Indoor snow days, adapting winter sports and enjoying community activities are just a few ways your family can have fun this winter.
Here are our favourite inclusive tips for getting through this last leg of winter.
Bring the outside in
Using a large storage bin or the bathtub, bring the snow indoors. Playing in the snow is a great sensory activity. You can also use food colouring to make it even more interesting. Visit our Sensory Board on Pinterest for more indoor winter sensory fun.
Make some magic with balloon snow marbles
Fill balloons with coloured water and freeze them (either outside or in your freezer). Once they’re frozen, pull off the balloon to create a big beautiful marble that kids can play with in a bin, sink or the bath. Check out this great YouTube video for instructions.
Build a cool fort
Let their imaginations run wild and use pillows, cushions and blankets around a couch or table to create a perfect hideaway for their afternoon snack or quiet time. Creating tunnels that your child can crawl through can help them practice weight-bearing exercises and gross motor activity. Check out these great fort ideas!
Arts and crafts
Cold, snowy days are the perfect inspiration to encourage your child’s artistic side. Bring the snow inside by making paper snowflakes and hanging them from windows or ceilings for a winter wonderland. Snowflakes can be personalized and your child can tell you how big or small to they would like them, or if capable, cut the wholes the appropriate size. You can also make Play-Doh snowmen. Tip: add some glitter to the Play-Doh for that snowy sparkle and extra sensory stimuli!
Look for winter activities in your community
Check your local municipality activity guide for adapted programs and winter activities. Many municipalities can provide additional support to general programs (upon request) and also offer a great variety of regular adapted programming, such as cooking, swimming and art classes. Some even offer adapted sports like wheelchair basketball or sledge hockey. Here are the links to the municipal recreation guides.
Many ski hills offer an adapted skiing program through the Canadian Association for Disabled Skiing (CADS). Participants can be seated in a sit-ski and guided by one or two instructors/support skiers. Skiing is a great way to build core strength while providing a sense of accomplishment in sport. Local ski clubs that have CADS or adaptive ski programs are Blue Mountain, Snow Valley in Barrie and Horseshoe Resort in Craighurst. Inquire at your local ski hill if they have adaptive ski programs.
Skating, sledges and even sledge hockey
Skating is one of Canadian’s favourite pastimes during the winter months, and can be adapted for those who need support. Sledges are a sled that is outfitted with blades. Kids sit on the sledge and can push themselves with sticks. Many local community arenas allow for stands, chairs or walkers to be used on the ice for those who need extra support. Though metal frames can be pushed easily around the ice, they can be slippery, so make sure there are some rubber grips on the bottom. Contact your local municipality about accessibility of local arenas and ice times. Be sure to check out events calendar for all upcoming sledge hockey events in your community.
We hope you enjoy some family winter fun!
This post was written by Kelly Lapham, Recreation Therapist, Children's Treatment Network and /York Support Services Network.