With summer on the horizon, it’s time to think of some fun activities that us as parents can do with our children with special needs. With less school and therapy, it can be stressful to think about how we are going to fill those extra hours in the day. A trip to the park, swimming pool or recreational center may be an easy fix for most parents but very disabled children in need of quality care, these places are not always very accommodating. It can be frustrating as parents of special needs children but not all hope is lost. Here are some fun ideas to keep you and your children entertained all summer long.
Your backyard can make a great waterpark for the day. Shallow splash pools, garden sprinklers and hoses can create a variety of water sprays to entertain your children. You could even lay out a tarp on the grass and point the hose down it for consistent running water to create a safe slip and slide.
Another idea for your backyard waterpark if your child is getting a little bored with the water is to set them up at a table and let them “finger paint” with yogurt were shaving cream or even mud. Let them go crazy with whatever sensory play you decide and then all you have to do is hose them off afterwards. Sensory play is not only good entertainment but it is mind stimulating to the children and allows them fun ways to practice their motor skills.
Tents and forts
This is a great bonding experience for parents and sick children that may need to stay inside. Playing with tents can occupy children for a very long time. All you need is some blankets and chairs to drape the blankets across, providing a little hide out for your children. If they like books, you can bring in some pillows, books and a flashlight so they can read in the quiet of their own fortress.
Setting up your living room like your own little theater will be very fun for your children. Make a big deal out of it with movie tickets, popcorn and snacks. Choose movies that you know your children will enjoy and will not be overstimulating for them. Then you can snuggle up together and enjoy some movie time. Sometimes all your child wants is a safe hug from mom or dad and to know that they are there and they love them.
Search and find
If it is okay to take your child out into the sun, they will benefit from a trip to the beach to look for shells, fishes and anything else buried in the sand. If you are not comfortable taking your children all the way to the beach, you could set up a sand pit in your backyard and bury things for them to find. This is great entertainment as well as sensory play.
Children love big trucks like fire trucks or dump trucks. If you call your local fire department they will usually accommodate a visit to see the trucks and meet the fireman. Firemen are trained in dealing with children and will take the time to talk to your child about what to do in an emergency.
Let the children decide
You could show your child pictures of outdoor activities and allow them to pick which activity they would like to participate in. Choose simple activities such as a park, train or a bus ride or going for ice cream.
There are many more ideas of things that you can do with your children throughout the summer but overall there is nothing children like more than time with their parents full attention. Try not to get overwhelmed and be patient with your children’s conditions and they will appreciate that. More than anything, put aside the busyness and stress of life and spend a little time every day focused solely on your child. Don’t let the difficulties deter your mind from how precious they are and how much you love them. It can be easy to forget what a gift our kids are.