Building a Sensory Diet

While most women are planning what’s for dinner for the week I’m constantly trying to plan a sensory diet for my little one.  I’ve learned the hard way that if I don’t plan about three sensory activities for him per day that the day is harder on all of us.

While sometimes trying to come up with activities can be a daunting task some days it’s much simpler and they just naturally fall into place which makes life a little easier and smoother on all of us.  When planning a sensory diet for your kids don’t forget some every day things that you can incorporate.

Gardening or working outside is great for kids.  My son loves to help with gardening activities.  He loves to help me dig in the dirt and repot plants, he likes to water the roses, and he loves to plant seeds to see if we can make something grow.  He also loves sprinkling Epsom salt at the base of the plants to help feed them.  Yesterday I was sprinkling some diatomaceous earth around to see if it could help cut down on the ants.  He became obsessed with helping so we put some safety goggles on him and gave him an old parmasean cheese can filled with it and let him sprinkle away.  We used it all up and this morning first thing he was ready to go to the store to “get some more of that white stuff.” We also rake cut grass and put it in the wheel barrow and push it to the burn pile.  All of these activities help fulfill his sensory needs.

Sometimes a bath in the middle of the day works perfectly into a sensory diet routine. Water, toys, maybe some bathtub paint or chalk.  Occasionally the boy will request a bath and I feel overwhelmed with luck when it happens as I can usually get a chore or two completed while he plays away.

A bin of toys can be a great sensory activity.  My husband had a huge plastic bin filled with Stars are toys, GI Joes, and a handful of spaceships and or he miscellaneous toys.  We pulled it down and dusted it off and it has provided hours of entertainment with the boy.  He pulls out every single toy and plays with them all.  

Cooking or Baking can be a great addition to a sensory diet especially if it involves a lot of stirring or cutting.  I enlist help from the boy whenever I have a lot if veggies to cut up.  While he might not eat them after they are cooked he loves to help cut so I give him a small knife and supervise his cutting.  And baking… We recently made rice crispy treats which is a lot of stirring while melting butter and marshmellows.  The boy loved it although he wasnt thrilled about waiting for them to cool. 

Chores can also be helpful to fulfilling sensory needs.  Mopping, vacuuming, scrubbing toilets.  Amazingly my son loves to use the hose attachment for the vacuum so we take turns.  I vaccine the carpet in the kitchen and he takes the hose around the baseboards.  He likes to push the steam mop so we take turns with that too.  He also for some reason actually likes to scrub the toilet so while I scoop the cat box I sprinkle baking soda in the toilet and let him scrub away.

I hope these activities are helpful for you.  I know they’ve been helpful for me and they are all no cost activities you can add to your list of sensory activities if they aren’t there already.