Sensory Strategies
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Increasing Level of Alertness    Calming activities

Activities to Increase Level of Alertness

Carrying heavy objects (gallon jugs filled with sand, backpacks, heavy box, books to library)

Crawling/Climbing:  playground equipment provides a variety of climbing challenges

Moving chairs from on top of table to floor

Pushing heavy objects

Drawing in clay

Jumping on floor or trampoline, jumping rope, jumping jacks


Wheelbarrow walking

Pushing wall/chair push-ups


Monkey bars, teeter totter, walking uphill

Push/pull toys and games:  loaded boxes, wagons, wheelbarrows, furniture, vacuum, push broom.

Animal walks:  crabwalk, frog hop, duck walk, bear walk, monkey walk, seal walk

Putting something in mouth e.g. strongly flavored hard candy, chewy candy (starburst, hot tamales, Mike and Ike) or gum

Crunchy  foods e.g. pretzels, 

Listening to up-beat music

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Calming Activities

Keeping lights low and sitting “snuggled” in a small space.

Scents such as lavender and vanilla may be calming. 

Use oral input: sweet tastes/sucking are relaxing. 

Drinking water out of a straw (sports bottle)

Listen to slow, rhythmical music.

Wrap child snugly in blanket or towel. (do not place over child’s head)

Make a “quiet corner.” Have a tent with a beanbag chair and blanket inside. Use only for quiet things such as reading, or getting composure when upset.

Make a “pizza” on your child. Knead the “dough” with deep pressure massaging on arms, legs and back. Firmly press on pepperoni, sauce, cheese or whatever else child wants.

 Make a “sandwich” by placing child’s body (not head) between two pillows and giving deep pressure. Take care not to press too hard and hurt child. Always respect child’s cues.

Rock child slowly in a hammock. Place a blanket on them if they wish. Play relaxing music and dim lights.

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