Summer is a feast for the senses! Splashing water as kids yell “cannonball” at the pool, hot food sizzling on the grill, friends laughing together while playing tag in the backyard. The sights and sounds are simply invigorating, but for some individuals, everyday sights and sounds can become a bit overwhelming. 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. Sensory play can help autistics to regulate when they are overwhelmed, but sensory play can also benefit everyone.
Take a cue from summer 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.