Children respond differently to activities. You may find that swinging or pulling a wagon is calming and helps your child concentrate. Chewing gum may help with focus. Experiment to discover what your child likes best.
A skilled occupational therapist can help you with ideas and develop a "sensory diet" for different situations and needs. Using picture cards in an OT session can help keep your child on track and build competency. In addition, here are several ideas to try: Download Sensory Diet PDF.
Learn more about sensory integration by reading The Out-of-Sync Child: Recognizing and Coping with Sensory Processing Disorder by Carol Stock Kranowitz. I highly recommend it, as well as its companion volume, The Out of Sync Child Has Fun.
Make your own rice and beans play box for appealingly unsticky, indoor play (good for tactile defensive youngsters)
Water play, water table
Play with shells, rocks
Tub finger paint
Paint with pudding
Play with frosting
Play doh or putty
Rice and beans box
Use big tongs or tweezers
Magnets on cookie sheet
Dry-erase board on wall
Mr. Potato Head
Magnet wand & chips
Lock & Latch puzzle
Write on a mirror with markers (we used a big, full-sized mirror for this, mounted on wall of play room). You can also paint on the mirror with shaving cream.
Helps child to balance.
Trampoline (try a mini, floor version for indoor home use)
Can help energize or allow your child to focus. Can be useful at school.
Bounce on exercise ball
Cold water sips
Slant boards can be provided at school as an IEP accommodation, if needed.
Have your child's visual motor skills professionally assessed (may be done as part of a school-based evaluation).
These fun activities can help improve your child's speech and eating abilities, and can also be calming. Ask your child's speech therapist for suggestions, or observe the speech therapy sessions and do the activities at home.
Straws to suck and blow
Gum, chewy candy
Bubbles (stock up on these in the spring and summer)
Blow games (Integrations)
These calming activities are also good, wind-down, night-time activities
Towel rub down
Bean bag chair squish (or use sofa cushions, pillows -- be gentle)
Weighted pads (use for short periods with guidance of an occupational therapist)
Exercise ball rolling
Time in an indoor play tent
Blowing bubbles (good stress-buster!)
These activities help ground a child and can be a good addition to his school day. Ask your child's occupational therapist for suggestions.
Fidgets, squishy balls
Climbing on a gym
Chewy food, gum
Ball seat, cushion
Sit and Skate
Hike in the woods
Walk on pillows
Trudge in snow
Walk dog on leash
Tug of war
Crawl through tunnel
Bean bag catch
Laundry basket sled (drag your child around the house (not uphill or downhill!) in a laundry basket. Even better, stuff the basket with towels after your child is comfortably seated. They love this.
Legal disclaimer: The tools and recommendations on this website are not intended to replace the information, training, and support you may receive from qualified medical and therapeutic professionals. It is the parent's responsibility to verify the accuracy of recommendations and information before implementing changes that may impact the parent's child.