For those of you who have been included on an email update from me, you might know that I love lists! SO in true Megan form, when asked to do a blog post, you could have guessed it would be a list! Below I have included my top five favorite ways to keep sensory experiences fresh and get a little creative when doing ‘art’ at home.
1. Put down that paint brush and paint with your feet!
You heard me! This can be a great way to work those little tummy muscles. Tape some paper on your wall, dip those little toes in some paint and lift them up to the wall. [Just make sure you use the bathroom before you start this fun activity as it can be a little tricky once started.] You can make it extra tricky by sitting on a wiggly surface such as a wiggle seat or stacked towels to make them engage their muscles more to maintain their balance.
2. Use food as “paint.”
I’ve found a new love for those silicone pastry/basting brushes to paint with my kiddos. Pudding, mashed potatoes with food coloring, cheese sauce, syrups, and dressings all make awesome paint. Encourage your kiddo to taste throughout the experience. Try using other foods as the “brush” or “stamp”– e.g., broccoli, cooked pasta, cut veggies, etc. If your child is a picky eater, this can be a great low-pressure way for them to get some good smell/touch experiences with foods they may have otherwise refused to have in front of them.
3. Snow Painting!
If you have any squirt bottles at your house, fill them with colored water (or for extra sensory experience use water dyed with Kool Aid packets). Spray on the snow in fun patterns! Great for hand strengthening and gives a good excuse to get outside and enjoy the winter.
4. Spices it up!
Dig out any old spices that are (likely) expired and put them to good use by having your child add texture and dimensions to their work. For example, have your child paint a picture of a pumpkin pie, then drizzle some glue and sprinkle cinnamon over the top like glitter.
5. Oreo sculpting!
This is one of my favorites with older kids. Split open your oreo, take a toothpick and scrape away some of the frosting to make fun pictures or patterns. The sculpting can then be used as a stamp if you dip it in pudding and dab it on a paper plate.
Megan Wisniewski, MS, OTR/L, Occupational Therapist