Are your kids missing all the playgrounds? Mine are!
I love having a sensory program. as part of our daily routine. It helps us all feel better both mentally and physically. Our typical homeschool week tends to include visits to playgrounds. My kids particularly love swinging. But our current situation requires we find ways at home to fill that need.
Bringing the Playground To Us!
We added a couple of swings under our deck this week. If you have a good tree in your yard, you can use a set of straps, like this one, and attach a swing to them.
You can also do like we did and add a swing under your deck by adding hooks made for swings. These are the swing hooks we installed. They were very simple to install. You just need to pre-drill some holes and attach them with 3/8″ x 4′ lag bolts. Set them 20 inches apart, for a standard playground swing.
I should mention, if you have never set bolts this big, you will need to pre-drill twice. Once with an 11/64″ bit for the full depth the bolt will go into the wood, about 4 inches. And then drill it again with a 3/8″ bit and drill as deep as the smooth part of the bolt will go into the wood. If your bolt is a different size, you will need to change the size of the holes accordingly.
Then attach a playground swing.
We also have one like this disk swing. It was easy to attach to either a tree or beam with no tools. It just wraps around and clips to itself. You don’t even have to tie a knot. There are many types of swings to choose from and some are even designed to hold more than one child.
What’s so great about a swing?
Why am I telling you to get a swing, of all the options you could add to your yard?
First of all, because swinging front to back is good for your vestibular system, which makes you feel calmer. And we could all use something that is calming to our sensory systems right now. This motion soothes our brains. That is why we rock babies to sleep. Is your child likely to swing themselves to sleep? Not if they are big enough to be out of the cute toddler swings. But, they may calm down and feel more focused after a good 15-minute period of swinging.
I also like swings because almost any yard can hold one. While a whole swing set is expensive and difficult to set up, our swing took less than a half-hour to install and was very affordable for us. I got one rated for up to 250 pounds, so even if 2 kids get on it at once, it is still safe.
This is part of our OT at-home program for my little sensory seekers.
P.S. Here are links to the swings and hooks I mentioned above.
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About the Author
Laura Sowdon, OTR/L is an occupational therapist, writer, speaker, educator and creator of the Five Senses Literature Lessons homeschool curriculum. She has worked as an occupational therapist with children in public and private schools, as well as private practice. Laura has taught and managed homeschool co-ops as well as homeschooling her own three children. Laura is dedicated to the idea of educating children at a pace that aligns with brain and physical development milestones and respects neurodiversity in all its forms.