4 Indoor Winter Movement Ideas
Occupational Therapist and Wolf School co-founder, Lise Gerard Faulise, MS, OTR/L, BCP, shares 4 ideas to help keep your child moving indoors during the winter months! Check them out below!
The sun is setting earlier. The temperature is dipping lower and lower. You can’t go to the mailbox without long underwear, wool socks, and a parka. Soon it will happen – the familiar pattern of winter blues and fatigue will settle into your child because going outside for movement is no longer an option. This seasonal funk is what happens when Complex Learners struggle to get the sensory input that they need to stay organized, energized and relaxed enough to fall asleep at night. As a parent of a Complex Learner, you understand your child requires the sensory input that movement provides but with frigid temperatures you are stuck indoors. So, what can you do to help your child get moving?
Here are some awesome Olympic sports you can bring indoors for the whole family! Put on some background music for an added element of fun and motivation. Maybe the Star Wars or Indiana Jones theme songs or just your favorite instrumental track to keep your body moving! You can even create some Olympic medals with arts and crafts supplies and celebrate these activities in a closing ceremony!
Bring a favorite winter sport indoors with ice skating! Use fleece socks and extra polish on the hardwood floor to create your own homemade ice rink. Make sure the area around the skating rink is lined with soft pillows/blankets and be sure to have your child wear elbow pads, knee pads, and a bike helmet. Have your child practice skating to music. As she moves forward and backward and gets well acquainted with the slippery floor, have her add in some twirls and spins! See if he can create his own ice-skating routine to share with the family!
Next up, sledding indoors! Begin with a plastic sled, saucer or tube on carpeting, staying on the flat surface of the floor. Pull the sled while your child establishes her balance. As he adjusts, add in bumps and different speeds. Vary her position on the sled from tummy to back, side, or sitting. Younger children can take along a stuffed animal for a ride. Once she is ready for a hill, create a slope with a mattress and a crash pad from a duvet cover filled with pillows or an air mattress. Use your discretion when adding a larger hill or slope as it will depend on the age and balance of your child. Always set up the sled area and check for safety before beginning your indoor adventure!
Your child is guaranteed to be smiling as he takes part in the ultimate balance challenge of skiing! First, create two skis for your child using cardboard and duct tape. Any type of stiff cardboard will work, make the length of the ski double the size of your child’s shoes. Next, have your child step on the piece of cardboard in his socks, and using duct tape, create a mule or clog shaped form over the top of the foot. This will serve as the “ski boot” so your child can slip his foot into the ski. Once the “boot” is secured, gently have your child remove her foot from the sock. The sock will adhere to the tape, so remove it and then add more duct tape to cover the underside of the “boot” so it won’t be sticky. You can even cover the entire piece of cardboard with duct tape for better gliding. Then you can make ski poles out of pool noodles – just cut them to be the right size for your child! Add swiveling, jumps, turns, and even obstacles (like stuffed animals) for your child to navigate as they hit the “slopes.”
For your final event – luge sledding! All you need for this is a plastic sled, weighted down with weighted stuffed animals or cuff weights. Build your “track” by creating a bumper system with pool noodles or couch cushions on either side of the sled for a tight fit. Anchor a bungee cord or stretchy band across the top of the sled (two adults can hold either side of this band (you can also use a towel, cord or rope). Have your child lay down on her back on the sled and hold onto the band with two hands. Then have him pull and push to move the sled back and forth on the luge track. This takes a LOT of heavy work! You can push the sled to get it started if your child is struggling.
Try out these ideas and have fun! What are some other indoor activities your child does in the winter to get some movement in?