Oral Sensory Motor Activities

Do you have a chewy kiddo? Mine has been known to put toys in her mouth, chew pencils, even chew holes into her shirt. The truth is, this behavior is purposeful. It’s not really behavioral, it’s a means for oral motor seekers to get the sensory input their bodies need. So, in order to help them get that input, but in a more practical and appropriate way, we can introduce other, safer things for them to chew or suck on and build up oral motor strength.

Some basic activities to introduce for oral and sensorymotor input

  • blow bubbles
  • suck thick foods through a straw (pudding, applesauce, smoothies)
  • blow up balloons
  • chew gum
  • suck on hard candies (only with children old enough to not accidentally swallow anything whole)
  • eat sour candies or gummies
  • use a straw to blow a cotton ball across a table
  • use a straw in a bowl filled with soapy water and blow bubbles
  • play a harmonica or a kazoo

Products designed for oral sensory input

  • Chewbeads. My daughter wears one of these necklaces, which is cute and appropriate and just happens to double as a chewy!
  • Chewlery comes in necklaces and bracelets, and it also comes in different thickness to provide just the amount of input a child needs.
  • ChewyTubes also come in different styles and thickness. Some even have bumps for different levels of input.
  • ZVibe looks like a toothbrush and vibrates. There are different attachments that can provide different types of input.
  • For so many products sensory related, I usually turn to Fun and Function. They have so many great products for all kinds of sensory needs, especially chewies and other oral motor sensory needs!

Oral Sensory Motor Tips

Do you have any favorite oral sensory products or activities you use?

What’s been the most successful?

Dani Gillman
Dani Gillman

Dani Gillman is Cofounder and Head of Marketing at Birdhouse– a Detroit-based startup empowering parents raising children with special needs to learn more about their children through a behavior journaling app for iPhone, Android and the web. She’s also mom to an 11 year old daughter (who happens to have Autism) and a 2 year old son (who doesn't appreciate the value of naps).

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