Written by: Kathryn Ring, OTR/L & Tiffany Thomsen, OTR/L. Edited by: Tara Ghorbani, OTR/L.
Why are sensory breaks beneficial?
- Increases attention to school-based and everyday activities
- Improves organizational skills and organization of behavior
- Helps with learning comprehension by allowing a child’s neurological system to be at an optimal state for learning
- Allows a child to build a sense of self and body awareness through moving their bodies.
- Improves a child’s motor planning abilities which carryover into learning especially during handwriting
- Promotes a calming response and helps children to remain emotionally regulated
How can I provide sensory breaks throughout the school day?
During the virtual school day, teachers will be providing “brain breaks” and students will be participating in classes such as PE and music that will incorporate movement into your child’s day. However, some children may need additional movement breaks or a sensory diet incorporated into their school day at scheduled intervals in order to remain emotionally regulated and/or be able to focus on learning opportunities. Progressive Pediatric therapist’s can provide individualized sensory break ideas based on your child’s needs. See below for more suggestions:
Movement Sensory Break Ideas:
- Animal walks
- Wheelbarrow walks
- Wall push ups or wall sits
- Stretch break-touch toes and touch sky 10 times
- Head, neck, and shoulder rolls while taking deep breaths
- Push a heavy cardboard box around the room
- Play exercise Simon Says: “Simon says do 10 jumping jacks. Simon says do 5 frog jumps.”
- Have a dance party
- Pillow jumps- spread out pillows and jump as far as you can from pillow to pillow
- Yoga- Cosmic Kids Yoga on Youtube has great yoga videos for kids
- Toss or bounce a ball
- 30 seconds of high knee marching
- Do the Hokey Pokey
Sensory Mouth Tools to Enhance Focus:
- Chew gum, a straw, or twizzlers
- Suck on hard candy, lollipops, or mints
- Eat crunchy foods such as carrots and pretzels
- Drink thick smoothie/milkshake with a straw