Caught in a snowdrift? If you've managed to avoid the snow or rain, you might think yourself quite fortunate, but there are upsides to getting outdoors in the winter. Although you may feel the need to stay indoors, getting your kids to go outside in the winter can be terrific for sensory seekers and under responders (those with low arousal) on a sensory diet.
Taking advantage of the fresh air can do a wonder of good for everyone. There are health benefits from vitamin D absorption, exercise, endurance, mood boost, energy balance, blood circulation, spiritual-lift and just plain fun! So, bundle up with your children, put down the iPad or iPhone and shut off your computer.
Here are a few sensory-fun activities that will turn outdoors into a sensory wonderland:
- Take a Walk What do you see? Walk and talk or just walk and think. Kids love nature walks! Don't have too much nature outside? That's OK. Just go for a walk anyway. It does the body and the brain some good! Bring a ball to hop on or disc to toss and throw while you're at it.
- Heavy Work Push a wagon, sled, big ball or wheelbarrow. You can even play on a pretend raft! It's great for kids who need "heavy work." While they're at it, maybe they can actually help you out by picking up sticks, pinecones, and other natural debris. Got snow? Build a snowman!
- Frozen Bubbles Take your regular bottle of bubbles and just blow! If it's below freezing, the bubbles will freeze in midair! How cool is that? It's like your own outdoor sensory room!
- Swing! Jump on your favorite outdoor swing and go for a thrill ride!
- Play Simon Says This is great indoors or outdoors. But why not bundle up and take it outside? It will get muscles stretching and blood moving.
- Take a Walk at Night There is nothing quite as lovely as a crisp winter night under the moon.
- Play Tag Let your kids run! In fact, run with them. Hide and seek is fun too, while outside.
- Roll Got a hill? If not, go find one and roll down. Great for sensory integration and providing deep pressure throughout the body.
- Drink Hot Chocolate Sit and sip. Nothing like a cup of hot cocoa on a cold day.
Make sure you and your kids are getting plenty of outdoor time this winter! Everyone will enjoy the indoors far more after some good quality outdoor fun!