During the winter kids are indoors more often, which can wreak havoc for parents trying to keep them occupied. For children with special needs or a Sensory Processing Disorder, time inside the home can be over-stimulating, which can cause such behaviors as fighting with siblings, refusing to eat or an inability to stay calm. Avoid behavior overload with these indoor sensory play ideas with the Happy Bowl.


Indoor Snowball Fight: If your kids need to get their wiggles out, this is the game for them! The Indoor Snowball Fight (SnowtimeAnytime.com) is a sensory game that includes 6 soft and safe snowballs that crunch like a real snowball. This is great for indoor play (in an area without breakables, of course) and the game includes fun and challenging ideas like throwing snowballs blindfolded! I also like to use the snowballs as decorations when the kids are all worn out. They display well on mantels, in playrooms or in a decorative basket for the winter holidays. I also use them in feeding therapy for a fun sensory break after trying new foods. Enjoy a frostbite free snowball fight with your kids!


Water Beads: These versatile beads provide the ultimate sensory experience and they can be used in schools, therapy settings or in-home! When you purchase the beads (autismcommunitystore.com) they come dry, but they expand when they are placed in water. Since I provide in-home therapy, I transport the beads in a zip lock bag and then transfer them into a large container. The beads shrink back down to their original size when they dry up!

In terms of use, my clients love to use the beads for a sensory break. Diving their hands into the beads has a relaxing effect and, since the beads come in a variety of colors, you can also turn down the lights and examine the beads with a flashlight (talk about a multisensory educational experience!). I also add plastic dinosaurs, toy soldiers or pretend food and have the kids search for them with their hands.

Note - these non-toxic beads are a choking hazard, so I only use this sensory toy with older children or with adult supervision.

Frozen Toys: Teaching children the concept of freezing and melting can be tricky. One way to illustrate this concept is to show them how a tiny snowman freezes and melts. All you have to do is have your child fill the Happy Bowl with a couple of inches of water. Next, add some snowman parts (baby carrot, eyes, buttons) and then place it in the freezer. When you take it out for sensory play, have them melt the block of ice with the heat from their hands or break the ice with kid-safe kitchen utensils. They will be excited to see the snowman slowly thaw before their eyes!

How do you keep your kids occupied during the winter months? What are some of your family’s favorite sensory games and activities? #sensory #happybowl #ezpzfun   

Happy Feeding!

Dawn Winkelmann, M.S, CCC-SLP

Speech Language Pathologist & Feeding Specialist for ezpz

Dawn Winkelmann, a.k.a “Ms. Dawn”, has treated thousands of kids across the globe by helping families overcome picky eating stages and food refusals, while adding new foods into their diet. Her high success rate is attributed to Ms. Dawn bringing her education, experience, sense of humor and her favorite feeding products to the family dinner table.

You will find Ms. Dawn’s expert feeding advice to be positive and fun for the entire family! She adapts complicated feeding/swallowing research and makes it practical and easy for parents! Get ready to learn the science behind your favorite feeding products and ways to bring happy family mealtimes back!

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