Posts tagged ‘Outdoor Activities’

Geocaching

Logo_Geocaching_Horiz_MuddyBootBrown

 

 

Geocaching is a great way to get the whole family working together for a common goal, get active and have fun at the same time. Think of it as a hiking scavenger hunt. First, you log on to www.geocaching.com and choose a geocache to search for. Next, use your GPS (or GPS enabled phone) to navigate to the location. A geocache (or cache) is a container that holds a log book to track the people who have found it in the past as well as small treasures or trinkets that you may take as a memento of your find. Then you leave a treasure for the next person and replace the cache just as you found it. Congratulations, you’re a geocacher!

 

So, why geocaching? While some children with decreased endurance and muscle tone may hesitate to go on a hike for the sake of hiking, they may be more engaged in a treasure hunt. Because the website gives valuable information regarding difficulty of the terrain, length of the hike, and size of the cache, you can tailor your family’s outing to the time you have available and the endurance levels of your family members. The website also provides a hint as to where the item is hidden (e.g. look near the fence). Beyond the physical benefits of exercise, research has shown that children with ADHD and autism spectrum disorders, as well as typically developing children benefit from exercise with regard to increasing attention and on-task behaviors and decreasing maladaptive behaviors. An activity like geocaching can provide the physical outlet and sensory input that your child needs, while giving the whole family an opportunity to participate in a fun bonding activity together.

 

Check out a short video about geocaching here, or jump right into searching for your first cache! Have fun!

 

Water Games to Support Sensory Diets

Summer is the perfect time to use water games to support your child’s sensory diet. Most water games primarily provide proprioceptive input, which is often calming and organizing in nature. Activities that involve lifting, pushing, pulling, dragging, squeezing or crashing all provide proprioceptive input. However, if your child has tactile sensitivities, they may find small water droplets to be alarming, uncomfortable or even unbearable. Let your child explore water games on their own terms and be flexible with the rules and expectations.

  • Play catch with water balloons. After each catch, have each person take a step backwards.waterballoon
  • Make a water obstacle course. Set up obstacles for your child to go over, under, around, etc., but increase the challenge (and fun) by having him carry a cup of water through the course to dump into a bucket on the other side. Continue until the bucket is full.
  • Have a pool? Blow up a dozen or so balloons and place them in the shallow end of the pool. Have your child compete against a sibling, friend, or their own best record to see how many balloons they can grab and hold under their bodies in 30 seconds. (When you’re done, make sure to clean up any broken balloon pieces.)
  • Car washing sponges are a great way to add some weight to a scavenger hunt. Have your child fill a sponge with water and hunt for objects you have hidden in the back yard. When she finds an object, she should “tag” it by squeezing out the sponge and soaking the object, then head back to fill the sponge again.
  • Print out pictures of monsters, cartoon villains, or another character your child is interested in. Hang them from trees or a fence (try weighting them down by taping a clothespin to the back so they don’t blow too much in the breeze). Have your child use a water blaster to take aim and soak all of the “bad guys”. The tube-shaped water blasters that squirt water out by pushing a handle are great for this.

Making Time for Play

Between soccer practice, karate, homework, therapies, PPT meetings, family commitments, home exercise programs, sensory diets and swim lessons, are you feeling like every waking moment is scheduled? It can be hard, but try to find a few minutes to play just for fun. Give your child a break from critique of their grasp patterns, articulation or other therapy objectives, get down on the floor or go outside together (without technology!) and just play. Feeling stuck for ideas?

Here’s a list of 75+ quick and easy activities to play, from Parenting Magazine.

Another great resource is Unplugged Play by Bobbi Conner. This book is full of 710 screen-free, cord-free, developmentally appropriate and fun activities for toddlers, preschoolers and elementary school aged children.

Have FUN!