Welcome to our brand new series where we highlight and talk about one fun and easy sensory activity every day!
Since we’re all stuck at home, we hope this series helps you with new activity ideas that are both effective and fun for your child to do at home!
Don’t forget to come back and check out what sensory activity is in store for you every day!
Let’s take a look at the Sensory Activity of the Day –
1.What’s in The Box?
By Carol Stock Kranowitz
From her book ’The Out of Sync Child’
This fun activity is great for developing your child’s tactile sense. For this activity take a shoebox or any other box available. Fill this box with materials of various sizes, shapes, and textures. Now, cut a hole in the box. Ask your child to put their hand through this hole and identify the various things inside. You could even name an object and as your child to look for it inside the box.
This activity is great for improving your child’s ability to discriminate objects without visual aid. The tactile system is instrumental in helping us understand the world around us and give us a sense of security while exploring our environment. An improved tactile system ensures that the child feels secure and comfortable in his/her own body.
2.DIY Play Dough
Play Dough is an amazing tool for stimulating your child’s fine motor skills. While poking, prodding, and rolling play dough, children develop small muscles in their hands and fingers. This development is essential for improving dexterity as well as writing and drawing skills. Play dough is also useful in relieving feelings of stress and anxiety.
A common problem parents have with play dough is that it can be harmful if the child puts the dough in his/her mouth.
Here’s an easy recipe to help you cook up a batch of fresh play dough from items in your pantry. And the best thing about this recipe is that it is edible!
The ingredients you’ll need are –
- 2 cups plain flour
- 1 cup salt
- 1 tbs oil
- ½ to 1 cup cold water
- 2 drops liquid food coloring
Start by mixing the plain flour and salt. Then add some water, food coloring, and oil. Mix these ingredients well. Lastly, knead everything well and voilà! – The play dough is ready. (If the consistency is too soggy, add in a little bit of flour. This is essentially a slacker version of our regular chapati dough).
3.Calm Down Bottles
This easy-to-make and attractive activity offers a great solution for sensory meltdowns that are often experienced by children with ASD. To make this glittery sensory bottle all you need is a clear water bottle, hot water, a bottle of glitter glue, and a tube of ultra fine glitter.
Mix all these materials into the water bottle. Remember to use hot water so that the glue melts well. Add more clear gel glue if you wish for the glitter to float slower. Lastly, super glue the bottle cap to ensure that your child doesn’t spill or drink the water.
For added fun, involve your child in the process of making these sparkly bottles.
These bottles work as an amazing visual anchor to focus the attention of the child away from something that might be bothering him/her.
4.Lace and Tie your Shoes
Lacing and tying shoes is a skill we want our kids to know. This activity gives us a fun technique to teach our kids how to lace and tie their shoes while improving their fine motor skills at the same time.
For this activity, you’ll need a string or yarn (at least 2 feet long), cardboard, and some crayons, markers, or colored pencils.
Help your child trace a shoe template on the cardboard. Poke holes in specified places large enough to place the string through.
Begin by having your child color the shoe. Now, put a string through the top two holes. Alternate pulling the laces through the holes on the opposite sides, making an X as they cross in the middle. Make sure the lace from the left side goes into the next hole on the right side. Continue to lace up the shoes while pulling tight at each step. Continue lacing until all the holes are used.
This activity helps your child with getting familiarized with tying shoelaces. Furthermore, you can also teach your child to tie a bow once the shoe is all laced up.
5.What’s That Noise?
This is an amazing activity to stimulate your child’s auditory senses. If your child seeks auditory input then this activity is perfect for you!
All you need to make this home-made noisemaker is toilet paper cardboard tubes, rubber bands, rajma or rice, and some wax paper.
Have your child color or decorate the cardboard tubes using paints, crayons, or decorative tapes. Attach some wax paper to one side of the tube using rubber bands. Fill the container with 2 tablespoons of dried beans or rice. Secure the other side with wax paper.
You can also put different things inside the tube to teach your child to discriminate between sounds and make them realize how the sounds change when the content inside the tube is changed.
Finger painting is a relaxing and fun activity for the child to express his/her feelings. This activity focuses on the child’s fine motor skills, creativity, helps them learn about colors, and uses the senses of touch and smell, hence encouraging sensory integration.
All you need is some paper and child-safe paints. Have your child draw something on the paper and then paint it with their fingers. Kids could also be encouraged to paint over the whole paper with the colors they want. This will stimulate their imagination and creativity.
The exploratory nature of this activity is what makes it a great learning tool.
7.Mess-Free Color Play
Looking for an activity that involves a ton of fun and colors but without the mess? This might just be the perfect activity for your kid!
All you need is a Ziploc back, some shaving cream, and food coloring. Fill up the Ziploc bag about halfway with shaving cream. Add in a few drops of food coloring of your child’s choice.
Your child can now move the shaving cream around by pressing on the bag and watch the colors form mesmerizing patterns inside the bag. He/she can even ‘draw’ and observe the different patterns being formed.
This activity is great for kids who do not like getting their hands messy but love to play with colors!
Food stamping is a fun and inexpensive activity to help your kid improve his/her motor functioning. This activity is also an amazing medium to teach your child about different food groups and colors.
Vegetables like potatoes, onions, okra, carrots, bell peppers, etc. can be used for this activity. The best part is, you can use the part of the vegetable that is usually thrown out for a majority of these vegetables. Spread out some paper and remember to use thinned out paint if the paint is thick. You use a little water to thin out the paint.
Now let your child get to stamping! Let him/her dip each vegetable and stamp it onto the paper to explore the various patterns formed. Your child can use their imagination to color in pictures with these stamps!
By Carol Stock Kranowitz
From her book ’The Out of Sync Child’
Sand play is an activity that promotes the development of fine motor skills and developing a sense of textures in kids.
If you have a sandbox, add in small toys like cars, trucks, dinosaurs, etc deep into the sand. Let your child fish these items out with their hands. They can bury, rearrange, and discover the toys in the sand.
If you do not have a sandbox, you can use dried pasta, rice, beans, popcorn instead. Mud from your garden could also be utilized for this activity. Making mud pies or squishing mud could also be therapeutic for your child.
This is a great activity for toddlers that involves a simple setup with materials easily available at home.
All you need are some straws, rigatoni or penne pasta, and playdough (refer to one of our previous posts for an easy DIY playdough recipe).
Start the activity by helping your child with flattening some playdough on a table. Then, have them poke straws into the playdough and thread pasta through the straws.
This activity inculcates a sense of achievement in toddlers as well as helps them work on their fine motor skills.
11. 5 Minute DIY Slime
Playing with slime could keep your child entertained for hours. Here’s an easy slime recipe you can help your kids make!
For this activity, you’ll need some borax (sodium borate), glue, glitter, small toys, or embellishments. Start by mixing 1/3 cup of water with a teaspoon of borax. Then, mix one cup of water and an entire container of glue in a separate bowl. Now mix these two solutions together thoroughly. Stir until it becomes the consistency of slime and all the water is absorbed. To make the slime attractive, add in some glitter or small embellishments!
Not only does slime provide great tactile stimulation, but also assists with fine motor skills, promotes mindfulness and concentration, and is a reliable calming tool.
Exercise balls serve as amazing tools for providing your child with the vestibular input they might need.
Have your child lie on their stomach or back, or sit and bounce. To make this activity challenging, you can have your child color on a piece of paper placed on the floor while laying belly-first on the exercise ball. Other activities like picking up things from one side and depositing them to the other side can also be fun.
This simple activity can provide a variety of useful sensory inputs and also help to improve balance, coordination, and strength.