So this week we had an “extended weekend” aka the kids are off from this past thursday to monday. Which means mommy has had to come up with some ways to do OT activities at home. This can be hard sometimes but over the years I have gotten pretty good at improvising with products around that house as well as things we have purchased in the past. Here’s a list of a few we did together.
The first route you can take is buying actual OT items and using them. Usually for Christmas and birthdays we will buy or family will buy at least one or two therapy items if not more so these aren’t things we buy on a whim.
- We have a weighted vest from “Fun and Function” and while they have a great site with tons of items, I am a amazon shop-a-holic and found it on there for a tad cheaper, plus you can’t beat 2 day free shipping if you have prime. They are fairly simple to use and can be purchased by weight depending on the weight of your child. They wrap around the body not only providing a “hug” feeling, but the weight added aids in providing deep pressure. Click the image below for more info on that.
- The next item you can try are body socks. Again I got mine off of amazon and they will remind you of a huge book sock that kids use to cover their books. The child steps in and receives pressure sensory input by pushing against the resistance of the fabric. Even if the size that comes is a little big, which ours was, you can still have fun going inside and holding one end as they lean into the fabric. Again click on the image for more info on how to purchase.
- Another Item you can use for OT at home is theraputty, a cheaper version of this would be playdough but for kids that may need varying resistance levels to strengthen there hand muscles or other various reasons, this is what most therapists use/suggest.
&& finally other item i’ve purchased to use at home is are sensory brushes. They are basically very soft bristle brushes that you rub on their arms, legs, face etc and provide a soft massage. Don’t ask me the logistics of how they work as I have no idea, i just know especially during bath or bed time, they are super relaxing.
Next are your more unconventional items that I have tried and really do work as weird as some may sound.
- First is a “dino dig”. This is a great activity for any child but the work aspect plus the different textures are great for sensory seekers. The tools (which you can use common gardening tools) help with find motor skills and they really enjoy finding different things as they continue to search through the dirt.
- Second is vacuum suction…yes you read that right. Once they get used to the sound of the vacuum, or if you’re like me and have a quieter vacuum, using the hose attachment to suction on there belly or even face provides great pressure input for them and also tickles. A video example of Bella doing this can be found on on her facebook page here —-> Vacuum play
- Lastly, we have the simplest, which is deep pressure using couch cushions or pillows. Simply have your child lay down on the floor or couch, and take a soft object like a cushion or pillow and press down on there torso. This provides a broader range of pressure input and has a calming effect.
These are just a few ideas and obviously if you have a child who avoids sensory activity some may not work for you. If you have any questions about additional ideas feel free to comment as there are more I haven’t mentioned.