Summer is almost here. We are making plans for our children to make their summers fun. How about those days when camp is over and you just don't know what to do? Sensory activities focus on engaging several of your child's 5 senses. Once your child participates focus and attention are the result.
Here are five engaging sensory activities for your child. None of them take too much preparation time or require too many things to participate. You just might enjoy them too!
Plant an herb or vegetable
What You Need:
- A medium terra cotta pot or any kind of material that has a few drainage holes in the bottom
- small plant (or seeds if you want to be adventurous!) basil, cilantro, parsley, cherry tomato, pickling cucumber etc.
- organic garden soil
- sunny spot
- water source (watering can, hose with watering attachment)
- gardening gloves (unless you like dirty fingernails!)
Give your child gentle guidance while allowing your child to feel, see and soon taste the results! Fill your pot with soil and dig a small hole big enough for your new plant to fill. Carefully take your plant out of its container and gently massage the roots before placing it in the hole. Fill any gaps around your new planting with additional soil and place a small amount on top of the roots. Water it in and watch it grow! If planting tomatoes you can add a small amount of hydrated lime powder if your soil lacks lime. Just be sure the powder doesn't touch the plant's roots. Take your child outside to water your new plant and watch it grow. Then pick the delicious herbs/veggies when they are ready for harvest. This activity is rewarding all summer long. Learning about photosynthesis and caring for something makes this our top choice for summer education.
Find an instrument or two and have your child put on a concert
Have you ever heard of Kindermusik? It's spelled that way because it's German and this activity has given parents and children a creative way to learn instruments through play. Use any instruments you may have like small drums, xylophones, recorders, rain sticks etc. You can also make your own instrument with your child like a rubber band guitar. My children had an instrument creation project their third grade year in school that was so much fun! Let your child know that he or she will be on camera and record their performance. They can watch themselves and share it with family and friends! Hearing, feeling and seeing the instrument makes this activity very high on our sensory scale.
Seashell Treasure Hunt/Matching Game
What You Need:
- medium or large container with sand and a place that can get sandy
- many shells that can be sorted into categories (dollar store has bags of them or you can find what you have at home or at the beach)
- water if your child is ok with a bit of "ocean"
- dried seaweed sheets torn apart (fun to tear!) if the idea of slimy fish is exciting
Thanks to A Little Pinch of Perfect, this activity has been tested on the fun scale and it gets a huge thumbs up! Cover your shells with sand and add a bit of water and some dried seaweed if you want the extra cleanup and adventure. Have your child search for all of the hidden treasure. Then have your child sort the seashells according to type, color, shape etc. You can learn about the oceans of the world while doing this activity and listen to sounds of the sea and surf. Then you can have your child hide the shells they way he/she chooses and you can search for them while your child watches you!
Edible Dirt Activity
What You Need:
- Nutella, Chocolate Frosting or Chocolate Syrup (if allergic then you can use carob powder and heat with some nut milk or rice milk to get carob powder to blend)
- gluten free flour or any kind of flour
- small amount of water if needed
Have your child add your ingredients together in a large bowl that is child friendly. Stir together and add a small amount of water if mixture is too dry. Bring in a small beach shovel, some toys you don't mind washing or just have your child shape the edible dirt into creative things. This activity is great for kids who love to play in the dirt and it's edible and critter free! We like to get out our cookie cutters and when I bake cookies this is my child's way of helping me out without actually getting into my expensive gluten-free batter! I make my cookies while my child makes his. Then he gets to eat a very small amount of the dirt when he's all done.
What You Need:
- Anything small that your child hasn't seen in awhile that he/she enjoys
- backpack or bag to store treasure in
- treasure map that you put hints or draw general location of treasure OR you could have a small clue at each treasure leading your child to the next one.