When the winter arrives, it can often be trickier for parents of children with cerebral palsy to find activities that are easily accessible. Colder and icier weather can reduce mobility and make going outside more daunting, but it’s good to get out and about, enjoy the fresh air and, most importantly, have fun! There are, of course, lots of activities that can also be enjoyed indoors.
In this blog, SpecialKids Company suggests some winter activities for kids with cerebral palsy. These can all be adapted to meet the needs of your child.
Sensory Activities for children with special needs
Sensory play can be so much fun and can be done in the comfort of your own home or outside in the garden. It can include smells, visuals, sounds, touch and tastes. Here are a few sensory activity ideas for you to consider:-
Swimming is a great sensory experience for children with Cerebral Palsy. Not only is it an opportunity to have fun - swimming also benefits children with special needs as it is a good form of exercise and even therapy. It’s important to contact your local swimming pool to find out if they have appropriate changing facilities and any equipment that you might need to access the pool. They might even have quieter ‘sensory-friendly’ sessions. Everybody should have the opportunity to swim.
SpecialKids Company offers a selection of incontinence swimsuits that will help your child to feel comfortable and secure if they have any continence issues.
Trampoline Parks and Soft Play Centres
Visiting a trampoline park or soft play centre can be a good way to let off steam and have fun. Lots of venues have quieter sessions for children with special needs, which can be particularly handy during busier times, like school holidays. It is worthwhile calling ahead and finding out.
Adapted Activities for Children with Cerebral Palsy
Contact local charities to find out about any adapted activities for children with Cerebral Palsy. For example, indoor winter activities at ski and snow centres and ice rinks. Some venues have adapted skis and sledges that can be used by children with special needs who require more support in order to participate.
Charities should also be able to tell you about any local SOMA (supporting opportunities for motor activities) events and family fun days.
Watching a Movie
Who doesn’t love to watch a movie? You can do this in the comfort of your own home or visit the cinema. If your child has any sensory issues your local cinema might have more relaxed screenings of movies to help meet the needs of children with special needs and sensory impairments, often referred to as ‘autism-friendly screenings’.
Simple Games to Play
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), ‘I Spy’, shape sorting and puzzles. There are also lots of great, simple games that you can download for tablets and iPads.
We hope that you find these suggestions useful. Please let us know if you have any activities to share!
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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!).