6 Classic Outdoor Activities for Children With Autism
Spring has sprung, Memorial Day is almost here. If you have to pick a time of year to get outside, this is it! The weather is pleasant and even when not, you can take advantage of what the great outdoors brings during this gorgeous time of year.
Sounds, sights and feelings are at their peak therapeutic value and all you have to do is step outside. But before you do, lets take a look at my top favorite outdoor spring activities so that you can maximize the time you spend with Mother Nature.
1. Obstacle Course
The great outdoors provides the most awesome of obstacle courses. Jump over a stick, run around a bush, hug a tree and down the slide you go! You really don’t need much in equipment, though it can enhance your obstacle course options. Be creative and let your kids help you set it up
2. Head for the Playground
Who doesn’t love a playground? Well maybe your sensory avoiders, but a playground is a perfect place for kids to work on motor planning, balance, vestibular orientation, confidence and social skills. Though you don’t need to hover, stay close by for safety and to encourage some new heights and skills.
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3. Hide N’ Seek
This game just never gets old. Most people like to play it indoors, but outdoors is great. Little kids just giggle when you find them sticking out behind a tree. You can incorporate counting, turn taking and visual perception.
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4. Treasure Hunt
Make a list and send your kids out to find the items listed. Pine needles, rocks, sticks, leaf and so one can be just a few of the items on the Treasure Hunt list. Or make it a real hunt and place notes in various spots outside. Each note can direct your kids to a new location and at the end you can have a special treasure waiting. You can even download the Geocache app and go hunting for a real hidden treasure with your kids not to far from your own backyard.
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5. Water Therapy
Of course you think I’m referring to a swimming pool, but I’m actually talking about rain! Wait for the rain and send your kids outside. With clothes or swimsuits, it doesn’t matter. Hand them an umbrella or let them just get soaked. Give them buckets to collect water and a broom to slosh it up with. The rain provides a phenomenal sensory integration experience.
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6. Rolling Along
Got wheels? Then your kids are good to go! Bikes, scooters and skateboards encourage balance, motor planning and linear acceleration, all necessary for effective sensory processing. Make sure helmets and pads are worn at all times! Have a reticent roller on your hands? That’s OK. Start out slowly. Try taking the pedals off the bike, lowering the seat so their feet are flat on the ground. Once they learn to walk and glide, you can put the pedals back on and raise the seat.
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Please don’t leave your kids unattended outdoors! An ounce of prevention goes a long way. In addition, make sure their feet are protected with shoes appropriate for the outdoors and they have plenty of sunscreen applied. Have a wonderful time in the great outdoors!