Fun Activities for Children with Special Needs

Children with special needs find it difficult to participate in outdoor play and they are at a greater risk of play deprivation. If you’re not careful, this will affect their health and overall well-being. Merely buying and offering toys to your children won’t cut it. You’ll have to participate in your child’s play and get down to his level.

Parents of special needs children may have to wear more than one hat during the COVID19 pandemic. You’ll take on the responsibility of their teacher, full-time caregiver, cook, therapist, as well as a remote employee.

A recent survey suggests that now more than ever, you should job the memory of your child concerning your absolute love for them and the benefits of staying home. You should create some fun activities for your child and remind them of the delight of spending time together.

Wondering how to go about this? Read this article to find out series of easy but fun activities you can try with special needs children during this lockdown era.

What activities can be employed for children with special needs?

There are different varieties of activities that can be fun and engaging for children with special needs. Here are some activities that can help special needs children both at home and in their classrooms.

1.     Sensory bin

This game provides a treasure of values for children with special needs while they get their hands dirty and engage their senses. Whether your kids are running their hands in the dirt, through dried rice, or even pouring water in a bucket, it can be a calming and engaging activity for kids with anxious or over-stimulated personalities.

What you need

  • Sand, rice, water, pom-pom balls, or dried beans
  • Diggers (spoons, buckets, or shovel)
  • Containers
  • Tools such as Measuring cups, Tongs, Funnels, mini-construction trucks, etc.
  • Tiny objects that can be buried such as shells, buttons, rocks, or pebbles.

Sensory bin basics

You don’t need anything fancy and you don’t need to have tons of space. You can use a medium storage tub for the sensory bin because of its elevated sides. Poor all your sensory basics like your dried beans, rice, maize, or pom-pom balls from your Ziploc bag into the tub. Allow your child to pick the base he wants from the sensory bin with his tools. After you’re through pack everything back into a container. Plastic containers are also good.

If you want more space, you can use your backyard. Bury objects in your backyard and take your child on a digging escapade. You can take part in the counting and sorting of the ‘relics.’ This game helps with language development because children have verbal responses to their discoveries.

2.     Yoga poses

If you’re looking for a fun but gentle exercise, you can try yoga. Yoga is a good exercise for the mind and body. It helps children cope with stress by improving their self-awareness via meditation and aerobic exercises. It is also soothing for hyperactive kids.

What you need

  • Mat
  • Space
  • Props such as Storybook

Game basics

Make it fun for the kids. Since most yoga poses are named after animals, be creative. Tell stories with the poses, sing songs, and implement as many props as possible. Take them on yoga adventures around the world. They can bark like dogs, laugh like hyenas, roar like lions, or glide like snakes while striking a pose.

Remember that kids’ yoga is different from adults’ yoga. The focus is to have fun and relax. Don’t just stick to your plan, let the kids be whatever they want. When kids travel to zoos in different countries, they can act like airplanes or animals in the zoo. They can learn geography, know more about animals, mathematics, music, and art, all while learning yoga.  

3.     Balloon volleyball

This activity motivates children with special needs to move about and develops their core strength and balance. Balloon volleyball can be an exciting indoor game for children, and it's much safer than playing ball outside the house.

What you need

  • Latex balloon
  • Masking tape or string

How to play

It’s time to push away your couch and tables to create space for an exciting game. You can create a ‘net’ by dividing the room with a long piece of masking tape. You can also hang a string across the room at the head height of the smallest player you have. Instruct your kids to stay on their side of the room. The plan is to prevent the balloon from hitting the ground on their side of the ‘net.’

For older kids, you can make the game a little more challenging. Set a maximum number of times that each player can touch the balloon before it must pass over the net. After a player exceeds the maximum touch count, it becomes a foul, and the other team gets a point. The other team also gets a point when the ball touches the ground.

You can use beach balls if you don’t have balloons. You can also blow up two or more balloons if you don’t have the materials to make a ‘net.’  In this case, the game plan is for everyone to work together to keep the ball from touching the ground. Just make sure you clear away all the breakable objects from the vicinity.

4.     The Reading game

The American Psychological Association encourages parents, caregivers, and family members with special needs children to spend time together and openly discuss their feelings. Parents with special needs children face the most challenge during the COVID19 pandemic. Likewise, children with disabilities naturally feel isolated from their peer groups, and more so during these social distancing measures. However, reading can be a fun way to explain the reasons for these changes and to develop your child’s reading skills.

What you need

  • Storybook
  • Cozy setting
  • Props
  • Printouts

How to play

There are different ways to encourage your young child to read. Every child learns at a different pace, so it's essential to integrate different strategies to hold their attention and compel them to learn. Be creative. Get interesting storybooks with characters they can imitate. You can go all out and give each child a role and even play dress-up while you’re at it.

You can also print out words from the storybooks and ask kids to play ‘fish’ with the magnetic fish cut-outs with words on the back of them. Once the words have been fished, kids read out the sight words. They continue this process until they’ve learned different words from the printouts.

Reference links

https://busytoddler.com/2016/04/sensory-bin-basics/

https://www.adventhealth.com/blog/10-fun-activities-kids-special-needs-during-covid-19

https://www.friendshipcircle.org/blog/2015/01/15/5-preschool-activities-for-children-with-special-needs/

https://thenewageparents.com/activities-for-children-with-special-needs/