Sensory Spaces Blog 
By: Shakira Mohamed
Reach High, Bend Low, and Touch Your Toes:
~ A Sensory Spaces Adventure ~

Digging, pounding, throwing, rolling, catching, pulling, and pushing,

Dust and sand, shovel in hand,

Tyres rolling from afar, tins of paint ajar,

Smiles, giggles and chats in between,

Adapting to the unforeseen,

Expanding our hearts midway,

Knowing a playground with impact is here to stay,

Final touch of hanging swings,

Slide down the JoJo, see the joy it brings,

Training the team to run it with success,

Expanding and growing, no telling what’s NEXT…


This is what Sensory Spaces are made of…

Have you delved into a Sensory Space yet, immersing yourself in its wonders?

Let’s REACH HIGH above into the story and explore how it all began:

In the heart of Dr Annamarie van Jaarsveld, an expansive intention was set—to bring the transformative power of Ayres Sensory Integration® to every child, regardless of circumstance. From this spark, ‘Back to Urth’ Playgrounds emerged in 2016, whilst she was still working at the Department of Occupational Therapy at the University of the Free State.

Seeing as though she has subsequently retired from the university, SAISI has decided to adopt this project, now called Sensory Spaces Playgrounds, with a mission of offering enriching sensory experiences to children in under-resourced environments.


But to REACH HIGH, she had to reach far and wide. It took a village—collaboration with stakeholders, funders, and dedicated individuals willing to invest their time, skills, and energy.

It was a monumental effort, much like coaxing our tyre monsters, octopuses and shongololos to lie long, aligned and proud!



Striving to raise our goals and expectations of stretching Ayres Sensory Integration® far and wide, we must also BEND LOW, digging in the dirt, dipping our paintbrushes, and connecting with the heart of our mission.

We must ask ourselves: How can we make the Ayres Sensory Integration® magic accessible to ALL? It’s about engaging grassroots impact, harnessing local skills, and utilising readily available resources. From the dust of these playgrounds emerge hidden talents waiting to be nurtured.

At Sensory Spaces, reaching low to TOUCH YOUR TOES means stretching beyond comfort zones, expanding mindsets, resources, and creativity. It’s the journey of turning a plot of land into a transformative playground. And while stretching may be uncomfortable at first, the joy of completion and the knowledge of touching lives make it all worthwhile.

Did you know that Sensory Spaces started off touching the lives of young children, and it is making its mission to bring the powerful impact of AYRES SENSORY INTEGRATION® to touch lives across the lifespan?

You can be a part of this adventure, creating a lasting positive impact by volunteering your time and skills to build a playground. If you’re ready to REACH HIGH, BEND LOW, and TOUCH YOUR TOES with the Sensory Spaces Team, email us at to join the adventure.