Monday, April 27, 2009

Sensory Walks

Taking walks is a common past time for families, individuals, and groups. It is something that is often used as an activity for day cares, school groups, and other goal oriented groups like people with developmental disabilties or people trying to lose weight. So often, the activities involved in walking involve only that--walking. Why not spice it up and offer a sensory based walking activity? Studies show that learning best takes place when one involves as many senses as possible. Simulating your senses uses brain power, causing synaptic connects between your neurons which increases brain compacity and functioning. Making a regular walk into a sensory walk can be fun, challenging, and above all else--healthy for you!

It's easy to incorporate senses into any walk by simply pointing out different things as you pass by. To make it more fun, search for specific things: colors, textures, shapes, themes. Two things that I've created to make walking more fun for the consumers at my work are scavenger hunts for our local mall and a photographic scavenger hunt for one of the nearby streets.

For the mall scavenger hunts, I created a list of items that one could find and then randomized the list using an online randomizer. I broke the list down into smaller lists of 10 items each. Each list has a variety of different things on it including objects to visually see, textures to find and feel, or sounds to listen for. One hunt is completely sensory based and was designed for consumers at a lower functioning level. See if you could use this checklist to find things on a walk of your own!

After all, it's free to go walking and it's good for you. Why not make it even better for you, and interesting at the same time?


Mall Sensory Walk
Feel…
o A hard bench
o A cold window
o A fuzzy shirt
o A soft pillow
o A furry kitten
o A smooth (or furry) dog
o Movement in an elevator
o The leaves on a plant
o Silky lotion

Hear…
o Water flowing
o Puppies barking
o Kitties meowing
o Mice squealing
o Birds chirping
o People talking
o Bells from video games
o Music playing
o The Crinkle of a book (find an actual crinkley Children’s book)
o Hangers clank
o A Piano play

See…
o Lights flashing (Time Out)
o People
o Colors
o Sizes
o Shapes
o Objects
o Reflections
o Animals

Smell…
o Animals
o Different Foods
o Chlorine in the water
o Lotions
o Candles

Mall I spy…
o A quarter
o A rocking chair
o A wheelchair
o A sewing machine
o A pink watch
o A map
o Something striped
o Something soft
o A bird
o A hot dog
o A wagon
o A Christmas tree
o A red tray
o A giraffe
o A sparkly dress
o A photo frame
o A history book
o A silver bracelet
o Something tall
o A button


o An ice cream cone
o Something rough
o A dime
o A ball
o A penny
o Something slimy
o A pig
o Hair made out of yarn
o A salt shaker
o A rat
o A green belt
o A crab
o Something red
o A pepper shaker
o A painting of nature
o A dress fit for a princess
o A mirror
o Bubble Gum
o Blue shoes
o A book on the topic of animals

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incredibly interesting comments!