Here are some fun things kids of all abilities can do during warm weather (and they may even learn something new at the same time!).
School holidays are usually associated with fun for children; it’s a time when they can relax a bit, maybe take a vacation with the family, and, at summertime, enjoy the sun and nice weather. It can also be a time for boredom for many kids, however, as they often face a long break without the stability of a schedule or routine. That’s when a list of fun activities comes in handy for parents, so it’s a good idea to think about all the things your little ones can do that will keep them entertained and safe at the same time. If your child has special needs, it’s especially important to consider the best activities and to make sure there are no potential safety hazards.
Fortunately, there are many activities your child can engage in during the warm weather of the school holidays that will both keep them entertained and safe. In fact, some of them are also educational, meaning they will be learning something new while having a blast. Talk to your child about their goals for the school holidays and find out if there’s anything they would like to accomplish; this will allow you to find the best activities for them and may even help boost their self-confidence at the same time.
Use building blocks to create
The great thing about building blocks and LEGO is that they offer an opportunity for creativity but can be enjoyed just about anywhere, meaning your child can take them outside and let their imagination run wild. This is an especially wonderful activity for children with learning disabilities because it helps build problem-solving skills and is a visual representation that helps a child learn spatial skills (meaning they will understand measuring and distance).
Create a pool area
Swimming and water play is beneficial for just about every age group, as it provides a fun way to exercise and can help a child with a physical disability feel that there are no limitations for them. Even if you don’t have a pool at home, you can create a backyard swimming area using a child-size inflatable pool or a water table for play. Do a major safety check before your child gets in the water: never leave your child unattended near water, follow pool fencing safety regulations, and empty out any paddling pools or water play toys when you have finished for the day. Having safety rules, and making sure your family is familiar with them, will help everyone have fun.
Start a garden
Gardening can be hugely beneficial for kids of all ages and abilities. Not only does it allow them to get out into the fresh air and sunlight for a while, but it can also teach them about the importance of healthy eating. Talk to your child about what they might like to grow; if you don’t have much time to commit to a garden, choose something small and easy, such as herbs. Or, you can make it fun by planting herbs, capsicums, onions, and tomatoes and calling it a “pizza garden.” When they’re ready to harvest, have a make-your-own-pizza-night.
Musical beach ball
Just about every child loves music, and one great way to incorporate it into your summertime activities with the kids is to get a beach ball and use it in a game akin to musical chairs; when the song stops, the child holding the ball is the winner of that round and gets one point. Keep playing until someone has five points, then treat the winner to a popsicle or shaved ice.
Summertime should be a fun, engaging, and relaxing period for kids, so help your child find the best activities for their specific needs and write down any goals they might have. Together, you can work to reach those goals, then assess progress at the end of the summer. This is a great way to teach them about responsibility!
This article was written by Ashley Taylor from disabledparents.org (with editing by Kidspot NZ).