Guest post by Kristina Han, OTS
School’s out and summer is here! Summer is a great time for children and their families to get involved in multisensory activities that promote sensory processing and learning outside. Engaging in sensory-rich activities provides opportunities for children to integrate sensory information such as touch, sounds, vision, smell, and movement. These active, meaningful, and engaging experiences can help foster appropriate responses to sensation while promoting expected behavior, social skills, academic performance, and motor development. Through exposure to a variety of sensory input, children have been found to be able to generalize these skills and behavior into the classroom and other environments.
Here is a list of multisensory activities for the whole family to have an amazing, sensational summer!:
1. Make and play with sand foam! A fun activity with messy tactile play and executive functioning skills to follow the steps of a recipe.
2. Sensory squishy bags. Create mess-free baggies for tactile fun and to practice pre-writing skills. Put in glitter and other small objects for more fun!
3. Melt insects or other objects in ice. Freeze small objects in an ice cube tray and have your child melt them by squeezing warm water out of a squirter bottle! This not only provides tactile and visual input, but helps children build fine motor skills as well!
4. Beans/pebble sight words. Print out pages with sight words and have your child form the letters using beans or colorful pebbles. Makes for a simple, educational, and sensory-filled experience! For an even more multi-sensory experience, scent and dye your beans!
5. Colorful hopscotch with bubble wrap. This activity encourages kids to get active and engaged in a tactile, visual, auditory, proprioceptive, and vestibular experience! Place colored paper underneath clear bubble wrap and tape it down with painter’s tape in a hopscotch formation. Create a game of naming colors/shapes/etc. for a whole other challenge and level of fun!
6. Play a game of water balloon toss! A classic summer activity that incorporates all different types of sensory information and encourages gross and fine motor body movements and eye-hand coordination.
7. Shaving cream & food coloring. Two simple ingredients, loads of fun! Kids can get creative through this activity that requires them to use executive functioning skills to follow steps while getting lots of tactile and visual input.
8. Make and play with scented Play-doh. Kids can develop their executive functioning skills by following a recipe while getting sensory input through touch, smell, and vision.
9. Make a tie-dye shirt. This tactile and visual activity allows your child to practice executive functioning and fine motor skills by following a sequence of steps to create their very own groovy shirt.
10. Create a maze/hopscotch with chalk. Another classic summertime activity that gets kids to their fine and gross motor skills while getting a variety of sensory input. Have them use their imagination and executive functioning by choosing a theme and creating an obstacle course/maze!
11. Soap foam printing/painting. Create a tactile and visually stimulating masterpiece using soap foam, watercolor, and paper!
12. Make a lap buddy (weighted pillow). Provides deep proprioceptive pressure for calming the nervous system. For added sensory input, add lavender or other scented essential oils!
Golden tip for parents: Most of these items can easily be found at your local dollar (Dollar Tree, 99 cent store, etc.) or Daiso stores!