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The sun is shining. You’re itching to get outside. However, you know you need a little something special to lure the sensory child in your life outside into the heat.  All you have to do is to take a plastic sandbox or old kiddie pool, add a few inexpensive props and you will discover self-regulation in the form of sensory amusement all summer long.   

Let’s create head to toe tactile fun to help keep your child’s sensory system well regulated all summer long and beyond.

Here are a handful of ideas to get started:

Release the Summer Snow for Self-Regulation

Squirt some cheap shaving cream into the bottom of a clean sandbox and let kids go to wild.

Sensory avoiders might need a prop or two to feel comfortable moving the shaving cream around.  Consider a plastic shovel or even a pair of gloves.

Sensory seekers might just jump in head first or feet first.  Before you know it, shaving cream will be scooped up in little hands and clapped together to make it snow.  You may even find that children will cover themselves from head to toe, turning themselves into snowmen!

Explore More >> Tactile Shaving Cream Adventures

Cool Down with Mini Glacier Fun for Self-Regulation

On a particularly hot day, fill the sandbox with water.

Bring out trays of ice cubes so children can crack them into the water creating mini glaciers.

Add a few plastic or milk carton boats, or similar props, and your on your way to some splashing, crashing, cooling fun.

Re-purpose Grass Clippings for an Excavation for Self-Regulation

After mowing the lawn, pile the clippings into the sandbox.

Just bury some pretend jewels, matchbox cars, plastic letters or whatever will excite your child.

Have your child go on a sensory excavation and dig through the clippings to recover the hidden treasures.

Consider using other natural mediums at different times of the year such as acorns and leaves in the fall.

Break Out the Ice Paints for Self-Regulation

Pour some non-toxic paint, brightly colored Kool-aid or even water with a lot of natural food coloring added into waxy Dixie cups or ice cube trays. Stick the Dixie cups or ice cube trays into the freezer for an hour or two.  After they are partially frozen, insert a straw, toothpick or popsicle stick into each cup or cube. Let them freeze overnight.

In the morning, line the bottom of your sandbox with paper or light recycled cardboard.

Break the “ice paints” out of their cups or tray and have your child swirl them around to create interesting designs.

Best part, the kiddie pool or sandbox contains the mess!!

Explore More >> Engaging Reluctant Children in Art Play

Build a Cooling Igloo with Ice Bricks for Self-Regulation

Over a period of a few days or weeks, freeze several loaf pans or plastic sandwich containers of water. Let each container thaw enough to break the “ice bricks” out of the containers and place the bricks back into the freezer.

On a particularly hot day, encourage your child build his very own igloo using the sandbox as the foundation.

Upcycle a Sandbox into a Kid Friendly Garden for Self-Regulation

Should your child’s sandbox start to get too old, lose it’s favor, never fear! Gardening is a wonderful sensory activity that opens up ample opportunities for learning and fun. Simply punch a few holes in the bottom of your sandbox and use it as a container garden!

Explore More >> Upcycle a Sandbox into a Kid Friendly Garden

Now, stop gleaning ideas and start having fun! Pull out the old kiddie pool, add a few props and head outside for some sandbox fun.

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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.