21 Cool Sensory Activities for Older Kids | Teens | Light Play

Sensory Activities for Teens

It often feels like when it comes to sensory activities and cool crafts, older kids get left out. Like their sensory needs just disappear when they are a tween or teen, right? No, they don’t! Light Play activities are popular and beneficial for all.

But take a look around on the internet and it often seems like most of the light play activities are geared for toddlers and preschoolers. Let’s fix that. Light play activities for older children are important too.

teen sensory activities

Too often, kids with disabilities get infantilized. That is, they are talked down to, condescended to, talked to in a sing-song baby voice and so on. While our kids may be behind their age-peers in skills, it’s important that we keep moving them forward and not allow them to stagnate.

Mind you, if a child enjoys an activity, I say let them enjoy it. I think that it’s fine for older kids to enjoy Sesame Street, Thomas or anything really. However, I always welcome the opportunity to encourage my child to enjoy things that are more age appropriate. And, even though I don’t have a problem with older kids liking younger-kid things, it doesn’t mean that they all necessarily like them.

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Benefits of Light Play for Teens

  1. Light play can fulfill a sensory need.
  2. It helps brighten a dark day, particularly in winter when days are shorter. We love this as a 4-5 pm activity with his home team.
  3. Often, the child can maintain focus longer.
  4. Light play can beneficial for many visual impairments such as CVI.
  5. It often has a calming effect and can help with emotional regulation.
  6. Who doesn’t love light play? It’s entertaining!
  7. Sensory and Light Play is very versatile.
  8. You can educate them, and they usually don’t even know it.
  9. Light play can be used for multiple disciplines: sensory, science, language, fine motor skills, math, the possibilities are endless!

Cool Sensory Activities for Teens

Many of these focus on light play or sensory, but they have a cool STEM component to them too.

  1. Glow in the Dark Sand by Growing a Jeweled Rose
  2. Soda Bottle Lantern by Juggling with Kids
  3. Glowing Ice & Oil Experiment by Growing a Jeweled Rose
  4. Color Mixing with Light Refraction by De-Tout-Et-De-Rien
  5. Glowing Cloud Dough by Growing a Jeweled Rose
  6. Glowing Ice & Salt Experiment by Growing a Jeweled Rose
  7. Make Your Own Black Light Water Beads by Epic Childhood
  8. Glowing Rainbow Water by Growing a Jeweled Rose
  9. Window Art with Glue & Food Coloring by Still Parenting
  10. Oil Sun Catcher by Education
  11. DIY Big Lite Brite by Tinkerlab
  12. Glow in the Dark Sensory Alphabet by Still Playing School
  13. Glowing Eggs by Epic Childhood
  14. Glowing Dough by Lemon Lime Adventures
  15. Glowing Magic Milk Experiment by Learn Play Imagine
  16. Float or Sink Experiment on Light Table by I Should Be Mopping the Floor
  17. Push Light Planets by Play at Home Mom LLC
  18. Fractions with Pattern Blocks on Light Table by Still Playing School
  19. Rainbow Salt Writing Tray on Light Table by Where Imagination Grows
  20. Lava Lamp Sensory Bags by Growing a Jeweled Rose
  21. Glowing Rainbow Rice by Growing a Jeweled Rose
  22. What to do with Water Beads by Artful Parent

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  • Fine Motor Skills-Games, crafts and coloring activities are a great way to use and practice a child’s fine motor skills.
  • Speech and Language– Many parents seek out a language-rich environment for their child. Any activity can be an opportunity to use and repeat new words and language, mimicking sounds, new vocalizations and articulations.
  • Executive Functioning Skills– Depending on the game or activity, it can be an opportunity to practice executive functions such as working memory, sequencing, following directions, task initiation and more.
  • Handwriting and Fluency- This piggybacks onto the language skills a child needs, but with worksheets, coloring pages and games, they can be a low-risk opportunity to practice handwriting and fluency.
  • Practicing Previously Acquired Skills-Applying already acquired skills across all environments, bring the classroom teaching into the real world.
  • Sensory-Textures, sounds, taste, vestibular, interoception, anything!
  • Social Awareness-Practice traditional social skills in a safe environment, such as: joint attention, taking turns, reciprocating conversation, waiting politely, and more.
  • Gross Motor-If you’re in a new place, practice walking across uneven surfaces, new surfaces, inclines & declines, stairs, or increasing endurance.

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