Simple kid’s activity with sensory benefits
In honor of National Occupational Therapy Month, Occupational Therapy Assistant Ashley Beekman is sharing about one of her favorite sensory activities: water beads hide and seek.
If you haven’t heard of waters beads before, you’re missing out. They’re perfect for sensory play! Water beads are smooth, squishy, and cool to the touch. You’ll likely find yourself dipping your hand in to play alongside your child because people of all ages love how they look and feel. Although, you might want to hold off on doing this activity if your child is still in the “stick everything in my mouth” stage.
Here’s what you need:
- Water beads (We found ours on Amazon here!)
- 20 colored plastic beads
- A plastic tub
Making the beads grow just requires water and time! Pour a tablespoon or two into the bottom of your plastic tub and 10-20 cups of water. It’ll take several hours for the beads to absorb the water and expand to their full size, so if you have an impatient child, you might consider adding water to the tub the night before.
Once the beads expand, add your 20 colored plastic beads (the more similar they are in size and color, the better) to the water beads. Then, challenge your child to find the plastic beads amongst the water beads, but only let them use their index finger and thumb to really work on that fine motor coordination! You can also encourage them to put their listening ears on to listen for beads making noises in the tub while they search.
Curious about what sensory benefits this activity works on?
- Tactile processing: The unique texture of the water beads helps your child familiarize with a different texture while decreasing sensitivity to this new feeling.
- Visual perceptual skills: When your child scans the tub for the plastic beads, they’re working to perceive different visual stimuli which improves their visual perceptual skills.
- Fine motor coordination: When your child uses their index finger and their thumb to pull out the beads, they’re working on their fine motor coordination.
If your child bores with the bead hide and seek, you can also have them sort the water beads by color into different glass jars. This small twist helps with color coordination and fine motor skills.
Want to learn more about how sensory preference might be impacting your child and how occupational therapy at Kinetic Edge can help? Then check out this article by Occupational Therapist Elise Spronk.
Occupational therapy and pediatric services are available in our Pella and Oskaloosa clinics.