Month 19: Top 10 Sensory Activities for your 19 month old

Month 19: Top 10 Sensory Activities for your 19 month old

The day was young … mom lead me through a forrest towered by giants, the sequoias. Big things lay ahead of me. This was going to be a big day for me. As the trees cleared I saw it… it called for me from a distance… come Joshua… pour some water on me… and splash!

A sense of urgency filled my veins as I started to bob up and down pulling mom forwards the play area. I saw kids pouring water onto the dirt and.. basically.. yeah.. splashing in it.
splash-bubble-2
We quickly arrived and I poured the water onto some dirt. Splash!… I emptied my whole bucket. ‘More please!’ I told my mom. She didn’t hesitate and poured some more. Yay!… Splash! This time I left some water behind.
Ok… now this looks interesting. Let me see what I created here. It’s wet, brown, cold…. Feels slimy between my fingers. ‘You made mud’ said mom. Mud… hmmm… interesting concept; one would wonder if a mud monster was in the making. Let me see how it feels on my feet. Squishy. I like it! Splash! Take that you mud monster. Oh wait…
I see my mom grab a stick and make a long tunnel. ‘Pour some water here’. Ok… here we go. Splash! Oh wow! It’s a river!
I grab the closest stick to me and try to make more rivers. Now I have mud on my stick. Let’s put it on some rocks, maybe the tree. It sticks to them. I like mud!
I see mom making some mud balls. Off I go to try.
See you all next month.
Lots of smiles, Josh

Tactile games are beneficial for sensory processing.  They help build a foundation for many developmental milestones.

Tactile play supports the development of many fine motor skills. It also supports visual perceptual  (interpretation of what we are seeing) and visual motor skills (hand eye coordination) development.

Tactile exploration through the use of the whole body assists in body awareness. This supports the development of gross motor skills.

As you can see with Josh’s story it can also encourage creativity and problem solving, which supports cognitive development.

Below I have included my top 10 sensory activities for your 19-month toddler. Within them are also activities focusing on tactile play.

As always, these activities have been tried and tested. Enjoy!

Sensory Play Activities

1. Playing in the mud

Playing in the mud

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

How to play:

One of my favorite memories as a child was playing in the mud. I remember filling buckets of water and pouring them onto the dirt and watching it turn into mud. The fun could last for hours.

It’s time to get your toddlers introduced to this fun and super messy activity.

Getting ready: To make this fun for your toddler and painless for you, here are few things you will need:

  • Change of clothes in case your toddler gets super excited
  • Water to wash the dirt off
  • You can bring some sand toys that can add to the fun
  • Water! Lots of water to help with the mud creation
  • Find a spot of dry dirt that your toddler can play in and create mud

You can start your toddler off by showing them what happens when you pour water onto dirt. Encourage them to interact with it. They can use sticks, their hands or their feet to mix the water and the dirt. Give them the opportunity to also:

  • Pour water onto dirt
  • Swish it around
  • Make it into balls
  • Paint a rock with dirt
  • Make a river by using a stick and pouring water in to the groove
  • Stick mud onto rocks, tress etc
  • Make mud pies
  • Create their own ideas

2. Outdoor treasure hunt

Treasure hunt

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Fine motor skills, hand eye coordination and visual perception Tactile, proprioceptive and vestibular senses

How to play:

Going on a treasure hunt while outdoors is lots of fun. Give your toddler a bucket and start collecting. You can collect sticks, leaves, stones, flowers, grass, acorns etc. While collecting you can talk about the characteristics of the items collected. You can smell them, try to break them into smaller pieces etc.

To make it more challenging you can give them an egg carton and they only have to collect items that fit into it.

Once you have finished collecting your treasures you can either throw them away or save them for a project. Sticking them onto contact paper is one idea.

3. Edible water beads

Josh with water beads

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

How to play:

Equipment: I love water beads however I was looking for a more edible alternative. Then I came across Boba pearls. They are tapioca balls used in a popular Taiwanese drink and easily available on amazon.  For a variety of colors I would recommend the rainbow boba. If you follow the instructions they are ready within 5 minutes.

Once they are cooked and cooled they are ready to be enjoyed. I added some food dye to part of them for extra color.

If used without water you will get a little bit of a sticky play experience. If used with water it will be a little more slippery play experience.

Here are some ideas of what you can do with these water beads:

  • Explore with hands
  • Explore with feet
  • Squish them
  • Place in a container of water
  • Add shaving cream
  • Scoop into smaller containers using spoons or other kitchen utensils
  • Sort into muffin tin
  • Manipulate with kids buckets, shovels, sifters etc.

Found another fun activity you can do with these little beads? Leave me a comment below.

4. Color fun

Painting with baster

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

How to play:

Equipment: Pipette/dropper/baster, paper towels/coffee filters, food coloring, small containers with water and tray.

Step 1: Cut paper towel into desired shape. Since the fall season just started I decided to cut ours into a leaf.

Step 2: Add a few drops of food dye into water.

Step 3: Show your toddler how to squeeze the bulb and slowly release it into the water to draw up the liquid. Then have them squeeze it out onto the paper towel/coffee filter. It might take few tries for them to get it.

Step 4:  Continue until fully covered. Then let it dry before picking it up as it may tear into pieces.

Enjoy the colorful leaves or whatever design you decide on.

Occupational Therapy Tip: If your toddler is having a difficult time using the dropper or a pipette try using a baster instead. They are larger in size and easier to be manipulated by little hands.

5. Painting with fruit

Painting with fruit

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Fine motor skills, bilateral coordination and hand eye coordination. They can also learn about colors. Tactile, olfactory (smell) and gustatory (taste) senses.

How to play:

I decided to use orange, lemon and lime for this activity. Feel free to modify the fruit or vegetables you use.

Place some paint (orange, yellow and green) on individual plates. Before matching the colors with the fruit you can talk about them. Their color, their taste and their smell. Once their curiosity has subsided match them with the paint colors.

Once the fruit pieces are in the paint they turn into paintbrushes. I used Glob All Natural Paint. It’s all natural flavors so you don’t have to stress if it goes into the toddler’s mouth.

Then, let the Picasso out.

6. Messy play: Little Chef

Playing with flour

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

How to Play:

Equipment: Flour, grain (lentils or rice), sifter, whisk, ladles etc.

Simply combine the two ingredients (flour & grain). Place all other equipment next to the container and let your toddler play and explore. If they get stuck, you can demonstrate an activity that they can do. Examples include: stirring, pouring, finding hidden toys or simply mixing in the texture with their hands. Let their imagination run wild!

7. Masking tape play on the floor

Masking tape

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Fine motor skills, hand strengthening, shoulder strengthening, balance and core strengthening. Tactile, vestibular and proprioceptive senses.

How to play:

Simply stick masking tape randomly on your floor. Once your creation is complete let your toddler go wild and undo your creation. They get a good workout trying to pull off all that tape.

8. Ball round up

Ball round up

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Gross motor skills, hand eye coordination and visual perception skills. Vestibular, proprioceptive and visual senses.

How to play:

Equipment: A target (an old box or a laundry basket), bat (swimming noodle cut into a small piece or a plastic bat) and balls.

The aim of the game is to guide all the balls into the target (box or a laundry basket) with the use of a bat. I decided to use light balls as balloons move quicker and are more challenging to get into a target.

9. Fun in the tub: Shaving cream on the wall

Shaving cream in the bath

This is another fun one and this time with easy clean up.

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Fine motor skills, hand eye coordination and body awareness. Tactile, visual and proprioceptive senses

How to play:

Place shaving cream or bubble soap on the bathtub wall. Guide your little one to explore with their hands. Let them spread it around the wall or use a pointer finger to scribble or make lines. You can then give them a variety of instruments that they can use to play with the shaving cream. Some examples include a paintbrush, a sponge or a toy car that can drive through it.

Once satisfied with exploring it while it’s on the wall they can move it onto their body. They can spread it all over their belly, hands and legs. Once done they can learn how to wash it all off.

10. Splish splash

Splish splash

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Fine motor skills, hand and finger strengthening, hand eye coordination. Tactile and proprioceptive senses

How to play:

Time to get those squirting toys out to play. They are most traditionally used while in the bath tub but for some variety I decided to take them out. By squeezing the squirting toys your hand muscles get a work out. You can take them outside and try to water the plants, make a small puddle, create some mud in dirt or try to hit a target. We used ping pong balls in a container of water. Josh had a wonderful time watching them swish.

Summary

There you have it. My top 10 Sensory Activities for your 19 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.

❮ 18 month activities 20 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.

❮ 14 month activities 16 month activities