Although it has been a relatively mild winter, I am so excited Spring is here! Longer days, open windows, being outdoors, and gardening are just a few of the things I am looking forward to. Spring is such a great time to get the kids outside and in nature. For our sensory seekers we have such great opportunities to get proprioception, tactile, auditory, visual and vestibular inputs. There are so many benefits to being in nature, getting dirty and spending time playing outside.
Here are just a few ideas to get you going:
Get some proprioceptive input by playing tug-o-war, digging in the dirt, pulling weeds, pulling a wagon, climbing a tree or pushing a wheelbarrow.
Get out on the swings at the park or in the yard, ride a bike or scooter, roll in the grass, run, have a relay race, build an obstacle course or fort, or play ring around the rosy to get some vestibular input and work on motor planning skills.
If you like to garden, sorting and planting seeds are great for fine motor control and tactile discrimination while digging is great for hand and upper body strength.
Flying a kite is a great activity for bilateral coordination and motor planning as well as hand-eye coordination. Take off your shoes, get dirty, play in a mud puddle and feel the grass on your feet!
Go on a scavenger hunt or a hike, go for a walk or bike ride in the preserve or bike path. See how many colors or shapes you can find. Notice the blooming flowers and stop to smell them. Spend some time working on mindfulness and notice as many things about your environment as you can; sounds, smells, sights. Just listening to the birds chirp can help us learn about spatial orientation and auditory localization. Shift your focus inward and note how our bodies feel after riding or walking along a trail. Close your eyes, put your hand on your heart and see what you notice about your own body. Enjoy taking time to be mindful and attentive to ourselves, those around us and our environment.
Take a look at this handout regarding the benefits of being in nature.
Another great article written by an OT. This discusses the benefits of getting out in nature and playing outdoors.
This article talks more about why getting kids into nature matters.