Stimulating your child's senses is an integral part of your child's development. Here are a few things that have always worked for me and my kids!
1. Bubble Bath: For a little while your child will forget all troubles! If you don’t have a tub in your home, just an inflated pool in your bathroom will do the job! I used my baby’s regular bubble bath for the bubbles.
Add a few drops of essential oil to enhance the experience. Good calming oil will help soothe the child.
2. Jello Tub: This idea was prompted from leftover jello after a party. I put it into a tub, added some basic toys and left my daughter to explore. I also, much to my husband’s disagreement, allowed her to taste the jello before her hands went in. When it melted, I put the jello back into the fridge for round 2 later!! She learnt several things about all 5 senses from this one activity.
3. Sensory Nature Walk: There is immense sensory potential in the outdoors. Explore it. The feel of grass, the fragrance of birds, the plethora of colours and …OH!! So much more! I encourage seeking for little insects, touch textures of dry and fresh leaves, pick up stones to observe. So don’t combine this with your regular ‘energy filled’ visit to the garden. Plan for this as a slower paced activity and allow time to consider the sensory impact of nature. By concentrating on what the senses speak to us, the kids experience the park differently.
4. Icy Ocean World: The kids absolutely loved this activity! I found these gorgeous ocean themed shells, turtle and fish shaped moulds at my neighbours and of course, I borrowed them! I froze some coloured water in them and then added these to a huge tub of water. In went the ocean animals and what followed was a great tactile exposure. She experienced cold, then the ice freezing, the animals hard but slippery and noticed the mixing of colours as the ice melted.
5. Colour Explorations: I pasted some chart paper onto the wall before I began this. What started out with simple thumb and finger printing went on to snowball into a full-blown wall art! This one is especially good for teaching your toddler about wetness, stickiness, dryness and colours.
This can be super messy so line your floor with plastic and let your kids go ‘Mogwli!’
6. Massage Bin: Create one with things lying around the house! I grabbed the loofah, the sponge from the kitchen sink, the scrubber from the kitchen too, a ball of cotton and similar such varied textures. I then dry scrubbed her with these and she loved it. She was able to comprehend what she enjoyed and was introduced to vocabulary like rough, smooth, hard, etc.
If the weather allows, give your child a cream massage on the back of legs with these. It will take the sensory exploration to an entire new level! Also great for kids with sensory challenges and ADHD.
7. Sound Boxes: Once again just raid the kitchen. I have used small plastic containers here to make sure she can observe the colours, sizes and the sounds that are created from each different bottle. I also sought to help her out in filling them in. Holding the varied pulses, scooping them up and filling them in stimulated her senses.
8. Sensory Bin: I found lots of pom-poms, pipe cleaners, ice-cream sticks and similar other resources from my son’s drawer of craft things for the sensory bin. You can get as creative as you want with this one. Just follow the correct line of questioning and allow your child to speak with her senses.
9. Food Box: This is our absolute favourite. There’s sugar, salt, lemon, some raisins, some cornflakes and we are very flexible about adding chocolates!! We normally take this in the car or when I need to shop with her. We keep digging things out of a little zip-lock and talking about the flavours, the aromas and what they feel like!
10. Clay Play: This one never goes out of trend. My daughter is a foodie and loves making ‘jalebis’ and ‘laddoos’ out of clay. She’s also learning vocabulary related to expressing emotwions and crafts smiles out of clay. What I notice during the use of clay as a material for sensory exploration is that gradually, she has learnt to understand its flexibility, its elasticity and the versatility of its use. The array of colours at her disposal, prompts thinking skills and she is able to duplicate things she sees in her surroundings. She’s also familiar with which brand of clay is more fragrant!
I have also known these to be great activities for enhancing vocabulary skills. The following is a basic SENSORY VOCABULARY BANK that you could use while enjoying these fun activities with your child.
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