It has been a while since I wrote the last blog and suddenly winter is really and truly upon us. My husband and I were fortunate enough to go to Egypt for a week of sunshine and there was an endless amount of exercise and activity available to us. Since being back in cold and rainy London our activity levels have drastically decreased.
This got me thinking about the importance of exercise and movement for children with any kind of Sensory Processing Difficulties. Children experience and integrate sensations through their bodies and just the right amount of sensory input is vital. So, with winter upon us, I thought I would give you some ideas of indoor sensory activties to help your children regulate their levels of attenion and activity.
- Build a fort made with blankets and pillows and allow the children to sleep in it on weekends (the smaller and softer the space, the better).
- Let your child lie on a picnic blanket and take them (or let Dad take them!) for a ride around the house. They should try keep their balance in different positions while on the ride. Swap and see if they can pull you.
- Tampettes are great fun.
- Buy some lycra and make a tunnel that they have to crawl through. Use the tunnel to make an obstacle course.
- Get your child to lie down right on the very edge of a blanket. Roll them up tightly into the blanket and then unroll them as quikly as you can.
- A really calming activity is to have your child lie face down on a bed. Roll a therapy ball over their back and apply firm pressure through the ball. Ask your child if you should put more or less pressure on the ball.
- Bounce up and down on a therapy ball while watching TV.
- Place colouring in pictures on a vertical surface (the wall) and get the children to colour in. Its great for arm strengthening and is very proprioceptive.
- Animal walks are excellent motor planning acivities and need core strength to carry them out. Have competitions to find your family’s best donkey! Animal walks can be done to music, as relay races, or used to replace running in general games.
- Crab walks – Child assumes an inverted crawling position with chest and head up and hands on floor behind back. Keep the body in a straight line and walk around on hands and feet in this position.
- Bunny Hops – Child squats down low on heels with palms flat on the floor. Move hands forward first and then hop feet forward to between the hands with a little jump.
- Duck Walks – Child squats down and places hands around ankles. Walk one foot at a time in this squatted position.
- Squirmy Worm – Child gets into push-up type position with only feet and hands touching the ground. The child inches feet forward towards the hands so that bottom goes up into the air, then creeps hands forward to straighten out into push up position and repeat.
- Seal Walk – Child lies face down on the floor. Extend arms to push up and walk forward with arms, dragging feet behind.
I think that one of the most important things about sensory diets is that they should be fun for your children and the age old principle of the more the merrier really does apply. So hopefully when your children go to bed this winter they will have had their share of sensory fun and will drop off into a quiet and contented sleep.
Have fun playing with your kids this winter!