15 playful, at-home activities for children with disabilities
Interactive and fun moments for learning
During this time, when we all must stay home for the safety of our family and community, it's important to have fun and interactive activities that we can do with our children. Keeping little ones busy can be a full-time job; and the best way for children to learn, no matter their abilities, is through play. Play is all about discovery — and having fun!
A good way to get started is to find activities your child is interested in and build accommodations from there. Depending on your child's abilities and personality, different activities may or may not be ideal. Sometimes simpler ideas work best.
Here are 15 stimulating activities that you can do indoors with your child. Be patient, listen and enjoy spending time and learning together!
1. Place a variety of toys on a tray or flat surface to stimulate your child. Try sensory toys or toys with suction cups that will stick on flat surfaces. You could also use sponges or cups.
2. Make up a game using a ball — you can even make one together using cloth. Decide the best way to play with your hands and feet depending on the mobility of your child.
3. Make a video of the things you have recorded your child doing and play it for them. You can also do this with just an audio recorder to play back their singing or laughing.
4. Take your children to the kitchen to help prepare food. Depending on what you're doing and how interested your child is, you can let them help you or just give them their own plastic bowl and spoon to mimic your actions.
5. Take advantage of their artistic talents and let them color or paint. There are brushes and drawing utensils that have big easy-to-grab shapes so that children who have little mobility can easily grab them! Finger painting is also a fun option.
6. Read books together in a comfortable position sitting or standing (depending on your child's ability). You can also pull out family photo albums and point to familiar faces. Finding the best position, which can be done with a pillow or using an angled tray on a table, will help your child to feel more comfortable and encourage him to keep his head up.
7. Make a tray of water or sand for your child to play with different textures. You can also add toys.
8. Play with dough, either clay or homemade. Use molds and have fun cutting and assembling shapes. Cookie cutters or large cups with large handles may be easier for your child to grasp.
9. Spend some quiet time playing with simple puzzles or making shape, color, word or number cards. Using a flat, smooth surface such as a table or tray will make the activity easier.
10. Sing, dance and make noise with your child. Your little one can use any cooking pot and homemade instruments to keep rhythm with you.
11. Watch their favorite TV shows or movies. Some suggestions are children's programs with lots of sound and/or color or game programs. Emotion and sound effects attract their attention.
12. Listen to various types of music with different rhythms, so they will learn to appreciate it and know what their favorite rhythm is (if your child has a hearing disability, play to the beat--with steps and jumps, the sign language is full of rhythm, and they can learn new words, phrases and even invent rhythmic stories in sign language).
13. Prepare a puppet or puppet theatre (they can be prepared with socks or gloves). They'll want to put on the puppets too. You could even set up a stage using a large cardboard box to make the show a real success.
14. Give them a camera (your phone for example) and let them take funny photos of you, family pet or other favorite things. They'll be fun to watch later. If mobility does not allow it, then take the photos and then see them together.
15. Make different crafts like cut and paste or make hand or footprints with paint. Use some household items or foods as well, such as macaroni, thread, or buttons.
After each activity it would be good to practice the rehabilitation routines you have learned. Stretching, massage, breathing techniques. This is very important as it will help you relax together.
More Fun and Interactive Activities:
- Do2learn provides thousands of free pages with social skills and behavioral regulation activities and guidance, learning songs and games, communication cards, academic material, and transition guides for employment and life skills. In addition, we offer premier products including View2do, JobTIPS, and books.
- Sensory Books - Create Your Own. Michelle Turner, Movement Expert, shows you how to create great sensory books for your child.
Sign language books:
Each country has its own sign language, it is important that they access history or stories through educational pages such as the following:
Repository of resources on disability inclusion and COVID-19:
- This link provides a repository of resources focusing on Covid-19, disability, mental health, chronic health conditions and related topics curated by the International Disability and Development Consortium Inclusive Health Task Group (IDDC IHTG) and the CORE Group Disability Inclusive Health Technical Advisory Group.