Brush this, Brush that – A Reflex Activity

Brush this, Brush that – A Reflex Activity

  • 10
  • 30


  • Find Calm
  • Time Together

What you need

  1. A cloth bag
  2. A selection of brushes e.g. hairbrush, nail brush, paint brush (art and decorating), pastry brush, make-up brush, shaving brush. (This activity would benefit from using the softest brushes in the bag)


This bag of brushes may take you back to a time when you were using a make up brush/hairbrush/shaving brush to get ready for an exciting evening out or maybe wanting to look your best when going to work!

Or perhaps the pastry brush will stir memories of making a pie for the family!

Touching the brushes or having a brush moved over the person’s hand or cheek should be a nice sensation. This activity can help the person respond to a single sensory experience without feeling overstimulated. The person may like the sensation of holding the handle of one of the brushes.

The Activity

  1. Before the activity make sure that the environment is quiet and uninterrupted.
  2. Use the person’s name to introduce the activity.
  3. Draw the person’s attention to the brush and say ‘touch’ or ‘feel’.
  4. Choose one of the brushes and take time to move it over the person’s hand. If it’s a very soft brush it could be moved over the person’s cheek.
  5. Ask the person if they like the feel of it. Say ‘doesn’t it feel lovely and soft.’
  6. Try using another brush and take time to stroke the person’s hand/cheek.
  7. If the person appears to react particularly positively to any of the brushes, use that one again to move over their hand/cheek.
  8. Alternatively the person could be given a brush to hold. Suggest ‘hold’ when placing it in their hand.

Written by Sophie Jopling and Sarah Mousley from Kent Occupational Therapy_