Research & Inspiration Hub
Building sensory foundations - Touch
Clear a space to make a rolling track. Roll along it one by one. Roll down it in pairs holding each others hands above your heads. Make a rolling track of cushions and pillows. Put different things around the floor for bodies to roll over - bubble wrap, carpet squares, pillow cases filled with beans or little balls, egg boxes, cushions, smooth cool fabric and slightly prickly fabric.
02. Cushions & Pillows
Pillow fights create huge amounts of tactile information and touch sense practice. Child says where on their body they can be thwacked, (unbreakable rule), build a mountain of cushions, climb to the top and roll down
Child lies on the floor, adult rolls a ball up and down their body squashing them a little - following their instructions about how much pressure to give
04. Lycra Tunnel
Child crawls inside and right through. Hide things in the middle for them to go in and find. Put jigsaw pieces at one end and the board at the other - and invite child to crawl through to get each new piece
Building sensory foundations - Proprioception
Sit down back to back.. The aim of the game is to push your partner across the room until they can go no further. Or make a defined space on the floor that you must push each other out of. You can use electrical tape to mark out a box on a smooth floor.
Or use a rug ...
Tug of War - best pulling game ever. Do it sitting down for maximum proprioceptive work. Use a soft scarf or a length of Lycra instead of rope. Adult matches child's strength exactly so they have to work as hard as possible - but they can also succeed
Kick a Feather
Kicking is proprioceptive work for the legs. Good body work, but sometimes not a great idea inside. Give a child a big feather and they can safely kick it anywhere. How far can you kick it? How high? Can you kick it into a bucket? Or so that it lands on a cushion?
Cushions and Pillows
Make a soft pile of cushions and sit in the middle. Take one cushion each, hold it in front of you and use it to try and push the other one over. Anyone can say stop at any point ... adults use only as much force as the child
Building sensory foundations - Vestibular sense
Adult is the bear, on their hands and knees. (No need for role play ... it's all about the movement play.) Child climbs on and the adult gently tries to tip them off - while they try to hang on. (Look after your body adults. Say 'enough' when you need to.)
Body Ball Play
A Body Ball is one of those huge, sit-on balls used in the gym for core strength exercises - only, if possible, you want a really good, soft one (look in the JABADAO shop for the best we can find), don't blow it up fully, so it is very squashy and inviting and much safer ... it doesn't throw you off so easily. Child lies over, or sits on, the body ball in any way they choose. Back, side, tummy, upright … Adult supports them as necessary, a lot or a little. Use the lightest support you can, but make sure they are safe. Child finds what their body loves to do; their choices maybe very revealing about how stable they feel when things get unpredictable.It's the rocking, tipping and tilting, in all the different positions, that makes this great vestibular work
Sit on the floor - adult holds the Little Elastic tightly so child can pull away with all their might. Pair play - one sits inside the Elastic and one outside; or both inside. Children will find games with each other, adult close by to make sure it stays safe. The Elastic prompts the play…
Using a strong blanket, or a sheet, or even a big towel for a little body, child lies on it and adults swing them. Watch, watch, watch their face to see what they like. Make sure they are in charge of the amount of swing. Only they know what feels right for their system. Resist the temptation to think more swing equals more development. Too much vestibular activity can overwhelm and make you feel horrible
Floor Play Foundations
Back Play - Bubble Football
Play with just one child or a whole group. Children lie on the floor with their legs in the air … waiting. One person blows bubbles above their feet. Children reach up their toes to try and pop, or touch, the bubbles. Can be accompanied by gentle music, preferably with no words. Use touchable bubbles and children can 'catch' a bubble on their toes (rather than pop them). Make rest times in-between bouts of play, so bodies sink into the floor. Perhaps encourage big out-breaths and melting into the floor. (Great for supporting alignment of the spine, relaxed muscles tone and ground
Tummy Play - Slide
Everyone lies on a paper plate (or a piece of paper, sock or a table mat etc) on their tummy - on a slippy floor. Can you move across the floor keeping the object glued to your tummy? Set a start and ending place. Race if you fancy. Make it a treasure or toy hunt. Or just let the play evolve prompted by keeping your tummy on the floor. Let children grow the game.
Side Play - Slide
Same as Tummy play slide, only this time you have to keep the whole of your side on the floor - from finger tip to knee. (You’ll need your feet to push you along.)
Make an obstacle for children to crawl under that is so low they have to belly crawl. A Lycra or sheet stretched out and held by others (whose time to go under will come soon, if they want).
Or best of all, the children will create obstacles for the purpose, using whatever is at hand.