Hot weather and the slower summertime pace provide excellent opportunities for children to get increased sensory input and practice fine motor skills through enjoyable sensory play activities. Learning new skills may be easier without the pressures of school. Below are some fun and educational activities for your child to engage in and target their fine motor abilities and sensory system.
10 Tips for Sensory Play and Fine Motor Activities
- Play a game of eye-spy outside! You can make it more of a challenge by using clues of size, shape, or indications of purpose.
- Play Pictionary on the sidewalks with chalk for a tactile and visual experience.
- Enjoy water play.Play a game of slip-and-slide while trying to retrieve an object on the way down, providing sensory play, motor planning, and visual-motor integration skills.
- DIY play-doh is great for tactile play and executive functioning skills to follow a recipe.
- Make tactile balloons. Fill balloons with different textures (beans, beads, sand, rice, play-doh, coffee grinds, marbles, water, hair gel, corn starch, and water mix). For more fun, place balloons in a tub of water, then guess and write what is inside each one!
- Have a scavenger hunt either in the backyard or a park. Your child and a group of friends can find nature items, such as rocks, sticks, leaves, pinecones, etc.
- Play a game of edible shapes. Gather foods with distinctive shapes (ex., cheese puff balls, goldfish, marshmallows, starburst, Hershey kisses, pretzel sticks, tortilla chips). Blindfold the children playing and have them guess both the shape and the food!
- Create an obstacle course on a playground for motor planning, proprioceptive input, and vestibular input. For fun, please have your child draw out or write the course steps before completing them.
- Do Spice painting. Mix white glue with a bit of water to dilute it and add some spices (no hot spices). The activity will provide various aromas and will have different textures when dried.
- Visit the beach and play hangman, tic-tac-toe or write messages in the sand.
About the author
Jessica Glenbocki is an Occupational Therapist and a certified sensory integration and interactive metronome. She received her master’s in occupational therapy from Cleveland State University. If you want more personalized sensory play activities for your child, set up a session with Jessica through her personal page on Vitalxchange to receive more personalized recommendations.