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Have you seen the film, "Yes Day"? I promise I won't tell you to give your children free range of a day in this post. However, we do say "NO" to our children too often, and the film makes that valid point.

When children hear "no" too often, they do indeed become rebellious. They will seek out ways to satisfy what feels like needs to them, in any way possible. Sensory seeking is a big one for little ones ranging from ages 3-9 years old. While it is always note worthy to set boundaries in your home, it's also important to recognize which boundaries are reasonable, and which are based on our own need for control or comfort. In the realm of both sensory input and output, young children will seek this daily. Some children will seek it even more so than others. It can be difficult to provide this kind of sensory in the home because adults have a difficult time letting go of control. Of course this become easier with time and even with more children, but we can forget what it is like to be a kid and become lost in keeping our control as adults. A child who is seeking more sensory, exploration, and creative outlets, may exhibit behaviors that appear to fall on the line of "misbehaviors". In actuality these are age appropriate behaviors, especially for a child who is lacking sensory input in the home.

There are also plenty of factors that will impact one's inability to provide the proper outlets in our homes. Space, time, and access to resources are obstacles that we may hit in addition to (or in place of) the need to maintain control in the home.

Here is how to make two different spaces for sensory in your home, based on your child's needs!

A Large Motor Play Space:

I know you're all exhausted from telling your child to stop jumping on the couch! Here are physical play "Yes Space" ideas for those kids seeking extra output here:

Using a safe space in the home or yard, create an area where your child can have some large motor play. Include materials such as:

Wavvy board

Foam couch blocks (like from Nugget or Foamnasium)

Hammock and/or swing

floor level balance beam

Hop Scotch Mats (or throw pillows down...don't fall in the lava!)


Basketball hoop (one the sticks to the wall, even)

Hoola Hoop

Child's sized exercise ball

Jump rope

A Fine Motor/Sensory Play "Yes Space:

For this space, you may have an ideal place in mind to hold it, or you may require some additional prepping steps. For example, you may want to provide your child with their own child sized table to work at, instead of using the family dining table. You may also not have a hardwood or tiled space that you feel comfortable with the children working on, or above, especially if you are renting. In this case, you may wish to lay down and tape a cheap, plastic table clothe beneath your child's workspace.

As a last tip for prepping this area, you may not want to keep all materials at an arm's length for your child (or you may!). I keep shelves that are both too tall for my children to reach, and then I keep shelves that they can reach. I do this intentionally. It maintains a level of balance between their own control over situations, as well as my own. Plus we avoid more messes! In a nut shell, do not keep items where tour children can reach them, unless you want them accessible to them at any time of the day to satisfy their need for sensory play or fine motor skill; development. BUT, you also need to give them some level of control and access to materials at all times!

Here is a list of some of those materials:



beeswax (in place of modeling clay, this can be much less messy)

Kinetic Sand

Sensory bottles (sand, liquid, rice/sound)





Magnets/Magnet Boards


Dry erase boards

Dry erase markers

Magnetic "Tiles"

Pick-Up Stix and other fine motor skill games

What would you add to either of these lists?

We should always be a "Yes Space" for our children, and someone they can always feel comfortable retreating to in times of need. We primarily accomplish this by tending to their basic needs of touch, love, compassion, comfort, and cooperation. Consider these spaces your way of giving and balancing control in the home, and cooperating with your child on boundaries and fun in the home!

For more family tips and activities; stay tuned for our Family Bonding Box, which wraps up our full curriculum!

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