Summer activties for kids with disabilities

Published 5:00 pm Saturday, June 25, 2011

Summer can be a challenging time for children with disabilities and their parents. Many families face a decrease in school and therapeutic hours. This may leave parents with extra time to fill during the day.

Parents are also on alert as children with behavioral or social skill challenges encounter bullies and controlling peers at parks. A trip to a recreational center may seem like an easy answer for some families, but not always the most accommodating for a child with physical disabilities or disabilities.

Here are a few summer activities to do with your child that don’t require weeks of planning, a small loan or traveling further than your backyard.

Email newsletter signup


water park

You can quickly create your own water park in the backyard for an afternoon of fun.

If your child’s tolerance is low for water play, sit them on your lawn (if they are sensitive to grass, put them on a shower curtain or towel for more comfort) and use your finger and a hose to create a variety of sprays for your child to experience.

For more active children, you can have a variety of “water rides” including: a small splash pool or a garden sprinkler to run through.

Fossil find

Take a trip to a sandy beach or to your backyard sandbox and bury some “fossils” (a.k.a. painted rocks). Provide your child with a small shovel and bucket to dig up these archeological finds.

Afterwards, you can dust them off, just like Indiana Jones, with a paintbrush.

You and your child can take turns hiding and discovering these wonderful fossils. You can also work on counting and grouping the rocks once you have collected them all.

Movie madness

A home cinema experience is a great way to get your children out of the sun for a couple of hours and allow some down time.

Instead of just plopping down in front of the TV, make it a production — homemade movie tickets and a bowl of popcorn with pillows and blankets in front of the flat screen.

It will seem like a special event in your child’s day with these little extras. Just be cautious of 3-D movies since some may cause over stimulation.

Soothing swing

If nothing else, find a swing with your child this summer.

Swings are beneficial for physical, social and cognitive development, and they offer certain therapeutic benefits.

They promote movement and perceptual skills, spatial awareness, general fitness, social interaction, mental representation, and sensory integration, including vestibular development. If your child has trouble with crowds, visit the park in the morning during summer camp hours.

Upcoming events

• “The Down Syndrome Connection,” Tuesday from 6 to 8p.m.

• Swimming at Austin Municipal Pool, Saturday, July 9 from 7 to 8:30 p.m.