Occupational therapists love prescribing sensory activities like sand play and rice play ( I do!!). But it doesn’t always work the way we want it to. Some kids put sand or rice into their mouths. Others like to throw it everywhere. One child I am working with has a repetitive behavior pattern where she picks up things like sand or rice and drops them slowly through her fingers, watching it fall.
Activities with sad or rice can become challenging in this situation, so here’s one idea I started using. Crushed paper balls. Economical, easy to make, and much easier to handle. I get children involved in crushing them, and also playing with them. I put a whole lot of paper balls into a bucket and hide small toys inside for the child to find. Crushed paper balls have a new, and interesting sensation, and different types of paper will give you different effects. Newspaper and tissue will have very different sensations.
Try it out- crush some paper balls, and use them to introduce a new sensory experience to your child.