Is it STILL winter?
The holidays and winter months can leave us feeling many things – some people are tired and burnt out and others are relaxed and excited for things to come. After the rush of the holiday season, parents can feel a bit stir-crazy when stuck at home with kids on cold days. Parents of children with Autism may feel this to a greater degree. But, no matter the season, there are lots of ways to shake the cabin fever and give the kids something to look forward to. Here are some winter sensory-friendly activities and strategies you can use to help beat the winter blues, break up the monotony of school and the schedule ABA therapy, and pass the time until warmer days are upon us again!
1. Sensory-Friendly Events
The Metro Detroit area offers great sensory friendly events for children who prefer quiet, less crowded locations and need an inclusive environment.
- See a Movie – Emagine Theaters hosts Sensory Friendly Movies every Saturday morning at all Metro Detroit locations.
- Enjoy a Sensory-Friendly Sunday – Chuck E. Cheeses in Sterling Heights and Canton open early and host “Sensory Sensitive Sundays” with dimmed lighting, minimal noise and fewer guests.
- Play Together – The “Play-Place” in Sterling Heights offers an inclusive environment designed for kids on the Autism Spectrum. With everything from a Haircut Hut to Teen Nights, you will be sure to find an inclusive, budget-friendly, enjoyable afternoon out of the house!
2. At-Home Activities
If the cold keeps you inside, there are plenty of activities you can do right at home with your children.
- Sensory Bottles – Shake things up by making some Homemade Sensory Bottles. Many of these sensory bottles can be made using items you may already have at your house. Have fun creating something that will meet sensory needs and look awesome!
- Make Cozy Memories – Change up your scenery by building a blanket fort in the living room to cuddle up and enjoy a movie, some tablet time, or a favorite snack
- Get Creative Together – Try making Homemade Play-Doh and have a snowman building contest. The possibilities are endless!
3. Outside Activities
While we would prefer to stay cozy and warm, getting outside is still important for mental and physical health, especially in the winter where we’re less inclined to do so! Here are some way to take a break outside and make the most of winter:
- Take a Break – Try taking some sensory breaks outside and exploring the sights and sounds of your backyard or neighborhood.
- Make Snow Angels – Join your children on their level for a fun snow angel making contest. You can even use pinecones, stones and twigs to decorate each angel!
- Go Sledding – Get your steps in and allow your child some fun winter sensory time while you pull them around on a sled.
- Take a Winter Walk & Do a Scavenger Hunt – Find a new metro park or walking trail where you can go explore on a winter walk together. Take advantage of the days with a slightly higher temp and less wind. While you’re at it, turn your walk into a Winter Scavenger Hunt that can be fun for the whole family!
Remember, while winter seems long, it really is only a short couple of months. And in those short months, there are plenty of memories to be made. Make the most of these winter sensory-friendly activities and hang in there…spring is on the way!
For more information or answers about your child or Judson Center Autism Connections contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-866-558-3766.
By Sarah Waineo, MA, BCBA, LBA