Tactile and Sensory Activities for Special Needs Children
Many special needs children see the world with their fingertips. They learn best through “doing” and “feeling” activities. Also, some special needs children have challenges with their sensory skills and may have unusual habits when it comes to touch. These activities for special needs children will help develop your child’s sensory skills, while making them more comfortable with touching different textures.
Shaving Cream Painting
One of the fun activities for special needs children is painting with shaving cream. Spray shaving cream on a cookie sheet and allow your child to spread it out, draw pictures in it, and move his fingers in it. You can add food coloring to make the shaving cream even more fun. Adding grains of rice or other small objects can also help your child feel the different textures. Your child can also use a paintbrush or straw to “paint” in the shaving cream. The best part of this activity is that it is easy to clean up, and you do not have to worry about a mess. However, smaller children should be supervised so that no shaving cream is consumed.
Touching and Feeling Different Textures
There are several fun ways to expose your child to different textures and feelings. You can put together cards of different textures. Simply paste different textures on pieces of cardboard. Different textures can include carpet samples, a feather boa, glitter glued together, as well as other objects glued together.
You can also cut a hole into a small box, such as shoebox and put different textures in there. Allow your child to place his or her hand in the box and feel around. Ask them questions about what they feel, such as the following:
- Can they guess what it is?
- Is it big or small?
- Is it soft or rough?
- Do they like the way it feels in their fingertips?
Add weight to a backpack or handbag by adding a few books or toys to it. Make sure it is weighted but not too heavy for your child. Have your wear a backpack or bag and complete fun exercises, such as jumping jacks or an obstacle course. If you are near an outdoor playground, have your child go down the slide with the weighted backpack on his back or have him hang from the monkey bars with it on. These type of activities for special needs children help them become more aware of their senses and changes to their being.
The right sensory activities for special needs children depend on your child and his needs. A therapist can help you with ideas for activities for special needs children. The point in these fun exercises is to get your child used to the feeling of different objects, textures, and sensations.
Photo by Ernst Vikne