There are many ways that therapeutic preschool programs benefit all children, especially those who experience developmental delays or sensory processing issues. If a child experiences sensory issues, they either have a heightened sensitivity to sensory input or a decreased sensitivity to sensory input. This can include visual input, auditory input, tactile input, olfactory input (smells), tastes, or flavors. If a kiddo experiences challenges with sensory processing, they might require additional support for developing self-regulation skills in a therapeutic preschool program or ABA therapy. One strategy is using sensory toys.
There are many different types of sensory toys available to suit the needs of both children who are hypersensitive (heightened sensitivity) and hyposensitive (decreased sensitivity) to sensory input. There are even many DIY (do-it-yourself) options for creating your own sensory toys. Making DIY sensory toys can be a great project for your little ones on a rainy day or in a therapeutic preschool program!
Sensory blocks: These can be customized with different textures that your child finds soothing. The textures might also provided necessary sensory stimulation for other children. Here’s an example from Pinterest: http://www.redtedart.com/diy-sensory-blocks-how-to/
Sensory bags: Simply fill a resealable sandwich bag with “goo” or small objects, and you have yourself a sensory bag. Here’s an example from Pinterest: https://www.babble.com/home/diy-sensory-bags/
Calming shakers: Shaker bottles filled with “goo” and glitter can be very calming sensory toys. Here’s an example from Pinterest: http://southernthomas.blogspot.com/2011/08/discovery-in-water-bottle.html
Weighted sensory toy for lap: Some children benefit from a weighted sensory toy they can place in their lap during class, circle time, etc. Here’s an example on Pinterest: http://pepperscraps.com/how-to-make-a-lap-buddy-to-help-fidgeting/
Sensory sand: It’s not just for the beach! Some children with sensory processing disorder find the texture of sand very soothing. Here’s an example of sand you make at home from Pinterest: http://www.survivingateacherssalary.com/edible-non-toxic-sensory-kinetic-sand-recipe-for-kids/
Colored rice: The texture of rice can be a great sensory toy for some children. Dying the rice bright colors adds another layer of fun! You can put the rice in resealable sandwich bags or a Mason jar. Here’s an example from Pinterest: http://www.alegionforliam.com/2012/02/more-sensory-crafts.html
DIY “Flubber” & much more: While kiddos today might not remember this movie, this is still a fun (and functional) DIY sensory toy. Here’s an example from Pinterest: http://www.diyncrafts.com/15322/home/parenting/30-diy-sensory-toys-and-games-to-stimulate-your-childs-creative-growth?utm_content=buffercc5e9&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer
As you are researching different sensory toys, keep in mind the specific sensory issues of your child, as not every sensory toy targets the same skills or senses.
Do you think a therapeutic preschool program, ABA therapy, or occupational therapy could benefit your child? Contact CST Academy by clicking the purple button below or call 773-620-7800 to learn about the wide range of services we provide for children in Chicago!