. It'll probably be hard for you and your kiddo to have this experience is my guess. But open that conversation about how people do things differently, how fun it is to play differently with these toys, what you can create and kind of teach those imagination skills so they can see it in action.


[00:14:10] JH:I was just thinking too, if your child does build something specific, and they really, like they are getting so anxious about maybe taking it apart, maybe instead, ask if you can use some of their Legos to build your own structure and talk about the differences and how you came up with this different idea, and they came up with that different idea and they're both good, they're just different and different is okay.


[00:14:33] RH:Different is good.


[00:14:34] JH:Yeah, different is good. There's nothing wrong with it. Everyone has different thinking, and maybe even challenged them to be like, I love your structure, let's not take it apart. But can you use remaining Legos to build something completely different and see what they can come up with and give them a challenge.


[00:14:51] RH:Now on the flip side, for kiddos who struggle to even know how to play with Legos, or they don't know how to build a structure, they can't go from 0 to 100, building something or playing with them, don't do it for them. Model, talk about it, share your creation, and see what they can come up with. It'll take time to practice the skill.


[00:15:18] JH:I think the best thing you can do is to just provide a variety of experiences for these kids, a variety of sensory experiences and different activities and new experiences for them to see and try.


[00:15:33] RH:Give them time to process.


[00:15:35] JH:That's a big key. So, oftentimes they don't process their thoughts as quickly as we can expect or might want. So, we do need to give them a little bit of extra time to think it through and process it for themselves.


[00:15:53] RH:Absolutely. Yeah. Alright, so let's talk about some of our favorite free play activities. How do you facilitate this? Here's some of our favorite strategies.


[00:16:03] JH:Number one is sensory bins. If you've been with us for a while, we love sensory bins. So, you can have your child help you create a sensory bin, and then maybe you play with the sensory bin with them for a couple of minutes, and then you say, “Okay, I'm going to go make myself a cup of coffee while you keep playing. I'll be right back.” And allow them some time to play on their own with that sensory bin. Maybe it's like, you're starting to walk back over and you notice that they're fully engaged in the sensory bin, maybe you just go ahead and step back and wait until they invite you back and let them have that free play on their own.


[00:16:40] RH:Yeah. I know that one of the hiccups here for the sensory bins is that they're messy. So, a couple things you can try is doing it outside, getting a kiddie pool and putting them inside the kiddie pool to do their sensory bin. Setting those expectations, we've talked about this in past episodes, but setting those expectations of this is where the toys stay, they stay in this bin. If they come out, if you make a mess, you have to clean them up. Otherwise, it's going away. And be very strict if they aren't following – well, here we’re talking about free play, but seriously, you have to set those expectations of this is the activity, make a mess, that's totally fine, as long as we clean it up. And we're going to talk about cleaning up at the end here. Because that's very important to free play.


[00:17:23] JH:And just life skills. True. I really like this one, having like a wash bin game. So, you can help set it up the first couple of times and eventually maybe they'll set it up themselves. But you have a bin with a lot of like messy stuff like dirt and water turned into mud. And then you have a bucket of soapy water, and then a bucket of clean water and you get their toys. Their toys can get really messy, and then they wash them out.


[00:17:50] RH:And maybe you even throw a toothbrush in there and you have them scrub their toys, or you offer it if you have a toothbrush available. So, if they want to scrub their toys, and so much of this is just setting them up for that independent play and then walking away. So, if they don't use the toothbrush, that's fun. You have it in your mind, but that's how you scrub toys. But maybe they shake it in the water, shake it in the soap to clean it. So, keep that in mind too, when you have those expectations of how they'll do something if they don't do it that way. Good. It’s fine.


[00:18:22] JH:Totally. They’re their own person. I think if you set this activity up a couple of times, and the next time they ask to do this activity, so yeah, why don't you go ahead and set it up and see if they can set it up. And if not, maybe they need a little help. But the more that they participate in the setup, the more independent they're going to become.


[00:18:43] RH:Yep. Blocks are great, sack towers, make structures, copy structures, build structures, follow visual cards, create cities and towns and buildings, everything.


[00:18:56] JH:Same with Legos. And again, these are things that if your child struggled to know how to play with them, do it with them for a couple of minutes. Tell him you're going to go get a drink and walk away and let them engage whatever kind of drink you want, it could be water. And walk away and let them engage in some independent free play while you're away, and they're just going to become more independent with it.


[00:19:20] RH:Yep, balls and ball games are great. Rolling, bouncing, hitting, throwing, catching, just playing with balls, bats and golf clubs and basketballs and footballs. See what they come up with.


[00:19:35] JH:Music is great. We've talked about how beneficial music is. So, if you can incorporate music, it's just so beneficial.


[00:19:42] RH:Yup. Make up dances, move your body, seeing, create words to the songs. Also, we want to talk about toy rotations and how beneficial that can be in the free play environment. So, have some bins with toys and rotate them out every week or two. Old ones for new ones, and it's like Christmas every couple of weeks. It’s fantastic.


[00:20:04] JH:I love this strategy. Such a good strategy, especially if you find that you have a lot of toys, and there's constantly just toys everywhere. Decrease the amount of options.


[00:20:17] RH:So, going along with this, try different toys to facilitate free play instead of toys that you can only play with them one way, that has a button and it flashes lights, or it turns on music. Try something simpler like wooden figurines, balance boards, flowers, nature, rocks, cars, blocks that we've talked about, ball games.


[00:20:43] JH:Right. Things that can be used in a variety of ways. Absolutely. Clean up, clean up.


[00:20:49] RH:That's the song that’s important.


[00:20:51] JH: Yeah, so clean up is so, so important to free play, life skills. You got to get your kiddo engaged in the cleanup process.


[00:21:01] RH:So, I'm actually reading a book calledHunt, Gather, Parent and they suggest to remove toys that the child does not clean up after you've given them several verbal cues. They say, “Put it in a box, donate at the end of the week.” Child probably has too many toys. In that case, talk about if you're going to a friend's house or a playdate, take a toy to give to them, every time you go or donate to a charity. The child probably won't think about that toy again. They'll probably move on and they'll feel really good about it.


[00:21:30] JH:Yeah, they do.


[00:21:31] RH:Of course, this depends on the child's cognition and abilities. So, modify as needed.


[00:21:36] JH:I was just going to say too, yeah, if you have practiced clean up with your child, and they are able to fully participate in clean up, and they're just being really stubborn one day, you could be like, “Alright, well, we're going to go ahead and donate what you don't clean up.” I've done that with Logan before.


[00:21:53] RH:My dad did that to me when I was a kid. I found toys in the garbage can when I was a kid.


[00:21:57] JH:Really? Oh, you are naughty. I haven't had to donate or throw away any toys yet. Anytime I tell him, you have five minutes, whatever is not cleaned up gets donated, he gets it done.


[00:22:07] RH:My rules are a little bit different. If I like left something on the floor, and like, it was in my room. So, it was like, you know, my own room, but I was very strict.


Okay, anyway, pictures are really helpful to remember where these toys go or, just free play in general. So, take a picture of the space with the toys put away so they know exactly where they go.


[00:22:33] JH:That's super – I mean, that would be helpful for me.


[00:22:36] RH:It's helpful for everyone, for everything, and everywhere.


[00:22:42] JH:Yep, it really is. Okay, last one really quick. So, praxis. We've talked about praxis. If you don't know what it is, make sure you listen to our episode on praxis. But two episodes, we have two episodes on praxis. It's very important. It's basically knowing what to do and how to do it. So, these kiddos who struggle with free play, probably struggle with praxis. I mean, that is one of the things that goes into free play is knowing what to do and how to do it and coming up with ideas. So, this is a really fun thing that you can do with your kiddos. I will tell you, I struggle with this activity. This is an imagination thing. And it's hard.


[00:23:19] RH:I'm pretty good at it.


[00:23:23] JH:I know.


[00:23:25] RH:So, what you're going to do is grab like four random things around your house, like the ones we came up with, were paperclip, pipe cleaner, pen and like a sticky note. And you're going to ask the child to create as many things as they can using those items. Now, for kiddo who maybe struggles with free play, and they struggle with praxis, they're going to look at you like, “What do you mean, this is a pencil? This is this a pen, you write with it. That's it.” But for a kiddo who maybe has more advanced skills with praxis, and they do free play more often, they might stick the pen through the sticky note and say, “Oh, it's a flag.” Or they might put the paperclip on the pencil and swing it around and say, “I'm making – it’s a gear.” So, that's kind of what we're saying with let them create as many things as they can keep track and see if it improves the more free play that you offer in their daily routine.


[00:24:23] JH:I just had a thought about when kids come up to you, and they say I'm bored. First of all, it's okay for kids to be bored, because that's usually where they can create some new things. So, if a kiddo does come up to you and says, “I'm bored.” You have a couple of options. You can engage them in something structured, or you can help them set up something for some free play. So, any of the activities we just gave you, you can set up or give them the suggestion to set up themselves. Or maybe you have like a choice board, like the board, choice board.


[00:24:58] RH:I get it now. That took me a while.


[00:24:59] JH:It sounds weird.


[00:25:00] RH:B-O-R-E-D. Choice Board.


[00:25:05] JH:I don’t know. You know what I mean. A choice board, so your kiddo comes up to you is like, “I’m bored.” You say, “Okay, go over to the fridge and look at your choice board and pick something from there.” And they can pick one of the things they want on there and they can go do it.


[00:25:17] RH:Yeah. Love that. A bored choice board.


[00:25:19] JH:A bored choice board.


[00:25:22] RH:All right, everyone. That is what we have for you today. Let us know your thoughts on free play. Do your kiddos love it? Is it hard for them? Have you done free play in therapy? How did it go?


[00:25:36] JH:Very interesting. Did you let the child lead a structured activity instead of you leading it? 


[00:25:43] RH:love doing that. Yeah. So many things. Okay. Don't forget to take a screenshot while you're listening and tag us at All Things Sensory Podcast on Instagram. We'd love to see that you're listening and that you're learning. If you have questions, we're here to help. So, don't hesitate to reach out. Anything else?


[00:26:03] JH:Okay. No, I think that was it. Leave us a review if you want and we'll talk to you next week.


[00:26:07] RH:Okay, bye.


[00:26:09] RH: Thank you so much for listening to All Things Sensory by Harkla. If you want more information on anything we mentioned in the show, head over to harkla.co/podcast to get all of the show notes. 


[00:26:22] JH:We always have the show notes and links, plus full transcripts to make following along as easy as possible for everyone. If you have followed up questions, the best place to ask those is in the comments on the show notes or message us on our Instagram account, which is at @harkla_family. If you just search Harkla, you’ll find us.


[00:26:41] RH:Like we mentioned before, our podcast listeners get 10% off their first order at Harkla, whether it’s for one of our digital courses, one of our sensory swings, the discount code SENSORY will save you 10%. That code is S-E-N-S-O-R-Y. Head over to harkla.co/sensory to use that code right now so you don’t forget.


[00:27:04] JH:We’re so excited to work together to help create confident kids all over the world and work towards a happier healthier life.


[00:27:11] RH:All right. We’ll talk to you guys next week.


[00:27:15] RH:Just a friendly reminder, this is general information related to occupational therapy, pediatrics, and sensory integration. We do not know your or your child, therefore, we do not know any specific needs. Therefore, you should always refer back to your pediatrician and occupational therapist for more information.




While we make every effort to share correct information, we are still learning. We will double check all of our facts but realize that medicine is a constantly changing science and art. One doctor / therapist may have a different way of doing things from another. We are simply presenting our views and opinions on how to address common sensory challenges, health related difficulties and what we have found to be beneficial that will be as evidenced based as possible. By listening to this podcast, you agree not to use this podcast as medical advice to treat any medical condition in either yourself or your children. Consult your child’s pediatrician/ therapist for any medical issues that he or she may be having. This entire disclaimer also applies to any guests or contributors to the podcast. Under no circumstances shall Rachel Harrington, Harkla, Jessica Hill, or any guests or contributors to the podcast, as well as any employees, associates, or affiliates of Harkla, be responsible for damages arising from use of the podcast.

Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases. However, this does not impact our reviews and comparisons. We try our best to keep things fair and balanced, in order to help you make the best choice for you.

This podcast should not be used in any legal capacity whatsoever, including but not limited to establishing “standard of care” in a legal sense or as a basis for expert witness testimony. No guarantee is given regarding the accuracy of any statements or opinions made on the podcast.

Jessica Hill, COTA/L & Rachel Harrington, COTA/L, AC
Jessica Hill, COTA/L & Rachel Harrington, COTA/L, AC

Rachel Harrington, COTA/l, AC, CPRCS, and Jessica Hill, COTA/L, CPRCS are Harkla's in-house Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants (COTA) and Certified Primitive Reflex Clinical Specialists. They have been working with children for over 6 years in outpatient settings. They specialize in creating easy-to-digest, actionable content that families can use to help their child's progress at home. Jessica and Rachel are the in-house experts, content creators, and podcast hosts at Harkla! To learn more about Jessica and Rachel, visit the Harkla About Us Page. Make sure to listen to their weekly podcast, All Things Sensory by Harkla for actionable, fun advice on child development.

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