There’s nothing like diving into the cold water of a swimming pool, running through the sprinkler or eating a popsicle on the porch when the weather turns warm, and the school days come to an end. But if your child has special needs, it’s not always clear how your child will enjoy these carefree days of summer.
Here are some suggestions to help your child have a summer to remember.
1. Create sensory experiences with water
Some special needs children can feel overwhelmed by their senses. But if you create these experiences in your home (or your backyard) it will allow your child to gain these experiences in a safe environment. You can fill water balloons and practice grasping the funny-feeling object, fill a plastic tub with water and allow your child to run their hands through the water, or create a leak-proof water blob in your backyard that will bring hours of enjoyment to any child.
2. Go to the amusement park
Taking your special needs child to an amusement park might seem daunting, but some parks offer passes to families with special needs children so that you can bypass most of the lines and noisy crowds. This will not only be more enjoyable for your child, but will be a great way to involve the whole family in the fun.
3. Create a fun indoor space
On the days when the weather is just too hot for outdoor activities, try creating a stimulating space for some indoor fun. Gather some pillows and blankets in a comfortable corner of the house and read books, put together puzzles, or fill a basket full of sensory items your child can feel and explore.
4. Go to the splash park
While swimming pools can be tricky for some special needs children, splash pads can be a great way to enjoy the water without having to be submerged. Splash pads are often in community parks, are free to use, and are usually equipped with ramps and flat areas for wheelchairs.
5. Visit a farmer’s market
Some of the tastiest fruits and vegetables are ripe for the picking during the summer months and ready to be enjoyed. Why not visit a local farmer’s market and try some homegrown produce that will challenge your child’s palette and allow them to explore new textures and tastes.
Jessa is the Editor-in-Chief of Hooray for Family and the mom of two energetic children. She has a BA in Mass Communication/Journalism from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, and is a long-time resident of Central Texas. When she isn't writing and editing, she enjoys running around with her kids, teaching Sunday school and channeling her creativity into craft projects and home decor.