Summer holidays can be daunting for parents. A huge change of routine coupled with trying to find suitable activities for children with special needs can, at times, be challenging. And with summer around the corner parents with children with special needs such as cerebral palsy, autism and other specialist needs to prepare ahead to fill up time with entertaining events and activities.
In this blog, SpecialKids Company aims to give you some fun ideas for activities that you can do with your child. There are plenty of activities you can do at home or away, including adapted activities for special needs children such as
1. Playing with Bubbles
From a bubble wand to a bubble machine, all children love to watch and pop bubbles. You can do this standing up, sitting or lying down at home or in an outdoor space. Bubbles are a great sensory experience.
2. Enjoy a Picnic
Pack up your child’s favourite lunch, grab a blanket and eat outdoors in the sunshine! If it’s raining, why not have an indoor picnic? With a picnic if you decide to go outdoors and use a blanket, an extra-large blanket will also give you plenty of room for your picnic feast and allow for additional room if you’d like a floor sitter on your blanket top surface for your child with special needs. Also to stay prepared and keep your child dry and comfortable with our range of bibs and aprons for children with special needs, which might come in handy!
3. Messy Play
On warmer and dry days, being outside in the garden is the ideal opportunity for messy play – especially for those who would rather avoid risking paint or gloop on the carpet! You can also buy chunky chalk, which is easy to grip, to draw on the pavements or decorate your patio.
4. Paddling and Swimming Pools
What better way to enjoy the warm weather than dipping your feet in a paddling pool? Finding physical activities for children with special needs is important. A trip to your local swimming pool might also be a fun and therapeutic thing to do. For those who are incontinent, SpecialKids Company offers a range of adapted, incontinence swimwear to keep your child comfortable and protected from leaks.
5. Sand and Water Table
Sand and water tables provide an amazing sensory experience and you can play at many sitting down or standing up. Sand and water tables also allow children to enjoy variety of sensory experiences such tactile, vestibular, visual and proprioceptive which can help to support your child's development.
6. Simple Games for Special Needs Children
There are plenty of simple games that you can play with your child, which are fun, stimulating and good for aiding fine and gross motor skills. For example, colour matching (you could use something as simple as a pair of socks), puzzles, ‘Simon Says’, encouraging rolling a ball to one another. Perhaps your child’s school teacher will be able to give you some ideas of simple games that they enjoy at school, which you can play at home. There are also lots of great, simple games that you can download for tablets and iPads.
7. Adapted Activities for Special Needs Children
Contact local charities to find out about any adapted activities for special needs children being held during the holidays. For example, SOMA (supporting opportunities for motor activities) events, family fun days or meet-ups at local attractions. If you’re lucky, you might live by a beach which has wheelchair buggies available.
8. Autism-Friendly Cinema Screenings
If you are looking for activities for children with autism, your local cinema may have ‘autism-friendly’ showings, which are more relaxed screenings of movies. These performances often meet the needs of lots of children with special needs and sensory impairments.
9. Music Time
Music time is fantastic for children with special needs, particular those who are non-verbal, as it is great at helping them express themselves. You can use simple actions to songs, such as ‘the wheels on the bus’ or use instruments such as homemade shakers (using a bottle and some rice) to shake to the beat. You can also have a dance!
10. Reading Books
Reading stories to your child encourages speech and language, opens up a world of imagination and can bring about meaningful conversations and inspire. If you’re unsure which books to read, SpecialKids Company recommends taking a look at these.
We hope that these ideas help and that you have a wonderful summer creating lots of fun memories. If you have any other ideas, please comment so that we can share them with others!
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Swimming is a fantastic inclusive activity to do with children with special needs. It’s a great sensory experience that is good fun and has positive benefits for both physical and mental health. It is also an activity that can be done all year round and doesn’t have to be weather dependent (depending on where you choose to swim!).