Spring has sprung and summer is just about here. The great outdoors is a fantastic sensory playground where muscles can move and sensations can sing. Seasonal sensory activities are great for learning through play and outdoor fun. Before you step out into Mother Nature, slap on a bit of sunscreen, sunglasses and bug spray. Now you're ready. Let's go for sensory activities outdoors this spring and summer.
Create An Outdoor Obstacle Course
You can take some of your favorite squeaky spots, rocker boards, and crash mats, with you to create a straight line or circle course for your kids to climb over, crawl under, and race through. You can time them for an extra challenge! Some children may need a little hand-holding until they feel secure enough to venture the course alone. Be sure to change it up and take it indoors when you're done to keep it clean and ready for the next round of sensory activities.
Grab a scooter, tricycle, or bicycle and find your favorite park, path or quiet side street for a wheel of a time. Mobility tools are fantastic for developing core strength, lower extremity control, teaching directional skills and balance training. You can find many adapted bicycles and ride-on toys too, to fit all your kids’ needs. Balance bikes are great for learning to ride a bike, but all children should be monitored closely when wheeling around.
Water Therapy is a Must!
Water is not only engaging but can also provide a sensory integration and motor planning activity. Turn on a hose, pull out a water table or grab a squirter. Kids can help with watering plants. Encourage your child to wash a car or hose down the driveway, if appropriate. Directing and managing the hose are all a part of water fun! On a rainy day, grab a bucket and allow your kids to catch the water under a waterspout. Look for fish in a nearby creek. Go wading in a nearby stream and of course, take a swim!
Heavy Outdoor Work
Though age-dependent, heavy yard work is terrific for individuals with sensory processing disorders. Mowing the lawn (pretend mowing is fine), raking, picking up leaves, watering plants, taking out the garbage, sweeping, and blowing are all great outdoor activities. When done under proper supervision and with safe practices, these activities can provide the heavy work their bodies may crave.
Find A Forest of Sensory Activities
Spring is an excellent time for a family hike. Find a nearby park, green space, or forest to get your family moving, walking, skipping, and bonding. Take a snack or lunch and don't forget your water bottles. While you're out, notice the sights, sounds, and smells. When you come back in, your kids can write, draw or journal about their outdoor adventure.
Play Ball Outdoors
Not a day should go by without a bit of hand-eye or eye-foot coordination. Grab a Frisbee, exercise ball with Yoga cards, or juggling scarves and get outside for your favorite lawn game. Don't be afraid to get a bit creative. You can grab spot markers for bases and play a game of kickball. You can use a pool noodle and beach ball for some easy hand-eye coordination activities as well. Encouragement is key and persistence improves skills!