Month 18: Top 10 Sensory Activities for your 18 month old

Month 18: Top 10 Sensory Activities for your 18 month old

Ladies and gentleman please prepare for landing at Playground Airport. Local time is play-time and the temperature is moderately pleasant for kids.

For your safety and comfort, I will remain seated with my seat belt fastened until captain mom turns off the fasten seat belt sign. This will indicate that we have parked at the playground and that it is safe to disembark the stroller.

screech kapow-comic-word-wall-sticker-black-s

“On behalf of mommy Airlines, I’d like to thank…”

Bam! I don’t think mom knows what hit her as I leap out of the stroller running like flash towards the playground structure; growing giganotosaurus like in size the closer I get to it. My head bobbing, surfer blonde hair waving in all directions … adrenaline increasing (wow that’s a big word for me). As I approach the playground, it towers above me.

Within the playground structure, a stratoslidotron (a slide) shines at me; this is a structure known for accelerating superheroes down a guided path. Without hesitation I begin the 1.23 sec flash climb to the top.. wow… another 0.32 seconds and down I go.. woohoo…. That was fun!

As I look around I see fellow comrades running around the playground with smiles ear to ear. A rush of serotonin pushes me to join the funtivities. Zoom! I’m running under structures, over the small mushrooms and … Hmmm… there is a large ladder in front of me. All the big kids climbed up so quickly. Hmmm… can I do it? Let’s try.

Up I go the first step… yikes slipped down. Lets try again! Up… up… up… I made it!!! I turn around and see captain mom clapping and smiling. I started to clap away. Wait… where are the kids? They are all the way on the other side. OK… off I go! See you all next month.

Lots of smiles, Josh

Josh climbing on a ladder

Every day our toddlers are getting more confident. Just like Josh liking to push himself and test his limits, having an environment where there are more skilled children allows him to get more motivated and try new things. A playground is a perfect location to have fun and learn new skills.

Here are my top 10 sensory activities for your 18 month old toddler.

As always, these activities have been tried and tested.

Sensory Play Activities

1. Climbing the playground structures

Skills Developed

Targeted Senses

Balance, motor planning (ability to conceptualize, plan &  carry out an unfamiliar task), body awareness, bilateral coordination, hand & shoulder strength, core strength and trunk control. Proprioception, vestibular, tactile senses

Little toddlers love to explore. Their confidence is increasing. A playground is a perfect location to help them explore and learn new skills.

Most local playgrounds provide many structures that your little one can climb.

2. Play dough fun

Josh and play dough

Play dough is lots of fun and has many benefits.

Skills Developed

Targeted Senses

Fine motor development including: hand strengthening, pincer grasp, finger isolation as well as hand eye coordination and bilateral coordination. Tactile, proprioception senses

How to play:

When introducing play dough, give your little one time to explore how it feels. They may start squeezing and pulling it apart. After a few minutes start introducing new concepts. After a while you may provide an open-ended play opportunity to see what else they can come up with.

Let me get you started with the following ideas. Play dough can be:

  • Squashed
  • Pulled apart
  • Squeezed into different directions
  • Flattened
  • Rolled
  • You can hide objects in it. Start with larger objects such as toy coins, little animals etc. The first few times you may need to hide the objects for them.
  • Once things are hidden in play dough your little one can start digging through it and pull them out.
  • Poking is also fun. Start with them using their pointer finger to make holes in the play dough.
  • Introduce play dough toys that can poke and manipulate play dough.

I also recommend singing songs to match a particular action you are trying to encourage them to do. Make up songs about rolling, poking or squeezing play dough as you play.

My favorite no–cook Play Dough Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • ½ cup salt
  • 2 tablespoons of cream of tartar
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 ½ cups of boing water
  • Food coloring

What to do:

  1. Mix flour, salt, cream of tartar and oil in a large mixing bowl
  2. In another bowl add water and mix it with food coloring
  3. Add both mixtures together
  4. Stir until combined (it still might be sticky)
  5. Allow it to rest
  6. Take it out of the bowl and knead it until the stickiness is gone
  7. If after a few minutes of kneading it’s still sticky then keep adding small amounts of flour. Keep adding until you have reached perfect play dough consistency.

3. Rumble play

Skills Developed

Targeted Senses

Balance, body awareness, core strength and trunk control. Proprioception, vestibular and tactile senses.

How to play:

This can be a very regulating activity with many benefits. The main goal however is to have fun! As the name of the game suggests it’s rumble time. Find an open area so you and your toddler don’t bump into surrounding furniture.

Things you can do: cuddle them while falling backwards or sideways, lift them up, turn them around. Let them jump around on pillows or you (if you feel comfortable with that).

Occupational Therapy Tip:

If you notice that your toddler is getting over excited. Stop and take a break. Once your toddler has calmed down you can play again.

4. Feather blowing

Josh blowing a feather

Skills developed:

By doing activities that involve the mouth, your toddler gets to work on their oral motor skills. Oral motor activities have benefits related to speech, feeding and regulation.

By blowing feathers your toddler practices how to coordinate their lips, cheeks and jaw with airflow. Their muscle tone gets strengthened. They build awareness of their mouth, tongue, lips and jaw. Overall this is a great activity that strengthens your toddler’s muscles and builds coordination.

How to play:

I started with feathers, as they are the easiest to blow. You want your child to feel some success to increase their motivation to play. Seeing a feather move is very exciting. Knowing that you are the one that made it move is even more so. You can start by demonstrating it. You can blow on your child’s hands or face so they know how it feels. Then blow the feather. I recommend placing the feather on your hand and keeping it close to your toddlers mouth. This will ensure that even a small amount of air will move the feather. As they get more comfortable with it you can move it further away. You can also place it on a table and have them blow the feather off.

5. Doodle fun with chalk

Josh drawing with chalk

Drawing with chalk is lots of fun. It feels different then crayons and it disappears when wet. The primary goal is to have fun with it! It’s not about drawing perfect lines. It is about learning the cause and effect and scribbling. You can encourage them to draw horizontal and vertical lines but it’s ok if they won’t do it yet.

OT (Occupational Therapist) Tips

  • Try drawing on different surfaces (wood, cement, paper, chalk board).
  • Drawing on a vertical surface is very beneficial. Working on a vertical surface strengthens muscles in the shoulders and in the wrist. Those are important for many fine motor skills such as writing and cutting.
  • Have fun drawing but also show them what happens when you put water on it. Encourage your toddler to clean the surface using large hand movements. Movements that go up and down, side to side and around in a circle.
  • Using chalk, water, large hand movments as well as drawing on multiple surfaces provides a mulitsensory learning environment. Using mulitple senses allows more cognitive connections and associations to be made with this concept. Meaning they will remember and retain information more easily. Practicing these movements will make it easier for your toddler to later draw lines and circles.

6. Spice it up

Pipe cleaners in a spice container

Equipment: Empty spice container, cut up pipe cleaners

How to play: Your toddler will be strengthening their hands while opening and closing the container.  This activity can be graded up or down depending on your toddler.

Option 1. Open and close the container while putting the pipe cleaners in and out.

Option 2. Open and close the lid while putting the pipe cleaners through the small holes (see picture above).

7. Dancing Caterpillar

Dancing caterpillar with blueberries

This caterpillar has been one of my favorite toys for many years now. It is a toy that can grow with your child for many years.

Skills Developed

Targeted Senses

Fine motor skills (pincer grasp), hand eye coordination, crossing midline Auditory, visual, tactile and taste senses.

How to play:

At this age you can throw away the instructions with the game for another year or so. Instead try my idea.

Equipment: Just the dancing caterpillar and blueberries

On each of the caterpillar arms place one blueberry. (Note: You can use other foods/snacks that your child prefers).

Then get the caterpillar dancing and have your toddler collect the blueberries and eat them. If your toddler struggles to take them off while the caterpillar is moving try it stationary first.

8. Messy play: Pool of flowers

Flower bath

Skills Developed

Targeted Senses

Fine motor skills and hand eye coordination Visual and tactile senses

How to play:

Equipment: Large container of water, flower petals and cups, spoons, ladles or whatever your toddler decides he wants to play with in the water bath.

This can be a very open ended activity. Follow your child’s lead and present some guidance if they feel stuck. Some ideas include: pouring water from one container to the next, fishing out individual petals, searching for hidden objects, sticking the petals on the wall or your nose!

9. Walk about

Josh going for a walk

Skills Developed

Targeted Senses

Fine motor skills, bilateral integration, hand eye coordination, gross motor skills, visual perception skills. ALL!

 

Taking your toddler for a walk around the block can put you on a path for some adventures. You never know what you may encounter. Just remember not to rush your toddler.

Your toddler can practice many fine motor skills by shredding leaves, breaking sticks apart or picking little flowers from the ground.

Their shoulders and hands can strengthen as they lift heavy rocks to find what creatures are hiding underneath it.

They can practice their gross motor skills as they walk on different surfaces and different inclines.

They also stimulate their visual and auditory senses by simply being and observing the surrounding environment.

10. Dance party

It’s time to let your hair down and get goofy with your toddler. You probably spend a lot of your time teaching your toddler about boundaries but with this activity it’s time to make room for some fun.

Put on your or your toddler’s favorite music and dance! Dance on the floor, the couch and maybe get your toddler flying in the air. Anything goes. Just make sure to laugh and have fun!

Summary

There you have it. My top 10 Sensory Activities for your 18 month old toddler. These are bound to spark up other ideas. Let me know what activities you have tried in the comments section below.

Remember: Each baby develops at their own pace. If your child is not ready or not interested in this month’s activities, just try them again in a few weeks.

~ Urszula

Disclaimer: The activities in this blog are intended for sensory play. They are not a replacement for treatment of children with Sensory Processing Disorder, are not medical advice and should not be used in place of the care of a medical doctor or other qualified healthcare professional. These activities should be facilitated and supervised by an adult. All activities are to be performed at your own risk and in no event shall Sensory Lifestyle be liable for any damages.

❮ 17 month activities 19 month activities ❯
Month 17: Top 10 Sensory Activities for your 17 month old

Month 17: Top 10 Sensory Activities for your 17 month old

Vroom vroom vroom… oil pressure.. check. vroom vroom.. turbo pressure.. check.. engine purrs.. the friendliest sound you’ve ever heard.. I love my yellow dump truck. We are getting ready for a big adventure outside with mum.

Ok it’s GO time. I put the truck into forward gear, the invisible turbo comes on boost, I know it's there ;-) and we are off and away.. mission; explore the local neighborhood. Mission accepted!
As I storm past, the local hood fat cat gives me his orange thumbs up; I see an army of squirrels aligning themselves on the power lines ahead. Nothing will stop me and my truck. We come flying past them taking a sharp turn to the left on a narrow path that opens wide up ahead. The path is clear. I can smell the fresh flowers blooming all around me.. oh wait.. there’s a Zzzzzz.. and another.. Zzzzzz; wow those bees are busy today.

Behind me, I see mum chasing me. Time to kick it up a notch and move like The Flash. Another sharp turn left. Yeah this is going smoothly. In the distance a glimmer of yellow paved road shines.. it is covered with little yellow speed bumps. Is this for me to slow down? I doubt it. Dad always says go all the way or go home. I aint going home yet. And neither is my truck. Bump bump bump.. ohhh.. this is different. I have arrived on the yellow bumps, they are definitely here to slow me down. Ohh the vibrations are also relaxing. Yeah this is pretty sweet.

As mum catches up to me I give her this opportunity. No sooner I spot another adventure. A gigantic wall. Up we go. I was a little nervous at first but my truck and I went up it just fine. I walked slowly to make sure I didn’t lose my balance. It is a long way down if I fall. I know mum is watching me closely but I don’t want to give her any reason to interrupt me. ‘I made it to the end!’ I turn around and I see my mom’s big smile. I think she is just as proud of me. OK … so how do I get down from here?
So much fun. I can’t wait to do it all over again tomorrow.

 

Truck on the fence

Josh has so much fun on his outdoor adventures. From the above story you can see how many different challenges your toddler can encounter when being outside. During Josh’s adventure all his senses were hard at work.

Here are my top 10 sensory activities for your 17 month old toddler. As always, these activities have been tried-and-tested.

Sensory Play for a Healthy Sensory Lifestyle

1. Exploring the outdoors

This is a continuous must-do with your child. It has endless benefits that can target all of your toddler’s senses. As their sensory system develops, they strengthen all their skills including visual, fine and gross motor skills.

Exploring the outdoors can be as easy as going for a walk around the block or visiting a park, playground or a beach.  You will notice that your toddler makes frequent stops to interact with his or her environment or to observe it. Remember not to rush them so they don’t miss out on an opportunity to learn.

Get excited with them about the spotted squirrel. Encourage them to pick up those dry leaves and then rip them into pieces. Allow them to get wet in puddles and dirty in the mud. Let them push their strollers, carts or trucks over different surfaces. So many fun play opportunities as you wonder and explore.

To get more detail about the benefits and play ideas check out my post on Exploring the outdoors.

2.  Stop & go games

Stop & go games are excellent to start teaching your toddler about impulse control.

How to play:

Incorporate stop & go language into your toddler’s favorite games.

Rules: While playing a specific activity say ‘stop’… wait… wait and then say ‘go’ and keep on playing.

After your toddler understands the concept you can prolong the wait time. Just enough to keep them engaged but not frustrated.

Examples of games:

–       Ball bouncing: While bouncing on a large exercise ball

–       While walking outside

–       While walking them in a stroller

–       While giving them a piggy back on your shoulders

–       While pouring water into the bathtub

–       And so on…

3.  Adventures with beads

Beads as necklaces

Skills Developed

Targeted senses

Fine motor skills, eye hand coordination Tactile; proprioceptive and visual senses

 

How to play:

Equipment needed: bead necklaces, various containers.

So many fun things one can do with the bead necklaces. Try the following ideas with your toddler:

–       Sorting them into containers according to the colors

–       Pouring them into a container

–       Tipping them out

–       Putting them on and taking them off their neck

–       Walking over them with their bare feet

–       Rolling different toys over them

Occupational Therapy Tips:

Encourage crossing midline. This can be done by positioning beads to the side of their body. As they go for the beads encourage grasping them with the opposite hand. For example use right hand to grasp the necklaces on the left side of their body and vice versa.

What is crossing midline?

We all have an imaginary midline running down the center of our bodies. In order for us to effectively coordinate both sides of our body we need to be able to cross that imaginary line.

Being able to cross your midline assists with developing hand dominance and bilateral coordination (ability to use both hands).

4. Zippers and Buckles Play

Buckles

Skills Developed

Targeted Senses

Fine motor skills (manipulation and strengthening), eye hand coordination Tactile, vision and proprioceptive senses

How to Play:

Provide opportunities for your toddler to close and open zippers and buckles.

Zippers: Use suitcases, bags or cushion covers with zippers. Show your toddler how to grasp and pull the zipper. You can even hide surprises in the suitcases or bags for that extra excitement.

Buckles: It may be too hard to open the buckles at this age but closing them is just as fun. They can practice this skill using buckles on high chairs, shopping trolleys, strollers or dressing toys and puzzles.

5. Pinch and lift games

Josh with tongs

Skills developed

Targeted Senses

Fine motor skills (manipulation & hand separation) and eye hand coordination Vision, tactile and proprioceptive senses

How to play:

Grab some tongs, containers and pom poms. Teach your toddler how to hold and squeeze tongs. Then let them experiment by picking up pom poms and transferring them from one container to the next.

Pom poms are great as they can be squished and won’t slip away when picked up.

6. Messy Play: Fun with mashed potatoes

Mashed potatoes fun

Skills developed

Targeted senses

Fine motor skills, eye hand coordination and motor planning Tactile; visual and proprioceptive senses

How to play:

Equipment: mashed potatoes, food coloring, variety of containers and utensils.

First, boil your potatoes. Then mash, and add food coloring. I like to divide the potatoes so I can use more than one color. It is also fun watching them mix them up and see how colors change.

When mashing the potatoes, don’t worry about doing a perfectly smooth mash. A few lumps are good for the extra sensation.

You can get really creative with what you can do here. Some examples include:

–       Explore with hands

–       Explore with feet

–       Manipulate the potatoes with a variety of objects or utensils

–       Move between containers

–       Find hidden objects

–       You can create large balls/towers/shapes and they can squish and destroy them

7. Sorting

Sorting colors

Let’s get your toddler familiar with ‘same’ and ‘different’. This can be done through sorting different objects. It’s best to start sorting either by colors or shapes.

All you need are objects that you want sorted and containers to put them in.

If sorting by color ensure you have containers of different colors. Another option is to cut out colored paper or color the bottom of the containers.

If sorting by shape, its best to place one of the objects into the container for a physical prompt.

So how to get started?

Example: Sorting by colors

1. Prepare your containers and objects that your little one will be sorting.

2. Start with no more then 2 colors. Let’s say blue and red.

3. Place blue objects in front of the blue container and red objects in front of the red container. This will help with the color association. Make sure you also name the colors. This will need to be repeated throughout the activity.

4. Start practicing sorting in this set up.

5. Once they master above set up you can mix up the colors.

6. Then you can start adding more colors

Have fun and don’t rush it!

 

8. Lacing

Josh lacing beads

Skills developed

Targeted senses

Fine motor skills and eye hand coordination Tactile, visual and proprioceptive senses

How to play:

Equipment: Large lacing beads or dry penne pasta, pipe cleaners

Lacing requires lots of skill so ensure you give your little one time to practice. Grading is the key to this task. At this age the traditional lacing beads and string will be too hard to manipulate.

So if you have some lacing beads at home put the string to the side. Take out some pipe cleaners and use those instead. These will make it much easier for your toddler’s hands to manipulate and succeed.

Don’t have any lacing beads at home? Not a problem! Grab some penne pasta from your local supermarket and get your toddler to lace them instead.

To teach them, find a quiet place to help your toddler’s focus. Show your toddler how to do it by demonstrating it to them. If they are unable to succeed with your demonstration, you may try hand over hand to get them started.

9. Get to know your emotions

It is very important for your child to have a large emotional vocabulary. This includes both positive and negative emotions. By being able to name and recognize an emotion you are able to better understand it. When you understand your emotions you can then regulate them better. Research shows that children with behavioral difficulties know less “feeling” words. This means: let’s talk emotions to reduce behavioral difficulties later on!!

At this age you are just starting to build foundations. Don’t expect your toddler to be able to recognize their emotions yet. However, start making it a habit to name emotions around and to your toddler. Here are few ways of how to do it:

–       Label different feeling when reading books. Any book will do.

–       Use specific feeling books such as ‘When Sophie Gets Angry‘, ‘The Way I Feel‘ or ‘On Monday When It Rained

–       Label your own emotions as you experience them.

–       Label your toddler’s emotions as they experience them.

–       Make sure you always include both negative and positive emotions.

10. Fun with balls

Skills developed

Targeted senses

Gross motor skills including balance, eye foot coordination and eye hand coordination Tactile, visual, vestibular and proprioceptive senses

How to play:

To keep your little one motivated, it’s nice to have different types of balls. You can have small and large balls. You can also play with light and heavy balls. Each ball can challenge your toddler in different ways.

For example, when using balls of different weights, your toddler will be using their proprioceptive sense. This sense will help them figure out how much force is required to hold, throw and kick a ball.

What to do with the ball? The sky is the limit! You can start with throwing and kicking. You can play indoors or outdoors. Throw or kick the ball to each other or at a target. Maybe they can throw at something that can be knocked down. Things such as empty plastic bottles are great.

Have fun and keep expanding on the above ideas. Remember to follow your child’s lead.

Summary

There you have it. My top 10 Sensory Activities for your 17 month old toddler. These are bound to spark up other ideas. Let me know what activities you have tried in the comments section below.

Remember: Each child develops at their own pace. If your child is not ready or not interested in this month’s activities, just try them again in a few weeks.

~ Urszula

Disclaimer: The activities in this blog are intended for sensory play. They are not a replacement for treatment of children with Sensory Processing Disorder, are not medical advice and should not be used in place of the care of a medical doctor or other qualified healthcare professional. These activities should be facilitated and supervised by an adult. All activities are to be performed at your own risk and in no event shall Sensory Lifestyle be liable for any damages.

❮ 16 month activities 18 month activities ❯
Month 15: Top 10 Sensory Activities for  your 15 month old

Month 15: Top 10 Sensory Activities for your 15 month old

Hello everyone!! It’s Josh again! This month has been interesting. I have been experiencing many different emotions. Yesterday I was trying to pull out a puzzle piece that was stuck under the doorframe. I started to get very frustrated and angry as I couldn’t get it out. My mom came over and I showed her that I was frustrated. She smiled and told me to keep trying. I kept reaching for it but it was stuck and I couldn’t get it out. Then… I decided to do something different. I moved the door to look behind it. As I moved the door the puzzle piece appeared. I GOT IT! I quickly picked it up. I was so happy and so proud that I got it all by myself. I love when I figure something out by myself.

Until next month…

Lots of smiles, Josh

I hope you enjoyed Josh’s 15th month story. It raises an important point – giving our children opportunities to figure things out by themselves. Most of the time your child just needs encouraging support. And they are happy to keep trying to solve the problem.

Look out for more stories in the monthly activities posts.

Sensory Play for a Healthy Sensory Lifestyle

As your toddler grows they will continue to test their environment. As they experiment, their body gets stronger, more coordinated and their senses become more integrated.

To support their growth and development, sometimes, we need to control our involvement. Step back and don’t interfere every time you see your child struggle. If they are safe, try to stop and observe. So much learning happens as they try to problem solve. Support and encourage them when they are frustrated. Wait to see if they can figure out their problem. Wait until they ask for help.

Below are my top 10 sensory activities for your 15th month old toddler. They will give them more opportunities to continue to experiment and develop new skills. As always these sensory activities have been tried and tested.

1. Let’s get sticky with Contact Paper

Sticking colored paper onto contact paper

Skills developed Targeted senses
Eye-hand coordination; strengthening of the muscles in their wrist, which are essential for many fine motor skills such as writing. Visual; tactile and proprioceptive.

How to play:

Stick contact paper (sticky side up) onto a wall. High enough to have your toddler standing next to it. Now the fun part begins. Have your toddler stick pieces of anything they can find onto it. In my house we used tissue paper or cellophane paper. You can even get your toddler to rip the paper first and then stick it on. My son also enjoyed pulling the paper off after he stuck it on.

2. Painting with water

This is a perfect sensory activity for those warm summer days.

Skills developed Targeted senses
Strengthening of the small muscles in their hands. Visual; auditory; tactile; vestibular and proprioceptive.

How to play:

Equipment: Bucket or a container of water, brushes, sponges, mops or anything else that can hold water when submerged.

Best places to play are either on a concrete or wooden surface. Simply let your toddler submerge the ‘paintbrush’ of their choice and then ‘paint’ with it on the wooden or concrete surface. Your toddler will love watching the marks that they make and then watch them dry out.

3. Doodle Fun

Have fun with writing instruments. This can include drawing with crayons, markers or paint. The primary goal is to have fun! It’s not about drawing perfect lines. It is about learning the cause and effect, scribbling and starting to get familiar with how to hold a writing instrument. You can encourage them to draw horizontal and vertical lines but it’s ok if they won’t do it yet.

Below are pictures of typical grasp patterns. Top two grasps (Palmar-Supinate Grasp and Digital-Pronate Grasp) is what you will most likely see from your toddler.

pencil grasp types

 

Skills developed How to play
Fine motor skills and eye-hand coordination. Give them paper, a crayon and let them scribble!

OT (Occupational Therapist) Tips

  • Location of the paper: You can place the paper flat on the table or on the floor. Another way is to tape it onto the wall. Working on a vertical surface strengthens muscles in the shoulders and in the wrist. Those are important for many fine motor skills such as writing and cutting.
  • Encourage your child to hold on to the paper with the other hand. This encourages bilateral integration (use of two hands).
  • If using crayons consider breaking them in half. Drawing with smaller crayons encourages the child to hold the crayon with fingers versus a fist.

4. Laundry basket play

Here are some ideas of how you can turn your household item into a versatile toy:

  • Fill and empty games. You might have noticed that your toddler enjoys placing things into containers and then emptying them. The same principle applies to the laundry basket. Your toddler can place things into it and then take them out. They can collect toys or other household items, or pull out a pile of clothing that you have just folded. Depending on the object/s being moved, it will strengthen their upper body and eye-hand coordination.
  • Pushing and pulling games. Once the basket is full, your toddler can entertain them self by pushing and pulling it around the house. This is not only a great strengthening activity but it also stimulates the proprioceptive sense.
  • Climbing in and out. Your toddler can strengthen their gross motor skills and gain better body awareness by climbing in and out of a basket.
  • Target practice. A great way to practice eye-hand coordination is by using the laundry basket as a target throwing activity. They can throw balls or bean bags into it. Try to avoid having them stand right next to the basket.
  • Soccer game. While placing the laundry basket on its side your toddler can practice their kicking skills by trying to kick a goal. This is a great activity for foot-eye coordination as well as developing their balance skills.

5. Fun with Clothes Pegs

 

Boy pulling pegs off

Skills developed Targeted senses
Fine motor skills and eye-hand coordination. Visual; tactile and proprioceptive.

How to play:

The main goal of the game is for your child to pull off pinned clothes pegs. Where you place them it’s completely up to you. You can pin them onto edges of boxes, pin them onto your toddlers toys or even your toddlers clothes.

One day, my husband got excited with this activity. I was cooking in the kitchen and in comes my toddler with the biggest smile. He had clothes pegs attached to each piece of his clothing. My husband got so excited he pinned his shirt, pants and even socks! Josh had a blast trying to take them all off.

OT (Occupational Therapist) Tip

Your child might use different grasps to pull off the pegs. If possible try to encourage them to use their pincer grip (using thumb and index finger) to take them off.

6. Container object wriggle (aka pom pom wriggle)

Putting pom pom into a bottle

Skills developed Targeted senses
Fine motor skills and eye- hand coordination. Visual; tactile and proprioceptive.

How to play:

There are many variations of this game. The goal is to develop the above skills by putting small objects such as a pellet, pom poms, or beads into a container. The container can be an empty drink bottle or a small cardboard box, such as a shoe box with a cut out hole.

The smaller the opening, the more challenging the task. To ensure the activity is fun, create a balance between the task being challenging and also doable.

7. Suspended balloon

 

Suspended balloon

Skills developed Targeted senses
Eye-hand coordination. Visual; tactile and proprioceptive.

How to play:

Suspend a balloon from a ceiling. Your toddler can have fun batting the balloon and watch as it flies. See it fly low as he lightly hits it and high as he bats it with all his force. For a bat you can cut a pool noodle into a shorter piece. Your toddler might even like to use a variety of kitchen utensils such as a whisk or a wooden spoon.

8. Indoor obstacle course

Get ready to make your house messy. Pull out your pillows, cushions, blankets, tables and boxes! Now it is time to set up an obstacle course around your house. Try to match the complexity of the obstacle course with your child’s skill level. Make sure there is some challenge to improve on their skills while keeping it fun. Obstacle courses are a great opportunity to work on concepts such as under, over, through, in and out.

As they maneuver through the obstacle course, they will develop many skills. Some of which include: improved balance, strengthening of their upper body, improved body awareness, improved motor planning and improved coordination of both sides of their body. Give it a try.

How to play:

The obstacle course should give your toddler the opportunity to walk on uneven surfaces (blankets, pillows), crawl or climb up and down (couches or tables). You can use yourself as a speed hump then once climbed on, you can turn into a tickle monster! Get your toddler to crawl under the tables or through tunnels made from hanging sheets or open boxes. They can also climb in and out of boxes.

OT (Occupational Therapist) Tip

Try to give the obstacle course a purpose. It can be as simple as climbing onto a couch to get their favorite toy. Using their favorite songs can also motivate to complete a more challenging task.

9. Catch me if you can!

Quite simple. Play “chase” with your toddler around the house, playground or anywhere else outdoors. Depending on your toddlers walking or running skills this can be also done with crawling. But this will mean that you also have to get down on all fours to play.

Warning: your child might laugh hysterically!

Also remember to make sure to chase them. Just make sure the area is safe i.e. there are not too many obstacles to reduce tripping hazards.

10. Exploring the outdoors

 

Playing in the river

This is a must! The opportunities for experiences and growth are endless. Whether it’s a park, playground or a beach. Every sensory system will benefit. As their sensory system develops, they strengthen all their skills including fine and gross motor skills. Check out my post on Exploring the outdoors for specific play ideas.

Summary

There you have it. My top 10 Sensory Activities for your 15 month old toddler. These are bound to spark up other ideas. Let me know what activities you have tried in the comments section below.

Remember: Each baby develops at their own pace. If your child is not ready or not interested in these month’s activities, just try them again in a few weeks.

~ Urszula

Disclaimer: The activities in this blog are intended for sensory play. They are not a replacement for treatment of children with Sensory Processing Disorder, are not medical advice and should not be used in place of the care of a medical doctor or other qualified healthcare professional. These activities should be facilitated and supervised by an adult. All activities are to be performed at your own risk and in no event shall Sensory Lifestyle be liable for any damages.

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