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December 5, 2023

Spring Is Coming! Outdoor Activities for Children with Special Needs

With Spring and warm weather soon approaching, our kiddos will begin to spend more and more time outside to play. There are playgrounds, parks, bikes, and more! As fun as the spring and summer seasons can be, outdoor play and outings can be stressful for families with children who have diverse needs. Sometimes, our children have difficulties trying new things, ending fun activities to go inside, and playing appropriately. Navigating these situations, specifically transitions, can sometimes be difficult and frustrating for parents. Below is a strategy that can be used to make those transitions go more smoothly as the days get longer.

Timers: The use of a timer is a great way to help smooth out the transition from outside to inside. There are many visual timers available for cell phones that can be used, sand timers, kitchen timers, etc. This will help your child understand and visualize when one activity is complete. They can see the passing of time.

  1. When you go outside, remind your child that they have X amount of time to play and then it’s time to______. (have a snack, go inside, play with ____)
  2. Show them the timer and even let them start it.
  3. Have the timer in a spot where the child can see it.
  4. As the time counts down, give verbal reminders (i.e. 10, 5, 1 more minute).
  5. When the time is done, allow the child to turn it off.
  6. When first starting this, transition to another fun activity inside (i.e. special toys, snack time, watch a favorite show, etc.).

Following these simple steps will allow you and your child to enjoy spending time outdoors this Spring!

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