The warm sun, the pounding of the ocean waves, the salty air and the warm, grainy sand between your toes….sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? I am SO ready for a vacation from all this snow and I thought that it would be fun to put a little PT twist on a sand sensory bin and activities for our ocean theme.
This activity is great for proprioception, sensory integration, digit isolation in the toes, strengthening of the lower leg and foot muscles and motor control! Do you have a child who walks on his toes? This activity would address a lot of the potential reasons for that toe walking, including sensory processing issues, lack of strength in the muscles that pull the toes up, and proprioception.
WHAT TO DO:
Place a large sheet or towel on the floor to protect from sand overflow! Fill the bin with approximately 3” of sand. Scatter the ocean animals all over the surface of the sand.
While seated in a chair (low enough so kids’ knees and hips can be at 90*), have your sockless child use his feet to gently bury all of the figures.
Give the bin a little shake to mix things up, and now have him use his feet to find them! If you have a larger animal (we had a big whale on hand), try having him bury it with sand.
HOW TO CHANGE IT UP:
-If your child has a hard time tolerating the feel of sand on his bare feet, try water with some seafoam (aka bubbles), some birdseed, or some shaving cream. He may have tactile defensiveness related to sensory processing.
-The deeper the sand, the greater the resistance will be for additional strengthening of those little toes!
-Have your child try to pick up the animals with their toes and place them in a separate container!
-If you don’t have ocean animals, try fish stickers on small, flat rocks, or tape pictures of ocean animals from the internet on the bottom of a clear container and have him find them by moving the sand aside.
-For an added educational component, place all different kinds of animals in the sand. If he finds an animal that is NOT an ocean animal, have him use his toes to place it in a separate container. If he finds an ocean animal, have him leave it on the beach (in the sand)!
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