Activities for Addressing the Sensory Systems at Home

These activities can be used at home and are considered environmental supports and adaptations that help a child get needed sensory input throughout their day. Additionally, these activities can help children who have difficulty with processing different types of sensory input.  However, it is important to have your child evaluated by an occupational therapist who can provide a more child-focused intervention plan. 

Tactile

  • Create a "Feely Box":  A "feely box" is a box filled with different textured and/or shaped objects inside.  The child can Feel the objects, without looking and try to identify what objects are in the box.

  • Messy Play:  Messy play involves activities in which children have to get their hands dirty.  These activities may include finger painting, arts and crafts with glue, shaving cream, slime, etc.

Proprioceptive

  • Weight bearing activities:  Weight bearing activities are any activity that involves the child putting weight through their joints.  Some of these activities include crawling, animal walks (crab, bear, etc.), yoga, push ups, wall push ups, etc.

  • Resistance Activities:  These activities can include pushing heavy objects, pulling heavy objects, or playing tug of war games.  Some things a child may pull or push could include a basket of laundry or a container of heavy toys.

Vestibular

Activities that target the vestibular system can either be alerting (increase alertness/energy) or calming. 

Alerting activities may include:

  • Bouncing on a trampoline or on a ball

  • Spinning on a chair or swing

  • Rolling

Calming Activities may include:​

  • Slow rhythmic swinging in a straight (linear) pattern

  • Rocking chairs

Visual

  • I Spy:  I Spy games using a book, printed pages, or with things around the house can improve visual perception and integration

  • Puzzles:  Both jigsaw puzzles and insert puzzles are great for visual perceptual skills and visual motor skills

Auditory 

  • Play attention/listening activities:  Play attention games are games where the child has to specifically wait and listen for verbal directions.  They include games such as "Simon says" or "mother may I".

  • Music:  Music can have a powerful impact on the auditory system.  Some music may have a calming effect, such as classical music.  Music with faster tempos and stronger beats, however, may elicit a more alerting response.

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Photos by EJ Cannon Photography