11 Outdoor Activities for Your Child with an FASD
By: Sarah Gilland
Now that the weather is finally warming up, people are flocking outside to enjoy some outdoor activities. Looking for things to do with your kids while you soak up the sun? We’ve put together a list of low-cost outdoor activities for you and your family! Not only are these activities fun, but they also promote health and skill development.
11 Outdoor Activities for Your Child with an FASD
1) Madison’s Place
Madison’s Place is a 16,000 square foot all-inclusive playground located at 4125 Radio Dr., Woodbury, MN. It includes sun-shade covered play decks, bucket seat ziplines, and swings, slides that don’t generate static electricity, sensory play equipment, and ramps for wheelchair access. Children of all developmental levels are welcome! Find sensory-friendly and other adaptive playgrounds in Minnesota.
Gardening has many benefits. It can improve motor skills, enhance creativity, improve self-confidence, and reduce stress and anxiety. Best of all, gardening can take many forms: a huge vegetable patch in your backyard, flowers in small beds, or herbs growing in your kitchen! You can even grow specific plants that have additional calming benefits, such as lavender, to reduce stress levels even further. There is even a healing garden at Children’s Hospital that is open to community members that you can visit.
3) Go on a walk
Walking is an easy, enjoyable, and free way for your family to get physical activity. Walking strengthens bones and muscles, improves mood, allows time for socializing, and lets you explore your surroundings together. Whether you’re walking on a trail or walking to a nearby shop, this is a great way for your family to spend time together outside. Find a trail near you using the Minnesota Walking Trails and Map.
4) Play hopscotch
Hopscotch is a classic childhood favorite, but did you know that it can help your child develop important skills? Playing hopscotch works both fine and gross motor skills, and it also increases social skills when played in a group. Grab some chalk and create a hopscotch board on your sidewalk or at the local park.
5) Create chalk art
You can also use chalk to tap into your creative side and create art! Use chalk to draw silly pictures, practice writing, trace different items (such as leaves or toys), or play “Tic Tac Toe” on the sidewalk. Take a picture when you’re done to remember these fun springtime memories! If you’re up for Pinterest projects, here’s a recipe to make your own sidewalk chalk.
6) Read outside
You don’t need to abandon your books to enjoy the outdoors! Bring your books outside for a whole new reading experience: use your yard as a stage for acting out stories; decorate a “book backpack” for bringing books to the park; or create a story based on your outdoor surroundings. Visit your local library for your literary needs.
7) Play with bubbles
Everybody enjoys playing with bubbles, but did you know that this activity can also help with children’s skill development? Playing with bubbles can strengthen visual tracking skills, hand-eye coordination, sensory processing skills, and oral motor skills. Have fun by trying to pop the bubbles with different methods: clap them, poke them, squeeze them, or jump on them. Can you pop bubbles with your elbow? How about your nose? Your child will love jumping around and catching bubbles with you! Here’s a recipe to make your own bubbles.
8) Take a bike ride
Fortunately, we live in a state with a variety of bike trails! Even if you don’t have a bike, you can rent them around the metro area through the Nice Ride system. Riding bikes is a great way for your family to be active together. Biking helps strengthen motor skills, balance, and physical coordination. Riding a bike also increases their sense of independence and self-confidence. Don’t forget to wear your helmet.
9) Visit a local park
Did you know that Minneapolis has one of the highest rated park systems in the country? Even if you live outside of the metro area, there are hundreds of local parks you can visit. Find a park that fits your family’s interests, whether that means ones with hiking trails, a playground, or tennis courts. On a really hot day, visit a park with a splash pad to help keep everybody cool! Spending time at the park reduces stress and lowers blood pressure, and the entire family is bound to have a good time.
10) Have a picnic
Picnics are another fun way for your family to spend time together outdoors. Put together a basket (or bag) of some of your favorite foods. Some healthy options you can include are watermelon, apples, celery and peanut butter, or carrots and hummus. You can even shop at your local farmers market. Choose a fun location, such as a local park or even your backyard. Pack games or books to enjoy when you’re finished eating.
11) Look for animals
It seems like the animals are just as happy about the springtime weather as we are! Look around your neighborhood for birds, butterflies, bees, frogs, squirrels, and other animals. With your child, write down the animals you see or draw sketches of them. Listen to the sounds they make and see if you can mimic them. Talk about your favorite animals, whether they live in your neighborhood or across the globe.
We hope you enjoy all these outdoor activities. Visit the MOFAS Family and Youth Activities page to find other things to do with MOFAS families.
This site is provided to families and professionals as an informative site on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). It is not intended to replace professional medical, psychological, behavioral, legal, nutritional or educational counsel. Reference to any specific agency does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by MOFAS.