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As North Texas temperatures go up, more families are finding themselves at home and seeking ways to keep the entire family entertained. This summer, the experts at The Warren Center suggest participating in sensory-friendly play to help children with disabilities reach their full potential. Sensory play consists of any activity that stimulates the five primary senses: sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch, and two other lesser-known senses, vestibular (sense of balance) and proprioceptive (sense of where each body part is concerning the rest of the body). Sensory play helps children learn about their bodies, build language skills, develop social skills and increases motor skills.  

"The more kids use their senses, the more they develop along with their ability to use them," said Amy Spawn, CEO of The Warren Center. "You can easily incorporate sensory learning into everyday activities by asking your child questions about how they are feeling and what they are hearing. These questions will help increase their vocabulary."

Experts from The Warren Center recommend these simple ways to incorporate sensory play at home.

Arts & crafts

Arts and crafts are a great way to promote tactile exploration and fine motor skills. For children with visual impairments, art projects offer the opportunity to explore different types of materials. Consider adding sand to finger paint to create texture, or swap out regular craft paper for paper towels, cardboard, popsicle sticks, or other materials around your house to create art pieces with unique textures. Many art supplies are fun on their own, like playdoh, clay, or slime. Children must explore these materials at their own pace. Do not force them to touch things or to put their hands in wet or sticky substances.

Get outdoors

Children who are hard of hearing or have physical limitations may also have balance problems. Extra encouragement and support will help them improve their balance, strength and body awareness. Playing hopscotch, jumping on a trampoline, riding a bike, trike or scooter requires a child to make frequent changes to their posture to maintain balance.

Create an indoor relay race

Children with sensory processing issues often don't know where they are in time and space. It's why they might move a lot, swing, or bump into things - they're trying to find their grounding. Heavy work activities will give them that grounding and increase body awareness. An easy activity to do at home - find a laundry basket and fill it with different things like blocks, stuffed animals, puzzle pieces and have your child push the basket across the room- until they get it to the other side. 

Create your own water table or treasure hunt

Another fun summer activity that will help with sensory processing and keep you cool is playing with water. Just fill up a bucket and have your child scoop toys out of it. You can also create your own treasure hunt by filling a box with sand, rice or beans and have your child dig up toys. 

For more information about The Warren Center's resources available to assist families with developmental delays and disabilities, visit

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