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 of SPD, please click here to download a FREE CHECKLIST of symptoms for infants, preschoolers and school age children.
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.
- Sand boxes
- Finger painting
- 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
- Liquid timers
- 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 here.
If you have a child with ADHD, SPD, OCD or ODD, then I'd love to have you in my FREE Facebook Group, " A Journey to Empowerment for Families of Kids with 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.
Feel free to visit her website for more info: https://www.treeoflifehealthcoaching.net/