Sensory activities are a great way to get kids used to experiencing different textures and using their imaginations. From simple scoop and pour tasks to making art to getting their hands messy, there are countless options. Winter can be a great time to switch up some of the activities you have been using with newly themed ones. This can help to keep things interesting and attract kids to give it a try.
Here are a few ideas to try this winter with your kids. Don’t forget that you can adapt them to fit what materials you have available as well as your child’s needs.
If you don’t have real snow available – or it’s a little too cold for playing in – there are several options for creating fake “snow” that your kids can enjoy. A classic favorite is using shaving cream. You can put it directly on a laminate table, or use it on a tray, cookie sheet, or plastic table cloth. It is soft and silky to the touch and kids can use their fingers to draw pictures or write words. You also don’t have to worry about it staining their hands or clothing.
Another option is using Epsom salt. It is naturally cool the touch and slightly rough, so it can be an interesting sensory experience. It is great for pouring and sifting. Try hiding small objects in a tub of Epsom salt and letting your child find them.
You can find plenty of recipes online too for mixing shaving cream and corn starch; gelatin, water, and white paint; or baking soda and conditioner. You can also switch up which type of fake snow you use to let your kids feel a variety of textures.
Arts & Crafts
- Use cotton balls, glue, string, beads, twigs, and scraps of material to make cotton ball snowmen. Let your kids gets creative in decorating them.
- Make birdfeeders using old milk cartons, pinecones, empty toilet paper rolls, or other objects you have at home. Dabbing a bit of peanut butter on them allows the birdseed to stick and offers different textures to touch. You could also decorate a container and pour some seed inside for the birds to enjoy. Birdseed can also make for a fun sensory tub to play with using other toys or objects.
- Collect items from outside such as twigs, leaves, small stones, flower petals, pieces of mulch, or pine needles and make a nature collage. This doesn’t have to be limited to nature either – you can use arts and crafts supplies you already have to make a winter scene or holiday scene or collage.
- Create musical instruments by stringing small bells onto a string, or pouring rice, beads, or dried pasta into a container with a lid. Play along with your kids’ favorite songs!
If your child is hesitant or resistant, go slowly and keep trying. Give them multiple opportunities to engage in sensory play, even if it is just for a few minutes. As they learn to tolerate more textures or sounds, they may play longer. PediaPlex supports families by identifying sensory processing disorders and offering treatment options to help children manage these challenges. There is help available that can empower your child in learning to adjust to different sensory experiences.
Are you concerned that your child may have sensory processing issues? Contact PediaPlex to schedule an evaluation.