Happy Summer! The warm months are a time for relaxation - naps in the hammock, reading a book on the beach, long walks at the park, and escaping to the mountains. At least, that is our perception as an adult. However, for a child who is home from school for the summer, their routine has been thrown upside down. The schedule and predictability that once dictated their days is gone, and often they are left struggling to regulate, and desperately craving a routine. As an occupational therapist, I look at a child’s environment, routines, activities, and sensory input, all of which change dramatically in the summer. I see a number of children whose behavior and response to their environment is also impacted due to the summer's change in routines, environment, and activities.
While I can’t promise you will never hear “I’m bored” again this summer, I hope that this list of sensory summer fun activities will provide you with ideas to increase regulation, routine, sensory input and overall summer enjoyment!
The following activities can be alerting, organizing or calming. Each individual child is unique in their response to activities. Please consult a therapist at TLC Learning Center if you have specific questions regarding your child’s sensory processing.
Movement Activities (Vestibular Input):
- Running, Jumping, Skipping, Hopping, etc.
- Team Sports
- Hiking – nature walks, new adventures
- Water Play – run through sprinklers, jump in puddles, have a water balloon fight
- Get Up and Move Dice
Deep Pressure and “Heavy Work” Activities (Proprioceptive Input):
- Ride a bike, scooter, roller skate
- Build in wet sand. Don’t have a sand box? Fill up a Rubbermaid container with sand from a hardware store.
- Gardening – digging, pushing a wheelbarrow, planting, etc.
- Push and Dump Ice Relay
- Stomp Paintings
Touch Activities (Tactile):
- Printable Play-Doh Mats
- Sand, Balloons, Chalk, Water, Shaving Cream, Water Beads – A Sensory Explosion!
- Sidewalk Chalk Paint
- Ice Chalk
Taste & Oral Activities:
- Watermelon spitting contests
- Ice Cream in a Bag
- Rainbow Bubble Snakes
- Floating Ball Activity
Please let us know your favorite sensory activities for kids in the comments! If you have questions about Sensory Processing Disorders or Occupational Therapy, please contact us to discuss an evaluation for your child.
Lindsey Blechle, MOT, OTR