October is Sensory Processing Awareness Month and it's the perfect time to share this Dinosaur Proprioception Activity with you. Kids with sensory integration needs are those kiddos who are bumping into everything and everyone. The little ones who fall out of their chairs, press too hard on their pencils, are clumsy, fidget, or seek extra movements. They might flap their hands or slap their feet when they walk. The thing about kids is that every one is different and every one will have different needs, interests, and abilities. This Dinosaur Sized Feelings sensory movement activity is perfect for kids seeking sensory input and kids who just need to move!
Now, it's important for me to note, that when I say Dinosaur-Sized feelings in this post, I'm talking about the child's feeling of hyposensitivity to their environment. They are seeking out extra stimulation from people, walls, cushions...anything really and are feeling a big need to improve their central nueral system functioning in order to complete tasks and function.
(Read more about the Central Nervous System below!)
What I'm not talking about in this post is the emotional side of feelings. There has been at least one study (not an affiliate link) done that attempts to determine whether emotional feelings can be influenced by proprioceptive input. I'm not talking about the big emotional feels we all have. In this activity, I'm focusing on the big feelings of sensory needs kids might have, and how to stomp those sensory needs out with proprioception.
What is Sensory Integration?
Typically, our Central Nervous System integrates sensory input from the environment in a balanced process that screens out certain information and acts on important information, at an automatic level...one that we are not cognitively aware of. For kiddos with atypical sensory integration, the central nervous system has difficulty screening out unimportant information from our environment. For those children, interaction with their surroundings can be stressful as they are either over responsive or under-responsive to normal stimulus. This results in dysfunctional behavior and social difficulties.
I shared a post in the past about proprioception and hand writing with too much pressure. In that post, I told you how the proprioceptive system receives input from the muscles and joints about body position, weight, pressure, stretch, movement and changes in position in space. Our bodies are able to grade and coordinate movements based on the way muscles move, stretch, and contract. Proprioception allows us to apply more or less pressure and force in a task. Instinctively, we know that lifting a feather requires very little pressure and effort, while moving a large backpack requires more work. We are able to coordinate our movements effectively to manage our day's activities with the proprioceptive system. The brain also must coordinate input about gravity, movement, and balance involving the vestibular system.
(This post does contain affiliate links.)
Functional Difficulties of Dinosaur-sized Proprioception Feelings
Kids who are showing signs of proprioceptive dysfunciton might do some of these things:
- Appear clumsy
- Fidget when asked to sit quietly.
- Show an increased activity level or arousal level.
- Seek intense proprioceptive input by "crashing and bashing" into anything.
- Slap their feet when walking.
- Flap hands.
- Use too much or too little force on pencils, scissors, objects, and people.
- "No fear" when jumping or walking down stairs.
- Or, are overly fearful of walking down steps/jumping.
- Look at their body parts (hands/feet) when completing simple tasks.
- Sit down too hard or miss chairs when sitting.
- Fall out of their seat.
- Fluctuates between over-reacting and under-reacting in response to stimulation.
- Constantly on the move.
- Slow to get moving and then fatigue easily.
Dinosaur Themed Proprioception Activities
This activity is easy. There is not much to it really, other than being a dinosaur themed way to calm and organize those big dinosaur feelings. The proprioceptive activities that I'm sharing with you are suggestions for heavy work for the hyposensitive kiddos. I wanted to share activities that might peek the interest of your child with a dinosaur theme. It's my hope that these work for you and your family! If you are looking for more dinosaur themed movement activities, check out this past post, based on the book, Dinosaurumpus.
Please note (as with any activity that you find on this website): This is meant to be a resource and not Occupational Therapy treatment. Please seek individualized evaluation and treatment strategies for your child. All kids are so different in their sensory needs and abilities and adverse reactions can occur with globalized treatments.
Big dino-sized feelings can happen in a little body!
Simply print out the free printable, cut out the cards, and pretend to play, walk, and eat like a dinosaur! We did use our Mini Dinosaurs as we practiced all of the Dino Moves in these activities. Use them in a scavenger hunt. Your child needs to find hidden dinosaurs and once they bring them back to you, do a proprioception activity from the handout. Another idea is to do the heavy wok activities before a fine motor task like handwriting to calm and organize the body.
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Looking for more Dinosaur activities? Try these:
FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Dinosaur Matching Puzzles Free Printable // Powerful Mothering
Dinosaur Playdough Kit // Mama. Papa. Bubba.
Dinosaur Counting Cards // The Kindergarten Connection
Dinosaur Matching // Coffee Cups and Crayons
Dinosaur Guessing Game // Play & Learn Everyday
Free Editable Dinosaur Name Plates // Fairy Poppins
Free Dinosaur Number Puzzles //Playdough to Plato
Dinosaur Egg Colour Matching // Teach Me Mommy
How to Stomp Out Dinosaur Sized // Sugar Aunts
Dinosaur Colours and Numbers Busy Bag // Adventures of Adam
Dinosaur Emergent Reader // The Kindergarten Connection
Free Dinosaur Subitizing Game // Fairy Poppins
Dinosaur Sensory Bottle // The Pleasantest Thing
Dinosaur Letter Tracing // Modern Preschool
(Not Shown) Dinosaur Busy Bag // Study at Home Mama
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Are you looking for more information on Sensory Processing and Proprioception (or any of the sensory systems and how they affect functional skills, behavior, and the body's sensory systems? This book, Sensory Processing 101, will explain it all. Activities and Resources are included. Get it today and never struggle to understand or explain Sensory Integration again. Shop HERE.
This post is part of our 31 Days of Occupational Therapy series where you can find free or almost free treatment activities and ideas. Stop by every day! You'll find more fun ideas each day in October.