Brrrrr….fall is finally here! And with daylight savings time making it dark earlier, kids are definitely spending more time indoors these days. However, that doesn’t mean that children (with and without sensory integration issues) can’t still have fun in their own homes! Here are some ideas for incorporating tactile play at home.
- Have your child help with cooking. All the measuring is great for practicing math skills, but getting your hands dirty is fun sensory play! Cookies, cakes and brownies are fun and easy to make. Also try making your own pizza dough, then adding all your own toppings. Your child will build hand strength while rolling out the dough. For children who are often defensiveness to messy play, the motivation and fun of cooking can often help with these sensitivities.
- Make your own play dough! This site has some great recipes, including edible play dough! http://www.momswhothink.com/preschool/playdough-recipe.html
- Make some Gack! This is a cool substance that changes between liquid and solid, right in your own hands! The recipe is: Put a cup of cornstarch in a bowl, add a cup of baking soda, and then add 1/2 cup of water. Mix with your hands…they will get messy but the gack will harden, then soften, then drip while you form and play with it. (It comes off with a little soap and water!)
- Make Flubber: This is a more rubbery feeling substance. To make: In one bowl mix in 1 and 1/2 cups of warm water, two cups of glue, and a few drops of food coloring. In a separate bowl mix in 4 tbsp. of Borax with 1 and 1/3 cups of warm water. Pour the glue mixture into the Borax mixture. Do not mix or stir it will form on its own.
- If you can take the mess, cover your kitchen table with shaving cream and have kids practice their letters and numbers by writing with their fingers. For sensory defensive kids, give them a tool so they don’t have to touch the shaving cream directly (i.e., a straw, a Q-tip, a paint brush). Over time, you should find that your child is better able to tolerate the sensory materials when they are introduced to them in a fun way. Never force a sensory defensive child to
touch a material for which they have an aversion. Giving the child a tool to use can give them a sense of control.
- If you don’t like the mess yourself, you can keep things a little neater with sensory materials on a cookie sheets. Let your imagination guide you towards what your kids can touch and play with….salt with food coloring or glitter added, dried rice and beans, and whipped cream or pudding are some fun ideas.