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Sensory Circuits for indoors and outdoors

Photo by MI PHAM on Unsplash

Another great resource we use at Riverview Junior School is – Sensory Circuits. We use them for children who need help to focus and concentrate in lessons. We also think that, during these unprecedented times, maybe ALL of our children could benefit from a good 10 – 15 minute session of activities designed specifically to improve efficient brain processing.

We asked Mrs Satchell (who has been trained and has run the sessions for five years at Riverview Junior School) and Mrs Jadoo for their top tips on making sure that when the children sit down to do some literacy, reading or maths, they manage to do their very best.

What are sensory circuits?

First of all, they are fun. Think along the lines of a fun obstacle course. A range of specific exercises to get them started in the morning which requires children to use their sensory-motor skills. The exercises can be clubbed together under three categories Alerting activities, Organising activities and Calming activities.

Although the sessions run mainly in the mornings, recently Riverview Junior School has set up a sensory trail that children can use throughout the day when they are feeling fidgety, distressed or confused (see image above). Teachers and teaching assistants have been making great use of this resource and have noticed the excellent change in children after use.

For the majority of the exercises below, you do not need any specific equipment. For those that do require something, you can normally find something in the home that will do, for instance, a pair of socks, a bean bag or a ball.

Sensory Circuit activities

Recreate this using post its or counters

All of the following activities can be done both indoors or outdoors. Each exercise should be done for at least 45 seconds and repeated 2 or 3 times every day.

There are many activities to choose from. Mrs Satchell shares a few of our children’s popular requests and you can find links at the bottom of the post for more. Choose any 3 of the following to start your sensory circuit. Followed by 3 from the Organising activities and finish with a further 3 from the Calming activities section.

Alerting activities

Exercises found in our sensory trail corridor

Alerting Activities are great to use with quieter children who don’t really like a lot of running around. They are also perfect to use after sitting a long time to stimulate the brain. It is essential to follow Alerting activities with some Calming activities before asking your child to sit down and concentrate again.

  • Balancing something on your head and walking in a straight line
  • Simon says (if you have more than 1 child)
  • Set up an obstacle course
  • Gym ball – sit on it, bounce on it even belly roll on it
  • Skipping, hopping, leapfrog

Organising activities

  • Star jumps
  • Head, shoulders, knees and toes
  • Hopscotch
  • running/jogging or marching on the spot
  • Jumping on a trampoline

Calming activities

  • Wall pushes
  • Chair pushes
  • log rolls
  • pencil rolls
  • Planks
  • Tall tree stretches

The images in this blog post are of our sensory circuit at school and may inspire you to come up with other activities to introduce should you need. We have also included a few yoga poses which have been very successful with the children.

Calming, Alerting and Organising activities for children

100 sensory activities

Example of a sensory motor circuit

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