All children benefit from sensory activity but if your child has sensory differences then it is very likely they need sensory supports and activities. Working out what the best sensory activities / aids an individual needs can take time. My approach is always to try lots of different things, have a range of things available and overtime this will help you and your kids to work out what they need.
As a certain time of year approaches most of us parents are thinking about presents. I have had far more success when we get sensory based gifts for the boys. With this in mind I wanted to pull together a list of sensory activities, small sensory toys and other sensory aids. I really hope the list is helpful for those looking for ideas and way’s to introduce more sensory based play.
Whilst some things on the list are small and cheap, others are free but some are a little more expensive. If you are interested in trying out large expensive sensory items talk to local autism charities, some will have or know of local lending library’s. If you are lucky enough to be local to Bristol like me Gympanzees has the most amazing lending library that I highly recommend.
So here are my top tried and tested sensory supports.
101 sensory supports
- Chew toys we really like the Hexichew
4. Snap bands
7. Going for a long walk
10. Foam Soap is a big favourite in our house
11. Liquid Gel Timers – the ones above are from the Sensory Submarine
12. Going swimming is a great sensory activity
13. A Barefoot walk over different textured objects
16. Fibre Optic Lamp
17. Wobble Cushion
19. Top or coat with a hood – with a hood up when out there can be less sensory distractions as your sight is limited to the front.
21. Trampoline – this is our top support when the weather is good
23. Wear a heavy backpack or large coat when out can help to feel grounded for some
24. Slime Bath
25. Disco Ball Light
26. Food – think about sensory food i.e. chewy bagels, crunchy rice cakes or smooth yogurt. All food is sensory in some way but some will really be helpful snacks when out someone who is struggling with their senses may benefit from a chewy fruit yo yo so they can refocus their senses.
27. Bubbles – a bubble machine is a great option
29. Swinging – either on a swing or something like a hammock
30. Scratch Art
31. Water play like with the bath toys above
32. Magic Water Colouring books, I would recommend these for car journeys
33. Microwave bags – slightly weighted
34. Weighted blankets or lap pads
35. Blankets or duvets for hiding under
36. Sensory clothing i.e. seamless socks, labels removed. Take a look at the Marks & Spencer Easy on Range
37. Compression clothing – try football skins
38. Texture books
39. Sensory Stories – we can get these from our local library
40. TacPac – great sensory activity often used in specialist schools
41. Gym Balls
42. Sand in a playpit or at the beach
45. Squeezing yourself under big sofa cushions or behind the sofa
46. A body sock
47. Heavy work
48. Music or musical instruments
49. Stacking tins or Tupperware, pots and pans
50. Slinky / spring
51. Wipe Clean books or a whiteboard
52. Rubik’s cube
53. Wind up toys
55. Mini stretchy men – my kids love making these stick to the ceiling!
57. Torch lights with projections or a standard torch to make shadows
58. Black out tent
59. Ikea Egg Chair
60. Make your own sensory board
61. Think about items you have around the house – spices for smelling, an empty washing up bottle for blowing air on you.
62. Pencil Grips
65. Vibrating mat
66. Bean Bags for sitting in
68. Bubble Wrap – best kind of popping or you can buy a Pop It
69. Pulling i.e. resistance bands
71. Soft play – this is ideal for energetic sensory seekers
73. Meditation and or mindfulness
77. Think about temperature playing or eating ice, having a warm bath. A change in temperature really helps to stimulate our senses
78. Aromatherapy oils – strong calming smells
79. GeoMag construction toys – the sensory pull of the magnets is a nice sensory element
80. Similarly LEGO or Duplo is great for sensory feedback
81. Ripping or scrunching paper (newspaper and gift wrap work well)
82. PlayFoam my youngest loves this stuff
83. Lava lamp – you can make your own check out my building attention post
84. Koosh ball
85. Giant Jiggly Ball – this is a current favourite in our house
86. Water Beads
88. Pom Poms
90. Store cupboard messy play – cornflour and water / spaghetti / lentils / flour / jelly / cereals there is so much sensory play to be had with what we have in our kitchen cupboards
91. Popping candy
92. Pop fidget tubes we got ours from the Sensory Submarine (use AutismPages10 for a discount)
93. Spinning on a roundabout, just yourself spinning or try a Whizzy Dizzy
94. Balance Board
96. Connect with nature – visit some woods / spend time in the garden / talk to your plants
97. Squeezy Toys like mesh or stress balls.
98. Baking – especially kneading dough
99. If there are a few of you parachutes can be great fun
100. Vibrating ball
101. Glow in the dark stars for the bedroom ceiling
I hope you got some inspiration from the list. What would you add? Let me know in the comments.
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