Fun Indoor Sensory Activities

Part 6 of 9: Let the games begin!

Put on your game face
Have fun, be silly, expend excess energy in a positive way. Also improve gross motor skills and hand-eye coordination – A win-win situation! Here are some ideas for fun at-home games. You can make them no-winners so you have no tears; it’s all about playing the game, not keeping score.

Who says you can’t play tennis inside without breaking anything?
With a paper plate tennis racket and a ballon ball, she’s not likely to cause any harm in the house. If you prefer, use a lightweight toy tennis racket instead of a paper plate.

Check out
Http://loveyvery.com/a/blog/diy-balloon-tennis/ for details about playing indoor balloon tennis, keep-it-up, and monkey in the middle. (Tip: use duct tape or packing tape to attach the sticks to the paper plate rackets.)

Variation:
He can also bat the ballon around with the cardboard cylinder from a roll of wrapping paper or aluminum foil, or a plastic bat.

Once you’ve tried these out, why don’t you and your child make up your own game!

Bonus fun:
Set the mood for silly – have your child use markers to give the balloon a funny face before she starts whacking it .

A balancing act
See how far your child can walk with a bag of rice or a bean bag balanced on his head.

What happens when he does this while also holding a spoon with a ping pong ball on it? If he walks backwards? sideways? on a bed?

Make up your own variations. He’ll love the goofy challenges and you’ll enjoy watching him have fun while his vestibular function (balance) and proprioception (sense of muscle and joint movements) improve.

It’s a toss-up – a beanbag toss-up
Hand over some beanbags for your child to toss into a bucket or shoebox from near or far, depending on her level of coordination and skill.

Variation:
Place the buckets one to the left and one to the right and have your child use the same hand for a pre-set number of tosses in a row, then switch hands (for example, 5 tosses in a row using the left hand into the left bucket, then 5 tosses using the right hand into the right bucket. Or he can alternate hands for each toss.

Old faithfuls: traditional playground fames make great breaks
Here are a few suggestions:

  • The Hokey Pokey
  • Going to Kentucky
  • Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed
  • London Bridge is Falling Down
  • Follow the Leader
  • Freeze
  • Red Light Green Light
  • Ring Around a Rosie Variation: After you play “Ring Around a Rosie” the original way, do something different for each round – for example, you can try singing the song very fast and moving very fast; very slowly; very loudly; very quietly; walking backwards (but probably not singing backwards!); jumping; tiptoeing; etc.

How about a round of applause for clapping games?
Check out https://icebreakerideas.com/hand-clapping-games/ for words, instructions, and videos for these 15 classic hand-clapping games:

  • Patty Cake Song
  • Double, Double
  • Miss Marry Mack
  • Miss Suzie (had a steamboat)
  • Long Legged Sailor
  • A Sailor Went to Sea
  • Lemonade Crunchy Ice
  • Charlie Brown
  • Apples on a Stick
  • Down, Down, Baby (Roller Coaster)
  • ABC
  • Nobody Likes Me

You probably (at least partially) remember some of these from your own childhood!

More oldies but goodies
Some of these games work better if there are more people playing (enlist other family members?), and some can be adapted for two people taking turns:

  • Musical chairs
  • Twister
  • Hide and seek
  • Simon says
  • Hot potato
    Variation: Start out by sitting or standing very close together so you’re handing the ‘hot potato’ to each other. With each round, move a little farther away from each other. After a few rounds you’ll need to toss the ‘potato’ and catch it, which is exciting *and* extra-helpful for working on hand-eye coordination.

Games you probably never heard of
Sometimes you’re all in the mood to play something different – here are a few less-familiar games to try out:

More for your gaming repertoire
Here are a few more kid-pleasers.

  • Parachute
    You and your child(ren) hold the corners of an unfolded bedsheet and bounce an inflatable ball or stuffed toy on top of it. You’ll need to work well together to keep it from falling off..
  • The floor is lava The floor is lava (also known as hot lava) is a game in which players pretend that the floor or ground is made of lava (or any other lethal substance, such as acid or quicksand). Players must avoid touching the ground, as touching the ground would “kill” them. The aim is to get safely across the room, or to various specified places, using the furniture or any other surface rather than the floor.

Notes/Variations
– If the dying-in-hot-lava premise would be disturbing to your child, the floor can be the ocean and the players must avoid touching it so they don’t fall in (Tip: for extra giggles, grab a spray bottle or plant mister and lightly mist anyone who “falls in”) – If your furniture is too widely spaced for your child to navigate without “falling in” to the lava or water, you can put a few hand or bath towel “islands” on the floor – Instead of executing separate challenges, you can play rounds where the players must remain in motion, constantly moving from one “safe” place to another

Flashlight tag
You’re it! Who’s up for vigorous game of flashlight tag? Lie on your backs in a darkened room and move your lights quickly around on the ceiling and walls, chasing each other’s beams.

Looking ahead:
In the next post, we will discuss calming sensory activities and reasoning games.

What are your family’s favorite games? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below. Also, let me know there or via email what topics you would like to discuss or hear more about.

Feel free to share or quote from this blog (with attribution, please, and if possible, a link), and to repost on social media.

I look forward to hearing from you!

All the best,
Miriam