Do you have autism or support someone with autism? We want to hear your story! Tell us about yourself, and your plans during Autism Awareness/Acceptance Month. Share our suggested sensory activities with friends and family — and add your ideas too!
1. Create an Obstacle Course
Take some of your favorite squeaky spots, rocker boards, crash mats, balance beams and anything else you can find and create a straight line or a circle course for your kids. They will love it! You can time them too. Some children may need a little hand holding until they feel secure enough to venture the course alone. Be sure to change it up and take it indoors when you’re done to keep it clean and ready for the next round of sensory activities.
2. Create a Sensory Bin
Take a container and fill it with weighted sand, sensory pebblets, or rice and create a sensory experience that allows you to use two hands children to explore, discover, imagine, create, and learn while engaging their senses. Use measuring cups or spoons and work on dumping and scooping. Hide objects, such as cars or letters for children to explore and find.
3. Make Snow
Create a fun wintery experience with Sensory Snow. It will become a fluffy handful of artificial snow that won’t melt. Scoop it up with your hands, let your fingers run through this soft sensory snow or even hide small objects inside your mound of snow. Great for sensory play, at-home or school.
4. Dance Party
Put on some music and start dancing. Parents and therapists can use dancing with music to encourage imitation and it can be a great way to teach daily living skills. Dance with scarves, toss them in the air and work on crossing midline and catching them in the air. Incorporate balls and pass them back and forth to the music. Work on imitation of dance movements that support coordination and balance include rocking side to side, raising and lowering arms and swaying arms back and forth.
5. Tunnel Crawl
Crawling through a tunnel can be an extremely enjoyable activity as the child uses motor skills while developing a sense of object permanence. Incorporate social skills into the activity using peek-a-boo, hide-and-seek, and pretend play.You don’t have to buy a tunnel toy to enjoy the crawling activity. Align boxes to create a tunnel or build one using chairs and blankets. The tunnel activity can be transformed into different things, from a train to a campsite.
6. Therapy Ball Play
Sit on a therapy ball and participate in book or game play. Lay over the ball on your belly and roll out and retrieve game or puzzle pieces. Bounce on the ball to songs or counting to a defined number. Bounce or roll a ball back and forth with a partner. Try tapping or drumming on the ball with hands, feet, or an object.
7. Relay Races
Participate in a relay race with a partner. Sit on a scooter board, hop, jump, skip, or run to find items. Do animal walks to a target. Place objects around the room to navigate while racing. Races can be indoors or outdoors and can incorporate a variety of sensory play tasks.
Have fun and enjoy these activities for sensory play! All of these activities promote movement, following directions, sensory input, and strength and coordination. Please share which ones are your favorite!