You may have seen our Backyard Summer Sensory series that covers all things outdoor sensory activities. Today, I’ve got outdoor sensory focusing o proprioception activities that are designed to get the kids moving with heavy work using items you’ve probably already got right in your backyard. These are easy ways to build sensory breaks into the day, get the kids moving with heavy work. You can see the other posts in the series, including backyard oral sensory activities, outdoor sensory activities for tactile sense, and outdoor oral motor sensory activities (yep, that’s possible to address in outdoor play!)
Outdoor Sensory Activities for PROPRIOCEPTION
Try these outdoor heavy work activities to add input through the core and gross motor muscle groups for regulation and body awareness.
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- Hoola Hoop Jump- Place out several hoola hoops (or just one) on the ground. Create a hopping obstacle course into the hoops. Jump with both feet, one foot, and then the other. Place the hoops further away for more work. Try making a hopping memory game, much like playing “Simon” in a gross motor way. This activity provides heavy work and input through the lower body as kids jump and hop into hoops.
- Hose Tug- Use a regular garden hose to incorporate heavy work by pulling the hose across the lawn. Use the hose to water flowers, bushes, or even to spray at targets drawn with sidewalk chalk.
- Shovel Carry and Dig- Use a garden shovel in an adult or kids’ size to shovel dirt, rocks, leaves, sticks, or mulch from one area to another. Try filling a bucket with the different mediums and then carry them to another area of the yard. Good old fashioned lawn work can do wonders for a proprioceptive input seeking kiddo!
- Jump Rope Pull and Slide- This activity adds a bit of vestibular input to the heavy work of pulling a jump rope. Use a piece of cardboard cut from a large box or cereal box to create a flat piece. Have your child sit on the cardboard and hold onto a jump rope. Pull them around or down slopes as they hold onto the rope. You can also try this activity with the child pulling another individual on the cardboard.
- Hop Scotch
- Bean Bags
- Corn Hole
- Play Leap Frog with friends
- Jump Rope
- Fly a kite
- Climb trees
more backyard sensory ideas for summer?
The activities in this post are part of our Summer Sensory Activity Guide, where you can find everything you need for a summer of sensory input. Use the sensory activities described in the booklet as a guide to meet the individual needs of your child. The activities are not a substitute for therapy. Rather, they are sensory-based summer activities that are designed to address each sensory system through summer play. Activities are described to involve the whole family. Check out the Summer Sensory Activity Guide today!
AND…that guide is actually a bonus item in the Summer OT Bundle. So if you are working with children this summer to improve fine motor skills, handwriting, sensory processing, and other skill areas, check out the Summer OT Bundle:
More proprioception activities that kids will love:
Colleen Beck, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.