Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Sensory Savvy: A New (Sometimes) Series

In an ideal world, our home would be organized enough and our wallets fat enough to create a fabulous home sensory gym for our three children. For regardless of what each of their neurological profiles may be, I am confident that all three of our children would benefit from having such a dedicated space in our home. I can just envision the hours of fun and physical activity that would take place in it.

Then, there is reality.

In the real world, de-cluttering and organization is a work-in-progress here and financial stewardship demands frugality. So, the idea outfitting a large space in our home as sensory gym remains a pleasant dream while we allow (okay, encourage) the kids to jump on the living room couch as needed and appease their cravings for sensory input in other practical, if unconventional, ways.

In other words, we tuck sensory spaces and solutions in as we can, using what we have, where we are at physically and financially in order to provide our children with decent daily doses of focused sensory input.

Today, both to chronicle our efforts in providing economic alternatives to my expensive sensory gym dream and also and to offer concrete, do-able ideas for others who wish to provide sensory experiences for their children despite tight spaces or slim wallets, I have decided to start spotlighting some of our spaces and solutions. My hope is to do so regularly, if a bit sporadically. (Thus the “sometimes” in this post’s title.) 

So, here’s our quick sensory savvy idea for today:

Jump on the Couch (or a cushion, or trampoline, or… use your imagination!)


Whenever alerting or calming is in order and attitudes are focused enough for safe jumping.

Some folks say that strong “heavy work”, such as jumping, can have latent effects for 1 ½ to 2 hours. So, I say, the more crazy (but safe!)  jumping in one spell, the better. It can bring hours of focused peace.


In plain-speak: Jumping is a natural joy of childhood. And, well it should be.

For in sensory savvy lingo: It provides proprioceptive input with a strong dose of vestibular input for good measure.

Like all heavy work, it can act as a great equalizer helping your child become alert as the jolt to the joints gets the messages moving, or it can help your child calm down and feel more organized. It is a great gross motor work out, increasing the heart rate, and, thus, offering a strong cardiovascular work out.

Also, the brain is forced to work bilaterally when a jumper is in the air. Both sides of body and brain must work together to maintain coordination and balance. Plus, jumping can strengthens and lengthens muscles, thus improving flexibility.

Caveat: Remember. I am not an OT, PT or anything of the sort, and have no other knowledge or expertise than that gained as a mom on a mission to help her kids. So, please use your own good judgment and consults with professionals.

Thanks:  Back in October when I asked for reader opinions, five folks took the time to comment.  Although I have taken their comments to heart, trying to focus more of my posts on sharing about faith, special needs/sensory stuff, resources and practicality with joy, I have not yet thanked those readers here on the blog.  So, I am doing so now Heidi, Dandelion Wishes, Mama Pickles, K- floortime lite
and The girl who painted trees. I appreciate your comments and will continue to try to post ideas and activities that you can enjoy and learn from.


Heidi said...

You are very welcome. We have mini tramp in our garage that is for just this purpose! So great to bring inside and burn off even more excess energy in the winter!

Cris said...

As I was reading you post, I was remembering how fun it was to jump and jump when I was a child. I loved it.
Ok, I also love jumping now that I am a grown-up... Last summer, my daughter and I broke a bed doing so, hahahahh!! Fortunately, we could fix it.

Cris said...

Hi Martianne. I wonder if this could be a good idea/solution to have a gym:
Hope it is useful!

Martianne said...

Thank you, Cris! What a great link with a fabulous idea. We actually received a doorway swing for the kids from my folks for Christmas which serves similar purposes, but that one definitely looks cooler. If I ever get my basement and garage cleared out, I will have to consider enlisting help to make similar.

Cris said...

It's good to have a basement and garage. If I had one, I'd also have it full of boxes and boxes of clutter. I hope you can someday find the time/help/inspiration/ to clear it out. Let me know then and make me envious, hahahh!

Thanks for the info about the homemade playdough. Aluminium!!! I didn't know Cream of Tartar contained it. Yuk!! I have to make more playdough again. I'll definitely try this recipe.


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