Sensory Integration Sidewalks: fun and challenge during distancing
Since we can’t travel far, our sidewalks have become an opportunity to connect with nature and our neighbors. Kong Academy is partnering with the Phinney Neighborhood Association to show Seattlites how to turn sidewalks into movement challenges. We encourage everyone in the neighborhood and in Seattle to turn a piece of the sidewalk in front of their house or apartment building into something that they and their neighbors can use as an opportunity for movement, education, and play.
Maybe that means creating a fun game of hopscotch, or perhaps you have an inspirational message to share with your neighbors. If you’re into science, you could share a drawing of the solar system so parents could use it to educate their children. We hope this will inspire our neighbors to get out and move while keeping up with the social distancing guidelines we need to succeed.
We recommend keeping it positive and using sidewalk chalk, homemade chalk paint (which can be easily made with cornstarch, water, and food coloring), or washable sidewalk paint. Make sure your design or activity encourages folks to stay six feet apart.
Start making your own sidewalk plans and get ready for a full-on neighborhood Sidewalk Adventures Day on May 3 at 2 pm!
What is a Sensory Integration Sidewalk?
A sensory integration sidewalk (SIS) is a path that is created to give interactive prompts for the participants to receive, organize, and use information to play and move in a structured way.
These types of pathways are designed to improve gross motor skills, balance, and proprioception as well as develop Executive Functions such as impulse control, working memory, and emotional regulation. It is also a fun way to teach a variety of subjects such as science, literacy, and mathematics!
How do you make an SIS?
1. Pick a Subject
First, how do you want the participant to learn, know, or experience?
- Science (water cycle, planets of our solar system,….)
- Math (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, or even algebra)
- Literacy (spelling, reading, writing,…)
- Social and Emotional Learning (identifying emotions, positive self-talk, growth mindset)
- Games (just for fun)
What are you passionate about? (Topics are endless–just be positive, family-friendly, and “feet only”)
2. Structure an interaction
How do you want participants to move or act?
Pick any feet-only action or exercise to reinforce the lesson.
After you have decided on what you want to teach and draw, we suggest that you sketch it out on paper before hitting the sidewalk.
4. Draw or Paint
- Buy or make your own sidewalk chalk (1 cup of water, 1 cup of cornstarch, and food coloring. Here is a simple recipe.)
- Tempera paint (more permanent than chalk)
Here are a few examples to help you get started
Work on spelling by designing a letter chart. Participants spell works by jumping from letter to letter:
Work on visual attention and task switching by running from number 1 through to 10 in order as fast as possible:
If you would like to learn more about designing and creating a Sensory Integration Sidewalk or interested in similar programming please check out the following resources!