Ep 38 : Favorite Nature-Based Therapy Activities for FALL
Laura Park Figueroa: Welcome to Therapy in the Great Outdoors, the podcast where we explore the business and practice of nature based pediatric therapy of all kinds. If you're an outdoor loving pediatric practitioner in the fields of occupational, physical, or speech therapy, social work, or mental health, this podcast will help you start and grow a successful nature based practice or program.
I am the ever honest, always 100 percent real. You'll hear it all on this podcast. Dr. Laura. I'm a pediatric OT with over 20 years of experience, and I run a thriving nature based practice with profitable locations in two different states and multi six figures in revenue. I also host the free online community at therapyinthegreatoutdoors.
com to help you pursue your nature based therapy dreams too. Are you ready to take action on those dreams? Let's jump in.
Hello. Welcome back to the TGO podcast. To this week, we are talking all about fall activities and our favorite therapy activities to do with children. In nature based therapy sessions during the season of fall. Now I realize. I'm a little bit late on this. This episode probably should have come out about a month ago. But the great thing about podcasting is that this episode will live on forever. So we'll hear some fall ideas in this episode. And then our next question of the month for December will be what are your favorite therapy activities to do with children in nature based sessions during winter? If you are someone who is worried about the cold season, this is a question I get a lot in. The work that I do is what do you do outside when it's cold? So I want to crowdsource some answers here so we can share ideas about creative things to do with children outdoors in the winter season. So if you live in a climate that has snow and cold weather, you will have ideas. The way that I you'll hear in a bit. So we have three different people who shared their ideas for fall, and you'll hear their voices in a bit on this episode of the podcast. But the way that I am gathering responses to these questions is through this really cool app that I had used years ago and forgot about.
And recently remembered it, cause another podcast or mentioned it. And I was like, oh my gosh, I need to do that for the TGO podcast. It's called SpeakPipe and you can go to speak pipe.com backslash TGO that's T G O. And you can leave a message for the podcast. So you can also leave me a message. If you have anything to say about the podcast or feedback about podcasts, but every month I'm going to have a question. And again, the question that's coming up will be, what are your favorite nature based therapy activities to do with children in the season of winter? And you can weigh in at that link. So speakpipe.com backslash TGO, and record your message to be on the podcast. I quickly want to give an announcement before I dive in to sharing what these three lovely nature-based therapists shared and my own idea to for fall activities. Contigo is open for enrollment November 1st through the seventh. So in this episode comes out the enrollment will be open. Contigo is my nature-based therapy approach. Contigo stands for connection and transformation in the great outdoors. It is a nature-based therapy certification and mentoring program that gives you all the resources and community. You need to become an expert in nature-based pediatric therapy. If you are feeling a tad overwhelmed by the idea of nature-based practice, if you're feeling uncertain, if you feel like you really want to be an expert in this and really know your stuff, when you take kids outdoors. Or if you just feel alone in your current nature-based work with children, Contigo will give you a very specific framework to use as well as evidence and done for you, resources and mentoring within a community of people who are doing this work together. All of which will help you grow as a nature-based Therapist
and help you bring about real transformation for the kids and families that you serve. I strongly believe that. We are only as good as the people that we put ourselves around. And that is something that has served me, that idea. And that concept has served me so well in business and in life in general, honestly, like even just my friendships with people. And I do think that part of what you get when you enroll in Contigo is a like-minded community of people who are there to support one another and encourage one another and all have a shared mental model about what we're doing outdoors with kids. And so I, along those lines, I also wanted to share that I am. Tentatively it is tentative right now, planning an in-person retreat for anyone who has, who is in the Contigo community and has taken the course. So that we can get together for in-depth training, with experts who can teach us different things about deepening our nature-based work with children in alignment with the Contigo approach. If you do join Contigo now with this enrollment, you'll be invited next year. When we nail down all the details and open enrollment for the in-person retreat that we are planning to do in 2024. The reason that I'm opening enrollment right now from November 1st through the seventh in 2023. Is that our next Contigo mentoring call is on November 9th. So we do these calls monthly. This one is a little off because I'm out of town on the first Thursday. We normally do them on the first Thursday of the month. I'm out of town that day. So we're going to do it on November 9th. And the reason that I open enrollment right before these calls is because I love to welcome people when they first joined. So as soon as possible, After you join is it is the best time to attend a mentoring call because then you get to know other people and get questions asked and really be able to dive in and feel supported. So that's it. You can go to Contigo approach.com to get all the details and join the waitlist. I do not publicly change the Contigo approach page.
I just send out emails to the people that are on the wait list, and that keeps my. Open enrollment, very easy so that I'm not having to change a bunch of tech on the backend. You will not. See on the website that the cart is open or a deadline timer on the webpage with a countdown to when it closes or anything like that. I am going to send emails to those of you on the wait list. So please look out for those emails and if you're interested, join the waitlist at contegoapproach.com. Okay. Let's dive into some activities. I am going to share. I didn't really decide if I was going to share mine for, I'm not. I'll just share this idea first which is my favorite thing to do in fall. And that is a rainbow leaf hunt. So the kids get really into this and it really tunes them into their environment. So I challenged the children to try to find a red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple leaf. Now we all know that blue leaves might be hard to find. But it has really been a fun activity for lots of groups that I've led. And you get really close because in the fall if you live in an area where the trees change, that is you do have to live in an area where there is a fall or the trees change. I know some seasons or some communities aren't like this, where you have more mild weather all year long. But really it's super fun it cues kids into their environment. It prompts a lot of conversations too, about
comparing things, comparing the shape and the size and comparing the colors and like talking about the colors. And then we arrange them. Once we get all of the leaves, we arrange them in like a red, orange, yellow, green, blue purple sequence. So they're learning to about the spectrum of colors in the rainbow. So it's just fun. That's a fun one.
And now we'll hear from jenna miller and jillian blount both pediatric nature-based ots about their favorite nature based activities for fall
Jenna Miller: Hey, it's Jenna Miller from Well and Wild Child here in Western New York. I would say with the beautiful fall foliage in this part of the country, my favorite fall nature based activity would definitely have to involve leaves. Currently one of my favorite fall activities is searching for the biggest leaves that we can find.
We have a lot of fun comparing our leaves, identifying the leaves, and of course, Making leaf piles.
Jillian Blount: Hi, my name is Jillian Blount of WildFreeKidsOT in Wasilla, Alaska. My Instagram handle is WildFreeKidsOT. I love to watch leaves and the change of the seasons. Alaska, fall happens really quickly and it gives us a time to slow down and observe. And my favorite things to do is actually get on the ground under some trees and watch the leaves.
We try to catch them. We try to sort them. We create different activities and art projects with the leaves. Pine cones are really fun. I just love noticing all the changes that happen in the fall because it happens fast here in Alaska.
Laura Park Figueroa: So I wanted to comment before we move into the last therapist who shared her favorite activity. That. You might notice that these activities are very simple. They don't require a lot of supplies or. They don't require us to. Put anything in the environment that doesn't naturally belong there. And I think that's something for us to reflect upon, that sometimes. Some of the simplest things become the best opportunities in nature-based therapy sessions with kids. If you are inside of the therapy in the great outdoors community which is our. Membership site that is free. So you can join in the free discussion. Anytime you want to. It's to replace the old Facebook group that I had. So if you're not there, I make the assumption all the time that y'all know about it, but if you're not there, it's at therapy in the great outdoors.com.
You can join the free community. So in the free discussion in the community, a while back. We had someone ask about their favorite supplies. Like what supplies. She was like,
I'm just getting started. So I can't break the bank, but what would you recommend are like some of the first things that I need? And. It was a really interesting discussion because Corey Wagner, who is a really experienced nature-based OT in the bay area of California, I've known her for years. She was doing this work before I did even, she was like a nature-based educator, like an outdoor educator years ago. She made a great comment on that post that said, I almost think that the skill I'm paraphrasing what she said, but she said something similar to, I almost think that the skill in nature based therapy is really using yourself in the environment and not having a ton of supplies. And that is something that I in the past have learned that sometimes the. Activities that require extra things to be brought in. Yes, they're fun. But there, there may be not necessary in the real work that goes on in a nature based session with children. So just having yourself there, the child there and the environment there. Can be enough. Now you have to be skilled at being able to navigate a therapy session with very minimal supplies. This is something that came up in my research. Like you really do need to have good clinical reasoning and good ability to be creative and imaginative, to come up with things, to do just using the natural environment. But I love that both Jillian and Jenna's comments just involve noticing nature and engaging children and noticing nature together. Okay. Now Kim DeLaura had also left a comment and I'm excited to share it and I'm closing with it because I thought it was just so great. So wait until you hear what she says, and I want you to think about. When she shares what she's going to say. I want you to think about. Why might this be so fun for children? Okay so think about that question and then i'll circle back at the end after she shares her activity
Kim DeLaura: Hi, this is Kim DeLaura with Explore Pediatric Therapy, located in the South Shore of Massachusetts between Boston and Cape Cod. You could follow us on Instagram at explorepediatrictherapy. And my answer to this month's question. is one of our favorite activities to do with children in nature during fall is to carve pumpkins and then give kids the option to take a mallet or a hammer to smash those pumpkins.
Laura Park Figueroa: Do you know why children might love doing this? Have you thought about it? Why would children love to take a mallet or a hammer and smash pumpkins?. Kids love destroying things. It's just fun, right? It's fun to crash down a tall tower you made or to watch something fall down. It's fun. There's something like. Innately playful about that. The freedom that there is to smash the pumpkin's with a mallet or hammer. I love it. And it's like a low again, I think a lot in the Contigo approach, I teach that like our therapy activities should be sustainable for the environment. Like as nature-based therapist. I really believe that we should be doing things that do not take a toll on our environment. We want to take care of the earth.
And so destroying pumpkin's basically, it just gets them ready for compost. And so it's really great. I just love this idea because it's super playful and fun for the children to let go in that way. It is so rare that children get to really let go and go crazy, smashing something with a hammer. So think about ways that you can give children freedom. In your sessions, and this is a great example of that. Thank you, Kim, for sharing. Thank you, Jillian. Thank you, Jenna, for the three of you for being the first people ever to use the SpeakPipe app and come on the podcast with your answers to our monthly question. So I appreciate you all and that's it for this week.
And please go to speak pipe.com backslash T G O to share what your favorite winter activities are. And I hope to get that episode out in the beginning of winter, rather than near the end of winter. Okay, I'll talk to y'all next week. Bye.
Thanks for joining me today for therapy in the great outdoors. If you want valuable advice, as you start or grow your nature based pediatric practice, get my free ebook, the nature based practice roadmap. It is a guide to help you focus and avoid. Mistakes as you start or grow your outdoor work with children in it.
I share the four stages of nature-based practice, what you need to focus on and common mistakes to avoid in each stage. Plus a checklist of specific action steps for you to take at each stage in the process. Get it at Therapy in the great outdoors.com/. roadmap. So until next time, get outside, connect, reflect, and enjoy therapy in the great outdoors