Thursday, March 3, 2011

Sensory Activites and Ideas

This is another handout that follows up with what I posted about last week (Tactile, Vestibular and Proprioceptive Sensory Integration).
It is basically a list of activities that are good for causing awareness to the 3 senses listed above (a lot of them are just great ideas for kids activities in general!)

Sensory Activities and Ideas

Tactile (touch):
- Texture bucket: fill it full of rice, beans, cheerios, uncooked pasta, beads, cream of wheat, sand.  Very similar to the Bean Box idea.

- Touching a variety of textures, such as: pieces of carpet, soft cloth, sand paper, scouring pad, sponge, koosh toys, bean bags, paint brush, feather duster, turkey baster,finger puppets, stress ball, Gak, sand, rice, beans, egg-crate mattress, fake fur, foam pieces, grass, sand/dirt, corduroy, cotton, wool.

- Massage: hands, arms, feet, and cheeks as tolerated.

- Water play: indoors or outdoors.

- Lotion: rubbing lotion (scented) on arms, hands and feet.

- Finger paint: use pudding, Jell-O, whip cream, shaving cream, warm and cold pudding, etc.

- Gluing textures as part of a craft project: glue rice, beans, fabrics, sand, macaroni, etc.

- Hidden Objects: hide toy in foam beans, rice, Easter grass, etc. and have the child dig around and look for it.

- Playdough/theraputty: roll putty into snakes, garlic press, cookie cutters, squeeze, pull apart to find hidden objects.

- Cooking with various ingredients and mixing the foods.

- Popping Bubbles

Vestibular (movement):
-  Therapy Ball Activities: bouncing with as much support as needed, rocking in prone and supine; always do it on top of a mat for safety.

- Rocking Board: Sitting, prone and supine.

- General Playground Activities: climbing, swinging, sliding, crawling, etc.

- Swinging: use a variety of swings and positions to vary the stimulation.

- Rolling down a hill or incline.

- Rolling on the mat or floor.

- Blanket Swinging, or being pulled on a blanket.

- Scooterboard activities: either pushing/pulling the resident or doing it themselves.

- Rocking on lap or in a rocking chair.

- Bouncing on lap.

- Slides: for residents with enough strength and sitting balance

- Swimming

- Riding in a stroller or wagon
- Bouncing/jumping on a trampoline or mattress

- Sit n' Spin

- Riding a bicycle/trike
Proprioceptive (deep pressure):
- Brushing and Joint compression program (trained by OT or OTA).
- Deep pressure massage to various body parts.

- Scooterboard Activities: either pushing/pulling the resident or doing it themselves.

- Weighted vest or blanket (to be worn no longer than 20 minutes at a time).

- Wrist or ankle weights for body awareness.

- Steamroller games with bolster.

- Pushing/pulling heavy objects, such as wagons, carts, boxes, furniture

- Wheelbarrow walk

- Trampoline: jumping or being gently bounced.
- Kicking a medium-sized ball.

- Beanbag games (catching / throwing).

- Squeezing sponges in water.

- Squeezing playdough

- Bean bag chair

- A safe haven (small tent with pillows) to self-calm.
- Arm wrestling

- Bike or Tricycle riding
Always darken the room when working with a lighted activity to increase the contrast.  Avoid rapid, flashing lights and strobe lights as they can induce seizures.

- Light Box Activities: use different colors, shapes, patterns, etc.

- Suspend a ball over child's head while lying on back.  Child follows lateral, vertical, diagonal, and circular movements of the ball.

- Flashlight - move flashlight around a darkened room.  Have children follow it by pointing or stepping on it.  Place a colored cloth over the flashlight for variation.

- Glittery and shiny objects / toys.

- Mirror Games: have the child look at themselves and other objects in the mirror.

- Encourage playing with puzzles, mazes, dot-to-dot pictures, hidden-picture games, and picture books, one page at a time.

- Reading stories out-loud to the residents (great group activity)
- Cordless Headphones for group auditory stimulation / activities.

- Playing copy-cat: try to get the residents to imitate sounds you make; copy their noises first to get it started.

- Soft Music and Nature Sounds (cd's)

- Upbeat, fast music.  Find music that each resident enjoys.

Always describe and talk about the scents as they are presented.

- Scent bottles: present just 2-3 different smells over one session to avoid over-stimulation.

- Scented markers

- Cooking Activities, discussing smells of foods at mealtime.

Compiled by Paul Daybell, OTR 

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