5 Ways to Use Wrapping Paper for Sensory Diets

No matter what your faith tradition, it seems that at this is the time of year wrapping paper is ubiquitous. Instead of tossing your torn pieces out, try looking at them with an eye for sensory diet fun.

Today’s Challenge: Wrapping paper

Original Purpose: Wrapping gifts

With Sensory Savvy Lenses: Free tools for fine motor, visual, auditory, vestibular and proprioceptive input

Just how can you reuse wrapping paper to offer your child an enjoyable dose of sensory input?  Try the following…

Pattern Punching
For fine motor and visual fun, cut a square of wrapping paper that has a clearly defined geometric shape or holiday symbol on it. Place this on a carpet square and give your child a toothpick or wooden skewer. Challenge your child to “trace” the shape by poking small holes into the paper along the shape’s outline. Then, hold the paper up to the light to see the design come through. If your child is able to handle pins, you can also do this with a pin and corkboard.

Crinkle, Crunch and Find
For auditory fun, have your child sit or lay with eyes closed. If your child has difficulty keeping eyes shut, use a blindfold. Then, crinkle and crunch wrapping paper to the left of your child, the right, in front, in back, above, etc. Have your child point to where the sound is coming from. Then, switch places. To add more movement, have your child stand, blindfolded. Crinkle and crunch the paper and ask your child to move toward the sound. Lead the child to a prize or through a simple obstacle course this way.

I Spy
For more visual fun, play a traditional game of I Spy using a busy scrap of wrapping paper as the place to find target objects to spy. To up the challenge, lay out several scraps of wrapping paper that are different in design but similar in motif. Ask your child to try to guess not only what object you are describing, but from which wrapping paper sheet.

Matching Game
For fine motor and visual fun, have your child make matching cards. Give your child 12 index cards or similarly sized stiff papers, a glue stick, scissors and some patterned wrapping paper scraps. Have your child find two objects within the patterns that are the same, cut these out and glue them each to a different card. This is the first pair of matching cards. Do the same until a full set is made. Then, play games such as Concentration and Go Fish.

Wrapping Paper Obstacle Course
For vestibular and proprioceptive fun, make a wrapping paper obstacle course. Stations in it can include old phone books wrapped in paper and set out as a balance beam, a crinkled paper pit to jump in (just use a large box) and a wrapping paper jump. For the jump, tape scraps of wrapping paper to the wall or dangle them on strings from the ceiling and have children try to jump to swat them.

With these ideas, plus your own creative views of wrapping paper through your SPD Lenses, sensory input over the holidays should truly be a wrap!

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Martianne Stanger About Martianne Stanger

Martianne is a homeschooling mom with over 20 years of experience in education, youth work and dramatic arts both in the United States and abroad. With certifications as a Middle School Generalist and English 8-12 teacher, plus a drawer full of certificates from a wide variety of professional development workshops and graduate courses, she brings a comprehensive "traditional" background to her present-day creative pursuits. Visit Martianne at Training Happy Hearts.