In the schools, many teachers struggle with students with sensory processing challenges. There are students who have attention and focus issues that impact learning. Classrooms are a busy place, and when sensory issues impact the ability to pay attention, focus, self-regulate, and interact with others, learning can suffer. Sensory issues are often times, the underlying reasons for impaired functioning in the classroom. For some children, a sensory diet activities for the classroom can help. Sensory activities for the classroom can make a big impact in the life of a student.
The information listed below includes effective strategies for helping kids who are distracted, inattentive, disorganized, irritable, sensitive to sensory input, or seeming to have other sensory-related behaviors.
Add these resources to the ones you can find here under sensory diet vestibular activities to meet the sensory needs of all kids.
For some students, a selection of sensory activities can be a helpful strategy for getting through the day. The students who receive therapy may be completing a sensory diet with specific activities based on the individual child’s needs.
Therapists can use the sensory diet activities listed below to add to their toolbox of strategies within the school environment.
NOTE: Activities described here should be used educational information and not as treatment suggestions. Every child’s specific needs and strengths are individual and before activities are utilized as interventions, individualized assessment should be performed by an occupational therapist.
Sensory Diet Activities for the Classroom
You can find many sensory strategies for the school based OT to use and provide in the classroom.
Additionally, therapists and teachers will find many resources, including a printable sensory activity sheet here on this article about calm down strategies for school.
Finally, here is information about using sensory diets in the school. You can see this informative video on our Facebook page, or in the video below:
Sensory diet activities in the classroom are extremely varied! Each child will crave or avoid different sensory input that naturally occurs in the classroom. Sensory diet activities can be integrated into the school environment using materials right in the classroom. Try some of these sensory diet activities:
Move classroom furniture at the beginning or end of the day.
Erase the Smart Board using a cloth.
Add moveable or alternative seating options into the classroom (chair cushions, standing at easels, bungee cord added to the chair legs, bean bags, lying prone on the floor, etc.)
Carry library books from the classroom to the library.
Move equipment from classroom to classroom.
Give the student a “job” to carry a box of materials to the office each day.
Allow the student to sharpen pencils using a manual pencil sharpener.
Add extra playground time into the schedule as a reward.
Provide movement breaks for the whole classroom.
Add calming sensory strategies to a sensory diet for the classroom:
Add calming modifications to the classroom:
Add alerting sensory strategies to a sensory diet for the classroom:
Add alerting modifications to the classroom:
Fidgeting Tools for the Classroom
Adapted Seating Strategies for the Classroom
Self-Regulation in the Classroom
105 Calm-down Strategies for the Classroom
Chewing Tools for Classroom Needs
45 Organizing Tools for Classroom Needs
Indoor Recess Sensory Diet Cards
Colleen Beck, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to email@example.com.