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Activities in Nature

Complex Needs Awareness - Outdoor Activities

Puddle Fact: The average lifespan of a butterfly is a mere 2 to 6 weeks.

Engaging in outdoor activities in nature can be incredibly beneficial for individuals with complex needs, including those with physical or cognitive disabilities. These activities provide opportunities for sensory stimulation, physical exercise, and emotional well-being. Here are 10 outdoor activities suitable for individuals with complex needs:

Nature Walks

Taking a leisurely stroll or guided walk through a park, nature reserve, or accessible trail can provide a calming and sensory-rich experience. Ensure the path is wheelchair accessible if needed.


Set up a picnic in a scenic outdoor location. Enjoying a meal or snack outdoors can be a great way to connect with nature.

Bird Watching

Bring binoculars and a bird guidebook to observe and identify birds in their natural habitat. Bird feeders or a birdhouse in the backyard can also attract local wildlife.

Nature Art

Engage in nature-inspired art activities, such as painting rocks, creating leaf rubbings, or making nature collages. These activities can be adapted to various skill levels.

Outdoor Sensory Garden

Visit sensory gardens designed to stimulate the senses. These gardens often feature plants with interesting textures, fragrances, and colours. They are perfect for sensory exploration.


On clear nights, stargazing can be a peaceful and awe-inspiring activity. Lay out blankets and look at the stars, planets, and constellations.

Outdoor Yoga and Relaxation

Practice gentle yoga or relaxation exercises in a quiet outdoor space. Nature provides a serene backdrop for calming activities.


Fishing by a calm lake or pond can be a therapeutic and engaging outdoor activity. Adapt equipment as needed for physical disabilities.


Participate in geocaching, a treasure-hunting game using GPS coordinates. There are often accessible geocaches in parks and urban areas.

Accessible Playground

Visit an accessible playground designed to accommodate individuals with disabilities. These playgrounds often have adaptive swings, ramps, and sensory play equipment.

Puddle Round Up

When planning outdoor activities for individuals with complex needs, it's crucial to consider their specific abilities, interests, and any necessary accommodations or equipment. Always prioritise safety and ensure that the chosen activities are suitable for the individual's comfort level and preferences. Additionally, involving caregivers, family members, or support staff can enhance the overall experience and provide assistance as needed.

Sensory Equipment

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