Sensory Group Activity Ideas

Instructor: Bethany Calderwood

Bethany has taught special education in grades PK-5 and has a master's degree in special education.

Do you have students who crave or avoid sensory input? Are you considering putting together a sensory group activity for your students? This lesson provides a number of activity ideas you can use or adapt for your classroom.

Sensory Group

Students with special needs can be sensitive to sensory input. They can also crave sensory input. Planning sensory activities for your class can help sensitive students increase their tolerance while providing appropriate stimulation to those who crave it, helping to reduce inappropriate sensory-seeking behaviors.

Putting together sensory group activities, which are activities that address the sensory needs of students by incorporating music, smells, sounds, and so on, can be a rewarding and beneficial addition to a special education classroom. Here are some activity ideas to get you started.

Musical Exercise


  • Soothing music (CDs or MP3s)
  • Music player
  • Exercise mats
  • Open floor space


Stretch and move in a calm fashion.


  • Arrange the furniture so you have enough open floor space to spread exercise mats for each student.
  • Adjust the lighting in the room so the level of light is low - just enough to see, but no harsh overhead light.
  • Play calm, soothing instrumental music or nature sounds in the background.
  • Lead students in a series of slow, calm exercises. You might include:
    • Stretching arms
    • Stretching legs
    • Breathing exercises while laying back on the mats
    • Hand and foot exercises



  • Recipe ingredients
  • Relevant cooking utensils


Engage the senses of sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing in the process of creating an edible product.


There are many ways to do a cooking project with your class. Cooking becomes an activity focused on sensory input when you pay attention to the following details:

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