OT Awareness Month

April is #OTAwarenessMonth and today, Sadie Forester, OTR, is sharing some activities you can do with your children to provide sensory breaks, increase attention and engagement and stimulate different sensory systems!

Sadie

Self quarantine has been an adjustment for everyone, but especially our children. Routines are gone, children are getting stir crazy, screen time is at an all-time high, and their attention spans and productivity are at an all-time low. When a child isn’t getting an adequate amount of sensory input this can create challenges in their everyday life impacting their ability to learn, engage, communicate, or perform motor skills and self-care skills. Below I have listed activities you can use as sensory breaks throughout the day to help increase attention and engagement of your children based on the different sensory systems. 

Vestibular Input

Red light Green Light 

Works on motor coordination, postural control, and auditory processing.

Simon Says with Animal Walks

Animal walks help provide input to the shoulder girdle and places the body in a position where the head hangs down giving the child intense input. (Frog jump, crab walk, bear crawl, donkey kicks, kangaroo jumps, inchworm crawl)

Proprioceptive Input

Obstacle course

Climbing, crawling and jumping will provide input to the joints. Try using items such as pillows, chairs, tape on ground, rope, and hula hoop. 

Yoga

Stretching and holding body weight in yoga positions provides input. 

Tactile Input 

Shaving Cream or Finger Paint Pictionary

Targets tactile defensiveness, body awareness, and bilateral coordination.

Homemade Slime or cookie dough (mix with hands)

Targets tactile defensiveness, body awareness, sequencing, and manual coordination.

Visual Input

Scavenger Hunt

Visually scanning environment to find hidden items in the house or have child write down all the items they find that are “square” (shape, color, or texture).

Maze Drawing

Visual-motor integration, fine motor skills, and visual tracking to problem solve the correct route, print off mazes online or create your own outside with chalk!

Auditory Input 

Simon Says

Works on receptive language, body awareness, and body coordination 

Freeze Dance

Works on receptive language, body awareness, and body coordination