Gak Recipe

Gak Recipe

Gak

Ingredients

  • 8 oz of Elmer’s Glue
  • 8 oz of warm water
  • Food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon Borax
  • 1/2 cup of warm water

What to do

  1. Mix glue and water in a bowl
  2. Add the food coloring and mix it in
  3. In a separate bowl using a spoon mix 1/2 cup of warm water and Borax
  4. Once the Borax has dissolved add this mixture into the glue mixture
  5. Mix first with the spoon. Once the mixture is combined knead with your hands until you have finished forming Gak
  6. Have fun!

 

For ideas on how to play with Gak and a list of skills your child is working on check out the Weekend Sensory Play Time post.

Enjoy!

~ Urszula

Month 7: Top 10 Sensory Activities for your 7 month old

Month 7: Top 10 Sensory Activities for your 7 month old

Josh’s 7 month story:

V (Gogh) once said, “I dream of painting and then I paint my dream.”. Today is the day! After a long drive we arrive at a secret location I cannot disclose. Mom ferries me to the back of the house where I spot the gang already engaged. But, then… it catches my eyes.. shinning among the crew. A BIIIGGGG tarp on the floor with paper and jugs of color. Its as though the curvature of spacetime is pulling me towards it.. not before long I’m yanked by another force, mommy force! The force is strong in this one.. Then like magic I’m pronto stripped down to bare essentials. Yikes! Ok ok, its fine.. because the jugs of color are finally in front of me.

There’s some mystery around these jugs of color.. V said, “What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?”.. So here goes. I stick my hand into the purple jug. It feels cold, slimy and sticky. When I remove my hand its still there! “Oh no!”, I try to take it off by rubbing it all over my leg. “Oh good, it’s coming off”. Once it’s off I have this urge to try it again and again. I think this is painting. I must confess it feels great! Now I know what Picasso meant when he said “Give me a museum and I’ll fill it.”… give me color and paper and I’ll fill it 🙂

Until next month…

Lots of smiles, Josh

What to expect from your 7 month old

By 7 months your baby is becoming more independent and moving about. Here are a few things that you may see your 7 month old do:

  • Moving about: Your baby has probably figured out a way to move around. They may creep, scoot, roll from place to place or crawl. They may also do a combination of all four.
  • You may also notice your baby rise up on hands and knees and rock back and forth.
  • Your baby can now sit unassisted.
  • While sitting they can reach and pick up toys.
  • Leg strength is increasing as they can hold themselves up while supported.
  • Communication: Your baby should be making a lot of different sounds from babbling, blowing bubbles or raspberries or constants such as ma ma, da da, etc.
  • You may also see lots of facial expressions from your little one.

Sensory Activities for a Healthy Sensory Lifestyle

During this month as your baby is trying to explore their environment, try to find plenty of opportunities to continue encouraging your baby’s mobility, creativity, and curiosity. Hopefully the below ideas will provide you with a good place to start.

1. Messy Play: Baby safe paint

Messy paint

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Body awareness and hand eye coordination Tactile senses

How to play:

This is such a fun game to do with your little one. You can do this activity either outside or inside. Either way is best to put some kind of a splash mat under them to limit the mess. I also recommend keeping your baby in their diaper to let them explore the paint freely without you freaking out about their clothes getting dirty. This is completely up to you though.

Once the prep is done simply sit them on to the mat with the paint in front of them and let them explore. They may approach it head on and jump into exploring the paint or they may be slow to explore. Either is fine. If they are slow to explore just provide some encouragement by showing them it’s ok to play in the paint.

Edible Paint Recipe:

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of corn starch
  • 1 cup of cold water
  • 4 cups of boiling water
  • Food coloring

What to do

  1. Mix corn starch with the cold water.
  2. Slowly mix in the boiling water. Keep stirring until you reach custard like consistency. If the consistency doesn’t become custard like, add some more corn starch to thicken it up.
  3. Separate into individual containers and add food coloring.

2. Bubbles

Bubbles at 7 months

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Visual tracking, hand eye coordination Visual and tactile senses

How to play:

This is a great way to stimulate your baby’s visual and tactile senses as well as encourage movement.

Simply blow the bubbles towards your baby. Your baby’s eyes will follow them as they float and fly in all directions. This is also a fun tactile experience that can get them laughing or surprise them as the bubbles pop on their arms, legs or even face. As they turn to look at the bubbles they may be encouraged to try to catch them and move towards them.

3. Driving with your baby

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Body awareness and strength building of the core and neck muscles Visual, auditory and vestibular senses

How to Play:

Here is a fun interactive song for your baby. Sit your baby on your lap either facing you or away from you. Hold them at their hips as you sing the following song:

A Smooth Road To London Town

A smooth road to London town
A smooth road to London town
The road goes up and the road goes down
A smooth road to London town
But … by and by we come to a dell
There the roads are not so swell
A bumpy road, a bumpy road, a bumpy road to London town
A smooth road to London town
A smooth road to London town
The road goes up and the road goes down
A smooth road to London town
But… by and by we come to a wood
And there the roads are not so good
A rough road, a rough road, a rough road to London town.

Make sure when you sing:

  • Smooth road: you slowly sway your baby side to side
  • Bumpy road: you bounce them gently on your lap
  • Rough road: bounce them a little harder. Ensure you watch for your baby’s comfort level and don’t bounce them too hard. You can also gently guide them to fall off your lap and land on the floor.

If you haven’t heard this song before here is a link to a you tube video of the song by the Pasadena Public Library https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mRX6reh4BnU

4. Beach ball fun

Balance ball

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Body awareness and strength (upper body and core) Vestibular and proprioceptive senses

How to play:

All you need is a large enough ball so your baby can lay on top of it without being able to touch the ground. I like the smaller sized beach balls.

There are lots of things you can do with this ball. The usual things include your baby grasping it and then throwing or letting it go. You can also let your baby roll on top of the ball. To complete this, place your baby’s tummy on the top of the ball while supporting them at their hips. Then slowly move them forward until their hands touch the floor. This is great to build some upper body strength as they put pressure through the joints in their hands, elbows and shoulders. They will also be strengthening their core muscles as they keep their heads up while rolling on the ball.

5. Fishing

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Hand eye coordination, grasping & reaching skills Tactile and proprioceptive (inside the mouth) senses

How to play:

This is a fun game of fishing out objects that can be explored through the use of their hands and mouth. To get started, place a few inches of water into a container. It’s usually better to use containers that are wider rather then taller. This will make sure that your baby is able to easily reach into it. Then place some chewy toys in it. Most popular objects to put in are a variety of chewy rings.

Have fun as your baby splashes through the water and fishes out the rings that they can then explore with their hands and mouth.

6. Gym session

Plank

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Upper body strength Proprioceptive sense

How to play:

As your little ones start to transition from tummy time it might be time to start them on baby pushups. You heard me right. Baby push ups! This will strengthen that upper body to help with crawling. How to get your baby to do a push up? Well, while your baby is on their tummy, move their favorite toy above their head or kneel in front of them and make funny sounds. You want to try to get them to look up and lift up their chest off their floor. Your baby may even impress you by doing a plank.

7. Crawling games

Crawling tunnel

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Moving around (Scooting, creeping or crawling) Tactile and proprioceptive senses

How to play:

After your baby has completed their gym session it’s time to get them moving around. Get down on all fours and get moving with your baby. To encourage your baby’s movement you can try to get them moving towards their favorite toys, get them moving towards you or through tunnels.

Let them explore their environment as their try to move from one place to the next.

8. Tactile play through textures

Texture fun

Tactile games are so much fun and very beneficial for sensory processing.

They help build a foundation for many developmental milestones such as fine and gross motor skills. They also support visual perceptual  (interpretation of what we are seeing) and visual motor skills (hand eye coordination) development.

How to play:

During this activity I encourage you to let your baby explore different textures through the use their whole body.

Best way is to lay down a variety of different textured fabrics or toys around them and let them explore. It can also encourage extra mobility to get hold of different textures or objects.

9. Nursery Rhymes sing- a- long

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Visual tracking and language skills Auditory and visual senses

How to play:

Singing nursery rhymes has many benefits. The most important benefit that has been reported by many experts is language development. The rhythm of the songs and the rhymes helps to prepare your baby’s brain for language and communication.

“Song is a special type of speech. Lullabies, songs and rhymes of every culture carry the ‘signature’ melodies and inflections of a mother tongue, preparing a child’s ear, voice and brain for language.” Blythe, The Genius of Natural Childhood. (link)

So pick up some of your favorite nursery rhymes and get singing to your baby. You can choose from some of the favorites such as: Itsy-bitsy spider, I’m a little tea pot, Humpty dumpty, The wheels on the bus etc.

If you are having a hard time coming up with ideas just do a google search and you’ll get endless options.

10. Explore the outdoors

Outside play

You will notice that I am a huge advocate of outside play and exploration. It is a great way to enrich your baby’s experiences and give them opportunities to use ALL of their senses.

As your little one has become more mobile their exploration also differs. So make sure you give them the opportunity to move around on the grass or play around in the sand.

Let them touch and play with flowers, leaves, grass or sand. Just remember to supervise closely so they don’t stick anything unsafe in their mouth.

Summary:

So there you have it. My top 10 Sensory Activities for your 7 month old that you can do today to help their development.

These are just a few activities that are bound to spark other ideas. Just remember that every new sensory experience is helping your child’s growth and development.

Remember: Each baby develops at their own pace. If your child is not ready or not interested in these months’ 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.

❮ 6 month activities < 8 month activities ❯
Halloween Activities 

Halloween Activities 

Halloween Pumpkin

 

In the spirit of Halloween I have included my Top 10 Halloween themed Sensory Activities. These Halloween activities are for all ages. Younger participants might however require some assistance from an adult. Have fun!

1. Spooky Jell-O

Spooky jell-o

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Fine motor skills and hand eye coordination skills Tactile, olfactory (smell) and visual senses

How to Play

Equipment needed: Jell-O and any small Halloween related creatures or objects. Dollar stores are great to get stocked up.

First make the Jell-O according to the instructions on the packet. Before it sets, you should place your objects into the Jell-O. You can choose to cool it in a shallow container.  This will help spread the light weight objects that tend to float to the top.

You can also choose to cool off the Jell-O in layers. This will ensure that all the objects are spread out throughout the entire Jell-0.

Once cooled, place the Jell-O onto a tray. Then, let your child’s hands or feet explore and find all the hidden Halloween objects.

2. Monster Mash

Monster mash

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Fine motor development (hand strengthening, pincer grasp, finger isolation), hand eye coordination and bilateral coordination. Tactile and proprioception senses

How to Play

Play dough is very versatile with endless ideas on how to play with it. For our Halloween play dough fun you can start with any of the following ideas:

  • Hide & Seek Monster Mash:
    • Pick up Halloween objects that can be incorporated into the fun play. Many stores have great collections of googly eyes, bugs, ghosts, skeletons, bats etc.
    • Have some fun hiding objects into the mash. They can include googly eyes, or small plastic bugs.
    • Once everything is well hidden they can start digging through it and pull them all out.
  • Guess who?:
    • Some kids may enjoy creating Halloween themed objects from the play dough. Kids can make a ghost, spider, spider web, pumpkin or anything else related to Halloween.
  • Monster’s dinner:
    • Take out your toy utensil and plate set and have some fun creating a spooky dinner from all the mash. Maybe some eyeballs & worms are on the menu or crispy fingers. Let your imagination run wild.
  • Dessert time:
    • Using Halloween themed cookie cutters you children can make some fun desserts
  • Monster fun:
    • See how many different monsters your child can make. You can use googly eyes, pipe cleaners, wiki stix  etc .

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. Haunted House: Indoor obstacle course with the use of the flashlight.

 

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

How to Play

Equipment needed: This list is flexible.  You can pull out pillows, cushions, blankets, tables, chairs and boxes.  If available, you can hang up bats, spiders or ghosts to add to the spooky feeling.

Occupational Therapy Tip

When setting up an obstacle course, try to match its complexity to 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.

Try to give the obstacle course a purpose. This could be a rescue mission. Your child’s toys have been taken and hidden all around the ‘haunted house’. It is their mission to find them all.

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

Maybe create a spider web.  You can use yarn to create it and your child has to maneuver through it and be careful not to get caught by the spider.

First complete the course in daylight. Once the daylight obstacle course has been mastered, you can repeat it in the dark. You can use a flashlight to help guide their way. Have fun!

4. Spooky bowling

Spooky Bowling

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Motor planning (ability to conceptualize, plan and carry out an unfamiliar task), balance and hand eye coordination. Vestibular, visual, proprioceptive and tactile senses

How to Play

To stay within the Halloween theme first we need to make some spooky bowling pins.

Equipment needed: Empty soda bottles or aluminum cans, construction paper of various colors,  marker and glue.

To make a spooky bowling set you should first decide what your bowling pins are going to be. Is it going to be a zombie, a ghost, a jack-o’-lantern, a witch etc.

Then start decorating and voila!!

Once the spooky bowling pins are made, you can play bowling.

Occupational Therapy tip

There are various ways to play bowling. Don’t only get stuck on the traditional bowling strategy. Try knocking down the pins while lying down or kicking with your feet. What about standing backwards, bending down and while your head is between your knees roll the ball to knock the pins down.

5. Zombie’s lunch

Zombie's lunch

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Fine motor skills and hand eye coordination skills Tactile and visual senses

How to Play

This is a game through which another texture can be explored.

Once you complete the slime (see below recipe) hide some plastic spiders in it. Your child can explore the slime by pulling out the spiders. Then they can continue to explore and experiment with its texture.

Slime Recipe:

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoon borax powder
  • 1 1/2 cups water, divided
  • 4 oz Elmer’s glue, clear or white
  • Food coloring

Instructions

  1. In a small container add borax powder to 1 cup of warm water and stir to dissolve. Set aside.
  2. In a separate container pour glue and add 1/2 cup of water. Add a few drops of food coloring until desired color is reached and then stir to mix glue solution until smooth.
  3. Pour the borax mixture into the glue mixture. As you stir you will notice solids start to form. After a few moments you can use your hands to gather the mass. The mixture will initially be very soft and wet.
  4. Keep kneading until it firms up and feels dry. Discard excess liquid from your container. The more you knead the slime the firmer it will become.

6. Witch’s brew

Witch's brew

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Fine motor skills, hand eye coordination, bilateral integration (use of two hands) Proprioception, tactile and visual senses

How to Play

Equipment: Large container of water, Halloween decorations (eyeballs, bugs, spiders), dirt or flour, rice, noodles, glitter, spoons, ladles or whatever your child decides he wants to play with in the water bath. Anything goes. A particular favorite is an ice cube in the water bath. To add to the spooky factor you can use food coloring to change color of the frozen water and maybe freeze a bug or two.

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 witch’s brew from one container to the next, fishing out bugs or eyeballs. You can make a more interesting concoction by adding glitter, flour, dirt, rice or anything that your kitchen can spare.

7. Pumpkin painting with drip paint

Drip paint pumpkin

 

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Motor planning (ability to conceptualize, plan and carry out an unfamiliar task), fine motor skills, hand eye coordination, bilateral integration (use of two hands) Proprioception, tactile and visual senses

How to Play

Depending on the age and skill of your child they may be able to do either part or a whole activity.

Step 1: Create a Jack-o’-lantern face on the pumpkin using tape.

Step 2: Make your drip paint. See below recipe.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup of flour
  • ½ cup of salt
  • ¾  cup of water
  • Food coloring
  • Zip lock bags

Instructions:

  1. In a small bowl mix flour and salt together.
  2. Once combined add water. Mix until all ingredients are combined.
  3. Divide the mixture between 4 zip lock bags, then add food coloring to each.
  4. Mix the color in.

Step 3. Now it’s time to transform your pumpkin. Cut a small hole on the end of the zip lock bag and drip the paint over the pumpkin. You will notice the paint oozing from the bag. Repeat with each color. The thicker it is dripped on, the longer it will take to dry.

Step 4.  Once dried, remove the tape to reveal the Jack-o’-Lantern.

8. R.I.P. it up

Pumpkin craft

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Fine motor, bilateral integration (us of two hands) and hand eye coordination. Proprioception, tactile and visual senses.

How to Play

Equipment: Black and orange construction paper, white crayon and glue.

Depending on the age and skill of your child they may be able to do either part or the whole activity.

Step 1: Using the white crayon draw a Jack-o’-Lantern on the black construction paper.

Step 2: Cut the orange construction paper into ½ inch strips.

Step 3: Your child should tear the orange strips and then paste them onto the pumpkin.

 

9. Pumpkin dress up

Pumpkin dress up

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Fine motor, bilateral integration (us of two hands) and hand eye coordination. Proprioception, tactile and visual senses.

How to Play

Pumpkin Decorations: Anything goes here. Glitter, paint, tissue paper, feathers, golf tee etc.

This is aimed to be an open ended activity. Give your child all the decorations and let their creation appear.

For extra challenge and hand strengthening you can use some golf tees. Your child can grab a toy hammer and hammer them into the pumpkin. It can be a funky hair design.

10. The appearing spider web

Appearing spider web

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Fine motor skills, bilateral integration (use of two hands) and hand eye coordination. Proprioception, visual and tactile senses.

How to Play

Depending on the age and skill of your child they may be able to do either part or the whole activity.

Equipment: White paper, white crayon, dark water paint and a paintbrush.

Step 1: Use the white crayon to draw a spider web on the white paper. It will be very hard to see. Depending on your child’s skill level you may provide them with some direction or an example.

Step 2: Now it’s time to paint the picture and watch the spider web appear.

Have fun!

BONUS ACTIVITY

11. Going to a Pumpkin Patch?

Pumpkin Patch

When at the Pumpkin Patch, encourage your child to lift and carry a variety of pumpkins. These are great heavy work activities supporting the proprioceptive sensory system.

Skills Developed Targeted Skills
Balance, motor planning (ability to conceptualize, plan and carry out an unfamiliar task), body awareness, bilateral coordination, hand, arm and shoulder strength, core strength, trunk control and visual skills such as scanning. Vestibular, tactile, proprioceptive and visual senses.

How to play

Simply as they explore the pumpkin patch let them play with the pumpkins. They can lift, carry or push a wheelbarrow full of pumpkins. Anything goes.

Summary

There you have it. My top 10 Halloween Sensory Activities. These are bound to spark up other ideas. Let me know what activities you have tried in the comments section below. Happy Halloween!

~ Urszula

Disclaimer: Adult supervision is recommended for every activity on this blog. All activities are to be performed at your own risk.

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 ❯