The winter season is in full swing, and we have already had our fair share of snowfall. It may be warmer and more comfortable to stay inside, but the snow is a great tool to improve sensory integration, strength, and fine and gross motor skills. So put your boots on, bundle up, and try some of these fun activities in the snow!
Snowman: Pick up large piles of soft snow with both hands and roll them into small and large circles to make the body and head. Use pieces of food such as raisins and a carrot for the eyes and nose. Use eyedroppers (a fine motor skill) or a spray bottle (to develop upper body strength) and squeeze or spray drops of food coloring on the snowman to give him/her some colorful hair. Be creative and make snow animals too, such as dogs, squirrels, and rabbits. Line up three snowballs to make a worm or caterpillar. To encourage sequencing, organization and executive functioning, plan your snowman step-by-step. Map out the steps on a piece of paper, and check them off as you go.
Snow Hop: Pretend to be an animal such as a bunny rabbit and jump with both feet together across the snow. Jump to a beat to develop rhythm and coordination. For children motivated by competition, organize relay races with other children.
Snow Messages: To reinforce letter formation and strengthen balance, practice writing letters or numbers by dragging your feet through the snow. Write messages such as “Hi Mom” or “I Love Snow.” Later on, you can go to a top floor in your house, admire at your work and photograph it!
Snow Forts: To improve postural control and strengthen the upper body, fill up several big containers with snow. Then empty them upside down. Keep adding to the pile to build the wall of your fort. If there is enough snow, build a few forts and dig some tunnels to travel from fort to fort.
Snowflake catch: To improve visual tracking, look up to the sky and try to catch as many snowflakes as you can on a black piece of construction paper. See if you can make a cool design with them. You can also try to catch snowflakes on your tongue!
Snow Angels: This is a great activity to develop body awareness. Lie on your back in the snow and move your arms and legs up and down to create a snow angel. Try making other snow imprints with your body, such as an airplane, and have others guess what you made.
Snowball maker: The snowball maker is a great toy for making snowballs and improving bilateral coordination. Choose from a variety of colors at http://www.snowsledsdirect.com/slippery-racer-happy-snowball-maker.
By: Rachel Romanoff, OTR/L