Take Therapy Outside With These Fun, Wintertime Activities!
We’re in the middle of the snow and cold here in the Midwest and while our first thought isn’t, “Let’s get outside!”, a midday break from the indoor monotony and some outside play can be just what we need!
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For kids stuck inside in the winter months, an outdoor adventure is an exciting change of pace. And for those kids with sensory and/or OT, PT challenges and other regulation needs, a snow covered backyard provides so many system supporting, super engaging and down-right fun activities!
So let’s go!
Get Ready For Outside Play!
Any time spent outside in chilly temps and mounds of snow will take a bit of prep. Be sure kiddos have the right gear!
Waterproof boots, gloves, snow pants and warm coats will allow your outside play sessions to last longer than 10 minutes and for the kids to be able to focus on the play and not the cold.
Also, a quick spin through the kitchen, pantry and play room will provide all the tools you’ll need!
Choose Your Activity!
Shoveling snow, and other heavy work activities, can support proprioceptive input, calm the body and provide an opportunity for focus.
Snow coloring is a creative, fun activity that takes outdoor play to another level!
Grab some food dye, a spray bottle, old medicine dropper and maybe that turkey baster that only gets used once a year and practice those fine motor skills!
Build A Snowman
A tried and true wintertime activity, building your own snowman can be so much than just playing in the snow!
The planning and building of a snow buddy allows kids to practice their executive functioning, fine and gross motor skills and, if they’re with siblings or friends, some great cooperation work!
Winter Bird Feeder
Help feed our feathered friends through the winter by crafting a bird feeder for the backyard! This easy, kid-friendly craft uses those fine motor muscles and allows kids to plan and organize as they go.
Sensory Snow Bins
Sensory bins are a great indoor activity but they can easily become outside play too! Grab a small plastic tote, or even a good sized Tupperware, a few of the kid’s favorite animal toys and head out to create a winter jungle.
Encourage kids to dig rivers, build small mountains, bury rocks, organize their animals – let their imagination, and sensory needs, lead the way!
Winter Animal Walk
For kids who need that big sensory input, animal walking is a great way to support those needs and have a blast at the same time! Put a winter spin on it and have the kiddos discuss and show how WINTER animals walk and move.
Practice the ways polar bears might climb over a snow hill. Show each other how penguins waddle to the water. Mimic the way a snow leopard would run through the woods. Let your inner animal run wild!
Winter Scavenger Hunt
A simple winter walk can become magical when we engage all the senses! A winter scavenger hunt gives kids the chance to slow down their bodies, focus their attention and organize their thinking.
Print out your scavenger list and head out into the winter world!
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With a bit of planning and the right gear, getting out into the snow is a super fun, totally engaging and fully sensory supportive activity!
Make the most of the winter months and get outside!