Activities for special needs kids often take a bit more planning. If you’re a special needs parent, you’ll know that getting your child out the door can be like planning a military operation. It took us a long time to find out what worked for our family. But with planning and preparation, there are many great activities for special needs kids.
Activities for Special Needs Kids – The Beach
I think the beach is a great place for all kids. And for special needs kids, there are so many opportunities for experiential learning and exposure. Sand is a wonderful substance to encourage tactile exploration. While playing with water can be calming and soothing. Or even exciting and messy. My kids are happy to play with buckets, stones and shells for hours. Throwing stones into water is their favourite!
Obviously it’s important to take precautions when going to the beach. Water safety, sunblock and a hat are a must. We usually go together to make sure each kids has a parent to look out for them. Some special needs kids don’t like being smeared in cream or to wear hats. My kids used to be like this. But instead of not going to the beach, we adapted the outing. We would go early in the morning during summer. This meant less crowds and less overwhelmed kids. And also softer sunshine. Even though we do sometimes go to the beach in winter, my kids always want to swim. So we generally prefer going to the forest in winter.
Activities for Special Needs Kids – The Forest
My kids love to walk in the forest. We are fortunate enough to live in a place that is surrounded by magical, dense forests. And as long as there are enough snacks, they can walk for hours. The kids are calm and interested in their surroundings. It’s also a very good way to get rid of their insane amounts of energy. Once again, the forest provides such amazing learning experiences. There are loads of bird, insect and tree names to learn. As well as the sounds that come from everywhere. We want to start our kids on photography as a way to link learning and physical experiences. And our forest walks will be perfect for this.
Activities for Special Needs Kids – Fairs, Festivals and Concerts
We have found that these types of activities can be very overwhelming for our children. If there is loud music and lots of people, the kids find it hard to process the situation. These are prime places for meltdowns. It took us some time to accept that we wouldn’t be able to attend these types of events. It is linked to our expectations of what life would be like with our kids. But we’re over that now. We go to places that are calmer and easier to handle and process.
But that doesn’t mean that we will never give it a go. Our children need to be gently challenged to encourage growth. We are planning a trip to a local festival next week. The last time we went, the kids had the hugest meltdown and it was so embarrassing for us and stressful for them. But this time we’re ready! We will prep them before we go (in much the same way that we prep homeschool activities), won’t expect too much, won’t give a hoot about funny looks from others and will leave once we see they’ve had enough.
What Types of Activities do you do with your Specials Needs Kids?
What activities do your kids like? I would love to hear about them. Please drop me an email or comment below.