Gak Recipe

Gak Recipe

Gak

Ingredients

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

What to do

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

 

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

Enjoy!

~ Urszula

Puff Paint Recipe

Puff Paint Recipe

puff paint

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 (flour & salt)
  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.

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

Enjoy!

~ Urszula

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.

 

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 12: Australian edition – Secret Top 10 Sensory Activities for your 12-month-old child

Month 12: Australian edition – Secret Top 10 Sensory Activities for your 12-month-old child

Josh’s  12 month Story:

This is my second month visiting my family in the beautiful Sydney, Australia. So far it’s been an adventure from chilling with the Koalas to chasing few Roos, Kangaroos. Today is Beach time. So much water… there is no end! To get to it, I had to cover a great distance of sun baked sand. Ready, steady…. Go! Feet in…hmmm… feels warm and soft. One step… kaboom. My legs collapsed and I landed in the sand. Crawling it is… off I go. Ooo it feels so nice. I think I will play here for a while….. Legs go in and out, hands go in and out. Let’s see how far I can throw it….. oooppps it landed all over me.

Whooosh…. Look, the water reached my toes. That was a big and loud wave. I think it might be time to explore the water. DAD!!! Let’s go swimming!!

Until next month

Lots of smiles, Josh

 

Playing on the beach

Wherever you are, make sure you expose your 12 month old to a stimulating environment. The environment should provide access to different stimuli and be rich with music, language, different textures and be sure to provide opportunities for lots of movement. The beach is only one location but there are many parks, playgrounds, farms etc.

What to expect from your 12 month old

One year on and so much incredible growth and development has happened. Your once helpless newborn has now transformed to a little person who is mobile and so much more independent.

Here are a few things that you may see your 12 month old do:

– Mobility:

  • Your 12 month old is able to creep or crawl
  • Is able to sit independently
  • Pulls self up to stand
  • Walks holding on to furniture
  • Can stand alone
  • May have taken their first steps

– Hand skills: Your little one’s hand skills are continually improving. At 12 months your baby should be able to point and/or poke things with their pointer finger. They should be able to use pincer grasp (thumb and pointer finger) to pick up things. They should be able to put things into a container and then take them out. They will also finger feed themselves and start getting better at using a spoon.

– Communication: Your baby is learning language by imitating you. You may hear a few words like ‘Mama’, “Dada’, ‘no’. To keep increasing their language skills make sure you speak to them continually throughout the day. Describe daily tasks or activities that are happening around them. Make sure you remember to read to your little one daily. They may also be using their pointer finger and use pointing as one of their means of communicating with you.

– Social: Your little one may be testing their limits. You may be hearing ‘no’ on a regular basis. They may be starting to throw tantrums. You may also notice that your 12 month old might be shy or anxious towards certain people.

Sensory Activities for a Healthy Sensory Lifestyle

Your little one has become a little explorer and is gaining many new skills at a very fast pace. Here are some ideas that you can try with your 12 month old. As always they have been tried and tested.

1. Free play and exploration

Exploring at 12 months

 

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Problem solving, creativity, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, motor planning (ability to conceptualize, plan and carry out an unfamiliar task), visual skills Opportunity to target ALL senses

How to play

One year olds love to explore. Providing them with opportunities to free play and explore their environment and objects encourages curiosity and also fosters creativity.

Note: Ensure that you have baby proofed your house so that your one year old can explore in a safe environment.

Ideas to get you started:

  • Your one year old can have access to cabinets that are filled with unbreakable containers, pots & pans.
  • They can maybe have access to drawers that have wooden spoons, whisks, spatulas etc (nothing sharp!)
  • Let them play with clean laundry
  • Toy wagons, strollers and shopping carts are also great
  • You can’t go wrong with a box of blocks

See what incredible things they can come up with. They might look and explore the object. They might shake it, bang it, drop it, poke it or put things inside of it. Any of the above ideas are great in encouraging imagination and creativity as there is more than just way to play with it.

2.Water play

Water Play

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Hand skills, hand eye coordination, bilateral coordination Tactile and proprioceptive senses

How to play

This activity is great for any season. It doesn’t matter if it’s summer or winter. During summer you can play outside. You can play in water parks or fill up a water table, a baby swimming pool or simply a large container with water. In winter your baby can play in sinks or in bathtubs.

Some ideas for play:

  • Let them splash around in it
  • Use a stick to twirl and splash the water
  • Sink and dunk a variety of water toys
  • Play fill and empty with a variety of containers

3. Clean Painting

Clean Painting

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Hand skills (finger isolation and strengthening of the muscles in the wrist), hand eye coordination, bilateral integration 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 stick it to a vertical surface. To make it nice and secure I placed the masking tape on both top and the bottom edges.
  3. Place it high enough on the vertical surface to encourage your 12-month-old to stand up. This will strengthen his core and leg muscles, which are important for walking and standing up unsupported.

Occupational Therapy Tip:

  • Completing this activity on the vertical surface strengthens muscles in their shoulders and in their wrist. Those are important for many fine motor skills including writing and cutting.
  • Encourage your 12 month old to hold on to the zip lock bag with the other hand. This encourages bilateral integration (use of two hands).

4. Introduction of concepts

This is a great time to start introducing concepts. During play start talking to your little one about different concepts.

Some ideas for concepts:

  • Up
  • Down
  • On top
  • Underneath
  • In between
  • In front
  • Behind
  • Big
  • Small
  • Same
  • Different

As you play choose a few of the above concepts. You can play with animals for example. Start off by having them dancing on top of the table. Then they all jump down and start dancing under the table.

Another idea is while playing with blocks you can build a big tower. Then build a small tower.

Make sure that you repeat those concepts on many different occasions. Have fun on implementing the concepts not only with the toys but in the outside world. You can talk about big and small cars on the road. Cars going over and under the bridge. Examples are everywhere around us and repetition is the key here.

5. Messy Play: Gelatin sensory tub

Gelatin play at 12 month

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

How to play

Once you have purchased the Gelatin follow the instructions on the box on how to make it.

Then simply cut it into small cubes and place it into a ‘sensory tub’ or what I also call a plastic container.

You can then let your little one run wild and explore the textures and shapes with their hands or even feet. You can also add a variety of containers, spoons and cups for extra creativity and experimentation.

Occupational Therapy Tip:

If you place the container on a raised surface it will encourage your little one to stand up. This will strengthen their core and leg muscles, which are important for walking and standing unsupported.

6. Magnet Play

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Language, concept understanding, hand skills and hand eye coordination Tactile, auditory and visual skills

How to play

You may have noticed a trend throughout this post. I try to include many activities that encourage your little one to stand while playing. This is important to work on strengthening both their core and leg muscles. This in turn will help with their balance and walking skills.

To get you started, place magnets on your fridge. High enough to get your little one to stand. I like shapes or animals as you can simultaneously work on concepts, language and creativity.

With shapes you can talk about colors, shapes and start building things from it. A snowman, a tree, a house… anything really.

With animal magnets you can create stories about each animal and have them moving it from one place to the next.

7. Lets get sticky

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Hand skills, hand strength and hand eye coordination Tactile and proprioceptive senses

How to play

Equipment needed: Contact paper, large container (turned upside down) and items that you don’t mind sticking to the contact paper.

So, here is what you have to do. Attach the contact paper, sticky side up, onto the large container.

Then, stick few objects to it and let your little one explore. They will get a chance to explore the sticky and non sticky feeling. They will also be learning that some items can be pulled away easily and some will require much more force. This will give them a chance to use their proprioceptive sense.

8. Pom pom drop

pom pom drop

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

How to Play

This is a fun game with minimum set up. Simply attach an empty paper tube onto a wall with some tape holding it in place. Then grab some pom poms and let your toddler practice their hand eye coordination skills as they drop the pom pom through the hole. They will then watch with excitement as it comes out through the bottom end. First you can place the tube vertically. As your little one gets proficient with this position you can vary it by changing up the angles for an additional challenge.

9. Indoor sandbox

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

How to play

This activity can get messy but it is also easy to clean up. Depending what you can find in your supermarket you can use any of the following grains for this activity: fine cut oats, cream of wheat, wheat farina or semolina. Main part is to ensure that it is a very fine grain to make it close to feeling like sand.

Place it into a large container with a splash mat underneath it. First let your little one explore the texture with their hands. Then add some toys or cups and spoons to the mix. They can keep strengthening and developing their hand skills as well as use their imagination to explore.

10. Cruising around

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Balance and weight shift (required for walking) Vestibular, tactile and proprioceptive senses

How to play

This is a great activity for those little ones that have not yet mastered the skill of walking. Cruising the furniture (holding on to the furniture as they walk sideways) is a very important skill that teaches some foundational skills. These skills are essential for walking. As your child is cruising along the furniture they move their feet side to side. While doing this they are learning to keep their balance and they shift their weight.

To encourage this skill, spread some of their favorite toys out across a coffee table or a sofa and encourage your little one to reach for them. As the toys are spread out, this method will encourage them to step from one side of the coffee table/sofa to the other.

Summary:

So there you have it. My top 10 Sensory Activities for your 12 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 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.

❮ 11 month activities < 13 month activities ❯