The summer season is an exciting time to spend with family, friends and have some fun. But, even with the weather on our side, summer can be a challenging time for parents of children with special needs, such as cerebral palsy. School lets out for the summer, and this can result in parents having a lot of time to fill with entertaining events.
Fortunately, there are a number of summer activities you can do with your child that are sure to make it into the memory book. The best part is that most of these activities are free and can take place right in the comfort of your own backyard.
Here are 10 fun activities to do this summer with a child who has special needs:
1. Pack a Picnic
Gather up your child’s favorite snacks, juice boxes and toys and head off to a nearby park for a picnic. Bringing along a colorful picnic blanket can make for the perfect backdrop for an adorable impromptu photo-shoot.
2. Visit a Local Farm or Petting Zoo
What better way to teach your child about animals than showing them in real life? Use a farm or petting zoo as an opportunity to teach your son or daughter all the animals and the sounds they make. Chances are, the whole family will be singing “Old MacDonald Had A Farm” all the way home.
3. Get Messy With Fingerpaint
Fingerpainting is a great summertime activity for children with cerebral palsy, as it allows them to strengthen the muscles in their hands, fingers and arms. Mobility limitations of this kind are common among children with CP. By allowing your child to improve their flexibility using a fun medium like paint, you’ll have one happy camper at the end of the day (and probably some new artwork for the fridge).
4. Go Sidewalk Chalk Crazy
Writing on the sidewalk with chalk is a great activity to get the whole family outside. Try outlining each other in chalk and then drawing in silly details like sunglasses, hats or balloons. Your child will get some practice with their handwriting while having fun in the sun.
5. Tie Dye Like It’s the 70’s
Tie dying is a cost-efficient and entertaining activity for both parents and children alike. Bust out those old white tee shirts and bed sheets and go color crazy. Have your child combine all of their favorite colors onto a fabric and guide them through the tie dye process. Watch as their eyes light up upon seeing the final product.
6. Pick Flowers For Friends or Family
Picking flowers can seem like a mundane activity on the surface, but it’s sure to brighten up any child’s day. Bring along a basket to collect the best flowers you can find and enjoy your day outdoors. Once you’re done, create some homemade name tags with paper and glue and hand them out to friends and family.
7. Transform Your Backyard Into A Water Park
Who says you have to drive to an amusement park to stay cool in the summer? Turn your backyard into a water park by simply using a gardening hose, a kiddie pool, large tarps, squirt guns or even buckets of water. Get creative with what you hold the water in and maybe even grab some bubbles to add to the fun. Then, jump in!
8. Pitch A Tent
Teaching your child how to pitch a tent can be a fun challenge that also doubles as a learning experience. Pick the best spot in your yard (or living room) and begin setting up your tent. If you don’t happen to have a camping tent on hand, feel free to make one out of chairs and pillows. Then, cook up some s’mores and tell stories under the stars.
9. Create A Handmade Nature Book
Take your child on a walk through the outdoors and hunt for interesting fossils, leaves, branches, shells or flowers. Once you have collected what you need for your book, head home and begin pressing the items onto the pages of the book to flatten them. After pressing, simply paste your nature items down using glue or tape and show off your findings to the whole family.
10. Stage A Play
Putting on a play is a great way to encourage your child to face any hesitations they may have regarding talking in front of others or showing off their talents. Pick your child’s favorite nursery rhyme and ask them which character they’d like to play. Create fun costumes and props from what you can find around the house. Then – it’s showtime!
Written by: Cerebral Palsy Guide
Cerebral Palsy Guide was founded upon the goal of educating families about cerebral palsy, raising awareness, and providing support for children, parents, and caregivers affected by the condition. Our easy-to-use website offers simple, straightforward information that provides families with medical and legal solutions. We are devoted to helping parents and children access the tools they need to live a life full of happiness.