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Sensory-Friendly Summer Activities for your Neurodiverse Child

Summer offers numerous opportunities for fun, but for children with neurodiversity, sensory sensitivities can make some activities overwhelming. Finding the right balance between fun and comfort is crucial. This post will suggest a variety of sensory-friendly activities that can be enjoyed without causing distress, ensuring a fun and inclusive summer experience for your child.

Outdoor Activities

  • Nature Walks: Gentle nature walks can be a calming and sensory-rich experience. The sights, sounds, and smells of nature can provide a soothing environment. Explore local parks, gardens, or nature trails. Bring along a magnifying glass or binoculars to enhance the experience and keep your child engaged.
  • Water Play: Many children find water play to be soothing and enjoyable. Set up a small pool, sprinkler, or water table in your backyard. If possible, visit a local pool during less crowded times. The repetitive nature of playing with water can be very calming.
  • Gardening: Gardening can be a therapeutic activity that engages multiple senses. Planting flowers, vegetables, or herbs allows children to experience different textures, smells, and visuals. It also provides a sense of accomplishment as they watch their plants grow.
  • Picnics: Organize a picnic in a quiet park. Bring along sensory-friendly foods that your child enjoys. Being outdoors in a controlled, peaceful environment can be very relaxing.

Indoor Activities

  • Sensory Bins: Sensory bins filled with materials like rice, beans, sand, or water beads can provide hours of tactile exploration. You can also include small toys or objects to dig for, which can add an element of surprise and discovery.
  • Art Projects: Art projects using various textures like clay, fabric, or sandpaper can be both fun and therapeutic. Try finger painting, sculpting with playdough, or creating collages with different materials. Allow your child to express themselves freely and enjoy the process.
  • Sensory Rooms: If you have space, consider setting up a sensory room or corner in your home. Include items like soft lighting, calming music, bean bags, and tactile toys. This can be a dedicated space for your child to retreat to when they need a sensory break.
  • Cooking and Baking: Engage your child in simple cooking or baking activities. The process of measuring, mixing, and tasting can be very sensory-rich and enjoyable. Choose recipes that match your child’s sensory preferences and dietary needs.

Community Resources

  • Sensory-Friendly Events: Many communities offer sensory-friendly movie screenings, theater performances, and other events. These events are designed with lower lighting, reduced sound levels, and relaxed seating arrangements. Check local listings and plan ahead to attend these inclusive events.
  • Libraries and Museums: Some libraries and museums have sensory-friendly hours or programs specifically designed for children with neurodiversity. These programs often include reduced noise levels, quiet areas, and hands-on activities. Visiting during these times can provide a more comfortable experience for your child.
  • Local Support Groups: Connect with local support groups or organizations that offer activities and events for children with neurodiversity. These groups can provide a sense of community and offer valuable resources and recommendations for sensory-friendly activities.

Sensory-friendly activities can make summer enjoyable for children with neurodiversity. By tailoring activities to your child’s specific sensory needs and preferences, you can ensure a fun and stress-free summer. Remember to be flexible and patient, and let your child’s comfort guide your choices.

Learning Evaluation Center

The LEC opened in 2016 to provide high-quality, multidisciplinary evaluations for children ages 4 through 21 living in the greater Denver community.

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