Sensory Play Toys

Moon Sand: I use moon sand to help increase sensory play by stimulating the tactile and proprioceptive systems.   For children who have hypersensitive  tactile systems, moon sand is a good practice for messy play.  It allows them to experience messy play without overwhelming their sensory system as it sticks together.   It also helps stimulate their proprioceptive system as they can mold and squeeze the sand into different shapes and creations.  Moon sand will also assist in advancing their creative and fine motor skills.

Floam:  I have found floam to be a great way to advance tactile and proprioceptive processing and increase messy play to the next level.  Floam has a sticky component to it, however the stickiness does not last on the hand. It sticks together creating an easier way for children to tolerate playing with it.  It can be formed into different creations, and will maintain its shape until changed.  Floam can be pulled, squished, rolled, and even formed into letters and shapes for learning. This product also increases creative and fine motor skills.

Gymnic / Movin’ Sit Jr Child’s Inflatable Wedge Chair Cushion: The sit and move wedge is a wonderful tool for kids who have difficulty sitting and attending to tasks and for those kids with low tone to assist with sitting with a neutral pelvis and upright posture.  This air filled wedge gives a child the ability to wiggle on the cushion placed on the floor or a stable chair rather than switching leg positions and getting up and down from the seat.  It supports attention to task by allowing a child to receive the movement their body is looking for without disrupting a group. It is great for schools or at home.  When the wedge is placed with the higher end towards the back of the body it also allows for an upright sitting posture rather than slumping forward in a posterior pelvic tilt.

Homedics Hand Held Mini Massager: Some sensory seeking kids are able to calm and enjoy vibration input into their body.  This hand held massager can be used to add sensory input throughout the day.  I have even found it to help with some children who head bang when it is due to sensory processing deficits.  The vibration gives the child different input that they are seeking, and in turn decreases the amount of input needed from the previous head banging behavior.  If head banging is occurring secondary to behavior  deficits.  The vibration may not help and behavior techniques will work better.

 Weighted Blanket: A weighted blanket has many beneficial uses.  It is often being used to help kids sleep better at night as the extra weight assists in organizing the body so the child and calm and sleep.  It also can be used to assist in regulation for kids with sensory processing disorders.  Throughout the day a child can drag it around or relax with it on their laps.  The weighted blanket will help add proprioceptive input (sensory input into the muscles and joints) and give a child a sense of body organization and calming. The use of a weighted blanket should always be with consultation from an occupational therapist.  It should never be over 10% a child’s body weight plus 1 pound.

Jiggler: The jiggler is  a great tool for children who are seeking out extra oral motor input.  The vibration helps add extra sensory input into the mouth, which assists with regulation as the mouth is one of the most calming areas of the body.  The soft non toxic plastic top is great for chewing on as well.  There are different animal tops to choose from.  When used along with a sensory diet, it can assist with decreasing biting behaviors and mouthing of non food items.  We never want to stop a child from mouthing everything because they are doing it for a reason and need added input into their mouths in order to organize their sensory system.

Vibrating Toothbrush: The vibrating toothbrush is another way to add oral motor input throughout the day.

Play Visions Super Mondo Inside-Out Ball: I have found these sensory balls to be a big hit with the kids I see.  If a child has a hard time with tactile sensory processing, you can flip the ball inside out so it does not have the spikes on it.  Many of my kids have warmed up very quickly to the full spikey tactile experience when starting with enjoying the ball on the smooth ball side.  I have also had great luck and a lot of fun using it with kids with hemiplegia.  When the ball is placed on the child’s non affected hand it forces the child to use their affected hand to remove the ball with a grasp and release and is very motivating for them to play with.