I work near a farmer’s market and at the end of the day I walk through the stalls on my way home. It takes all my self-control not to buy out all the colorful produce. Actually I don’t buy everything because I physically can’t carry all the groceries to the bus….But sometimes I come prepared with a big basket on wheels and I go all out!! The rainbow colored array of fruit! The aromatic fresh herbs! The bountiful piles of nuts! All to be had at dirt cheap prices compared to the regular supermarkets. So it’s not long till my basket is filled to the brim with nutritious packed produce that my kids can enjoy… But did you know that there are also plenty of fruity sensory activities to do this summer as well?
Heavy work- bring your kids along for an outing to the local farmer’s market. On your way back let them carry the heavy bags to provide great proprioceptive input for a calming and organizing effect.
Olfactory- play a game of guess the smell. Cover each other’s eyes and hold a fruit or herb by the nose and try to guess what it is. Ask your kid if there is a particular scent they really like. For example, one might like lemon, the other rosemary. Keep a bottle of essential oils of that scent at home- smelling aromas that appeal to us has a calming effect.
Deep Pressure- Make some Orange Juice! Cut the oranges in half and let your child twist and squeeze them for nutritious, aromatic and yummy juice. This is also a great way to work on bilateral integration skills. After the juicing part you can go on to the next deep pressure activity: Pressing orange peels dipped in finger paints on to paper for an unique arts and craft project! Try this with cut up watermelon peels as well.
Jumping- summer is a great time for outdoor activities. You can do lots of movement activities which involve real fruit for a unique twist. Have a relay race. Set up a row of fruit at the finish line. Hold up a card with a color on it – say purple, whoever reaches the purple fruit first (plum) wins! This activity is beneficial for working memory, perceptual and language skills as well.
Oral-tasting the different types of textures of fruit is a great sensory experience. Or you can make home-made fruit popsicles for a calming and invigorating sensory activity.