PURPOSE: Though Ayres (1979) recognized the importance of child participation in significant movement activities to support sensory processing and promote development, the relationship between the nature of activity choices and child sensory processing patterns is unknown. The purpose of this study was to explore the possibility of a link between children’s sensory processing patterns and patterns of engagement in leisure activities, using the question ‘Do activities engaged in during leisure time by children between the ages of 5- and 10-years old correlate with observed patterns of sensory processing?’.

METHOD: This descriptive study examined the patterns of sensory processing and leisure activity engagement of children based on the observations of primary caregivers. The Child Sensory Profile 2 and a researcher developed leisure questionnaire were used to collect this data. Data were then analyzed using statistical package for social sciences (SPSS) to determine correlations and other descriptive statistics between leisure and sensory processing.

RESULTS: Findings from 32 participant responses showed 14 children scored in the typical range in all categories of the Sensory Profile, and 18 scored outside the typical range in at least one category. Results indicated a correlation (.477) between active leisure participation patterns and patterns of sensory seeking on the Child Sensory Profile 2. Results of patterns from remaining quadrants of avoiding, sensitivity, and registration did not demonstrate significant correlations with minimally active or sedentary leisure patterns.

CONCLUSION: While a correlation between participation in active leisure and patterns of sensory seeking could be expected, a lack of correlations between minimally active leisure and sedentary leisure with other sensory quadrants such as avoiding or sensitivity may indicate that many leisure activities are chosen for reasons other than sensory processing patterns.

Publication Place

Tacoma, Washington


University of Puget Sound

Faculty Advisor

Renee Watling PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA


Publication Date



Electronic Thesis





Degree Program

Occupational Therapy

Degree Level



Occupational Therapy


University of Puget Sound