People ask me what type of things we do for our sensory diet. Of course, that’s after explaining that no, it doesn’t mean we cut out gluten, no it doesn’t mean we follow Nurturing Traditions, etc.
Once I explain what it is, I get the what kinds of things would that be questions. Most sensory work our Peanut (6) needs preceeds our school time. There are things he needs at other times as well, but by far I use most of these ideas before & during our schoolwork.
Peanut needs a large amount of heavy work, coupled with things to “wake up” his hands, and core strengthing. I shouldn’t just say Peanut. Little Monkey (8) is a Sensory Kiddo too and benefits greatly from these same activities. I try to include him as much as possible. Here are a few of our favorite things:
Peanuts favorite thing to wake up those hands is his sensory bin.
In this, I have a mixture of rice, popcorn kernels, and dried beans. I switch out little goodies to hide inside, or he can use a varitety of scooping, pouring, or digging supplies:
I was very fortunate to buy a therapy swing at a discounted price. This can be used in many, many different ways. The favorite way for all of our boys is the obstacle course. Here is an example of one of our courses (Peanut loves Lego Indiana Jones on Wii, so it was dubbed the Indiana Jones course )
Jumping across the Popcorn Islands (large bubble wrap squares)
Swinging over the Lava River (starting on disc-o-sit, swing on trapeze & land on cushions a couple of feet away–the carpet is the lava)
Crawling through the Dark Tunnell of Darkness (a large piece of stretchy fabric pinned around a hula hoop to make a tunnell — I couldn’t get great pictures of this)
And completing Indiana Jones’ mission of saving each animal (animal puzzle at the end of the course. The animals are saved when they are completed on the puzzle) Other times we use tangrams. His mission is complete when the picture is finished.
Other things we do with the swing is lying in the net swing on his belly, pushing with his hands to grab a target from me; hanging on the trapeze, kicking a target I am holding (we are working toward Peanut being able to tolerate proping his feet on the bar); swinging on the regular swing (normally, like you would on an outdoor swing); swinging in the net swing on his back, sometimes pushing himself by using his feet to push off of my hands. After a morning of hard work, the net swing is his favorite place to relax….which is why he calls it the “Comfy Swing”.
Another favorite is placing stickers on a paper. Well, it’s slightly more complicated than that He gets a sticker, sticks it on his shirt, wheelbarrow walks to the paper:
then must do a specialty walk back to the stickers, either by doing the crab walk:
or even hopping like a frog:
(mid ”ribbit” )
Our exercise ball is another favorite. We will toss it back and forth while working on skip counting or days of the week, I will have him balance on it while I rock him front to back or from side to side. I’ll have him bend backwards to work on those stomach muscles (as well as getting his head upside down in a non-threatening way). I may have him lay on his belly, supporting himself with his hands while working on a puzzle. Peanut is always happy to have time on his ball! (As a calming activity, I roll the ball firmly over his body — front and back.)
Sometimes he’ll stand on the disc-o-sit while we toss a ball back and forth, or while playing cornhole.
Then there is our mini trampoline, where he jumps while singing the days of the week song.
A great, pretty much free activity, is hammering nails in a big stump. Before Peanut was strong enough to do this, I used a big piece of floral styrofoam & golf tees with a mini hammer. Or we might do donkey kicks, or I’ll have him push himself from a prone position on the floor to a pushup position while skip counting. There are quite a few things we do, but this was a quick look at some of our favorites.