Keeping a child occupied is no small feat. Keeping a child happy who is standing in a standing device can be even more of a challenge. Even a reluctant stander can become a happy one by giving them fun activities to partake in.
Providing sensory-rich activities for your child while in their stander can not only help keep them distracted, but is also greatly beneficial to children who crave sensory input. Here are some suggestions for tactile activities you and your child can engage in, while in (or out) of their standing device.
Place various items, one by one (or in like groups) into a paper bag. Have your child guess what is in the bag. Have them place their hand inside the bag and touch the item/s. Some items you might consider placing in your bag for your “bag guess”: squishy ball, pebbles, popcorn, pinecones, cotton balls, etc.
Is it too cold to go outdoors, or is mobility an issue in the snow? You can bring the snow inside! A bin of snow can provide an afternoon of fun (just restock your bin as it melts!) Use any little scoops or toys that you might use to play in dough, sand, etc. Be mindful of cold fingers, if your child doesn’t like too much cold on their hands, you might consider having them wear gloves when playing.
Who says you can’t play with your food? You can, particularly when it’s for sensory purposes! Chocolate pudding and white paper makes a fun finger painting experience. (And, is tasty too!) Cooked oatmeal provides a mushy, thick texture. Have you ever played with a large bowl of cooked spaghetti? Or squished gelatin through your fingers? Food play can also be “safe” for those who tend to place things in their mouth, as you don’t have to worry about toxicity.
You might want to consider putting together a “tactile box” that can be used for sensory play. In your tactile box, gather items of all different textures. Common household items can be used creatively for this. You can also make a trip to your local dollar store to assemble an inexpensive variety of items. Some suggestions for your tactile box are: bath scrubbies or scratchy bath mitts, tissue paper or crinkly paper, squishy balls, a chip bag, small vibrating toys. The inside of corrugated cardboard (strip one side off) makes a great textured surface for rubbing one’s fingers on, scratching, etc.
Fill some good quality plastic zip bags with different substances of varied squishiness. (Emphasis on “good quality”, and make sure you don’t fill the bags too full, or the bag could burst open!) Have your child squish the bags with their hands and feel the different textures. There are many goop-type recipes that you can find online to make & use, or you can fill the bags with things you already have at home: cooked spaghetti, pudding, relish, hair gel, mashed potatoes, etc. With several bags in front of you, close your eyes, and challenge each other to guess which bag contains which item.
With a little creativity, the possibilities for tactile sensory fun are endless!