If you have a child with special needs, you are going to want to promote sensory play as much as possible in order to calm your child down and get him or her to get used to interacting with the world. However, sensory play can be extremely messy. Nothing is going to entertain a child who needs a lot of sensory stimulation by jamming his or her hands in a large vat of play dough or rice or spending a ton of time messing around with shaving cream. However, nothing is going to make your life harder than having a huge mess created by this sensory play. Here are some tips for managing sensory play.
1. Get a Vinyl Mat
Have a vinyl mat or a plastic tablecloth on hand in your home that is specifically designated for sensory play. Every time that you want to help your child engage in sensory play, take out this vinyl mat or plastic tablecloth and unroll it to cover the area where your child is going to be sitting. Try to keep the mat in the center of the room, away from walls and furniture, in order to decrease the chances that shaving cream or other sensory play materials get on anything that they could damage. When playtime is done, simply wipe down the mat and store it for later use. This makes sensory play a breeze and creates a specific space with boundaries that your child can easily respect.
2. Use Plastic Tubs
Another option is to invest in a few large, plastic tubs. Tubs are great because they have walls that can limit where the items in the tub are allowed to go. If your child loves running his or her hands through large vats of marbles or beads, plastic tubs are the way to go to ensure that you won't be stepping on errant beads for months on end after playtime is over. If you want to have your child's friends over, get a few plastic tubs so that they can all enjoy the activity at the same time.
3. Use Washable Materials
Finally, any time you use anything that could get on your child's clothes, make sure that everything is totally washable. This will help you avoid having ruined clothing all the time. There are great finger paints and dyes available that you can practically wipe off of children's clothes with a wet paper towel.
For more information, talk to a company that specializes in sensory toys.