Month 11: Australian Edition- Top 10 Sensory activities for your 11 month old

Month 11: Australian Edition- Top 10 Sensory activities for your 11 month old

Josh’s Story
I was so excited to fly to Australia that I didn’t even think about the adventures that were awaiting me.

One beautiful morning we all ventured out to a park. My uncles got busy starting a barbie for lunch. I decided this was the perfect time to explore. I wanted to see the nearby playground and the surrounding fields. I got my cousin and my dad and off we went to explore.

As soon as we started to explore we noticed lots of different bugs on the ground. I was so excited to see them in action. Then, as I lifted up my head I saw the most amazing creature. It was bigger then me and was crawling on four legs. It had a long tail and a slithering, long tongue that kept coming out of its mouth.

I was so exited, as I have never seen this creature before. ‘Look, a goanna!’ said dad. I started to move closer for a better inspection but my dad quickly swooped me up. Unfortunately my inspection concluded from afar. It slithered and moved slowly through the green grass and the tall trees. I wonder where it’s going?

I can’t wait to see what other unusual creatures I will see on my Australian adventure.

Lots of smiles,
Josh

Australia trip 11 months

What to expect from your 11 month old

The first birthday is almost here! Wow! I’m sure you have noticed how much things have changed in the last 11 months. Here are some highlights of what you may notice your 11 month old do.

Gross Motor Skills

You are probably seeing more and more movement from your little one. At this age, your baby should be cruising around while holding onto the furniture or your hands. You may start seeing them let go and stand for a few seconds. Some of you may even start seeing a few steps from your little one. They may even be walking independently.

Some may be a little more adventurous. They might find things to climb onto as they explore their surroundings. As long as they are safe you don’t need to make it too easy for them.

Fine Motor skills

Fine motor skills continue to improve. Their little hands have been working hard. They have been practicing grasping, releasing and manipulating objects around them.

You may notice them starting to pull things apart and put them back together.

Their hand eye coordination skills are improving.

They should be able to use their pincer grasp to grab small items.

Communication skills

You may start noticing temper tantrums as they try to express their needs. For example getting upset when their toy has been taken away.

They may also engage in a back-and-forth conversation. When you ask a question, you’ll get a response, although you probably won’t understand most of that response. They will also be able to point to familiar things such as a family pet, car or a ball as you name them.

Sensory Activities

Here are some activity ideas that you can try with your 11 month old. These activities will expose your baby to many stimulating environments and movement opportunities. They will also develop their sensory systems while fostering creativity. As always they have been tried and tested.

1. Messy Play: Potato flakes

potato flakes

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

How to Play

Looking for another texture to play with? Luckily the supermarket shelves are full of fun ingredients that are safe for little ones to play with.

This month I thought we could try potato flakes. Here are some ideas on how we can play with them.

Start off playing with them as a dry mixture. You can add cups, spoons or other sand toys to fill, pour and mix the flakes.
Next you can add some water into it. The little ones can mix it with spoons or hands.
Once combined, the flakes mixture can be used to mold things. Build balls, towers, squish them into their cups or other containers. They can poke them or move them between containers.
You can hide small cars or blocks in it. Then they can dig through with their hands and find the hidden treasures.
For extra visual fun you can add some food coloring to change the colors around.

2. Exploring ice

ice play @11 months

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

How to Play

Best played in the warm months of the year. To start, make colored ice cubes by adding a few drops of food coloring to water. Then pour the water into an ice cube tray and freeze.

Best locations to play with the ice are either outside or in the bathtub. If playing outside place the ice on the floor or in a container filled with clear water.

Your little one can explore the cold temperature by either handling the ice with their hands or splashing it around the container. If using the container they will be getting a nice surprise as they watch the water change color as the ice melts.

3. Back and forth

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Hand eye coordination, turn taking, trunk rotation (helps with balance, core strength and crossing midline) Tactile and proprioceptive senses

 How to Play

Are you ready to play with a ball? Here is a fun way to start building your little one’s ball skills.

Have them sit on the floor with their legs straight out in front of them. Spread them apart so they can catch a ball that is rolled towards them.

First sit next to them and help them roll the ball forward. Then sit in front of them and roll the ball back. Keep going back and forth and help them out as much as is needed. Once they start getting the concept of turn taking and rolling the ball you can advance to the next step.

Try rolling the ball so it ends up on their side. To get the ball they will need to rotate their trunk, which strengthens many muscles. Then switch things around and roll the ball to the opposite side.

While rolling you can also sing, and use a variety of textured or differently sized balls.

4. Crawling search and rescue

Crawling with treasure

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Body awareness, strengthening of shoulders, arms, developing arches in hands (required for fine motor skills), coordination between right and left sides of the body and motor planning  Tactile, vestibular and proprioceptive senses

How to Play

Crawling continues to be a very important activity for your little one. Anything that encourages them to get on their fours and crawl will make them stronger.

This month’s crawling activity will encourage some problem solving. To start, set up a tunnel. This tunnel can either be store bought such as those found on amazon. Or you can create one using furniture and bed sheets.

Once the tunnel is ready, place either a balloon or a ball inside of it. Encourage your little one to crawl through the tunnel and push the ball out through to the other side. Initially, they might stop and play with the ball inside the tunnel. That’s fine. Let them explore and enjoy the play. Don’t rush them. Offer help if needed. Once they get the idea you can place other toys inside and have them retrieve it.

5. Stand & play

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Core and leg strengthening, balance, hand eye coordination and motor panning skills Tactile, vestibular and proprioceptive senses

How to Play

So here it is. To get walking you need to first know how to stand. Before you know how to stand you need to strengthen lots of muscles. To do that you need to have the opportunity for lots of floor play and crawling. In the last few months including this one I have been giving you lots of crawling ideas.

This game is about standing. To help your baby learn to stand you need to provide lots of opportunities to do so.

One way, is by giving them the opportunity to stand while holding on to a piece of furniture. Preferably, one with no sharp edges, such as a sofa. While sitting close to them present your baby with one of their favorite toys. The key is to hold it close to the hand that they are using to support themselves with. Hopefully they will let go and grab the toy. They may reach and then hold on to the sofa again. That is fine. They will continue to hold on to the sofa until their balance skills develop.

Keep encouraging them to let go. As they grow stronger they will be able to stand independently for longer periods of time.

6. Messy play: Fill & dump sensory play

Fill and dump game

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Hand skills, hand eye coordination, object permanence Tactile, visual and proprioceptive skills

Your babies are becoming little scientists. They are continually exploring and experimenting. By having the opportunity to fill and dump contents from a container they learn many valuable skills. They start to learn concepts like gravity, object permanence, volume and measurement. Your baby will continue dumping, filling and observing all the way to toddlerhood.

How to Play

For this game you can use any grains that you want or have available. I used quinoa as this was the expired ingredient in my kitchen. If playing outside you may consider using birdseeds. Once it gets messy you will have tiny little visitors who will clean it all up for you.

This activity encourages and provides an opportunity to practice the ‘Fill & Dump’ skill. Dumping is much easier, so this is the task to start with. You can fill the containers with the grains and let them dump it out. You can use various sized containers for this experimentation.

Once this is mastered it’s time to practice filling the containers. Note that this step requires much more precision. It can take months to master.

7. Bubbles and movement

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Standing, crawling, balance, hand eye coordination, motor panning skills and visual tracking Visual, tactile, vestibular and proprioceptive senses

How to Play

It’s time to have some fun with the bubbles. This is a great way to stimulate your baby’s visual skills as well as encourage movement.

Simply blow the bubbles towards your baby. Your baby’s eyes will follow them as they float in all directions.

Then, encourage your baby to catch the bubbles. If sitting they may end up crawling to go after the bubbles.

See if you can also get them standing while holding on to the furniture and catch the bubbles. Hopefully they will let go of the couch and catch some bubbles.

Who knows, maybe you can even get a few steps from your baby as they try to catch them.

8. Puppet show

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Visual tracking and language skills Visual and auditory senses

 How to Play

Puppets are so much fun. Even at this age your baby can have lots of fun watching a puppet show. It is also a great activity to help develop your baby’s visual and language skills.

As you move the puppets, your baby’s eyes will follow them. Let your puppets move in various directions (high, low and to both sides). Just make sure not to move them too fast.

Some of the puppets can move in to your baby for a kiss and a cuddle.

You can also use a funny voice to grab their attention and make them laugh!

9. Movement to the songs

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

How to Play

Place your baby on your lap. Then have fun singing and moving your baby to the lyrics of some of the popular nursery rhymes. Always make sure that you don’t do any fast and jerky movements. Frequently check in with your baby so they don’t get over stimulated.

Fun songs that can be sang on your lap include:
Row row row your boat
I’m a little teapot
Humpty Dumpty
The Grand old Duke of York
Hickory Dickory Dock
Pop goes the weasel

Some of the movements can include:
Bouncing up and down
Lifting them up and down
Going back and forward
Moving side to side

10. Playground exploration

Playground exploration

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 ALL senses

How to Play

Even if your baby is unable to walk or climb they can still have lots of fun on the playground. There is so much to explore. It targets all the senses and of course builds a variety of essential skills.

Some of the fun things your baby can do on a playground included:

Explore the sand pit
Crawl on the different structures
Crawl under the structures
Crawl up the playground steps
Pull themselves up onto ladders
Pull themselves onto variety of playground features. These can include steering wheels, musical instruments or other moving parts

Just remember… Have fun!

Summary:

So there you have it. My top 10 Sensory Activities for your 11 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.

 

❮ 10 month activities < 12 month activities ❯
Month 10: Top 10 Sensory Activities for your 10 month old

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

Josh’s 10 Month Story

3…2…1… Blast Off!!! Up I go… as I climb up this slide I fly up to the moon. Oh no… down I go. OK let’s try this again. 3…2…1… Blast Off!!! Here we go again! Up… up… up. I made it! As I step off my rocket ship I am super excited to explore the moon’s surface and see what new adventures await me. Stop!!! I see a strange creature approaching from the distance. Oh wait… It’s just Luka from next door… Ok… here we go. The gravity feels so different here. As I crawl through this strange terrain I see a huge pit of balls. In I go…. Weeee!!! I Love the Moon!! I think I will squish and swim in here for a while before I take on my next adventure!

Until next month.

Lots of smiles, Josh

moon exploration

What to expect from your 10 month old

Gross Motor Skills:

Lots of movement is happening at this age. Your little one can now crawl, pull themselves to standing, squat while holding on, sit back down from standing and cruise around while holding on to the furniture.

Fine Motor Skills:

Your little one is getting better at using their pincer grasp (using the tip of their thumb and pointer finger) to pick up small objects.

They may start placing smaller items into larger containers.

They will be able to hold an object in one hand while doing something with the other.

They continue practicing their coordination skills. An example can include picking up food from their tray and then placing it in their mouth.

Communication Skills:

By 10 months your little one can understand and follow simple instructions such as ‘clap hands’.

They should respond to the sound of their name and point to simple objects such as ‘car’ or ‘cat’.

 

Sensory Activities for a Healthy Sensory Lifestyle

1. Messy play: Noodle fun

Noodle fun

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Fine motor skills and hand eye coordination Tactile sense & gustatory sense (if the noodle is consumed)

How to Play:

To start, cook some long noodles.  Once cooled place them into an empty container in front of your child. As they explore the textures let them glide their hands through it, pick it up and squish it. They may even use their two hands to pull the long noodles apart.

If your little one is not enjoying the texture maybe give them a long wooden spoon that they can poke around with. Once they become more comfortable they may be tempted to touch the noodles directly.

2. Bubble swimming pool

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Fine motor skills, hand eye coordination, bilateral coordination and balance skills Tactile, vestibular & proprioceptive skills

How to Play:

This is a variation of splashing around in a baby pool. Fill the baby pool with an inch or so of water and add some bubble bath to it. As with any water activities make sure that an ADULT is always present and supervising.

This will be a more slippery play so make sure you keep your hands close by just in case they start slipping. You may also add some cups and water toys for additional grasping, pouring and splashing fun.

3. Grab & Let go!

egg carton

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Grasping & releasing, hand eye coordination, bilateral coordination, crossing midline Tactile and proprioceptive senses

How to Play:

Equipment needed: An empty egg carton & objects of various sizes and shapes (they need to fit into the egg carton)

To set up, place the empty egg carton and a variety of objects in front of your baby. At first, give them the opportunity to explore everything in front of them. Let them grasp the objects, squeeze them, bang them together, throw them. This exploration is very important. An added benefit is when you use lots of language during this process.

Once they become familiar with everything in front of them, demonstrate the activity. Pick up one of the objects and put it into one of the grooves of the egg carton. Then do a couple more. Initially they may just want to take objects out. After they’ve had a go, encourage them to put some of the objects in.

Have fun with it and remember that it may take few times before they are actually able to complete the task.

4. Advanced crawling exploration

Crawling at 10 months

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Body awareness, strengthening of shoulders, arms, developing arches in their hands (required for fine motor skills), coordination between right and left sides of the body Tactile, vestibular and proprioceptive senses

How to Play:

As your baby strengthens their crawling skills and becomes even more curious about their surroundings we can provide them with opportunities for more challenging crawling fun!

Some ideas include:

  • Obstacle courses that include home made mazes. These can be made from cushions, pillows or small gym mattresses
  • Going up ramps or small slides
  • Crawling through tents and tunnels
  • Crawling through various surfaces or human/man made ‘speed humps’ (Child crawls across a parent that is lying down or pillows that are spread out all over the room)

5. On the look out!

Exploration at 10 months

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Fine & gross motor skills, hand eye coordination and motor planning (ability to conceptualize, plan and carry out an unfamiliar task) ALL senses

How to Play:

You have probably noticed that your little one is very curious. Toys can entertain them for a little while but it doesn’t completely satisfy their curiosity. Make sure you provide them plenty of opportunity both outside and inside to explore.

Wherever you let them explore, make sure the environment is safe for them. Not sure how to start? Here are some ideas:

  • Let them take the lead and you follow them wherever they go
  • INDOORS:
    • Let them open and close drawers and explore their contents
    • Let them explore zippers on large objects such as couch cushions
    • Maybe they can get into your closet and explore your clothes, shoes
  • OUTDOORS:
    • Check out the trees, acorns on the ground, dig through sand with their hands, explore the playgrounds etc

6. Balloon Play

Balloon play

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Grasping and eye hand coordination Tactile & proprioceptive senses

How to Play:

Balloons! So fun and simple. There are many ways to play with balloons.

At this age though, give them a balloon and let them play. And YES it may pop!

I don’t believe you need any special instructions when playing with balloons at this age. You may however see your little one grab it, bang it, squeeze it, move it around in all directions. They may throw it or it may fly out of their hands and then they will be crawling after it. So much fun and can be very colorful if you include a few balloons of various colors.

7. Object permanence

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Object permanence Visual and tactile senses

How to Play:

This game, is one of the ways you can teach your baby about object permanence. Object permanence is understanding that objects or people still exist even when we can’t see them. Understanding this concept is an important cognitive milestone. To review the specific stages of object permanence, check out the Wikipedia page.

To get started, get your baby’s attention. Then pick a toy and hide it under a cloth or a small towel. See if they will be able to find it. If they struggle you may leave the toy partly uncovered. You can also hide toys behind books or under a bowl or a container.

Another way of developing object permanence is through playing games such as peek-a-boo. Playing peek-a-boo with parents is also a great way to help your child through separation anxiety. It will help them understand that “even though I can’t see mom/dad, she/he will come back!”

8. Slide and grab

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Coordination between right and left sides of the body, strengthening of legs, balance, grasping, hand eye coordination and motor planning (ability to conceptualize, plan and carry out an unfamiliar task) Visual, proprioceptive, tactile and vestibular senses

How to Play:

This activity is fun to play and encourages your little one to do more furniture cruising.

First, encourage your little one to stand up and hold on to one end of the couch. Then, entice them to move to the other side by placing a desirable object or a toy on the other side of the couch. The aim of the game is to get them to cruise to the other side of the couch while holding on. Once they grab the toy and start interacting with it you may even see them standing for a few seconds.

This activity can be repeated numerous times. Really until your little one loses their interest.

9. Playing with food

Food play at 10 months

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

How to Play:

If you haven’t started to let your baby explore their food through their hands and mouth, you may seriously consider it. Yes, they will get messy. Yes, there will be clean up. However getting messy is part of the process of learning to eat.

Through touch they learn about the properties of the food. They will learn about their texture. They will figure out how much force to place on different types of food without squishing them.

Make sure you also give them a spoon so they start to explore how to use it. Be aware their accuracy is yet to be developed.

So let’s all embrace the mess and get some memorable photos!

10. Blanket ride

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Balance and coordination Vestibular and proprioceptive senses

How to Play:

A great game that is sure to bring on some laughs. Start by placing a medium to large blanket on the floor. Next, sit your baby on the blanket. Ready… set…go! Let’s go for a ride!

Pull your baby around the room making gentle turns. You can sing songs or just make engine or train sounds as you move your little one around. If your baby tumbles over, stop and reposition and start again.

Note: Please ensure you keep checking in on your baby and move at a slow speed during the blanket ride.

Summary:

So there you have it. My top 10 Sensory Activities for your 10 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.

❮ 9 month activities < 11 month activities ❯
Weekend Sensory Play Time!

Weekend Sensory Play Time!

Feeling stuck on what to do with your child this weekend? Need a little INSPIRATION?

Well, you are in luck! This segment includes weekly activities for you to play with your child. Sensory experiences are important for every single child. These activities provide the opportunity to explore and develop their sensory systems. They can be done any time and aim to inspire and guarantee a fun time.  Each week you and your child will have the opportunity to experiment, explore and live a Sensory Lifestyle.

As each child has different sensory preferences I will include tips on how to modify the activities where appropriate.

So let’s get started!

Week 1 Sensory Play

Racing Colors

Racing Colors

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Fine motor skills, hand eye coordination, crossing midline, bilateral integration and motor planning (ability to conceptualize, plan &  carry out an unfamiliar task) Tactile and visual senses

How to play:

To get started choose a variety of small cars. Then have various paint colors ready. Once you have a large piece of paper laid over the table or the floor is when the fun begins. Have your child dip the cars in paint. Then let the cars race over the paper and make tracks as they zoom by.

Have the cars go in all directions; up, down, across, diagonally etc. At times encourage your child to zoom across the paper so their hand gets to move across their body. You can do this by getting them racing from one side of the paper to the other.  You can also draw different stations on the paper that they have to reach. For example one side can have a drawn house, the other can have a gas station or maybe a zoo or a park. As they travel from different ‘locations’ they move their hand across their bodies and cross their midline.

Modifications:

If your child does not like to be in contact with paint here are a couple of modifications that can be done:

  1. Large cars: Instead of using small cars you can use large cars that will provide a greater distance between their hands and the paint.
  2. Wet cloth: Have a wet cloth handy that they can use straight away to clean their hands from the paint.

Remember  not to push the actual paint contact if your child is not ready. Present it to them and then follow their lead. Most importantly… Have FUN!!

 

Week 2 Sensory Play

Climbing Trees

Climbing trees

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Motor planning (ability to conceptualize, plan and carry out an unfamiliar task), balance, strengthening of the core muscles, hand eye coordination and bilateral skills Proprioceptive, vestibular and tactile senses

How to play:

I don’t think this activity needs much direction. Hopefully it will serve as a reminder of a very fun activity that can be done with kids of many ages. It also has a whole range of skills that can be practiced (See above).

For those of you who let your child climb trees this may be just a reminder to find a cool new tree to climb and explore this weekend. Maybe include a tree with an extra challenge.

For the children that have not yet had the opportunity to climb trees. I say go for it! If it’s the first time provide them with more support and then back away as their skill and confidence grows. Of course you should start with trees that have branches very low to the ground. Make sure to stay safe!

Week 3 Sensory Play

Puff Paint

puff paint

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

How to Play

There are various ways you can create fun and colorful art with puff paint while developing many important skills.

The two strategies that I used include:

  1. Create with your hands

Simply let your child explore the paint with their hands. Next, encourage them to move the paint from their hands onto the paper to create a colorful artwork. They can use their whole hands or individual fingers to paint with. The ability to separate individual fingers is an important skill that is used in most fine motor tasks such as writing, buttoning or picking up small snacks.

  1. Use an instrument to create art

Your child can create a masterpiece while using paintbrushes, sticks or Q tips. Simply dip the instrument into the paint and then let them create their masterpiece.

The masterpiece can range from abstract to cute animals, cars or houses. Depending on their age they can put on as much detail as they want.

Once the artwork is done, put it into the microwave for around 20-30 seconds. The result will include a picture that is raised off the paper.

Puff Paint Recipe

Ingredients:

For each color of paint you will need:

  • 1 tablespoon of self raising flour
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • A few drops of food coloring
  • Approximately 2-3 tablespoons of water

What to do:

  1. First combine all the dry ingredients
  2. Then add the food coloring
  3. Lastly, add the water to make a smooth paste
  4. COMPLETED WORK: Microwave for approximately 20-30 seconds until the puff paint is dry.

Week 4 Sensory Play

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 child? 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 child 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.

Week 5 Sensory Play

Gardening

Gardening

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Fine motor skills, hand eye coordination, motor planning (ability to conceptualize, plan & carry out an unfamiliar task) and strengthening if doing heavy work Tactile, proprioceptive and visual senses

How to play:

It’s spring time! It’s a perfect time to do some gardening. This activity can be completed by anyone, living anywhere.

For an experienced gardener this simply acts as a prompt to let your children get involved with you. For the novice like myself there is no need to get freaked out. If you don’t know where to start you can purchase a gardening kit.  It’s simple to follow directions and doesn’t require much space. There are many gardening kits available online.

Gardening is great as it gives your child the opportunity to explore the dirt through their tactile sense but also gives them the opportunity to watch their hard work grow. The proprioceptive sense is also stimulated as they fill and empty their watering cans.

If they are doing some heavy work through shoveling or raking they are also stimulating their proprioceptive sense and strengthening their bodies.

Week 6 Sensory Play

Maze of lasers

Laser course

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
 Body awareness, balance, coordination, motor planning (ability to conceptualize, plan & carry out an unfamiliar task), hand and shoulder strength, core strength, trunk control and visual skills Vestibular and proprioceptive senses

How to play:

This is more like an obstacle course that can be played like a ‘Mission Impossible’ adventure.

To start grab some red yarn (lasers) and spread it across the room if playing inside or trees/fences if playing outside. Tie the yarn so it spreads across the obstacle space. Make some of the lasers low to the ground, some in the middle and some up high.

The aim of this game is to try to get from one side of the obstacle course to the other without touching the lasers.

Week 7 Sensory Play

Construction in Action!

Construction with pipes

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Fine motor skills, hand eye coordination, motor planning (ability to conceptualize, plan & carry out an unfamiliar task), attention, imagination & creativity Tactile, visual and proprioceptive senses

How to play:

Equipment needed: PVC pipes (various lengths), connectors (elbows, coupling, tee connectors, pvc cross etc), water.

This is the activity that really allows your child to get creative and test the laws of physics.  It’s all about connecting pipes in different formats and testing out what happens to the water once poured inside of them.

I would suggest giving them all the equipment and some containers of water. Then, allow them to experiment. If they are unsure of where to start give them some guidance. As they start to get comfortable you can back away your assistance and watch the learning happen.

 

Week 8 Sensory Play

Cooking- Noodle time

Cooking pasta

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Fine motor skills, hand eye coordination and motor planning (ability to conceptualize, plan & carry out an unfamiliar task) Tactile, visual and gustatory (taste) senses

How to play:

If you haven’t gotten your kids into the kitchen yet, this may be the time. This is a fun and healthy recipe that your kids will sure enjoy making and hopefully eating as well.

Throughout this recipe your child can be involved with as many or as few tasks. They can range from collecting ingredients, pouring, mixing and manipulating dough.

The main component of this dish is the pici pasta. It is made from dough that is the same consistency as play dough. So basically you can have them having fun with it. To make the pici, you need to tear off balls of dough and roll them out into long, thin sausage shapes.

As usual make sure you supervise all the tasks and enjoy the great flavors.

Recipe – http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/pasta-recipes/spinach-pici-pasta/

Week 9 Sensory Play

Ooey Gooey Gak

Gak

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Fine motor skills, hand eye coordination and motor planning (ability to conceptualize, plan &  carry out an unfamiliar task) Tactile Sense

How to play:

If your child is old enough, make sure you get them involved in actually making Gak from scratch. Once your Ooey Gooey Gak is done have fun with it.

What can you do with Gak?

  • Squish it
  • Pull it apart and then pull it together again
  • Poke it
  • Squish it into an empty play dough container. WARNING: Strange noises might be heard during this maneuver!
  • Hide small toys/objects in it. Then try to retrieve them!
  • Use cookie cutters to cut out different shapes

What are your favorite ideas? Feel free to share in the comments below.

MODIFICATIONS: Do you have a child who is cautious with new textures? If yes then you can place Gak into a ziplock bag. They can still explore and interact with it without the slimy texture.

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!

Week 10 Sensory Play

Art through Air & Color

Blow art

 

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Oral motor skills, visual tracking and hand eye coordination Visual and proprioceptive senses

How to play:

Blowing activities are great. Through blowing, your child 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. This is a great activity that strengthens your child’s oral muscles and builds coordination.

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

As the child watches the colors splatter across the paper it also encourages visual tracking.

So how do you play this activity and experience all of these benefits?

Get an empty piece of paper. Give your child a short (around 2 inches) straw. Then either yourself or your child drops small drop of food coloring on their empty piece of paper. Lastly let your child blow onto the drop of food coloring and watch the colors splatter across their paper. You can repeat it with other colors.

Once dry this becomes an abstract piece of art.

Week 11 Sensory Play

Baked cotton ball smash

Baked Cotton Balls

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

How to play:

Follow the recipe below to create your baked cotton balls. Depending on the age of your child you may want to get them engaged in making the cotton balls.

Once ready it’s time to get smashing. They can break down the cotton balls through the use of their hands, feet or even a hammer.  Just a note that the plastic hammer won’t make a dint on them but a wooden toy hammer is a go.

Baked cotton ball Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1 cup of water
  • Food coloring

What to do:

  1. Mix 1 cup of water and 1 cup of flour
  2. Divide the mixture into 4 containers
  3. Add food coloring to each mixture
  4. Dip in a cotton ball and cover it fully with the mixture
  5. Once covered place it onto an aluminum foil
  6. Bake in the oven at 300°F for 45 min
  7. Get smashing!

Week 12 Sensory Play

Messy play: Cloud dough

cloud dough

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Fine motor skills, hand eye coordination and visual perception skills Tactile sense

This is such a fun activity. The cloud dough is very similar to the commercial moon sand. It feels silky and it is very moldable. The easy part is that it only includes two materials, baby oil and flour (see recipe below). Below is a general guideline from which you can work. I decided to add a little extra baby oil to make it even more moldable.

How to Play

Once you’ve made your dough, give your child some containers and spoons and let them explore. Cloud dough can provide lots of entertainment while expanding their tactile sense. When using it in therapy I always had to pack up a to go bag full of cloud dough due its popularity.

Cloud Dough Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of Baby Oil
  • 8 cups of flour

What to do:

  1. Simply mix the two ingredients together. THAT’S IT!
  2. Store it in a container with a lid

Week 13 Sensory Play

Colored rice play

Play with rice

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

Depending on the age of your child you can definitely get them involved in coloring the rice with you. Once the rice is ready, place it into a large plastic container and let your child 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? You can hide objects in it. They can find it by using their eyes or if they want an extra challenge let them keep their eyes closed. For example ask them to find a ball or a small toy car by only using their hands. Don’t let them pick.

Let them explore and see what they come up with. Also if you do not want to reuse the rice you might consider pouring in some water and see what happens.

Week 14 Sensory Play

Edible water beads

Water Beads

 

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

How to play:

Equipment: I love water beads however I was looking for a more edible alternative. 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 some 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 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.

Week 15 Sensory Play

Rolling down hills

Rolling down hills

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Body awareness, coordination and motor planning (ability to conceptualize, plan & carry out an unfamiliar task) Tactile and vestibular senses

How to play:

Just as the name implies this is all about rolling down hills. I remember when I was a small child this was one of my favorite things to do. Whenever we went to parks I always looked out for tall hills. As soon as I did I would run up, lie on the grass and down I went. Rolling all the way to the bottom.

These days I don’t see it as much so let’s get our kids to the top of those hills and encourage them to roll. For the little ones they may require help getting them started. Hopefully with a few rolls they get the hang of it and also get motivated by the fun.

Week 16 Sensory Play

Spray bottle fun with a twist

Spray bottle fun

 

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

How to play:

Depending on how much time for preparation you have you can do this activity two different ways.

The first, is to get a large piece of white paper and attach it to a fence or a wall.

The second, way is to cut out various shapes from white paper. The shapes can be as simple as circles, triangles or as complex as letters, cars, flowers, leaves etc. It really depends on your own skill and time that you have available.

Next, mix some water with food coloring. Place it into a spray bottle and let the fun begin.  Stick your paper on a wall or a fence and let them spray away. You may want to switch the water out for different colors or have different bottles ready.

Not only is this a really fun activity but it’s great at strengthening all those small muscles in their hands. Initially they may be using two hands to squeeze the lever and as their strength builds they will only need to use one hand. An additional benefit to this activity is that it helps to separate the hand into two parts, which is important for many skills such as cutting.

Week 17 Sensory Play

Lizard Fun

Popcorn eating

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Oral motor, shoulder & core strengthening skills Gustatory (taste) and proprioceptive senses

How to play:

If your child loves popcorn this is a fun game for snack or anytime really. If they don’t like popcorn you can substitute with cheerios, pirate’s booty or anything else that will stick to their tongue.

Basically this is a challenge game. To get going have them lying belly down on the floor. Then place popcorn on a plate and place it in front of them.

The goal is to eat the popcorn off the plate without using their hands. Basically get that mouth going! Depending on the age of your child you can either challenge them to finish the plate off without using their hands. Or you can time them in how fast they can finish it off.

Have fun and get eating!!

Week 18 Sensory Play

Clean Mess

  Clean Mess with the boys

This activity is really fun! That is if your child is into playing with slimy textures.

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

How to play:

Equipment: Large container of water, dish soap and toilet paper.

First, place some dish soap (just enough to make some bubbles) into your water. Then, your child can tear small pieces of toilet paper and throw them into the water. As your child mixes all the ingredients together they will create a soft and slimy texture. Many children love to explore it with their hands. They can even try squeezing some of the paper together into balls while strengthening the muscles in their hands. You can also encourage putting their feet in to see how that feels. Make sure you support your little one climbing in and out so they don’t slip.

If you get bored of the white color you can always add some food coloring to make it more colorful.

MODIFICATIONS: Do you have a child who is cautious with new textures? If yes then you can explore the texture through the use of a large wooden spoon, a whisk or gloves.

Week 19 Sensory Play

Animal walk parachute game

Parachute game

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Body awareness, strengthening of shoulders, arms & core, coordination between right and left sides of the body, balance and motor planning (ability to conceptualize, plan and carry out an unfamiliar task) Vestibular and proprioceptive senses

How to play:

Equipment needed: Parachute, small animals and friends

Parachute games are so much fun and you can play with them so many different ways. This activity is one way that you can get working on many great skills (see above).

The main idea is to place different animal toys into the parachute and then get them flying.

NOTE: Don’t include large plastic animals. You definitely wouldn’t want to get hit by anything large and plastic. Use either plush animals or small plastic ones.

The goal of the game is to first grab a fallen animal. Then, pretend to be that animal by imitating and doing different animal walks.  Some examples can include:

  • Kangaroo: can be jumping around
  • Bear: walk on all fours
  • Lizard: commando crawl on the ground
  • Donkey: can do some donkey kicks
  • Zebra: can do some galloping

If you are unsure what an animal can do have your child come up with it or just be creative!

Week 20 Sensory Play

Bubble snake

Bubble snake

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
  Hand eye coordination, bilateral coordination, oral motor and visual skills Tactile, visual and proprioceptive senses

How to play:

This is one of the funnest bubble activities. To start, you or your child will need to build your bubble construction. Don’t worry, it’s fast and simple!

  1. Get your equipment ready:
    • empty water bottle
    • old sock
    • elastic band
    • scissors
    • bubble solution
    • empty container
  2. Cut out the bottom of your bottle
  3. Place the sock over the hole and secure it with an elastic band
  4. Dip the sock end into the bubble solution
  5. Fill your lungs out with air and BLOW!!!
  6. Watch the fun bubble snake appear

The bubbles don’t necessary have to stay a snake. They can be a train, a rocket or even a trumpet.  Get the kids started and see where their imagination gets them.

Have fun and get going with those creations!

Week 21 Sensory Play

Mud Fun!

Mud Play

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
 Hand & finger strength, body awareness and balance skills Tactile and proprioceptive senses

How to play:

This is my old time favorite activity. I have lots of fun and muddy memories from when I was a child.

Yes, your child will get dirty. But the fun could last for hours! All you need is dirt and water. Anything extra like sand toys, sticks and rocks are all an added bonus.

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

  • Change of clothes in case your child 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 child can play in and create mud

You can start your child 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
  • Most of all HAVE FUN and GET DIRTY!!

Week 22 Sensory Play

Stomp Painting

Paint stomping

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Balance, motor planning (ability to conceptualize, plan and carry out an unfamiliar task) and visual skills. Tactile, visual and proprioceptive senses.

How to Play:

This activity is lots of fun, but it can get a little messy. I would recommend doing it either outside or staying away from carpeted areas.

Simply place a long strip of paper on the floor (I used banner paper) with paint blobs on the corners. I found that using paper plates for paint placement gets more paint stuck to the feet which makes the activity more messy and slippery.

Then let your child stomp away creating a master piece.

Week 23 Sensory Play

Messy experiment

Messy experiment

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

How to play:

This is a fun way to get your kids to experiment with texture. Get a large bowl or a container and have your kids add different items to experiment with textures. The great thing about this activity is that each kid controls exactly how far they want to push their comfort zone. The textures can move from dry consistency to wet. They can be sticky or lumpy. Anything… it’s only limited by the materials that you give them.

Some ideas include:

  • Shaving cream
  • Flour
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Water
  • Cream of tartar
  • Food coloring
  • Glitter (be warned as it sticks everywhere… but looks beautiful!)
  • Rice
  • Packaging noodles

They can also practice their mathematical skills by measuring all the ingredients. Then they can practice their scientific skills by analyzing and comparing their results as they mix different amounts.

MODIFICATIONS: Do you have a child who is cautious with new textures? If yes then they can mix all the ingredients with a spoon or a whisk.

Week 24 Sensory Play

Herb smash

Herb Smash

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
 Hand eye coordination, bilateral coordination, hand & shoulder strengthening Tactile, proprioceptive, olfactory (smell) and gustatory (taste) senses

How to play:

Firstly, gather a variety of fresh herbs. This could be anything from sage, thyme, basil etc. Secondly get a mortar & pestle to help with the herb smashing.

As your child chooses a herb, let them pull it off, feel it with their fingers and smell it. Then let them smash the herbs using a pestle. They will need to use quite a bit of force to get them smashed. Once they smash it all up let them smell it again.

Don’t worry about the waste as you can easily use these herbs in your cooking 🙂

Week 25 Sensory Play

Shaving cream car wash

Shaving cream & cars

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Hand eye coordination, bilateral skills and motor planning (ability to conceptualize, plan and carry out an unfamiliar task). Tactile and visual senses.

How to Play

In this game your child needs to get their cars dirty and then take them to a car wash.

To make the cars dirty:

  • Put some shaving cream or bubble soap onto a table.
  • Have your child explore the shaving cream with their cars. WARNING: They may have so much fun that the shaving cream ends up being splattered around.

To make the cars clean:

  • Have a small container of water ready so they can try and wash them in it.

They may want to repeat this cycle numerous times.

Have FUN!

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.

 

What is Sensory Processing?

What is Sensory Processing?

Amongst the green hills of a sunny Californian summer, there is an ecstatic farmer. He goes by the name Barry. Barry opens the doors to his fruit farm every weekend to let the local kids run free and enjoy the fresh berries. This morning, as Barry starts to open the gate, a boy named Josh storms through. His blond surfer haircut shaking side to side as he wiggles and bobs through the farm.

As Josh wanders through the farm, let’s think about what his sensory system would be doing. When he spots a strawberry bush in the distance he is using his visual sense to take in all the information. Deep red fruit with rough, shiny skin. Each fruit is no larger than a thumb. The bush appears to be full of these berries and Josh scurries towards it with excitement.

Finally having arrived, Josh uses his internal senses to bend down and pick the fruit off. His legs, arms, and head all working in sync to keep balance. Josh pulls off the strawberry while being aware how much force to use so it doesn’t get squished in his hand. Immediately notices the berry’s smooth texture through his tactile sense. Its weight lighter than the toys at home. Josh pauses… then brings the fruit closer to his face for inspection. Smells good. Looks good. He hears no bees closing in. Ok, it’s ready for consumption. In it goes, into the mouth. Mmmm… Sweet… juicy fruit… Josh’s eyes close with pleasure. No sooner his eyes open up locking in on another strawberry.

It’s going to be a fun day at the farm.

As Josh wanders around picking strawberries his sensory system is hard at work. Now think about your whole day and how hard your entire sensory system is working.

What is sensory processing?

“Sensory Processing is the ability to organize sensory information for use…. that enables man to interact effectively with the environment” Ayers, 1972

When a child begins to explore the world, they experience many different sensations. Their senses come alive. Information starts flowing through their senses. They begin to learn to organize and act on this information.

In other words sensory processing includes:

  1. Our ability to take in information through all of 8 senses,
  2. Our ability to then organize and interpret all this sensory information and give it meaning,
  3. Our ability to respond to that information in a purposeful manner

For example:

  • You hear something behind you. Your brain organizes and interprets that information. You respond by turning your head around to see what it is, or
  • Someone bumps into you. Your tactile, vestibular and proprioceptive senses start sending information to your brain. Your brain is able to organize and interpret this to respond by shifting your weight to make sure you don’t fall over.

“Proper sensory processing forms the underlying foundation for academic, learning and social behavior.” – Dr. Lucy Jane Miller, STAR Center

First we need to have a healthy sensory system before more intellectual and academic learning can take place.

Sensory system in a nutshell

Our bodies take in information through 8 different senses. They can be separated into internal and external senses. Take the nervous system, for it to develop, we need to experience many different kinds of sensations.

So lets take a closer look at each of the 8 senses. Keep in mind that the integration between the senses is as important as each one. Just like in the strawberry-picking story at the beginning of this post. 

EXTERNAL SENSES:

Sensations that tell us what is coming from outside of the body.

1. Auditory sense (hearing)

Magical Bridge Playground - Tot Zone, Josh playing musical bells

  • Auditory system processes and interprets information that is heard.
  • It tells us the quality and directionality of sound.
  • It also helps us understand speech.
  • Allows us to distinguish a specific sound e.g. parent’s voice from background noise such as TV.
  • Allows us to discriminate sounds that are similar.

2. Visual sense (sight)

  • Visual sense interprets what we see.
  • It lets us recognize size, shapes, colors, as well as helps us read the body language and other non-verbal cues during social interactions.
  • It includes visual acuity, coordination of two eyes, focusing, eye movement control and visual perceptual skills.
  • Vision together with vestibular and proprioceptive senses helps to guide our movement and develop appropriate balance skills.

3. Gustatory sense (taste)

 

  • Josh eating
  • The information is taken in through the tongue.
  • It provides us with the information about characteristics of food such as salty, sour, bitter or sweet.
  • It is critical for our enjoyment of food and keeping things out of our body that can be harmful.

4. Olfactory sense (smell)

Josh smelling flowers

  • Olfactory sense is where the sensory information is inhaled through the nose.
  • It helps us recognize whether smells are dangerous, strong, faint, pleasurable or foul.
  • Smell may activate emotions/memories and influence what you like and don’t like.

5. Tactile system (touch)

Messy Play

  • Tactile system receives information through the skin. Both the skin covering the body and the inner linings of the mouth.
  • It provides information about temperature, pressure, vibration, size, texture, pain and movement through the hairs on the skin.
  • Tactile information gives us essential information for body awareness and motor planning.
  • It also helps us to understand our surroundings, to feel safe and assist with the development of both fine and gross motor skills.

THE INTERANAL SENSES:

Sensations that tell us where the body is in space, how it is moving and what is going on inside our body.

6. Vestibular system (sense of position and movement)

Josh on a swing in Mountain View, CA

  • Receptors are located in the inner ear.
  • Provides information about movement, balance and your body’s relation to gravity.
  • It coordinates how the child’s head and body is moving through space.
  • Vestibular sense tells us whether we are right side up or upside down and how quickly and in what direction we are moving.

7. Proprioceptive system (joint and muscle sensation)

Josh pulling a branch

  • The word proprioception refers to the sensory information caused by the contraction and stretching of muscles and the bending, straightening, pulling and compression of the joints between bones. (Ayers J, 1972)
  • It receives information from the muscles and joints to provide awareness of our body position. It makes it possible for a person to move his arm or leg without having to observe every action.
  • It tells us how much force is needed for a particular task, such as picking up a juice box without spilling out its contents, or throwing a ball.

8. Interoception

  • This sense tells us what is going on inside our body through the senses within our organs.
  • This sensation helps to regulate blood pressure, digestion, breathing. This encompasses all the physiological feelings of all the body parts including pain, temperature, itch, hunger, thirst, stomach ache etc.

 

So there you have it, Sensory Processing and the 8 internal & external senses that help us navigate our world. You can now see why a healthy sensory system is a foundation for all other learning and social behavior. It’s never too late to start, so try out my activities to give your child the opportunities to develop a healthy sensory system. And as always, remember to have FUN playing!

Urszula

Why is Sensory Lifestyle important

Why is Sensory Lifestyle important

Sensory ~ A word often used by Occupational Therapists (OT) when referring to a part of child development. This word is now becoming popular outside of my profession. I hear it from all my mommy friends and parents which I meet at playgrounds when I take my son out to play. Everyone keeps talking about the need to do sensory activities with their babies.

Fantastic news, but not so fast

The spread of a need for sensory activities in our community is great. But keep a weary ear on the context and application of these activities.  Each child is an individual and has a unique sensory profile.

Let’s take an example: making tactile activities such as sensory bags or sensory boxes. Some children might be able to jump straight in and explore the various textures that you have provided. However, some might be more sensitive and require guidance and grading of the tactile input. So the lesson is, know your child, never push an activity onto them but also educate yourself. Hopefully this website will be able to provide you with all the needed information to provide your child with best sensory activities.

 

When I think about my childhood I remember being outside running around with my friends until dusk. My favorite activity included playing ‘shop’. My parents bought me a scale. My girlfriends and I would play for hours. Gathering leaves to use as currency and adding water to sand to create different products to ‘sell’. This is just one of many activities which I enjoyed. I remember that my other favorite activities included getting dirty, climbing trees and playing on the playground structures.

Josh playing in the sand

Josh exploring

Josh exploring

 

Playground fun

Playground fun

Sensory development while living with technology

Times have changed. Technology has engraved into our culture. It is a part of everything we do. It has also lead children to became more sedentary with their preferred activities. Parents feel more pressure to get their kids out to play outside. Finding a balance can be stressful and overwhelming.

But it is possible. And I will show you how.

My goal with this blog is to provide you with information about all our senses. I will also provide you with ideas of activities. Activities which you can encourage your children to do. And in time, they will go back and play like we used to when we were children.

Providing your children with the opportunity to experience our world the right way by integrating their senses should be a parent’s priority. Having a sensory lifestyle is not only for kids with sensory processing disorders. Sensory experiences should be part of everyone’s day. Every day.

Play is an essential part of a child’s development. As children interact with their physical environment they use their sensory systems. Sensations are like ‘food’ for the nervous system. Without a good supply of diverse sensations the nervous system cannot develop to it’s maximum potential. Thus, functioning in the everyday life can become challenging. Learn how to avoid this and help your child start on the right foot.

Nothing better than some messy time

Nothing better than some messy time

 

Exploring grandparents garden

Exploring grandparents garden

 

Peek a boo

Peek a boo

Higher level cognitive activities like reading, writing and play are a result of a well integrated sensory system. The sooner you start the foundational building skills the better. Foundations are pivotal to your child’s success. If you start the process early, you will be helping your child develop coordinated bodies and strong minds. Welcome to living a sensory lifestyle.

~ Urszula