Introducing sensory play

A young child dipping their feet in a water bowl with toys floating in it.

These are challenging times for the parents and carers of children who are deafblind or those with complex disabilities, who are now at home without access to their usual support networks. It’s so important that children are still able to get creative, play and have fun, so we wanted to share some fantastic sensory activities which you can do at home with your children. Here are a short series of films that demonstrate how you can support children at home to keep them happy and stimulated.

Messy Play

Messy play is a brilliant way to encourage children to get creative and play with different materials, such as tissue paper and foam. Painting is a great example of messy play, but some children don’t like to get messy or aren’t able to use a paintbrush. This video shows how, by simply putting paint on paper and covering it with cling film, children can use their hands to play and create a painting.

Signing Songs

Singing songs using sign language is a great way to have fun and build communication into play. It’s a lovely activity for children and their siblings to be able to play together. In this video, you can learn how to sing a song using British Sign Language and how to adapt signing songs depending on the child’s development. The video also gives examples of the many different types of communication which can be used to sign songs, such as signing hand-under-hand.

Sensory Stories

You can adapt any story to become a sensory story – all you need is a little imagination and sourcing the materials to bring the story to life. In this video, you can learn how to make a sensory story using everyday objects such as dolls and shoes. Sensory stories are a fantastic way for children with complex disabilities to play while also developing their communication and learning how to read independently.

Using household items

Being creative with everyday household items can be a fantastic way to engage with children, from the safety and comfort of your own home. In this video you are given ideas and tips on how to utilise different household objects in order to stimulate and entertain children. Ideas include creating tactile bags of items with different textures, using objects to create interesting sounds, and discovering what each child enjoys. 

Den Making

Dens provide children with a space where they are able to impact their own environment and create their own worlds. This video highlights how building dens can be a great way to engage siblings, and they offer ideas on how to create themed and unique constructs, using a cardboard box. Den Making can provide an exciting and engaging event for children and is a lovely activity to do at home.

Hand-under-hand communication

Hand-under-hand communication is a great approach for engaging children with new activities and allowing children to feel safe and supported when playing with unfamiliar objects. The approach can enhance a child’s ability to play independently and develop their communication. This video gives an example of hand under hand communication and offers suggestions on how to have a go with children, using different objects.

During this pandemic, our priority at Sense is to ensure the safety of children and adults with complex disabilities, their families, and of our wonderful staff and volunteers. At the same time, we are determined to continue offering the specialist support people with complex disabilities need, in whatever way we are able.

Find out how you can support our emergency appeal.

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