Outdoor play for wellbeing

Outdoor play promotes well-being and is a big part of healthy growth and wholesome physical development and learning.

Exploring the environment through play helps to develop sensory stimulation, build muscle strength, gross and fine motor skills and coordination, gain self-confidence and build friendships.

As the mother of a child with Cerebral Palsy and Founder of Sunshine Butterflies, Leanne Walsh has worked with hundreds of individuals with disabilities and has seen firsthand, the powerful effects that the world outside can offer them.

The Sunshine Butterflies well-designed play area which was donated by Variety Queensland will help to promote physical activity, excitement, social skills and will help our members feel more active, absorbed, motivated and purposeful, and will help them to develop a more positive attitude to those around them.

Accessible nature outings are all around us at the Sunshine Butterflies Hobby Farm, Our Backyard.

“It’s exciting to watch our members develop new coping strategies and explore, play and connect with one another in nature. We share our outdoor space with individuals, family, businesses and many school groups.

Outdoor experiences are all around and our Sunshine Butterflies members are always on the move at Our Backyard, in active pursuit of something: Splashing in the pool, Climbing to the top of the treehouse, gardening our fresh produce, fishing in the dams, feeding the animals or cooking healthy fresh food from the outdoor kitchen.

Movement stimulates concentration and improves cognitive functioning.

Here are some tips to encourage outdoor activity:

If individuals who may be young or anxious about going outside, bring along anything familiar and comforting to extend those feelings into the outdoors.

For individuals with ADHD and ASD, you can often use their fixation for tech gear as a draw card. Smartphones, iPads and digital cameras can be a great filter to help them focus

Friends and social groups are another great way to bring individuals with disabilities into nature. If their social skills need strengthening, Sunshine Butterflies have Sport and Recreation and Social Clubs available to join.

Sunshine Butterflies prides itself on being an organisation that makes a difference by making outdoor programs accessible.

 

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Marayke Jonkers, 36, is a retired Paralympic medal winning swimmer, paratriathlete and founder of Sporting Dreams, a grants program which helps athletes with disabilities. Unfortunately after 20 years as an elite athlete Marayke has been diagnosed with an overuse injury to her arms and now n...

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