Fall Sensory Stations

sensory stations Fall theme

I have another fun freebie for you! These Fall sensory stations are printable sensory station posters that you can use in classrooms, school hallways, the home, or therapy clinics to offer sensory input and whole body movements with a Fall theme. Just hang these sensory station posters on the wall and add calming sensory input with a Fall theme!

Fall themed sensory stations for a sensory walk in the school hallways, classroom, therapy clinic, or home.

Earlier this year, we made these free Spring sensory stations and they were a huge hit!

This set of sensory stations are a great addition to our Fall deep breathing exercise we shared yesterday.

Fall Sensory Stations

If you’ve been in a school hallway in recent years, you may have seen a sensory walk. They are fun ways to offer movement for kids, especially when they need a brain break during learning. But sensory walks can be expensive to create. So, going off the theme of adding movement, coping tools, and heavy work input through the proprioceptive system, these Fall sensory system posters for a very inexpensive cost (Hint: it’s nothing! They are free!)

I love these Fall sensory stations because you can print them, laminate them, and place them in the hallway or on a wall for quick movement breaks. Add them to a Fall learning theme, Fall therapy activities, Fall fine motor work, or Fall crafts. They are great prep-work for these Fall writing prompts, too.

These sensory station posters include:

  • Fall Figure 8 Breath Poster- for calming deep breathing, mindfulness, and self-regulation
  • Fall Animal Walk (Leap like a squirrel)- for motor planning input and proprioceptive input
  • Fall Wall Push-Ups- for proprioceptive input through the arms, shoulder girdle
  • Fall Jumping Jacks- for motor planning work, vestibular input, and proprioceptive input
  • Fall Trace and Breathe- for visual tracking, finger isolation, deep breathing, and self-regulation

Free Sensory Station Posters

Want to add these Fall sensory station printables to your therapy toolbox? You can grab this freebie and add it to your tools!

Fall Sensory Walk Posters

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    Colleen Beck, OTR/L is an occupational therapist with 20 years experience, graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. As the creator, author, and owner of the website and its social media channels, Colleen strives to empower those serving kids of all levels and needs. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

    Want more ways to work on skills this Fall? Grab our Fall Fine Motor Kit (or any of the seasonal kits):

    Outdoor Sensory Activities for the Backyard

    outdoor sensory activities for kids with sensory processing challenges.

    If you are looking for outdoor sensory activities, this is the place to start. Here, you’ll find outdoor sensory ideas to address each sensory system. Also included are sensory play ideas to use in the backyard when creating an outdoor sensory diet for children.

    outdoor sensory activities for kids with sensory processing challenges.

    Outdoor Sensory Activities or a Sensory Diet?

    So often, kids are sent home from therapy with a sensory diet of specific activities and sensory tools that are prescribed for certain sensory processing needs. When a therapist creates a home exercise program, they do their best to ensure carryover through small lists of activities, parent education, and 
    motivating activities that are based on the child’s interests and personal goals.

    The important thing to recognize is that there is a difference between sensory play and sensory diets. Read here for more information on what a sensory diet is and isn’t.

    When therapists develop a specific and highly individualized sensory diet, it’s not just throwing together a day filled with sensory input. A sensory diet  is a specific set of sensory tools used to meet and address certain needs of the individual based on sensory need and strategizing.

    Each of the sensory diet activities above should meet specific needs of the child. Every child is different so applying sensory input to one child may look very different than that of another. Parents should use the tactics below along with your child’s occupational therapist.

    So, using sensory diet tools within the context of environments or activities that are deeply meaningful to a family and child such as play that is already happening, can be the meaningful and motivating strategy to actually get that sensory diet task completed. And it benefits the child along with the whole family. 

    These outdoor sensory diet activities are good sensory experiences to meet the needs of children with sensory processing needs or those who struggle with sensory related behaviors, perfect for a home exercise program or occupational therapy activities.

    Outdoor Sensory Activities

    These outdoor sensory activities are those that can be included into backyard play. That may look like independent play by the child or it might mean family time on a Sunday afternoon. Use these outdoor sensory diet activities in the backyard to as sensory tools that double as playtime for the child while he/she learns and grows… or to meet the sensory needs of the child while creating memories and enjoying time together!

    Below is a huge list of outdoor sensory activities, but to focus on each sensory system, check out these resources:

    These outdoor sensory activities are good sensory experiences to meet the needs of children with sensory processing needs or those who struggle with sensory related behaviors, perfect for a home exercise program or occupational therapy activities.

    Bakyard Sensory Activities

    • Slide down a hill on cardboard
    • Grass sensory bin
    • Use a magnifying glass to inspect the grass and dirt
    • Mud kitchen
    • Roll down hills
    • Animal walks with bare feet
    • Create nature “soup” with grass, flower petals, sticks, etc.
    • Pick flowers
    • Cartwheels and tumbling on the grass (barefoot or with shoes!)
    • Water Table with nature
    • Cartwheel or tumbling 
    • Target games
    • Outdoor lawn games
    • Bean bag games
    • Relay races
    • Hide and seek games
    • Simon Says games
    • Tag 
    • Bell parade
    • Kazoo sound hunt
    • Listening for birds or animals
    • Record backyard sounds and playback the recording. Try to recognize and name the sound and where it was located in the yard.
    • Fill containers with items from the backyard.  Shake plastic containers or even paper bags with the items and see if your child can name the objects.
    • Play Marco Polo in the yard!
    • Auditory backyard games like: Neighborhood Listening Scavenger Hunt, Auditory Hide and Seek, Listening Tag, Noisy Toy Positioning Game
    • Create with recycled materials and make arts, crafts, and activities.
    • Pull plastic ware out of the cupboards and sort the lids onto the containers. Mix colors with food coloring in water.
    • Blow bubbles
    • Jump rope
    • Play Kickball
    • Throw a book picnic: grab snacks, a blanket, and a pile of books and head outside.
    • Dress up with old fancy dresses and clothes from mom’s closet (then throw them in a bag and donate!)
    • Bake
    • Poke holes in a cardboard box and push pipe cleaners through the holes
    • Bowl with recycled plastic water bottles
    • Act out a favorite nursery rhyme
    • Play tag games for heavy work, spatial awareness, and body awareness.
    • Put dollhouses or play sets into a bin of shredded paper.
    • Play hide and seek
    • Climb trees
    • Watch and draw clouds
    • Tell stories where one person starts a story and each person adds a sentence to continue the story.  Write it down and illustrate your story!
    • Make and deliver lemonade to neighbors
    • Go birdwatching
    • Make creative firefly catchers and then catch the fireflies that night.
    • Play charades
    • Act out a favorite book
    • Create with finger paints (make your own with flour, water, and food coloring or washable paint!)
    • Sing songs
    • Turn on music and dance
    • Pick flowers and give them to neighbors
    • Make summer crafts that build skills.
    • Have an art show and invite friends.
    • Create a spatial concepts map
    • Spin in circles.
    • Swing side to side on a swing set.
    • Hang upside down from swing set equipment.
    • Swing on a hammock.
    • Backyard dance party.  Encourage lots of whole body movements and spinning.
    • Cartwheels
    • Tumbles
    • Hopscotch
    • Play Leapfrog
    • Mini trampoline (or the big sized-trampoline) Catch a ball while standing, sitting, swinging, rolling a ball, catching between legs, etc.
    • Hit a tennis racket at a target including bubbles, falling leaves, large balls, small rubber balls, and balloons
    • Catch butterflies in a net
    • Bubble pop, including popping bubbles with a toe, knee, foot, head, finger, or elbow  
    • Play with goop
    • Draw in shaving cream on a cookie sheet outdoors. Then squirt off in the hose.
    outdoor equipment for sensory input in the backyard

    Backyard Sensory Equipment

    There are outdoor play items you may have already that can be repurposed to use in outdoor sensory play. These are common backyard toys or things that might be in your garage! It can be fun to re-think these items for a means of adding sensory input.

    Make a bin of outdoor toys that are readily available in your garage or storage area so that sensory play experiences are at your family’s fingertips. For example, all of these items could be used in an outdoor balance beam.

    • Hoola Hoops
    • Jump Ropes
    • Balls
    • Bat
    • Tennis Racket
    • Butterfly Net
    • Baby Swimming Pool
    • Tarp or Slip and Slide
    • Water Hose
    • Scoops and cups
    • Sidewalk chalk
    • Bike
    • Scooter
    • Skateboard
    • Cardboard
    • Target or net
    • Shovels
    • Buckets
    • Play wheelbarrow
    • Swing set
    • Climbing structure
    • Flashlight
    • Magnifying glass
    • Cones
    • Bubbles
    • Bean bags

    Outdoor Sensory issues

    Summer can mean sensory processing issues that impact kids with sensitivities or over responsiveness to sensory input. For autistic children or anyone with a neurodiversity that impacts sensory processing, summer can mean a real hatred for being outside in the hot summer months.

    So what are some of the reasons that sensory kids have issues with being outside during the summer?

    It can be hard to encourage outdoor play (and gain all of the benefits of outdoor play) when the summer months add a different level of sensory input. Here are some of the reasons that sensory kids are challenged in the summertime:

    For kids with sensory needs, it can be overwhelming to have an open space full of sights, sounds, scents, and textures.

    • Tolerance of the cuffs of shorts or sleeves
    • Tight bathing suits
    • Sensation of sunscreen
    • Sensation of socks or other clothing in hot weather
    • Humidity changes
    • Summer thunderstorms (can change the air temperature)
    • Short clothing that brushes on legs or arms
    • Sandals or open-toed shoes
    • Crowds or places where others are in close contact
    • Wearing a mask in warmer temperatures
    • Honking horns, barking dogs, and other sounds that frequent the backyard or lawn can be too much for the child with sensory sensitivities
    • Bright sun that is at a different angle in the sky than other months of the year
    • Overwhelming smells: cut grass, lawnmower gas, sunscreen, sweat, body odors, garbage scents
    • Interoceptive issues with body temperature, increased need for water, less hunger due to heat

    All of these sensory issues can occur unexpectedly and that unexpectedness of sensory input can be overwhelmingly alarming for those with autism or neurodiversity.

    How to help with summer sensory overload

    • Visual schedule
    • Help the child know what to expect
    • Wear shoes instead of sandals or bear feet
    • Proprioceptive input such as firm touch to the shoulders
    • Limit time outdoors
    • Know triggers for sensory overload and plan ahead when possible
    • Oral motor jewelry
    • Communicate travel or outdoor time needs
    • Calming vestibular sensory input such as side to side or forward-front slow swinging
    • Play that involves throw and play catch with a weighted ball
    • Bucket of water to rinse hands if child is sensitive to messy hands or dirt
    • Sheltered area if child is sensitive to wind blowing on skin
    • Wear a lightweight wind jacket
    • Bring a water bottle with straw for proprioceptive input
    • Calming or alerting snacks
    • Portable fan to help with overheating if needed
    • Hat with brim to reduce bright light or intense light in eyes or on face
    • Umbrella to deflect direct sun rays and prevent overheating
    • Sunscreen with firm touch before going outdoors
    • Scent free sunscreen
    • Sunscreen lotion vs. spray sunscreen (or vice versa depending on the particular needs and preferences)
    • Sensory friendly clothing, bathing suits, goggles
    • Wear sunglasses
    • Wear headphones to reduce background noise
    • Be aware of freshly cut grass which as a strong scent
    • Wear thin gloves for tactile activities
    • Use water shoes or crocks instead of sandals

    More about outdoor 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 occurring 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.  

    Get The Sensory Lifestyle Handbook here.

    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 good sensory experiences to meet the needs of children with sensory processing needs or those who struggle with sensory related behaviors, perfect for a home exercise program or occupational therapy activities.

    Working on building skills this summer? The Summer OT Bundle is for you!

    Summer occupational therapy activities bundle

    Work on fine motor skills, visual perception, visual motor skills, sensory tolerance, handwriting, scissor skills, and much more so that kids can accomplish self-care tasks, learn, and grow through play all summer long.

    This bundle is perfect for the pediatric occupational therapist who needs resources and tools to use in summer therapy sessions, home programs, or extended school year therapy plans.

    This bundle is perfect for parents, grandparents, and caregivers looking to provide developmental fine motor activities designed to help kids build skills.

    • Send kids back to school in the Fall without worrying about the “Summer Slide”.
    • Use these materials to work on areas like hand strength, fine motor development, scissor skills, handwriting, pencil control, pencil grasp, sensory play experiences, and much more. Just pull out the pages or activities you need for your child, and develop skills through play!

    The Summer OT Bundle includes 19 resources that you can print and use over and over again:

    Helping children develop and achieve functional skills this summer was never so easy (or fun!)

    Be sure to grab the Summer OT Bundle, a HUGE resource of therapy tools and activities for all things building skills this summer.

    Grab the Summer OT Bundle here.

    Colleen Beck, OTR/L is an occupational therapist with 20 years experience, graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. As the creator, author, and owner of the website and its social media channels, Colleen strives to empower those serving kids of all levels and needs. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

    Outdoor Sensory Activities: Proprioception

    outdoor sensory activities proprioception

    You may have seen our Backyard Summer Sensory series that covers all things outdoor sensory activities.  Today, I’ve got outdoor sensory focusing o proprioception activities 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 other posts in the series, including backyard oral sensory activities, outdoor sensory activities for tactile sense, and outdoor oral motor sensory activities (yep, that’s possible to address in outdoor play!)

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

    Outdoor Sensory Activities for PROPRIOCEPTION

    Try these outdoor heavy work activities to add input through the core and gross motor muscle groups for regulation and body awareness.

    Amazon affiliate links are included below.

    • 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

    more backyard sensory ideas for summer?  

    The activities in this post are part of our Summer Sensory Activity Guide, where you can 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!

    AND…that guide is actually a bonus item in the Summer OT Bundle. So if you are working with children this summer to improve fine motor skills, handwriting, sensory processing, and other skill areas, check out the Summer OT Bundle:

    Working on building skills this summer? The Summer OT Bundle is for you!

    Summer occupational therapy activities bundle

    Work on fine motor skills, visual perception, visual motor skills, sensory tolerance, handwriting, scissor skills, and much more so that kids can accomplish self-care tasks, learn, and grow through play all summer long.

    This bundle is perfect for the pediatric occupational therapist who needs resources and tools to use in summer therapy sessions, home programs, or extended school year therapy plans.

    This bundle is perfect for parents, grandparents, and caregivers looking to provide developmental fine motor activities designed to help kids build skills.

    • Send kids back to school in the Fall without worrying about the “Summer Slide”.
    • Use these materials to work on areas like hand strength, fine motor development, scissor skills, handwriting, pencil control, pencil grasp, sensory play experiences, and much more. Just pull out the pages or activities you need for your child, and develop skills through play!

    The Summer OT Bundle includes 19 resources that you can print and use over and over again:

    Helping children develop and achieve functional skills this summer was never so easy (or fun!)

    Be sure to grab the Summer OT Bundle, a HUGE resource of therapy tools and activities for all things building skills this summer.

    Grab the Summer OT Bundle here.

    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: 

    Working on building skills this summer? The Summer OT Bundle is for you!

    Summer occupational therapy activities bundle

    Work on fine motor skills, visual perception, visual motor skills, sensory tolerance, handwriting, scissor skills, and much more so that kids can accomplish self-care tasks, learn, and grow through play all summer long.

    This bundle is perfect for the pediatric occupational therapist who needs resources and tools to use in summer therapy sessions, home programs, or extended school year therapy plans.

    This bundle is perfect for parents, grandparents, and caregivers looking to provide developmental fine motor activities designed to help kids build skills.

    • Send kids back to school in the Fall without worrying about the “Summer Slide”.
    • Use these materials to work on areas like hand strength, fine motor development, scissor skills, handwriting, pencil control, pencil grasp, sensory play experiences, and much more. Just pull out the pages or activities you need for your child, and develop skills through play!

    The Summer OT Bundle includes 19 resources that you can print and use over and over again:

    Helping children develop and achieve functional skills this summer was never so easy (or fun!)

    Be sure to grab the Summer OT Bundle, a HUGE resource of therapy tools and activities for all things building skills this summer.

    Grab the Summer OT Bundle here.

    Colleen Beck, OTR/L is an occupational therapist with 20 years experience, graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. As the creator, author, and owner of the website and its social media channels, Colleen strives to empower those serving kids of all levels and needs. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

    Outdoor Sensory Activities: Vestibular Sense

    outdoor sensory activities using the vestibular sense

    This collection of outdoor sensory activities focus on the vestibular sense. Today, I’ve got another post in the Backyard Sensory Summer series that have here on the website. This series of summer activity ideas are perfect for challenging kids to get outdoors and play. The backyard sensory ideas can be used as part of a sensory diet at home, or as individual summer activities. Today, we are talking about vestibular sensory activities for summer. Grab the kids, the family, or a favorite stuffed animal toy. Here are summer ideas for kids that incorporate the vestibular sense and are perfect for the backyard.

    Summer vestibular activities for kids

    If you are looking for information on how to create a sensory diet and use these movement activities with kids, then you are in the right place. Here are more outdoor sensory diet activities to get you started with sensory needs and the outdoors.

    If you’ve been following this summer activity series, then you know that I’ve been sharing sensory activities that can be done right in the backyard.  In most cases, these sensory play ideas use toys and materials that you probably already own.  Most importantly, these sensory ideas are perfect for getting the kids outdoors and playing in the backyard while meeting sensory needs.  They are easy (and fun) ideas that can be added to a child’s sensory diet this summer and every day.  Take these ideas and sensory play ideas right into Fall and all season long with backyard sensory play!

    These ideas would be a great addition to all of our summer occupational therapy activities here on The OT Toolbox! 

    Summer Activities for Kids

    Working on building skills this summer? The Summer OT Bundle is for you!

    Summer occupational therapy activities bundle

    Work on fine motor skills, visual perception, visual motor skills, sensory tolerance, handwriting, scissor skills, and much more so that kids can accomplish self-care tasks, learn, and grow through play all summer long.

    This bundle is perfect for the pediatric occupational therapist who needs resources and tools to use in summer therapy sessions, home programs, or extended school year therapy plans.

    This bundle is perfect for parents, grandparents, and caregivers looking to provide developmental fine motor activities designed to help kids build skills.

    • Send kids back to school in the Fall without worrying about the “Summer Slide”.
    • Use these materials to work on areas like hand strength, fine motor development, scissor skills, handwriting, pencil control, pencil grasp, sensory play experiences, and much more. Just pull out the pages or activities you need for your child, and develop skills through play!

    The Summer OT Bundle includes 19 resources that you can print and use over and over again:

    Helping children develop and achieve functional skills this summer was never so easy (or fun!)

    Be sure to grab the Summer OT Bundle, a HUGE resource of therapy tools and activities for all things building skills this summer.

    Grab the Summer OT Bundle here.

    You’ll find ideas to use in virtual therapy sessions and to send home as home activities that build skills and power development with a fun, summer theme. Kids will love the Summer Spot It! game, the puzzles, handouts, and movement activities. Therapists will love the teletherapy slide deck and the easy, ready-to-go activities to slot into OT sessions.

    Try these backyard vestibular sensory activities for summer

    VESTIBULAR SENSORY BACKYARD ACTIVITIES:

    Swing painting-  Grab some paint brushes and create art while providing vestibular sensory input in a calming back and forth motion in the swing. Read more about that here. (Idea from Homegrown Friends.

    Slip and Slide Relay Race- Set up a slip and slide and use a timer to time kids as they race down the slide.  Children can sit on their bottom, lay on their belly, or slide on their back for variations in positioning.

    Slide on cardboard-  Grab a cardboard box or even cereal box.  Open it up using a sharp knife or scissors to create a large piece of cardboard. Kids can use the cardboard to slide down slopes.  Try various positions on the cardboard.  An alternative to this activity is using a cardboard box to create a “car” like we did here.

    Picnic Blanket Roll-  Use a large blanket or comforter as a picnic blanket.  Spread it out on the grass and ask your child to lay on the blanket.  Roll them up in the blanket to add a calming proprioceptive component with deep pressure. Roll the child in a log-roll fashion while they are wrapped up in the blanket.  Then, why not use the blanket for a real picnic?

    Roll down hills- Find a hill in the backyard and start rolling!

    Spin in circles- This is a great activity with a family member or even a stuffed animal. Hold hands and spin. Try spinning fast, slow, to music, or even in the sprinkler.

    Swing side to side on a swing set- Playing on the swings doesn’t need to look like the regular back and forth. Try swinging side to side. Ask the child to sit sideways and straddle the swing.

    Hang upside down from swing set equipment- What are some other movement-based ways to play and challenge motor skills using the play equipment you already have? Climb up the slide. Swing on the belly. Create an obstacle course or play “the ground is lava”. The options are limitless.

    Swing on a hammock- do you have a hammock? This inexpensive lawn item can be used in calming or facilitating side to side movements, rocking, a log roll swing, laying in prone or supine, or back and forth swinging.

    Backyard dance party- Encourage lots of whole body movements and spinning. Use fast or slow movement to facilitate alerting or calming movements. Try adding a copy dance, or freeze dance play. Get the whole family involved.

    Cartwheels- Tumbling or cartwheels in the lawn is a fun way to add movement right in the backyard.

    Tumbles- If cartwheels are too tricky, try tumbles.

    Hopscotch- Add this movement and motor planning game to the backyard. Use sidewalk chalk to draw a hopscotch board on the sidewalk or driveway. This is such a great core stability and strengthening activity for building confidence and coordination. There are options to upgrade or downgrade this activity. Use more or less hop spaces, or make them bigger or smaller.

    Play Leap frog- This classic game is a great one for building gross motor skills, motor planning, core stability, visual convergence, and more with a movement based forward motion.

    Mini trampoline (or the big sized-trampoline)- If adding a sensory tool to your backyard is priority, then a mini trampoline is an easy and affordable option. Kids can sit or stand to hop or bounce. Try adding other toys to make the sensory play interesting. Add water balloons, chalk, a sprinkler, or make a cozy resting place to calm down.

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

    Vestibular Sensory Backyard Activities

    Looking for more ideas for summer?  

    Take summer play and skill building to the next level? Be sure to grab your copy of the Summer OT Activities Bundle!

    Be sure to check out these other movement and sensory activities for the backyard. They are great to challenge kids in movement all summer long:

    Colleen Beck, OTR/L is an occupational therapist with 20 years experience, graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. As the creator, author, and owner of the website and its social media channels, Colleen strives to empower those serving kids of all levels and needs. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

    Outdoor Sensory Activities: The Tactile Sense

    This article on outdoor sensory activities focuses on the tactile sense. Our sense of touch plays a huge part in sensory experiences, sensory tolerance and challenging behaviors (the actions we see) as a result of difficulties regulating tactile sensory input. From tickly grass on the bare feet to tolerating bathing suit textures or sunscreen, tactile input and summer go hand-in hand. If you are looking for outdoor sensory play ideas, then you are in the right spot!

    Outdoor sensory Activities for Tactile Sense

    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.  You’ll also find resources in this outdoor sensory activities for vestibular input. These are super easy ways to play with the senses with items you probably already have in or around the home.

    If you are looking for information on how to create a sensory diet and use these movement activities with kids, then you are in the right place. Here are more outdoor sensory diet activities to get you started with sensory needs and the outdoors.

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

    outdoor sensory activities for autism

    A quick note on various sensory challenges that can result in actions we see in neurodiverse children of all ages (adults included). Some of the outward actions we see can be related to sensory input that is regulated differently in summer or warmer weather:

    • Tolerance of shorts
    • Tolerance of bathing suits
    • Sensation of sunscreen
    • Sensation of socks or other clothing in hot weather
    • Humidity changes
    • Summer thunderstorms (can change the air temperature)
    • Short clothing that brushes on legs or arms
    • Sandals or open-toed shoes
    • Crowds or places where others are in close contact
    • Wearing a mask in warmer temperatures

    This is just a short list of considerations. Remember that no child will be alike and there can be many other situations that arise in the summer months that impact tolerance of differences in tactile sensory input.

    Below you will find outdoor sensory activities that focus on tactile sensory input as a challenge or outdoor sensory play ideas that can be helpful and fun this summer.

    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 backyard messy play date paper mache.

    You’ll also love these ideas:   

    Working on building skills this summer? The Summer OT Bundle is for you!

    Summer occupational therapy activities bundle

    Work on fine motor skills, visual perception, visual motor skills, sensory tolerance, handwriting, scissor skills, and much more so that kids can accomplish self-care tasks, learn, and grow through play all summer long.

    This bundle is perfect for the pediatric occupational therapist who needs resources and tools to use in summer therapy sessions, home programs, or extended school year therapy plans.

    This bundle is perfect for parents, grandparents, and caregivers looking to provide developmental fine motor activities designed to help kids build skills.

    • Send kids back to school in the Fall without worrying about the “Summer Slide”.
    • Use these materials to work on areas like hand strength, fine motor development, scissor skills, handwriting, pencil control, pencil grasp, sensory play experiences, and much more. Just pull out the pages or activities you need for your child, and develop skills through play!

    The Summer OT Bundle includes 19 resources that you can print and use over and over again:

    Helping children develop and achieve functional skills this summer was never so easy (or fun!)

    Be sure to grab the Summer OT Bundle, a HUGE resource of therapy tools and activities for all things building skills this summer.

    Grab the Summer OT Bundle here.

    Colleen Beck, OTR/L is an occupational therapist with 20 years experience, graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. As the creator, author, and owner of the website and its social media channels, Colleen strives to empower those serving kids of all levels and needs. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

    How to Help Kids with Sensory Issues with Clothes

    Tips for children with clothing sensory issues

    Here, we’ll discuss the specific considerations for sensory issues with clothes. You’ll also find intervention strategies to support children with clothing sensitivities. The thing is that sensory processing issues for children can be highly complex and sometimes puzzling to those who do not have these difficulties. We see children that refuse to wear socks or shoes. Or we see children who will not put on pants in the dead of winter. Other kids can’t tolerate the seams of shorts or the fasteners of bras. How do you support individuals with sensory sensitivities? Let’s talk about strategies to address clothing sensitivities.

    Sensory issues with clothes

    This post addresses and discusses considerations and a few possible solutions for clothing sensitivities to provide insight and areas to investigate in order to provide a child with the best possible sensory experiences with dressing and clothing as possible. The considerations are not all encompassing, but do provide valuable information in pursuit of understanding the possible reasons for clothing sensitivities for a child.

    Sensory issues with clothes

    Sensory issues with clothes and other sensory challenges can interfere with school, community, and home life for children who struggle with sensory processing on a daily, hourly, or even minute by minute basis. Sensory issues can be random, sporadic and happen one time, but not another despite similarities in circumstances.

    A child can also have sensory sensitivities and not be diagnosed with a disorder per se, but even sensitivities have a real impact on daily functioning. Check out these clothing red flags for common sensory issues that come up again and again.

    A common sensory issue reported by parents are their child’s clothing sensitivities. This involves more than the child who always wants to wear the same shirt because it has their favorite logo on it or it is their favorite color as this is more about style preference. It’s dealing more with a child who has real issues donning clothing and refuses to wear an article of clothing based on the way it feels causing the child to cry and scream and not be able to proceed with the task of dressing. 

    Using certain clothing preferences to address clothing sensitivities include sensory friendly clothing options.

    All of us have separate sensory systems that help us register, discriminate, and process sensory input. When there is a clothing sensitivity, this is dealing with the tactile (touch) sense and how the information from that sense is sending information to our brain to process. These may show up as tactile defensiveness in some.

    We have fabrics we like as they are cozy and provide us comfort and we have fabrics that are scratchy and prickly causing anxiety and keeping us on edge not allowing us to focus on much of anything else other than getting it off. Some individuals with serious sensory issues register this input as harmful and even dangerous making them want to flee or do anything to get that feeling away from them. An important thing to remember is never force a child to don something that they perceive as painful or harmful. A child’s dramatic responses, such as mentioned above, can make home life chaotic and frustrating.

    Stating the obvious, dressing is a necessary part of daily living and clothing is required for a child to engage in school and community life and it helps for clothing to be worn at home even though it is not completely necessary there. With some children who do have intense clothing sensitivities, they find their home is a free place to go without clothes.

    If you are a parent, these considerations can help you investigate and pinpoint the possible problem with clothing or dressing for your child. These considerations can give you valuable information to either share with your child’s OT practitioner or to pursue an assessment with an occupational therapist. Occupational therapy practitioners can provide interventions specifically directed for your child and their needs as every child is different and requires a skilled set of eyes with knowledge of your child and their needs to provide the best possible interventions and opportunity for your child’s successful daily life engagement.


    Sometimes considering simple clothing anatomy for sensory sensitivities can be a good place to start, but there are other areas of clothing and the tactile (touch) sense that need to be explored a little more directly. We’ll look at both in this post.

    Related: Sensory issues that impact fine motor skills can make fastening buttons and zippers a difficulty for many children.

    Tips for children with clothing sensory issues

    Sensory issues with Pants


    Consider: length of shirt sleeves and pant legs. The feeling of pant legs and sleeves can cause aggravation to the child’s extremities. Maybe the sounds of fabric while walking such as when wearing denim or corduroy or even the feeling of the leg fabric rubbing together while walking is enough to irritate.

    Consider: elastic waistbands vs. zippered and buttoned pants as they may work better for the child. Elastic can provide more flexibility and comfort for some children. Does the waistband roll down or bunch up or are there hidden adjustable waist band apparatuses? Adjustable apparatuses can be cut out by an adult if necessary.


    Consider: if there are tags or buttons sewn into the seam of pants of shorts. A tag at the back of pants can cause irritation. These can be removed by cutting out or purchase tag-free clothing.

    Consider: certain textures may be more irritating to the skin or even possibly pulling arm or leg hair. If older, shaving legs can help. If the texture feel is the difficulty, purchase clothing with more soft and natural materials.

    Sensory issues with shirts


    Consider: The length of shirt sleeves. The feeling of sleeves can cause a tight sensation in the arm pits or around the neck, elbows, or wrists, causing aggravation to the child’s extremities. Clothing can feel too tight in the trunk.

    Consider: length of shirt tails as they can be drafty if short, especially when sitting.

    Consider: if the clothes are too tight or too loose. Do they sway or shift when they move? Does the fabric bunch up in the arm pits or at the wrists from being too big? Purchase clothing with the fit that is preferred for size and pressure, maybe they like tight vs. loose.

    Consider: graphics on shirts and get one-dimensional graphics if necessary therefore no sequins, gems, puffy pieces, etc. are impacting the child.

    Consider: if the seams in clothing are large or thick with too much fabric inside the clothing causing discomfort. Check this before you purchase clothing items. Purchase seamless clothing or turn clothing inside out as appropriate.

    Consider: the pulling of hair as a shirt is pulled over the head or being too tight of a neck hole causing irritation. Purchase button up shirts vs. overhead shirts.

    Consider: some clothes may be more uncomfortable to wear due to the feel of waistbands, cuffs, or collars. Explore if they are too tight, too loose, ribbed or simply hemmed. Maybe a certain type is preferred over another. Purchase no collared clothing or lightly hemmed cuffs vs snug-fitting, ribbed cuffs.

    How to help your child with clothing sensory issues

    General Sensory Considerations with Clothing

    Sensory issues with clothes can look different for every individual. But, there are some common similarities that make helping those with clothing sensitivities more comfortable and functional. Try these general considerations:


    Consider: some clothing may be hotter or even colder to wear.

    Consider: how clothes fit and adhere to the body when sitting vs. standing. Also, check regarding static cling in different seasons and purchase cling free dryer sheets to help when drying clothes.

    Consider: layers of clothing to keep warm rather than wearing a jacket.

    Consider: the smell of the clothing. Is the smell of the detergent, fabric softener or dryer sheet too strong for the child to tolerate? Purchase odorless detergent, softener or dryer sheets.

    Consider: the color of the article of clothing, if they’ve had a bad experience with a certain color, it could be recalled for every article of clothing that color.

    Sensory Socks and Shoes

    Issues with wearing socks or shoes is a common concern for those with sensory challenges.

    Consider: checking sock seams and the position on the toes. How do the socks fit? Are they a good size, too tight, too loose, too short, or too long? Have the socks stretched and become ill-fitting? Purchase seamless socks or wear them inside out.

    Consider: if socks are smooth or have fuzz ball lent on them. Are they nylon or cotton fabric, thick or thin? Purchase socks that do not gather fuzz balls as they are washed.

    Consider: if toe nails are scrapping the fabric when donning. Do the shoes “eat” the socks when walking causing them to ball up under the heel? Cut the toe nails and purchase socks that do not get pulled under the heel.

    Consider: shoe comfort such as width, size, and how high the backs are. Are the shoes too tight or too loose? Purchase shoes that have an open heel.

    Consider:  if the tongue is twisted or shifted. Is there anything inside that could be poking or irritating the foot?  Make sure to put laces through the slots on shoe tongues to keep them straight, if this is part of the shoe design.

    Understand that shoes fit and feel different with and without socks and even with thick or thin socks.

    Sensory Issues and Underwear

    Consider: the seams in the underwear, especially in the crotch. Are the genitals comfortable? Purchase underwear without seams or fewer seams.  

    Consider: if they fit too loose or too tight. Maybe they prefer more tightness like boxer briefs or maybe they prefer more looseness like regular briefs. Is the waistband too high, too low, too tight or too loose on the stomach? Is the hip design too high or too low?

    Consider: if they bunch up when pants or shorts are donned. Does the underwear ride the groove between the buttocks when walking or moving? Do they harbor hygiene odors?

    Consider: if the child has thigh sensitivity and underwear is possibly pulling leg hair such as with boxer briefs.

    Sensory Issues and Bras

    Sensory issues in teens can show up in different ways than the younger years. Some considerations include the need for a bra. For kids that previously have struggled with tight or scratchy sensations with clothing, wearing a bra can be difficult. Here are some things to consider:

    Consider: the fit of the bra. Is it too tight and causing discomfort from the straps, rings/sliders, under band, or underwire as evidenced by skin markings and redness? Purchase bralettes or bras that do not have these features. Maybe an athletic bra would be better.

    Consider: if they are sensitive to the feel of the hook closures against the back when leaning on a surface. Do the straps brush the arm as they slide off of the shoulder causing some irritation? Does the fabric feel uncomfortable such as with lace that tends to be scratchy?

    Sensory Pajamas

    Sleepwear can cause a lot of issues for some children. Pajamas can be tight and compressing, which can benefit other children who prefer and benefit from compression garments. Others, however, can feel too much pressure that impacts sleep. Here are some things to consider about sensory issues and pajamas.

    Consider: the fit of sleepwear. Is it too tight, too loose, too hot, too cold, too scratchy, or too silky? Is the texture of the material such as fleece, silk, nylon, cotton, spandex, etc. cause irritation or does the sound of it against the bed sheets cause sensitivity?

    Consider: if wearing p.j. bottoms, do the legs of the pants ride up the leg while moving in bed causing bunching and sensitivity? Do the shirt sleeves shift up the arm when sleeping making them uncomfortable causing bunching and creases that rub or mark the skin?

    Consider: if buttons cause discomfort when lying on the stomach. Do collars or tags irritate? Do ribbed cuffs or seams cause irritation?


    Investigate the fabric and other issues of the bed sheets and covers. Explore the sounds, feel, temperature, fuzz balls on the fabric due to washing, smell of detergent, softener, dryer sheets, static cling, etc.

    There are many ways to address these sensory sensitivities. Sometimes any number of the above solutions can help. Allowing a child to shop for their own clothing and make their own choices while acknowledging and respecting their desire and need for certain tolerated textures can help with sensory issues.

    But for those with more intense sensitivities the best bet for success is looking at a sensory diet tailored to their direct needs. If you are a parent, contact an occupational therapist for assistance. They are available to assess, treat, and consult regarding your child’s specific sensory needs. Often times, sensory sensitivities can be significantly reduced or even completely eliminated with proper treatment.

    In the Sensory Lifestyle Handbook, we cover various options to address sensory issues in children and teens. You’ll find in this comprehensive resource, strategies to implement a motivating and meaningful sensory diet that is integrated right into day-to-day activities and tasks in order to create a lifestyle of sensory solutions.

    Read more about the Sensory Lifestyle Handbook here.

    How to support children with clothing sensitivities

    If you are an occupational therapy practitioner, below are some activities or intervention ideas which can help support a child with their tactile sensitivities. Be sure to go through the considerations listed above to investigate where clothing sensitivities are stemming from in regards to specific clothing. This step can help with finding clothing styles and types that meet the needs of the individual child.

    1. Explore a variety of fabrics on the skin by using fabric swatches – increase time as tolerated.

    2. Desensitize skin with lotion rubbing prior to donning clothing.

    3. Use whole body deep pressure activities.

    4. Present a variety of textured materials by dressing a doll with various textured clothes.

    5. Consider using an OT brushing or pressure protocol.

    6. Massage with a towel vigorously prior to introducing new textures.

    7. Rub feet with lotion or towel prior to donning socks or shoes.

    8. Provide textured material exploration with sensory bins

    9. Provide textured floor mats for feet.

    10. Explore textures using stuffed animals of different textures.

    11. Suggest tight-fitting swim or biking shirt or shorts, spandex clothing or workout attire under clothes.

    12. Use vibration to the extremities and back/neck as tolerated even allowing child to do this – sometimes the child will choose to do this themselves.

    13. Use firm pressure activities such as rolling a therapy ball up and down the body (avoid the face).

    14. Use a squeeze machine or body sock.

    15. Roll child up in a bedsheet (not the face) like a taco.

    16. Use firm pressure to the top of the head or up and down the arms/legs.

    17. Give hugs.

    18. Rub lotion on body prior to dressing as dry skin can be more easily irritated than moist skin.

    19. Use a compression shirt.         

    20. Create a tailored sensory diet. You’ll find more information on how to create a sensory diet here.

    Sensory lifestyle handbook- How to create a sensory diet

    Utilize the motivating strategies in the Sensory Lifestyle Handbook to integrate a sensory diet right into the daily life activities of each child, in a way that works for the whole family.

    Click here to grab your copy of the Sensory Lifestyle Handbook.

    Regina Allen

    Regina Parsons-Allen is a school-based certified occupational therapy assistant. She has a pediatrics practice area of emphasis from the NBCOT. She graduated from the OTA program at Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute in Hudson, North Carolina with an A.A.S degree in occupational therapy assistant. She has been practicing occupational therapy in the same school district for 20 years. She loves her children, husband, OT, working with children and teaching Sunday school. She is passionate about engaging, empowering, and enabling children to reach their maximum potential in ALL of their occupations as well assuring them that God loves them!

    Virtual Sensory Room

    Virtual sensory room

    This virtual sensory room has been on my “to-do” list for a while. It’s a free slide deck that adds all the benefits of a calming sensory space in an online version. You can use this free virtual calming room as a sensory tool in teletherapy sessions, in the home, and in face-to-face classroom or therapy sessions. Let’s take a look at this virtual sensory room space and all of the calming tools it includes.

    Virtual sensory room that is a virtual calming room space for kids in teletherapy or face to face therapy, classroom, or home.

    Virtual Sensory Room

    Adding sensory diet tools to an online platform isn’t always an easy concept. Especially in a virtual space, the calming benefits of a sensory room can be difficult to integrate the senses of proprioception, vestibular input, and oral motor sensory input.

    Many of the free online sensory videos out there are mindfulness videos, virtual lava lamps, and auditory videos like waves or rainforest sounds. But the virtual sensory spaces sometimes omit calming heavy work input and proprioceptive feedback that offer the calming and self-regulatory benefits of heavy work.

    That’s why I wanted to create this virtual calming room.

    Virtual sensory room for kids

    Virtual Calming Room

    In this virtual calming room, you’ll find the following sensory items that kids can click on and access videos:

    • Fidget Spinner
    • Water bottle
    • Hoberman breathing sphere
    • Sensory jar
    • Plasma globe
    • Kaledescope
    • Rubic cube
    • Bubble wands
    • Lava lamp
    • Slime
    • Calming sounds headphones
    • Koosh Ball
    • Glitter jars
    • Fish tank visual
    • Online relaxing coloring activities
    • Sound machine
    • Yoga mat
    • Kinetic Sand Bin
    • Bubble wrap popping activity
    • Heavy work exercises
    • Light tube
    • Nature grounding exercises
    • Waterbeads sensory bin
    • Brain breaks
    • Deep breathing exercises
    • Sequin pillow
    • Light tube
    • Kids crafts

    When you click on the sensory objects in the sensory room, you’ll be directed to different online sensory tools. These include:

    • Guided meditation videos
    • Slime videos
    • Yoga exercises
    • Calming sounds videos
    • Deep breathing exercises
    • Craft ideas to involve the hands in fine motor resistive work
    • Grounding exercises
    • Calming visual images
    • Relaxing vision and auditory input
    • Brain breaks
    • Calming videos

    All of these are links to videos, exercises, and resources to promote calming self-regulatory input for kids of all ages. You can add these tools to a sensory diet or use them in Zones of Regulation activities.

    Free sensory room slide deck

    Want to add this online sensory room to your therapy toolbox? Enter your email address into the form below and you can add this tool to your Google drive. It’s just one of the many free slides available here on The OT Toolbox.

    NOTE- Due to an increase in security measures, many readers utilizing a work or school district email address have had difficulty accessing resources from the delivery email. Consider using a personal email address and forwarding the email to your work account.

    Free Virtual Sensory Room!

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      Add heavy work with these heavy work exercises to incorporate many themes into therapy and play.

      heavy work cards for regulation, attention, and themed brain breaks

      Click here to grab these heavy work cards.

      Colleen Beck, OTR/L is an occupational therapist with 20 years experience, graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. As the creator, author, and owner of the website and its social media channels, Colleen strives to empower those serving kids of all levels and needs. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

      Sensory Stations Free Spring Printables

      Sensory stations free printables

      This sensory stations printable set is a free resource that you can print off and hang up as an easy sensory path. You may have seen sensory walks in school hallways, or outdoor sensory walks on sidewalks. Sensory paths can even be done at home as a DIY sensory activity. The reason why we are seeing so many of these sensory strategies in place? They are a great way to get kids motivated and moving to incorporate the sensory input and motor planning that kids need.

      Free printable sensory stations for a sensory path with a Spring theme

      What is a Sensory Path

      First, let’s talk about what a sensory path is. You’ve probably seen the videos of kids completing motor activities in a hallway or even on a sidewalk. There are typically several sensory stations, or sensory and movement-based activities that kids can do as they move through the sensory walk.

      A sensory walk (or a sensory path) is a fun and engaging series of movements and activities designed to incorporate the senses and movements. They are designed to promote motor skills so kids get the sensory input they need in order to focus, pay attention, regulate their sensory systems so they can learn and function along with their peers. They are a fun and engaging way to incorporate sensory diet tasks into the school or home environment.

      When kids move through the colorful path, they are challenged to hop, jump, skip, tip toe, turn, spin, push, etc. All of these movements incorporate gross motor skills and sensory systems of vision, vestibular, and proprioceptive senses. You can read more here about heavy work of gross motor skills and sensory processing.

      What are Sensory Stations?

      In a sensory hallway or sensory pathway, there are typically “stations” or different movement activities that challenge different sets of muscles or actions. You might see a station where kids move through the letters of the alphabet as they hop along ABC images. You might see a sensory station that asks kids to tip toe along a spiral path, or complete wall push-ups. You may see a hopscotch board on the floor with numbers, letters, colors, or even sight words.

      Other sensory paths stations for deep breathing exercises, animal walks, or figure 8 visual motor activities.

      There are sensory pathways that incorporate different themes into the sensory stations. The sky is the limit when it comes to coming up with movement-based activities within a sensory walk.

      All of these sensory stations offer an opportunity for the child to engage the senses in a particular movement or activity.

      Free sensory stations printables

      Today, as part of our Spring Week, I have a free printable set of sensory stations for you. These are PDF sheets with several different sensory station activities. Print them off, hang them in a hallway, classroom, or in the home to engage vestibular, proprioceptive, and visual senses.

      The sensory stations included in this free resource include a figure 8 deep breathing activity. Kids can trace along the figure 8 as they take in deep breaths and then breathe them out.

      The next sensory activity in this DIY sensory path is a frog hop activity. Kids can hop like a frog and engage proprioceptive input as they hop up and down. The printable is open-ended so you can ask kids to complete as many from hops as you like.

      Next, you’ll find a wall push-up activity. Kids can complete wall push-ups against the hand visuals and engage heavy work input through their upper body as a calming motor activity.

      Then, there is a jumping jack activity that engages the vestibular sense and gets kids active, moving their whole body, and working on coordination, motor planning, and symmetrical and asymmetrical movements gross motor movements.

      Finally, the sensory path printables includes a spiral deep breathing activity with a buzzing bee. Kids can trace along the spiral and take deep breaths in and out. This calming activity can re-set kids and help with relaxation.

      All of these sensory station activities are open-ended so you can ask kids to say the ABCs or count as they complete the tasks. You can also rearrange the order of the sensory walk tasks or omit some of the activities is you like.

      Printable Sensory Stations

      Want to add these sensory path stations to your therapy toolbox? Enter your email into the form below and you’ll receive them in your inbox. Enjoy and happy sensory path planning!

      FREE Printable Sensory Stations for a Sensory Path

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        Spring Fine Motor Kit

        Score Fine Motor Tools and resources and help kids build the skills they need to thrive!

        Developing hand strength, dexterity, dexterity, precision skills, and eye-hand coordination skills that kids need for holding and writing with a pencil, coloring, and manipulating small objects in every day task doesn’t need to be difficult. The Spring Fine Motor Kit includes 100 pages of fine motor activities, worksheets, crafts, and more:

        Spring fine motor kit set of printable fine motor skills worksheets for kids.
        • Lacing cards
        • Sensory bin cards
        • Hole punch activities
        • Pencil control worksheets
        • Play dough mats
        • Write the Room cards
        • Modified paper
        • Sticker activities
        • MUCH MORE

        Click here to add this resource set to your therapy toolbox.

        Spring Fine Motor Kit
        Spring Fine Motor Kit: TONS of resources and tools to build stronger hands.

        Grab your copy of the Spring Fine Motor Kit and build coordination, strength, and endurance in fun and creative activities. Click here to add this resource set to your therapy toolbox.

        Colleen Beck, OTR/L is an occupational therapist with 20 years experience, graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. As the creator, author, and owner of the website and its social media channels, Colleen strives to empower those serving kids of all levels and needs. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.