Month 22: Top 10 Sensory Activities for your 22 month toddler

Month 22: Top 10 Sensory Activities for your 22 month toddler

Josh’s story:

Uncle… Snow… Car… Uncle!! Yap my uncle rolled into town and we decided to make the most of it. Living in California gives us the luxury to be at the beach one day and at the snow the next. Booyah!

I’ve been warned about this new big word SNOW. Not only how beautiful it is but also how cold it can be and why those mittens must stay on. Like I’m going to listen to my parents 😉 Then we arrived. To Yosemite. And boy was it beautiful. Ok so mum was definitely right about that. I escaped the clutches of the car and made a run for the deepest snow I could see. The snow made this funny crunchy noise under my feet. I heard mum call out something about M but hey it’s SNOW. Let’s play. I dived and buried my hands into the snow. Ohhhh such a strange texture. This is fun. My hands disappeared into the snow. Yippee..

Then it struck me. A cold feeling in my hands. Sharp. Eeekkkk I screeched. I looked back at mum with a concern on my face and only then noticed she was running with MITTENS. Ah! That’s what she was calling out to me for. The mittens to keep my hands warm. Snow is cold. As mum prepped me with mittens I felt a relief, warmth and the pain faded away. That was an experience!

Uncle came running with a device he referred to as the sled. Supposedly it’s an on-demand transport device for the snow. He grabbed me and whisked me away up a hill. Yap as I expected, we were going for a ride in this sled. And boy oh boy was it fun! At the bottom of the hill, I looked up at Uncle and yelled “AGAIN!”

Until next month, Lots of smiles

Josh

Snow day

Sensory Play Activities

1. Explore in nature

Outdoors at 22 months

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Visual perception skills, fine motor skills, gross motor skills and motor planning (ability to conceptualize, plan and carry out an unfamiliar task), body awareness, bilateral coordination and hand eye coordination ALL Senses

How to Play

Outdoors is a whole new playground for your toddler. Make sure you get them on the ground so they can get involved with what they see around.

Make sure you allow plenty of time for exploration and don’t rush them. Remember that for them it’s not about the destination but the journey.

Let them pick up sticks, rocks and examine different leaves. Let them explore the puddles or rivers. Let them climb on tree trunks, observe the bugs, dig holes, practice their balance as they walk across a log or simply run around.

Let them discover the forest and all the amazing things that nature can provide.

2. Colored rice play

Play with rice

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Fine motor skills, hand eye coordination, attention and imagination Visual, tactile and proprioceptive senses

How to Play

Coloring rice is super easy.

  1. Place rice into small plastic containers or a zip lock bag
  2. Add food coloring to each container
  3. Shake, shake, shake to mix up the rice with that color
  4. Open the container and let it dry out
  5. Rice is colored and ready to be played with

Once the rice is ready you can place it into a large plastic container and let your toddler explore and experiment. If you place the rice without mixing the colors they will have fun seeing the colors mix. They will get a new fun sensation on their hands as they swish and swirl and move it all around in different directions.

You can also add a variety of spoons, sticks and containers to the mix. They can fill and dump the rice. Feel the weight in the containers. You can also start to encourage some pretend play. Maybe they will cook you something for dinner?

Let them explore and see what they come up with.

3. Kitchen Fun

Kitchen fun

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Motor skills (fine and gross motor skills), language skills, social skills (if playing with other kids), attention, imagination & creativity Tactile, visual, auditory, vestibular and proprioceptive senses

How to Play

This is a great activity for both girls and boys. It is also a great tool to encourage pretend play. As your toddler continues to develop you will notice that their pretend play gets more complex. It starts off by them imitating you using your phone or brushing their hair. It then becomes more complex as they go off to make some food or put a baby doll to sleep after they’ve changed their diaper.

Having a pretend kitchen allows them to go through many of those stages. Initially they may just play with pots, pans and food. Then later they can start making specific meals. Maybe use the oven or the stove. Whisk, mix, cut and pour their ingredients.

Through this play you can encourage more language use as well as give them a chance to get creative with their play.

Remember: You don’t have to have those fancy, expensive kitchens. You can modify your tables or make the kitchen out of boxes. Anything goes!

4. Stamping

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Hand eye coordination, bilateral coordination, attention and fine motor skills (grasping and manipulating) Tactile and visual senses

How to Play

Set up: To control the mess, place a small damp sponge in a small container and then squirt some paint on it. It’s not necessary but it helps to contain the paint and reduces the slipping of the stamps.

When stamping you can choose any background. It can be a cut out of a leaf, a flower or simply a white background.

There are a variety of stamps available from Dollar Stores and online. You can pick seasonal stamps, animal stamps or character stamps.

Then teach your toddler to place the stamp into the paint and then onto the paper. Once they have grasped the concept let them get creative and come up with their unique art piece.

5. Jumping

Jumping

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Body awareness, balance, coordination, leg strength, motor planning (ability to conceptualize, plan and carry out an unfamiliar task) Vestibular, proprioceptive, visual and tactile senses

How to Play

In order for your toddler to get jumping there are many skills that they have to master. They have to have developed good strength and balance needed to jump without falling. In preparation for this skill you should provide your toddler with opportunities to do lots of climbing on playground structures or on furniture. Get them playing and running on various surfaces such as grass, gravel, sand, mattresses, and so on.

When your toddler is getting ready to practice this skill you may notice them pushing off with only one foot. The jump might look like a very awkward skip instead.

Things you can do to help them practice jumping and gain confidence:

  • Teach them to first bend their knees and propel themselves up as they keep their feet together.
  • Jumping down from small steps such as bottom of the stairs or a curb. You may need to start off by holding their hands when jumping.
  • You may want to let your toddler bounce on the bed or a small trampoline.
  • You can see if your toddler can pretend that they are jumping like a kangaroo, a bunny or a frog. Make sure you play the game with them so they can see what you are asking them to do.

6. Oobleck Fun

Oobleck

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Body awareness (hands) and hand eye coordination skills Tactile senses

How to Play

Looking for some tactile fun to do with your toddler? Look no further… oobleck is here. Oobleck was inspired by the book, Bartholomew and the Oobleck by Dr. Seuss.

It is considered a non-Newtonian fluid. What this means is that you can press it together into a solid ball but it quickly turns into a liquid and can ooze through your hand.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of Corn Starch
  • 1 cup of Water
  • Food coloring (optional)

What to do

  1. In a bowl, combine the corn starch and water.
  2. Once combined, add the food coloring and mix well.

If you are not sure if it is the correct consistency, here is a little hint. You want to be able to make a solid ball in your hand that changes and oozes as soon as you open your hand.

If it’s too dry, add a couple of table spoons of water.

If it’s too wet or runny, add a couple of table spoons of corn starch.

Once it’s ready… let your toddler explore with their hands and maybe add some spoons or sifters/baskets for some extra fun.

If your child does not like to get messy, have towels ready to clean their hands or provide tools that they can use instead of their hands.

Cleaning Tip: Once dry, it can be easily wiped of.

7. Tactile Fish

Tactile fish

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

How to Play

You may have noticed that I started to include a combination of tactile activities that include both edible and non-edible ingredients. I do that so that your toddler starts to learn that some gooey things should not be eaten. Just in case, make sure that all ingredients used are still non toxic.

For this activity I wanted to start using glue. Liquid school glue will do.

I’m not a great artist so I thought that drawing a fish could be quite simple. Hence, the theme for this activity.

Equipment needed: Elmer’s glue, paintbrush, small scraps of material and a picture of a fish (drawn or printed off the internet).

Simply pour some glue onto a small dish. Let your toddler then use the paintbrush to place glue on the fish and then paste the fun, tactile material scraps onto it.

You may need to demonstrate these steps to them first. Have fun and enjoy this fun, tactile art project.

8. Blowing: whistles

There are many benefits to letting your toddler explore a variety of whistles. Through blowing, your toddler gets to work on their oral motor skills. They get to practice 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.

Oral motor activities also have benefits related to speech, feeding, respiration and regulation.

Additionally, whistles that have moving objects on them can encourage visual tracking. We also can’t forget that by playing with whistles your toddler gets to work on their hand skills and hand eye coordination skills.

Some examples of whistles:

Tommy Toot: A great beginner toy as it requires little air to work. It works on both inhales and exhales. It is easy to hold and manipulate.

Ambi Trumpet: Also a great beginner whistle that helps to develop strength in blowing.

Harmonica: Easy to use and withstands biting. Encourages hand use and varied air flow as it produces softer or louder sounds depending on the amount of air flow.

Soft toot train: A fun whistle that makes a nice, mellow train sound. It also withstands biting for those toddlers learning to use a whistle or who need extra stability through the jaw. This whistle also encourages grading of air flow as it produces changes in tone and volume.

The canary whistle: One of my sons favorite whistles. It makes a fun sound and movement that is reinforcing. As the bird moves in the cage it encourages visual tracking. If you pull on the red stick it also changes the sound and encourages hand eye coordination.

Kazoo: A great toy that produces vibration from the humming which stimulates the lips. As the kazoo works differently from the traditional whistle. you may need to demonstrate its use to your toddler. A great strategy is to start to hum and then put the kazoo to your mouth and keep humming. You can even let them touch it and they will feel the vibration.

9. Hitting a suspended balloon

Suspended balloon play

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Hand eye coordination, motor planning and visual skills Visual senses

How to Play

A great activity to develop your toddler’s hand eye coordination skills. Simply tie a balloon to a long string and attach it to the ceiling. I used a removable wall hook but you can also use masking tape.

Then give your toddler a bat and let them swing away. I used a small piece of a pool noodle as a bat.

10. Window art

Window art

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Fine motor skills (grasping of a writing tool), hand eye coordination, understanding directionality concepts (awareness of spatial position such as right, left, up and down) Tactile, visual and proprioceptive senses

How to Play

At this age you don’t really have to worry about making sure they do a lot of drawing activities that include writing instruments. All the activities in this blog are building the required foundations for writing skills. Activities from climbing playground structures develop the strong core required for proper sitting at the table. Manipulating activities with beads, pegs and all the tactile activities assist with developing great hand skills required for writing.

It is fun however from time to time to pull out some writing instruments so your toddlers get a chance to experiment. Of course the frequency may also depend on your toddler’s interest. Just follow their lead and don’t force them to do anything they are not ready to do. Remember, you want to make sure this is fun to them.

For some variety from the standard paper on the table activity, I decided to shake it up a bit. This activity is done on a vertical surface (window) and your toddler can draw using window crayons.

Occupational Therapy Tips:

  • Working on a vertical surface, such as a window in this case, strengthens muscles in your toddler’s shoulders and wrist. Those are important for many fine motor skills such as writing and cutting.
  • Your toddler may be ready to imitate forming lines (vertical & horizontal) and scribbling in circular directions.
  • Use directionality words when drawing these such as up, down, and round and round.
  • You can use your voice or songs to help children with forming these lines.
    • You can use “The wheels on the bus go round and round” when drawing in circular direction, or
    • “Let’s draw some rain! Start at the top and go down, down, down” when drawing vertical lines, or
    • “Let’s draw a train! Chugga, chugga , chugga… choo choo” when drawing horizontal lines

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

pencil grasp types

Summary

There you have it. My top 10 Sensory Activities for your 22 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 toddler 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.

❮ 21 month activities < 23 month activities ❯
Month 14: Top 10 Sensory Activities for your 14 month old

Month 14: Top 10 Sensory Activities for your 14 month old

Hello everyone!! It’s Josh again! I’m 14 months old now. This month has been lots of fun! I have been closely watching my parents. They have so much fun doing things around the house that I have decided to imitate them. I enjoy cooking, sweeping and vacuuming. I also love to climb … onto things, into things and over things. Baskets, boxes, tables, chairs, cushions, couches are a few of my favorite toys. Going outside is also so much fun! I take my push cart along. It’s fun picking up rocks and sticks and taking them for a ride.

Until next month…

Lots of smiles, Josh

I hope you enjoyed Josh’s 14th month story. I send these monthly updates to our family in Australia. Look out for more stories in the monthly activities posts.

Raking in the garden

Sensory Play for a Healthy Sensory Lifestyle

With each day your toddler is becoming more independent. You can finally start being more productive during the day. Doing some of your own work. But when playing with your toddler, don’t forget to slow down and always be in the moment. Be present when playing and interacting with them. This will not only strengthen your bond but also build some amazing memories.

Here are my top 10 sensory activities for your 14 month old toddler.
As always, these activities have been tried-and-tested.

Top 10 sensory activities

1. Exploring the outdoors

This one is a must! So much to see and so much to do. The opportunities for sensory experiences and growth are endless. Get your toddler out from the carrier or a stroller onto the ground to explore. Whether it’s at a park, a playground or a beach. The sensory system will be fed with lots of ‘sensory food’ from the environment. Check out my post on exploring the outdoors for specific play ideas.

2. Pushing games

 

Pushing cart

You might have noticed your toddler’s interest in pushing and pulling things. It doesn’t matter if it’s a stroller, a cart or a wagon. If it can be pushed or pulled then it’s a hit. If your toddler is learning how to walk this activity can help them get steadier on their feet. If your child is a more confident walker you can let them explore pushing on different surfaces. It can range from grass, sand, tin bark or uneven dirt. Pushing will help them: scan their environment, avoid obstacles and maneuver around them.

A push toy is also great at practicing squatting. You can encourage this skill by placing motivating objects on the ground. As your child pushes their toy they can bend down and pick those items up and place them in their push toy. It can be a doll that’s picked up and placed into a stroller or a rock placed into a wagon. Follow your child’s lead and you will find out what motivates them.

 3. Pulling games

This task is more complicated than pushing. It involves your toddler holding their arm behind them. Instead of just looking forward he will also need to look back to make sure his toy is still there. There are many pull toys on the market but you can also make your own. One of our favorites in the house was pulling along a balloon on a string. My son loved pulling it along behind him when walking or crawling up onto the furniture to see what the balloon would do. The excitement was long lasting and fun to watch. Make sure you supervise your child at all times during this activity as strings pose a strangulation risk!

4. Fun with Blocks

Let’s pull out those blocks and have some fun! Bigger blocks are better, but are not necessary.

Skills developed

Targeted senses

Hand eye coordination, fine motor skills and language skills. Visual, auditory, tactile, proprioceptive and vestibular (as your toddler moves from lying, to sitting, to standing positions).

How to play

Get down on the floor with your toddler. Start simple. Build a tower or a wall. Describe what you do. ‘I’m building a tower… let’s put the yellow block on top of the blue block… going higher and higher’. Then comes the fun part – demolition! Your toddler might start on the demolition part before you get to your third block. No problem. Start the process again. As much as your toddler will love destroying your creation encourage him to also stack the blocks with you.

5. Experimenting with weight

Carrying heavy bucket

This is another sensory activity where you can let your imagination run wild. Also follow your child’s lead as they might have some fun tips on how to play.

Skills developed

Targeted Senses

 Strengthening of upper body, including shoulders, arms and hands. While using objects of various weights their proprioceptive sense gets a workout.

How to play

Filling buckets with water or sand and carrying them from one location to the next. You can get your toddler to help you out with your groceries. My son loves picking up bags of potatoes and relocating them to another location in the house. Pushing or pulling a full laundry basket is another one. Maybe filling an empty box or carrying those massive body wash bottles around.

6. Mirror mirror on the wall who’s the funniest of them all?

Skills developed

Targeted senses

Body awareness: knowing where our body is in space and motor planning: this involves planning what to do and how to do it. Visual, auditory, proprioceptive and vestibular senses.

How to play

This is an imitation game. Best to play when you are sitting opposite each other (high chair or floor), or in front of the mirror. Take turns in imitating each other. You can start by sticking out your tongue or raising your hands high above your head. When they copy you cheer them up. The possibilities are endless. Have fun with it, be silly! Your toddler might end up just laughing but that’s ok. Then you swap and copy him. He might be quite surprised to see what you are trying to do.

7. Ripping games

Skills developed

Targeted senses

Fine motor skills, strengthening of the hand muscles, hand eye coordination, bilateral coordination (ability to coordinate both hands). Visual, auditory, tactile and proprioceptive senses.

How to play

Let your toddler free and allow them to rip paper. Any paper will do: construction paper; tissue paper; magazines; newspapers. Anything goes. If you toddler is having a hard time you can help them out by starting a small rip and then letting them follow through to the end. You can then have fun picking up the pieces and throwing them into the trash.

8. Bubble Fun

Who doesn’t love bubbles. They are so much fun!

Skills developed

Targeted senses

Hand eye coordination, foot eye coordination, balance.  Visual, tactile and vestibular senses.

How to play

You can start blowing bubbles and have your little one pop them. They can use their finger or their hand. Also encourage them to use their feet to stomp them. This will also help with their balance. While popping bubbles you can sing songs or play music. If you are outside they may need to do a little more chasing around.

9. Messy Play

Playing in jelly Playing with noodles

The main goal of this sensory activity is to explore different textures and stimulate the tactile system. Textures can be soft, hard, slimy, slippery, wet or dry. Your toddler can explore with their hands or even feet. Stomping their feet through mess can be fun. They may even try putting things in their mouth. That is why I would recommend playing with only non-toxic items. Edible items are best.

Ideas for messy play can include jelly, flour, noodles, quinoa, soft foods (avocado, banana, sweet potatoes), pudding, cheerios etc.

How to play:

  1. Choose location and container. The mess can be spread through a bathtub, a plastic container or a small plastic kiddie pool.
  2. Choose the ‘messy’ item. You can pick from any of my ideas listed above or come up with your own.
  3. You can add to the fun by giving them cups or spoons. They can fill and dump. You can also hide things such as small plastic animals and they have to dig through to find them.
  4. Clean up. Make sure to involve your toddler in the process.

10. Bath time fun with sponges

Skills developed

Targeted senses

Strengthening the small muscles in their hands, hand eye coordination.  Tactile, visual, auditory and proprioceptive.

How to play

You can use kitchen sponges for this activity. Cut them into halves or into different shapes (circle, square or a triangle). Show your toddler how to sink them, watch them fill up with water and then use those hands to squeeze the water out. You can vary the activity by squeezing the water out and letting it flow into a container. They can squeeze the sponge against the wall and watch the water flow down.

Summary

There you have it. My top 10 Sensory Activities for your 14 month old toddler. Many exciting activities you can do today to help your child develop better.

These are 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 this months’ activities, just try them again in a few weeks.

For feedback or further questions please leave a comment below.

~ 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.

❮ 13 month activities 15 month activities ❯