Sensory Experiences with Winter
That time of year is approaching: winter. It’s a time when we want to cozy up indoors like hibernating animals. Instead, bundle up and brave the outdoors for some sensory fun.
Sensory play and experiences are a wonderful way to support the foundations of growth in many areas such as motor, speech, cognitive, and social. And the winter season is full of great opportunities for sensory experiences targeting vestibular, proprioceptive, and tactile input, for example.
Try these sensory winter activities with your child:
Make Snow Angels: First, show your child how to make a snow angel. Then help your child lay down in the snow on his or her back. Help them move their arms and legs up and down to make an angel imprint in the snow. Afterward, you can color in your snow angel. See below about snow painting.
Build a Snowman: Have your child make a mound of snow using a shovel, pail, or even his or her hands. Help give the snowman shape. Dress your snowman using clothing from the family such as a familiar scarf or hat. Use objects such as sticks, carrots, and buttons to give it more facial details.
Go Sledding and Tubing: Have your child help push the sled up a hill before the joyride down. On flatter ground, have your child sit on a sled holding on to rope or a hula hoop as you pull them around; try changing roles and have your child push or pull you if able.
Snow Painting: Take a spray bottle filled with water tinted with food coloring outside and spray it around in the snow. Create snowballs, structures, and sculptures then decorate them.
Snowball Throwing Contest: Make a target using colored water from snow painting (see above) or hang a winter-themed picture (tree, snowflake, stocking, etc.) on the wall of a fence, house, or garage door. Have your child throw the snowballs to see how many hit the picture or target.
Snow Maze: Make a path all over the yard in different directions, creating a maze for your children to follow. If your child needs visual support, spray colored water to mark the path.
Shoveling: Use a child-sized shovel and provide your child with short distances, such as shoveling horizontally across a driveway rather than vertically. You can also adapt this by using a small beach shovel and pail to scoop and pour to fill a bucket up with snow.
Sensory Snow Bin: Bring the snow indoors. Fill up a small bin or cookie sheet with snow. Hide small toys in the snow for your child to find. Build a miniature snowman. Use cookie cutters to create shapes in the snow.
Enjoy the winter weather!
Lucy Lowe, MS, OTR/L