There can be many sensory challenges that kids and teens face throughout the day. Colleen from The OT Toolbox has created a great solution for me to share with you today! *This post contains affiliate links. There is no extra cost to you, but we may earn an income. Please see our disclosure statement for further details.
It can be a real struggle to help kids manage tricky sensory-related challenges. Parents find it difficult to weed through all of the information and pull out what will work for their child. Teachers may struggle with kids who fall out of their chairs, can’t focus, and feed off other students. They may feel compelled to help these students but lack resources, time, or tactics. Therapists may search for fresh ideas that provide the right kind of sensory input and will be carried over at home and at school, all while fitting into the child’s occupational performance sweet spot.
Do one or more of the categories described above sound familiar?
Maybe you are trying sensory strategies, searching for information, and creating sensory diets that just aren’t working. You’re doing all of the right things, but struggle to meet the sensory needs of an individual child.
Colleen from the OT Toolbox has created an amazing FREE solution for you!
Outdoor Sensory Diet Cards
That’s where the Outdoor Sensory Diet Cards and Sensory Challenge Cards come into play.
They are a FREE printable resource that encourages sensory diet strategies in the outdoors. In the printable packet, there are 90 outdoor sensory diet activities, 60 outdoor recess sensory diet activities, 30 blank sensory diet cards, and 6 sensory challenge cards. They can be used based on preference and interest of the child, encouraging motivation and carryover, all while providing much-needed sensory input.
Research tells us that outdoor play improves attention and provides an ideal environment for a calm and alert state, perfect for integration of sensory input. In fact, outdoor play provides input from all the senses, allows for movement in all planes, and provides a variety of strengthening components including eccentric, concentric, and isometric muscle contractions. The outdoors are a vestibular, proprioceptive, tactile, and overall sensory-enriched goldmine!
There’s more: Providing opportunities for sensory diet activities in the outdoors encourages open-ended play, imagination, creativity, body awareness, learning skills, self-confidence, gross and fine motor development, attention, and social-emotional skill development.
Here are a few ways that the Outdoor Sensory Diet Cards and Sensory Challenge Cards can address much-needed skills of our children/students/clients with sensory needs:
- Outdoor play is the ideal setting for incorporating the “right kind” of sensory input. A child who uses a therapy band in the classroom receives just one direction of proprioceptive input. Outdoor play provides sensory input in all planes, directions, and with multiple senses.
- Outdoor sensory diet activities are easy, fun, and motivating…and they make memories for the whole family while meeting the needs of a child with sensory processing challenges.
- Outdoor sensory activities can be completed as a group or on an individual basis, and learning can be incorporated right into the tasks.
- Teachers will find the outdoor recess sensory diet cards appropriate for the right kind of sensory-based brain breaks throughout the day.
- The great outdoors is the biggest sensory gym you can imagine…and all of the sensory equipment is already there! From tree stumps, to hills, to pebbles, to pavement…outdoor sensory diet strategies can occur with little or no equipment.
- Parents will love these outdoor sensory strategies that make memories for the whole family.
- The whole family can join in on these sensory brain breaks! They provide the best kind of calming proprioceptive input, alerting movement, and sensory-based play that we ALL need!
- The outdoor sensory diet strategy cards include a section of outdoor recess activities. These are perfect for the parent advocating for more sensory input for their child at school. The school playground is a powerful source of calming and organizing input!
- Therapists will find the Outdoor Sensory Diet Cards a valuable tool in creating home programs. Every child needs more of this type of play!
- Sometimes therapists run into issues with sensory diet carryover at home or in the classroom. These are sensory-based activities that kids will love and WANT to do!
- As an added bonus, the Outdoor Recess Sensory Diet Cards included in this free packet can be used at any neighborhood playground, making a quick stop at a park a motivating means of incorporating much-needed sensory exercise.
- The Sensory Diet Challenge Cards incorporate all of the senses and are a quick checklist of activities that can be used for easy sensory activities.
Be sure to grab your copy of the Outdoor Sensory Diet Cards and Challenge Cards!