Springtime means that it’s time to get outside. It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, everywhere you look; there are trees and flowers blooming and growing, just like your little one. Raising a child with additional needs often means that you may have to modify the environment or the activity, to make it accessible to your child. The colorful landscape, and endless outdoor experiences, offer any family a great opportunity for storytelling, imaginative play, and new experiences.
Sensory garden activities
The mild weather and longer days are perfect for gardening activities. Some activities such as digging, planting, or weeding offer some great opportunities for fine motor developmental, upper extremity muscle strength, and motor planning. Your child can help with watering plants, bushes, and flowers. There are so many ways to water the plants. One can use a hose, a watering can, a plastic water bottle or using a cup and a pail of water. Either way, your child will be thrilled to witness the changes over time, just from their watering. They’ll also be proud to be ‘your helper’. If your child is a bit older, this is a great time for them to participate in outdoor experiments or art projects that are just too messy to do inside.
One of my favorite outdoor activities includes a water sensory table with a theme (such as small plastic animals, shapes, or colorful ping pong balls). Another great sensory activity for all ages is simply standing a piece of plexiglass up against the house. Your child can be sitting, in supported sitting or standing, or standing independently. Spray shaving cream on the plexiglass, let your child create a masterpiece, rinse, and repeat.
Every nature walk outside can be a visual extravaganza
Every nature walk outside can be a visual extravaganza. The colors everywhere, the abundance of different hues of green, the people that are out and about around. These all create some pretty neat things to look at, talk about, draw, or to visually track. Each experience, be they tactile, auditory, or visual creates an empty canvas for you and your child to design. The more they experience, the greater their memories and feelings on which to build upon.
Experiencing nature at its best is low cost, convenient, and so exciting
Experiencing nature at its best is low cost, convenient, and so exciting. As a caretaker, here are simple things to consider during this season. What brings you joy outside? Is there any equipment you need to help your child experience the outdoors? What’s your child’s favorite activity to do outdoors? Is there one novel experience that you can share with your child this season? Spring: To leap, jump or move forward. How will you help your child leap, or move forward into this season?