I’ve spent years honing in on what my sensory kids need… it often feels like never-ending process. Which is why I was absolutely thrilled when I uncovered these three amazing sensory diet resources. And the best part? They’re free!
It can be a real struggle to help kids manage tricky sensory-related challenges! Parents find it difficult to weed through all of the information and pull out what will work for their child.
Teachers may struggle with kids who fall out of their chairs, can’t focus, and feed off other students. They may feel compelled to help these students but lack resources, time, or tactics.
Therapists may search for fresh ideas that provide the right kind of sensory input and will be carried over at home and at school, all while fitting into the child’s occupational performance sweet spot.
One of my favorite OTs at the OT Toolbox has pulled together a selection of amazing sensory diet resources into three must-have FREE sensory diet resources! This post contains affiliate links.
Must-Have Sensory Diet Resources
The OT Toolbox has created 3 amazing sensory diet resources that I’m thrilled to share here:
- Outdoor Sensory Diet Cards and Sensory Challenge Cards
- Classroom Sensory Strategy Toolkit
- The Attention and Sensory Connection Workbook (available starting April 7)
- The Sensory Lifestyle Handbook
Outdoor Sensory Diet Cards and Sensory Challenge Cards
Research tells us that outdoor play improves attention and provides an ideal environment for a calm and alert state, perfect for integration of sensory input.
In fact, outdoor play provides input from all the senses, allows for movement in all planes, and provides a variety of strengthening components including eccentric, concentric, and isometric muscle contractions. The outdoors are a vestibular, proprioceptive, tactile, and overall sensory-enriched goldmine!
That’s where the Outdoor Sensory Diet Cards and Sensory Challenge Cards come into play.
Outdoor Sensory Diet Cards and Sensory Challenge Cards are a FREE printable resource that encourages sensory diet strategies in the outdoors. In the printable packet, there are 90 outdoor sensory diet activities, 60 outdoor recess sensory diet activities, 30 blank sensory diet cards, and 6 sensory challenge cards. They can be used based on preference and interest of the child, encouraging motivation and carryover, all while providing much-needed sensory input.
Classroom Sensory Strategy Toolkit
As a caregiver or parent, it is exhausting to see the challenges your child faces, while ticking through the laundry list of strategies and still witnessing the sensory breakdowns. Parents are the advocate for addressing their child’s needs. They are looking for resources to share.
Therapists are challenged to find tactics that will be carried over while meeting functional goals. We strive to create streamlined suggestions that will be used at home and in the midst of a busy classroom.
Often times, teachers are the middleman when it comes to sensory issues. They are dealing with curriculum requirements, little time, and demands of a full classroom. Time, space, and resources are limited in the classroom. Teachers struggle with meeting sensory needs and children who “feed off” other students.
Because of these challenges, the classroom can be a tricky environment for addressing the needs of students, incorporating strategies, and addressing behaviors related to sensory needs. If any of these struggles sound familiar, know that you are not alone!
The Classroom Sensory Strategy Toolkit is a free printable packet of resources and handouts that can be used by teachers, parents, and therapists. Whether you are looking for a handout to explain sensory strategies, or a tool for advocating for your child, the Classroom Sensory Strategy Toolkit has got you covered!
In the Classroom Sensory Strategy Toolkit, you’ll find:
- Fidgeting Tools for the Classroom
- Adapted Seating Strategies for the Classroom
- Self-Regulation in the Classroom
- 105 Calm-down Strategies for the Classroom
- Chewing Tools for Classroom Needs
- 45 Organizing Tools for Classroom Needs
- Indoor Recess Sensory Diet Cards
The Attention and Sensory Connection Workbook
Attention is a big challenge for kids. Distractions occur in the home, community, classroom, and everywhere a child goes! When attention interferes with learning, performance of functional tasks, or creates unsafe situations, it can be a real problem. But did you ever stop to think about how attention is so very related to sensory processing?
Our children with sensory challenges know the struggle of inattention. Parents, teachers, and therapists know that sensory processing challenges interfere with a child’s ability to attend. They may be so focused on a specific sensory input or need that they don’t notice when someone has called their name. Or, they may be so fearful in anticipation of a light touch that they miss what’s happening right in front of them.
As a parent, teacher, or therapist working with these children, we can find it difficult to address the underlying needs so that a child is able to pay attention to their classroom, or to a passing car.
What if we could treat the underlying issues, resulting in increased focus and attention?
That’s where the The Attention and Sensory Connection Workbook can help.
The Attention and Sensory Connection Workbook is a one-stop spot for information on the basics of how attention is related to sensory processing. It provides tips to boost attention through the senses so that kids can learn, focus, and pay attention when they need to. The workbook covers information about how impaired sensory processing relates to attention issues in a variety of ways and provides movement and sensory-motor activities that can help boost attention. There are specific activity ideas and tactics to address attentiveness. You’ll also find workbook pages that can be used to identify underlying sensory-related areas that impact attention and tools for addressing those needs.
The Sensory Lifestyle Handbook
The amazing Colleen Beck at OT Toolbox has written The Sensory Lifestyle Handbook, a strategy guide for sensory processing needs. With valuable insight into the sensory system and the whole child, the book details how sensory diets can be incorporated into a lifestyle of sensory success. The tools in this book provide intervention strategies to support and challenge the sensory systems through meaningful and authentic sensory diet tactics based on the environment, interests, and sensory needs of each individual child.
So often, we hear that sensory recommendations are not carried over into the home or classroom. The tips and tools in The Sensory Lifestyle Handbook uses child-led interests and daily life interactions so kids WANT to participate in sensory diet activities their bodies need…because it’s part of play!
The Sensory Lifestyle Handbook offers sensory diet tactics that can be used to create a lifestyle of sensory success through sensory plans. Tactics based on an individual’s environment, interests, activities, and goals are used to tackle the goal of creating a life of sensory input.
Think of it like this: If you want to build a bookcase, you can’t reach into your toolbox and pull out a hammer without having a plan in mind. You need a strategy to approach your goal of making a bookcase. You need to know all of the tools and materials you’ll need. Following the steps to make the bookcase result in a promising furniture piece that will be used and meshed within your life and living room!
Turning a sensory diet and all of the little components into a successful lifestyle is the same way!
Using the resources in The Sensory Lifestyle Handbook:
- You’ll learn how to use sensory tactics based on the interests and needs of an individual across various environments and roles.
- You’ll understand how to weave sensory breaks into every aspect of a day in ways that are specific to an individual.
- You’ll discover innovative ways to address sensory needs while working on other skill areas like motor planning, fine motor development, or advancement of interpersonal skills.
If you would prefer to purchase an electronic copy for less, please click here!
Welcome to Voices of Special Needs Blog Hop — a monthly gathering of posts from special needs bloggers hosted by The Sensory Spectrum and Mommy Evolution. Click on the links below to read stories from other bloggers about having a special needs kiddo — from Sensory Processing Disorder to ADHD, from Autism to Dyslexia!