Balanced and Barefoot
This is a great read to get parents excited about sending their kids outdoors. It reminds us of how we used to play from morning until night outside and how valuable that was! I used this book most recently to teach occupational therapy students about the benefits of outdoor play and decided that our Home from School time is the perfect time to put this into practice for our family. We totally love outside time already, but now we can fully embrace the wonderful learning opportunities offered in the great outdoors!
Here are just a few benefits, from just one activity we started this week – Fort Making!
Executive Functioning – (planning, problem solving)
For a few weeks, G has been begging to build a fort. I wanted to empower her to come up with the idea on her own, so with some “help” from C, they drew up a plan. I worked with their elaborate drawing to explain what I could do to help. We modified the plan to finding at least 10 big sticks and tying them together at the top, then it was up to them to add all of their details.
So today we set out to find the “10 big sticks”. We have this awesome pile of branches just beyond our fence, so I climbed over and passed them to the kiddos. They lugged them from one side of the yard to the other. We raked the area to make it clear for the fort. We then began to lean the sticks against one another, and the other trees in the space we selected.
We grabbed some twine began to wrap and tie the branches in place, this is where we stopped for the day.
But the kids were so proud to see there vision starting to come to life!
Being outside altogether provides neutral calming and regulating sensations for the body –
Auditory – breeze, birds chirping, yells of triumph as we found the perfect sticks!
Visual – neutral, calming colors of green, blue and brown. Our pile of gathered sticks turning into a creation!
Muscle work – gathering, climbing, lifting, carrying, raking
Outdoor recess is our favorite and we have it scheduled for 2 hours today. Our second recess actually ended up going for about two hours and continued on even as it rain! Adding another exciting sensory element. I will continue to share more about the wonderful benefits of being outdoors!
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