Check out these apps for more outdoors and fitness ideas:
As a society we're coming to realize the importance
of outdoor play. It's particularly crucial for kids with
disabilities to get out and get moving. So here are some ideas to
build a day of outdoor play.
Before you burst out into the sunshine, make sure your
child gets a healthy breakfast to fuel their activities. Children
with disabilities are often at risk for overheating, so pay
particular attention to hydrating kids throughout the day and don't
forget to lather on sunscreen before heading out.
Before the temperature gets too warm, begin with a bike
trip. You can cover a lot of ground, get great exercise and deliver
adventure, exploration and a sense of accomplishment. Fortunately
with many of the new bikes and trikes out there, this activity is
available to more and more children of varying
We have two to check out. The Buddy Bike-a
new twist on tandem-places the child in front of the adult. The
parent can keep an eye on the child while the kid gets a front row
view of the world. Another great model is the YBike.
This unique hybrid calls for less balancing than a typical bike and
is propelled by a child's feet on the ground versus
Luckily, there are now many adaptive bikes appropriate for
children with special needs. To research more, go to lekotek.org for a
list of adaptive product companies.
Try bike paths rather than busy streets. Some of my
favorites are the Illinois Prairie Path in DuPage County and
Fullersburg Woods Forest Preserve Loop.
There are two activities kids have gravitated to for
centuries. The first is throwing stuff and the second is knocking
stuff down. You can invent your own version of activities for
either of these concepts. Be creative and allow kids to use their
hands, wiffle bats or their whole bodies to push, tumble and
Build a pyramid of canisters, plastic cups or containers
and let kids either toss at or topple into them (this works with
Little Tikes has versions for both tossing and tumbling
with its TotSports Bean Bag Toss (with adjustable
difficulty levels and auditory feedback) and TotSports
Bowling Set (with easy finger holes and balls that rattle).
Both work great indoors or out.
Outside is the perfect place to get down and dirty
(another activity kids have loved forever!). This might involve
playing in the sand, making mud pies or rolling down an incline on
the lawn. For children unable to roll, put them on a sheet and pull
them around for fun, stimulation and laughs. Speaking of mud,
Little Tikes even makes a table set called Makin' Mud Pies
that brings the mud or sand to wheelchair or easy access
level and includes a mixer and sink.
End your kid's day with a soothing bath and quiet time by
asking them to share their favorite memories from their day in the
sun and you share tales of exciting outdoor adventures yet to
Deirdre Pate Omahen is director of programs at the National Lekotek Center in Chicago, a member of the Chicago Special Parent advisory board and a mom.
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