All forms of exercise is beneficial for all children. Children with sensory processing disorders, low tone and anxiety disorders gain an additional therapeutic benefit with sensory motor fun activities. Let’s take a look at what kids can do with all that white stuff and how they can benefit.
In the Backyard
Just step outside into your own backyard. Simply walking and running in the snow is a good place to start. Every step requires the child to lift his/her legs higher than usual, thus working those muscle groups harder to take each step.
Angels in the Snow
Have your child lie down in the snow. Encourage them to open and close those arms and legs, move against the resistance of the snow. Be sure to take a picture of their beautiful creation!
Snow Ball Fights
Building snowballs requires packing the snow and pushing it all together providing proprioceptive input. Throwing the snowballs uses the muscle groups of the upper arms and back. Dodging snow balls while running through the high snow is working the lower body. All in all, a good snow ball fight results in great exercise.
Build a Snow Man
Building and packing a snowball then rolling it around the yard to gather more snow to make it bigger requires a lot of muscle work. Then lifting the large snowballs on top of another for the belly and head offers great proprioceptive input. Don’t forget the eyes and nose!
Find a big hill or a little hill that is clear of trees and stray branches. Speeding down a hill on a sled or in a tube is always good fun but it’s great vestibular input! Climbing back up the hill while pulling the sled is added proprioceptive input.
Let your kids help shovel the driveway. Be sure to get a kid’s sized shovel to prevent injury. Every scoop of snow results in a great whole body workout! Extend the offer to elderly neighbors and perhaps the kids can earn a few bucks!
Head to the Mountains
If you are lucky enough to live near a mountain, head to the mountains for load of snowy sensory input. If not near a mountain, find a good community hill.
Snowboarding & Skiing
Snowboarding, downhill skiing and cross-country skiing are great for muscle strengthening, cardiovascular health and balance. The movement while heading downhill provides exhilerating vestibular input. Balancing and shifting on a snowboard and ski’s requires core strength and uses all the muscle groups providing substantial proprioceptive input.
Not everyone can get on a snowboard or skis. Snow tubing is a wonderfully fun alternative. Gliding down a hill in a tube requires a lot of stabilization of the body to balance in the tube. There’s also lots of muscle use and proprioceptive input while using a tow line to get back up to the top.
Get a pair of snow shoes, or make your own and head out for a hike. Snow shoeing is an excellent all around workout. Check out these home made snow shoes made out of sticks and duct tape!
We are knee deep in winter right now. Let’s fight the instinct to hibernate indoors and take advantage of the great winter activities that are available to us. Get outside and have some good old sensory motor fun!