Have you seen images on Pinterest of fully stocked, gorgeous sensory gyms?
Do you drool when you see pictures of parents that have built climbing walls and monkey bars in their kids’ bedrooms?
This incredible DIY climbing wall from my friend Dyan is all the heart eyes!!! Check out her climbing wall tutorial HERE.
It absolutely essential to be getting good sensory input at home. It’s important to stock our homes so they are a sensory haven for our kids.
But things get sticky when we leave the shelter of our homes and venture out into the world. Our kids still have sensory needs no matter where they are.
How can you help your kids get good sensory input when they’re out and about?
Getting enough sensory input while away from home really begins with a mindset change. The more we understand sensory processing, the more we can see sensory input opportunities in the everyday moments.
Let’s picture a grocery store outing with kids. It’s already a bit like herding kittens, but add sensory needs and it could be a recipe for disaster.
Keep your kids occupied by giving them proprioceptive input through weighted objects. Ask your older child to grab the bag of potatoes and hoist it up into the cart. If your child is younger, place some weighted on their lap, like a cantaloupe. Depending on your child’s self control and steering capabilities, you could even invite them to steer the cart!
Find opportunities to get vestibular movement as well. Do animal walks that don’t require hands on the dirty floor, like bunny hops, penguin waddles, and elephant trunk swings. Try an irresistible activity like “Freeze Dance”. Invite all your kids to show off their best dance moves when the background music plays. But when you shout “Freeze” everyone holds still. Last one to freeze gets a point. Of course, the score doesn’t matter. The point is to have fun, get some sensory input, and survive!
Most of these options require you to slow down a bit, have patience, and be able to not take yourself so seriously. But the weird looks people give you when you dance down the aisle of the grocery store with your toddler are SO MUCH BETTER than the scowls strangers give you when your child has a sensory meltdown.
One of the hardest times to be out of the house with kids is when they have to be seated and wait. Car rides and doctors’ offices can instill fear in even the most veteran of sensory parents.
But there are so many wonderful portable tools to help get sensory input and keep little hands engaged.
The “Write and Chill” weighted lap pad by Laki Kid is like no other weighted lap pad on the market! Weighted objects provide proprioceptive input that helps kids remain calm and regulates their sensory systems for an overall improvement in sensory processing.
But a lot of times, kids won’t sit still long enough for these tools to be effective. That’s why Laki Kid made on that can be written on with water and used over and over again!
The rainbow colors revealed underneath are delightful! I appreciate that the water pen makes this a zero mess activity.
Another weighted option that’s simply adorable is this weighted neck pillow by Laki Kid.
It feels like a comforting hug to have one of these draped over your shoulders. I can attest that when my boys are struggling with seated school work, or getting antsy in a waiting room, these puppies have an immediate calming and focusing effect.
If you have a fidgetor that’s constantly getting into stuff, you’ve got to get one of these marble mazes! There’s a marble sewn into a fabric maze and your child can push and slide the marble along different paths.
Giving your kids a healthy outlet for their wiggles can really help them avoid negative behavior. It’s also fantastic tactile stimulation AND proproceptive work for little hands to squeeze and push the marble along.
I like to get one of these in my purse because you never know when your child will be required to keep their hands to themselves. (Like when the line at the post office is outrageous and your kid just wants to pop all the bubble wrap. Ask me how I know!)
Laki Kid has packaged all these fabulous travel sensory tools together, or you could get them individually. It’s important to have a sensory plan in place for all the times you’re out and about. Have fun!