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Introducing… Sensory Activities for Kids .com
Some of you who are regular readers may know that my family deals with Sensory Processing Disorder. Two of my three kids, Sawyer and J.C., have special sensory processing needs. (You can learn more about our specific sensory journey here.)
What is Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)?
“Sensory processing (sometimes called ‘sensory integration’ or SI) is a term that refers to the way the nervous system receives messages from the senses and turns them into appropriate motor and behavioral responses. Whether you are biting into a hamburger, riding a bicycle, or reading a book, your successful completion of the activity requires processing sensation or ‘sensory integration.’
Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD, formerly known as ‘sensory integration dysfunction’) is a condition that exists when sensory signals don’t get organized into appropriate responses. Pioneering occupational therapist and neuroscientist A. Jean Ayres, PhD, likened SPD to a neurological ‘traffic jam’ that prevents certain parts of the brain from receiving the information needed to interpret sensory information correctly. A person with SPD finds it difficult to process and act upon information received through the senses, which creates challenges in performing countless everyday tasks. Motor clumsiness, behavioral problems, anxiety, depression, school failure, and other impacts may result if the disorder is not treated effectively.”
(From the SPD Foundation)
While Sawyer and J.C. do receive occupational therapy and use special tools for their sensory needs, we also have found that most of their sensory needs are met with fun (and often simple!) kids activities and sensory play. And my dear blogging friend Sarah (of Little Bins for Little Hands) has discovered the same for her son with sensory needs, too. So she and I have launched a new site – SensoryActivitiesforKids.com – to feature just those activities; Sensory Activities for Kids that are wonderful for all kids, but especially helpful for kids with Sensory Processing Disorder.
6 Days of Sensory Play
In celebration of the launch of Sensory Activities for Kids, we are hosting a sensory specific blog hop: 6 Days of Sensory Play. For six days – from June 1st through June 6th – bloggers will be sharing their sensory play ideas for that day’s sensory theme. Hope on over to the 6 Days of Sensory Play Home Page to see each day’s theme and browse the sensory play ideas shared!
Easy Kids Obstacle Course Ideas for Vestibular Sensory Play
Today’s theme for the 6 Days of Sensory Play Blog Hop is vestibular sensory play. The vestibular system, closely tied to the inner ear, contributes to our sense of balance and spatial awareness. So activities that get kids moving, spinning, rolling, etc. can help to regulate the vestibular system. And what better way to get the kids doing all of the above than an obstacle course?! Here are some easy obstacle course ideas that are great for all kids, but especially for “sensory kids” who need vestibular input…
Easy Obstacle Course Ideas for Kids
- Spider Web Crawl – Set up an easy spider web crawl using your kitchen chairs!
- Hoola Hoop Tire Run – Try hoola hoops set up in different patterns to do a makeship “tire run!”
- Tape Letters – Use some painters tape to add some letters to hop across in your obstacle course!
- Bean Bag Toss – Add a DIY Bean Bag Toss to your obstacle course.
- Pool Noodle Hurdles – Use inexpensive pool noodles to craft some jumping hurdles along the course.
- Add a Sprinkler – Add a water sprinkler to your outdoor obstacle course for even more fun on a Summer day!
- Circus Balance – Add some circus-themed fun by seeing what your little one can balance on their head through parts of the obstacle course.
- Balance Beam – Use a piece of wood, rocks, or stepping stones for simple balancing activities along your obstacle course.
- Texture Crawl – Add some tactile input to your obstacle course with a texture crawl component.
- Pillow Crawl – Make crawling more fun and challenging by setting up a crawling runway of pillows.
- Water Balloon Finish – Water balloons would be the perfect motivator for kids to complete their outdoor obstacle course!
Some Obstacle Course Goodies to Try
Do your kids like obstacle courses? Share your obstacle course ideas in the comments below!