For much of the northern hemisphere, flipping the calendars over to the month of January puts us smack in the middle of winter — complete with ice, sleet, cold temperatures, and of course — snow. If you’re lucky enough to live in a climate where the white stuff flies, you have all you need for a multi-sensory field day.
Ready for some fun in the snow? Then come on over and join me and the Little Miss for our top list of sensory snow ideas!
OK… so the beach is frozen solid (and probably so covered with zebra mussel shells that no one would want to go there anyhow). But you can still make castles — all you need is a bucket and some snow!
Making snow castles (or “snow forts” — for the older ones) engages a couple senses at the same time. First, there is the feel of the cold snow through your mittens — and don’t forget the proprioceptive input from packing snow into the bucket! Carrying the buckets of packed snow also influences that proprioceptive sense — especially if you’ve got the heavy, wet stuff.
Finished with the snow castle? Then drag out the old sled for some fantastic vestibular input! Even if you don’t have a hill, riding a sled “cross country style” requires balance and works those muscles in the core. Kids can also take turns pulling each other on the sled to add in a classic dose of “heavy work” for the proprioceptive sense. If your sensory kiddo is an only child (or if siblings are too big to take turns pulling the sled), you can also mound up snow in the sled to add a more appropriate amount of weight and resistance!
Snow Spray Paint
We’ve hit three of the senses already with our snow day play — what about a little fun for the sense of sight? Snow is a wonderful, pure, blank canvas that just begs for color — and you can add it easily with just a cheap spray bottle, some water, and a little food coloring. We picked up spray bottles in the Health section at Wal*Mart for less than $1.00, added 6-7 drops of food coloring, filled the bottles with water and were off!
Not only did Little Miss get some great fine motor work out of operating the spray bottle, but we also had the most colorful snow castle on the block!
If you’ve got a frozen nose and toes by this time, you’re probably not alone. In our opinion the two best ways to warm up after an afternoon in the snow are also sensory delights. For the sense of taste, nothing beats a warm mug of hot chocolate — or if you need something a little more intense to unfreeze those toes, how about a nice bath with some lavender bath soap? Whether you choose to indulge your sense of taste (hot chocolate) or smell (lavender bath) — or both — you’ve got the perfect finish to a sensational day!