Sensory toys, games and activities have so many benefits to children with various additional needs owing to the multitude of ways these resources can be used. they can promote language development and reinforcement through storytelling.
For children with sensory processing difficulties sensory toys and equipment enables them to explore and encounter new sensations in a limitless but safe way. Gradually over time engaging is such activities can be used to help a child who is tactile defensive to explore different types of sensation.
Try some of these sensory toy games and activities with children or make suggestions to foster carers, parents and teachers to use some of these activities and games safely.
Learn Colours With A Sensory Bath
A Yellow water bath (or any other colour) can be the ideal way for your kids to learn colours.Having some sensory fun and learning the colour yellow in the bath with yellow water balloons and yellow bath water. The excitement and joy of this activity is priceless!
To add colour to the water you don’t need a lot of food colour, just a lid full under the the running water. Alternatively, if you do not like the idea of food colouring in your child’s bath you could use a bath bomb to colour the water. So much fun can be had from the children as they squeeze the water balloons into different shapes and drop them in the water.
Giggles and laughter all round as your child is learning colours. You could also place some of your child’s yellow coloured toys in the bath with them for further understanding.
Fluffy Snow Sensory Play
Making Fluffy Snow using soap flakes is a fun and messy sensory play activity. It is also a great way to incorporate a Christmas theme, especially if you live somewhere where it doesn’t snow. But it is fun and encourages a lot of learning, which is what it’s all about! Kids will have the time of their lives finding fun ways to explore the fluffy mixture; squashing, feeling and playing with it.
To make fluffy snow you will need: 1 cup of Soap Flakes 3 cups of warm water and a large mixing bowl
As you beat the mixture it multiplies, kids love to watch the transformation of the clear watery liquid mixture to a thick white blob. Then you and your kids are free to play, explore and learn with the Fluffy Snow!
Scented Rice Sensory Play
This activity is a great way to create a sensory play table with all kinds of tools to explore with.
To do this you will need: Rice Strawberry essence and food colouring a range of scoops, shovels, sifts, funnels or anything else and a large container
This sensory play is unconstructed and allows kids to explore freely. It is great for all ages, from the very young to the big kids. It’s even therapeutic for the adults, we all love to play! This can be a several person activity which requires teamwork, social interactions and problem solving. Experimenting with new things to see what happens and exploring cause and effect are very beneficial.
Garden Water Park
Kids absolutely adore water parks, so with it approaching the summer holidays, a garden water park is an upcoming must! They are a lot of fun for kids, it gets them outdoors and active also secretly encourages many learning opportunities.
You can set up a range of different themed stations for kids to play and explore. One of these can be a Water Balloon Pool, a sensory toy play pool which includes about 35 balloons filled with water. Cheap paddling pools can be purchased from local stores. You can also purchase water squirters for as cheap as cheaply or you may already have a few hidden in the shed! Another popular ideal sensory toy is to use a long sheet of plastic such as a shower curtain and add washing up liquid to create a DIY slip ‘n’ slide.
With little money you can turn your back garden into a water park!
Sensory Play With Jelly
Ooey, gooey, slushy and messy! Playing with jelly!
Playing with Jelly is a sensory activity for kids to explore their senses the many wonderful textures and qualities of jelly. Yummy too!
You will need: Jelly An assortment of plastic containers Tray or container (to put the mess in)
Explore the senses with your child, talk about all the wonderful describing words of how the jelly feels in your hands; squishy, sticky, slippery, slimey, sloppy and smooth. You can explore other senses too: how it smelt, what it sounds like and how colourful it is. This is a great way for your child to learn some new describing words.
We provide sensory activities and products for social workers, parents and carers in the UK and USA to support work with children and adults with special needs including trauma. Visit Elevate Training and Development for more information and our Social Work Continuing Professional Development Online service for more ideas about direct work with service users.
Gradle Gardner Martin is a UK registered Social Worker, and the owner of Continuing Professional Development Social Work Training an online membership site for Locum Social Workers and Independent Social Workers.
She also runs an Online Direct Work Equipment Company called Elevate Elevatefor parents, foster carers and social workers to engage with children and adults. She has been a qualified social work practitioner 27 years and has supervised and managed large areas of front line social work practice.