Sensory Ideas

  • Self-Regulation and Sensory Processing

    Calming Activities

    • Play games that reinforce structure and require waiting/ turn-taking: red light green light, freeze dance, Simon says.
    • Yoga, meditation and belly breathing will help child develop better control of their physical body, thoughts, and emotional states. You can start by sitting still with eyes closed with a slow count of 5.
    • Routines, structure and clear expectations will help your child with self-control. Review any changes to the normal routine early.
    • Provide a quiet personal space for your child to calm. Relaxing music, a bean bag chair or soft pillows to burrow in may be helpful.
    • Encourage a variety of play/work positions such as standing, lying on the floor, kneeling.
    • Offer your child a chewy snack to provide organizing sensory input (i.e. Twizzlers, dried fruits, bagels, etc.).
    • “Heavy work” activities (carrying heavy items, push/pull activities, etc.)

    Energizing Activities

    • Have your child jump on a mini-trampoline, perform jumping jacks or play hopscotch.
    • Push-ups on the floor or push-ups against the wall.
    • Organized sports activities- running, yoga, karate, gymnastics, bike riding.
    • Climbing on or hanging from playground equipment.
    • Eating crunchy foods (i.e. popcorn, pretzels, carrots, apples, etc.).
    • Play and dance to loud, fast-paced music.
    • Use toys that make noise or light up.

    Tips for Children with Tactile Sensitivities

    • Gradually expose your child to different textures going from the least to most messy. (i.e. Play-doh is less messy than shaving cream or finger paints.)
    • Provide firm pressure rather than light touch when holding hands or giving hugs.
    • Make sure that blankets, pajamas and clothes are comfortable for the child as this may disrupt their sleep and other daily activities. (i.e. Cut out clothing tags if causing discomfort, wear socks inside out if irritating, etc.)
    • Use unscented laundry detergent.

    Attention and Focus

    • Choose a location in the home with minimal distractions when completing structured activities such as homework or studying.
    • Break down instructions into simple 1-2 step directions.
    • Have child repeat directions to reinforce understanding.
    • Use a visual timer to gradually increase attention to a non-preferred activity.
    • Allow your child to take short, intermittent movement breaks.
    • Use a reward chart with stickers or check marks to reinforce positive behaviors.