Wednesday, July 18, 2012

5 fun summer activities for kids with special needs


These summer activities for kids with special needs are from Abby Brayton-Chung, who blogs at Notes from a Pediatric Occupational TherapistAn OT in Southern California, she's worked in schools and Early Intervention. Her summer fun ideas are so genius, kids won't have a clue they're actually doing occupational therapy!



Summer is in full swing and boy, has it been a hot one! Today I’ll share some fun activities for kids that take advantage of all that summer has to offer, including making the most of hot days. Oh, and as an added benefit, these activities are great for promoting sensory and motor development too.

Paint with ice cubes. Now here’s a way to cool off! Mix watercolor paint with water, fill an ice-cube tray, freeze overnight, and voila, ice-cube paints! Create a masterpiece on paper or fabric with your ice cube paints, while developing grasping skills and engaging in sensory exploration.


Play with wet sponges. Set up a bucket of water, have sponges handy and let kids go at it. Squeezing water out of wet sponges helps develop hand strength. Get some big sponges to encourage squeezing with both hands. Want to add a visual motor component to the activity? Try throwing the sponges at a target. Want an even more tactile experience? Place a trail of sponges on the sidewalk and walk barefoot on them. This is a great way to work on balance too!


Toss around pool toys. Water is great for children with special needs, especially those with muscle stiffness, as the buoyancy makes it so much easier for them to move their arms and legs. Use a pool noodle or swim vest as you hold or closely watch them, and encourage your child to reach and kick. Throw floating pool toys or balls around the pool to encourage your child to reach out and move even more. If your child is not ready for a big pool, backyard kiddie pools are just are good. Even sitting and splashing in shallow water helps promote movement.


Build a sandcastle. Great for sensory exploration and for developing strength and coordination. And you don’t need anything fancy! Grab some pails or containers, measuring cups and spoons from your kitchen and head to the beach! Let the kids dig in and have fun. Search for seashells and rocks to use to decorate your child’s creation, while promoting fine-motor and grasping skills at the same time. Live too far from the beach? Use a sandbox or (any container that will hold sand) to create castles in your backyard.


Squeeze anything that sprays water. Most kids love to get wet, and pretty much all kids love to get other people wet! Squeeze spray bottles, condiment containers from the dollar store, water droppers, and anything else you have laying around the house that can be used to spray water. This activity helps develop hand strength and coordination, as well as visual motor skills if you aim for a target (or a person!). Get these spray bottles out when you're creating your sandcastles too.


3 comments:

  1. I have to disagree with the idea of using floaties at all. Those things are dangerous. I've seen 2 children nearly drown because those pieces of garbage started leaking and the child was literally over her head.

    I pulled one of the girls from the water. The other time it was a friend of my sister was nearer and pulled the girl up from the bottom of the pool.

    A third time my dad was at a meeting at our club a girl jumped off the diving board the floaties stayed on top of the water - she sank like a stone. A waiter from the patio jumped in followed by the lifeguard and they pulled her from the bottom of 8 feet of water.

    Drowning is silent. People don't yell and scream, their mouths and lungs are filling with water not air. They don't thrash they slip under water.

    No swimmers belong in US Coast Guard approved life vests . Off hand I can think of 6 drownings this summer in Texas, and I sure that is a low number. 2 of them involved non swimming adults who not only did not have vests on- the group took them out of the canoes and left them on the river bank. The others are all kids. Several all you hear is we were right there s/he just wasn't there. Then we saw him/her on the bottom of the pool.

    ReplyDelete
  2. thanks for the tips and kherbert it said to hold or closely supervise your child as in being within arms length of them with all your attention on them.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Ellen,

    I hope it is okay to add my list to the fun summer activities. I recently wrote a blog adding all the things we've tried along the way to encourage fun, inclusion and a bit of sneaky therapy too http://havewheelchairwilltravel.net/stay-home-fun/

    My ideas are all able to be done by a child using a wheelchair either on their wheelchair tray or on a table top.

    If it isn't okay just delete.

    Julie

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for sharing!