Enjoying the Outdoors

Rebecca Toal by Rebecca Toal Additional Needs

Rebecca Toal

Rebecca Toal

Blessed, busy mum to four beautiful girls, the youngest with complex special needs due to extreme prematurity. We are always looking for ways to ma...

We’ve been spending more and more time outdoors these past few months, as the sun has been so gorgeous and the rain has, on the most part, stayed away.

There’s not a lot my daughter with complex needs enjoys more that getting outside.

Last summer we made an investment into an off-road special needs buggy- to take her on trails, walks and even the beach instead of her wheelchair. Wheelchairs are just not made for off-road or rugged terrain. Believe me, you’ll know what I’m talking about if you’ve tried it!

She’s 9 years old now, so is getting heavier to push now but her 3 wheeled all-terrain buggy makes it a breeze. She can’t walk unaided and having the option for a longer trail walk means we can enjoy the outdoors as a family of six (Brielle is the ‘baby’).

Another activity Brielle adores is getting out for a ride on her special needs trike. Whizzkidz UK so kindly granted her a gorgeous trike last year and we’ve been getting great use from it - going out every day especially during the pandemic.

We have a few fun things in our back garden too. A giant red spinning top from ROMPA, a rockers chair from Ikea, and balls of all shapes and sizes in a basket she loves playing with. We usually put out a picnic blanket and let her play while we read, listen to music and enjoy the sunshine.

Sometimes you just need to get out of the house…

My older girls have been making a habit of going swimming in the sea (Belfast Lough) in their wetsuits. We’re so blessed to have good friends and neighbours across the road with a private entrance to the beach! Brielle and I go over to their big garden and deck to keep an eye on them, and sometimes she walks on the beach with me and dips in her feet. She usually shy’s away from the cold water pretty fast though!

Today we’re planning to go walking in a forest park and hoping to find some Elderflower we can pick to make some cordial to bottle. I bought the lemons, oranges and citric acid earlier to make a big batch. It’s definitely a summer favourite in our house- sparkling elderflower cordial in wine glasses decorated with mint leaves and frozen berries sometimes!

So, there’s just a few ways we’ve been getting outdoors with the kiddos, and I have to say Brielle loves every minute of it! I think it’s really helped keep her sanity and her mood up during these last few months with no school and very little social interaction. There’s nothing quite like a gentle breeze and the sun on your face!

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