Why you should be taking your next sensory play activity outdoors
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Summer is the perfect time to take sensory play outside! Not only does it provide a change of scenery, but it also allows children to connect with nature and engage in sensory experiences that can't be replicated indoors. Taking sensory play outside can also be a great way to take the stress and mess out of sensory play. Sensory play outdoors can look so many different ways, whether it's traditional sensory bins, full mud kitchens or using our environment to stimulate a variety of senses by just being outdoors! In this blog post, we'll share Tips for taking sensory play outside to make it a successful and enjoyable experience for both you and your little ones. Lastly, you can check out our full list of sensory play ideas outdoors!
Sensory Play Outdoors Can Be Simple!
Being outdoors innately provides a unique sensory experience for young children. Experiencing the feelings of grass, uneven ground, and the weather. Observing a new environment that may contain unknown plants, birds or small creatures. Being outside also provides an opportunity for taking in all new smells and provides sensory exploration without any added materials, or preparation. Going outside alone provides a sensory exploration, unlike any other opportunity. If you want to take it to the next level you can provide sensory play experiences in the outdoors to remove the stress of inside sensory play!
Did you know: Rolling down a grassy hill can be a form of sensory play. It triggers your vestibular senes and can be a great way to experience sensory play without any mess or any preparation
Take the Mess Outside
Taking messy sensory play outdoors allows everyone to have a bit more fun without as much worry about spreading the mess to every corner of your home. Outdoors is the perfect opportunity to test out any new messy sensory activities. Try taking your favourite rice bin or sandbox play outside to worry less about spillage. Taking water play outdoors allows means less worry about splashing! To make it easier to transport and store sensory bin materials outdoors check out this sensory bin with a lid! The lidded bin allows you to take your sensory play inside or outside depending on the day. It will also protect your materials from the elements if you choose to store them outdoors!
Taking specific sensory outside can require a bit of preparation. Having a strategy for the clean-up can make a big difference when it comes time to go back inside. Try preparing a bucket or bowl of soapy water to wash hands outside before coming in, if you anticipate your child will get wet in the activity, have a towel or dry clothes prepared by the door to avoid tracking water inside. Many messes can be avoided with a simple rinse of the garden hose as well, so planning to do the activity within reach of the hose can make a big difference. Skin is also the easiest to clean so don't be afraid to let your little one strip down or wear a swimsuit (if your climate and outdoor space allow it) to avoid damaging or dirtying lots of clothes. Waterproof suits and other gear can aid in staying dry and clean if it's not warm enough to be stripped down!
Try New Sensory Experiences
The outdoors provides a great opportunity to try out new types of sensory play! Trying something new outside allows you to be more flexible without fear of ruining your new dining room table with coloured water, or worrying about how slippery the soap foam might be if it gets on your hardwood floors.
Taking sensory play outside can provide children with endless opportunities to engage with their senses and explore the world around them. By following the simple tips outlined in this post, parents and caregivers can create safe, fun, and educational outdoor sensory play experiences for their little ones. Whether it's playing with water, sand, or natural materials, the possibilities are truly limitless. So, get outside, get creative, and watch as your child's imagination and curiosity come to life!