Sensory play is one of my favorite after school activities for kids, and it ranks high on my list of calming activities for a new school year! I have learned that our afternoons go much more smoothly if I have something planned for the kids when school gets out that helps them decompress. Sensory play instantly helps my kids relax, and we add small toys to inspire pretend play as well as to provide props if they want to work through confusing or intense scenarios from their school day.
I will often set activities like this up before Lily, Anna, and I head out to pick up the two oldest kids (Lily gets home a few hours before them, as a kindergartner). The kids love coming home to a ready-made activity like this, even if we decide to stay at the playground for a few minutes (or an hour) before continuing on home. I will start off with a few basics, and they add whatever else they like.
Anna doesn’t do a lot of plot work so far (her guys will say hi to each other), but she really enjoys this as a sensory experience as well as an opportunity to be one of the kids.
They are all sitting around the same table, with the same materials, but they each play so differently! I love seeing both how their own personalities come out in their play, as well as how they influence each other’s play.
The kids play together while I watch and get things of my own done that have been waiting for doing. When it is time to clean up the kids are refreshed and ready to face homework and chores.
How do you help your kids ease back into home life at the end of the school day?