Summer is all about getting outside, enjoying the warm weather and getting in some physical activity. When your child has a disability, however, you have to find the best activities to meet their physical needs. Fortunately, many summer activities help build coordination and allow kids to create fun memories of childhood.
Children with physical disabilities tend to have lower cardiovascular fitness and less muscle endurance due to their limitations with exercise. However, physical activity helps children develop skills, gain confidence and learn social skills. As a father, you want to make sure your kid has the best life possible. The best way to keep your child as healthy as they can be is to find activities that adapt well to them physically, mentally and emotionally.
Farms and Petting Zoos
Visit a local farm or a petting zoo. Some zoos also feature a petting area. These areas allow children to get up close and personal with gentle animals. If your child is in a wheelchair, you’ll love that these venues are friendly to physical disabilities and should allow you to simply wheel them into the petting area so that they can interact with the animals.
Summer Clubs and Classes
If your kid needs to build important social skills, get them involved in a summer club. Look for drama camps put on by local theaters. State parks may offer junior ranger training, where your loved one can meet other kids their age while getting outside and learning about the area where they live. Any given area will have a wide variety of activity types, so choose the one that best matches your child’s interests. Then, inquire about how they accommodate special needs.
Water sports are a lot of fun for everyone, and the entire family can participate. Kayaking is a good choice for someone with upper body mobility. Many areas have installed handicap accessible launch areas, so people with disabilities can still enjoy canoeing and kayaking. These launches allow anyone with limited mobility to easily launch into the river. The entire family can make a day of it and head down a local river.
If your child has a speech or hearing disorder, offering them opportunities to communicate with others will help them build important skills. Look around for a worthwhile organization that needs volunteers, and work with the director of the organization to figure out what your child can do to help them out.
Some organizations also offer programs for kids in the summer, teaching them important skills and allowing them to interact with others. What programs are available depends on your area.
Summer camp is a summer tradition that your little one can enjoy, even with disabilities. Many types of special need camps are available. You may have to travel a short distance, but many of these camps are specific to a type of disability. The Special Needs Kids Guide offers a list of summer camps catering to different special needs, cataloging where each camp is located and what they all provide.
If your little one does better at home most of the time, you can still enjoy countless fun activities together. Set up an inflatable ball pit in the backyard, or add a Slip ‘N Slide. Bake cookies and take them to a neighbor for socialization. Invite friends over, cook marshmallows over the fire pit and eat s’mores. Think about the things you loved as a child, and find ways to adapt those activities to meet your child’s physical needs.
Allow your kid to try a wide variety of activities so that they can figure out which ones they like the most. If there’s any type of parent group in your area, chat with others to find out what activities are available that you may not be aware of. Facebook often has local parenting groups you can join and may even have one specific to fathers of children with disabilities.
Enjoy your summer. It’s fleeting, but one of the best memories of childhood.
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