1. Blowing Bubbles: This is a great outdoor (or indoor) summer activity that improves a child’s sense of calm through slow breathing. By doing this over the summer with your child, this will promote an optimal level of alertness, while providing more self-awareness of behavior and present state. This also works to improve oral-motor and ocular motor control.
2. “Bubble Mountain”: A variation of blowing bubbles. Take a deep plastic bowl. Fill the bowl with water, add a little dish soap, and mix them together. Take a straw, and have your child blow through the straw in order to create a mountain of bubbles. Make sure that they are not drinking the water! Controlled blowing is key, otherwise you will have soapy mess on hand!
3. ‘Freeze Game’: Start having your child walk or dance- he/she has to freeze when you say freeze. You can alternate the type of movement-ex-jump, skip, hop, spin, etc. This activity works on body awareness and self-regulation skills.
4. “Shaving Cream Slide”: (At your own risk!!)- Take a small plastic slide, a padded tablecloth, and a large plastic tarp. Cover with shaving cream. Put in an area free of any obstacles. Put your child in a bathing suit and slide down. This is a GREAT sensory experience!!!! (Especially tactile!)
5. Other Sensory Activities:
– Plant and get dirty!
– Go boating and rafting!
– Play catch with water balloons.
– Go to the beach. To decrease stress for the child who has tactile defensiveness, bring shovels/scoops, water shoes, extra clothes and large blankets so that contact with the sand can be somewhat controlled.
– Build sand masterpieces at the beach.
– Take a hike!
– Go camping.
– Go to the park. Climbing, hanging, swinging and sliding are excellent sensory activities. An older sibling or friend can model the activities first in order to help a child with motor planning problems.
– Do messy art activities outside for more sensory fun. Invite your child to play in shaving cream, fingerpaint, draw with sidewalk chalk, and “erase” the pictures with a water gun or a spray bottle. Instead of brushes, paint with sticks, pinecones, spongles, or rocks. Instead of paint, use water or shaving cream. Instead of paper, paint rocks, sticks, the sidewalk, or the driveway. Add sand or glitter to the paint in order to work on the tactile/touch system!
– Slip-and-slides are exciting equipment for older children to use!
Most of all, have fun!