After a long winter and a chilly spring, kids and parents are looking forward to summer with extra enthusiasm. But summer’s lack of structure can be a challenge for parents raising kids with special needs. To make a fun summer more likely for the whole family, guest blogger Sylvia Phillips is here with an even dozen of fun activities to try.
Twelve Fun Summer Activities for Kids with Special Needs
The day that school is over is fast approaching and some of you might be wondering how you will fill your special little someone’s time for the whole summer. Many of our special children thrive on the routine of the school year. The more relaxed schedule of summer and lack of meaningful activities can be a real challenge for everyone. But don’t worry because with a little research and careful planning you can create a special summer routine that your child will thrive on this summer. Here are some ideas for starters!
- Does your child like to read? Why not have her join your local public library reading program? There is usually a fun party scheduled to close out the program.
- Is bowling a favorite activity for your special someone? Many bowling alleys around the country participate in the Kids Bowl Free program. Check to see if there are any participating in your neighborhood.
- Schedule in a weekly date for a visit to your local playground. Make it even more fun by packing a picnic lunch.
- Invite the neighborhood kids over for a backyard arts and crafts session or host a backyard Olympics event. The other moms will love you and so will their kids. Your child just might make some new friends as an added bonus.
- A day trip to your local science, art, and/or children’s museum is sure to be a hit for any child.
- What summer is complete without at least one trip to the beach?
- Local public pools sometimes offer free swimming lessons to school-aged kids during the summer!
- Visit a nearby state nark and go for a nature hike. If you’re lucky your state may have a program similar to New York’s Access Pass. This pass allows for free entrance into any New York state park for people with disabilities and the car they are riding in.
- Is your child energetic and athletic? Your local YMCA is sure to offer some fun activities that your child will love.
- Does your child like the school year routine so much that doing summer school at home might be a comfort to him? Barnes and Noble book stores have all kinds of workbooks that can help you keep your child learning all summer long.
- If your child could benefit from a 12 month school program, check with your school district about eligibility.
- Last but not least, is your child up for summer camp? Many states offer day and overnight camps for individuals with special needs. Some are specific to certain disabilities. Some are not. Several camp options are listed below.
- In New York state, the Family Resource Network and G&E Therapies offers a six week recreational summer camp for youth with autism and other pervasive developmental disorders (PDD) free of charge to campers and their families.
- The Epilepsy Foundation of Rochester, Syracuse, and Binghamton offers Camp Eagr for people ages 8 to 25 who have seizure disorders. Medical personnel are on site 24 hours a day!
- I personally love the Wellness Gifts Retreats in Bath, New York. Hickory Hill Campground sets aside one weekend a month in the summer for a retreat for special families. The whole family can attend and each family is assigned a trained helper for their special needs member. There are speakers and fun events planned for the whole family.
- Let’s not forget Joni and Friends Family Retreats held at campgrounds in several regions throughout the United States. There are even some international retreats held in other countries.
- For more camps choices check out this list of 15 Summer Camps for Kids With Special Needs.
What Are Your Favorite Summer Activities?
Thank you, Sylvia for your list of summer activities for kids with special needs and for the links, too. And how about the readers out there? What would you add to the list? Leave your suggestions in the comment box, along with links. Sylvia offers more ideas about parenting and home schooling a daughter with special needs at Living and Learning with our New Normal, so check it out!
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