Regardless of whether your child has an autism diagnosis, as parents of young children, we’re always looking for ways to keep our kids happy and active (without destroying the house), no matter the season. But with the cold weather and our kids spending more time indoors, we sometimes have to get creative.
At Innovative Behavior Options, we know the importance of keeping kids stimulated (and how easy it is to run out of ideas two months into winter!), so we want to throw out a few suggestions of our own.
Indoor Activities to Get the Wiggles Out
It’s easy to let kids run around and expend energy when it’s warm out – the Atlanta area has no shortage of parks and playgrounds! But when it’s cold outside, we need indoor options, too. Not far from our Roswell, GA applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy center, we have a number of places that offer indoor bounce houses, play areas, and even trampoline parks. Look for open gym times at local gymnastics centers and even autism-specific options like We Rock the Spectrum in Roswell.
Indoor swim lessons are also a great option this time of year! It allows kids to be active and focus on learning (or perfecting) a new skill.
In-Person and Virtual Sensory-Friendly Activities in the Atlanta Area
In the Atlanta area, we’re fortunate to have a number of interactive community activities that allow children to be comfortable just the way they are. The Atlanta Children’s Museum, the Fernbank Museum of Natural History, and the Tellus Science Museum all offer hands-on components that are perfect for sensory-friendly exploration. Of course, some of the exhibits can get busy, so if crowds are a concern, we recommend calling ahead to find lower-traffic times.
For families who prefer a virtual option, the Atlanta Aquarium offers live webcams of many of its tanks and the Center for Puppetry Arts has on demand puppet shows and special events.
Sensory-Friendly Activities You Can Do At Home
Of course, there are plenty of indoor, at home sensory-friendly activities, too! Playdough is a tried and true favorite for so many children. It provides the sensory input many kids crave and can help strengthen fine motor skills, too. Add to the experience and make your own (it’s quick and easy!).
We love using puzzles to help kids calm down and practice focusing. There are so many different age-appropriate options, many with beloved characters (the extra motivation never hurts!). If you have a more active child who could use a little entertainment while working on their ability to focus, try playing Twister. It’s great for developing gross motor skills, and it’s a quieter game that requires some real concentration.
Of course, sometimes you’re at home and just need to get the wiggles out. If you have a child who can handle a little noise, we’re big fans of the family dance party! You can also use apps like GoNoodle for some guided movement and music.
At IBO, we love helping our clients learn new skills and thrive in their environments. We use ABA therapy to increase adaptive skills and attain functional behavior outcomes. If you’d like to learn more about ABA therapy or our Roswell, GA therapy center, please give us a call at 770-250-0093!