}

Space Sensory Activities

(This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosure policy.)

Learning about outer space is fascinating for kids (and adults) of all ages. These space sensory activities are a great way to supplement a unit on the solar system or just to inspire individual discovery while engaging all the senses.These space sensory activities are a great way to supplement a unit on the solar system or just to inspire individual discovery while engaging all the senses.

Space Sensory Activities

Weighted Space Sensory Bottle from here on The Chaos and The Clutter

Glow-in-the-Dark Solar System Sensory Bin from here on The Chaos and The Clutter

Space Sensory Bin from Sugar, Spice and Glitter

Solar System Activities for Kids – Hands-on Planet Fun! from The Natural Homeschool

Galaxy Sensory Bag from Views from a Stepstool

Space Playdough Mats over at PreKinders

Space Themed Sensory Tray from Learning and Exploring Through Play

Phases of the Moon Playdough Tray at Living Montessori Now

Galaxy Calm Down Bottle from Preschool Inspirations

These space sensory activities are a great way to supplement a unit on the solar system or just to inspire individual discovery while engaging all the senses.

Outer Space Facts and Fun Activities! from The Natural Homeschool

Outer Space Playdough at I Can Teach My Child

Moon Sand Space Sensory Play Recipe from Little Bins for Little Hands

Outer Space Playdough Invitation from Fantastic Fun and Learning

Galaxy Slime from Two-Daloo

Outer Space Discover Bin from Craftulate

Space Theme Sensory Bin from Pre-K Pages (not pictured)

Our Space Explorer Adventure from The Natural Homeschool

This space light adds a fantastic sensory element to any room and would be perfect for a calm down area or sensory room.


For more hands-on sensory activity ideas, join me for a free 5 part email series Sensory Solutions and Activities and get your Sensory System Behaviours Easy Reference Cards.

Calming Lavender Sensory Activities

(This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosure policy.)

Sensory activities don’t always mean high-energy, fast-faced or messy activities. Some sensory activities help to calm children and bring about peace and calm to their little hearts. Lavender is a calming scent and can provide more grounding to a child who is struggling with anxiety or who is having a hard time self-regulating.In this post, we share some wonderful  Calming Lavender Sensory Activities that are sure to hit the spot!

Calming Lavender Sensory Activities

Calming Lavender Scented Bubble Recipe from here at The Chaos and The Clutter

Calming Lavender Playdough from here at The Chaos and The Clutter (not pictured)

Lavender Scented Beans for Sensory Play from And Next Comes L

Calming Lavender Sensory Bin from here at The Chaos and The Clutter

Natural Lavender Scented Rice from The Imagination Tree

Lavender Scented Slime from And Next Comes L

Natural Lavender Play Dough Recipe from Natural Beach Living

In this post, we share some wonderful  Calming Lavender Sensory Activities that are sure to hit the spot!

More Calming Activities

Lavender Scented Sensory Paint at The Preschool Toolbox

Lavender Soap Foam from And Next Comes L

Calming Lavender Water Bin for Sensory Play from Frogs, Snails and Puppy Dog Tail (not pictured)

Lavender and Glitter Sensory Salt at The Imagination Tree

Lavender Waterbead Sensory Bin from The OT Toolbox (not pictured)

Soothing Lavender Playdough Recipe at B-Inspired Mama (not pictured)

Lavender Epsom Salt Writing Tray from And Next Comes L

Lavender Scented Cloud Dough Recipe from The Imagination Tree

Calming Lavender Bath for Kids at Frogs, Snails and Puppy Dog Tail (not pictured)

If you’re looking for more calming sensory activities, join me for a free 5 part email series Sensory Solutions and Activities and get your Sensory System Behaviours Easy Reference Cards.

Is My Child Having a Sensory Meltdown?

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Maybe you’ve been there. When it comes to sensory meltdowns, I’ve been present for my fair share. I’m taken back to one particular episode my son was having. All the kids and I were at the convenience store waiting in line to pay for our gas fill-up and the Slurpees we had in our hands and he was having what appeared to everyone around us to be a tantrum. He was on the floor of the store, kicking and screaming and I wasn’t sure what to do with the Slurpees we were holding. I knew I had to get him out of that crowded store, but there were people ahead of us and people behind us and then, it happened…

“Isn’t your son too old to be having a tantrum? I never would have let my kids get away with that at his age.”

A lady who was a few people behind us in line piped up loudly to no one in particular. I wished the floor would open beneath me and swallow me up. I wish I could tell you that I turned to her assertively and told her that my ten year old was most certainly not having a tantrum and that his response was neither a reflection on him or on my parenting or that I had calmly handed her a Sensory Meltdown Awareness card, but my response was to turn beet red and stare straight ahead while I prayed for the line to move more quickly. After we paid, I got my son and other kids out of there as fast as I possibly could.

Sensory Meltdowns: Causes, Prevention, Signs, and Strategies. If you're parenting a child who has meltdowns, you have to read this!I wish that back then I had had the language and confidence to be able to turn to that lady and tell her that my son was not having a tantrum. That he was having a neurological response that caused a fight or flight reaction in his brain. That he needed compassion and help instead of judgment and condemnation.

What is a sensory meltdown?

A sensory meltdown is a fight, flight or freeze response to sensory overload. It is often mistaken for a tantrum or misbehaviour.

The main way to be able to tell the difference between a tantrum and a sensory meltdown is that tantrums have a purpose. They are designed to elicit a certain response or outcome.

Sensory meltdowns are a reaction to stimuli or something in the environment and are usually beyond the child’s control. A child will stop a tantrum when they get the desired response or outcome, but a sensory meltdown will not stop just by “giving in” to the child.

Another difference between tantrums and sensory meltdowns is that tantrums are often for attention whereas the last thing a child having a sensory meltdown wants is more attention.

Common causes of sensory meltdowns:

  • sensory overload
  • sensory underload (not really a word!), meaning seeking sensory stimuli
  • being in a new or challenging situation
  • change in routine
  • difficulty with transitions
  • inability to accurately communicate
  • lack of sleep
  • hunger or poor nutrition
  • thirst
  • dysregulation

How to respond to a sensory meltdown:

Control your own response – remember that your child is having a neurological response. You cannot help your child calm down if you are not calm yourself.

Talk as little as possible. Once your child is having a fight, flight, freeze response, their ability to access the part of the brain that processed language is essentially shut down. What works best is to say the say thing repetitively in a very calm, soft voice such as “let’s breathe”.

Remove the child from the environment to a place with very little sensory stimuli.

If possible, provide a sensory area for your child to go to with calming music, a soft or weighted blanket, noise cancelling headphones, chewelry, fidgets, a vibrating palm massager, and low lighting.

Use a calm down kit. Be sure to have practised while your child is calm so that the items and techniques will be familiar.

Help them focus on regulating their breathing. Blowing bubbles, blowing a pinwheel or placing their hand on their stomach to feel it rise and fall are good techniques to try.

What does a sensory meltdown look like?

Each child is different and no two meltdowns will look exactly the same even from the same child. Much of the sensory meltdown is due to a fight, flight or freeze response so that will determine some of what you see. Here are some of the things you might see in a sensory meltdown:

  • running away
  • whining
  • hiding
  • avoiding eye contact
  • curling up in the fetal position
  • covering their eyes or ears
  • screaming
  • crying
  • hitting
  • punching
  • pushing
  • biting
  • spitting
  • yawning
  • shutting down, not speaking, not moving

Preventing sensory meltdowns before they start:

While certainly not all sensory meltdowns can be prevented, there are things you can do to reduce the intensity and frequency of them.

Ensure that your child is always well hydrated by keeping your child’s water bottle filled and reminding them to drink from it often.

Provide healthy snacks often throughout the day.

Be sure that your child is getting sufficient sleep. Being overtired contributes to meltdowns. If they are having a hard time falling asleep or staying asleep, you may want to try these sensory sleep solutions.

Teach your child techniques for calming and for self-regulation. I find that having an anti-anxety kit made specifically for your child and helping them practise with it is very effective for this.

Work on giving them an emotional vocabulary so that they can express their feelings more easily.

Ensure that your child is regularly accessing sensory activities that give them sensory input for all sensory systems. Heavy work activities are especially important.

Carry a small sensory toolkit with you with items such as sensory balls (you can easily make your own) and small fidgets.

Identify and avoid your child’s sensory triggers. As an example, if you know that your child is triggered by loud noises, use noise cancelling headphones for places that might be an issue or avoid times or locations where it may be too noisy or where sudden, loud sounds may occur.

Teach calming breathing techniques.

Use social stories.

Be sure to include some routines each day that your child can count on.

Give lots of lead-up and warning before transition times. Transition times are particularly difficult and are often the source of meltdowns if not properly handled.

These Sensory Meltdown Awareness Cards are perfect for handing out to increase understanding and cut back on judgment in public.

Looking for more help in parenting a child with sensory processing disorder? Join me for a free 5 part email series Sensory Solutions and Activities and get your Sensory System Behaviours Easy Reference Cards.

weighted blanket for sleepSleep Solutions for Children with Sensory Needs

How is behaviour affected by your child's sensory systems?What Does Behaviour Have to do with Sensory Systems?

Sensory Play with Bubbles

(This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosure policy.)

Blowing bubbles is a calming activity for children. As well as being calming, there are many other benefits to blowing bubbles. Sensory play with bubbles can involve all the sensory systems.

Sensory Play with bubbles including ideas for sensory input for vestibular, proprioception, auditory, visual, oral, olfactory, and tactile sensory systems.These suggestions give ideas on how to use bubbles to involve many of your child’s sensory systems:

Visual Sensory System Bubble Play

Make observations together. Ask your child questions such as “do you see the rainbow inside?”, “what colours do you see?”, “which one is the biggest?”, “how many bubbles can you count?”

Blow one bubble and watch together to see where it goes. Track it as it flies through the sky and see where it lands or when it pops.

Vestibular Sensory System Bubble Play

The vestibular system can be engaged through bubble play by running after the bubbles, making giant bubbles with large movements such as large circles and figure 8s. Here’s a recipe for making giant bubbles.

You can create a lot of bubbles at one time for kids to chase by using a bubble machine.

You can also blow bubbles along the ground or point a bubble machine towards the ground and have your child stomp them out.

Oral Sensory System Bubble Play

Make art and stimulate the oral sensory system at the same time by doing bubble painting.

Develop those oral muscles by blowing bubbles using different tools. Experiment with seeing how the impact of blowing softer or harder has on the size of the bubbles.

Practise gaining oral control by trying to stack bubbles on top of each other and create a bubble tower.

Another good way to increase oral sensory input is by using a bubble snake to blow the bubbles through.

Tactile Sensory System Bubble Play

Put the bubble mixture in a large tub and have kids explore with their hands, sponges, kitchen utensils, and scoops.

Catching bubbles is a good tactile sensory play activity.

Blowing bubbles using your own hand as the bubble wand is also great for tactile input. Kids can do this by dipping their hand in the bubble mixture and either blowing through their fist or by making a circle with their thumb and index finger and blowing through that.

Olfactory Sensory System Bubble Play

Use scented bubbles such as these calming lavender scented bubbles to engage the olfactory sensory system. You can purchase scented bubbles or make your own.

Proprioception Sensory System Bubble Play

Blowing bubbles is a good activity for stimulating proprioception. Give your kids different tools for blowing the bubbles with. Some ideas:

  • socks (blow bubbles through the sock)
  • mesh tubing
  • spaghetti strainer
  • wire whisk
  • pipe cleaners bent into different shapes
  • seven straws taped together in a circle
  • hula hoop for giant bubbles
  • fly swatter
  • empty toilet paper or paper towel roll
  • bubble wands
  • drinking straw

Another way to use bubble play for proprioception is to have your child imitate being a bubble themselves. Have them “fill their body up” with air, shape themselves into a bubble, then pretend to float away.

Auditory System Bubble Play

Have your child try popping the bubbles with different techniques such as clapping the bubble between their hands, poking the bubble, stomping on the bubble, or slapping the bubble to see what each sounds like.

If you are looking for other sensory activities for kids, join me for a free 5 part email series Sensory Solutions and Activities and get your Sensory System Behaviours Easy Reference Cards. Calming Lavender Scented Bubble Recipe