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Outdoor Sensory Experiences


sensory-friendly playground time

Sensory Bin Expert Reveals Outdoor Spaces Perfect for Children with Sensory Needs


Summer is right around the corner, and with it comes the joy of being outdoors again. For parents and caregivers of children with sensory needs, this comes with finding spaces that your child can safely enjoy while nurturing and growing their sensory experiences. 


To help parents, we reached out to Jennifer Stalley, founder of Meemzy Magic, who shares all the places you need to visit to aid in your child’s development. Whether it be the gentle sway of a swing or some lesser-known sensory-friendly outdoor adventures!  


Outdoor Sound Baths

Outdoor sound baths, though less common, offer an immersive experience where the gentle, soothing sounds of gongs, singing bowls, and other instruments surround participants. 


“This auditory experience can be profoundly relaxing and sensory-friendly, providing a unique auditory sensory experience. If you are lucky enough to have some near your city, I would recommend checking them out,” says Jennifer. 


Parks & Playgrounds With Swings

Parks with sensory-friendly playgrounds feature swings, slides, and tactile play areas, perfect for children with sensory needs. 


“Swinging, for instance, helps with vestibular balance and proprioception, providing a sense of movement and position. Tactile play, on the other hand, can either calm or stimulate the senses, depending on the child's needs, making these spaces invaluable for sensory development,” shares Jennifer.


Nature Walks & Hiking Trails

Turning a simple walk into a sensory-rich experience is a wonderful way to engage a child's senses.


“The sounds of nature, the feel of different textures like leaves, bark, and water, and the visual stimulation of the natural world all contribute to a fulfilling sensory experience,” comments Jennifer.


Beaches and Lakes, But Make It Peaceful

Beaches and lakes provide a unique sensory experience with their combination of sand and water play, offering tactile and proprioceptive feedback. 


“Some children might find crowded beaches a bit too overwhelming, making quiet lakes the perfect peaceful alternative,” says Jennifer. “Also, check with your local water parks as some offer sensory-friendly hours, making them more accessible and enjoyable for children with sensory sensitivities.”


Gardening & Outdoor Crafts

Family gardening projects offer various sensory experiences, from digging in the soil to smelling and tasting fresh herbs and vegetables. Engaging in nature crafts outdoors also promotes fun and educational creativity.


Outdoor Sensory Paths

Sensory paths are designed walkways with various textures and elements to engage the senses. 


“These paths are often found in community gardens or parks and are an innovative way to provide a guided sensory experience in a more controlled outdoor environment,” advises Jennifer. 


Petting Zoos & Animal Sanctuaries

Interacting with animals at petting zoos and animal sanctuaries provides a calming sensory input and helps foster emotional connections. 


“These interactions benefit children with sensory needs, offering a unique opportunity to engage with gentle animals in a safe and controlled setting,” says Jennifer.


Remember the time of day and duration of the outing to help prepare ahead of time and prevent sensory overload for your child. Each child is different, so choose activities that cater to your child's sensory needs, and you will create positive experiences while fostering a love for the outdoors and curiosity about the world around them. 



ABOUT THE EXPERT

Jennifer Stalley is not just an entrepreneur but a mom who's been through the thick of pandemic parenting. She's the heart and soul behind Meemzy Magic, a company she created just for moms like her, bringing a bit of magic into children's lives with sensory toys designed through her PLAY method.


Cover photo by Bruna Saito

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