The winter months are full of fun opportunities for children, with plenty of outdoor winter activities available right here in Minnesota.
While many are focused on physical sports, which can be challenging for some children with either physical or mental disabilities, there are ways to adapt typical wintry activities to suit any child.
Plus, there are some sensory-focused activities for kids with disabilities that use the natural bounty of winter to their best advantage. So here are some ideas for you and your child to make the most of the chillier season.
Make the most of the snow
We live in Minnesota because we appreciate the beauty of a Midwest winter, so don’t be afraid of getting out there with your child! Snow provides a new sensory experience, so try making snowballs, tiny snowmen, or snow angels so your child can fully immerse themselves in the snow.
You can also encourage your child to broaden their vocabulary during the activity by naming familiar winter words: cold, ice, snow, snowball, and more.
For creative kids, try mixing food coloring with water so that they can paint in the snow. You’ll need enough color to show up in the snow, so try it out beforehand to ensure it’s the right consistency. Avoid using artificial paints or toxic chemicals, so you don’t affect the natural ecosystem in your area.
Create a fort
Stay warm and cozy with some indoor winter activities for kids. For example, building a fort means having a comfy spot to watch movies, play games, and nap—the world is your child’s oyster!
What’s more, you can also make it sensory-friendly to provide an at-home safe space for your child if they get overwhelmed or need some relaxation. Of course, you know your child’s sensory needs best, so be sure to tailor it to what your kid needs, but some ideas include using:
- Soft fabrics
- Plenty of layers to block out external sounds
- Favorite games, books, and toys
Adapt sledding to suit your child's needs
Regarding winter activities for kids, sledding is usually at the top of the list. Although sledding can be dangerous for any child, it can be especially so if your child has a physical or mental disability that could impair how safely they speed down the hill.
Attaching a rope to the front and pulling your child around on the flat ground is one way to get the same experience but in a safer, more controlled manner.
Organize your own winter “Olympics”
If you want a big event that can integrate with friends or siblings, a winter Olympics can be adapted to fit any level or ability. Encourage the kids to work in teams with games like obstacle courses, snowball fights, and more. You could incorporate other activities above into one big day of winter fun.
Need more advice?
Don’t hesitate to ask Best Care. We have plenty of resources designed to improve life for caregivers and recipients of care. Be sure to follow us on Facebook for more tips and support!