Summer vacation is almost here, and soon kids will have more time during the day to get out and enjoy the great outdoors. Exercise, social interaction, and family time are so important for childhood development, and every family should take advantage of summer vacation to its fullest. Below we’ve listed some great places to go on adventures with sensory sensitive children—so grab your sunscreen and sunglasses and let’s go!
Places to Visit for Summer Fun in the Sun
Have a Beach Day
From the grit of the sand between your toes to the salty spray of the sea, heading to the beach is like going to the world’s largest sensory bin! There are plenty of ways to entertain children including swimming, boogie boarding, playing catch, and building sandcastles. For sensory sensitive children, taking along a few extra supplies to the beach can help improve their experience in the sun and the sand.
- Bring a tent or umbrella to help block the sun and provide a safe space for your children to take breaks and self-regulate.
- A rash guard and bathing suit combo is a great way to keep sand from irritating sensitive skin.
- Bring multiple beach blankets for your children to use throughout the day.
- Sun and heat protection are musts, and you should always bring water, sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses.
Go on a Walk Through the Woods
Going out and taking in the sight, smells, and sounds of the wild can be a great learning experience for your children. In the Garden State, there are plenty of nature reserves and parks close-by to explore! While an all-day hike might be too much for young children, taking a walk on a trail for a few hours allows kids to take in nature at their own pace.
Aside from the usual sturdy shoes, sunglasses, water, and snacks, there are a couple more items and situations you should plan for before heading into the wild with your sensory sensitive children.
- Bring bug spray, but consider using an herbal insect repellent or Skin So Soft if your children are sensitive to certain smells.
- Have a photo of your children with you on your phone to help identify them if they become lost.
- Avoid large bodies of water like deep lakes or fast-moving rivers as children with sensory sensitivity may be drawn to running water and accidentally fall in.
Head to the Playground
Spending some time at the playground is a great way to let your child socialize and exercise. Playground equipment can offer a variety of visual and physical stimuli that can help relieve stress and provide children with the opportunity to meet and play with their peers. To help keep sensory sensitive kids comfortable and safe, there are a couple of things you need to make sure you’ve selected a good playground for them.
- The playground should feature an enclosed fence so there’s only one way in or out, preventing children from wandering. A closed gate with seating nearby is preferable.
- Find equipment with cozy spaces so your children can have somewhere to relax and self-regulate.
- Pick a playground that encourages lots of movement. Look for equipment that lets kids swing, spin, rock, sway, or jump.
- Choose a playground that includes nature or has muted colors. A more serene atmosphere can help calm sensory sensitive children
Get a Helping Hand for Summer Activities
We understand that summer is a busy time, and parents often have to keep working while the kids are on vacation.
To offer parents fun and educational options to keep their children busy, The Sunshine Center has a variety of events scheduled for the summer including drop in playdates, social skill groups, summer mini camps, MusicRound classes, and more!
Check out our fun summer lineup of events in Manalapan, NJ.