Children who chew on their pencils, clothing, toys, etc. are usually seeking oral sensorimotor input to organize, calm, and focus their nervous system.

Strategies to support your child’s oral sensory seeking behaviors:

  • Provide chewy or crunchy snacks (fruit leather, jerky, bagels, Laffy Taffy, licorice, pretzels, granola bars, carrots)
  • Make a chewy necklace with licorice or Cheerios
  • Drink through a water bottle or juice box with a straw
  • Suck applesauce, pudding, or yogurt through a straw
  • Play games with straws (blow cotton balls through a maze; suck raisins, M & M’s or Smarties at the end of a straw and move as many as possible from point A to point B in 30 seconds, then eat!)
  • Play a game of Ping-Pong table hockey (see if your child can blow the ball off his opponent’s side of the table)
  • Whistle, blow bubbles, use Blo-Pens and blow toys such as party horns, sound makers, and pinwheels
  • Blow up balloons
  •  Move a piece of food back and forth X number of times prior to swallowing (as your child develops more control, increase the number of times)
  • Use an electric toothbrush
  • Chew gum
  • Purchase products designed for chewing such as Chewlery and Chewy Tubes or chewable pencil toppers

Thank you, Jill Cox-Woodall, MS OTR/L from TheraPLACE Learning Center for contributing some great ideas!

About Skills 4 Life:

Skills 4 Life Pediatric Occupational Therapy offers a broad range of pediatric occupational therapy services to help your child master age-appropriate developmental skills, become more independent, increase academic success & develop confidence. The experts at Skills 4 Life specialize in handwriting, keyboarding & executive function coaching, but also work with children on social & emotional learning, motor skills, self-regulation strategies & activities of daily living. Skills 4 Life Pediatric Occupational Therapy offers your child a safe, compassionate environment to learn the critical skills they need to be successful. Learn more about our team & services at, or you can contact our office by email at or by phone at 303.351.1828 for a free consultation.

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