By: Laura Petix, MS OTR/LEPISODE 122


Disclaimer: This podcast and blog post is sponsored in part by Figgy. We were gifted the Figgy couch to test and try out for ourselves and were provided an affiliate commission for any generated sales off of the product. My thoughts and opinions on the product are authentic and unique to my experience. There are also amazon affiliate links in this post.

So picture this:

It’s the 3rd day of a heat wave in your area. The temperatures have been in the 90s with nearly 100% humidity. You’ve been told to stay inside as much as possible to avoid heat exhaustion and dehydration. But your child NEEDS their outdoor time! They are a dedicated climbing, running, jumping, spinning, and swinging park-goer… and you’ve just told them that once again you can’t go out today.

*cue the indoor chaos*

They are now doing their own kitchen Indy 500 which includes climbing over the couch and crashing into YOU while you’re trying to do the dishes.

If you have a sensory seeker or mixed threshold kid, this might be all too familiar. So how can we support our sensory seeking kids when we have to be indoors?

What you’ll hear in this episode:

How to support sensory seekers

Sensory seekers are often categorized as kids who just go, go, go. They appear to have a never-ending need for movement and activity, but one of the most challenging parts of regulating sensory seekers is that sometimes more isn’t better. Sensory seekers may continue to ask for and crave movement that may actually lead them down a path of dysregulation.

Using structured, goal-directed activities with sensory seekers is the key to meeting their nervous systems need for movement and input while also providing the supports that are less likely to lead to hyperactivity and dysregulation.

So you may be wondering what are some of these magical structured and goal-directed activities. Some elements you want to include in these activities are:

And if you’re looking at this listing and thinking “Laura, that sounds great AND I really don’t know how to do this” then keeping reading – I have 7 sensory-infused activities that will both regulate and entertain your sensory seeker INSIDE the house.

7 indoor movement-based activities for your sensory seeker

Scavenger hunts

Okay so I LOVE scavenger hunts! Most people worry that scavenger hunts take so much planning and time but you can DIY them so easily with little to no effort – you can even do it from bed while trying to get some extra rest!

When you’re thinking of clues, you can make them age appropriate by considering different cognitive challenge levels:

You may have a child that needs constant heavy work. There are some easy ways you can add this in by creating different ways that they need to move their body to gather items in the scavenger hunt. This can look hopping, skipping, or jumping on your way to and/or from getting an item – “Alright, I need you to go find me 10 puzzle pieces. You can skip on your way to find them and hop like a bunny when you bring them back to me.”

If you don’t want to worry about coming up with all the scavenger hunt clues, check out my no prep QR code scavenger hunt games. This fun tool gives you a quick way to print out QR codes that they will scan and it tells them exactly what they should be looking for!

Fort building

This one is a childhood classic! There was nothing better as a kid than building your own secret hideaway where you can play games, read books, and exist in your own little world. My favorite by far was to throw sheets over the TV and tape it to the wall – it was fun for a few minutes until I would realize all I could really do was lay in it.

Figgy is absolutely changing the fort building game with their comfortable but sturdy design that includes Velcro fasteners to assist in all the fort building fun – especially needed for perfectionist, easily frustrated neurodivergent kids like my daughter, Liliana, who really want structures to stay together “just right” without falling down or slipping.

So what exactly makes Figgy stand out from all of the other play couches out there?

  • Figgy has individual pieces with Velcro

  • Figgy uses waterproof liners to protect against spills

  • FiggyFoam was made to be sturdy but comfortable – unlike others (which we’ve tried!) that fold under pressure

  • Figgy uses modern colors and high-end fabrics to look good in any room and are free from allergens and harmful chemicals

Fort building is such amazing open-ended play for nervous systems that crave heavy work. They can arrange the cushions into so many different combinations and possibilities but it also has a clearly defined goal and purpose with the outcome of creating a fort.

And if you want to work on visual motor integration (this is a skill needed for handwriting and cutting), Figgy offers this cool poster with pictures of creative builds that your child can work to recreate.

Jump and crash

This one sounds almost too simple to be effective but there are SO many ways to modify this activity to make it easier or more challenging depending on age, skill level, or strategies/skills you may be working on during the activity.

To set up a jump and crash activity, you really only need something to jump off of and something to land on – this can look like jumping off of a couch or bed and landing on a pile of pillows and blankets!

Now that we have the Figgy, we have enough cushions that are both durable enough to stack up high for Liliana to jump off of while also soft enough that she can land on the extra ones down below. This is just another thing that makes the Figgy our favorite play couch option!

While jumping and crashing already offers a good amount of proprioceptive heavy work, there are also great ways to make it a more structured, goal-directed activity:

Putting these activities together gives them a lot of motivation since we all know they really just want to jump and crash but it makes it more goal-oriented.

Child-created obstacle course

Kids who really love “doing it themselves” or having the opportunity to “be the adult” will love this one! I will say, in my experience, this usually works best with elementary school aged children.

Let your kid know what they can use to create their obstacle course – this could look like couch cushions (or Figgy cushions) to walk on, painter’s tape to make lines on the ground far walking on or in between, chairs for crawling under, pillows or stuffed animals for hopping over, and, if you really want to get into, we love this stepping stone collection to create the perfect obstacle course path.

Now, once you have everything out that you want to use, you let them create and go! This is one of my favorite activities because it works so many essentials skills like motor planning, executive functioning skills, sequencing, problem solving, and planning.

And if you’re hoping to integrate even more structure once the obstacle course is built, you can have them work on a puzzle taking one piece through the course at a time or building a lego tower taking one piece at a time through so they do the course over and over while also reaching an end goal.

Scooter board build & crash

This activity is great if you have a more spacious runway in your home on a surface where a scooter board can move easily like hardwood, linoleum, tile, etc. All you need to get together for this one is a scooter board and something that your child can easily build up and knock down like foam blocks or plastic cups.

First, you’ll have your child build a pyramid or sturdy tower of foam blocks or plastic cups then they’ll grab their scooter board and ride it across the floor to crash into the tower or pyramid to knock it down. This is a fan favorite for kids who love both crashing AND loud sounds as the cups or blocks crash down around them.

If you’re hoping to add some structure to this one, you can do turn taking with siblings, friend, or even yourself so that everyone gets an opportunity to set things up and knock things down.

Freeze dance

We all remember this one from elementary school gym class, right?! Music starts playing, we all start dancing. It stops, we stop. So, why do I love this one so much? Because it activates the frontal lobethe part of the brain responsible for inhibiting impulses.

This is actually an amazing activity for sensory seekers who need to work on controlling their body and movement. You can also do this in so many different ways – maybe your child is in a jumping mood so you’re going to have them jump on their trampoline to the music but when it stops, they stop. This way is just as beneficial as dancing as both activate the vestibular system and proprioceptive system.

Animal walk & roll

This is one of my favorite activities because it can be used for cleaning up a big mess but it makes it so much more fun!

All you need for this activity is a dice to roll, items to clean up, and a few different ways to move and walk around. You can start simple with just a few ways to walk or if your child has a lot of ways they want to walk around, you can write the options on a piece of paper or put them on popsicle sticks to be randomly selected. Some ideas for animal walks could be crab walk, bear crawl, frog hops, or even somersaults or cartwheelsthey can be as creative as they want to be!

So now that you have items on the ground (whether you intentionally laid them out or you’re cleaning up the obstacle course you just made), you have them select their way to walk and then roll the dice to determine how many items they need to pick up while doing that walk – so if they choose frog hops then roll a 5, they need to clean up 5 items while doing frog hops. Then you continue repeating the process until everything is picked up.

This activity is not only such a fun way to clean up, but it also works on visual scanning while giving them both proprioceptive input and vestibular input – a win, win, win, win!

Episode Links

Keeping sensory seekers entertained AND regulated (easy solutions you can do at home!)
Laura Petix 0:00 If you have an easily frustrated or like perfectionist kid like mine, then you know the struggle when your buildings structures and they collapse and they don't stand just right. And your child keeps running into the same problem and it won't stand exactly how they want it. We ran into this...

Laura Petix 0:00 If you have an easily frustrated or like perfectionist kid like mine, then you know the struggle when your buildings structures and they collapse and they don’t stand just right. And your child keeps running into the same problem and it won’t stand exactly how they want it. We ran into this problem a lot when we would use our like regular couch cushions and the regulation that she was supposed to get out of it from building the fort was cancelled out by the frustration that she had. So the Figgy is absolutely perfect for us. Welcome to the sensory wise solutions podcast for parents, where parents can get real actionable strategies to support kids with sensory processing disorder. I’m Laura, OT and mom to Lilyana a sensory sensitive kid who inherited my anxiety and my love for all things Disney. Consider me your new ot mom, bestie. I know my stuff. But I also know what it’s really like in the trenches of parenting a child with sensory processing disorder. Okay, Speaker 1 1:06 mom, enough about me. Let’s try the podcast. Laura Petix 1:11 Hello, everyone. Welcome back to the podcast. This is one for all those parents with high active sensory seekers who need a lot of opportunity for movement throughout their day. If you live anywhere that has extreme weather, whether it’s too hot or stormy or cold, you know how tricky it is managing those high energy sensory needs in doors. So this is the episode you’re going to want to save take notes and bookmark, and in case you’re listening to audio only. I also recommend that you check out the blog posts so you can see some of the visuals when I describe the activities to try. Just one quick disclaimer this podcast episode is sponsored in part by Figgy, which is a modular play couch and versatile fork building kit known for sparking imaginations. And kid led playtime across the US different from the rest Figgy allows for endless possibilities with strong velcro connectors, which makes sure all your builds stick Figgy actually sent Liliana and I a play couch to test out and it quickly became a favorite in our household. Please know that I never accept a sponsorship or affiliate deal without knowing or trying the product first. So all my thoughts and opinions are my own Figgy was generous enough to give me a $20 discount code for my listeners, which you can redeem at Figgy forward slash Laura 33. I will put the link to that in my show notes. All right. So I first want to remind you about the importance of offering structured and goal directed activities for sensory seekers. A common hallmark feature of sensory seekers is that even though their nervous system craves more and more sensory input, if it’s not structured or goal directed enough, it can actually lead to even more dysregulation and hyperactivity. So whenever possible, try your best to infuse things like organizing or sorting or collecting or counting any kind of academic skill skills like spelling or math, trying to race or beat the time or finish something or putting something together or building something. I know that kind of sounds pretty vague. And you’re like what does that sound like? I got you. This is the episode for you. I promised you that. So get your notebooks out now, I’m going to share seven different sensory infused activities that are structured and goal directed so that it can keep your neurodivergent child entertained and regulated. Inside the house like this takes little to no effort on your part. You could be sitting sitting on the couch, scrolling, or drinking your morning coffee or your evening beverage of choice, whatever it is, this is your thing. Okay. All right. The first one is scavenger hunts. I absolutely love scavenger hunts because you can DIY them and like literally need absolutely no equipment. And you can DIY them so easily. It requires little to no effort. You could be doing dishes, or like half awake on a weekend morning just trying to buy yourself extra 20 minutes in bed and tell your child to go on a scavenger hunt. But you can also adapt scavenger hunts for little kids and older kids by making the clues simpler or more complex. So that’s why I love this again, it works for all ages. For a three year old, I might say something like, go find me something blue, or for a five year old, I might say go find something that starts with the letter M. For an eight year old I might say find something that can float or find something that can fit in your shoe. Then if you want to embed heavy work or proprioception for extra regulation, you could tell them to Do hop or stump or skip to find that object. You could also have them carry the item on top of a pillow to let it balance as they bring it back to you so that they have to walk super super slowly throughout the house. If you don’t feel like coming up with your own clues, you can check out one of my no prep QR code scavenger hunt games, you can print this out on paper or just use it directly from an iPad. But your child can essentially scan these QR codes that you put throughout your house, and then it tells them what to look for. So there’s a link to that as well in the show notes. All right. The next thing you can do is Fort building, which is timeless classic game. I know when I was little, I was only able to make a fort by layering sheets like over my TV and taping them to my wall. It was like the coolest thing at the time. But I couldn’t really do much except for like lay underneath it and like write in my diary. We definitely did not have any of the cool play couches that they have now. And I am very glad they do now as an OT. It makes me happy. But it’s also healing my inner child. And so Liliana and I use the Figgy play couch. And what I absolutely love about this that I have never seen with other play couches, or that it has velcro fasteners. So if you have an easily frustrated or like perfectionist kid like mine, then you know the struggle when your buildings structures, and they collapse and they don’t stand just right. And your child keeps running into the same problem and it won’t stand exactly how they want it. We ran into this problem a lot when we would use our like regular couch cushions and the regulation that she was supposed to get out of it from building the fort was canceled out by the frustration that she had. So the Figgy is absolutely perfect for us. I know that there are a few other play couches out there, but Figgy stands out from them because Figgy has the individual pieces with Velcro like I mentioned, they also use waterproof liners to protect against spills. And the fizzy foam that they use was made to be sturdy and still comfortable. So unlike others that we’ve tried that fold under pressure, the Figgy foam is actually quite sturdy, and even we’ve done a full eras tour performance on this like her and I both and it has not deformed the pieces. Figgy also uses modern colors, and high end fabrics to look good in any room and are tested for allergens and harmful chemicals. So again, you can access your Figgy for $20 off if you go to Figgy 33. So far, and building is open ended in terms of the various possibilities that you can create. But it also does naturally have a goal and a purpose, which is to create a fort. But if you want to bump it up a bit. Figgy offers this really cool poster with pictures of creative builds that your child can recreate and follow a plan. So this is a really good way to work on visual motor integration, which is the same skill that you need for handwriting and cutting. Alright, the next activity that I want to share with you is jump and crash. Again, this one sounds simple, but there are endless ways to adapt it and modify it to make it easier or more challenging depending on the child’s age and development. So essentially, it’s what it sounds like a child jumps off something, maybe they jump off a couch or a bed, and they land on like a crash pillow or a crash pile. Again, before we actually owned a play couch. I just took a bunch of extra pillows and throw pillows, put them in a pile and like put two large comforters and blankets on top as a crash pile. It totally worked, but it was quite the setup each time. And now with the Figgy it’s durable enough for her to jump off of the pieces themselves and into another pile of piggy of not piggy of Figgy cushions. Or she will jump off of the bed or the couch on to some cushions. So jumping and crashing itself offers great proprioceptive heavy work, which is really helpful for nervous system regulation. But you can also add more goals and directed structure to this. So one way to do this is maybe you hide puzzle pieces, or Pokemon cards under the crash pad or the Figgy for cushion. And then after they jump off the bed and they crash on the cushion. They’re gonna dig under the cushion to find the puzzle piece and then they’re gonna go walk over to where they’re putting the puzzle together and start adding it to the puzzle. You could also do like trivia questions or math facts or spelling words as they’re jumping maybe on the couch or on a trampoline. And then when they give you the right answer and they get it right. They get to jump off the bed and onto the pillows. Another activity you can do This is a child created obstacle course, this one is probably best for the older kids like maybe kindergarten and up to do it on their own, you can totally use things that you already have at home like couch cushions again, or use your Figgy couch, you can use painters tape stuffed animals to hop over chairs to crawl under. But if you want to add a little more to the mix, we also have a stepping stone collection. You can find these on Amazon, I’ll put a link to the one that we use in the show notes below. Now, you might be thinking that I am the one who sets up the obstacle course because I’m the OT I am creative. I know all there is to know about obstacle courses. Yes, I do know a lot about obstacle courses. And I have 1,000,001 ideas. But I do not set up the obstacle courses for my daughter that is part of the activity itself. One of the favorite things that I used to do in the clinic that now I do with my own daughter is letting kids come up with their obstacle course, it’s fun for them to just come up with the ideas. But it also develops a lot of executive functioning skills like motor planning, sequencing, problem solving. And you can have them just set it up and try it out. Or you could have them draw it in advance. There’s so many ways to adapt this for different kinds of skills and developmental stages. Again, to this obstacle course, it’s already pretty functional and goal directed just to get through the obstacle course. But if you want to add more to it, you can add puzzle pieces, Pokeyman cards, figurines, anything to collect, or sort or count as they’re picking it up through the obstacle course. And then at the end of the obstacle course, they’re going to put it in a box or a basket or put together a tower or a puzzle. This encourages them to repeat the course. And it also gives an extra goal and building something to put together. The next activity that I want to share with you is a scooter board build and crash. So this one does require a little bit more space than others. But you can totally still do it indoors as long as you have the kind of floor where a scooter board can move on and roll on with wheels. So whether that’s hardwood, tile, linoleum, concrete, and like your garage maybe, and you need a scooter board, and either foam building blocks, cardboard building blocks, or even a stack of solo cups or plastic cups, which is what we used in the clinic all the time. So your child is going to build a pyramid or like a tall tower with the foam blocks or cups. Then they get on the scooter board, which is basically it’s like a square skateboard where their belly is on the platform of the scooter board. And then they kind of push themselves with their hands on the ground, it kind of looks like they’re swimming on the ground, but they have this little rolly platform underneath their belly, then they’re going to just push themselves and propel themselves through the tower to make it crash. And this one is great for kids who love fast movement who love the chaos, but you need to add structure. And it’s for kids who love creating loud sounds because when the tower crumbles, it makes a little bit of loud sound, but then it’s very short lived. And then they get up and they build it again, it’s a really good one to play with siblings, or just any multiple kids that you have, because they take turns building while the other person gets to crash into it. Okay, the next activity is freeze dance. I mean, it’s self explanatory, but why I love it because it activates the part of the brain that’s required for inhibiting impulses, which is in the frontal lobe. When I talk about inhibiting impulses, I’m talking about those kids who tell them to stop touching something or like don’t cross the street, stop, freeze, don’t move, and they don’t really listen to you. So this is a great game to practice. So when the music stops, you know the rules, they have to stop they have to freeze like a statue. So it’s really great to practice with those sensory seekers who need to practice just being more in control of their body movements. You could have them dance and jump on a trampoline, jump on the bed. Or you could just have them do fun dance moves, wherever they’re at. It all activates the vestibular system and the proprioceptive system. All right. I’m going to share one more indoor sensory regulation play activity idea for you to try at home. And this one is something you can use to make cleaning up just a little bit more fun and motivating and hopefully you’ll hear less groans and moans when you tell them it’s time to clean up. This one is called the animal walk and roll. So all you need is a dice to roll. You can also use like a spinner from like from a game that you have and any items to pick up. So you can either like scatter things like magnets or Pokemon cards or letters or figurines or puzzle pieces. says, or maybe you already have a mess laying on the floor if you’re like my house, and you want to motivate them to clean up, whether this is laundry piles of socks, crayons, Hot Wheels, cars, whatever it is, you’ll also need to come up with a few different choices of ways to move their body. So this could be an animal walk like crab walk, bear crawl, frog hop, or like somersaults, or cartwheels literally anything your child likes to do, and that they can do on their own that gets them from point A to point B. If you have a lot of different ideas and different ways to move, I suggest writing them down on pieces of paper that you could rip up and fold up and put into a hat, or even write them on popsicle sticks for them to pick out of a cup. Something that will randomize it, kids love just like randomly picking things like it just adds more fun to it. Also, what makes you not like the, the circus director, the ringleader of it, you can just say go pick a popsicle stick and see which way you’re going to move your body. And then when you write it down, then you can use it over and over for future activities. So that’s a pro tip for you. Okay, so you have items on the ground, you have the child pick an animal, an animal walk from the popsicle sticks or like a way to move from the popsicle sticks. And then they roll the dice to see what number they get. Then the number they roll is how many things that they’re going to pick up. So for example, let’s say my daughter just got done coloring, and she’s got markers and crayons scattered on the ground. So I’d have her pick a movement. And let’s say she chose galloping. And then I would tell her to roll the dice. Let’s say she rolled a three, then she’s going to gallop and go pick up three crayons and put them away. Then she’d repeat the process. Again, this is great to do with multiple kids, siblings, everybody takes turns, everyone is cleaning while you are getting dinner on the table. So in this one, you’ve got proprioceptive input, vestibular input, visual scanning, and cleaning up all in one activity. I mean, that is multitasking at its finest, and you’re going to be the funnest parent in the room. I hope that this episode was helpful for you. Thank you so much to Figgy for sponsoring part of this episode. And if you want to get your own Figgy, head to Figgy 33 or head to the link in my show notes to access that coupon and also find out the other items that we mentioned in today’s episode. All right, I’ll talk to you all next week. Thank you so much. Bye. If you enjoyed this podcast, please consider rating it and leaving a review which helps other parents find me as well. Want to learn more from me. I share tons more over on Instagram at the OT butterfly. See you next time. Transcribed by




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Laura Petix, MS OTR/L

I’m an enneagram 6, so my brain is constantly moving. My OT lenses never turn off and I can’t “un-see” the sensory and other developmental skills that go in to literally every activity. I love taking what I see and breaking it down into simple terms so parents can understand what goes into their child’s behavior and skills.

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