Fun Outdoor Sensory Activities for Spring and Summer
Seasonal sensory activities allow your child to have a great time while learning outside. There are some fantastic sensory playground-type activities for your child to do that will use their muscles and make their sensations sing. Whether your child is an over responder or under responder, these ideas are sure to help you both enjoy spring and summer this year.
1. Wheel Around
Skates, bicycles, or scooters are all fantastic for children to develop lower extremity control, strengthen their core and improve their balance. These basic machines for kids will also help your child learn directional skills. Make sure you grab one, along with your knee pads, elbow pads, and helmet, and find a park with plenty of room to zoom. Remember to monitor your child's experience so it is a safe and enjoyable time for both of you.
2. Outdoor Work
If your child has sensory processing disorders, heavy, hard work is typically the perfect chore for them to engage with. This type of work is age-dependent, especially mowing the lawn. If your child is too young, pretending to mow is an option. Other work can include taking out the garbage, watering plants, sweeping, picking up leaves, or raking. These activities will provide all the heavy work their body craves when done with safe practices and supervision. Think of activities that include words such as: pushing, pulling, lifting, and carrying.
3. Play Ball
Playing ball outside is an excellent way to build eye-to-hand coordination. Use a ball or a frisbee and find some yard area large enough to allow some decent throwing. Juggling scarves or using an exercise ball with Yoga cards are other great spring and summer sensory activities for you and your child to enjoy. Other types of ball games could be a game of kickball or use a noodle to hit a beachball back and forth.
4. Obstacle Course
An obstacle course is a great spring and summer activity. You can create a course with crash mats, balance beams, rocker boards, or squeaky spots and make it a straight line or a circular. You can even change it around if your child becomes comfortable and you know they are ready for a change. If your child feels uncertain about completing the course, hold their hand a few times through until they are able to complete it independently.
5. Water Therapy
There is nothing better than playing in the water on a warm or hot summer day. You can use your garden hose, or grab some water squirters and encourage your child to wash the driveway or maybe your car. This time would also be great for watering outside plants.
Other water sensory activities for your child this summer could be catching rainwater in a bucket, looking for fish in nearby lakes or creeks. If they are comfortable with water, then swimming is a fantastic activity, or even wading along the shoreline.
6. A Hike in the Woods
Family hikes can be enormously fun for the whole family. If you have a park nearby or a section of wooded area, the whole family can get together out in the fresh air. Do some skipping, walking, and best of all, bonding. This walk into the woods can include a lunch, and make sure you take water so no one gets uncomfortable during your hike. While you are in the woods have your child look for animals, signs of animals, and plants. Talk to them about the different smells and sounds they are experiencing, and make it a great adventure.
7. Multisensory Activities
Combining more than one sense into an activity is a great way to teach a child’s body how to handle all the extra sensations. For example, use music in the background while completing a water-based activity, or combine that with brightly colored toys in the water for extra visual input. When we combine our senses into activities, it makes us better learners.
Where Can I Learn More About Sensory Activities for my Child?
ABA Pathways is dedicated to helping your child and your whole family find a path towards a brighter future. Our optimal treatment plans are designed to meet your child's unique needs, and with our holistic programs, we help your child grow in communication skills with appropriate social behavior. If you have questions on how to provide sensory activities for your child, contact one of our specialists, such as an occupational therapist. Learn about the many services we offer to help your child and you through their development.