Written by: Shabnam Khorsand, Program Manager
Sometimes, our learners have a lot of pent up energy that they need to release. This release can be presented differently among different individuals. Sometimes we see our learners flapping their hands, tensing their bodies jumping up and down, etc. Sensory activities are ones that stimulate our five senses and work as a replacement behavior for that release of energy. Here are 5 different activities that are fun, will provide the sensory release they are looking for, and will simultaneously target other skills as well!
- A Sensory Water Bottle
This is a fun activity you can complete together that will allow your learner to be creative, use fine motor skills, and practice manding. All you need is a water bottle, some glitter, food dye, sprinkles, beads, shells, or anything else they want to put in their water bottle. From there you close the lid tight and watch the magic of the glitter, beads, and sprinkles float around through the bottle.
- Physical Exercise
Physical exercise is great for our health, for developing fine and gross motor skills, compliance, and attending skills. Best of all, physical exercise has been shown to decrease self-stimulatory behaviors as it serves a wonderful replacement behavior for automatic behaviors that we see (i.e. hand flapping, body tensing, etc.).
- Homemade Slime
Homemade slime is a quick, easy, and fun activity the whole family can partake in! It is also a great sensory toy because our learners are able to squish, pull, and smash it.
- Treasure Hunt Sensory Tub
A treasure hunt is a great activity for our learners because it helps them focus on attending skills, fine motor movements, and is a great sensory activity! Fill the tub with sand and add any items that they can dig for (i.e., beads, little dinosaurs, jewels, etc.).
- Plastic Bag Kites
This is a great activity if you have a bunch of plastic bags lying around from grocery shopping. Take a plastic bag and tie a piece of yarn to it and then tell your learner to get outside and have fun! This activity will target functional and imaginative play skills as well as gross motor skills. Plus, they’ll be able to feel and hear the wind flowing through the bag as they run. For some added fun, you can decorate the bag with markers before letting it soar through the sky.