Screens are always an easy go-to answer when children are whining and bored. Did you know that screen time produces no developmental benefits and can easily overstimulate some children. Too much screen time can also cause an addiction. Here are some sensory-rich, easy, and simple activities to keep your children busy and entertained. Some may seem obvious but are lovely to repeat.
- Mud pies
Good old mud pies. I am sure you can remember creating one as a child. Just mix water and sand. (I know -what a mess, but its worth the fun!). Get your children to create different structures such as a castle or tower. Add leaves or sticks for the extra decoration whilst working on their fine motor skills (cutting leaves into pieces, breaking up sticks, picking up small stones and moving it around in their hands). If you are happy to- include utensils such as a small pan, measuring cups, spoons etc. Get creative!
- Go for a walk.
Not just any walk. Turn it into a sensory walk- feel the leaves, smell the flowers, look for different colours (e.g., find 3 red things on our walk), listen to the birds or other sounds, jump like a frog as you walk, or climb a tree (safely). Create a board with different colours and encourage your child to find something on your walk that matches that colour, the same can be done with letters for the older children. Carrying something heavy whilst walking may help your child (e.g., bag with something inside).
Who doesn’t love something fresh out the oven? Well get your children to be hands on whilst helping! Using measuring cups to pour ingredients in, carrying heavy objects across the kitchen, using a roller to flatten dough, or using a spoon to mix is a great way to work on their shoulder strength.
- Board games, books, and puzzles
Board games are great for older children and teach skills such as turn taking, accepting a loss as well as other scholastic skills. A simple pack of cards can go a long way in learning different games. Books are lovely! They encourage language and your child can be encouraged to find different items on the page which works on their visual perceptual skills, similarly to puzzles.
Either washing a car, outside plastic chair, windows etc. A lovely way to develop hand strength is to work on wringing out cloths, spraying the window with a spray bottle and wiping the windows.