This weekend we took advantage of the perfect weather and went camping. Unfortunately, it was tent camping because we don’t have a camper, but at least we have a brand new and nice tent. Last year, we went camping and it was miserable. Our son broke down in the middle of the night, and by this, I mean at 2 a.m. with a meltdown. Screaming and crying. He wouldn’t let us help him. We were a little nervous about this trip, so I decided to take advantage of the Summer Sensory Camp hosted by Sugar Aunts, and do as many nature sensory activities that we could fit into the weekend. These sensory nature camp ideas can also be done in your own backyard if you aren’t a fan of camping.
Nature Sensory Taste
While nature does provide us with some wonderful food resources, the campground didn’t really have much to offer. Well…maybe the fish that we caught but we weren’t preparing those that night. Instead, we used things that nature provides us with to make our hot dogs and smores over the fire. Yes, we usually use the fire sticks to cook with, but as luck would have it, we forgot ours at home. So with the use of my husband’s knife, he was able to take a stick and make it into a cooking utensil. The best part of this is that the kiddos love to cook their own food (supervised of course).
Nature Sensory Sight
The kids had a lot of fun with this one. From counting snakes to watching birds, the weekend was full of things to watch for. Their favorite was fishing. How is fishing related to sight you might wonder? Well, they have to watch the bobber to see if they get a bite. Actually, fishing was full of so many wonderful sensory activities…sight (explained above), touch (digging for worms, touching the fish), proprioceptive (casting the fishing line) and vestibular (keeping your balance while casting on a boat rocking in the waves). Just make sure to get a fishing pole that floats.
Some other ideas if you don’t like fishing are:
Catching Lighting Bugs
Picking up Sticks for the Fire
Nature Sensory Sound
Being in nature means being surrounded by sounds…birds chirping, fires crackling, fish splashing, frogs croaking. The list goes on and on. The best part of being in nature is sitting still and listening for the sounds. Our favorite sound of the night was a squirrel chattering. There is something calming about sitting by a campfire and just listening to the sounds the night brings. Hey, and if you can’t get to a campground to sit by the fire pit, get you an outdoor fireplace and enjoy in your own backyard.
Nature Sensory Touch
If the sight activities weren’t my kids’ favorite, then the touch ones definitely were. I already mentioned how they loved digging for worms and touching the fish. But we also had fun looking for 4 leaf clovers. My nephew, the lucky little guy, found 2. The rest of us found 0, but we sure did enjoy running our hands through the clovers while we looked.
Nature Sensory Smell
Ok…so we didn’t actually do a nature sensory camp activity for this. We were at a campground. We had a fire going the whole time. I’m sorry…but I can’t smell anything else except that smoke. However, a great nature activity for smell would be simply stopping and smelling the roses or whatever flowers might be nearby. My sensory kiddo has a very strong sense of smell. He can pick up on the slightest hint of an odor that most of us (well me anyways) doesn’t even notice. The smell of essential oils, especially the lavender, can help him calm down at times, so I had that packed in our little emergency bag…just in case.
Nature Sensory Vestibular
Well…we were really lucky and our campground had a playground area that the kids got to play on. We also took the kids bikes, so they got a lot of vestibular and proprioceptive input this weekend. However, we did get to do a few things besides climb up slides and walk on balance beams. What we did was:
Walking in straight lines on speedbumps
Jumping off of picnic tables
Climb a tree
Nature Sensory Proprioceptive
As much as I wish I could say that we went swimming in the lake this weekend, that just isn’t true. With it being in the 60’s all week, the water wasn’t warm enough. And even if it was, I wasn’t getting in after seeing 26 water snakes. But luckily, we still needed to get in some proprioceptive work since this is what my son needs the most. So we had to come up with some other sensory nature camp ideas:
Feed the geese/ducks
Set up the tent
Walk the dog
I’m happy to report that the weekend was a success. Spending the weekend focusing on all the different sensory activities helped keep the kids regulated. I didn’t even have to get into the emergency bag I had packed (aka…lavender and his DS). What is your kids’ favorite sensory activity in nature?
This post is part of a Sensory Backyard Summer Camp series hosted by Sugar Aunts. Please check out some of these other awesome sensory camp ideas.
Sensory Handwriting Camp by Sugar Aunts
Sensory Space Camp by My Mundane and Miraculous Life
Sensory Olympic Games Camp by Growing Hands on Kids
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