By Maureen Karwowski, OT
We all know that winter time can be brutal for active kids who are stuck inside. I live in Chicago, and the winters can feel endless. I work with children who have sensory needs, and sensory input can be hard to find when you are stuck inside.
Here are some ideas that are safe, fun and require only what you have in your home.
Heavy work and movement play ideas:
- Have a tug of war contest with your child/children using a blanket.
- Have your child crawl across a “mountain” of pillows, and couch cushions.
- Wall push-ups, chair push-ups, wheelbarrow walking, and donkey kicks.
- Jumping in place, hopping or jumping jacks with the red light/green light game.
- Animal walks such as crab walking, bear walking, frog hopping. Play red light/green light with these different walks.
- Log rolling across the room, or over a pile of pillows and blankets.
- Play the “roly poly” game where your child sits on the floor and curls up into a ball, and rocks back and up again.
- Give your child a magic carpet ride. Have them sit or lie in a blanket and pull them around. If you have more than one child, they can help you pull their sibling around.
- Play catch with large, soft objects such as pillows or oversized stuffed animals.
- Have turtle races where the kids are crawling on hands and knees using a large pillow or couch cushion on their backs as a shell.
Messy, Tactile Play Ideas:
Setting up a vinyl shower curtain or a paint tarp can minimize the mess, and allow your child the freedom to fully explore textures. If you have a young child, you can always have them explore textures in the tub.
Here are some ideas:
- Have a car wash with cars, sponges, soap suds and a spray bottle.
- Shaving cream, finger paints and cornstarch mixed with water are all great textures. For more texture ideas click on this link.
- A bin filled with dry tactile textures such as rice, beans, split peas, aquarium rocks and sand are all great options. Hide items for your child to find in the bin for a treasure hunt.
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