Spring = Sensory Fulfillment

All winter we wait for it.  We long for the day that the weather begins to change.  The day that we can shed the winter coats, the hats, the gloves and explore the great outdoors for all that it has to offer!
Sure, winter has it’s moments.  We sled, shovel, trounce through the snow.  But, opportunities are limited.  Some days it’s too cold for me.  Some days it’s too cold for my seeker.

But now… Well now it’s different.  Now it’s cool, not cold.  There is so much adventure awaiting… so many needs to be met.  So, here’s a few of the ways that we meet them around here!

We have projects around our house – doesn’t everybody?!  I try to include my guys in as many of these projects as I can.  For example – recently we did this:

It was a ton of work and a ton of fun!  We have clay soil that is nearly impossible to dig when dry.  So we patiently awaited a drizzly day after a day of rain.  They boys helped me dig and move dirt and grass.  They witness relocated worms to the flower bed.  They helped me sort the pavers by color and made sure that we alternated them correctly.  What can be more sensory than playing in the mud, with worms, in the rain!
We also recently stained the mailbox.  The boys got to trim the grass around the bottom of the mailbox with scissors.  Then they got to help paint on the stain.  We got busy with some sidewalk chalk and bike rides while we waited for the stain to dry – gotta do something with that free time!
We also spend a lot of our days at the Metroparks.  We are fortunate enough to live very close to MANY parks in our area.  All of them are full of a multitude of trees, a variety of bugs, a fortitude of sounds and vast lands to explore.  Many of these lands also include some type of water.  So we adventure in every way that we can.
We walk long distances.  They boys choose the paths to follow.  It really helps to cut down on the fussing that sometimes comes with a long walk.  They are interested in following the route they have chosen because it belongs to them.  We are ok with the walk lasting 15 minutes or 2 hours.  We have found that if they’ve somehow chosen the shortest path that they will often choose another because they long for the adventure!  Along the way we run, walk, skip, do jumping jacks, balance on logs, look for animal tracks, follow bugs and find perfect flowers for lingering bumble bees. 
We are also lucky enough to live just a few short miles from the zoo.  We keep a membership handy and it’s so fun to hear the boys ask/beg to go to the zoo upon waking up early on a Saturday morning!  We pack up a picnic lunch, grab the camera and head out.
We walk the entire zoo.  The boys get to pick the paths we take and the animals we see.  Sometimes we see them all, sometimes we go to just a few areas.  They get experience with reading a map.  They get to hang at Nature’s Neighborhood (a great, kid-friendly place in the middle of the zoo!) where they explore face painting, climbing on spiderwebs, being bumblebees in a hive, playing in a stream and climbing on a playstructure.
Our gem of gems lies in my in-laws cabin in northern Michigan.  Here the boys just get to be boys on 10 acres of land.  They explore the woods with us.  We look for animal tracks, climb over rocks and logs, venture across hills and valleys and eventually find our way back to the cabin.  They play in the sand, they make mud.  They help build fires and carry over wood from the wood pile (inconveniently located across the yard from the fire pit!).  They play on the ropes course that Papa made for them:
And, at the end of the day, we toast marshmellows by the fire and make s’mores (can’t get much more tactile than s’mores!). 
Of course these are not everyday happenings around our house.  Though my son is a sensory seeker, I am not!  I would be exhausted beyond repair if we did this EVERYDAY!  These events do happen at least once a week, though.  It helps both of my boys sleep better at night.  It keeps my son with SPD in a much happier place.  He has fewer emotional meltdowns (unless we’ve done too much), he is calmer and is able to better share his ideas. 
And, throughout the week we have plenty of other things to keep us busy.  We jump on the trampoline, play on the jungle gym, go to the park and climb their equipment, ride our bikes around the bike path, go to the park and climb on their equipment, take up a game of t-ball or soccer in the backyard, go to the park and climb on their equipment… well, you get the idea!  The biggest thing that keeps it all going is that we’re all involved – we’re in it together.
I won’t say that it’s easy to keep up with a sensory diet.  Goodness knows that some days I’d rather prop my feet on the couch and drink my Sobe while reading a book or surfing the web.  But I find that my days and the days of my boys are so much easier when we all get up and get moving. 
Sooooo… Take a bit of advice from ck and say “YES” to helping out your kiddos.  It really will make your job as a parent so much easier!!
Head on over to the SPD Blogger Network to find more great parents with fabulous ideas to meet your child’s sensory needs this summer!!  And, feel free to leave me some of your ideas on what works for your kiddo!
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About Brotherly Love

I am a mom, partner, teacher and a lover of life. I have two fabulous boys who define my life as I know it. One of my children has been diagnosed with a sensory processing disorder, Asperger's and anxiety disorder. I blog as much about him as I do about my life and the lives of my immediate family.
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3 Responses to Spring = Sensory Fulfillment

  1. Tiffany says:

    We love all of that too!!! Which park were you at with the water?

  2. Heather B says:

    Tiffany we were at Harroun Park near St. Joe's – it's nice and shallow through most of that area so we could walk around in the water, find dragonflies, hunt for toads and crawdads, etc. It's the best time!!!! Next time we go we have to remember a net!

  3. Kris says:

    I have a sensory seeker with SPD too and although it can be hard and tiring keeping up with his sensory diet, I have found that if I don't, I really pay for it!! We do many of the same things you do, with walking and swinging being the 2 activities that work best for him.

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