Clean Mess

Clean Mess

Clean Mess with the boys

Ingredients:

  • Toilet paper (1 roll)
  • Dish soap
  • Water
  • Large plastic container
  • Food coloring (optional)

What to do:

  1. Place water and dish soap (just enough to make some bubbles) into your container
  2. Give your child a toilet paper roll. Let them tear pieces and place it into the water
  3. Keep going until they create a soft and slimy texture
  4. Explore with hands and feet
  5. For extra variety you can add food coloring to make it more colorful

For ideas on how to play with this concoction check out the Weekend Sensory Play Time post.

Enjoy!

~ Urszula

 

Colored Rice Recipe

Colored Rice Recipe

Play with rice

Coloring rice is super easy.

Ingredients:

  • Rice
  • Zip lock bags
  • Food coloring

What to do:

  1. Place rice into small a zip lock bag
  2. Add food coloring to each bag
  3. Shake, shake, shake to mix up the rice with that color
  4. Open the bag and take out the contents to let it dry out
  5. Rice is colored and ready to be played with
Month 9: Top 10 Sensory Activities for your 9 month old

Month 9: Top 10 Sensory Activities for your 9 month old

Josh’s 9 Month Story

Zoooommmmm…. Did you see me?…. Zoooommmmm… Faster than mommy express.. Faster than a speeding daddy bullet.. they call me.. J-Flash!

Today’s challenge for J-Flash is to find the hidden snake in these giant mountains that stand before me. Climbing these mountains is a small feat for a superhero like me. For I will crawl up… and then down.. and up and down and along the way manage to check out all the caves for the angry bear 😉

I will keep on zooming until I find him. Time waits for no man. Until next month.

Lots of smiles,
JFlash aka Josh

 

Spending quality time with your baby is one of the most important things you can do. Quality time bundled with creative activities will help stimulate your child’s development.

The fictional story (above) introduced us to Josh’s homemade activities. The cushions acted as mountains and tents turned into caves. Be creative!

Try  this month’s activities to help your baby explore and learn as they play.

What to expect from your 9 month old baby

  • Motor Development:
    – Your baby loves moving around. Provide them with lots of opportunities to crawl, stand or cruise the furniture.
    – Changing positions is becoming easier: for example from tummy to back or to sitting.
    – Your baby may be pulling up to stand while holding on to the furniture.
    – Whenever possible allow your baby to walk/cruise barefoot. This allows better development of the muscles and tendons in their feet.
    – Your little one is now sitting unsupported.
    – Your baby is exploring objects around them through the use of their hands and mouth.
    – Their hand coordination improves as they are able to easier manipulate their toys.
    – They may be able to use their pincer grasp (use of thumbs and fingers) to pick up small objects and toys.
  • Communication Development:
    – You may hear lots of babbling from your baby. You may be lucky to hear ‘mama or dada’
    – Your little one’s understanding skills are also improving. As you ask ‘Where is Mama?’ they may be able to point to you or crawl over to you.
    – They may also start to use gestures to communicate their needs e.g. reach hands up to be picked up.
  • Social Development:
    –  You may also notice some separation anxiety at this age.

Sensory Activities for a Healthy Lifestyle

1. Crawling on various surfaces

Crawling uphills

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 you can try to push them further to continue strengthening their body through crawling.
The last few months I have included a variety of crawling activities that contained chasing things/people or exploring different textures. This month I encourage you to develop simple crawling obstacle courses. Just like in this month’s story.

These can include:

  • Crawling on unsteady surfaces such as trampolines, air mattresses or pillows.
  • Creating mounds or “hills” from pillows and blankets. Then have them crawl around on them. Going up and down.
  • You can play hide and seek, chase them around on all fours or have them follow their favorite or a random toy/object while crawling on top of the “hills”.

2. Messy play: Fun with Jell-O

Jello play

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

How to Play

This is such a fun game to do with your little one. You can do this activity either outside or inside. Either way it is best to put some kind of a splash mat under them to limit the mess. If warm enough I would recommend keeping your baby in their diaper to let them explore the texture freely without freaking out about their clothes getting dirty. This is completely up to you though.
Once the prep is done simply sit them on to the mat with the Jell-O in front of them and let them explore. You can place it directly on the mat or a tray. They may approach it head on and jump into exploring the texture or they may be slow to explore. Either is fine. If they are slow to explore just provide some encouragement by showing them it’s ok to play in it.
You can also add straws and different sized containers that they can use to poke through the Jell-O. They may even find it fun to crawl around in it.

3. Lets shake it all around

Shaker

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Grasping, object manipulation and hand eye coordination Auditory, visual and proprioceptive senses

How to Play

Equipment needed: Tupperware containers (various sizes), plastic bottles, items to be placed inside containers (these can include: dry pasta, rice, beans, water beads, hard candy, bells or small toys).

Encourage your baby to explore different sounds and improve their manipulation skills by shaking a variety of home made rattles/shakers.
Simply choose a container and place objects inside (ideas provided above) that make sound when shaken. To avoid any choking hazards ensure that containers are securely taped or glued.

Once completed let your baby explore and play music.

4. Grab and drop

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Gasping, hand eye coordination, crossing midline, weight shift and balance Tactile, visual, vestibular and proprioceptive senses

How to Play

In month 8 of this activity series I spoke about a tracking and reaching activity. This month I want to move it to the next level.

Have your baby seated on the floor. Place a large container in front of them as well as toys on both right and left sides.
1. Have your baby pick up objects from either side and then drop them into a container.
2. Encourage your baby to reach across their bodies to pick up an object on the opposite side. This is called crossing the midline (the invisible line in the middle of their body). Then have them drop the toy into the container.
3. Once all the toys are collected they can dump them all out and repeat.
4. Simultaneously you can encourage object exploration as you repeat the game with toys, balls, kitchen instruments, blocks etc.

5. Messy play: Flour play

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

How to Play

This is just as simple as it sounds. Place some flour on a tray or on the floor and have your little one explore this texture.

You can also add some cars or animal toys that they can ride or walk through.

6. Humpty Dumpty

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Balance, strengthening of shoulder and arm Vestibular, tactile and proprioceptive senses

How to Play

The objective of this game is to help develop your baby’s balancing skills while in a seated position.
To start off, sit behind your baby and hold them by their hips. Then move their weight to one side. As you pull them off balance you want your baby to place their hand on that side for support. If they are unable to position their hand provide them with some guidance.
Repeat this with the opposite side as well as forward and back.

To make this game more fun you can add the ‘Humpty Dumpty’ nursery rhyme to it.
‘Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall’

As you say the words ‘fall’ move them off balance as described above.

7. Ziplock painting on a flat surface

Ziplock painting

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Hand skills and hand eye coordination Visual and tactile senses

How to Play

Equipment needed: large zip lock bag, variety of paint colors and masking tape

1. Open up the zip lock bag and place a few drops of different colored paints inside.
2. Close the bag and secure it with masking tape. To avoid any paint spillage place the masking tape on both top and the bottom edges.
3. You can place the bag either on the floor or on a tray of a high chair.
4. Let your little one explore. They can squish and move the paint around mixing the colors.

8. Reach for the sky

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, balance, grasping, hand eye coordination and motor planning (ability to conceptualize, plan and carry out an unfamiliar task) Visual, proprioceptive, tactile and vestibular

How to Play

The main objective of this activity is for your baby to reach for hanging toys with one of their hands while on their hands and knees. This position will encourage your baby to shift their weight onto one hand while reaching with the other.

1. Find toys that can be attached to a string. These can include bells, shakers, rattles etc.
2. Then attach them to objects that they can crawl under. These can include dining tables, work desks, tree branches or large boxes that your little one can crawl into.
3. Then let your baby loose to try to crawl to and reach for each toy. Make sure that each toy is high enough so your little one needs to stretch to get it.

9. Get grabbing!

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Fine motor skills Tactile and proprioceptive senses

How to Play

As your baby continues to develop their gasping skills make sure you provide them with opportunities to grasp and manipulate a variety of different objects. Variety can be in size, shape and weight. This will strengthen both their tactile and proprioceptive sensory systems. As well as teach them how to problem solve their grasping skills.

At this age your baby is starting to learn how to use their thumb and pointer finger to grasp smaller objects. The safest way to practice this grasp is by providing your little one different types of finger foods such as peas, diced cooked carrots, small pieces of cheese etc

You can also provide smaller sized toys but make sure you ALWAYS SUPERVISE to avoid choking.

10. Squigz grab & pull

Squigz baby play

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Gasping, wrist extension and hand strength Tactile and proprioceptive senses

How to Play

If you haven’t heard of Squigz then you could potentially be missing out on many fun memories. I use these frequently with toddlers and older kids but babies can get some fun in as well. Squigz is a suction toy that can be attached to various surfaces or to each other. I recommend the large size for our babies to eliminate a choking hazard. For more information check out the Squigz details.
With our young babies we can use them to develop their hand strength.
Simply stick them to a small table or a high chair tray. Then watch them grasp and try to pull them off. You can also have them seated near a window and have them try to pull them off.

Remember that our 9 month old still loves to explore objects with their mouth. This means that these Squigz will quickly end up in their mouths, so you should always supervise your baby to avoid choking.

Occupational Therapy Tip:
Working on a vertical surface, such as a window in this case, strengthens muscles in your baby’s shoulders and wrist. These are important for many fine motor skills such as writing and cutting.

Summary:

So there you have it. My top 10 Sensory Activities for your 9 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.

❮ 8 month activities < 10 month activities ❯
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 20: Top 10 Sensory Activities for your 20 month old toddler

Month 20: Top 10 Sensory Activities for your 20 month old toddler

As my pal Gordie always says “If you want to become a great chef, you have to work with great chefs.” And that’s exactly what I did.

I’ve been stalking mom cooking in the kitchen for some time now. It first started when I got my climbing ladder. Peeking into the pots as she stirred, boiled and created mouth watering magic. Then, as I got taller I could sneak a peek closer and with more precision. I bet she thought i was just babbling and bouncing around but in fact I was learning. Calculating… 2 cups of water… 1 egg… yep I got it.. this is easier than I thought it might be.

One day, we ventured outside our little castle near the woods. I knew this was time to unleash my inner Chef! There were so many options. I grabbed some stick, stones, leaves, dirt…. lots of dirt! I poured some water into my bucket and then one by one I started adding my ingredients. I had so much fun throwing them in and then mixing it all around. I decided I needed more water. I leaned my head back and at the top of my voice shouted “More water”. Mom poured some in but it was not enough. I looked up and voiced again “More!!! More water!”.. then mom gave me that look. Whoops. Gordie always says that “cooking is about passion”.

See you all next month.
Lots of smiles, Josh

 

Tactile games are so much fun and very beneficial for sensory processing.  They also help build a foundation for many developmental milestones including both fine and gross motor skills.

Below I have included my top 10 sensory activities for your 20-month toddler. Among them are also many activities focusing on tactile play.

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

Sensory Play Activities

1. Nature stew

Nature stew

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Fine motor skills, bilateral coordination and hand eye coordination. Visual and tactile senses.

How to Play

On your next nature adventure remember to bring a bucket and a few full bottles of water. After some exploring you can stop and start your cooking lesson. To make the ‘Nature stew’, get your toddler to pour some water into the bucket. Then start collecting surrounding objects such as rocks, sticks, sand, leaves, flowers, grass, acorns. Really, anything that is around will ‘cook’ just fine. Get your toddler to throw in his ‘ingredients’ and stir them around with a spoon (bigger stick). This cooking adventure can keep your toddler entertained for quite a while.

They will see the clear water become muggy from all the sand/dirt. Enjoy all the sounds of the sticks, rocks hitting the sides of the bucket as they stir it around. You can start teaching them about weight by observing heavier objects sink down to the bottom and lighter objects such as grass float at the top.

Enjoy experimenting with your toddler!

2. Floral fun

Flower smashing

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

How to Play

If you have some flowers at home don’t throw them away as soon as they start to dry out. There are a number of ways that your toddler can play with dry flowers.

  1. Place them onto a mat and have your toddler explore them through the use of their hands or feet. They can squish, stomp or pull them apart.
  2. Stick contact paper (sticky side up) onto a wall. Have your toddler then stick petals or small flower branches onto it to make their creation.
  3. Sort them by color or type.
  4. Once they finish with the contact paper you can roll it up into a batten form (sticky on the outside). Then have your toddler pound the dry flowers to see what will stick to it.
  5. Lastly you can place the flowers into some water and have your toddler explore that way.

3. Potato Stamping

potato stamping

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Visual perception and hand eye coordination skills. Tactile and visual senses.

How to play

This is such a fun activity. Cut potatoes in half. Then carve out few shapes. See examples above.

Then let your toddler run wild stamping away.

4. Flying obstacle course

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

How to Play

Today’s obstacle course consists of a flying theme. Before you get started make some paper planes for this adventure. When setting up an obstacle course, try to match its complexity to your child’s skill level. Make sure there is some challenge to improve their skills while keeping it fun.

All you need is some pillows, cushions, blankets, tables, chairs and boxes. You and your toddler can start by pretending you are airplanes by spreading your arms out to the side. Help your toddler if they are having trouble imitating you. Start by flying around on the floor and then fly higher and lower by going up and down the furniture. If you fly up small boxes you can start encouraging your toddler to jump down. Then you can fly on bumpy clouds (pillows spread on the floor). Finally fly up really high (on top of the couch or table). You can park your plane there and take out some pre made paper planes. Your toddler can have lots of fun throwing them down and watching them fly.

5. Playing with balls

Balls, balls and more balls! Every toddler loves playing with balls. Throwing, kicking, rolling, inside or outside… everything goes.

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Hand eye coordination, foot eye coordination, balance, visual perception skills, bilateral skills, timing, sequencing, motor planning, and attention. Visual, vestibular, tactile and proprioceptive senses.

How to Play

You can try any of these activities:

  1. Simple throwing back and forth with your toddler. Note: Medium size balls of softer density are easier to catch.
  2. Kicking back and forth with your toddler.
  3. While sitting on the floor encourage rolling back and forth.
  4. Target throwing/kicking: Target can include an empty laundry basket, a box, a suitcase, a basketball hoop etc. Depending on your child’s skill they can stand quite close to the target and as their accuracy improves you can start stepping them back. Once your child has good accuracy try raising the target slightly off the floor and see if they can throw it in.

6. Finger paint

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

How to Play

It’s time to wake up all those tactile sensors and have some fun with the paint. You can use any finger paint that you want. I did however include a homemade finger paint recipe below.

I don’t think this activity needs much explanation. Let your toddler explore the colors by drawing on paper or themselves (if it’s nice and warm). If the mess freaks you out just let them go wild with the paint while in the bath or shower. Easy clean up of the environment and them.

Finger Paint Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons of sugar
  • ¾ cup of cornflour
  • 2 cups of water
  • Food coloring

What to do

  1. Mix the dry ingredients (sugar & cornflour)
  2. Split the dry ingredients depending on the amount of colors
  3. In another bowl mix water with the food coloring (split the amount depending on the number of colors. For example if using 4 colors use ½ cup of water for each color)
  4. Combine the two and enjoy!

7. Cup hide and seek

cup and toy

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Object permanence (Object permanence is the 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. ) Visual senses

How to Play

Equipment needed: 2 or 3 plastic cups and a favorite toy that will fit inside the cup.

This is a simple game that includes hiding a toy under a cup.

Start by using one cup then increase it to two and then three.

Let your toddler see you hide the toy under the cup. Then ask ‘Where is the toy?’ By this age they should have no problems lifting up the cup to uncover the toy. Then repeat with two cups and then three. If you notice that your toddler is really good at this game try making it more challenging. With the use of two cups hide the toy but then move the cups around. Just like you see in those magic tricks on TV but with fewer cups and MUCH slower speed.

8. Sorting game

sorting lids

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Visual perception, hand eye coordination and bilateral coordination. Visual senses

How to Play

Find a box, any box. It can be from your last delivery, a cereal box or a shoe box. Then gather together a variety of lids or flat objects (circular shapes are easiest). You should find a few lids of different sizes.

I used a variety of lids from jars and plastic containers. Once you have all your equipment cut out holes that match each of your objects (see picture above).

Then have your toddler try to match each object to the cut out hole.

9. 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 toddler 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 toddler 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.

10. Play dough & pasta

pasta and play dough

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

How to Play

Equipment needed: Play dough and pasta (different shapes and sizes)

You can start this activity by seeing what they will do with the pasta. After a while you can also throw in some ideas for variety.

Let me get you started with the following ideas. You can use the pasta to:

  • Poke play dough with it.
  • Make imprints. The more variety of pasta the more variety of imprits.
  • You can hide smaller pasta in it. The first few times you may need to hide the pasta for them.
  • Once pasta is hidden in play dough your toddler can start digging through it and pull it out.
  • Poking is also fun. Start with them using their pointer finger to make holes in the play dough. Then they can put some pasta in it. Pretending they are making cookies or pizza.

My favorite no–cook Play Dough Recipe

Ingredients

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

What to do

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

Summary

There you have it. My top 10 Sensory Activities for your 20 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.

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