Bedtime Tooth Brushing Visual Schedule

Getting four kids tucked into bed is a nightly circus.  There are lost toothbrushes, smears of toothpaste, pajama shenanigans, and one last bounce on the beds.  Then, it’s lights out and always a few calls for one last hug from mom or dad.  


But one thing that helps with my kids is to have a routine in place.  A bedtime tooth brushing visual schedule works when there are small kids in the house! 


When the kids know what to expect, they know what is happening next. When kids know what is coming up, behaviors can improve.  It’s a phenomenon that I’ve seen in potty training three of my children, and it’s something I’ve witnessed with back-to-school morning routines.  


So, when things get a little out of control and the bedtime sillies become contagious, there is no better way to round up the sleepy troupes and go over our bedtime routine.


This bedtime routine schedule is kid-made and hands-on (literally!) and the perfect way to get kids to brush their teeth each night as part of the family routine, and an easy way to encourage parents to read out loud with the kiddos…even when getting the kids into bed seems more circus-like than calm!

This bedtime routine visual schedule will help kids learn to use good oral hygiene by making sure they brush their teeth each night, part of a great family nighttime routine.

Bedtime Routine Schedule to Nighttime Tooth Brushing and Bedtime Story



Since we’ve had so much luck with our back to school morning schedule story stones, and potty training visual schedule, we decided to try this Finger Print Bedtime Schedule.  The fact that kids get to create the schedule manipulatives and use the stickers each night allows kids to really visualize and comprehend each step of their bedtime routine.  


When you make your bedtime schedule stickers with your kids, they can see that each step of the family routine happens in a certain order.  Use the crafting time as an opportunity to talk about the steps that happen before bed, why it’s important to brush their teeth, and favorite family bedtime stories.


You’ll need just a few materials to make your own hands-on bedtime routine schedule:
Yellow washable paint
Black marker
White label sheet (Sticky back paper that is used to create labels)
Paper for making the chart


On the paper, write out the steps of the family’s bedtime routine.  We followed the three steps in our The Three Bees book and wrote out “Brush”, “Book”, and “Bed”.  


This bedtime routine visual schedule will help kids learn to use good oral hygiene by making sure they brush their teeth each night, part of a great family nighttime routine.

Next, use yellow paint to create fingerprints on the label sheet.  Fingerprint projects are an excellent way to sneak in fine motor skills, especially finger isolation.


Once the fingerprints are dry, use the black marker to draw on a smile and bee details.  This was a simple job that my eight year old loved to do.  


Cut the bees from the label paper and you’ve got instant bee stickers!  All you need to do now is wait until bedtime to work your way through the night time routine as a family.


This bedtime routine visual schedule will help kids learn to use good oral hygiene by making sure they brush their teeth each night, part of a great family nighttime routine.

We hung our bedtime routine schedule on the bedroom wall.  I had my kids stick a bee sticker after they brushed their teeth and then after we read a book as a family.  As they were tucked into bed, my husband and I stuck one last bee sticker beside “Bed” and we turned out the lights.


This bedtime routine visual schedule will help kids learn to use good oral hygiene by making sure they brush their teeth each night, part of a great family nighttime routine.

My kids got the chance to try out Orajel™ PAW Patrol™ products and were excited for a fun toothbrush and toothpaste to add to our nighttime routine.  I was happy to see their smiles and know that Orajel™ PAW Patrol™ products are a great way to transition your little one(s) to fluoride toothpaste to help protect against cavities to keep young teeth and gums healthy.”


Why use a visual schedule? 

Schedule charts are great for kids of all ages and all developmental levels, but they work especially well with children who demonstrate difficulties in the following areas: 

  • communication  
  • Learning problems
  • difficulty with flexibility
  • Behavior problems



When children are sleepy at the end of the day, it can be overwhelming to follow through with the night time routine.  A kid-made visual schedule like these bees is the perfect way to encourage healthy oral hygiene and family time through nightly books.  When it becomes routine, it’s easy to turn the night time circus into peace!


I’ve got something fun to share:  Scholastic and Orajel are teaming up to encourage parents to make reading out loud to their children and brushing their teeth part of their families’ bedtime routines.  


You can visit Scholastic.com/read2me to find tons of resources that are designed to get parents excited about including reading in the nighttime routine.  There is even a FREE Scholastic e-book called The Three Bees.  This is the book that we read and based our bee routine schedule on.  


By visiting scholastic.com/Read2Me, you’ll also find the 100 Best Read-Aloud Books and essential articles from the editors of Scholastic Parents. 


Best of all, you can join in on the Read2Me Tonight Challenge where parents take a photo or video of them reading out loud to their children as part of their bedtime routine for a chance to win all 100 Best Read-Aloud Books and a PAW Patrol™ “Brushers Bundle” from Orajel. 


Then, simply share that entry via the site to social media, earning an extra chance to win!


When you add reading to your night time routine, you are building a bond and memories that will last a lifetime. 


Be sure to visit scholastic.com/read2me and check out the resources there.  Use them to help make reading and brushing part of your child’s nighttime routine!


This bedtime routine visual schedule will help kids learn to use good oral hygiene by making sure they brush their teeth each night, part of a great family nighttime routine.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of ORAJEL. The opinions and text are all mine.

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Cursive Letter Order Handout

Get the cursive handwriting letter order sheet here.  Print it out for handing out to parents, other therapists, or to use in an Occupational Therapy home exercise program or education.  


We do love to share creative ways to teach cursive letters and letter order is just a starting point when parents or teachers are wondering where to begin. 





Read the full post for therapeutic reasoning for this cursive letter order.


Here is more information about teaching cursive letters in groups or cursive letter families.


Please contact Colleen at theottoolbox@gmail.com with any inquiries about using this handout in group education. 


Print out your handout here.

See all of our cursive handwriting activities here.

Looking for more ideas to help with cursive? You’ll love our 31 day series on How to Teach Cursive Writing.

Fine Motor Pinball Machine: Kiwi Crate Review

Have you ever noticed that when kids need to work on certain
skills in order to improve handwriting or improve their ability to manage
zippers or button their own coat, they don’t want to practice?  When kids need a little extra fine motorskill development, it can be a struggle to get them to work on the skills they
really need.  Fine motor dexterity, hand
strengthening, managing small objects can be difficult for kids with fine motor
weakness.  And when something is hard to
do, kids just don’t want to do it!

As an Occupational Therapist I can tell you that the trick
to helping kids develop fine motor skills (or any area of weakness), is to make
it fun.  Improve strength and grasp with
creative play ideas in ways that sneak in fine motor work.  



Kids can build intrinsic hand strength, an
open thumb web space, thumb IP joint flexion, arch development, and
coordination skills through play that interests them.  They can then carry over these skills to
using a tripod grasp when writing, managing buttons, zippers, shoe laces, and
snaps, and manipulating small items without difficulty.




Recently, I had the chance to review a Kiwi Crate and was
wowed at the fine motor tool that was delivered right to our doorstep.  We received a pinball machine project that
was brimming with fine motor opportunities. 

Build fine motor skills with a DIY pinball machine activity from Kiwi Crate. Kiwi Crate review for hands-on creativity, learning, and development.
My kids were thrilled to get to build a pinball machine of
their own.  There was one comment from my
son who said, “Mom. This is my favorite day ever!” He didn’t even realize all
of the learning and fine motor development that he conquered while creating his
pinball machine project.


Build fine motor skills with a DIY pinball machine activity from Kiwi Crate. Kiwi Crate review for hands-on creativity, learning, and development.

When we opened our Kiwi Crate box, we found everything
stacked up in labelled bags along with a great step-by-step packet that helped
us build the pinball machine.  I loved
that there were practice sheets right in the packet and notes about why certain
steps needed to be done in order to complete the project.  The pictures in the direction book were easy
to understand so that my 8 year old could easily read them and follow along to
build the pinball machine.

Kiwi Crate and Fine Motor Skills


It was easy to notice all of the fine motor skills that were
being refined as my son completed the pinball machine.  



He was able to peel the backs off of tiny
stickers as he advanced his neat pincer grasp
He utilized a tripod grasp with intrinsic muscle control in order to
push pegs into the holes of the pinball machine base.  He opened up his thumb web space to thread a
rubber band into a small hole. He strengthened his gross hand grasp as he
stretched rubber bands over the pegs, and he matured the motoric separation ofhis hands in order to manipulate small brads and washers with in-hand
manipulation.



And, once the project was completed, just playing with the pinball machine built even more fine motor skills and visual perception skills: 


  • Bilateral hand coordination to hold the machine while pulling back the pin
  • Pincer Grasp to pinch and pull the pin against the resistance of the rubber band
  • Eye-Hand Coordination to arrange and re-arrange the pins, targets, and rubber bands
  • Visual Tracking to watch the ball as it moved around the board

Build fine motor skills with a DIY pinball machine activity from Kiwi Crate. Kiwi Crate review for hands-on creativity, learning, and development.

Build fine motor skills with a DIY pinball machine activity from Kiwi Crate. Kiwi Crate review for hands-on creativity, learning, and development.

Build fine motor skills with a DIY pinball machine activity from Kiwi Crate. Kiwi Crate review for hands-on creativity, learning, and development.

I was astounded at how easily my son performed these fine
motor tasks to build the pinball machine. 
He eagerly proceeded through the instruction book to complete each step
while applying matured fine motor grasps and dexterity in a fun way.



Build fine motor skills with a DIY pinball machine activity from Kiwi Crate. Kiwi Crate review for hands-on creativity, learning, and development.

An activity like building this pinball machine is perfect
for those kiddos who balk at typical fine motor tasks.  The child who struggles with handwriting
because of an inappropriate pencil grasp or the student who drops coins in the
lunch line because they cannot manipulate small items within their hand would
love this activity.  They would be
building, strengthening, and developing essential skills in a fun way.



Build fine motor skills with a DIY pinball machine activity from Kiwi Crate. Kiwi Crate review for hands-on creativity, learning, and development.

Kiwi Crate is such an amazing tool for building skills.  Each month, a box arrives at your doorstep
and children can create projects that help them learn and advance skills in a
fun way.  Kiwi Crate strives to develop
kids’ creativity through problem solving and exploration.  The monthly subscription boxes are available
in four different age ranges and are perfect for kids’ aged 3-16+.
  •  Koala Crate is perfect for inquiry-based learning.  Geared at kids aged 3-4.
  • Kiwi Crate provides creative STEAM projects for
    ages 5-8.
  • Doodle Crate builds creative confidence and is
    perfect for kids aged 9-16+.
  • Tinker Crate encourages tinkering through STEM
    projects and is geared towards kids aged 9-16+.

Kiwi Crates, and any of the monthly project boxes are
perfect gift ideas for kids who need to develop skills or just want to build
and create while learning and inspiring creative problem solving.  It’s a great way to create as a family and
would make an excellent gift for birthdays or holidays from Aunts,
Grandparents, Friends, and Parents. 




Inspire hands-on learning and development with a Kiwi Crate
box!



Full disclosure: This post is sponsored by Bloggy Moms and Kiwi Crate. All opinions are my own.

Attention and Behavior Problems Considerations in the Community

Children with attention or behavior difficulties can flounder when they are out in the community.  There are so many unknowns when a child steps out of his front door and into an unpredictable environment that is the community.


A child has typical routines in his home or classroom.  He has predictable and familiar habits in the car or school bus.  But, when it is time to move to unfamiliar locations in his community, it can overwhelm the child with attention or behavior problems.  

Attention and behavior problems in kids and tips and strategies to help them become more independent and safe in the community.

Attention and Behavior Difficulties and Kids in the Community

This post contains affiliate links.


Children are guided by parents and adults as they function in the community. They are led through the grocery store, overseen in the library, accompanied across streets, and attended to in the public restroom.


But sometimes, kids have difficulties that prevent an effortless outing. 


Inability to focus, impulsive actions, lack of awareness of one’s self, of others, or the surroundings, risky behaviors, and hypersensitivity to sensory input from the environment might lead to difficulties in the community.


Behaviors in public spaces can be considered obnoxious or inappropriate and while they might be easily corrected through a behavior plan and recurrent within the family, they could be misconceived by the public who are also sharing the space.  Sometimes, behaviors in the community lead to unsafe situations.


Attention concerns in the community can also lead to safety issues.  A child who has difficulties maintaining attention could put themselves at risk. Attention requires an ability to respond to priority information while disregarding and inhibiting simultaneous sensory input.  


This concept of attentional ability coincides with an individual’s cognitive, sensory, and physical abilities.  Constantly forgetting things or difficulty focusing can be a result of several diagnoses or learning issues.  


Attention problems can result in poor processing of information or difficulty with filtering out important information.


Behavior and attention difficulties that limit ease in the community could be a result of sensory issues.


Consider the community environments that children participate in with or without their parents, depending on age and ability level:

Neighborhood 
Friends’ or family’s homes
Playgrounds
Sidewalks
Public restrooms
Shopping centers
Grocery Stores
Libraries
Mall hallways
Retail stores
Public transportation 
Museums
Play spaces
Schools
Zoos
Office spaces or places of business
Restaurants


There are endless possibilities of public spaces that make up  child’s community.  Each situation will be different and the way that the child interacts with that location will be unique.  Therefore, it is essential that a community assessment be preformed for each individual child.  Given a through evaluation of the child’s community environment, modifications and adjustments can be put into place.  

Consider the problem areas that could be affected by attention or behavior issues:

Bolting into a crowded street
Impulsivity
Yelling out in a quiet space
Lack of assertiveness to ask for help or modifications
Frustration with rules and consequential acting out
Poor attention when crossing a street
Lack of sustained attention to count change
Social barriers limiting interaction with community workers
Difficulty organizing or sequencing tasks in a grocery store
Difficulty retaining information when distracted by the environment
Trouble processing information in a timely manner 
Poor ability to concentrate on one task at a time when in a crowd


For adults with attention or behavior issues, there is much work to be done following an assessment of the community.  Many goals can be written regarding community reintegration for functional independence in the community. 


For the child, concerns of safety for the child and others are a primary concern.  Functional independence may be limited by behavior and attention difficulties. As they age, kids should be expected to perform more and more community skills on their own.  The older child with attention or behavior problems will need strategies designed to maximize independence.

Strategies for Assisting Kids with Attention or Behavior Problems to Function in the Community

All community environments should be assessed according to the individual’s needs.  Some strategies that may help with attention and behavior concerns:

  • Prepare the child for what’s ahead. Discuss the day’s plans, stops in the community, and what needs to be done at each location.
  • Visual Schedules can be used for each community location or for a day’s list of community interactions.
  • Address visual memory, decision making, or motor skills that may interfere with safety in community mobility.
  • Checklists
  • Daily planners
  • Visual or verbal cues
  • Social stories
  • Rehearsal of tasks
  • Address strengthening of executive functioning skills in order to pay attention to tasks, plan, prioritize, and initiate tasks.
  • Alert community workers such as librarians
  • Positive reinforcement
When a child with attention or behavior problems has a tendency to run away from parents or bolt away, there is a real safety concern.  Given a large crowd of people or a busy street, safety is priority.  The above strategies should be used in safer conditions.  
 
One community safety tool that is controversial among parents and non-parents is the safety harness.  Called a “leash”, it can be a source of discontent among those with and without children.  


Attention and behavior problems in kids and tips and strategies to help them become more independent and safe in the community. Child safety harness or leash and reasons they are appropriate tools for safe outings, detailed by professionals.
 

Therapeutic Reasoning for Using a Child Safety Harness by the Professionals:

A child safety harness can be a valid tool for those children who have a real safety risk.  A child could could run away from parents given sensory concerns, cognitive reasons, behaviors, fearlessness, age, or impulsivity and inattention.  Regardless of the reasons, a child who potentially run away from parents in unsafe conditions could use a child safety harness and to reduce fears of the parents in community settings.


A few thoughts on child safety harnesses from some Occupational Therapists and Physical Therapists:

 
Given the sensory input that an outing in the community provides, a safety harness can add the right amount of proprioceptive input for the sensory overloaded or impulsive child.  That deep pressure through the chest can calm during the outing.  
 
“Would rather see a child on a harness than sitting in a stroller for long periods of time”. Margaret at Your Therapy Source
 
“I think there are definite proof that things like “leashes” can be helpful, especially when multiple children are involved in an outing in a crowded place.” Heather at Growing Hands on Kids
 
Around airports, busy roads and unfamiliar crowded city streets (for example), it is not worth risking the safety of a curious toddler/little one who does not ask to go somewhere (or asks but does not wait for an answer) and runs away FAST! Harnesses are helpful for children with impulsivity and poor safety awareness.”  Anna at Kids Play Space


“Harnesses have their place- some kids- some places- sometimes- they are just the right support!” Anna at Kids Play Space
Attention and behavior problems in kids and tips and strategies to help them become more independent and safe in the community.

 

For the child with attention or behavior difficulties, they might use the above strategies to improve safety when crossing the street.

  1. Parents could prepare the child for what’s going to happen as they approach the street.  
  2. A visual schedule could be provided to show stopping, looking both ways, holding an adult’s hand, and walking across the street at the corner. 
  3. Visual memory and decision making could be addressed through practice and social stories.  
  4. Visual and verbal cues might be used to promote independence and improved safety.  
  5. Rehearsal of crossing the road could happen on a lawn followed by on a quiet street.  
  6. Children can practice the skills needed to plan and prioritize crossing the road in a safe manner by verbalizing the steps.  
  7. Positive reinforcement can be used for safe crossing.
Attention and behavior problems in kids and tips and strategies to help them become more independent and safe in the community.
Looking for more ideas on attention and behavior?  Try these strategies:

Be sure to stop by and see recommendations for Attention difficulties at home and at school, part of a recent Organization series that we’ve shared:

Tactile Sensory Input in Backyard Play Activities

Touching toes on the grass can make some kiddos squirm.  The sandbox brings on a mini world of sensory defensiveness when grains of sand stick to skin.  For the child with a hypersensitivity to touch, the backyard can be overwhelming. Other kids seek out tactile sensations and need to touch everything.  Still others find comfort in certain sensations but other textures bring on the tantrums or withdrawal.


There are ways to introduce tactile sensations in the backyard in a controlled way.  Incorporate these with tactile sensory input to involve the whole body into sensory play.  Try adding backyard proprioception input or backyard oral sensory processing activities.  These are super easy ways to play with the senses with items you probably already have in or around the home.

Tactile sensory input in backyard play ideas for kids, perfect for summer and all year with outdoor sensory play at home.

Tactile Sensory Input in Backyard Play Ideas



For more creative backyard ideas, join our newsletter subscriber list for a month long calendar of sensory related activities. 


Related Read: Occupational Therapy ideas for kids

Tactile sensory input in backyard play ideas for kids, perfect for summer and all year with outdoor sensory play at home.

TACTILE SENSORY INPUT BACKYARD ACTIVITIES:


  • Create a mud kitchen in an area of your backyard.  It doesn’t need to be complicated. A simple piece of wood or a sheet of cardboard makes a nice work space. Use buckets, scoops, and spoons to mix up muddy concoctions while working on fine motor skills, eye-hand coordination to scoop and pour in a tactile sensory (and very messy) imagination play.

       Don’t be afraid to let the kids get muddy and messy! Just hose them off            afterwards. Mud and puddles are a part of childhood and the dirt will wash          off.  Have fun and get messy with your kids!

  • Flower Sensory Bin- Explore tactile differences with an outdoor dandelion messy sensory bin.  Add more squishy messy play by adding dirt or sand to the bin.  Use scoops and tongs to add in fine motor work.
  • Feel and Name Game- Fill a bin or paper bag with grass clippings.  To the bag, add random small toys, plastic figures, or magnetic letters.  Ask the child to reach into the bag without looking.  They can locate a small item and feel it as they try to name the object.  
  • Sandbox Dig and Find– Practice tactile discrimination in the sandbox.  You’ll need two sets of matching items for this activity. (Magnetic letters, coins, small figures, or matching utensils would work.) When the child is not looking, hide small objects and figures in a sandbox.  Then, show the child an object that matches one of the hidden items.  Do not name the object. Rather, ask them to “find another one just like this.”
When in doubt add water!  Try these backyard sensory tactile play ideas: 
goop
play dough
shaving cream
paper mache

Tactile sensory input in backyard play ideas for kids, perfect for summer and all year with outdoor sensory play at home.
You’ll also love these ideas: 

Sponge Tangrams

Tangrams are a fun and easy way to work on visual perception and visual motor integration skills through play.  These sponge tangrams are a quick DIY activity that kids will love.  The whole project will cost you $1, making it a creative and frugal way to play while sneaking in therapeutic and developmental skills.  
 
Tangram activities have a component that builds skills needed for handwriting so this activity is a fun one for working on written work through play. 
 
There are many ways to use tangrams to help with handwriting, and these sponge tangrams can definitely be used in those activities.  Try adding them to a low container with water for a multi-sensory approach.  
 
Sponge tangrams are an easy DIY and a fun way to build visual perception and visual motor integration skills with kids.

Sponge Tangrams Activity

This post contains affiliate links. 
 
This activity uses a pack of rectangular shaped sponges.  We found ours at the dollar store, but you could pick up a few here
 
Sponge tangrams are an easy DIY and a fun way to build visual perception and visual motor integration skills with kids.
Use a permanent marker to make a cutting template on the sponges.  You will want to draw lines like shown here.  Mark a “K”, “L”, and “H” on the sponge to create rectangles, triangles, and squares.  
 
 
Sponge tangrams are an easy DIY and a fun way to build visual perception and visual motor integration skills with kids.
Next, cut the sponge with a pair of kitchen shears.
 
Sponge tangrams are an easy DIY and a fun way to build visual perception and visual motor integration skills with kids.
And, just like that, you are ready to play!  
 
Use the sponge tangrams to build shapes, copy forms, and practice form recognition and form constancy.  This is a great exercise in visual motor integration and visual perceptual skills.  
 
Be sure to grab our Hidden Pictures Workbook for more ways to work on visual perceptual tasks needed for handwriting, reading, and other tasks.  
 

More ways to play with these sponge tangrams:

  • Soak up some water. Squeeze out the excess and stick them to a window.
  • Float them in water.
  • Play with them in a shallow container of water or other sensory material.
Sponge tangrams are an easy DIY and a fun way to build visual perception and visual motor integration skills with kids.

Map Game for Building Spatial Concepts

Summertime fun in our house means a lot of nights in the backyard with the family.  We catch fireflies, play basketball in the driveway, play baseball on the lawn as the sun sets, have fires in the fire pit, and play heated games of tag, hide-and-go-seek, and make lots of summer memories.  Most important of all, summer means time with family.


One thing that we love to do as a family is come up with fun games with a lot of running and active play.  This backyard map game for building spatial concepts was a great way to play together as a family at the end of a hot summer day.  


When the sun starts to set and the fireflies start twinkling, it is so much fun to create family adventures right in the backyard.  We used our Energizer headlight and lantern in a family map game that added a directionality learning opportunity to play.


Drawing and creating maps is a great skill for kids to practice.  When kids picture a scene in their mind’s eye and use that image to draw a map on paper, they are using higher thinking skills and spatial reasoning.





This map activity is great for building and developing spatial concepts and higher level thinking right in the backyard, using a map and lights to develop spatial relations.

To play an outdoor map game that builds spatial concepts with the family, first ask your kids to picture their backyard.  Tell them to identify landmarks and borders of the lawn.  Is there a swing set off to the side?  Where is the driveway or a large tree and how do these physical features relate to the back of the house?  Imagining a space and where items are in relation to others allow the child to use spatial relations as they draw them onto paper.


This map activity is great for building and developing spatial concepts and higher level thinking right in the backyard, using a map and lights to develop spatial relations.

While drawing, kids can decide how to draw aspects of the backyard.  They might sketch out a tree or a sandbox area or they might use geometric shapes to represent the items.  A circle could become a tree and a square could become a play area.  Kids will have to picture the layout of the backyard and draw the features in relation to one another.  Spatial reasoning is an essential skill needed for tasks such as maneuvering down a crowded hallway, placing words on a line when writing, and understanding spatial concepts such as “left”, “right”, and “next to”.


Once the map is drawn, slip it into a plastic page protector and attach it to a clipboard. Grab your Energizer headlight and lantern and take the whole family outside to play a map game in the backyard.


Map Game for Building Spatial Concepts



To play the game, have one person hide a small toy like a rubber ball somewhere in the backyard.  Then, that person can use a dry erase marker to mark an “X” on the sheet protector to show where the item is hidden.  The kids can then use the map to locate the item by determining where the object is on the map.  Doing this map game in the dark with a headlight or lantern is a great way to build map reading skills and spatial concepts because the child can’t just scan around the lawn to find the hidden object.  They must find the “X” on the map and read the map to locate the physical object hidden in the backyard.


Take the learning and spatial concepts a little further by asking your child to verbalize where the object is hidden and ask them to use directionality terms like “to the left”, “beside”, and “right”.  They can describe the routes they would take to get to the hidden object.


This map activity is great for building and developing spatial concepts and higher level thinking right in the backyard, using a map and lights to develop spatial relations.

Using the clipboard to follow a map allows the child to focus on where they are going.  My kids loved having a headlamp on for our backyard map game because it freed their hands to hold the clipboard, find and hide the hidden ball, and use the dry erase marker to draw an “X” for the other people in our family.  We played this game over and over again so the erasable dry erase marker and sheet protector allowed us to keep playing long after the sun went down!


I loved playing this backyard map game with my kids and we were excited to use our Energizer lights to play.  The versatile lanterns can be used for so many memory-making activities with the whole family.  From filling up a homemade jar with fireflies in a lit area to lighting a S’more making tray, Energizer lanterns can help make the summer nights full of family memories.


After our backyard map activity, we decided to use our headlamp and hand-held lantern at our new camp.  The Energizer® Fusion LED Folding Lantern has a panel that folds up to provide vibrant and uniform lighting.  The sturdy stand on the back of the lantern allows for hands‐free use making it a great light for making S’mores and other fire-side camping treats.



This map activity is great for building and developing spatial concepts and higher level thinking right in the backyard, using a map and lights to develop spatial relations.

Proprioception Activities for Backyard Sensory Play

This is the second post in my little Backyard Summer Sensory series.  Today, I’ve got proprioception activities for backyard sensory play that are designed to get the kids moving with heavy work using items you’ve probably already got right in your backyard.  These are easy ways to build sensory breaks into the day, get the kids moving with heavy work.  You can see the first post in the series, where I shared backyard oral sensory activities the other day.  




Proprioception activities for backyard sensory play, these are free and inexpensive sensory activities that provide heavy work right in the backyard.



PROPRIOCEPTION ACTIVITIES for BACKYARD SENSORY PLAY:





  • Hoola Hoop Jump- Place out several hoola hoops (or just one) on the ground.  Create a hopping obstacle course into the hoops. Jump with both feet, one foot, and then the other.  Place the hoops further away for more work. Try making a hopping memory game, much like playing “Simon” in a gross motor way. This activity provides heavy work and input through the lower body as kids jump and hop into hoops.
  • Hose Tug- Use a regular garden hose to incorporate heavy work by pulling the hose across the lawn.  Use the hose to water flowers, bushes, or even to spray at targets drawn with sidewalk chalk.
  • Shovel Carry and Dig- Use a garden shovel in an adult or kids’ size to shovel dirt, rocks, leaves, sticks, or mulch from one area to another.  Try filling a bucket with the different mediums and then carry them to another area of the yard.  Good old fashioned lawn work can do wonders for a proprioceptive input seeking kiddo!
  • Jump Rope Pull and Slide- This activity adds a bit of vestibular input to the heavy work of pulling a jump rope.  Use a piece of cardboard cut from a large box or cereal box to create a flat piece.  Have your child sit on the cardboard and hold onto a jump rope.  Pull them around or down slopes as they hold onto the rope.  You can also try this activity with the child pulling another individual on the cardboard.
  • Hop Scotch
  • Bean Bags
  • Corn Hole
  •  Play Leap Frog with friends
  • Jump Rope
  • Fly a kite
  • Climb trees

Looking for more backyard sensory ideas for summer?  

The Summer Sensory Activity Guide is the place to find everything you need for a summer of sensory input.  Use the sensory activities described in the booklet as a guide to meet the individual needs of your child.  The activities are not a substitute for therapy.  Rather, they are sensory-based summer activities that are designed to address each sensory system through summer play.  Activities are described to involve the whole family.  Check out the Summer Sensory Activity Guide today!

Proprioception activities for backyard sensory play, these are free and inexpensive sensory activities that provide heavy work right in the backyard.

More proprioception activities that kids will love: