I have recently discovered that I have a sensory seeking child. I mean, I've always known that she loves to cuddle, run, spin, jump and dance (constantly). I've always known she's waaaaay more energetic than most kids her age. I've always known that if I put her in water when she's cranky, she transforms into a different person (just like her mama!). I've always known that she will dive right into any messy activity I set up for her. I noticed very early on that as soon as we open a book she has to climb into my lap and be held as I read to her and she has to touch the pictures and turn the pages. I've always known that when we go shopping she wants to touch everything. When we're at home, she loves rough-housing with Daddy and always wants him to toss her in the air. She often pulling at my shirt just for fun and wants to sit in my la as soon as I sit down. She loves bear hugs! Yes, I've always known these things about her personality. What I didn't know, was that all of this combined means that she is a sensory seeker.
What does this all mean? Why am I excited about this discovery? Because....I have realized that when my sweet, adorable, fun-loving 3 year-old becomes an argumentative, aggressive, bratty child who is depleting all my energy, if I engage her in a sensory activity then a calm comes over her, the balance in the universe is restored, birds sing beautiful tunes in my head and I can once again, hear myself think. So...as I gather supplies and introduce her to more sensory activities, I'll be posting them, so if you have a child who is also a sensory seeker you can add these activities to your toolbox and regain your child's sense of inner peace and maintain your sanity! Sensory activities are also good for children who are not sensory seekers, but rather the opposite, and aversions to sensory stimulation. Every day we are exposed to different textures, sounds, sights, and smells. Exposing young children to different sensory experiences can make them more comfortable when faced with different sensory stimulation out in the world.
This realization was sparked by the book Raising Your Spirited Child, but it became clear what a sensory seeker, Taylor is when I read this checklist and read the section on sensory seeking behavior and hyposensitivity to movement. Don't get me wrong, I'm not labeling my child with Sensory Integration Disorder. Her sensory seeking behavior doesn't impair her learning or her daily functioning. This is simply useful for me to see her behavior in this light because it helps me curb her tantrums, give her opportunities to regain her composure and comfort herself.
Taylor loves the sandbox but summer temps can get into the triple digits where we live, so sitting out in the heat watching her play in the sand isn't always ideal. So, the other day I poured some almost empty bags of rice and alphabet pasta into a plastic shoebox. Then I buried some "treasures" for her to find. I buried a pom-pom, a jumbo paperclip, a few large buttons, a safety pin, a crayon, a scrap of ribbon, a plastic ring and an eraser. I then gave her some tongs to use to dig for the treasures and picked them up with.
As you can see, she was enthralled in the activity! I'm keeping the rice tub ready to go in her craft cabinet for easy access.
Do you have a child who is a sensory seeker? One with sensory aversions? What sensory activites do you do with your kids? I'd love to hear them!