I went home in tears.
I remember thinking as I sobbed in the parking lot, “How am I going to add this in to all that we are already doing? I feel like I’m failing already.”
It just felt like more.
It took a lot of time, many more tears and some trial and error, but I finally began to figure out how sensory activities not could not only “fit” into our schedule, but actually help contribute to our learning.
For more than five years now, I have been incorporating sensory friendly activities into almost every one of our days. The benefits have been at the very least, noticeable and at best, life changing.
Sensory activity helps to not only calm and “sync-up” a child’s sensory system, it also strengthens the brain’s neural pathways and connections. For example, when my son is able to learn something new through a sensory activity vs. a worksheet, he retains it faster and for longer periods of time.
Sensory exercises and play are not just for out-of-sync children. They can and do enhance learning for all of us!
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What are sensory exercises?
Sensory activities engage the 5 senses – touch, smell, sight, taste, and sound – as well as the vestibular (balance) and proprioceptive (position and movement of the body) systems.
Specifically, sensory exercises can positively impact language skills, fine motor and gross motor skills, social skills and self-control/self-regulation.
They calm my children like nothing else, and even better, they’re fun! But it can be hard to find sensory activities for all ages.
With this in mind, I wanted to provide a resource that would work for families just like mine.
Here are my all time, top 100 favorites.
100 Sensory Activities For All Ages
Yoga Ball Chair
Yoga Ball Trampoline Bounce
Balloon Stress Balls – Somewhat Simple
Human Body Sidewalk Drawings – True Aim
One Foot Hopscotch
Soapy Sidewalk Spelling
Water Balloon Toss
Water Balloon Trampoline Bounce
Giant Bubble Making – My Little Poppies
Egg Drops and Egg Rolls
Rock Hunt and Painting
Dot Marker Bingo
Ping Pong Basketball
Homemade Floam – Teach Beside Me
Coffee Filter Crafts – Look! We’re Learning
Bubble Wrap Stomp
Mining for Gems
Dough Numbers and Letters
Baking Soda Bombs and Volcanos
Edible Starbust Slime – Teach Beside Me
Birds and Bugs Playdough Mats – Look! We’re Learning
Sensory Bottles – This Outnumbered Mama
Frozen Oobleck Sensory Play – Learning and Exploring Through Play
Edible Sludge Sensory Play – And Next Comes L
Cocoa Slime – 3 Boys and a Dog
Plastic Kite Bags – Munchkins and Moms
Mud Kitchen Tuff Spot – Clare’s Little Tots
DIY Chalk Paint – Busy Toddler
Homemade Finger Paint Recipe – Powerful Mothering
Fly Swatter Painting – Munchkins and Moms
DIY Sidewalk Foam Paint – The Tip Toe Fairy
Collect and Paint Rocks – Rhythms of Play
Colorful Melting Ice – Bambini Travel
Easy to Make Water Bombs – Adventures of Adam
Ice Cream In A Bag – Kara S. Anderson
Sensory Bins (all the sensory bins)
Simulating A Heartbeat – Primary Theme Park
Anatomy Dough Play Mat – Our Time To Learn
No Sew Weighted Lap Pad – Lemon Lime Adventures
DIY Crash Mat – Kids Activities
DIY Sensory Retreat Area – A Sensory Life
DIY Squoosh Box – Lemon Lime Adventures
Lego Calm Down Jars – Lemon Lime Adventures
Edible Ocean Layers – Tina’s Dynamic Homeschool Plus
Shell Critters – Mosswood Connections
Shaving Cream Earth – Crafty Morning
Edible Rock Cycle – Tina’s Dynamic Homeschool Plus
Pumpkin or Watermelon Carving
Homemade Sugar Scrubs
Chalk Pastels Art
Dancing the Hokey Pokey
Dancing to Favorite Songs
Masking Tape Balance Beam
Hammer and Nails
Couch Cushion Obstacle Course
Making Beaded Jewelry
Why Sensory Activities Matter
I can’t stress enough how much incorporating sensory activities and exercises into our days has helped. My boys are noticeably calmer, happier, and better able to focus when I am intentional about their sensory routine.
They aren’t alone in this. In fact, there is ample evidence that sensory activities and therapies may be beneficial to children with a number of struggles including:
- social or emotional dysregulation
- activity level that is unusually high or low
- difficulty with transitions from one situation to another
- inability to calm self or unwind
- delays in speech, language or motor skills
- delays in academic achievement
The truth is, in my home, research, or no research, this simply works.
More Sensory Activity Resources:
This post is part of iHomeschool Network’s 100 Things Link-up. See more fun lists here!