Play and activities for children with disabilities are essential as it offers numerous benefits that contribute to their overall development and well-being.
When creating activities for children with disabilities, a parent must consider each child’s needs, abilities, and preferences when adapting activities. Consulting with caregivers, teachers, or therapists familiar with the child’s abilities can provide valuable insights and guidance for creating meaningful and inclusive activities.
“Luisita is Sick” by Dora Przybylek
One of the most touching children`s books with disabled characters, “Luisita is Sick / Luisita está Enferma” is a book that tackles the complex topic of cancer in children. It follows the story of Luisita, who receives a cancer diagnosis and learns about her condition with the support of her mother, doctors, nurses, and friends. This award-winning book aims to help children cope with illness and has been recognized for its inspirational content.
The Importance of Play
There are plenty of activities for children with disabilities to do. It is the parent’s responsibility to keep their little ones busy with fun activities. Play is an essential part of a child’s development. Play enhances a child’s creativity, physical, mental, and emotional skills.
Play allows children to engage in various physical activities that promote gross motor skills, fine motor skills, coordination, balance, and strength. It can include climbing, throwing, catching, or manipulating objects, which help improve their physical abilities.
Through play, children with disabilities can enhance their cognitive abilities, such as problem-solving, decision-making, creativity, and critical thinking. Play activities can stimulate their imagination, encourage exploration, and develop their ability to understand cause-and-effect relationships.
Social and Emotional Development
Play provides opportunities for children with disabilities to interact with peers, develop social skills, and build relationships. It fosters communication, cooperation, turn-taking, sharing, and empathy. Play allows them to express and regulate emotions, build self-confidence, and develop a positive self-identity.
Many children with disabilities have sensory processing differences or sensitivities. Play activities can offer controlled sensory stimulation, helping them integrate and respond to sensory input more effectively. It can involve sensory play with different textures, sounds, visuals, and movements that promote sensory exploration and regulation.
Here are some activities that can be adapted to accommodate children with disabilities:
Arts and Crafts
Engage children in various arts and crafts activities such as painting, drawing, collages, or creating sculptures using clay or other materials. Adapt the activities by providing assistive tools or adjusting the techniques to suit their abilities.
Set up sensory activities that stimulate different senses, such as sensory bins filled with materials like rice, sand, or water beads. Include items with different textures, scents, and colors to engage the senses of touch, smell, and sight.
Music and Movement
Encourage children to explore music and movement through singing, dancing, and playing musical instruments. Adapt the activities to accommodate physical limitations or sensory sensitivities, such as using adaptive tools or incorporating gentle movements.
Storytelling and Reading
Read or tell stories to children, and encourage their participation through interactive storytelling or acting out parts of the story. Use books with large print, picture supports, or audio versions to cater to different abilities.
Plan outdoor activities that are inclusive and accessible, such as nature walks, scavenger hunts, or adapted sports. Consider using adaptive equipment or modifying rules to ensure all children can participate and enjoy the experience.
Games and Puzzles
Adapt traditional games and puzzles to make them accessible, such as using larger game pieces, incorporating tactile elements, or modifying rules to accommodate different abilities. Cooperative games can also promote teamwork and inclusivity.
Set up sensory exploration activities involving various materials and textures, such as playdough, kinetic sand, or sensory bins filled with feathers, fabric scraps, or textured balls. Allow children to discover and engage their senses freely.
Socializing and Peer Interaction
Plan activities encouraging children’s socializing and interaction, such as group projects, cooperative games, or inclusive playtime. Foster a supporting and inclusive environment that promotes understanding and empathy.
Match the cards
Memory matching cards can be purchased and are played by arranging pairs of cards face down. Players take turns flipping two cards, trying to find matching pairs. If no match is found, the game continues until all cards are matched.
Engage your child with a hide-and-seek game using their favorite items. Provide verbal or visual clues to help them find the hidden objects. Reward their success with treats. This indoor activity promotes focus, concentration, and engagement.