Christmas Proprioception Activities

This time of year, the hustle and bustle of the season can make all of us feel a little out of sorts.  For the child with sensory issues, the holiday season can be a real challenge!  Try adding Christmas Proprioception Activities into your child’s day for calming strategies to meet sensory needs.  
For more ideas, grab this December Occupational Therapy calendar.

Christmas Proprioception Activities

Christmas proprioception activities for children with sensory needs

Christmas Sensory Diet  

Occupational Therapists can add these proprioception activities to sensory diet plans or to make home programs this time of year. Ad these heavy work ideas to your therapy plans this month. They are great Christmas activities for sending home to parents for a home program over the holiday break. 
Parents and teachers can use these activities as part of an individualized plan that meets the child’s needs. 
The calendar’s activities are outlined in an easy to follow therapy plan, however as parents and therapists know, a day that involves children does not always go as planned.  The activities can be shifted around to suit the needs of the child and the family. 
An activity can be completed on a different day or used in combination with another day’s therapeutic activities. 
Try adding these activities into the child’s day to challenge sensory issues or as a way to help kids focus during overstimulating times that the holidays bring.

Christmas Heavy Work Ideas

1. Shovel activity- Use a small child’s sized snow shovel or sand shovel to scoop couch

2. Mitten Toss- Fill a plastic sandwich bag with dry beans.  Push the filled bag into a mitten.  Close the opening of the mitten by rolling the top over on itself like you would roll socks together.  Use the mitten as a DIY bean bag in tossing target games.

3. Gift Push- Load cardboard boxes with heavy objects like books.  Ask the child to push the boxes across a room.  For less resistance, do this activity on a carpeted floor.  For more
heavy work, do this activity outside on the driveway or sidewalk.

4. Reindeer Kick- Promote proprioceptive input through the upper body with wheel barrow
race type movements.
  Kids can also stand on their arms and legs in a quadruped position and kick their legs up. 

5. Sleigh Push- Load a wheelbarrow, sled, or wagon with objects.  (Try the weighted boxes from number three activity listed above.) Ask kids to push, pull, and tug on the “sleigh” through the yard. 

6. Peppermint Candy Stick Oral Motor Activity- Did you know you can make a peppermint candy stick into a straw?  It’s a great oral motor activity for kids. Cut an orange
in half and then stick the peppermint stick into the orange.
  Next, suck the peppermint stick.  The juices from the orange will begin to work their way up through the peppermint stick. 

7. Cocoa Temperature Taste- Make a batch of hot cocoa. Pour it into an ice cube tray and
let it freeze.
 Next, make another batch of hot cocoa. Divide it out into several mugs. Add a cocoa ice cube to the first mug, two ice cubes to the second mug, and so on. Mix the mugs up on a table.  Place a straw into each mug.  Children can position the mugs in order of
coolest to hottest or vice versa.
  If doing this activity with several children, use small paper cups so that each child gets their own set of cups. 

8. Christmas Chewy and Crunchy Food Breaks- A calming sensory snack can be just the thing that children need to organize their sensory system during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. 

Calming Sensory Foods for Christmas

Adding chewy or crunchy foods to a sensory diet has a calming effect. These types of food provide heavy work through the jaw and mouth.

Try these calming Christmas foods: 

  • Peppermint snack mix with peppermint chocolate candies mixed with dry cereal and raisins
  • Toffee
  • Rice Crispy Wreath cookies
  • Pretzel sticks
  • Homemade fruit leather
Christmas proprioception activities for kids with sensory needs

Christmas Sensory Writing

Looking for modified paper to help kids with handwriting issues?  Try this modified Christmas paper packet!
Use this modified paper Christmas Handwriting Pack to work on legibility and handwriting struggles with kids.
Use these modified paper with a Christmas theme to work on handwriting this time of year. Add a sensory component with proprioceptive feedback to add heavy work through the hands. Here are some ideas for adding adding proprioception to sensory writing activities:
  • Write over a sheet of sandpaper.
  • Tape the Christmas paper to a wall or easel and write on a vertical surface. 
  • Use a grease pencil to add proprioceptive input resistance. 

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