If you have a kid with sensory processing disorder and they struggle with vestibular (inner ear/balance) and proprioceptive (joint compression/heavy work) issues, you know a great place to take them is the playground! The classic playground is FULL of opportunities to challenge and stimulate their bodies and brains.
So when we went to the traditional playground this week, I was pleasantly surprised to find a whole new type of playground to engage with.
The playground by our house has some great equipment that the kids love. But after a while, we were getting bored, so we played some soccer. When our ball fell into the skate park “bowl”, an idea was born.
Please use common sense when doing these activities. You know your kids best and what they can handle. Challenge them, but keep them safe. And don’t forgot to only use a skate park when it is skater/biker/blader free!!!
Using Skate Park Elements For Sensory Input
There’s so many different components in a Skate Park that can be utilized by a sensory kiddo.
1. Walking and Running Around
Of course it seems simple to us, but walking up and down ramps can be especially challenging for kids with SPD. It trains their brains to keep control of their body when the ground does “unexpected” things. The inclines are also great for the joints in the legs to get extra compression which equals proprioceptive input!
2. Sliding Down a Steep Ramp or Bowl
Even though my son is almost 4, sliding give him the willies. I hate that SPD has caused him to be so fearful. But the “slides” at the skate park are less intimidating because he can’t fall off the side, or fall off at the bottom. Once he’s seated, the “slide” will get him to the bottom without any unexpected detours.
3. Climbing Up Ramps or Bowls
There are a million benefits that all kids can gain from climbing! Body awareness, core strengthening, balance, joint compression are just a few. I like letting Loopy climb out of the skate park bowls because should he slip, he gently slides to the bottom to start over.
4. Rolling and Kicking a Ball Around a Skate Park
To extend the time that your child will explore a skate park, throw a ball in the mix. While the kick and roll the ball around, they’ll continue to engage in all the above activities without even knowing it!
The skate park was an unexpected new playground that had so many opportunities for sensory input. If you know what to look for, it’s easy to turn your child’s surroundings into a sensory playground!
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I think our park has a skate area in it. I’ll have to wander past the “playground” area and check it out. Thanks.
I hope it does! My boys love it!
I’m a OT working with birth to three kids in Federal Way WA. I’d love to share this post with some of my families (with a list of skate parks in our area). Any chance I could get a printer friendly copy (maybe PDF?). Thanks!
Hi Amie! Thanks for writing! I’m glad you liked the post. Unfortunately, I don’t have a printer friendly copy. You’re more than welcome to share a link to this web page. Bloggers in the majority of their income from pageviews so when people just copy and paste the content, we’re out of luck. Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful.
Diana Fitts says
I love this! I’m an OT focusing on SPD and I’m constantly on the lookout for creative, yet simple ways to incorporate therapy into daily life. These are some great ideas and prove the point that sensory work doesn’t need to only be done in a clinic or at home!