What is nature based Occupational Therapy?
Nature based occupational therapy utilizes the outdoors to foster children’s skills and abilities. Outdoor play provides a sensory rich environment to learn a wide variety of skills.
Why should I consider nature based OT for my child?
Our children have shown decreases in active free play outdoors. This play promotes optimal sensory and motor development in children. Children learn how to problem solve, take risks, take turns, regulate their emotions, etc. With increased scheduling of extracurricular activities and appointments after school hours this doesn’t often leave much time for kids to use their imagination and have fun outdoors. Nature based OT will use a mix of structured and unstructured activities to let your child’s imagination run wild while meeting their therapy goals.
What can my child learn through nature based OT?
- Gross motor skills
- Fine motor skills
- Visual spatial skills
- Sensory processing
- Emotional regulation
- Flexible thinking
- Social skills
- Cognitive skills (problem solving, attention, planning, impulse control, etc.)
- Mindfulness and coping skills
What would a nature OT session look like?
The occupational therapist will first complete an assessment and work collaboratively with you and your child to set goals.
The occupational therapist or occupational therapy assistant will then meet with you and your child at a local park. The occupational therapist will prepare various structured and unstructured activities to complete with your child outdoors.
It could look like completing a nature scavenger hunt in the forest to work on planning, attention, organization, flexible and critical thinking, fine and gross motor skills, visual perceptual skills and sensory processing.
It could also look like creating an insect sanctuary to work on bilateral coordination, hand eye coordination, motor planning, visual motor skills, grasp, sensory processing, attention and planning.