OT Classroom Sensory Activities

Your child may have difficulty paying attention in class for a number of reasons. Below are some activities that may help your child.

Sensory Activities

  • Have children take the chairs off tables/place chairs on tables at days end, emphasize quiet movements.
  • Ensure that children have an appropriate size desk that allows their feet to touch the floor and their elbows to rest comfortably on their desk top.
  • Erase the chalkboard/dry erase board.
  • Use manual pencil sharpeners rather than powered sharpeners.
  • Allow children to move in the classroom such as passing out/collecting papers.
  • Have children staple papers onto bulletin boards.
  • Start the class with morning stretch/calisthenics to wake up their bodies.
  • Allow time in between subjects so the children can move around the room/dance to music/complete wall pushes with hands and feet/do push-ups in their chairs.
  • Use heavier/thicker alternatives when cutting other than construction paper such as cardboard, greeting cards, oak tag and paper plates.
  • Allow the children to find alternative positions to assume such as lying on the floor, kneeling, sitting on the floor or sitting on a rocking chair when appropriate.
  • Allow the children to use straws, chew gum within structured rules, use sour/tart hard candy to such on or chewy foods (pretzel rods, fruit roll ups, bagels, apples, granola bars) in their lunches.
  • Use tactile pens/pencils or add grips to their existing ones.
  • Have students help carry heavy objects to the office/classroom.
  • Encourage physical activities such as wheelbarrow races, donkey kicks, hopping races, crab walking and body scooting especially if they cannot go outside for recess.
  • Use natural light as much as possible rather than fluorescent.
  • Allow the child that becomes easily distracted to sit on the front row. They may benefit from being in the corner to become less distracted from other children moving on both sides.
  • Have a quiet area that a child can spend time in when overstressed. Have a tent or blanket hung to decrease visual distractions. Have a bean bag, pillows or cushions to sit on. Have a tape player with ear phones with a variety of calming music they can listen to.
  • Allow the child to make trips outside of the classroom (deliver notes/go to the bathroom) to allow them time to decompress.

If your child’s needs are interrupting their function in school or if you have any questions about sensory activities, please feel free to contact the Occupational Therapy Department at 312.227.6240.