Sensory diet home program (1909)

Key points below

What is a sensory diet?

This is not a food diet. It is an activity plan that provides structured sensory input for a child.    It can help the child make sense of the world around them. 
Active play is important to help your child.  Limit screen time. This includes any time spent watching TV, playing video games or using the computer. Limit your child to less than 2 hours per day.  Use the activities that are appropriate for your child to replace screen time.

What activities can help my child?

Your therapist will tell you which activities your child should do.  Be sure to supervise young children when doing these activities.

Help your child be more aware of their body. Do things that will help your child feel sensations on their skin or joints.  

  Play with water, sand, snow, clay, play dough, finger paint, or shaving cream. These things can be put in a dish pan if you are playing inside. 
Finger paint. Use hands or feet to paint. You can even use fun things like pudding, ketchup or mustard. 
Put dried beans, peas, rice, or macaroni in a tray or tub to play in. Add toys, figures or coins to the container and have a treasure hunt. 
Give your child a foot massage.
Touch, rub, and hug your child during the day.  Do not tickle your child.  Tickling is a light touch that tends to stimulate more than calm a child.   
Bath time is good for total body awareness. Use different textures to wash such as a soft scrub brush, sponge, loofah or bath puff. Practice pouring with different sizes plastic containers. Use lotions after bath.
Create a feely sack. Put objects found around the house into a pillow case.  Your child can reach inside the sack and try to identify the objects by touch.
Try sheets and blankets with a different feel, like flannel or velour.  Add heavy blankets to your child’s bed.  Tuck your child in tightly. 
Make a tent or a fort from pillows and blankets. 
Have your child go barefoot.  Make sure the area is safe to be without shoes!
Roll your child’s body up in a blanket or rug.  Keep their head out.
Make large pillows or a crash pad for your child to snuggle in, jump into, or crawl under.
Identify body parts. Games like Simon Says, This Little Piggy, and Head, Shoulders Knees and Toes can help.

Increase muscle strength and improve balance with rough play activities.
Give bear hugs.
Give piggy back rides.
Do wheelbarrow walking. Wrestle.
Have pillow fights. 
Play with sock-um boppers®.
Roll. Try rolling down a grassy hill.

Build strength with heavy work activities.
Play tug-of-war.
Work in garden, shovel, dig.
Rake leaves.
Push or pull a:
- Heavy cart, wheelbarrow or wagon.
- Stroller or doll buggy. 
- Kids toy grocery cart.
Wash the car with a bucket of soapy water.

Help build body awareness, balance, strength and depth perception with movement.
Ride a bike.
Play on playground equipment.
Go roller or ice skating.
Walk or balance on a curb.
Climb stairs. 
Play on a Hippity Hop® or Sit-n-Spin®.
Jump in a ball pit or crash pad or on a one-person trampoline with safety handle. 
Go to a gymnastic studio that has open gym time.
Hide things in a room. Use a flashlight at night to find them.

Improve muscle strength and coordination by building an obstacle course. 
Open both ends of a big box to make a tunnel.  Climb in one end and out the other. 
Stack up pillows or cushions to make a hill.  Cover with a blanket climb over the hill.
Use a small table as a bridge to go under.
Tape old phone books together. Use them as a step or stepping stones. 
Buy a long piece of t-shirt tubing at a fabric store and use it as a tunnel.
Crawl over or through a large stable chair. 
Crawl through or step in and out of hula hoops or tires.

Large free flowing movements that use the shoulders and elbows.
Scribble on newspaper and large paper bags.
Draw with sidewalk chalk. 
Draw on a large blackboard. One can easily be made on a wall or with plywood and chalkboard paint.
Paint with water and a brush on concrete or a garage door.



Call your child’s therapist if you have any questions or concerns or if your child has special health care needs that were not covered by this information.