Indoor Sensory Play For Winter Months

INDOOR SENSORY PLAY FOR WINTER MONTHS Continued

or 5 feet and put hands on the wall at shoulder height. The child will be leaning into the wall, holding the body up, and elbows will be straight. Keeping the back STRAIGHT, pretend to try to push the wall down. Quicksand: Hold the child's feet at the ankles when he/she is in a four-point kneeling positions. Have himcrawl to the designated "land: and out of the "quicksand" while the adult provides resistance tomake themuscles of the legs, trunk and arms really work hard to move forward. Chin-Ups/Pull-Ups: Purchase an adjustable chin-up bar at a sporting goods store to hang in a bedroomor classroomdoorway. Dog Pile: Take turns lying on the bottomof the pile while others lie on top. Try to get out frombeneath the pile. Note: it is important to let the child dictate "howmuch" and "how long". When you witness a calming effect, make a simple comment, such as, "Wow, you are really settling down. Does this feel good?" BODY AWARENESS & MOTOR PLANNING ACTIVITIES These will help improve balance, coordination and gross motor skills, as well as improve sensory registration and discrimination. • Walk on a straight or curved line, heel to toe (use masking tape on carpet or floor) • Stand on sofa cushions or bed to play catch. Try it again on one foot • Army Crawl: Combat crawl under "tunnels" mad of chairs or over "mountains" of sofa cushions • "Simon Says" • Jump to targets (e.g., inside a taped circle, hula hoop from pillow to pillow) • Jump rope (this can be modified from typical jump roping to games such as "The Limbo" or jumping over the rope, starting at a low level and increasing the height) • Obstacle courses (use furniture, chairs, cushions, pillows) • Animal walks (Bear, Crab, Elephant, Lion, Monkey, Snake, etc.) • Mini trampolines can be used inside to help your child attend for longer periods when he appearsmotor restless or inattentive. Your child can jump on it to learn math facts or spelling words, or you can play catch with him while he is jumping FINE MOTOR ACTIVITIES These activities will develop hand arches, separation of the hand, and finger isolation to improve manipulative ability for self-care and handwriting. They help improve sensory awareness for the tactile (touch) system and will improve fine motor coordination: • Use tweezers to eat snacks such as popcorn or mini- marshmallows • Play the "flicking game"- put small items on a tabletop, curl the fingers in and "flick" with index and thumb. Make a round target on a tabletop (use the format of a dart board or archery target), using masking tape or washable marker, and award points for accuracy, with the highest point for hitting the center target

• Use the tabletop target to blow cotton balls or small balls or small balls of paper, using straws to blow the balls to the target. A variation of this activity is tomake "goals" at opposite ends of a table and try to blow the ball into the goal while the opponent "defends" it by blowing the balls back away from the goal • Flip playing cards over tomatch/sort by color, suit, or number • Teach your child traditional card games such as OldMaid, Crazy 8s, and Go Fish, and board games such as Scrabble, Monopoly, Sorry, Trouble, or Candy Land. These games develop visual motor skills, hand dexterity, and social interaction though turn taking • Put stickers on the child's body and have the child remove themwith his "pinchy fingers" (thumb and index). Increase the challenge by removing them with his eyes closed • Use a squeeze bottle to help clean mirrors or play with in the bathtub • Hide coins or other small items inside balls of Play-Doh for the child to discover with fingertips • Put shaving cream on cookie sheets for sensory exploration • Make a "Feel-and-Find" box by cutting a fist-sized hole in the lid, place items inside the box, and have your child locate an item and identify it without using visual aids. A variation of this activity is to take digital photos or make flashcards with the items' names and take turns drawing a card and finding the matching object When children engage on sensory activities, many wonderful things occur! Your child will learn how to control his body movements, improve body awareness, increase his ability to attend for periods, improvemotor, social, and play skills, regulate behavior, and feel a sense of mastery and self-worth. Best of all, these activities can include siblings and parents and will foster family relationships through play. Enjoy!

Written by: Beth Aune, OTR/L

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