Sensory Diet Activities at the Beach

Whether you live at the beach or just travel to the beach for an annual family trip, it can be overwhelming for a child with sensory needs to cope with the sensory input that a trip to the beach can cause. The beach has so many sights, sounds, scents, and textures that can be used to meet sensory needs. For the family that is travelling with a child with sensory processing challenges, the beach can be both a blessing and a source of sensory overload. Use the strategies listed below to address sensory needs on a trip to the shore and the tactics to address hypersensitivity during a beach trip. These sensory diet activities at the beach can be a powerful tool or recommendation by occupational therapists and part of an outdoor sensory diet


Knowing what a sensory diet is and how it can be used within a sensory lifestyle is a big part of integrating sensory activities and sensory play, even while travelling or for the family who lives at the beach or water area. 


Kids with sensory processing challenges or SPD can use these sensory diet activities at the beach, perfect for Occupational Therapists to recommend as a home program for beach play or for families travelling to the beach for vacation.


Sensory Diet Activities at the Beach

Make a sandcastle
Rake the sand (for pulling and pushing proprioceptive input)
Bury feet or hands
Sprinkle sand on hands or toys
Fill a bucket with water
Carry water from the shore to dry sand
Dig wet sand 
Dig dry sand
Make a “wet castle” using wet sand
Firm pressure massage with sunscreen
Carry a bucket of sand
Scoop and pour sand
Scoop and pour water
Inspect tide pools
Pick up, scoop, and carry pebbles
Jump low waves
Sit at water’s edge for sand play
Bury a toy and then find it
Play visual discrimination games with sand toys: Child can look at a collection of toys then one is removed and the child needs to determine which is missing
Play beach “I Spy”
Roll up in a beach towel burrito with heavy input
Fill a gallon sized bag with sand for a DIY weighted lap pad or shoulder pad
Pull or push a bin or wagon of beach toys
Carry a beach bag
Fly a kite (great for visual motor skills, visual scanning, and proprioception)
Catch and toss a beach ball
Play beach ring toss
Chase waves
Look for seashells
Rinse and clean seashells



Kids with sensory processing challenges or SPD can use these sensory diet activities at the beach, perfect for Occupational Therapists to recommend as a home program for beach play or for families travelling to the beach for vacation.


Accommodations for addressing sensory needs at the beach

Children with sensory processing challenges can be overwhelmed given all of the sights, sounds, scents, and textures that the beach provides. Try these accommodations for addressing sensory needs in backyard play:

Play in a baby pool to enjoy water without the waves
Use a large beach blanket and weight down edges
Be cognizant of hot sand
Provide calming snacks
Wear long sleeved sun clothing

Wear water shoes instead of sandals or bear feet
Proprioceptive input such as firm touch to the shoulders
Bucket of water to rinse hands if child is sensitive to sand
Sheltered area such as a wind tent or low umbrella if child is sensitive to wind blowing on skin
Wear a lightweight wind jacket
Use baby powder to remove sand
Hat with brim to reduce bright light or intense light in eyes or on face
Wear sunglasses
Wear headphones to reduce background noise
Be aware of certain sunscreens which as a strong scent
Bring extra dry towels

How to incorporate sensory play into playing at the beach

Sensory diet activities can be specific to sensory system like these vestibular sensory diet activities. Sensory activities can be prescribed according to need along with environment in order to maximize sensory input within a child’s day such as within the school day. Using authentic sensory input within the child’s environment plays into the whole child that we must understand when focusing on any goal toward improved functional independence. 



Many sensory diet activities can naturally be found outdoors. In fact, outdoor sensory diet activities are a fun way to encourage sensory input in a child’s environment and without fancy therapy equipment or tools. 

It’s a fact that kids are spending less time playing outdoors. From after-school schedules to two working parents, to unsafe conditions, to increased digital screen time, to less outdoor recess time…kids just get less natural play in the outdoors. Some therapists have connected the dots between less outdoor play and increased sensory struggles and attention difficulties in learning. 

Knowing this, it can be powerful to have a list of outdoor sensory diet activities that can be recommended as therapy home programing and family activities that meet underlying needs.

That’s where the Outdoor Sensory Diet Cards and Sensory Challenge Cards come into play.

They are a FREE printable resource that encourages sensory diet strategies in the outdoors. In the printable packet, there are 90 outdoor sensory diet activities, 60 outdoor recess sensory diet activities, 30 blank sensory diet cards, and 6 sensory challenge cards. They can be used based on preference and interest of the child, encouraging motivation and carryover, all while providing much-needed sensory input.

Here’s a little more information about the Outdoor Sensory Diet Cards
  • 90 outdoor sensory diet activities
  • 60 outdoor recess sensory diet activities
  • 30 blank sensory diet cards, and 6 sensory challenge cards
  • They can be used based on preference and interest of the child, encouraging motivation and carryover, all while providing much-needed sensory input. 
  • Research tells us that outdoor play improves attention and provides an ideal environment for a calm and alert state, perfect for integration of sensory input.
  • Outdoor play provides input from all the senses, allows for movement in all planes, and provides a variety of strengthening components including eccentric, concentric, and isometric muscle contractions. 
  • Great tool for parents, teachers, AND therapists!


Be sure to grab the Outdoor Sensory Diet Cards and use them with a child (or adult) with sensory processing needs!

Outdoor sensory diet activity cards for parents, teachers, and therapists of children with sensory processing needs.

Sensory diets and specific sensory input or sensory challenges are a big part of addressing sensory needs of children who struggle with sensory processing issues. Incorporating a schedule of sensory input (sensory diet) into a lifestyle of naturally occuring and meaningful activities is so very valuable for the child with sensory needs. 

That’s why I’ve worked to create a book on creating an authentic and meaningful sensory lifestyle that addresses sensory needs. The book is now released as a digital e-book or softcover print book, available on Amazon. 

The Sensory Lifestyle Handbook walks you through sensory diet creation, set-up, and carry through. Not only that, but the book helps you take a sensory diet and weave it into a sensory lifestyle that supports the needs of a child with sensory processing challenges and the whole family.

The Sensory Lifestyle Handbook is a resource for creating sensory diets and turning them into a lifestyle of sensory success through meaningful and motivating sensory enrichment.

Kids with sensory processing challenges or SPD can use these sensory diet activities at the beach, perfect for Occupational Therapists to recommend as a home program for beach play or for families travelling to the beach for vacation.

Outdoor Sensory Diet Activities

We’ve been talking a lot about sensory diets here on The OT Toolbox recently. Understanding what a sensory diet is and how it can be used within a sensory lifestyle is a big part of integrating sensory activities and sensory play into needed sensory input that a child needs to self-regulation, cope with his or her environment, and to attend or focus despite sensory overload or distractions. You’ll find more outdoor sensory diet activities like these outdoor sensory diet activities for the backyard coming to the site very soon!

These outdoor sensory diet activities are great for occupational therapists to use in development of a sensory diet for kids with sensory needs, using outdoor play ideas.

Sensory diet activities can be specific to sensory system like these vestibular sensory diet activities. Sensory activities can be prescribed according to need along with environment in order to maximize sensory input within a child’s day such as within the school day. Using authentic sensory input within the child’s environment plays into the whole child that we must understand when focusing on any goal toward improved functional independence. The sensory diet activities listed below include outdoor sensory diet activities that can naturally be found outdoors!


It’s a fact that kids are spending less time playing outdoors. From after-school schedules to two working parents, to unsafe conditions, to increased digital screen time, to less outdoor recess time…kids just get less natural play in the outdoors. Some therapists have connected the dots between less outdoor play and increased sensory struggles and attention difficulties in learning. Knowing this, it can be powerful to have a list of outdoor sensory diet activities that can be recommended as therapy home programing and family activities that meet underlying needs.



Use these sensory diet activities outdoors to help kids with sensory processing needs


Outdoor Sensory Diet Activities



Use these activities to incorporate play naturally while meeting underlying needs in the great outdoors!



Outdoor Sensory Diet Activities

Hike
Play in the woods
Roll down hills
Balance beam on logs
Climb trees
Collect nature
Play at the beach
Nature walk
Play in the backyard
Climb on stumps
Jump in puddles
Driveway or pavement play activities
Swing on tree vines
Sensory play on a porch or enclosed space
Collect sticks
Leaf hunt
Water table
Move and cary rocks of various sizes
Hide and seek
Create with nature
Outdoor water play
Collect fireflies
Pour rocks
Build with rocks, stumps, sticks, small logs
Mix and create nature soup (mud, sticks, flower petals, grass clippings)
Mud play


When therapists develop a specific and highly individualized sensory diet, it’s not just throwing together a day filled with sensory input. It’s activities based on sensory need and strategizing. Each of the sensory diet activities above should meet specific needs of the child.


Imagine a world with more creative outdoor play that involves a variety of enriching sensory input. The proprioceptive input from running and jumping into puddles can calm the child who is typically overactive. The vestibular benefits of slowing swaying side to side on a tree vine can organize the child who is challenged by sensory overload.


The outdoor world is full of sensory input that can meet individual needs of every child. The kids with sensory needs as well as those who present as neurotypical will benefit from a lifestyle of sensory play and experiences in the outdoors. Over the next few days, we will be sharing specific outdoor sensory diet activities that can benefit children of all ages. As always, these activities should be looked over and utilized along with assessment and intervention of an occupational therapist, as each child differs so very vastly.


Some of the ideas above are going to be described in more detail here on The OT Toolbox. Watch this space for more outdoor sensory play ideas based on the following outdoor play spaces:


Backyard Lawn Sensory Diet Activities
Driveway/Pavement Sensory Diet Activities
Wooded Areas Sensory Diet Activities (Perfect for a camping trip or playing in the woods at home or at a park!)
Playground Sensory Diet Activities
Beach Sensory Diet Activities (Perfect for a family vacation to the beach or for those who live near a beach area!) 
Enclosed Area/Porch Sensory Diet Activities

Sensory diets and specific sensory input or sensory challenges are a big part of addressing sensory needs of children who struggle with sensory processing issues. Incorporating a schedule of sensory input (sensory diet) into a lifestyle of naturally occuring and meaningful activities is so very valuable for the child with sensory needs. 

That’s why I’ve worked to create a book on creating an authentic and meaningful sensory lifestyle that addresses sensory needs. The book is now released as a digital e-book or softcover print book, available on Amazon. 

The Sensory Lifestyle Handbook walks you through sensory diet creation, set-up, and carry through. Not only that, but the book helps you take a sensory diet and weave it into a sensory lifestyle that supports the needs of a child with sensory processing challenges and the whole family.

The Sensory Lifestyle Handbook is a resource for creating sensory diets and turning them into a lifestyle of sensory success through meaningful and motivating sensory enrichment.
These outdoor sensory diet activities are great for occupational therapists to use in development of a sensory diet for kids with sensory needs, using outdoor play ideas.

Pre-Writing Activity Leaf Theme

Handwriting and the visual motor skills needed for writing letters and numbers happens long before a child writes the alphabet.  There is a developmental progression of skills that a child must master before they are able to write A-Z. Pre-writing skills and pre-writing lines are just one of the skills that occur before a child writes or copies letters. The prewriting activity below is just one way to help children work on and develop the skills they need to accurately write letters on their own.

Pre-writing activity for helping kids develop the skills needed for pre-writing lines and handwriting using fall leaves

Pre-Writing Lines Activity 

Working on the skills needed to write letters and numbers involve the development of pencil control, visual motor skills, and visual perception.  You can read more about the developmental progression of pre-writing lines as well as a free printable that lists out pre-writing lines as they typically develop here on The OT Toolbox. 
This post on our Facebook page shows development of pre-writing lines and shapes by age
The pre-writing lines activity described below is just one way to help kids develop these skills, while working on abilities such as crossing midline and fine motor skills needed for handwriting.

Pre-Writing Activity Leaf Theme

You’ll need just a few items for this pre-writing activity:
Affiliate links are included in this post.
Leaves (Try to find smaller sized leaves to boost fine motor skills. We used leaves that had already changed colors on our burning bush.)
Permanent marker

Pre-writing activity for helping kids develop the skills needed for pre-writing lines and handwriting using fall leaves

To do this activity, simply draw one pre-writing line or shape on each piece of paper.

Use a glue stick to trace lines and work on pre-writing skills with this pre-writing lines activity for kids.

Pre-writing activity for helping kids develop the skills needed for pre-writing lines and handwriting using fall leaves

Then, ask your child or student to trace over the line with a glue stick.  A purple colored glue stick helps kids to see where they have traced the line. Be careful to provided assistance with this part of the activity if needed. The glue stick uses very little resistance when swiped on the paper. Kids can easily draw the glue line off of the stimulus line.

Then, kids can place leaves right on the glue line and sharpie line.  Ask them to gently press the leaf down, using finger isolation and separation of the two sides of the hand.

Pre-writing activity for helping kids develop the skills needed for pre-writing lines and handwriting using fall leaves

Leaf Theme Fine Motor Activity

This is a great activity to incorporate fine motor skills. Show your child or student how to pick leaves from a branch.  This allows children to strengthen the intrinsic muscles of their hand while working on bilateral coordination, graded grasp, pincer grasp, and an open thumb web space.
Don’t have small leaves in your area? No problem! Use paper cut outs by punching leaf shaped paper using this leaf hole punch. Allow the kids to punch the holes to boost hand strength.

This leaf themed activity goes along perfectly with the popular children’s book, Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf by Lois Ehlert. Read the book and work on pre-writing lines with this leaf themed pre-writing activity!
Red Leaf Yellow Leaf is this week’s book in the Virtual Book Club for Kids series.  Check out the ideas below to find leaf themed movement, play, development, and learning ideas:

Use these fall leaves activities to help kids learn and develop skills like fine motor skills, gross motor skills, scissor skills, handwriting, and more using leaves.

Spell Your Name With Leaves   Clare’s Little Tots
Leaf Measurement and Sorting Activity  Inspiration Laboratories
Fall Sensory Bin  The Moments at Home
Foil Leaf Preschool Art  Preschool Powol Packets
Handprint Art Messy Little Monster
Nature Color Hunt  My Bored Toddler
Salt Painting – Artsy Momma
Leaf Printing   CrArty Kids
Fall Color Leaf Viewer  JDaniel4’s Mom
Lines and Watercolor Fall Leaves  Views From a Step Stool
Fall Leaf Color Stomp  Toddler Approved
Fall Leaf Shape Match  Teach Beside Me

Pre-writing activity for helping kids develop the skills needed for pre-writing lines and handwriting using fall leaves
Here are more LEAF ACTIVITIES that you will love:

Motor Planning Activities with Sidewalk Chalk

Motor planning is a skill that is needed for every action that we do!  The motor planning activities in this post are designed to promote motor movement development into play, using sidewalk chalk. These are the perfect activity for outdoor play with a sensory component.  Find more information about motor planning and how to incorporate motor development into play by checking out the tab above under occupational therapy.

Work on motor planning activities when outdoors using sidewalk chalk to address gross motor needs, core strengthening, and praxis.



What does motor planning look like? 

Let’s first talk about what you might see in the child with motor planning difficulties:
The child that moves as if they can’t figure out where to put their arms and legs.


The child who is frustrated with movements.


The child who bumps into other students in the classroom or in crowded hallways.


The child who falls or stumbles way too often for their age.


The child who can’t figure out how to perform tasks if they are holding an object.


The child who avoids sports because they can’t move fast enough to catch a ball or perform several tasks at once (catch, run, throw).


What is motor planning?” is a common question.  Motor planning involves problem solving, planning, and action related to movement.  This is a HUGE collection of skills and results in hugely different outward appearances in kids.  One child who struggles with motor planning can present totally different than another.


Motor Planning Activities with Chalk

These activities use sidewalk chalk to address motor planning and movement. Work on these activities on a small scale or a big scale.  That’s the benefit of using chalk- You can draw a small hopscotch board on a sidewalk step and use your fingers to “hop” through the course.  OR, you can create a gigantic hopscotch board in an empty parking lot and leap from square to square!

All of the activities listed below can be modified in size.  Think outside of the box of chalk so to speak!

Even drawing and creating the activities below involve motor planning.  In fact, motor planning is a huge part of handwriting.  Read more about motor planning and handwriting to see what I mean. 


Sidewalk Chalk Motor Planning Ideas

  • Hopscotch
  • 4 square
  • Balance Beam – Draw a line that involves lots of turns and bends!
  • Draw to the beat of music
  • Draw a game board – Think Monopoly, Candyland, Sorry, or Chutes and Ladders.
  • Draw a bowling alley
  • Draw a baseball field
  • Draw a ping pong table
  • Draw a bullseye – Throw pebbles or bean bags at the target
  • Draw a big road – Run or ride bikes/scooters on the road.
  • Draw a railroad track
  • Make a sidewalk maze
  • Obstacle courses- Use symbols to indicate “stop”, “jump”, and “turn around”, and arrows for directions.
Try using chalk to make a balance beam while working on motor planning skills. 

Work on motor planning activities when outdoors using sidewalk chalk to address gross motor needs, core strengthening, and praxis.

Outdoor Balance Beam Ideas

Balance beams are a great tool for addressing areas like vestibular sensory input, core strength, balance, visual motor skills, and attention.  Here are outdoor balance beams and balance beam ideas that don’t require a playground or fancy equipment. These balance beams for kids are helpful in building the skills needed for reading, writing, visual processing, sensory processing, self-regulation, and more. Read more about balance beams and how they sneak in so many skill areas in a post we wrote on how balance beams help with sensory needs.

Try these outdoor balance beam ideas to help kids work on sensory needs, vestibular sensory input, and gross motor skills like core strength and balance.





Recently, I shared ideas for indoor balance beams.  The indoor balance beam ideas are perfect for adding movement and core strengthening to those rainy days that keep the kids inside but the kids are bouncing off those very walls that keep them cozy and dry?  I wanted to share some outdoor balance beam ideas that you may not have thought of.


Add these resources to the ones you can find here under sensory diet vestibular activities to meet the sensory needs of all kids. 

Outdoor Balance Beam Ideas Kids Love

This post contains affiliate links.

You don’t need fancy equipment! Use sticks to make a balance beam.

Use 2x4x16 feet or 2x4x8 feet wooden planks to create a large-sized balance beam in the lawn or on the driveway.  Large pieces of wood can be found at hardware stores. Moving those large pieces is a workout for kids that can be calming with all of that proprioceptive input!


Not interested in moving big pieces of wood?  Try using rocks, patio pavers,  bricks.  


These glow-in-the-dark pebbles would be fun to create a low path at dusk!


Try chalk drawn on a driveway or sidewalk.  Make the balance beam lines bend and curve to really challenge balance.


Skip the chalk and make a balance beam with the cracks that are already in the sidewalk or driveway!


Use a jump rope or long rope to create a balance beam line.


Use sticks and twigs to make a balance beam in the grass.


Make a narrow balance beam using leaves or wildflowers like dandelions.


Create a balance beam with leaves.


Walk along a fallen log.


Use commercial versions of balance beams that are available, including a portable foam balance beam.  This would be perfect for outdoor obstacle courses.  


Other ideas include: Make a portable roll-up balance beam using a yoga mat cut into strips (easily add it to your therapy bag!) and balance pods.

Try these outdoor balance beam ideas to help kids work on sensory needs, vestibular sensory input, and gross motor skills like core strength and balance.



What ideas do you have for outdoor balance beams? 

Kinesthetic Learning Activities for Outside

Taking the learning outside can make a big difference.  As the weather warms up, it can be hard to keep the attention in the classroom.  The birds are chirping, trees are blossoming, and the muddy lawns are calling!  So, when kids want to be nothing more than outside playing, how do you keep them focused and learning?  Try taking the learning outside!  These kinesthetic learning activities are perfect for the outside play this time of year and all year long.  Add some movement and outdoor play and facts are sure to stick when kids are out of the classroom and outdoors!


Try these kinesthetic learning activities for outside to help kids who need to move while learning.




Kinesthetic Learning Activities for Outside

I recently shared a post on tactile learning with a sight word sensory tray. I talked a little bit about kinesthetic learning and how some kids just seek tactile input in their learning.  Tactile learners and kinesthetic learners are a lot alike.  Kinesthetic learners need to move their bodies, manipulate materials, and really interact with learning materials.  These children tend to fidget, wiggle, slouch, or get up out of their seats when in the classroom setting.  This site has a lot of great information on kinesthetic learning. 


Try taking the learning outside to really get some space and movement into the learning experiences.  You could try these activities when practicing math facts, spelling words, vocabulary, memorization, or many other areas.  


Outdoor Learning Activities that Use Kinesthetic Movement

  • Balance Beam Adventure-  Use a jump rope or a board to create a balance beam maze on a driveway or sidewalk.  With sidewalk chalk, draw fish in a pond.  Kids can walk on the balance beam without falling into the “water”.  When they are on the balance beam, ask kids to hop while stating facts or other learning tasks.  Try a bean bag toss game when on the balance beam.  Kids can toss a bean bag into a target while spelling words.
  • No Peeking Simon Says- Play Simon Says outside in the backyard.  This version requires kids to keep their eyes closed when they perform the actions.  As they play, ask them questions.  You might ask them to touch their nose for “true” facts or to touch their shoulders for “false” facts.  Get creative with movement and learning with this one!
  • Backyard maze- Create a maze in the backyard by placing obstacles around the lawn.  Kids can look at the simple maze and then walk with their eyes closed as another person “guides” them with verbal directions around the obstacles.  Set up stations around the obstacle course where they need to answer questions.  This can be as simple as a printed out sheet of questions.  They just may recall the answers later by thinking about where they were in the obstacle course when they learned about those facts!
       This pre-reading obstacle course is perfect for kinesthetic learners. 
  • Backyard Yoga- Try yoga in the outdoors with kid-friendly yoga games like found in this book.  Try having your child close their eyes during yoga moves to incorporate position of body in space.  Add deep breath spelling or math facts while breathing in and out for several counts.
  • Hopscotch Math-  Practice math facts like addition or multiplication with a hopscotch game on the driveway.
  • Sidewalk Chalk Learning- Kids can use sidewalk chalk in so many ways!  Write out spelling words.  Do math homework on the driveway.  Write out vocabulary words.  Use patio pads or bricks to work on perimeter, area, or geometry.  What would you add?
  • Take a Walk-  Go on a stroll while reviewing information.  What a great way to learn in nature!
Try some of these outdoor lawn games with the kids. 

How can you add learning and movement to the backyard to better serve your kinesthetic learners?

outside activities for kinesthetic learning for kids

How to incorporate sensory and motor play into playing outside

Sensory diet activities can be specific to sensory system like these vestibular sensory diet activities. Sensory activities can be prescribed according to need along with environment in order to maximize sensory input within a child’s day such as within the school day. Using authentic sensory input within the child’s environment plays into the whole child that we must understand when focusing on any goal toward improved functional independence. 

Many sensory diet activities can naturally be found outdoors. In fact, outdoor sensory diet activities are a fun way to encourage sensory input in a child’s environment and without fancy therapy equipment or tools. 

It’s a fact that kids are spending less time playing outdoors. From after-school schedules to two working parents, to unsafe conditions, to increased digital screen time, to less outdoor recess time…kids just get less natural play in the outdoors. Some therapists have connected the dots between less outdoor play and increased sensory struggles and attention difficulties in learning. 

Knowing this, it can be powerful to have a list of outdoor sensory diet activities that can be recommended as therapy home programing and family activities that meet underlying needs.

That’s where the Outdoor Sensory Diet Cards and Sensory Challenge Cards come into play.

They are a FREE printable resource that encourages sensory diet strategies in the outdoors. In the printable packet, there are 90 outdoor sensory diet activities, 60 outdoor recess sensory diet activities, 30 blank sensory diet cards, and 6 sensory challenge cards. They can be used based on preference and interest of the child, encouraging motivation and carryover, all while providing much-needed sensory input.

Here’s a little more information about the Outdoor Sensory Diet Cards
  • 90 outdoor sensory diet activities
  • 60 outdoor recess sensory diet activities
  • 30 blank sensory diet cards, and 6 sensory challenge cards
  • They can be used based on preference and interest of the child, encouraging motivation and carryover, all while providing much-needed sensory input. 
  • Research tells us that outdoor play improves attention and provides an ideal environment for a calm and alert state, perfect for integration of sensory input.
  • Outdoor play provides input from all the senses, allows for movement in all planes, and provides a variety of strengthening components including eccentric, concentric, and isometric muscle contractions. 
  • Great tool for parents, teachers, AND therapists!


Be sure to grab the Outdoor Sensory Diet Cards and use them with a child (or adult) with sensory processing needs!

Outdoor sensory diet activity cards for parents, teachers, and therapists of children with sensory processing needs.

December Sensory Processing Activities

These December Sensory Processing Activities are designed to provide sensory opportunities, Christmas themed sensory prompts, accommodations to holiday activities, and sensory challenges with a Christmas and winter theme.  For more Christmas themed developmental activities for Occupational Therapists, parents, and teachers, grab try this free Christmas Occupational Therapy activities printable calendar.



December Sensory Processing Activities

December is a time of holiday fun,
hustle, and bustle.  Families have added
activities, winter parties, and distant family to visit.  This time of year brings with it unusual holiday
songs and bells, lights, different foods to smell and taste, and crowded
stores.  For the child with sensory processing concerns, it can be a very difficult time.  



The holiday rush brings with it, added and unusual sounds, sights, smells, visitors, scratchy holiday sweaters, and schedule changes. The holiday season can be downright debilitating for the child with sensory challenges. 

The time leading up to Christmas
can be a month-long time of sensory overload for children with sensory
issues.  It can be confusing for sensory
systems!  The overwhelming feelings of
sensory uncertainty can add a whole new meaning to holiday stress.  This time of year, when even the most intentional
parents and teachers can still cause over-stimulation or under-stimulation to
the child who is already struggling with sensory issues. 

There can be a need for additional calming
sensory input or changes to sensory diet, additional modifications, and added
sensory down-time.  



When it comes to preparing for the holidays and all the adjustments it brings, a plan can help. An understanding of the sensory system and how the senses are processed can help parents, teachers, and caregivers to cope with the added sensory stress for children with sensory issues.


Having a kit of ideas and coping strategies can be a helpful tool to prepare the child with sensory processing difficulties for the holiday season. 


A list of sensory activities that can be added to the day…WITH a holiday theme can make all the difference in creating a holiday that the whole family will remember, all while keeping the sensory systems in mind. 


Below, you’ll see a packet of sensory activities that has been on this site for a little over two years. This packet of Christmas Sensory Activities are bound to help families of those with sensory processing challenges to thrive this holiday season. 


There are coping strategies for dealing with all of the added and new sensory input. 


There are activity challenges that hit on the big sensory systems, allowing for calming or stimulating sensory input with a Christmas theme. 


There are Christmas and holiday themed activities that can be incorporated into an established or new sensory diet, making a valuable tool for the child who is overwhelmed or underwhelmed by all that the holidays bring.


Read more about what’s included in the Christmas Sensory Processing Activity Packet…





Included in the Christmas Sensory Processing Activity Packet:



  • Each of the sensory systems are addressed in the 31 sensory activities.



  • There is a detailed description of the sensory system and sensory processing included in this packet.



  • Information is included on sensory diets and how they are needed during the holiday season. Sensory activities with a holiday theme can be added to sensory diets depending on individual sensory needs. 

  • Sensory challenges and modifications that can be added into daily routines this time of year.



  • A comprehensive list of sensory coping strategies is included for handling holiday stress and over- or under-responsiveness related to holiday travel, holiday visitors, and changes in routines over the Christmas season.

ON SALE for 25% OFF NOVEMBER 24-27, 2017! Just click the link to access the reduced price of $3.75!


Add these activities to your
therapy plans this month.  The activity list
is perfect for passing on to parents as a home program.  Parents and teachers can use these activities
as part of an individualized plan that meets the child’s needs. 

The 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.  



Does this sound like a resource that might help your client, child, or student? If the holidays make you want to curl up in a blanket because of the added stress and sensory challenges, this might just be the tool for you and your family! 

December Sensory Processing Activities for kids with sensory needs at Christmas time
ON SALE for 25% OFF NOVEMBER 24-27, 2017! Just click the link to access the reduced price of $3.75!

Fall Visual Processing Sensory Activities

Use fall activities to work on visual processing needs with fall visual processing sensory activities.

Visual Processing can result in overactive sensitivity to sights or an under-responsiveness to all that the eye sees.  During Fall, there are many more colors and visual sights that can be a sense of interest to children with sensory processing disorders.  A simple walk in the yard is much different during the Fall months when leaves are changing or there are more sticks and acorns to navigate on the lawn.  For the child who has sensory processing concerns, using the sense of sight can be a calming or alerting tool.  Try these fall visual processing sensory activities this Fall.

Check out our free Fall Sensory Activities booklet. It’s full of family-friendly sensory activities that celebrate the season through sensory experiences covering all of the senses. The activities in this free booklet are a fun way to encourage motor movement and development through fall activities. Scroll to the bottom of this blog post to grab your copy!


Fall Visual Processing Sensory Activities with a fall or harvest theme.

 

 

Adding visual sensory activities to vestibular or proprioception activities can have a great affect on children with sensory processing disorders.  Check out our Fall Proprioception Activities and Fall Vestibular Activities or find all of the ideas in one place in our Fall Harvest Sensory calendar.

Fall Visual Processing Sensory Activities

1.     Leaf Lay– Head outdoors on a bright and sunny fall day.  Look for trees with brightly colored leaves and lay down on the ground under the tree.  Kids can look up at the leaves as the sun shines through the colored leaves.  Ask kids to notice branches in the leaves.  Address deep breathing and slow counting for a calming sensory experience.  Use this opportunity to discuss events that lead up to feelings of fear or anxiety related to the senses.

2.     Color Assessment– Use a magnifying glass to explore the colors of leaves, tree trunks, and nature finds while out on a nature hunt.  Kids can look for each color of the rainbow in a scavenger hunt type of activity.  This fall activity builds visual scanning needed for reading and writing.
 
3.     Pumpkin Seed Colors– Use dry seeds from a pumpkin to create colorful seeds using liquid food coloring or liquid water colors.  While these seeds won’t be edible, they are great for creative play!  Use the seeds to sort, manipulate, and create in Fall themed learning and play or artwork.
 
 
4.     Fall Maze– Many farms or community events host a corn or hay maze this time of year.  Walking through a maze is a visual processing experience that kids can use to develop directionality needs.  You can create your own backyard version of a fall maze using fallen leaves or a trail of sticks from trees.


 

Fall Visual Processing Sensory Activities with a fall or harvest theme.

Fall Sensory Activities

Work on visual processing skills this Fall AND address all areas of sensory needs while experiencing all that the Fall season has to offer! Grab your free copy of the Fall Sensory Experiences Booklet to create sensory diet activities that meet the needs of individuals in a Fall-themed way! Enter your email address below and you will find the Fall Sensory Experiences Booklet delivered right to your inbox. Enjoy!