As a parent of a toddler, it can be a struggle to find engaging and educational activities that will hold their attention. This can be especially challenging if your child has autism. Children with autism often struggle with sensory integration and may require extra support to process and respond to sensory stimuli in their environment. That’s where sensory activities come in—these activities can help children process sensory information, develop sensory skills, and increase their tolerance for certain sensations. Sensory activities designed for toddlers can also provide unique learning opportunities, encourage exploration and curiosity, and help foster healthy development.
What Are Sensory Activities?
Sensory activities are play-based activities designed to stimulate and engage a child’s senses, such as touch, smell, sight, sound, and taste. These activities can be beneficial for all children, but particularly for children with autism. Sensory activities help to promote sensory integration, which is the ability to take in, process, and respond to sensory stimuli in our environment.
Why Are Sensory Activities Helpful for Children with Autism?
Children with autism may struggle with sensory processing, meaning they may have difficulty tuning out irrelevant sensory information, or they may be oversensitive or undersensitive to certain stimuli. Sensory activities can help promote sensory integration and regulate a child’s sensory system, which can in turn improve their ability to learn, play, and interact with others.
The Best Sensory Activities for Toddlers
Some of the most effective and fun sensory activities specifically for toddlers include:
- Sensory bins – Fill a container with materials like rice, beans, or sand and add objects for your child to explore and manipulate. You can add items like measuring spoons, small toys, or natural objects like leaves and pebbles.
- Sensory bottles – Clear bottles filled with various materials like water, glitter, or small objects provide visual and auditory stimulation. You can make themed bottles, like a “rain” bottle or a “space” bottle, to make them even more fun and engaging.
- Sensory playdough – You can make sensory playdough by adding different textures and scents to regular playdough. Add items like glitter, essential oils, or even spices like cinnamon or peppermint to engage your child’s sense of smell and touch.
- Sensory walks – Take your child outdoors and encourage them to explore different textures, smells, and sounds in their environment. You can take a nature walk and encourage your child to touch different textures, like rough bark or smooth rocks, or listen for different sounds, like rustling leaves or chirping birds.
When doing sensory activities with your toddler, it’s important to be patient and encourage exploration. Remember to keep activities fun and short so they don’t become overwhelming for your child. Above all else, when working on sensory activities at home, make sure you’re also having fun!
Call Rising Above ABA Today for Autism Support
Sensory activities are a fun and engaging way to promote sensory integration for children with autism. By stimulating and regulating a child’s sensory system, they can improve their ability to learn, play, and interact with others. The best sensory activities for toddlers include sensory bins, sensory bottles, sensory playdough, and sensory walks. Parents can easily create these activities at home with common household items and materials. Above all, have fun exploring and promoting sensory integration with your little one.
If you’re looking for extra resources for yourself and your family, Rising Above ABA offers a variety of services to help families living with autism. From in-home therapy to social skills development, we provide comprehensive support for children with autism spectrum disorder. Call 888.572.7473 or reach out online today to get started. We look forward to hearing from you and helping your family thrive.