Spring has sprung and summer is just about here. Before you know it, school will be out and you can bet you will hear, "Mom, I'm bored!" But don't fret! Spring and summer provide a fantastic outdoor sensory playground where muscles can move and sensations can sing. Not only is this a great time for sensory seekers, under responders and over responders, but also seasonal sensory activities provide a great time 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
, crash mats
, balance beams
and just about anything else you can grab and create a straight line or a circle course for your kids. They will love it! You can time them too. 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.
Get Wheeling Around
Grab a scooter
, bicycle or skate as well as helmets, elbow and kneepads and find your favorite park, path or 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. Adapted bicycles and ride-on toys are available as well. Balance bikes
are great for learning to ride a bike, but all children should be monitored closely when wheeling around.
Water Therapy is a Bust!
Turn on a hose, pull out a water table or grab a squirter. Encourage your child to wash a car or hose down the driveway if appropriate. They can also help with watering plants. Water is not only engaging, but can also provide a sensory integration and motor planning activity. How hard to squirt the water? 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 garbage, sweeping and blowing are all great outdoor activities. When done under proper supervision and with safe practices
, they can provide the heavy work a body craves.
Find A Forest of Sensory Activities
Spring is a great 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, lunch and don't forget your water bottles. While you're out, notice the colors, plants, animals, 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 eye-hand or eye-foot coordination. Grab a Frisbee, play ball
, 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. Try a noodle and a beach ball for some easy eye-hand coordination as well. Encouragement is key and persistence improves skills.
Get Going on your Sensory Activities
So what are you waiting for? Turn off your device! Get up and get going, outside that is, and enjoy this season of sensory activities before it passes by. It's going to be sensational!