Cold Weather Approaching… Plans for indoor play and regulation Strategies

With the cold weather setting in, all us parents are ramping up for the increased energy of our children that can no longer go outside for very long! We all know that kids, and even adults, are not made to sit still indoors all day no matter how hard it is to keep them entertained. Here are a few ideas that can help to keep your kiddos regulated and happy along with you!

  1. Have a Dance party! Turn up the music, push back the coffee table and turn on that old dance light you have tucked away in your holiday gear. Visual (lights), auditory (sound) and proprioceptive (pressure) needs can all be met in this task!
  2. It might be cold outside but it can be a summer sensory bin indoors! Bring that water table indoors and fill it up with water beads or colored rice and have an out of season underwater play session!
  3. The traditional Fort building for bored children can provide a calming quiet area that children can read books or even take a nap, if we’re lucky! The actual task of building a fort can provide opportunities for heavy work such as carrying the blankets (calming proprioceptive input) and the cognitive problem-solving task of where to hang and put the blankets to construct it has wonderful benefits as well!
  4. Don’t be too quick to count out all the outdoor tasks. Sledding is a great vestibular task that can meet the needs of a child that may like to swing outdoors on sunnier days. It can also provide calming heavy (proprioceptive) input as they walk back up the hill whether they are pulling the sled back or not.
  5. Get your indoor adventure time on with an Animal Rescue!! Hide stuffed animals, weighted beanie babies are perfect, and have your child go find and rescue them! This can help to get them moving in a more motivated fashion while also applying their visual scanning skills and keep them busy for quite few minutes.
  6. Move that outdoor equipment indoors!! If you have a basement or area that can fit a small climbing structure, mini trampoline, slide or rollercoaster from outdoors in, hose it off now and keep the outdoor play going all winter!
  7. Make your own or just play with Playdough! This task can help to strengthen fine motor skill as you use approaching holiday cookie cutters for them to make their own “cookies” to design.
  8. Have a guess the animal Zoo-fari!! Have your child walk like various animals, kangaroo, frog, monkey, elephant etc, and guess what animal they are! This can provide calming pressure as well!
  9. Messy play sensory bins such as “oobleck” which is made out of corn starch and water, can be used for enticing their attention for a long time and providing such a different sensory experience that they couldn’t possibly be bored! Feel free to throw in safe plastic toys for a fun search as well!
  10. Channel your inner Frozen and freeze toys inside a container or ice tray. Fill up old ketchup or mustard containers and fill with warm water to squeeze and melt the toys out


Celeste Roberts, MS OTR/L

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