The following is a list of all the calming and organizing sensory tasks I have come across.  The majority of these task are going to provide the right kind of proprioceptive or vestibular input to help your child feel calmer, attend better, and be happier.

**If you are working with an OT, I would STRONGLY recommend looking over this list with your therapist and planning out what activities to implement and when, which creates a sensory diet.  Not all of these tasks are going to be right for your child so there may be some trial and error.**

I am putting this list together starting with my favorite tasks going down to the tasks I haven’t tried or haven’t heard any feedback from parents on.

  • Lotion Rubs 
  • Joint compressions [Do not attempt without guidance from a trained OT
  • “Squishes” 
    • Use pillows or cushions and give  your child gentle but firm squishes on their legs and arms – you can do gentle input to their torso but be aware of whether or not it’s comfortable for  your child
    • Same idea as above but try using a large exercise or therapy ball
  • Use of Swings
    • Movements back and forth or side to side are best as swinging in a circle can be too stimulating.
    • Hammock or lycra swings also offer deep pressure input, adding to the calming input.
  • Use of vibrating toys or massagers
    • Low level vibration is calming.  Use the massagers on the back, arms, and legs.
    • This is an inexpensive massager:
  • Wilbarger Deep Pressure Brushing Protocol [Do not attempt without guidance from a trained OT]
  • Use of weighted products
    • Weighted blankets –
    • Weighted vests –
  • Use of compression items
    • Compression vest –
    • I have purchased a neoprene waist band that people use for weight lifting and cut it to fit the torso of a small child.
  • Carrying weighted toys
    • Fill a 2 liter soda bottle with water and make a game that includes your child carrying the bottle for extended periods of time (1 minute at a time at least).
    • Use an old laundry detergent bottle filled with water and have your child help water plants outside.  You can screw the cap on and off to help promote fine motor skills.
    • Have your child help bring in groceries – milk jugs, apple juice bottles, bag with large heavy boxes.
  • Pushing and Pulling games        
    • Tug of war can provide some really great proprioceptive input but because that you child
    • doesn’t get over aroused / over stimulated by the excitement that often happens with this game.
    • Try using a therapy ball instead of rope to create a tug of war game.
    • Have your child push a weighted laundry basket or push a sibling/friend that’s sitting in the basket.
  • Jumping Activities
    • Trampoline
    • On an old crib or bed mattress
    • Pogo stick
    • Potato sack races
  • Heavy Work for the jaw
    • CHEWY FOODS – I mean REALLY chew stuff. Unfortunately, most of my ideas aren’t too healthy, but  the snack food seem to be chewier than the good-for-you stuff.
      • Frozen candy bars
      • Stale licorice or other chewy candy like starburst or mambas
      • Whole carrots
      • Beef jerky
      • Granola
      • Dried fruit
      • Fresh or stale bagels
      • Really thick or crunch pretzels
  • Scooter board
  • Therapy ball
    • Give squishes with therapy ball
    • Rolling on stomach on top of ball
    • Bounces up and down while seated on ball
  • Animal walks
    • crab walk
    • leap frog
    •  bear walk
    • army crawl
  • Isometric exercise
    • push hands together
    • pull hands apart
    •  chair push-ups
    • push ups on wall or on the ground
  • Climbing activities in playground or ropes in gym
  • Yardwork
    • Pushing dirt in wheelbarrow
    • Digging in ground / sand with shovel
    • Carrying bags of soil
    • Watering with watering can
  • Household tasks
    • Mopping
    • Vacuuming
    • Washing window or car – have child “buff” as this requires a good amount of forces