Sensory Diet Ideas for the Home
A sensory diet has nothing to do with food, even though it contains the word “diet”. It’s a carefully designed series of physical activities and strategies tailored to give each child the sensory input they need. Sensory diets can be used as part of sensory integration therapy. Completing a sensory diet routine can help kids get into a “just right” state, which can help them pay attention in school, learn new skills and socialize with other kids.
· Add these activities to your child’s daily routine whenever possible. A good start would be 2-3 times a day for 5-7 minutes.
· Do not force a movement break or make it feel like a punishment, that will have an adverse effect. Try to naturally incorporate these activities into daily life!
· Try a gross motor movement activity first (heavy work/movement) and then a calming and organizing activity (oral motor or sensory).
· These are some ideas that can typically go in a sensory diet. Make sure to consult with your occupational therapist for best results!
Heavy Work/Movement Ideas
1. Jump on a trampoline
2. Push or pull boxes or baskets with heavy materials
3. Jump on couch cushions or pillows
4. Play in a sandbox (or sensory box) with heavy items**Tip**if playing with a sensory box inside lay a large sheet down first for easy clean up!
5. Play outside, encourage jumping and running
6. Smash or squeeze play dough or therapy putty
7. Animal walks (bear, crab, frog, bunny)
8. Bounce or roll on a large ab ball
9. Carrying groceries
10. Shoveling snow
11. Playing with body socks or stretchy bands
12. Play on a hippity hop
13. Squeezing a fidget or stress ball
14. Push ups
15. Climbing ladders or monkey bars at the park
16. Crawling through a tunnel
17. Help wash the car
18. Help with cleaning around the house (using the swifter or vacuum)
19. Obstacle courses (first climb under the table, then jump over the pile of clothes, etc…)
20. Skipping around the house
21. Galloping around the house
22. Sitting in a rocking chair or swivel chair
23. Swinging outside at a playground
24. Playing movement games like Duck Duck Goose, What Time is it Mr. Fox, Red Light/Green Light, etc…
25. Sitting on a wobble chair or wiggle cushion while doing homework or eating meals
26. Jumping jacks
27. Yoga poses
28. Using a large sheet as a hammock swing (you will need two adults for this and works best for toddlers and preschoolers)
29. Riding a bike or scooter
Oral Motor Ideas
1. Eat crunchy or chewy foods (pretzels, dried fruits, popcorn, apples, carrots, etc…)
2. Drink thick liquids (smoothie, applesauce) through a straw
4. Chewy jewelry
5. Blowing up balloons
6. Blowing bubbles
8. Whistles or noise makers
Playing with textures- Ideas for sensory boxes, a great calming activity! (For easy clean up, first lay down a large sheet to catch any rogue sensory items.)
1. Shaving cream
2. Finger paint
4. Wet sand
7. Rice and beans
8. Just beans
9. Cotton balls
10. Moon sand
***Most items can be purchased from places like Fun and Function, Amazon, or Target!