This April spring has officially sprung. With the arrival of spring comes a feast for the senses: bright bursts of color, the fresh scent of flowers and wet dew on green grass. It is simply invigorating! Along with warmer weather and sunnier days, the month of April is also dedicated to Autism Awareness. The CDC estimates that 1 in 54 children has been identified as being on the autism spectrum. In fact, many ASD therapy programs incorporate sensory play to promote language development, social interaction, motor skills, problem solving and more.
Take a cue from nature and support ASD awareness this month by indulging the entire family with some “sensory activities.” Infants to senior citizens, neurotypical and neurodivergent; it turns out, sensory play is for everyone. Chelsea McNichols, OTR/L, CIMI notes that “individuals across the lifespan benefit from sensory input” and goes on to say that “it looks different at different phases of development.” McNichols explains that we all benefit from activating our senses to stimulate brain function. While babies can enjoy a sensorimotor experience through tummy time, toddlers may get their motors going with an obstacle course. Preschoolers can practice pre-writing skills in flour and elementary age kids can work on sight words with fingerpaint. Even senior citizens can benefit from a sensory activity like yoga. Simply put: activating the senses means boosting brain power!
Plan a trip to Puzzle Pieces to grab some great sensory toys, fidgets and tons of other brain boosters. From squishy water beads, scented kinetic sand, therapy swings (great for kiddos to read chapter books in), weighted blankets, balance toys and so much more – this mom-owned sensory sensation store has everything families need to activate all of their senses. Puzzle Pieces encourages kids to try-it before they buy-it; there are dozens of demo toys laid out for kids to explore. There is also a calming room with bubble tubes and the newest addition is a jungle-themed play room with sand and water play area, rock wall and playhouse – so get ready to play the day away and truly activate little one’s senses at this amazing local business.