Twelve Sensory Strategies for a Sensational Summer
Yahoo! Summer is here … and so are your kids. Even if you’ve packed those months off full of camps, vacations, and outings, you may find there is downtime to deal with. Boredom is not a bad thing when it leads to creativity, and honestly, you need to let boredom settle in a little for that to happen. Those pauses can also help your child work on problem-solving and impulse control.
Having a bowl of ideas for your kids to choose from or a jar with ideas on popsicle sticks for kids to select can help them start to learn to come up with ideas of their own. A game or activity with different sensory strategies is a good idea too. In addition, consider the following summer sensational ideas:
1. Plant a Garden
Great for heavy work and patience, planting a garden will provide hours of work, and results in two to four weeks can teach delayed gratification.
2. Get Outside
Just go out. Rain or sunshine, the summer is a great time to enjoy the outdoors. Go for a walk, ride a bike, climb a tree, or play a game.
3. Find the Water
It can be a pool, waterfall, creek, or just the rain running down the waterspout from your roof. Water is therapeutic and a terrific sensory filter.
4. Get Crafty
Declare an art activity day. Include coloring, drawing, pottery, sand sculptures, jewelry-making, and more. Modern art is great too, so grab those recyclables, paper towel rolls, and items you think are just junk and see what your child’s imagination can create.
5. Visit the Library
Sure you can order on Amazon, but a trip to the library is full of touch, smells, sights, sounds, and sensations. You may want to spend a bit of time just flipping through books or reading quietly, too.
6. Try a New Puzzle
A visual delight and a terrific way to pass the time, puzzles work on sensory processing, visual tracking, shape, and imagery as well as geometry. Choose a level that can be accomplished in either a single sitting or two to three sittings for younger kids. For older children and teens, a large puzzle can be a summer project.
7. Hit the Bowling Alley
Bowling is terrific for sensory-seeking and sensory-under-responsive kids. The weight of the ball and the sound of the pins being knocked down provide a cause-and-effect sensory experience with friends and family.
8. Find a New Playground
Google can help you here to locate a playground within a certain radius or zip code. Motor planning, balance reactions, gross motor skills and social skills like waiting, patience, and turn-taking will all be challenged on this afternoon outing.
9. Find a Forest
Another visit to Google, and you can be on your way to a great hike in a neighborhood, state, or national park filled with wildlife, trails, and nature. This can provide a sensory outing like no other with physical, emotional, and spiritual benefits.
10. Take a Trip to the Farmers Market
Need to stock up on your fruits and vegetables? Head out to your local farmers market and let your child do the shopping. Weighing, seeing, smelling, and touching all come into play as well as calculations, navigation, and patience.
11. Try a New Sport
Summer is a great time to learn a new skill such as swimming, surfing, boogie-boarding, boating, or water-skiing. Take advantage of this opportunity to try a new sport or beef up skills on one your child may already enjoy.
12. Get on Some Wheels
Biking, skating, and skateboards can be a real thrill if used with proper safety equipment. Early-morning or late-evening hours are perfect for outdoor pavement activities when the weather is not as hot and the sun is a bit lower in the sky. If your child is starting out on a bike, try a balance bike to start and then work up to a bike with pedals.