Beds are for jumping in our house! Chalk it up as just one more of my own rules that I now break on a daily basis in an effort to provide a sensory enriched environment for my son to sneak in everyday sensory activities. Since discovering my son’s sensory differences we have made MANY changes like this to our home routines, rules and just about everything else in the house.
Learn some simple secrets about how to fit in everyday sensory activities to meet your child’s sensory diet needs and keep your child balanced — just from using the household furniture! Today, sensory mom Wendy from Not a Cookie-Cutter Mom, who is a former Early Intervention supervisor and teacher, is sharing her insight.
This post is part of the Sensory Summer series, hosted by The Jenny Evolution in partnership with The Sensory Spectrum. I encourage you to follow us all summer and visit our Sensory Summer landing page to get the latest sensory fun for your kiddos! This post contains affiliate links.
Everyday Sensory Activities
One quirk about me is that I am not a very creative person. I also tend to err on the side of “keep things simple.” I also tend to be very cheap. I am also a HUGE proponent of integrating sensory activities into our daily lives because, well, I have a kid who certainly needs it. Rather than letting myself get caught up in creating sensory activities, I allow the activities to create themselves naturally with the things we have on hand which are available at any given moment.
The sensory activities around here may seem a little ho-hum BUT they work! Some of the most powerful sensory activities are bouncing, swinging, and inverting the head, which were all listed above. All of these require little to no set-up/clean-up, they came at no extra cost, and often times my children can do them on their own. That in itself is a HUGE bonus for me because I feel children are more empowered when they listen to their bodies and take action accordingly on their own.
Considering my previously mentioned traits, So here are my SUPER EASY, child-directed, very cheap, rule-breaking, powerhouse sensory activities we do here at home:
Jump on the Furniture
Couches and beds are made for jumping. Jumping provides great vestibular and proprioceptive input, supports attention to tasks and promotes calmness, organization, and self-regulation.
Use the Pillows
Pillows are made for pillow fights, wrestling pads, huge jumping forts and any other activity the kids can think of. These sensory activities are great for deep pressure and rough play without harming other people.
Take the Cushions Off the Couch
Couch cushions are made to be taken off and put back on the couch. You can stack them up to make high mountains or line the cushions up to create a padded walkway. What a terrific way to get in the heavy work of lifting, shifting and stacking, which is great for proprioceptive needs.
Find a place to hang a swing indoors. A swing, which is now in the garage, is a permanent fixture and has resulted in all cars being parked outside… we live in Oregon where it rains more often than not, so in order to provide daily access to swinging we sacrificed parking our cars in the garage in exchange for less meltdowns. This way, our kiddo gets vestibular input any time he wants. And trust me, he uses it most every day.
Hand Over the Office Chair
Did you ever notice how the office chair doubles as a spinning machine? Kids love spinning in office chairs because it provides such wonderful vestibular input.
Use the Couch as Gymnastics Equipment
The couch makes a great apparatus for being upside down, which gives kids vestibular input, regulates and organizes, and helps decrease meltdowns.
Dirt and puddles are for playing in at any given moment. Who cares if the clothes get ruined? Purchase clothes used or on clearance and consider them disposable. After all, a happy kid is much more fun than a well-dressed cranky kid!
Get on the Floor
Don’t be afraid to get down on the floor and wrestle. Dads are awesome at this! And in our house, wrestling with Daddy is a daily occurrence. Plus, wrestling hits all the proprioceptive, vestibular and tactile needs.
Meeting Sensory Diet
It’s not uncommon for my son to come up to me and say “my body needs to swing” or “I need to hang upside down.” We have talked about sensory differences and listening to our bodies to know what we each need. Sometimes I am the one who needs a sensory retreat, and I help make that clear. We all have sensory differences, some more than others. The more we each take charge of those differences, the less we will be consumed by them.
Wendy is a former Early Intervention supervisor and teacher who recently chose to stay at home with my three children. She recently started this blogging journey to share the ideas and techniques she learned from years of working with children of all different skill and ability levels. For more great sensory resources and a secret resource she has not yet announced publicly visit her at Not a Cookie-Cutter Mom.
SENSORY SUMMER SERIES
This post is part of the Sensory Summer series, hosted by The Jenny Evolution in partnership with The Sensory Spectrum. I encourage you to follow us all summer and visit our Sensory Summer landing page to get the latest sensory fun for your kiddos!