It’s summertime and school is out for many children. A break from school often means a break from routines, or at least a change in routines. If you have a child or client who craves sensory stimuli throughout the day, you may be wondering, “How can I meet his sensory needs this summer?” If this sounds like you, I recommend incorporating a few of these low cost, low-prep, no-fuss summer fun activities each week to meet your child or client’s sensory needs throughout the summer.
Water can be very enjoyable and calming for many children. Some children just cannot get enough time in the water. Swimming lessons, slip-and-slides, sprinklers, an outside soap and water tub, a bike wash, or just a plain old hose can meet the child’s sensory needs through water play. You can target language concepts such as: on/off, in/out/under, wet/dry, spray, pour, dump, cold/warm.
Pick up a box of chalk and the activities are up to your imagination. The heavy fat pieces of the chalk provide stability in drawing for children with weak hand grasps and pre-writing strokes. Sitting on the warm sidewalk and drawing can also be very relaxing for a child who is over stimulated. If your child or client craves movement, play a modified game of hopscotch or 4-Square. You can also draw a maze, play hang-man, or alphabet hop (write letters on the sidewalk and hop from one letter to another). Social language skills such as: following directions, taking turns, requesting, acknowledging the speaker, sharing, and commenting are a few skills that could be targeted with sidewalk chalk.
Popsicles are not just for cooling off on a hot day. Popsicles are extremely cold in the mouth and in the hand. They have vibrant colors, sweet or sour flavors, sticky to the touch, and a crunchy oral texture that turns into liquid as it melts in the mouth. You can target the many vocabulary concepts for taste, texture, temperature, and color while enjoying a popsicle on a hot day.
These three summer fun activities are easy to incorporate into your day. Just think of the varied experiences you can create with eating watermelon, sharing a snow cone, blowing bubbles, throwing water balloons, playing with sand, and taking a walk to the park. Let us know what activities you have planed for the summer. We’d love to hear from you.
Lisa Erwin, M.S. CCC-SLP
Lisa has 25 years experience as an slp working in public school, early childhood and adult rehab. She is also an adjunct instructor and supervisor at WTAMU. Follow her blog at www.myspeechtools.com.