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The W Word…

“Lets… go… for… a… WALK!”

As we continue to navigate our third Covid-19 lockdown, you might be really noticing the differences between adapting to the restrictions in the summer, compared to where we are now in the winter.

Even in lower temperatures it is SO beneficial to get outside, move around, and be in nature – though it may be less appealing in the wet and cold!

Lots of families report that as this lockdown has progressed, mention of going for a walk (the ‘W Word’!) might be met by children covering their ears or burying themselves under a blanket and refusing to get out of the warmth!…

Outdoor activities are really important for our physical and mental health – especially going for a walk. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that it might be difficult for all of us (adults and children alike!) when it feels like it is the only thing that we can do. 

It can be really helpful to think of some ways to create novelty and excitement to get outdoors – without mentioning the W Word – so here are some ideas to think about to get you all out exploring enthusiastically! 

? Outdoor Picnic 

Heading out with a flask of hot chocolate and some marshmallows and choosing just the right spot can be the perfect adventure! Eating and drinking outside can be such an enriched sensory experience – can you hear birds? The wind? What can you see? What can you smell?

Set Up a Mud Pie Kitchen 

Set off with some old pots, pans and spatulas in a backpack to your nearest woods and see if you can find some magical ingredients to bake some mud pies! This gives lots of opportunity for mixing, lifting and transferring which is a really sensory-rich experience. Take a washbag to throw them all in when you’re done. Ideally, your child would have their own backpack – this helps with body awareness by helping to activate muscles – this is calming and organising!

?Rock Tower Challenge 

Head out and explore how many big rocks you can find. See how big of a tower you can make – can you make a bigger one than last time!? Moving heavy rocks helps to provide lots of proprioceptive sensory input which is calming and organising, and building towers helps with problem-solving and concentration skills!

⛺️ Make a Den 

Try and find somewhere with lots of trees and see if you can make a den for yourselves. If there aren’t many branches available, then why not make one for a mouse or little animal?! Planning and organising the den helps with sequencing skills, and this is a great game to help your child to notice details – what is around them that they could use?!

Make a Bird Feeder 

Why not make some food for the birds over winter – you could go out and put these in your own garden, or somewhere communal! CBBC has some great ideas from the RSPB – https://www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies/makes/bird-feeder

Nature Art

Use flowers, stones, leaves, pinecones, twigs – anything you can get your hands on to create some nature art. You could do this by making the art on the ground, or you could even use an Ikea box frame to keep the 3D nature art (as long as its dry!). You could update this every month or so as you visit different places! Art is a great creative activity, which can help with concentration, focus, sensory discrimination – and provides a great way to explore and express yourself! There are lots of ideas on this website – https://artfulparent.com/nature-art-for-kids/

Give these a try and let us know how you get on – all this outdoor fun without the W Word!

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