A day at home, in and out of the snow, can be a great opportunity to work on your child’s goals and just have some fun! There are so many benefits to being outside, any time of the year. Get a break from screen time, get creative, build problem solving skills and play skills and more!

Although for us parents, putting on all that gear for a quick run outside is exhausting, it is a great way for the kids to work on dressing.

Once you’re outside :

  • shoveling can be great for getting proprioception, increasing upper extremity strength and bilateral control, even crossing midline. Have an older kiddo? They can offer to help shovel out some neighbors too!

  • Building a snow man is great for strengthening, motor planning, bilateral coordination, body awareness and more

  • Snow angels – bilateral control, coordination and body awareness. You can even call out specific limbs or combination of limbs for the child to move . i.e.; “arms”, “legs”, “right arm and right leg”, “left arm and left leg”, ” left arm, right leg”, right arm, left leg” etc

  • Make snow balls – this is a great activity for bilateral hand skills, practicing the ability to grade force and more. Have you ever seen these? Snowball makers are great for bilateral skills and can ease frustration associated with making snowballs (My kids are a bit young to make them but my 4 year old likes the snowball maker) You can get them on Amazon, puck up at Michael’s, Dick’s Sporting goods and many other places.

  • Target practice – throwing snow balls – great ways to practice projected action sequences, hand-eye coordination and more. Use a still target like a tree, or try a moving target like Mom, Dad, or a sibling ! You can also hold a hula hoop or other object for your child to aim for, then try moving it slowly up and down or left to right.

  • Pulling a sled – sledding works on postural control, provides great vestibular input and can also be great strengthening and heavy work (proprioception) when pulling a sibling or friend.

  • Bring the snow inside! – use a muffin tin or cookie tray or other container. scoop snow onto it and let them play. Use measuring spoons, droppers, paintbrushes. You can paint the snow with water colors or tie dye it with colored water/food coloring. Get creative and messy. Have a Mr Potato Head? make a snow potato and use their parts to make faces. build in the “clouds” , hide animals in the snow, build with magna-tiles and make castles in the clouds.

And after all that work outside, come in and warm up! My kids’ favorite is hot cocoa. Many mixes and recipes are full of sugar and other harmful ingredients. A recipe that is a fan favorite in our house is:

  • Oat milk (or any other milk you prefer – almond, cashew, hemp, cow’s milk, goat etc)

  • Organic Cocoa powder – add this to taste. I usually start with 2 tablespoons.

  • 1-2 tablespoons of organic maple syrup (Costco has organic maple syrup at a decent price)

  • Cinnamon

  • Collagen – vital proteins & primal kitchen are two brands that have a good quality product. This will make it a little thicker – which is great – especially with thinner milks such as almond milk

  • optional-add-ins: turmeric, coconut, vanilla, ginger, cardamom.

Enjoy the many ways play can benefit us and our kids this Winter!