120 Sensory Break Ideas for Kids

sensory break

A sensory break is a short break that helps to refresh and refocus the senses. They can be helpful for kids (and even adults!) who are feeling overwhelmed, overstimulated, or just simply antsy.

There are many different ways to give a sensory break, and what works best will vary from child to child. The important thing is to find something that can help calm and focus the child. You may want to see if the child is a sensory seeker or a sensory sensitive first.

120 Sensory Break Ideas

120 ideas for sensory breaks:

  1. Get up and stretch: Stretching can help to loosen up the body and refresh the mind.
  2. Move around: A great way to start a sensory break is to get up and move. Dance, jump, or run in place.
  3. Exercise your hands and fingers. Rub them together, wiggle them, make fists and then open them up again.
  4. Blow some bubbles
  5. Play with a fidget toy
  6. Draw or doodle
  7. Make Sensory Paths for kids to enjoy at any time
  8. Eat a healthy snack
  9. Listen to calming music
  10. Spend some time with a pet
  11. Sensory play activities
  12. Do some breathing exercises
  13. Play with kinetic sand
  14. Play with cold or warm water (both have different effects on people)
  15. Take a walk
  16. Make some noise! Drum on a table, clap your hands, or sing a song
  17. Play with a calm down jar
  18. Play with playdough
  19. Make a sensory bin
  20. Use a stress ball
  21. Tuck in for a nap (if possible)
  22. Read a book or poems
  23. Give the child a weighted blanket
  24. Have a yoga session
  25. Use aromatherapy
  26. Do some meditation sessions
  27. Do some guided imagery
  28. Scarf Swirl
  29. Play with kinetic beads
  30. Make a vision board
  31. Play with a calm down bottle
  32. Bubble wrap popping
  33. Play with sensory bags
  34. Touch a soft/rough object
  35. Smell different scents
  36. Taste various flavors
  37. Watch something calming
  38. Do some carpet time
  39. Walk barefoot
  40. Play in the snow or with ice cubes
  41. Make a puzzle
  42. Use noise-canceling headphones
  43. Play with slime
  44. Do some finger painting
  45. Create a calm down corner
  46. Make arts and crafts
  47. Play in ball pit
  48. Texture Hunt
  49. Play with googly eyes
  50. Play with pompoms
  51. Make a collage
  52. Play with marbles
  53. Build a tower out of blocks
  54. Connect the Dots
  55. Trace a picture – FREE PRINTABLE
  56. Make a paper chain
  57. Sort by color
  58. Sort by shape
  59. Play with magnets
  60. Play catch
  61. Scavenger Hunt
  62. Play hopscotch
  63. Make a maze
  64. Solve a puzzle
  65. Play with stickers
  66. Draw with chalk
  67. Stringing beads
  68. Drinking with a straw
  69. Eat a crunchy snack
  70. Obstacle course
  71. Roll on a yoga ball
  72. Use a balance beam or stepping rocks
  73. Jump on a trampoline
  74. Swing around
  75. Play with sand
  76. Play with Oobleck
  77. Use a Bilibo seat
  78. Make a tent
  79. Play with water beads
  80. Use glow sticks
  81. Fly a kite
  82. Blow up a balloon
  83. Make a snowman
  84. Do the Bear Walk
  85. Play in the rain
  86. Use a tool like a scooter board for movement
  87. Rock in a rocking chair or rock horse
  88. Spin on a chair with wheels or on a spinner
  89. Listen to music
  90. Let the child play with a Body Sock
  91. Use a Crash Pad
  92. Snuggle with pillows and plush animals
  93. Jump rope
  94. Pour rice, beans, or water
  95. Water timers
  96. Hang upside down
  97. Chew toys
  98. Do the Blanket Burrito
  99. Let them play on a bouncy castle or mat
  100. Do the Crab Walk
  101. Do some Frog Hops
  102. Expel that energy on a punching bag
  103. Use sensory lights
  104. Do wall or chair pushes
  105. Count Beads
  106. Resistance bands stretching
  107. Lift light weights
  108. Toss a weighted ball
  109. Play with a yo-yo
  110. Use a muscle roller
  111. Play with squishy bags
  112. Crawl in tunnels
  113. Make a break box, filled with surprises
  114. Play the game “Heads up, Seven up”
  115. Hand out iSpy activity sheets
  116. Play Simon Says
  117. Play Pull on a blanket
  118. Sing “Head Shoulders Knees and Toes”
  119. Play Bean Bag games
  120. Play with sensory bags

As you can see, the ideas for sensory breaks are endless! Just find something that will work best for your child and help them to focus and calm down.

Why are sensory breaks important?

If kids have trouble focusing in school or at home, it may be due to sensory overload. Too much stimulation can be overwhelming and leave the child feeling antsy, frustrated, and overwhelmed. A sensory break is a way to escape that stimulation and relax the mind and body. It gives the child a chance to regroup and focus on something calming. Many times, just a few minutes of sensory stimulation can help the child refocus and continue on with their day.

When should we do sensory breaks?

There is no wrong time for a sensory break! If the child feels overwhelmed or antsy, a break may be in order. It’s also a good idea to take breaks throughout the day, especially if the child has been sitting for a long time or has a lot of energy. Some schools are now incorporating sensory breaks into their everyday schedule, as they have been found to help kids focus and learn.

How long should a sensory break be?

A sensory break should be short, usually around 5-10 minutes. You may need to experiment to find what works best for your child.

If your child is feeling overwhelmed or overstimulated, a shorter break may be all they need. If your child is antsy or fidgety, a longer break may be needed. Whatever you do, make sure to avoid letting the break turn into a distraction. It’s important to keep the focus on calming and focusing the child

Is a sensory reset the same as a sensory break?

Again, there is no one answer to this question. Some children who are sensory A sensory reset is a longer break that helps to completely reset the senses. As you can see, this can be helpful for kids who are feeling overwhelmed or overstimulated. The reset can last anywhere from 15-30 minutes, depending on the child’s needs.

What is a visual sensory break schedule?

A visual sensory break schedule is a plan that uses pictures or icons to represent when and how often a child should take sensory breaks. This can be helpful for parents and teachers in ensuring that the child gets the breaks they need. The schedule will vary depending on the child’s needs, but typically breaks should be given every 2-3 hours.

Please note: that this is not intended to be medical advice. If you have any concerns about your child’s development, please consult with a doctor or occupational therapist.

Other sensory activities they may enjoy:

Easy Sensory Activities for Kids
20 Self-Regulating Activities for Kids
How to make a sensory room

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