​At home with the kids? Here are 5 Sensory Activities Everyone Can Enjoy

Posted by Bonnie Arnwine, President of National Autism Resources on Mar 17th 2020

School is out and summer is in full swing. We all have the opportunity to spend extra time with our kids. Here are 5 fun activities that use common items in your house.

Burn Off Some Energy with Paper

Get that extra paper you have around the house and have fun crumpling it up and turning it into balls. Next have a snowball fight. Set a timer for a couple of minutes and throw balls back and forth across the room. This is a great way to burn off energy fast. You can extend this activity by:

  • Place a laundry basket in the middle of the room and trying to throw the balls inside the basket. Make the challenge harder by placing a mixing bowl inside the laundry basket.
  • Switch up the challenge and place a laundry basket, mixing bowl, and cake pan in different locations around the room.

Spaghetti Fun

If you have some left over spaghetti you can also use this as a fun tactile activity. Write down your child’s name and let them trace over it with spaghetti. You can extend this activity by:

  • Using spaghetti to trace over letters and numbers.
  • Draw a simple emoji face and add hair, a beard, and a mustache.
  • Take your extra spaghetti and float it in water in the kitchen sink. If you have some ping pong balls or something similar, throw that in the water as well and let your kids play with spaghetti and meatballs.

Blanket Activities

We all have a blanket or large towels in the house. Turn your blanket into:

  • A mini parachute have your kids grab on and shake the blanket together to make waves.
  • Put a stuffed animal or ball on the blanket and make waves to watch it bounce.
  • Swing the blanket back and forth with a stuffed animal on it to rock it to sleep.
  • Have your child sit on one side of the blanket and pull them for a chariot ride. Next put a toy or backpack on the blanket and let your child give it a chariot ride.

Kinetic Sand or Play Dough Play

Kinetic sand or play dough - what a mess! Yes if this gets onto carpet it is hard to clean. So why not set a large cookie sheet on the kitchen floor and have your child play there. If you have a plastic tablecloth you can also place that on the floor and let your child play on top. You can change out the experience by:

  • adding cookie cutters, or small toys.
  • Using a pencil to write in the dough.
  • Rolling the dough and creating shapes, letters, or numbers.
  • Put some dough inside a freezer bag, add some small items, and have your kids search for the missing items without opening the bag.

Easy play dough recipe:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup salt,
  • 1 cup warm water,
  • Food coloring (optional).

Combine the ingredients in a bowl and you are ready to play. Be careful with food coloring - too much and it can stain some surfaces.

Music Games

We all have access to music. Here are a couple of fun games to play.

  • Freeze Dance - as soon as the music stops you have to freeze.
  • Mirror Dance - using slower music stand in front of your child as they move mirror their movements. Switch and take turns move slowly and have them mimic your movements.
  • Musical hugs - play some music when it stops give each other a hug. You can also turn this into musical high fives.
  • Musical paper plates - take two paper plates and use them to clap to the music, then use them to tap your head, stomach, knees, and so on.

Like these activities? Check out Bonnie’s book Starting Sensory Integration Therapy. It has over 140 easy to do activities, you can do at home with common items from around the house. Extend it ideas will help you keep your kids engaged in play.

Bonnie Arnwine is a speaker, writer, and the president of National Autism Resources.