You may have heard of the term Sensory Diet. You might be wondering what this means. What is a Sensory diet? In my post i explain what it is and how to make one at home.

What is a Sensory Diet?

  • An individual plan of activities designed to meet Sensory Needs.
  • A plan tailored to a child that has specific Sensory Needs.
  • A daily list of Sensory Activities for Sensory Input and proprioception.
  • First created by occupational therapists Wilbarger and Wilbarger (1991).
  • Activities that create calm and regulation when heightened.
  • Activities to stimulate in the lethargic.
A picture showing different sensory diet activities

Click here for more details on Sensory Diets.

Who sets the diet?

Occupational Therapists usually devise the Sensory Diet.

The child’s needs are assessed by the Occupational Therapist.

The Occupational Therapist works out activities to calm when over stimulated and create alertness when the child is lethargic.

This assessment is necessary to create an individual Sensory Profile.

The parents can then implement the recommended strategies from the Sensory Profile at home.

How to make a Sensory Diet at home.

I would recommend the help of an Occupational Therapist however it is possible to devise a Sensory Diet yourself , for your child, at home.

I know when E### needs calming. My boy is Sensory Seeking which means he needs a lot of sensory input in the form of movement and sometimes noise.

E### uses his Sensory Diet for calming as he can get hyperactive.

Some children will need the diet for stimulation when they are feeling under whelmed and some children will need a combination of the two.

The times when E### is heightened tend to be when he first gets home from school and then before bedtime.

I have devised a Sensory Diet to provide the sensory input he needs at these times to enable him to calm and settle.

In my post I will talk about Sensory Diets in general and also our own.

What Sensory Items do i need to make the sensory diet ?

The items you need will depend on the child’s needs.

My son is sensory seeking so he needs a range of movement and tactile stimulants to calm him.

Some children need more sensory input than others and some may be hypersensitive to certain sensory inputs so the sensory diet is really individual to what your own child needs.

Below are some ideas for you to work with:

A graphic showing a range of sensory items for your sensory diet
A range of items for your Sensory Diet

Sensory Activities for proprioception

  • Climbing Activities such as climbing nets, rope pulling or building a obstacle course.
  • Heavy lifting or pushing. Click here for Body Sock Moves.
  • Deep pressure massage.
  • Yoga movements.

Sensory Activities for the vestibular system

  • Dance
  • Crawling
  • Bouncing on a trampoline
  • Climbing stairs
  • Rocking in a rocking chair if you have access to one
  • Walking on tiptoes.

Tactile Activities

Image showing sensory tactile items

Auditory Activities

  • Listening to music
  • Banging drumsticks to the beat of the music
  • Story telling
  • Speaking and listening games. My son loves Bop It and Silly Sausage. Both available here:
  • Try improvising a song rhythm together or a beatbox activity. E### loves doing this.

Visual Activities

  • Liquid Motion Toys. Pinterest has a load of amazing ideas for sensory bottles. Click here for more ideas for visual sensory toys.
  • Light up/ glow in the dark toys particularly in a dark room
  • Mirrors
  • Sand egg timers
  • Spinning light up torches
  • Spinning toys

Taste and smell Activities

  • Let your child taste and smell a variety of foods. If they are comfortable with it, you can blindfold them and ask them to guess what the food is. My son often does this activity in his food tech lessons.
  • Make scented play dough. Divide a large batch of play dough into different bowls and add a different flavour to each one such as lemon juice, cinnamon, almond essence, vanilla essence, ginger etc….

I hope the article has helped and you now know what a Sensory diet is and how you can make one for your child at home. Each child has different sensory needs so each sensory profile will be different.

You can enlist the help of an Occupational Therapist.I would also like to refer you to The OT Toolbox.

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