Sensory Activites for Every Kid!

blog, Parenting, Sensory tips

Recently I hosted a parent/child play group at my children’s daycare, the topic was activities that incorporate all the senses.  I thought I'd post the list here. It is very important that ALL children get many opportunities to explore each and every sense.  Some kids have a hard time tolerating certain input and other CRAVE certain input.  If you feel your child is outside a typical reaction to sensory stimuli I suggested learning more about Sensory Processing disorder.  I do not care for the “disorder” part of that since it sounds extreme and many people have at least a few sensory preferences that might fall outside the “norm” but these people do not appear to really have a disorder.  I prefer to divide it into strong preferences and those that have extreme preferences.  DO NOT FORCE anyone to participate in any type of sensory activity.  If you notice certain things are difficult for you child to tolerate take BABY STEPS and seek advice from an occupational therapist that is trained in Sensory Processing.  Do not be surprised if your family doctor or pediatrician is not well educated on the subject, They cannot know everything! OT’s are typically the specialists in this area. OK enough of that, now on with the activities!!!

Sensory Activities

Tactile

  • Pudding play
  • Whipped cream
  • Play dough (homemade if you prefer)
  • Lay baby on different textures, or place feet on textures such as:
  1. Satin blanket
  2. Fleece blanket
  3. Dry leaves(in a tub or outside)
  4. Sand(with caution as to not get in eyes)
  5. Grass
  • Add sugar to finger paint or pudding for added texture
  • Touch sand paper
  • Touch Velcro

Auditory

  • Play music  or sing while singing
  • Play with musical toys (one at a time to hear their sounds)
  • Go outside and listen to sounds, talk about what you hear
  • Change the pitch of your voice while singing familiar songs

Taste

  • Try tasting various fruits, lemon, lime, watermelon etc.
  • Give the flavors words, sweet, sour, bitter, etc.

Smell

  • Put various spices in pill container, open one at a time and smell it, talk about the smell
  • Go outside and sniff trees, plants, grass, etc. talk about the smells
  • Smell foods and talk about the smells

Vestibular/Movement

  • Swing
  • Bouncing excersaucer(let young child bounce themselves)
  • Trampoline

Visual

  • Look at black and white designs
  • Look at simple visual patterns
  • Look through colored viewers/glasses
  • Put hand-sized objects on patterned mat and look for the objects
  • Look at seek and find books

Proprioceptive

  • Massage (also tactile)
  • Rubbing lotion using firm touch(also tactile)
  • Jumping(also vestibular)
  • Kicking a toy or pillow
  • Swaddling
  • Headstands
  • Animal walks (crawling, crab walk)
  • Log rolling
  • Bear hugs

This is just a short list and these are simple things mostly written for parents of kids 0-3years old.  You can obviously adapt them to fit your child.  I could write an entire post of ideas for a sensory tub so I’ll save that for a separate post.  Keep in mind movement activities in which the movement is rotary,(spinning) are alerting (it can make kids hyper) and linear movement is calming (jumping or swinging)

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