We’ve arrived at summer! With no school for the next three months, many parents struggle to find ways to keep their children entertained. The activities below are great fun for all kids, but are especially good for children who struggle with sensory processing disorder. They are all great ways to introduce children to new textures and senses in a fun and non-threatening environment.
Sand and Water Play
Children have always loved playing in the sand and water. This is a great way to experience tactile input in fun and creative ways. But, since not everyone has a beach in close proximity, try a sand and water table. These great toys come in several different shapes and sizes and can be set up most anywhere. They are relatively easy to clean out, so sand and water can be changed out frequently, so as to not invite dirty, unsanitary environments. Better yet, you can fill them with just about anything textured to help a child explore. Uncooked rice, beans or noodles and shaving cream also make great options. And if cleaned out at the end of the summer, the child can even use it with winter snow! Add some toys to mix to make playtime even more fun!
Play Doh, Gak, Oobleck, Silly Putty
Children need to be able to touch a variety of textures in order to develop normal tactile processing. These great substances can allow a child to develop, while also being creative, exploring and having fun. A set of cookie cutters, small bowls and measuring cups will enhance the fun and exploration.
Sensory Scavenger Hunt
Plan a scavenger hunt for the kiddos using different textured areas of your yard. Include an activity or something to find in the grass, mud, flowers, water or any area that will give them a different textured experience.
What kid doesn’t like to play with bubbles? Start out by blowing the bubbles for the kids and let them chase them around. Then help them to blow the bubbles themselves.
Buy a package of fun and crazy straws. You can use them to let the kiddos use their breath to blow different objects around. (Lightweight boats in a small pool of water is a lot of fun.) When the kids get thirsty, they can use the straws to sip on some lemonade.
Water Balloon Catch
Play the good old fashioned water balloon catch game. The surprise drop of a balloon and spray of water will be a fun way to help them develop. If you’re unsure of whether or not it will scare your kids, just show them up front what it looks and feels like.