We are all waiting for the sunshine and warmer days ahead to give our kids the benefits of playing outside. Until then, you may be wondering how to fill the time indoors on weekends or between school and bedtime. Let’s look at some options to help give kids the sensory experiences they crave without having to brave the cold or rainy outdoors.

· Obstacle Course: This is a great way to get their bodies moving. Items like chairs, quilts, cushions, and pillows can be used to build the course. Also, having your child help create the course to work on planning and problem solving is great, too. Pretending that the floor is lava can double the fun!

· Sensory Bins: Sensory bin play is a great activity for using items around the house. Simply fill a bucket, tub, or bowl with different textured items and have your child search for small hidden toys in the bin. Examples include hiding puzzle pieces in rice and beans, scooping floating objects out of icy water with a spoon, or simply squishing their hands in water beads. The possibilities are endless!

· Homemade Slime: Making slime is a great way to get our hands messy and work on following directions. Simple slime recipes can be found online and typically use items already found at home. If you are worried about the slime getting stuck in the carpet or couch, try creating a “home” where the slime has to stay.

· Simon Says: This is a game that has been around for ages and continues to have multiple benefits such as working on impulse control and following directions. Be creative with the instructions to help your child work on different types of coordination or movement activities!

· Sensory bag: Wanting something a little less messy or worried your child will place small items from a sensory bin in their mouth? Sensory bags are a great option! Fill a Ziplock bag with liquids or mixtures such as water, hair gel, or glitter glue, and then add small toys or items (such as beads, buttons, pom poms) for the child to interact with through the bag. Once the bag is closed, tape all four sides to a flat surface so it will remain stationary while the child plays with it. This still incorporates various senses as your child engages their hands (or feet!) to interact with the bag in a mess-free way!

These are just a few of the many ideas for indoor sensory play. Sensory play does not have a set of rules to follow, so you can be creative with the items you have on hand. It can be an amazing opportunity to channel your child’s creativity!

If you have any concerns regarding your child’s sensory processing skills or fine motor skills, please give one of our three clinics a call!

Laken Samford OTR/L