Some children need what is called a “sensory diet”. This is a program of structured, sensory activities kids need to do to ensure they are getting the sensations we need to stimulate our senses. Picture the 5 classic senses, sight, touch, smell, taste, and hearing. For those littles who have sensory processing issues, they can struggle with displaying appropriate behavior, staying alert, and staying organized and in control. Providing activities throughout the day can help meet their sensory needs so they will stop seeking to fill those needs which is stealing their attention. Effective sensory diets can be easily incorporated into a child’s routine.
We have a “Sensory Area” in our early learners’ program, The Littles. Each station is designed to promote active learning and allows our Members to work independently or in a small group. This allows children to play with, for example, the water beads in multiple bins and practice fine motor skills by picking them up and placing them in little buckets with plastic grippers or using their hands. This gives them the chance to talk about how it feels, think about how they want to play with the beads and motivate them to explore and discover on their own through hands-on learning opportunities.
These sensory activities help a child feel calm and organized. The benefits of having this kind of play activity is that it gives children a place to be able to touch and play with these learning toys so when they do go out on an errand with a family member, they do not feel an urgency or curiosity to touch and play with things in a store or things they are not supposed to access. Through stations and learning activities, our Mentors teach your child to self-regulate and learn skills such as focusing on tasks, sharing, and taking turns. Our Littles Program offers a variety of activity centers that alternate themes regularly. The activities used in a sensory diet need to be changeable but at the same time they need to provide a consistent kind of input in a different form.
Our Littles Program has a daily schedule that is gone over with each child, so they know what to expect and what is expected of them during their time in our care. To prepare for the activities, Mentors explain the rules of behavior to our members and let them know they will have a certain amount of time for each center. We encourage imagination play and have educational toys that they can enjoy using that they may not have access to at home. You can join us for a virtual tour of our Littles Program by visiting the CCSN YouTube Channel. We’ll give you a behind the scenes look at how we can help your child.