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St. David's Center is offering limited center-based services in accordance with guidelines from the Minnesota Department of Health at our Minnetonka and Minneapolis locations, including day treatment programs and pediatric therapy. The majority of our early intervention services will continue to be provided by telehealth. Close

For many of us, Labor Day weekend is a time to get in one last shot of summer. This year, things look a little different, but there are still plenty of ways to enjoy the holiday. Here are some ideas to adapt activities along with ways to think about the various needs of our children.

Spend time on the water, by a beach, or at the lake:

Alternative: If you are able, choose a lake that isn’t as popular with swimmers since they will be less crowded. If you have young children, remember that they are often OK with just getting their feet wet so an afternoon by the creek might suffice. If all else fails, a kiddie pool in the backyard still works. Make it special by serving cool drinks with straws and paper umbrellas.

High sensory stimulation: If your child enjoys sensory experiences, you can use squirt guns or have buckets for them to dump water on themselves (or each other).

Low sensory stimulation: Some children prefer less stimulation so just a spray bottle that can create a mist may be enough water. Or, they might like a small bucket of water they can put their hands into rather than getting their whole body wet.

Visit relatives:

Alternative: We have all been getting used to Zoom and other video conferencing with family members, but you can try to conference in a new place. Charge up your tablet or phone and call up the grandparents from the backyard. You can show the children playing and have them come over one by one to say hi. The grandparents will appreciate seeing the kids being kids even if it has to be on a video screen right now.

High sensory stimulation: Perhaps create an obstacle course or other physical challenge your child can do while you film the action. Send the grandparents the video ahead of time and then call so they can let your child know how proud they are.

Low sensory stimulation: If you have a child who freezes up when they are on camera, try asking about the grandparents over a few days. Usually you can get a few sentences each time. Edit them together and send the video to the grandparents. Showing your child photos, videos or items that came from the grandparents may encourage more conversation.

Go camping:

Alternative: If you are unable to find a place to camp that allows social distancing, you can set up camp in your backyard. Face the tent away from the house so you can pretend you aren’t 10’ from the door. If you don’t have space for a campfire, you can still roast marshmallows on a grill or in the microwave and take them outside to enjoy.

High sensory stimulation: Have your child set up the tent and other camping gear.

Low sensory stimulation: If the outside noises prove to be too much for your child, set up a small tent inside. You can even use sheets over a table to make an indoor tent.

Take a hike:

Alternative: Try hiking at city parks rather than state parks that tend to be crowded on holiday weekends. Big Willow in Minnetonka, Theodore Wirth in Minneapolis and Swede Hollow in St. Paul are just a few examples. Check out a full list of park options in Minneapolis, St. Paul, or Three Rivers Park District for some ideas.

High sensory stimulation: Have your child go off trail if there is no signage preventing it. As always, check for ticks after they explore.

Low sensory stimulation: Have a stick your child can use if they are interested in something they find but don’t want to touch it.

Check out a museum:

Alternative: Try Franconia Sculpture Park in Shafer or Caponi Art Park in Eagan for an outdoor art experience.

High sensory stimulation: Give your child a memorable art-making experience at home: Set up a tarp in the backyard. Place a large sheet of paper or opened cardboard box on the tarp. Dress your child in old clothes and have them paint with an old broom or feather duster. Chances are, they will become the paint brush.

Low sensory stimulation: Explore the Minneapolis Institute of Art online.  You can look at images of the artwork or listen to stories and watch videos behind the scenes.

See a movie:

Alternative: Of course watching a movie at home is nothing new, but try projecting the movie outside for a drive-in experience. Better yet, go to a real drive-in movie at Vali Hi in Lake Elmo.

High sensory stimulation: Direct your own home movie. Turn your phone into a movie camera and make a movie with your child. You can have them take the lead on what they will pretend while you catch the action. When you are finished, break out the popcorn and have a movie night with your children as the stars. Better yet, share it on Zoom or other platforms to involve other relatives.

Low sensory stimulation: Build a tent or fort with sheets and clothesline and watch a movie on a tablet or laptop without any other distractions. Just make sure you have a comfortable spot for yourself because your child will probably be curling up on your lap.

Enjoy your holiday weekend! If you would like to connect with us about more sensory topics or have questions about your child, please reach out to our CORE team.

 

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