Therapeutic Activities for Home and School–Sensory

Therapy for sensory disorders usually include the primary senses of tactile (touch), vestibular (balance/gravitation), and proprioception (posture/position, how one is in space).  If you read The Out of Synch Child, which is largely considered to be the Bible of sensory processing disorders, you can figure out which area(s) your little one might be struggling with. 

Proprioceptive Activities, for postural control and stability/strength

  • drawing on an easel
  • tracing or finger painting (washable) on a window
  • writing on a chalk/white board
  • Airplane/Superman (body outstretched on Daddy’s feet)
  • hanging things on clothesline
  • activities propped up on your belly, elbows
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Crabwalk
  • push-ups against a wall or floor
  • Tug of war
  • Chin-ups (supported if necessary)
  • Sit ups (supported if necessary)
  • Row, row, row your boat (two opposing people rocking back and forth while sitting, holding hands)
  • Belly on the ball
  • scooter board activities
  • sit/bouncing on a ball
  • sitting on a stool, backless chair
  • races while holding something in hands (shoulders at 90 degrees)
  • “bulldogs” (trying to knock each other off balance while on all fours)
  • exercises with arms lifting, holding suspended

Motor Planning, for sequence skills

  • obstacle courses
  • bucket/basket ball
  • simon says
  • hokey-pokey
  • Mother May I
  • London Bridge
  • puzzles
  • jacks, pick up sticks
  • marbles
  • moving like animals (dog, snake, bunny, etc)
  • clucking patterns with mouth
  • Where is Pointer? or finger recognition games
  • pattern recognition with blocks

Tactile Input

  • Water play (pouring, spilling, mixing, scooping)
  • Sand play
  • Finding hidden objects in sand, bean, or rice buckets
  • writing letters on a salt tray
  • sticking things with velcro
  • silly putty, play doh
  • Driving trucks over “land and sea”
  • finger painting (start with gloves if nec)
  • foggy faces on steamed windows, with shaving cream on tile walls
  • feely box (wet macaroni, pinecones, etc)
  • feely books
  • scratch and sniff stickers
  • dress up clothes, including hats and masks
  • body brushing
  • blowing games, instruments
  • spitting toothpaste, watermelon seeds

Structure/Routine, for sequence skills and transition practice

  • Create a fort
  • picture schedules, with or without timers or clock pictures
  • cleaning/chore charts
  • sticker/reward charts
  • rule/discipline charts
  • avoid surprises as much as possible
  • avoid sudden transitions as much as possible

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