5 Easy Ways to Include Sensory Play into Everyday Activities
Sensory Play? What is that?
So, when we think of sensory play, we think about our 5 senses, taste, touch, sight, smell and sound. Sensory Play plays a very important role in childhood development. There are some children, mine included, who have a diagnosis of Sensory Processing Disorder or Sensory Integration Disorder. These children have a hard time processing all of the input their senses are giving them and in turn can have meltdowns, difficulty with balance, low muscle tone, difficulty climbing as well as many other symptoms. For a complete list of symptoms for infant, toddler, preschool and school age children, grab my Free SPD Checklist here.
Let's jump in and learn 5 Easy Ways to Include Sensory Play into Everyday Activities.
1. Taste - Oral Motor
Eat chewy, crunchy foods to make the jaw work harder. Increases alertness and attention span. ( Can be raw or dried fruits, pretzels, gum, raw veggies)
Eat foods with big flavors. For example sour foods, spicy foods
Blow bubbles, blow cotton balls across the floor with a straw, use blow pens to create an art project.
Chewy Tubes, chewy necklaces
Water bottles with a straw to suck on
2. Touch - Tactile
Hide items to find in tubs of rice, beans, pasta. Children can use hands or feet.
Write numbers, letters, or words in shaving cream. Play-doh with tools to make different objects.
Wilbarger Brushing Protocol - ask your OT if this is recommended for your child.
Walk in grass or sand barefoot. Be sure there are no sharp objects that can injure your child when engaging in this activity.
Pet animals or get books from the library with different textures to explore by touch.
3. Sight - Visual
Tossing a ball back and forth to work on eye-hand coordination
Dot to dot or maze games
Coloring and markers
Use a visual timer so your child can see exactly how much time is left to do something
Scratch and sniff books
Scented play doh
Scented play bins
Mr. Sketch Scented Markers
Listening Therapy - contact your OT for more info on this
Play the quiet game. Have everyone be quiet while you make a noise in the other room. See who the first child is who can name it.
Play music soft and loud depending on your child's sensory needs and have a dance party!!!
There's one more Bonus Sense I'd like to talk about today. This sense is often overlooked, however, it plays an important part in how we all integrate into our world.
Movement or Proprioceptive/Vestibular System (How our bodies move in space) Sometimes called "Heavy" Work
Push and Pull - Wagons, grocery carts
Crawling or Climbing - monkey bars, tent tunnels, army crawls
Jumping - on trampolines, jumping jacks, on a mattress on the floor
Swinging - Swinging themselves, using legs to pump them back and forth,
Hugs - Give or receive big bear hugs
Rolling - down a hill, make a sandwich of your child in the middle of the bread (blanket) and add toppings ( pillow as cheese, another blanket as lettuce and tomato)
Bouncing on hippity hop
Riding a bike or scooter
As you can see there are lots of ways to engage your child throughout the day in many activities that will challenge their sensory system.
While the information provided here is meant to assist your child in their everyday sensory experiences, it is provided for informational purposes only. If your child has a sensory processing disorder, please contact your therapist before trying the activities proposed above.
Remember to grab your copy of my freebie, Sensory Processing Disorder Checklist below,
If you have a child with ADHD, SPD, OCD or ODD, then I'd love to have you in my FREE Facebook Group, " Nutrition & Natural Living for Parents of Kids who have ADHD, SPD, OCD or ODD". You can join here.
Until next time,
About the author: Mary is a wife of 22 years and mom to three children, one who has ADHD and Sensory Processing Disorder. She is also a Certified Health Coach and loves to serve her clients through a Free Facebook group, Online and In-Person Individual Family Coaching and Group Coaching programs. She is also a self published author of "Food & The Brain" a book about how food affects our brains and the creator of "Grocery Store to Table" a program with a proven approach to helping your child accept new foods into their diets.