It’s time to Winterize! If you have kids who are climbing the walls or can’t sit still, they may need a stronger movement diet than the season permits. Though there are plenty of outdoor winter sports for those who live near a ski slope or skating rink, not everyone has ready options. And for parents or teachers, a cold, wet, wintery day can become mayhem.
Fortunately there is a magic button to help sensory seekers get back in sync: Replace their current sensory seeking activity with another one (see below) and/or add thinking, processing and problem solving to the activity.
Heavy Hand Work. This is like aerobics for your hands. Grab some putty and go for it. Stretch, pull, pinch and smoosh! You can fidget with pieces in the putty for extra fun. Use for handwriting warm up too. Try just 5 minutes of putty work before taking a test or doing homework and not only might scores go up, but so will attention and mood.
Motor Mouth. Got a mouth that won’t stop? Try a chewy! Can’t decide which one to buy? Try them all! Working the mouth can be a great winter-indoor activity for raising energy levels and bringing attention to the forefront. You can try using bubbles, taking a drink from a water bottle or fountain or humming on kazoos. Use lemon drops or even pickles to pucker up the lips too. How about a whistle session? Once the mouth is warmed up, the brain might be just where it needs to be.
Light as Air! There’s nothing better for a sensory seeker than air! Air encourages balance reactions which means movement will cause an action and a re-action. That means someone who is trying to move on air has to concentrate, cross midline, stabilize muscle groups and be just a bit creative. The Air-Lite Sensory Kit is a great tool for sensory seeking individuals who love to move or swing.
Hide and Seek. Grab a purse, fidget keeper or backpack. Now stuff it with small items to pull out and fidget with. Can you name the items? Can you categorize them? What if I hide one of the items away? Can you tell me which one is missing?
Obstacle Course! You’ve got kids and we’ve got spots! Place the spots on the floor to walk or jump across. Use for indoor kickball bases. Velcro onto a wall for tossing targets. Add in other obstacles like pillows, beanbag chairs, or soft furniture and create your own indoor obstacle course.
Go Kids, Go! Not only do sensory seekers crave movement, but dynamic movement is like the icing on the cake. Scooters, bikes, skates and things that wheel are a natural playground. Learning to control a mobility tool can teach balance, eye-hand coordination, motor planning and direction skills. For visually challenged individuals, mobility is a key to navigating their world with safety.
Up, Up and Away. Set up a swing in your home and never worry about boredom. You can suspend a swing from a doorway or a ceiling. Or use a self-standing frame. Choose a spinning swing or one that moves back and forth. Once your suspension is installed, you can change swings out as often as needed for a heavy workout or a chill day.
Don’t let the winter get you down. Use your indoor time to be creative and, when you get the chance, go outside for a sensory winter wonderland.