Get ready for summertime and plan some sensory fun for you and your child. Depending on where you live, summer may take its sweet time to get here or may be trying to make up it’s mind with a vascillation between cool and hot. If you live in the south you may have already had 102 degrees days and TONS of humidity. No matter the case, get out your baby pool, slip-n-slide, water balloons and and come up with a plan keep your kids busy. Give them a fun sensory activity at the same time.
Swim Your Way into Sensory Fun
Swimming is great sensory input.
Kids get proprioceptive feedback while pushing their arms and legs through the water.
Kids gain vestibular input by jumping in the water or by having mom or dad spin them in the water. Be sure mom and dad spin in both directions and not too much.
Kids garner tactile input by the feel of the water itself.
And just maybe, your child can practice some social skills with the neighboring kids or swim lesson buddies.
Explore More >> 8 Sensory Motor Benefits of Swimming
Sensory Fun Water Play
If you don’t have access to a pool or swim lessons for your child, you can get out the sprinklers and hose for backyard water play.
Make sure your yard is free from rocks, sharp sticks, dog poop etc. Get the kids outside in their bathing suits, lather them up with sunscreen and have at it.
Water Balloon Sensory Fun
Pinterest offers tons of wonderful games to play with water balloons or sponge bombs:
Bubble of Sensory Fun
Outdoor bubbles with bubble wands usually get kids smiling.
You can make your own bubbles with 1 cup water, 2 tablespoons light karo syrup or 2 tablespoons glycerin and 4 tablespoons dishwashing liquid.
Make colored bubbles by mixing 1 cup of granulated soap or soap powder, 1 quart warm water and liquid food coloring. If your child is allergic to artificial dyes, explore the natural dye options available.
Get plastic straws and small juice cans and set aside.
Simply dissolve the soap in warm water. Stir in food coloring until desired color is attained.
Give each child a can about 1/3 full of mix and a plastic straw to blow the bubbles for wonderful oral motor input.
Some cool bubble ideas on Pinterest:
Enhance Fine & Visual Motor Skills through Sensory Fun
Sidewalk chalk and paint can be a great activity to work on fine and visual motor skills. Chalking and painting builds on a child’s creativity. To get reluctant kids moving, encourage them to draw their favorite animal or person.
Explore More >> Engaging Reluctant Children in Art Play
Draw a hopscotch on the sidewalk or driveway. Have the kids work on balance and motor planning skills as they jump through the boxes.
Build Motor Planning with Sensory Fun
Riding bikes while wearing a helmet in a safe area or with parents can be a great motor planning and balance activity.
Consider hosting a variety of relay races.
Get creative and challenge the kids to carry an egg on a spoon.
Have the kids race with a balloon between their knees.
Get the kids to carry a paper plate but not using their hands as they relay. Don’t let them drop it. For example, kids can use their elbows to carry the plate or use their backs together to carry the plate. Trust me, this is a fun activity that Carol Kranowitz, author of The Out of Sync Child, always uses in her presentations. The audience always gets a kick out it.
Sensory Fun for Rainy Days
Mix ½ cup water, ½ glue, 2-5 drops of food coloring.
Next, mix in a separate jar – 1 tablespoon of borax and 1 cup of hot water. Mix well until it’s dissolved.
Then add another ½ teaspoon of borax into the water until dissolved. Repeat this step until the water won’t absorb any more borax.
Pour 2 tablespoons of borax mixture into the water and glue and stir with wooden spoon. Knead with hands to make a gooey mixture, adding more borax if its too sticky until desired texture.
If your child is tactile defensive, have them put on vinyl gloves to play in the new Gak or Slime creation.
Mix Up the Sensory Fun
Make sure your kid is getting sensory rich activities that are going to help with organizing behavior, sensory regulation and most importantly supplies ample loads of FUN!
Mix it up! Don’t let them just play the same thing over and over again. If they love a favorite summer activity, change it up a bit by creating a simple obstacle course.
Encourage the kids to swing, then run through the sprinkler, then hopscotch through the squares, jump rope ten times and then hop back onto the swing.
Change it up! If they really like the bubble play, let them play for 10-15 min. Then transition kids to a new activity and play with bubbles again a little bit later. You don’t want to let the excitement wear off.
There are hundreds of more summer sensory activities that you probably already do with your child. It is my hope that the ideas mentioned above helps you think of something new. Maybe something above reminded you of a favorite activity you loved as a kid. Keep in mind, if the child is scared of something, or too nervous to touch something, think of creative ways to adapt the activity to meet their specific sensory needs.
Enjoy your summer!