Drawing and crafting: Drawing and making crafts are great activities that can help to improve children’s hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills and imagination. If your child struggles to hold on to pencils or crayons, you can use grip aids to assist them.
Reading stories: Most children love a story book – if not listening to a story but looking through the pictures. Reading is a great, calming activity to carry out with your child. It can help their cognitive development, improve their vocabulary, and build their imagination skills. Hardback books are best if your child is prone to tearing pages. There are also lots of great, textured sensory books.
Build a den: Den making is something that can be done inside or outside – all you need are some sheets and something to hang them from – be it over a table or across some chairs. If your child has sensory needs they might enjoy the dark environment and you could use some sensory light up toys to make it more fun for them.
Sand and water play: Investing in a sand and water tray is helpful for this activity but not needed. You can use pots, pans or trays. You can even have water play in the bath. Playing with sand and water can develop lots of fun skills such as pouring, digging and scooping, which in turn can help improve motor skills and muscle development.
Paddling pool: If the weather permits, a paddling pool can be lots of fun. It’s a great sensory experience that will not only bring a smile to your child’s face but have positive benefits for both their physical and mental health
Use a trampoline: Trampolines can be used indoors and outdoors, depending on their size! The rhythmic jumping that a trampoline provides is particularly beneficial for children with autism and ADHD as it provides vestibular and proprioceptive input helping children to be more aware of their body. Jumping on a trampoline is also great exercise and can help to develop coordination, gross motor skills and of course, core strength.
Baking: Cooking and baking with children with special needs can be a fun sensory experience that the entire family can take part in and enjoy.
Create a Sensory Table: Sensory tables are great for children with sensory needs to explore. You could use a big tray and add things like cereal, shaving foam, putty, gloop (a mixture of corn-starch and water) and kinetic sand. Let them smear and make a mess inside or outside the house.
Listen and dance to some music: Whether you put music on the television, listen to it on a CD player or Alexa or create your own using pots and pans, music is something that children love. If you have toy instruments that you can use, get them out and drum along to the beat. If not, create your own using household objects (we love rice in a plastic bottle as ‘shaker’).
Doing Puzzles and playing board games: Spend some quiet time playing with simple puzzles or making shape, colour, word or number cards. Using a flat, smooth surface such as a table or tray will make the activity easier.
Why not learn to sing and sign to your children’s favourite songs?