Snow, Snow and More Snow-The Joys of Sensory Play Outside

The first snow fell Sunday night into Monday. And, like any child, Michael was ecstatic when he woke up yesterday morning. He asked about building a snowman and was crossing his fingers about having time to play outside at recess. I promised him, regardless, we would do something outside after school. Unfortunately, he did not come home with his snow pants, but we still want to race in a nature park nearby and watch the ducks after our race and walk. Michael loves being outside and so enjoys the snow. He, as well as I, are looking forward to sledding, skating and doing all kinds of activities outside.

For exceptional kids who have many gross and fine motor challenges, being outside can be great to help them build up their muscles. Walking in deep snow or up a hill with their toboggan, skating, building a snowman and making snow angels, all work either the larger limbs of their body (gross motor), and/or hands, fingers and arms, (fine motor) skills ,in a fun way that gets them moving and releasing a lot of pent up energy. When Michael was a baby, being outside was difficult for him. The temperature and the feel of the snow was something weird, though he did enjoy eating snow, and actually, much to my frustration, still does. He also went through a period where he would be outside for ten minutes, then tell me he was tired and wanted to go in. I realize now that was his low muscle tone that had to build up tolerance to movement and coordination. But, as with everything else, once Michael built up that tolerance, did he ever go. Now, he is my little movement machine, loves to be active, and, as a plus, has gotten me to be active too.

Exceptional Parents, do you have trouble getting your little ones outdoors? Are they sensitive to light, cold or not liking to get dressed up in snow gear? Start slowly with small spurts of time outside so your child can build up tolerance to being outside. Do fun things with them. Remember what being a child was all about; making snow angels, building snowmen, running, your cheeks all nice and rosy, sledding. If they see you engaging in fun play with no pressure, they will eventually be curious enough to want to join in. Not sure how to do it? Sure you do. Just be yourself. They will be comfortable with you and eventually be able to be themselves. As always, trust your parent’s gut on how to do this. You know your child. Until next time.

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