How do you create sensory activities?

Answered by Tom Adger

Creating sensory activities can be a fun and engaging way to provide children with hands-on learning experiences at home. These activities are designed to stimulate the senses and promote sensory exploration and development. Here are some steps to help you create your own sensory activities:

1. Choose a sensory focus: Decide which senses you want to target in your activity. Common sensory focuses include touch, sight, hearing, smell, and taste.

2. Select materials: Gather materials that will engage the chosen senses. For example, if you want to focus on touch, you might choose materials like sand, water beads, or textured fabrics. If you want to target sight, you could use colorful materials, light-up toys, or visual stimulation cards.

3. Set up the activity area: Clear a designated area where the sensory activity will take place. Lay down a protective mat or tablecloth to make cleanup easier. Consider using trays or containers to contain the materials and keep the activity organized.

4. Introduce the activity: Explain the activity to your child, emphasizing the sensory focus and any specific instructions or rules. Encourage them to explore and engage with the materials using their senses.

5. Encourage open-ended play: Allow your child to freely explore and play with the materials. Avoid directing their actions too much, as sensory activities are often most effective when children can engage in open-ended play and follow their own curiosity.

6. Adapt and modify: Depending on your child’s age, abilities, and interests, you may need to adapt the activity to make it more suitable for them. For younger children, you might simplify the materials or provide more guidance. Older children may benefit from more complex materials or additional challenges.

7. Observe and interact: Watch your child as they engage in the sensory activity. Ask open-ended questions to encourage conversation and reflection. Take note of their reactions, observations, and discoveries.

8. Reflect and extend: After the activity, discuss what your child experienced and learned. Encourage them to reflect on how the materials felt, looked, smelled, or sounded. Extend the learning by connecting the sensory experience to other concepts or topics, such as nature, science, or art.

9. Cleanup and storage: Ensure that all materials are cleaned and stored properly after the activity. Some sensory materials may require special care or disposal, so be sure to follow any safety guidelines.

Remember, sensory play is all about allowing children to explore and engage with their senses, so don’t be afraid to get creative and try new ideas. Have fun and enjoy the process of creating sensory activities that will provide meaningful and engaging experiences for your child.