As the winter season approaches, there are so many fun seasonal sensory activities that can be enjoyed. One of our favorites is ice skating! Not only is it a lot of fun for kids, but it can support many of the goals we focus on during our therapy sessions!
Ice skating can help improve:
- Motor planning
- Muscle strength
- Force modulation
- Postural control and endurance
- Body awareness
- Cardiovascular endurance
- Following multi-step directions
- Sensory processing
Skating also supports kids from a sensory standpoint to improve their sensory modulation and discrimination in many areas including:
- Ice skating provides proprioceptive input by pushing against the resistance of the ice, as well as pushing/pulling against an adult to provide additional support or improve strength while providing organizing sensory input. Skating provides countless opportunities for our body to use this information to grade the amount of force we need to use to effectively start and stop movement.
- Ice skating provides vestibular input by moving with different speeds in different planes, including forward, backward, and spinning!
- Ice skating can alert the tactile system through the low temperature of the rink and ice.
- There are many sounds to process at an ice rink, from the sounds of other skaters, to following therapist instructions, to the sound of skate blades on ice, making ice skating a great auditory processing experience.
- There are many things happening around an ice arena, from skating and session equipment to other skaters, making ice skating a great sensory experience for the visual system. Skating especially supports the integration between our visual and vestibular systems to gauge where our body is in space, how fast we are moving, and how to use that information effectively in order to motor plan and coordinate our movements.